Sample game in the/as a manual

Hi all,

I have a rules light freeform system that I want to share with others. It is so small and simple that I’m considering to replace “the manual” by just a “sample game” or, at least, to make the sample game the central element of the manual.

By sample game I mean the transcription of a fictional gaming session, a fake actual play, that could serve to illustrate how the game is played and how to solve the most common issues that may arise while playing it.

Therefore, I’m looking for good examples of sample games in published games as well as for any advice regarding how to design and write these sample games.

Thank you in advance!


I don’t really have an example that you can check out (unless you read Polish), but the first Polish RPG: Oko Yrrhedesa (written by the author of the Witcher books) does something like that.

The original game (later, the first chapter in the printed version) is written all in prose walking players through the whole idea of roleplaying, from how to imagine the world to dice rolls (the text also worked as an intro to RPGs in general).

It starts with players sitting around a table IRL, the narrator says how they are actually in a fantasy tavern - describing the sights, smells and people. Suddenly a sound (I think a car outside) pulls them back IRL and that shows how you use your imagination to play (it works surprisingly well). When we get back to the fantasy world, we follow the characters on a simple quest.

The book works by showing the players “roleplay the right way” throughout the story. So when they are hurt, they say so, and not “I lost 4 HP” and then the narrators says why this is important to stay “inside the narrative.” Honestly I love this approach - it works great in introducing the idea of RPGs and makes the system easy to understand as you see it used in context. I was toying with the idea on making an intro game in this style, but other projects took precedence. So I am really excited for your game, and I am happy to help.

I did a read through and comment on twitter about the game - it doesn’t go too in-depth, but maybe you can find something helpful there. Feel free to ask questions on here if you want to know more about any aspect of the game… and if you can’t find any other examples, I can try doing a quick translation of the chapter (it is around 20 trade-paperback sized pages) so you can see how that flows.

What is your game about?


I’m not sure if this would hold true today (haven’t read Oko in ages), but what I remember helped in selling the mood the Oko Yrrhedesa were all the drawings by Jarosław Musiał. As a teenager I used to dig anything that had evocative art, even if the product itself wasn’t any good. :wink:


@dominik - same. His drawings (combined with some Warhammer RPG artwork) established how I imagine fantasy worlds to this day.

…but I think you bring up something to consider. Of course it all depends on the game and its goals (is it a game that is introducing people to rpg?), but having some artwork illustrating the narrative/AP would go a long way to really help new people get immersed in the game.

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This is exactly the kind of material I’m looking for. I think that this is the best way to introduce someone to the hobby.

That would be awesome, but I can’t ask you so much!

By now I’m more than happy following your pointer to Oko Yrrhedesa and reading your twitter thread.

I’m afraid you will be disappointed… Right now it is just a fuzzy idea around a very simple generic resolution mechanic for improvised games (you can take a look at it here)… That’s why it needs a game example so badly to make the readers understand how it works. :man_shrugging:t4:

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