Happy Halloween from 3rdº!

You know, despite “Art Director” being the first thing on this blog’s description, I spend very little time talking about my day job. Mostly that’s because ongoing projects are usually supa-secret, but half the fun of working at Third Degree is the culture. For example, Halloween.

We try to go all out each year’s themed costumes. Previous themes were Post-Apocalypse and Mad Men. This year, we went old school. Classic pre-1970s movie monsters.

That’s my boss. She’s so dramatic.

Brett’s the suffocating man. 😛

Can I get a hand over here?

See more in the Flickr set.

» Third Degree
» Third Degree Creative Blog

Design Diary: “New” starts, but does not finish. [Part 3]

Spoiler: I didn’t end up using Mark’s idea in Do, as awesome as it was. Here are some reasons why, completely unrelated to the quality of the idea itself.

Explain your rules better before changing them.
It takes some experience before you can recognize the difference between a poorly designed rule and a poorly explained rule. Assuming you do know the difference, be aware of the temptation to add new rules to fix a perceived bug. It could be fixed just as easily by offering strategy or style advice as a non-instructional sidebar. That is what I ended up doing in Do. Instead of adding the new rules for stone usage and naming, I just asked my players for their advice and tips on picking good names.

Stick to your goal.
This is probably one I’m most guilty of breaking and why Do has taken such a long time to finish. I started with a loose desire to emulate some aspects of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Gradually that morphed into a number of different goals for the game, but none fully concrete. In the end, it was developing Happy Birthday, Robot! that gave me an achievable goal for Do‘s development. Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a storytelling game. It’s not a role-playing game. And that is okay. Now that I know what being “done” looked like, I just have to get there.

Better is the enemy of done.
As many smart folks said already. When you work on a project a long time, it is tempting to look at a new idea as the solution that will finally bring it to an end. However, a better unfinished game is never as good as a flawed finished game.

What you’re working on is not the last thing you’ll work on.
If you don’t use every idea you have right now, those ideas are not lost to the ether. In this case, Mark’s idea lives on in an email conversation, a blog post, or a future supplement for Do. It is important to write down and save your ideas, but also share them with others. If you really feel this idea is a good, share it. Let other people comment and contribute. You can always pick it up again later for a future game, but even if you don’t, at least you shared something you’re excited about.

A great idea can start a project, but only work can finish it.
Or, in other words, “Shiny starts, but rarely finishes.” To put it more cruelly, a shiny new idea can send you right back to the drawing board. The longer you work on a project, the more tempting it is to add ideas you come across later on. Each new idea is a detour along that project’s development. It leads you in a new direction, maybe, but it probably doesn’t get you closer to an endpoint.

The solution that gives you more work might not be a solution.
Some designers like to say that if you’re trying to solve a design problem by adding stuff, you’re not really solving the problem. It’s only be streamlining and minimizing that you will find a solution. I don’t know if I would be that hardline about it, but certainly it’s a red flag if your latest new shiny idea is one that prolongs the timeline by an extra month, then six, then twelve, and so on.

But now I’m beginning to repeat myself, so here are some smart people talking about this stuff.

» Ryan Macklin: The Siren Song of Cool
» Ryan Macklin and Paul Tevis: Cool Revisited
» Brilliant Gameologists: Gamers Are Lazy SOBs (BS)
» Jared Sorensen: Better is the enemy of done.


Pip•Pip is a strategic board game of conversion and compromise. It is inspired in equal parts by Sudoku and Triple Triad. The game usually comes down to the wire, with the winner achieving victory by the skin of his teeth. I hope you enjoy it!


There are two players, both with a handful of six-sided dice. One player has light dice, the other has dark dice. Determine randomly who goes first.


On your turn, roll a die and place it on a space within a 4×4 grid in the middle of a chessboard, making sure that the result you rolled is still facing up as you put it in place. Also make sure that the die is squared with the grid of the chess board, not diagonal or anything crazy like that.

The Store

After you roll, if you don’t like the result, you can set that die aside and keep it in your store. Then you roll another die and place it on the board or put that one in your store too. You may only keep up to three dice in your store in this manner.

When you have dice in your store, you may either roll a die on your turn as normal or instead pull a die from the store and place it on the board.

The store must be empty by the end of the game, so that means if you have three dice in the store, your last three moves must be spent using dice that you have previously discarded and which your opponent has expected you to use eventually.


If you place the die in a space horizontally or vertically adjacent to an opponent’s die, check the numbers on the two dice that are facing each other. Not the numbers on top of the dice, but rather the numbers on the sides of the dice that are adjacent to each other.

If your number is equal to or lower than your opponent’s number, nothing happens. If the number on your die is greater, your opponent’s die is converted to your color. Conversion only occurs between dice that are horizontally or vertically adjacent to one another, not diagonal.

When an opponent’s piece is converted, replace it with a die of your color, making sure that it has the same number facing up and the same orientation that your opponent’s die had.

In the example above, the blue die is placed next to a yellow die. The blue die has a 6 facing the yellow’s 5, meaning the yellow die is converted to blue.


Continue placing dice and converting die colors in this manner until all the spaces in the 4×4 area are filled. Once this occurs, the game is over and the players tally their scores.

The light player counts numbers on top of the light dice that are on the light spaces and adds them up for their final score.

The dark player counts numbers on top of the dark dice that are on the dark spaces and adds them up for their final score.

Whoever has the highest total wins.

Talkin’ Game Design on Voice of the Revolution

Interviews with Daniel Solis
So Brennan Taylor’s like “Hey, wanna talk on Voice of the Revolution?”

And I’m like, “Whaa? You wanna listen to me gabber on about hozzawatzitz?”

And he’s like… “Yeh.”


You can listen to my gibbering nonsense on episode 45 starting 18:03.

[In the Lab] An Organic Pente Kind of Thing

Here are the basic rules thus far:

2 Players
Each player has a set of 15 stones.
Each player, on their first turn, puts their stones on the table. The first two stones must not touch each other.

Put a stone on the table touching another stone. A stone cannot touch more than two other stones, so lines start growing across the table. Your stone will go at the end of one of these lines.

If a pair of stones is sandwiched between two stones of another color, that pair is removed from the table and returned to the player. You do NOT keep captured pieces. Any loose stones remaining after a capture can be the beginning of a new line.

The game ends when one player runs out of stones.

I wanted a 2-player abstract playable at a restaurant with the little sugar packets they usually have available. Usually, they’ll have your choice of plain sugar and an artificial sweetener. But no board and no other gaming props available, so anything as complex as Hive won’t work. I also want to avoid a dexterity game, since those tend to get messy and I’d hate to make a busser clean up after gamers. 😛

The mechanics right now show interesting emergent properties, like creating organic lines across a table. Also, pieces you capture end up back in possession of your opponent. With limited supply of stones, this could be interesting strategic tension.

I haven’t quite figured out a good victory condition, though. Perhaps these mechanics should change, too.

Thoughts on a good victory condition or something to make this a little more interesting?

[Happy Birthday, Robot!] Sold out at GenCon!

I’m happy to report (if you haven’t already seen from the many tweets) that Happy Birthday, Robot! sold out at GenCon. If you missed your chance to get it at the con, you can order it from Evil Hat or from your friendly local game store.

There is some other big news about HBR coming down the pike, but it’ll have to wait a few weeks for details. In the meantime, I’ll post stories from GenCon throughout the week.

Rob Donoghue on Split Decision and Rich Dice

Rob Donoghue lays out his throbbing brainmeats for Split Decision. Check it out for his thoughts on why narration should follow dice rolls with a system like this, the ways it can map to Paul Tevis’ discussion of “but,” and the important lessons of Gerald Cameron’s Principles of Dice Games.

…if the dice chosen reflect behavior and that behavior is not reflected in the narration then you can end up with situations where the fiction has you saving kittens but the dice say you’re showing a callous disregard for all life. If making the choice in the dice means making a choice in the fiction, then the fiction needs time to reflect it.

All this and more at the links below.

» Rob Donoghue: Rich Dice Extravaganza
» Paul Tevis: Insert your own “but” joke here
» Gerald Cameron: Four Principles of Dice Game Design

Happy Birthday, Robot!

Buy Happy Birthday, Robot! at these fine establishments:

  • Evil Hat 
  • Indie Press Revolution 
  • Drive-Thru RPG 
  • RPGNow 

Happy Birthday, Robot! is a storytelling party game for clever kids, gamer parents and fun classrooms. You and your friends tell a story about Robot. Robot meets new friends and learns new things about the world. Robot’s world can be different each time you play, but the story always begins the same way: “Happy Birthday, Robot!”

Ennie Awards: Nominated for Best Game, Best New Game, Best Production Values, and Product of the Year!

Happy Birthday Robot is the only game that sits on my desk at work, and that includes the ones I publish.” – James Wallis

“All in all, the game would fit into any child’s book collection, and doesn’t seem that out of place in a collection of roleplaying games, either.” – Gerald Cameron on Critical-Hits

“If you are a gamer with children, you should buy this game to play with them. If you are a gamer without children, I still think that you will enjoy this game. It’s light, frivolous, and highly entertaining.” – Seth Ben-Ezra

“This game is delightful… Fun to read and gorgeous… charmingly illustrated by the talented Rin Aiello.” – Rick Evans on DriveThruRPG

“Any game that can credibly survive the input of an over-caffinated/over-sugared 7 yr old has serious chops. This one’s a winner, folks.”
– Chad Underkoffler

Sample Stories
Here are some stories that came from actual players. The stories are very different from each other because each group was different. Sometimes they’re pretty silly… Okay, they’re all pretty silly… but still lots of fun to make. You can make your own story each time you play Happy Birthday, Robot!


“Happy Birthday, Robot!”

“Congratulations, you get to become a real boy!”

The Professor cheerfully continues: “One catch: A boy must take your place!”

Robot knows Bobby wants to be a robot, but he is grounded.

But it’s Bobby’s birthday and he loudly wishes real hard.

Professor hears Bobby’s wish to become a real robot.

Professor convinces Bobby’s parents to unground him and allow the procedure, but it might be temporary.

Bobby and Robot sit in the Switcheroo Machine, but it sputters loudly.

Robot waits anxiously while Professor kicks it back to life.

Bobby becomes Robot, Robot becomes Bobby, and Professor says with joy: Hello, Nobel Prize!

Bobby likes flying around town with Robot’s very shiny rocket legs.

Robot likes eating pizza and playing with Bobby’s little brother.

Bobby misses pizza. Robot misses flying. They switch back.


Happy Birthday, Robot!

Robot awakens and sings until the sun sets.

Sad and lonely, Robot’s song echoes, hauntingly, but something answers his song.

Surprised, Robot gleefully answers the song and intently listens to… a duck!

“Will you be my friend forever?” Duck asks hopefully, and Robot nods enthusiastically.

Duck dances a happy interpretive jig, and Robot begins singing to everybody.

Nobody answered Robot’s call for new friends until a quacking pig flew by.

Pig quacked a greeting song, and Duck and Robot were happy, but then everyone slept.

Robot, Duck and Pig snore-quacked loudly and everyone dreamed they were happy robots flying together with stars.

Everyone except Robot slept until the wee morning, and Duck and Pig made breakfast for sad Robot.

Sad Robot was happy he had friends like these.

But Robot still could not fly.

That night Pig and Duck taught him.

(From Colin Creitz, John Daniels and Kathy Daniels)


Happy Birthday, Robot!

Robot is very small, but has big heart.

Robot misses friend Melissa, and she misses him as well.

Robot finds Melissa at the Spaceport and Melissa is crying because her dolly is missing.

Robot knows where dolly is, but cannot reach her without John’s help.

Robot asks John for help and John takes Melissa and Robot up into his spaceship.

Robot is very excited, but still needs help to find Melissa’s lost dolly.

John, Melissa and Robot all see dolly and she’s almost in reach of the spaceship!

John says “Hold on tight!” and pushes the throttle to the max!

The spaceship goes ZOOM! and dolly is recovered, much to Melissa’s relief.

With John’s help, Robot saves the day.

(From Ryan Macklin & Justin Smith)


Happy Birthday, Robot!

Robot laughs and dances the tango, but by himself.

Robot’s presents and the ponies are missing, but he isn’t too worried.

Robot thinks his friends–all but Natasha–rode the ponies away to the hills.

Maybe Natasha, being a jerk, hid Robot’s presents for a terrible surprise, but Robot loves her anyway.

But now, Natasha comes bounding out of her cave, shouts “surprise,” throws confetti, and hugs Robot sweetly.

ROBOT: Are you teaching me a lesson that I shouldn’t care about presents?

ROBOT: Or are you just being a big MEANIE?!?!


(From Steve Lawson)


Happy Birthday, Robot!

There was a robot, but he was rusty.

So, for his birthday, he cried oil tears.

Robot ran faster than ever before.

He ran home and found rust-removal spray.

Robot took a rust removal shower and scrubbed himself shiny.

Robot felt better than ever, so he baked his favorite cake.

Robot put candles on his cake and lit them.

Robot looked and closed his eyes, but his cake moved.

Robot screamed and his cake jumped, screaming “don’t eat me!”

Robot was confused, but agreed, and they sat and talked and laughed.

Robot was going to wish for more friends before the cake came alive.

Now, he didn’t have to.

And Robot never cried again.

(From Marc Majcher, Kristin Firth and Ben Johnson)


Happy Birthday, Robot!

Robot’s family of kittens has gathered many balls of yarn.

Robot’s kittens want milk, but they also want to hunt!

“Ack!” says Robot. “I’m made of tuna cans!”

Robot finds a bush of catnip nearby and quickly knits several tiny toy mice.

Robot thinks this was a good first day of kitten school.

Robot’s a cool cat!

(From Megan Raley and Daniel Solis)

[Do] Schedule of Games

This looks like my schedule for the next couple weeks.

Sunday Afternoons
Sep 19, 26, Oct 3
3pm CST
Players: Shane, Nolan, Marc

Sunday Evenings
Sep 19, Oct 3, 10
9pm CST
Players: Anders, Jamie, David

Monday Evenings
Sep 20, 27, Oct 4
7pm CST
Players: Jenn, Mark

Tuesday Evenings
Sep 21, 28, Oct 5
7pm CST
Players: Brett, Ro, Megan

Saturday Evenings
Sep 25, Oct 2, 16
7pm CST
Players: Matt, Raven

Wow! It’s going to be a busy few weeks.

[Happy Birthday, Robot!] Special Guest: Isaiah Mustafa

Anders Smith just posted this Happy Birthday, Robot! story on RPG.net:

Happy Birthday, Robot!

Robot sings songs and I like him too, but he smells.

He doesn’t wear Robot deodorant and he eats stinky socks.

Robot says: “Yummy socks! Mmmm!” and rubs his tummy, but suddenly, in burst Isaiah Mustafah!

“Robot, you should smell like me, like a man, but you don’t – look at me!”

“I’m on a can, made of gold – where are you? You’re in space!”

Robot, now very confused, plays lots of smelly sounding songs.

He dreams of being a shiny chrome robot Isaiah Mustafah, but gold-plated…

On a can. “I’m a horse!” And then Robot buys Old Spice, but it explodes!

Robot flew out into space, except he was already there, but he’s a bird.

He’s a magical Robot with chrome and gold wings on fire!

Robot streaks across the sky in nothing but his undies with Spiderman on them.

Spiderman hangs on for dear life, “My spidey sense is tingling!”

Funny how the stories told by grown-ups often make less sense than the stories told by kids. 😛

[SageFight] Fight to the Fun at PAX and Dragon*Con

J.R. Blackwell, famous photographer and accomplished duelist, puts forth some new doctrines for this fine, ancient tradition.

I went to a party this weekend and challenged six people to a duel. I am a sagefighting dueling whirlwind. It combines my talent for reading faces with my talent for not falling down. I can’t wait to challenge other sagefighters to honorable duels to the fun.

That’s right, you read that right – DUELS TO THE FUN – THIS DOESN’T END UNTIL YOU HAVE FUN!

We agreed “Fight to the Fun” is a great tagline. So, everyone going to PAX or Dragon*Con this weekend, start a SageFight Melee or Duel with your friends. (Remember: Be safe. Trim your fingernails.)

Post your pics and videos! I’ll make a graphic like these for you, too.

» J.R. Blackwell’s Livejournal
» Original Photo Source

BONUS! New SageFight pics at GenCon 2010.

Donating free books to Kids Need To Game.

The first 24 hours were so successful, the goal was met and then some. Your enthusiasm exceeded my wildest expectations. That visceral urge to meet a clear, tangible goal is now resolved sooner than I thought.

But there are still 60+ days until the funds are actually pooled together to print the books. Unfortunately, there are also lots of people who want to pre-order, but see that the goal has been met and think they missed their chance. (Which is not the case, as the last seven backers can tell you.)

So, that leaves an interesting and happy dilemma. How do we spread the word that you can still pledge and pre-order PDFs and PDF+Book bundles? The answer came from Purple Pawn’s recent blog post discussing the charity Kids Need to Game.

[Teacher] Brian has been running an after school games club for 1st through 9th graders at his school in Denmark. […]
“I have been able to document, with information given to me by several of the teachers and parents, that almost 60% of the active participants in the gaming club have actually improved in problem-solving skills and reading comprehension since starting with us.”

Sounds like a great cause to me, and definitely in line with the goals of Happy Birthday, Robot! So, I’m happy to announce the following:

When the pledges reach $1,500, I’ll be donating a first edition of the book to Kids Need To Game.

When they reach, $1,650, I’ll donate another first edition book.

When they reach, $1,800, I’ll donate one more book.

After that, if May 31st is still a long ways out, I’ll seek out any other game/kid charities to donate books to. So if you’ve already backed, I thank you and encourage you to spread the word to your friends about this offer. Kids Need To Game is a great cause and hopefully we can spread our good fortune to them. Thanks!

— Daniel

Design Diary: “New” starts, but does not finish. [Part 2]


Mark Sherry suggested a really interesting idea that would solve a small problem in Do. I had some apprehensions, for a few reasons.

Firstly, and probably most important, we’re really late in the development process here. Ryan’s already edited the first round of drafts and we are pushing towards and end-of-year deadline to get the text finalized. That isn’t even counting how long the game has been informally developing over the years. (Long enough that I had deep concerns about Do being perceived as vaporware.)

Secondly, this solution would call for me to double a portion of the writing workload. My goal is to write one page for each step of play. That is a fairly straightforward model. Write a simple instruction for that step. Give an example of that step. Offer advice and inspiration for that step in the sidebars.

The only place where that model breaks is that one step in particular has a number of branching paths. The first branch is whether your pilgrim is in trouble or out of trouble at the time you take this step. The next branch depends on whether you keep zero, one, two or three stones. That’s eight total paths for this step. No biggie. I will just write one page for each. Eight pages, four double-page spreads. Not a ridiculous amount of real estate in the book for what is probably the most critical phase of gameplay.

In short, here are the branching paths as they stand now:

Is your pilgrim in trouble? [Y/N]
How many stones did you keep? [0/1/2/3]

However, if I were to implement this cool idea, I’d add a third branch:

What color were those stones? [Black/White]

Thus doubling again the number of pages devoted to this one step. Sixteen pages, eight double-page spreads. Not necessarily a problem in itself, but there is a certain point where you have to draw the line when you’re managing a project like this. You’ll see my line tomorrow.

Kristin’s [Happy Birthday, Robot!] session at GenCon

I was very lucky to have two great volunteers running Happy Birthday, Robot! at GenCon 2010. Kristin and Marc actually played HBR shortly after I released the first draft as a Google Doc last year, so they were quite experienced with the game already.

Anyhoo, Kristin ran HBR at the Embassy Suites for a trio of players we gathered up from the lobby. This is the story they created together.

Thanks, Kristin!

Cassie Krause’s 4th Grade Class Plays Happy Birthday, Robot!

Check out the fun story that Cassie Krause’ class of 4th graders created by playing Happy Birthday, Robot!

Happy Birthday Robot!
Robot glanced outside sadly because he couldn’t go outside.
Robot saw rain, but he was still in a good mood.
Robot wanted to play in the rain, so he went to ask his mom.
Robot’s mom said okay, and Robot was extremely happy, but it suddenly stopped raining.
Robot’s friends came to his house and they went out to eat at Robot’s favorite restaurant.
His favorite restaurant was The Oil Shop and he loved motor oil baked casserole.
Robot ordered his meal happily and for dessert he had a battery cake with chocolate oil.
Robot’s friends gave Robot an oil gift and they went to the park.
Robot and Robot’s friends played on the swings all day.
Robot had a fantastic and wonderful birthday!
The End

Here’s what the kids said:

“Can we play it again?”

“That was awesome!”

“Duh! Robots love oil!”

Cassie sends along these comments, too:

“Another one of my 4th grade teachers wants me to teach her how to play HBR, so she can run it. It’s going to be all the rage at Derrick Thomas Academy!”

Great news all around. 😀

[Do] “Spun of Crystal and Gold”

by Sophie Lagacé

This is a letter for use in playing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

Benevolent Guardians of Celestial Harmony,

I reluctantly put pen to paper to beseech you for assistance in saving my grandfather’s lifework – perhaps even his life – from those who would use his precious automatons for evil ends.

My grandfather – Lord Graymist – is a renowned and gifted creator of clockworks. Since my parents died when I was a child, he has taken me into his house and, discovering that I inherited a small fraction of his genius, taught me some of his art and science. But he has recently become very ill, and I fear my cruel uncle, Sir Victor, will finally succeed in gaining control over Grandfather’s creations.

My uncle is a forceful and vindictive man; he has been here several times, once managing to bully his way to Grandfather’s bedside and the adjoining study where the most precious of the automatons are kept. The servants helped me convince him to leave, but he has threatened to obtain legal control over the estate. He does not believe me when I assure him that Grandfather sometimes wakes enough to speak, and is able to understand me.

At first when Grandfather took sick, I sent for reputed doctors, but I now fear my uncle has bribed them to keep Grandfather incapacitated. At the very least, Grandfather seemed to become more ill rather than better under their ministrations. Now I let no one tend to him without my supervision.

I suspect that Sir Victor cares little for his own father, and much for the secrets of the precious automatons. No one has ever been able to duplicate the complexity and refinement of my grandfather’s work. I know it is widely rumoured that they are… dangerous. You must understand, Grandfather was – is – a good man; but nevertheless he has sometimes undertaken work of a delicate nature for the sake of the kingdom. Although I would not have thought it possible a few weeks ago, I discovered that some of them do in fact exhibit features that suggest sophisticated weaponry.

Alas, a decade as his assistant was not enough for me to pierce my grandfather’s secrets. He wastes away, and his automatons remain silent except for the occasional twitch which my probing may provoke.

Any day now, my uncle may succeed in having Grandfather declared incompetent, and walk in with the legal means of becoming the trustee of my grandfather’s fate – and mine. He will take the automatons and wrest their secret, or at least cause great damage trying to do so. I fear he may even try to take further advantage of my grandfather’s illness to try to force him to reveal his secrets. As for my own fate, I have no doubt it will be bleak once I am in Sir Victor’s power.

I beg of you, good monks, please help me. If you cannot help my grandfather to return to health, then please take the automatons away to the Temple in the Centre of the Sky, the only place I know where they would be safe from men like my uncle, who would use my grandfather’s genius for evil ends.

Respectfully yours and awaiting your kind assistance,
Amber Carnelian

Goal Word
“Amber Carnelian”
“Amber Carnelian”
“Amber Carnelian”
“Grandfather Graymist”
“Grandfather Graymist”
“Grandfather Graymist”
“Uncle Victor”
“Uncle Victor”
“Uncle Victor”
“Secret Weapon”
“Secret Weapon”
“Graymist Estate”

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

» Buy the Game at Evil Hat
» Buy the PDF at Evil Hat | RPGNow
» Photo Gallery
» Character Sheet PDF
» Quick Start and Reference PDF (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a slapstick fantasy storytelling game about helping people and getting into trouble.

You tell the story of young travelers who mean well, but spend most of their time getting into trouble. You use your creativity and strategy to create a humorous coming of age story. It’s like a comedic crossover between Avatar: the Last Airbender, the Little Prince and Kino’s Journey.

There’s a great development team behind Do, including editors Ryan Macklin and Lillian Cohen-Moore; artists Liz Radtke, Kristin Rakochy, Dale Horstman, Jake Richmond; and Evil Hat Productions, publishers of Spirit of the Century and the Dresden Files Role-Playing Game. The game also includes adventure seeds by Jared Sorensen, John Wick, Sophie Lagacé, and many more!

“5/5 Stars. A beautifully illustrated, amazingly structured and wonderfully imaginative universe.” — Ben Gerber

“5/5 Stars. One of the highest quality products I’ve seen in a long time.” — Erathoniel Woodenbow

“This sort of collaborative story-telling game is great to get kids using and stretching their imaginations. And it’s a great way for families to spend some fun game time together!” — Game Knight Reviews

About the Universe
In Do, your stories are set in a universe of open, endless skies. Many tiny worlds orbit around the Flying Temple in the center of the universe. When a worldly person has a problem, they write a letter to the temple asking for help.

About the Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
The temple elders send young monks-in-training on a Pilgrimage, a stack of letters in-hand. The pilgrims are given a simple mission: “Leave this world with fewer problems than you found.” Your stories are about the pilgrims helping people, but causing new troubles in the process.

Stuff You Need to Play
3-5 Players
1-2 Hours
Pencils and a Journal
A set of Trouble Tokens available, one for each player.
A bag containing black and white stones

  • For 3 Players: 15 black, 15 white
  • For 4 Players: 17 black, 17 white
  • For 5 Players: 19 black, 19 white

A Letter for the Pilgrims to answer, such as:

  • “Swallowed Whole” by Ben Lehman
    [ Flag | Tree ]
  • “Excessive Elves” by Peter Aronson
    [ Book | Tree | Lotus ]
  • “Worlds Collide” by Colin Fredericks
    [ Flag | Tree ]
  • “Is it Safe to Allow Cabbages on Roller Coasters?” by Peter Aronson
    [ Sword | Pen | Flag ]
  • “Once Upon a Time” by Peter Aronson
    [ Knot | Pen | Flag ]
  • “Spun of Crystal and Gold” by Sophie Lagacé
    [ Knot | Sword | Pen ]

A list of Goal Words from the letter
One pilgrim character for each player, whose name is on a sheet of paper called a Passport.

Creating a Pilgrim
Step 1: Choose your pilgrim’s Avatar.
Pick an object or thing. For example, “tree,” “cat,” or “window.”

Step 2: Choose your pilgrim’s Banner.
Describe that thing in one word. For example, “green,” “sleeping,” or “cloudy.”

Step 3: Describe how your pilgrim gets in trouble and how she helps people.
Your pilgrim’s Banner is a metaphor for how she gets in trouble. Your pilgrim’s Avatar is a metaphor for how she helps people. With that in mind, fill in the blanks in this sentence: “Pilgrim (Banner) (Avatar) gets in trouble by _____ and helps people by _____.”

For example:

Pilgrim Green Tree gets in trouble by being naive about worldly affairs and helps people by nurturing their talents.

Pilgrim Sleeping Cat gets in trouble by taking naps at inappropriate times and helps people by suddenly freaking out without warning.

Pilgrim Cloudy Window gets in trouble by having his intentions misunderstood and helps people by opening opportunities.

Turn Order
The oldest player takes the first turn. Players continue clockwise around the table. Once everyone has a turn, that completes a round. A new round begins with the player who went second in the prior round, so the player who went first now goes last.

Storyteller and Troublemakers
On your turn, you are called the Storyteller. All the other players are called Troublemakers.

On Your Turn…
Step 1: Draw three stones out of the bag.
You will draw either WWW, WWB, WBB, or BBB.

Step 2: Keep either the larger or smaller set.

For example, if you drew WBB, you would keep either the larger set (BB) or smaller set (W). If you drew WWW, you would either keep larger set (WWW) or the smaller set (which would be zero stones).

Step 3: Put the unwanted stones back in the bag.
Your choice changes the odds for every other player. For example, if you drew WWB and kept the larger set, that means there are two fewer white stones in the bag left to draw.

Step 4: Write what happens next.

If your pilgrim is out of trouble
…and you keep 0 stones:

  • Your pilgrim gets in trouble.
    • The Troublemakers write a sentence about your pilgrim getting in trouble. Troublemakers may use a Goal Word. If they do so, cross it off the list. As long as you are in trouble, keep a trouble token in front of you.

white stone
black stone

…and you keep 1 stone:

  • Your pilgrim gets in trouble, but quickly gets herself out of trouble.
    • First, the Troublemakers write a sentence about your pilgrim getting in trouble. Troublemakers may use a Goal Word. If they do so, cross it off the list. As long as you are in trouble, keep a trouble token in front of you.
    • Then, you write a sentence about your pilgrim getting herself out of trouble. You may not use a Goal Word. (Or, if you do, just don’t cross it off the list.)

white stonewhite stone
black stoneblack stone

…and you keep 2 stones, you have two options:

  • Your pilgrim helps a worldly person, then gets in trouble.
    • First, write a sentence about your pilgrim helping a worldly person. You may use a Goal Word. When you do so, cross it off the list.
    • Then, the Troublemakers write a sentence about your pilgrim getting in trouble. Troublemakers may use a Goal Word. If they do so, cross it off the list. As long as you are in trouble, keep a trouble token in front of you.
  • Your pilgrim helps another pilgrim, then gets in trouble.
    • First, write a sentence about your pilgrim getting another pilgrim get out of trouble. You may use a Goal Word. When you do so, cross it off the list. The rescued Pilgrim is now out of trouble.
    • Then, the Troublemakers write a sentence about your pilgrim getting in trouble. Troublemakers may use a Goal Word. If they do so, cross it off the list. As long as you are in trouble, keep a trouble token in front of you.

white stonewhite stonewhite stone
black stoneblack stoneblack stone

…and you keep 3 stones, you have two options:

  • Your pilgrim helps a worldly person.
    • Write a sentence about your pilgrim helping a worldly person. You may use a Goal Word. When you do so, cross it off the list.
  • Your pilgrim helps another pilgrim.
    • Write a sentence about your pilgrim getting another pilgrim get out of trouble. You may use a Goal Word. When you do so, cross it off the list. The rescued Pilgrim is now out of trouble.

If your pilgrim is in trouble
…and you keep 0 stones, the Troublemakers have two options:

  • The trouble changes.
    • The Troublemakers write a sentence about your pilgrim’s trouble getting worse or changing in some way. Troublemakers may use a Goal Word. If they do so, cross it off the list.
  • The trouble continues.
    • The Troublemakers do not write a new sentence, instead choosing to pass this turn.

white stone
black stone

…and you keep 1 stone:

  • Your pilgrim gets herself out of trouble.
    • Write a sentence about your pilgrim getting herself out of trouble. You may not use a Goal Word. (Or, if you do, just don’t cross it off the list.)

white stonewhite stone
black stoneblack stone

…and you keep 2 stones, you have two options:

  • Your pilgrim gets herself out of trouble, but then gets in trouble again.
    • Write a sentence about your pilgrim getting herself out of trouble. You may not use a Goal Word. (Or, if you do, just don’t cross it off the list.)
    • The Troublemakers write a sentence about your pilgrim getting into a different trouble. Troublemakers may use a Goal Word. If they do so, cross it off the list. As long as you are in trouble, keep a trouble token in front of you.
  • The trouble continues.
    • You do not write a new sentence, instead choosing to pass this turn.

white stonewhite stonewhite stone
black stoneblack stoneblack stone

…and you keep 3 stones:

  • Your pilgrim gets herself out of trouble.
    • Write a sentence about your pilgrim getting herself out of trouble. You may not use a Goal Word. (Or, if you do, just don’t cross it off the list.)

Step 5: Pass the bag to the player on your left.
The player on your left becomes the next Storyteller and starts her turn from Step 1.

How the Story Ends
If a player has 8 stones or all the Goal Words are used at the end of a round, that is the last round of normal play. Continue to the Epilogue.

Step 1: Each player writes one last sentence in which her pilgrim gets Parades or Pitchforks.

  • If all the Goal Words are crossed out, you get the Parades ending. Your sentence will be about how your pilgrim is given a hero’s sendoff. You may also describe how the world and any worldly characters changed because of your pilgrim.
  • If all the Goal Words are not crossed out, you get the Pitchforks ending. Your sentence will be about how your pilgrim is chased away by an angry mob. You may also describe how the world and any worldly characters changed because of your pilgrim.

Step 2: Each player changes her pilgrim’s name.
If this is the end of the Pilgrimage, you can skip this step. Otherwise, proceed.

  • If you kept more black stones, change your pilgrim’s Banner. The events on this world changed how she gets into trouble. Write a new sentence describing your character.

    For example: “Pilgrim Tattered Card gets into trouble by looking like someone unsavory and helps people by taking chances.” becomes…

    “Pilgrim Friendly Card gets into trouble by talking to people he shouldn’t and helps people by taking chances.”

  • If you kept more white stones, change your pilgrim’s Avatar. The events on this world changed how she solves problems. Write a new sentence describing your character.

    For example: “Pilgrim Fancy Tablet gets in trouble by being too elaborate and helps people by making them feel better.” becomes…

    “Pilgrim Fancy Voice gets in trouble by being too elaborate and helps people by engaging in diplomacy.”

  • If your stones tie, pick which word to change and write your

Step 3: Record how many black and white stones you have at the end of the game.

  • For each black stone, add one World Destiny point to your passport.
  • For each white stone, add one Temple Destiny point to your passport.

If you plan to play with these pilgrims again, keep your passport and start a story with the group at a later time. Otherwise, this is the last leg of the pilgrimage.

Step 4: If this is the end of the Pilgrimage, write a sentence about your pilgrim’s destiny.

  • If you have more World Destiny Points, write a sentence about what your pilgrim does after she loses the title of “Pilgrim” and takes on a worldly life.
  • If you have more Temple Destiny Points, write a sentence about what your pilgrim does after she becomes a monk and leaves behind worldly concerns.
  • If you tie, your destiny is in your hands. Write a sentence about what your pilgrim does with the rest of her life. She is free to choose a life in the temple or out in the worlds, not tied exclusively to one or the other. Indeed, she might have a grand cosmic destiny in store…

Designed by Daniel Solis

Edited by Ryan Macklin, Lillian Cohen-Moore

Art by Liz Radtke, Kristin Rakochy, Josh Roby, Dale Horstman

Playtesting by Ralf Achenbach, Jen Armstrong, Lenny Balsera, Chris Box, Jeffrey Collyer, Myles Corcoran, John Cottongim, DeWitt Davis, Jonathan Davis, Rob Donoghue, Adam Dray, Haggai Elkayam, Alex Ferguson, Matt Gandy, Kaylee Goyer, Brett Grimes, Rory Grimes, Shannon Haggard, Jesse Harlin, Fred Hicks, Liz Hooper, Shane Jackson, Marie Lane, Peter MacHale, Ryan Macklin, Samantha Mullaney, Megan Raley, Shreyas Sampat, Kate Sheehy, Greg Stolze, Remi Treuer

Thanks to Jonathan Walton, Kynn Bartlett, Doug Pirko, Peter Aronson, Jen Armstrong, Ben Woerner, Patrick Shulz

Kickstarter Backers
The Reverent Keeper of the Exalted Tome: John Hopper

The Four Giant Flying Turtles of the Universe: Matthew Bishop, Russell Hoyle, Rick Neal, Anders Smith

Twin Dragons of the Cosmos: Scott Acker, Nick Bate

Venerable and Wise Transcendent Masters: frosty, bbmeltdown, nathan, 2percentright, Joe Beason, Shaun Bruner, devi brunsch, nelson cambata, Grant Chen, Robert Cooper, Don Corcoran, Raven Daegmorgan, Steve Dempsey, David Elliott, Chris Gunning, Eric Johnson, Jason Johnston, Garrett Jones, Aaron Leeder, Flavio Mortarino, DivNull Productions, Josh Rensch, Sean Riedinger, Tim Rodriguez, John Rogers, Eric Smailys, Paul Tevis, Edwyn Tiong Yung Ron, Bruce Turner, David Tyler Hunt, Aaron W, Tim White, Jennifer Wong

Pilgrims of the Flying Temple: maelic001, Chris, Cgeist7, Saladdin, ronbunxious, FelTK, Rocha, Lucias, Catherine, ShamZam, Kevin, Kobal, Buddah, Loretta, greatkithain, Marcelo, Colin, Mendel, Reed, deadlytoque, Michael, darkliquid, Morgan, melibabe, divaD27182, ringmaster, Emelyn, eggdropsoap, craigp, Dominique, Matt, Heuhh, Sebastian, Tucker, AmyMGarcia, anderland, Jonathan, arajski, Aaron, Amaquieria, Albert, Yragael, Zack, Jimhug, Windmilling, john, John, Temoore, Jordan, junloud, ayvalentine, JackFractal, Ishmael, HiddenJester, HPLustcraft, aufrank, James, Arvor, David A Hill Jr, David A Wendt, Vasco A. Brown, Angus Abranson, Scott Adams, Brendan Adkins, Ariele Agostini, Joe Aguayo, Clint and Cassie Krause, Sandy Antunes, Peter Aronson, Ken Arthur, Scott Askew, George Austin, Jared Axelrod, David B, Candice Bailey, Giulia Barbano, Harrison Barber, Dana Bayer, Brian Bergdall, Karsten Blechpirat, Antoine Boegli, Scott Boehmer, Adam Boisvert, Julia Bond Ellingboe, Logan Bonner, Travis Bryant, Laura Burns, Tom C, Geoff Carr, Susie Carter, Robert Cawley, Daniel Cetorelli, Dave Chalker, Edwin Chan, Bay Chang, Stuart Chaplin, Joanna Charambura, John Chatham, Donnie Clark, Wayne Coburn, Patrick Coleman, Stephen Cooke, Brian Cooksey, Chris Costello, Colin Creitz, Josh Crowe, Mike Curry, Matt Cushman, Matthew D. Gandy, Justin D. Jacobson, Mikael Dahl, Neal Dalton, Guillaume Daudin, Jesse David Wan, Adam David Pinilla, Tracy Davis Hurley, Jonathan Davis, Mark Daymude, Jim DelRosso, Mark Delsing, Scott Dierks, Jonathan Dietrich, James Dillane, Richard DiTullio, Mario Dongu, Rob Donoghue, Cédric Jeanneret, Josh Drobina, Rasmus Durban Jahr, Richard Durham, Herman Duyker, Jeff Eaton, Corvus Elrod, Jack Everitt, Keith Fannin, Metal Fatigue, Scott Favre, John Fiala, Kristin Firth, Wilhelm Fitzpatrick, Daniel Forinton, Evan Franke, Eric Franklin, Jeremy Friesen, Iacopo Frigerio, Leslie Furlong, Brendan G Conway, Marcella Ganow, Bryan Gerding, Brandon Gollihue, Marcello Gorla, Grégory Bernal, Stephen Granade, Jonathan Grimm, Jacqueline Gross, Jack Gulick, Michael Harnish, John Harper, Michael Harrison, Seth Hartley, Ed Healy, S Hefley, Chris Heinzmann, Jim Henley, Darren Hennessey, Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions, kitt hodsden, Jonathan Holmberg, Quentin Hudspeth, Dan Hust, James Husum, David Inacio, Jonathan Ingsley, Brian Isikoff, Tim Jensen, René John Kerkdyk, Seth Johnson, Aaron Jones, Jonathan Jordan, Cecil Juan Robinson II, Clay Karwan, Jeremy Keller, Sean Kelly, patty kirsch, Andy Kitkowski, Adrian Klein, Matthew Klein, Jody Kline, James Knevitt, Jon Knight, Shane Knysh, Jeremy Kostiew, Mischa Krilov, T. Kurt Bond, Annie Kwan, Jason L Blair, Mur Lafferty, Wade Lahoda, Leo Lalande, Justin Lance, Rusty Larner, Nora Last, Sage LaTorra, Matt Logan, Davide Losito, Rob Lowry, Kurt Loy, Connie M. Allison, Steve M., Daniel M. Perez, Matt Machell, Marc Majcher, Griff Maloney, Josh Mannon, Amichai Margolis, Tiago Marinho, Mr. Mario, Manu Marron, George Martinez, Rick Mason, Gregory Matyola, Jonathan McAnulty, Luke McCampbell, Kyle McCowin, Michael McDowell, Shane Mclean, John Mehrholz, Ezio Melega, David Miessler-Kubanek, Diego Minuti, Nicky Moore, John Morrow, Julian Murdoch, Skeeter Murphy, CE Murphy, Liam Murray, Ilan Muskat, Lukas Myhan, Mary Neff, Piers Newman, Maxim Nikolaev, Christian Nord, Herb Nowell, João Mariano, olven_oil, Ryan Olson, James Orr, Michael Ostrokol, Jim Pacek, Stephanie Pakrul, JF Paradis, Simon Parker, Brian Paul, Michael Phillips, Brian Pilnick, Jason Pitre, Yan Prado, Geoff Puckett, Jesse Pudewell, Dev Purkayastha, Tim Quinn, Clinton R. Nixon, Renato Ramonda, Erin Ramos, Ross Ramsay, Nick Reed, Luca Ricci, Carl Rigney, Jorge Rodríguez Araya, Fraser Ronald, Kristine Roper, Sean Rose, Aaron Roudabush, Keith Rowe, Nathan Russell, Tim Ryan, Pj Saad, Robin Sanford, Arthur Santos, Anne Sarver, Rennie Saunders, Ernie Sawyer, Crystal Scott, Greg Sewell, Mark Sherry, Mark Shocklee, Simon Silva Jr, Robert Slaughter, Scott Slomiany, Justin Smith, Bob Smith, Monica Speca, Popov Square, Charles Starrett, David Steiger, Mike Stevens, Irene Strauss, Cameron Suey, Matthew Sullivan-Barrett, John Swann, Jim Sweeney, Seth T. Blevins, Tara Teich, Gail Terman, Doyce Testerman, Jesse Thacker, James Thatcher, Owen Thompson, Ken Tidwell, M.Tip Phaovibul, Brian Todoroff, P Tracy, Chris Tulach, Alan Twigg, Julian Tysoe, Scott Underwood, Tyson Vanover, Alan Venable, Jonathan Venezian, David Walker, Euan Walker, Amy Waller, Steven Watkins, Craig Wayling, Greg Webster, Paul Weimer, Greg Weir, Wayne West, Daniel Westheide, Donald Wheeler, Heath White, Chris Wiegand, Harry William Bullen IV, Brian Williams, Victor Wyatt, Joshua Yearsley, Roy Zemlicka, Daniel Zenon Klein, Reed Zesiger

Suspicious-Looking Troublemakers: mitchw, Jeanne, Madu, Motipha, Scott, Omer Ahmed, Jens Alfke, Daniel Bayn, Eric Behrens, Sam Brown, Jonathan Campbell, Doug Daulton, Jason Dettman, Ben Durie, Steve Ellis, Michael Hill, Amy Houser, Justin Koopmans, John Loughlin, Duncan Merkert, Guy Shalev, Michal Smaga, Alden Strock, Robert W. Calfee, Michael W. Mattei, Nick Wedig, Paul Worthen

Learned Scholars of Worldly Fauna: Tronk, Michael, Xavid, MtFierce, Zencore, Ralf Achenbach, Vincent Arebalo, Maggie Arroyo, Renee Aubuchon, Luke Bailey, Russell Bailey, David Bednar, Nathan Black, Noah Bogart, Ian Borchardt, Nick Brooke, Samuel Carter, Francisco Castillo, Ross Cowman, Alan De Smet, Nick Desimone, Mark DiPasquale, C. Edwards, Sven Folkesson, Daryl Gubler, Derek Guder, Rick H, Gilbert Isla, Eric J. Boyd, Ignatius Jopy, Josh Jordan, Max Kaehn, Stephen Klein, Bess L. Walker, Kit La Touche, Eloy Lasanta, Daniel Levine, Erich McNaughton, Scott Messer, Marshall Miller, Mike Olson, Maurizio Paoluzi, Wes Price, Denis Ryan, Mike Sands, Andrew Smith, Alfredo Tarancón, Derrick Vidal, Christopher Weeks, Brad Wilke, Alexander Williams, Kam Wyler, Derek Yap, James Yasha Cunningham, Mike Zwick

Groundling with a Heart of Gold: Aaron Poeze

The Teeming Masses: lovekickstarting, Harold Taylor, James Scriven, Jhenne Tyler Beauford, Jim Ryan, Kathleen Donahue, Overflow Cafe, Patrick Gingrich, Rainy Day Games, Roland Bahr, Stephen Parkin, ThatGuy

Video Credits
Music: Matt S. Wilson

Voices: Fred Hicks, Mur Lafferty, Megan Raley, Anders Smith, Jenn Wong

Handwriting:, Ralf Achenbach, Rin Aiello, Tresi Arvizo, Matt Bishop, Alden Bradford, Ezra Bradford, Lola Bradford, Joanna Charambura, Donnie Clark, John Cocking, Jen Dixon, Rob Donoghue, Matt Gandy, Clay Gardner, Brett Gilbert, Michael Harrison, Amy Houser, Quentin Hudspeth, Justin Jacobson, Chris Kirkman, Jonathan Korman, Chris Leader, Marc Majcher, Chiara Marchesi, Flavio Mortarino, Lyndsay Peters, Renato Ramonda, Corey Reid, Josh Roby, Tim Rodriguez, Anders Smith, Greg Stolze, Craig Wayling, Matt Widmann

[Do] Sunday Night Group – Episode 1

Actual Play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
This is a story created by playing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

The Pilgrims

Pilgrim Green Goggles gets into trouble by being inexperienced and helps people by seeing things clearly. (Written by Anders)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 0

Pilgrim Rolling Glass gets into trouble by being clumsy and helps people by being honest. (Written by David)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 0

Pilgrim Yellow Balloon gets into trouble by being afraid and helps people by celebrating. (Written by Jamie)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 0

The Letter

“Swallowed Whole” by Ben Lehman

The Story

As they travel toward Melanie and the whale, Pilgrim Green Goggles notices how few moons there are for whales to eat.

But while looking around at the sky, he flies straight down the gullet of the whale!

Pilgrim Rolling Glass asks the whale to open his mouth, and the whale says, “OOOOKAAAAYYYYY!” just long enough for Green Goggles to fly out.

As Green Goggles flies out, Yellow Balloon flies in – and he lifts Melanie’s spirits by giving her a balloon and dancing with her.

Once he’s clear of the whale’s mouth, Green Goggles points out a bunch of tasty moons, so he won’t have to eat Melanie’s planet again.

The inhabitants of the moons hear what Green Goggles has said about them and come out of their houses, enraged, and say, “No! Don’t eat us.”

Rolling Glass attempts to explain the situation to the moons’ inhabitants, but his analogy comparing the moons to cookies only makes them madder.

Pilgrim Yellow Balloon throws a party on the whale, inviting all the inhabitants of the moons to come, and they have such a good time they forget their anger with Pilgrim Rolling Glass.

During the party, Green Goggles sees his chance and sneaks away.

Pilgrim Rolling Glass once again asks the whale to open his mouth and let Melanie and her cat out, so the whale replies with a gigantinormous yawn.

Melanie and the cat fly out and are safe, but Melanie is upset that Pilgrim Rolling Glass didn’t save her precious trees.

Pilgrim Yellow Balloon makes Melanie happy by giving her another balloon.


With all the moons’ inhabitants living on the back of the whale now, the whale has plenty of food for years to come.

Melanie learns to forgive Rolling Glass, and eventually becomes his good friend.

After all, they are now Flying Temple Pilgrims together.

New Names

Pilgrim Hesitant Goggles gets into trouble by having a hard time deciding what to do and helps people by seeing things clearly. (Anders)
World Destiny: 4
Temple Destiny: 3

Pilgrim Rolling Star gets into trouble by being clumsy and helps people by guiding them to new ideas. (David)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 5

Pilgrim Yellow Moon gets in trouble by being afraid and helps people by shining light on their problems. (Jamie)
World Destiny: 3
Temple Destiny: 6


Jamie was really aggressive about keeping all those stones! Fortunately, the group managed to use all the goal words before that point. This was Anders regularly scheduled game, but because he also sat in on the afternoon group, he already had a sense of how the game plays out. David actually Skyped in all the way from China!

Interview on the Walking Eye [Video]

Interviews with Daniel Solis
Jen Dixon of the Walking Eye podcast interviewed me in a meeting room of the Embassy Suites at GenCon 2010. This interview was held on the much-fabled Sunday Night SageFight, as you can tell from how much I’m talking with my hands.

We just topped off four straight days of gaming, carousing, merrymaking with many hours of synchronized martial arts poses. (Sorry if I seem a little tired. 😛 )

Thanks for letting me gab, Jen!

How much for Robot Dice?

Ordered more blank dice and printed up more stickers to make these customized dice for Happy Birthday, Robot! These are well-made plastic dice from Koplow Games with weather-proof vinyl stickers.

I’d like to sell these at GenCon, but I don’t know how much I ought to charge. When you factor in the cost of materials per die, it comes out to about a dollar and some change. (Kinda scary, now that I do the math.) I’d like to sell these as sets of three, but I doubt even hardcore GenCon buyers would pay $4 or $5 for three hand-made dice.

After some discussion, looks like I’ll first be offering the dice for about $4 for a set of 3, with the purchase of the book being even $30. If no one bites, I’ll lower the price, possibly down to free as a promotional item. I’ll also be bringing sheets of stickers for $1 for the DIY crowd.

Now for sale!

Happy Birthday, Robot! is now available for sale at Evil Hat, Drive-Thru RPG, and RPGNow. Feel free to share those links with your friends and colleagues who’ve expressed interest in the game.

If you’ve played the game already, share your thoughts and experiences! Post your stories on a blog, forum post or status update. (And ping me, too, I love to see what people end up creating!)

[Do] Saturday Night Group – Episode 2

Actual Play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
This is a story created by playing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

» Previously, Episode 2

The Pilgrims

Pilgrim Delicious Shirt gets in trouble because he looks like food and helps people by drawing away danger. (Daniel)
World Destiny: 2
Temple Destiny: 2

Pilgrim Marvelous Candy gets in trouble by overdoing things and helps people by baking treats. (Raven)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 2

Pilgrim Reckless Brick gets into trouble because he can’t control where he’s going and helps people by building stronger relationships. (Matt)
World Destiny: 2
Temple Destiny: 1

The Letter

“Is It Safe To Allow Cabbages On Roller Coasters?” by Peter Aronson

The Story

Pilgrim Marvelous Candy flies down after Reckless Brick and throws him to safety, revealing a casserole he has just baked as a peace offering to the Coleslaw Front.

Unfortunately, the talking Sky Cabbages are outraged at Pilgrim Marvelous Candy and his casserole! “Why, there might be relatives of ours in that casserole!” they shout, as they gather menacingly around Pilgrim Marvelous Candy.

Pilgrim Delicious Shirt lures George out of the executive bathroom with promises of tonic to go with his gin.

The very, very drunk George sees pilgrim Delicious Shirt as a giant, talking, snack item who has escaped from one of the vending booths (why not? He’s already dealing with giant, talking cabbages!) and begins chasing him angrily!

Landing inside the park, Pilgrim Reckless Brick encounters HAZEL HARRINGTON and decides to answer both of her questions at once. Should she open the park? Is it safe to put a giant cabbage on a roller coaster? Summoning his wisest sage voice, he says, “There is only one way to find out!”

Pilgrim Marvelous Candy calms the leafy fury of the mighty cabbages by showing them that the casserole is a delicious ALL MEAT casserole, and does not contain any cabbage by-products…or family members!

The talking Sky Cabbages remain skeptical of Pilgrim Marvelous Candy’s casserole claims, but are willing to forego any future litigation on the condition that Marvelous Candy insures the safety of the Cabbage-modified RIDEs…by going first.

When Hazel Harrington tries to intervene between George and pilgrim Delicious Shirt, to explain he’s a temple pilgrim here to solve the problem, he becomes furious with her for bringing outside food and drink into the park!

Intercepting Pilgrim Marvelous Candy and the talking Sky Cabbages, Pilgrim Reckless Brick truthfully points out that Marvelous Candy isn’t tall enough to ride the rides – he isn’t SIX-FOOT TALL!

The sky cabbages then notice that Reckless Brick is tall enough for the ride, and continue marching him off instead.

Pilgrim Marvelous Candy argues with the cabbages that pilgrim Reckless Brick is, in fact, not six-feet wide as would be required for him to ride in the carts.

This proves small obstacle to the talking Sky Cabbages, who are as ingenious as they are litigious. After a few raising the bottom of the ride, they force Pilgrim Marvelous Candy into a MODIFIED CART that’s perfect for his height and width.

Pilgrim Delicious Shirt informs George that the Coleslaw Front is eating all the casserole, to which he responds “You’re right, snack item! I must stop this consumption of outside food and drink on park grounds!”

Pilgrim Reckless Brick points out to George that the drunken park manager might not want to argue about rules regarding illegal foods stuffs with THE COLESLAW FRONT – they’re crazies with machetes!

Pilgrim Reckless Brick is saying all this while barreling into the Coleslaw Front, bringing him within slashing range of their machetes.

Unbeknownst to Pilgrim Marvelous Candy or the talking Sky Cabbages, part of the track ahead of them is closed for MAINTENANCE!

Pilgrim Delicious Shirt sits on the Popsicore Park sign reminding Reckless Brick that he can fly, which he does, keeping him an inch too far for their blades.

GEORGE notices the giant food item (pilgrim Delicious Shirt) on top of the park sign, realizes that isn’t supposed to be there, grabs a crossbow from one of the park’s skill games, and takes aim…

Pilgrim Reckless Brick points out to George that although HAZEL HARRINGTON asked the pilgrims (some of whom may or may not be food) to come to the park, George himself signed a contract allowing a bunch of food items into the part – namely, the talking Sky Cabbages.

Pilgrim Reckless Brick, because he can’t talk about something without flying into it, barrels into a group of talking sky cabbages at the turkey leg stand, causing a great hot flurry of turkey grease.

When the RIDE hits the maintenance section, it goes flying off the track, leaving Pilgrim Marvelous Candy to somehow “fly” the ride to safety.

Pilgrim Delicious Shirt, in a fit of cowardice, flies away from the park thus escaping George’s crossbow-powered fury.

However, the sign was recently painted (green) and the color has come off all over Delicious Shirt, so when sets down in the middle of the thousand thugs of the Coleslaw front, they immediately believe he is one of the talking sky cabbages and turn on him.


Drenched in turkey grease, Pilgrim Reckless Brick accepts the thanks of George and Hazel…and the bill for damages from the talking Sky Cabbages.

Marvelous Candy’s impressive flying of the modified cart to a safe landing creates a new ride for the park that the sky cabbages adore, and reveals the cabbages can fly — they are talking SKY cabbages, after all.

Pilgrim Delicious Shirt lures the Coleslaw Front around the world over and over again, until they collapse from the cramps caused by the lack of vegetables in their diet.

New Names

Pilgrim Reckless Syllogism gets into trouble because he can’t control where he’s going and helps people by pointing out logical flaws.
World Destiny: 4
Temple Destiny: 8

Pilgrim Marvelous Cat gets into trouble by overdoing things and helps people by sneaking around.
World Destiny: 2
Temple Destiny: 6

Pilgrim Favorite Shirt gets in trouble by being soooo familiar and helps people by drawing away danger.
World Destiny: 6
Temple Destiny: 5

[Do] Monday Night Group – Episode 1

Actual Play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
This is a story created by playing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

The Pilgrims

Pilgrim Elegant Glass gets in trouble by dancing around and knocking things down and helps people by her clear thinking. (Written by Jenn)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 0

Pilgrim Loquacious Candy gets in trouble by talking too much, and helps people by giving them candies to make them feel better. (Written by Mark)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 0

Pilgrim Heavy Boot gets in trouble by being quite large and helps people with his indestructible boots. (Written by Daniel)
World Destiny: 0
Temple Destiny: 0

The Letter

“Swallowed Whole” by Ben Lehman

The Story

Pilgrim Loquacious Candy talked and talked and missed the whale coming at him and EATING ALL OF US

The Pilgrims end up in the stomach, where Pilgrim Loquacious Candy lands in a pool of digestive juices. They eat a hole in one of his pockets, but the pocket contained tasty antacids, which neutralized the pool.

Pilgrim Heavy Boot shoves his left boot into the whale’s blow hole, forcing him to breathe through his mouth.

The pilgrims get sucked by the breath toward a house, which Pilgrim Heavy Boot crashes into, leaving a big hole.

Pilgrim Elegant Glass screams out to Pilgrim Heavy Boots “Grab my hand when you come out the other side so I can save you by grabbing this tree!”

Pilgrim Elegant Glass moves around so much that she rescues Pilgrim Heavy Boot but knocks herself deeper into the whale’s gullet.

Pilgrim Loquacious Candy tosses a length of string candy toward Pilgrim Elegant Glass, and used it to tow her in with Melanie’s help.

Pilgrim Heavy Boot puts Melanie in his right boot, swings her around by the laces and tosses her out as the whale opens its mouth.

Melanie’s cat wants to go with her master and jumps really high onto Pilgrim Heavy Boot’s large face, scratching it up.

Pilgrim Elegant Glass quickly grabs some lotus potion and puts it in Pilgrim Heavy Boot’s mouth to help heal the scratches internally.

Pilgrim Elegant Glass quickly grabs some lotus potion and puts it in Pilgrim Heavy’s Boot’s mouth to eat to heal the scratches internally

Pilgrim Elegant Glass accidentally knocks Melanie’s spicy gingersnap cookies into the whale’s stomach, causing it to spew slimy goo all over her while it suffers gastric distress.


Pilgrim Loquacious Candy crumbles some peppery candy by the whale’s nose, making it sneeze out the house and planet.

Pilgrim Heavy Boot removes the left boot from the blow hole and warns the whale not to eat any more inhabited worlds.

Pilgrim Elegant Glass eventually cleans the slimy goo from her clothes and apologizes to Melanie about stomping on her cookies.

New Names

Pilgrim Clumsy Glass gets in trouble by stepping on things and helps people by thinking clearly. (Jenn)
World Destiny: 2
Temple Destiny: 2

Pilgrim Loquacious Cookie gets in trouble by talking too much, and helps people using his wide variety of baked goods.
World Destiny: 1
Temple Destiny: 3

Pilgrim Bouncing Boot gets in trouble by being knocked around a lot and helps people with his indestructible boots.
World Destiny: 2
Temple Destiny: 2

Interview with Adam Dray on Jennisodes

Interviews with Daniel Solis
I met Jenn Wong at Dreamation this year but it seems like we’ve known each other far longer. (Hi, Jenn!) She was in the first public game of Happy Birthday, Robot!, which put HBR down the road to publication a short time later.

I met Adam Dray in the mean streets of the Story-Games forum and discussions of his game Verge. When it came time for HBR to go to publication, I knew I needed a good editor. Adam came highly recommended, so I hit him up. 🙂

You can hear all about these stories on Jennisodes #5: Editors and Layout Guys. Jenn interviewed Adam and I in this odd time right before HBR was published, right before my wife and I got married, right before we moved to a new house. You can hear all those stories in the podcast. Check it out!