Or: An Illustrated Primer to the Mushroom-Orcs
"What follows in this volume is one of the few remaining compendiums of knowledge
on the Mushroom-Orcs of its period; the scholarship, while largely being written by
unknown, assorted ne'er-do-wells of little contribution to history, is to the best of our
knowledge sound, robust, and wide-reaching in its scope; one can only guess how such
a strange group of people collaborated on such a document..."
- from the revised introduction of the fifteen edition of The Illustrated Primer to the Mushroom-Orcs
Lexicon is a collaborative world-building game, designed to be played on a wiki, but I'm making a thread here for centralisation purposes. In essence, players each write sections of knowledge on the world they are building. When we begin, we have nothing to build off of other than the initial prompt, as provided in the title; by the end, we are filling in the blanks left by the other "scholars" we are writing with.
My scholars in this endeavour are the crustaceal @Shivahn
, the ascetic @desc
, and the quixotic @weirdspaceships
. As of writing, we are not seeking other scholars; however, commentary and citation in undergraduate research papers is always appreciated.
What follows is the rules of Lexicon, as sourced by tradwiki.foxxtrot.net/
The basic idea is that each player takes on the role of a scholar, from before scholarly pursuits became professionalized (or possibly after they ceased to be). You are cranky, opinionated, prejudiced and eccentric. You are also collaborating with a number of your peers -- the other players -- on the construction of an encyclopedia describing some historical period (possibly of a fantastic world).
The game is played in 26 turns, one for each letter of the alphabet.
1. On the first turn, each player writes an entry for the letter 'A'. You come up with the name of the entry, and you write 100-200 words on the subject. At the end of the article, you sign your name, and make two citations to other entries in the encyclopedia. These citations will be phantoms -- their names exist, but their content will get filled in only on the appropriate turn. No letter can have more entries than the number of players, either, so all citations made on the first turn have to start with non-A letters.
2. On the second and subsequent turns, you continue to write entries for B, C, D and so on. However, you need to make three citations. One must be a reference to an already-written entry, and two must be to unwritten entries. (On the 25th and 26th turns, you only need to cite one and zero phantom entries, respectively, because there won't be enough phantom entries, otherwise.)
It's an academic sin to cite yourself, you can never cite an entry you've written. (This forces the players to intertwingle their entries, so that everybody depends on everyone else's facts.) Incidentally, once you run out of empty slots, obviously you can only cite the phantom slots.
3. Despite the fact that your peers are self-important, narrow-minded dunderheads, they are honest scholars. No matter how strained their interpretations are, their facts are accurate as historical research can make them. So if you cite an entry, you have to treat its factual content as true! (Though you can argue vociferously with the interpretation and introduce new facts that shade the interpretation.)
4. This little game will probably play best on a wiki, and it should take a month or so to play to completion. At the end of it, you'll have a highly-hyperlinked document that details a nice little piece of collaborative world-building.
The inspiration for this particular topic comes from the upcoming role-playing game Fellowship, which I wish
I could link you to, but alas, all knowledge attached to it is within the confines of a kickstarter page, a forbidden citation here in the Journal of Penny Arcade Studies. The long and short of it is that one of the potential options for the "orc" race in the game is, by all accounts, a mushroom-folk, as pictured below:
This led to a discussion between myself and the distinguished @weirdspaceships
as to what this society would look like; how would they interact with other races; what place in the world would these "Muschroom-Orcs" occupy? We later agreed that, rather than simply talk between one another, we would make it a game, and invite our associates to probe these questions with us.
The rest of this opening post will be reserved for a general table of contents to the lexicon, as it is compiled.