The Tower

The Tower is a one-shot tabletop game that is designed with humor as its primary focus. Everything is done “for the lulz” and if you’re not laughing hysterically by the end of the night then you’re playing it wrong! No character is saved from humiliation, so make sure your players aren’t too anal-retentive or they understand that they aren’t supposed to take any part of the game seriously. This game was inspired by a forum-based game that my best friends created called Living Island. For the longest time they’ve been Internet play-by-post role-players, but when I asked them about tabletop gaming, it was something that was a little too daunting to them. It was understandable since I myself couldn’t ever understand half of the percentage factors and mathematical equations in my Dungeons & Dragons character sheets. Now that I’m older I’m able to make more sense of it all, but even so I’ve never played with a DM that utilized all of those elements to the letter. I wanted to get them to try playing a tabletop game, so I went with a concept they were familiar and comfortable with but kept everything super simple so that they could ‘get their feet wet’ with the whole experience of this particular type of role-playing. The first game concept was called Shao-Mecha Soccer (spoofed from the Stephen Chow movie Shaolin Soccer), where their characters were each given a mecha from a different anime series and they had to play a to-scale game of soccer with them. Three years later, I’m now hosting Tower games on request and I keep garnering new players with every session I host!

All of the Tower games are typically different in how they play out, but there are a core set of rules to follow that make it exclusively “Tower-esque” in nature!
Original Characters Need Not Apply: All characters must come from a published book, television series, movie, comic, or video game. This is what gives The Tower its humor factor, otherwise it falls flat when everyone is trying to establish character development in a 4 or 6 hour time span. The exception can be if a game master decides to take the group’s characters from their campaign and put a Tower spin to it, then obviously all the players are familiar with the antics and can garner some humorous scenarios from that as well.

One Shot Objectives: Every Tower game is simple. Pick an objective or game that you would typically play in real life (like Dodge Ball, Soccer, Capture the Flag, etc.) and add a humorous spin to it. All Tower games should only take anywhere between 4 hours and one day to complete from start to finish. As incentives I usually purchase cheap little “prizes” for the person or team that win the game or scored the highest points by the end of the time frame.

Backpacks of Holding: Every character gets a “Bag of Holding” that will typically carry 10 items inside. All of the items are random, they do not come with labels, and every player gets unique stuff from one another. For potions and power-ups I usually just physically describe the item, and they have to just drink / eat it and pray it does something worthwhile. The standard format for these items are usually thus:

  1. Weapon
  2. Healing Potion
  3. Power-Up Item
  4. Useless Item
  5. Cursed Item
  6. An Article of Clothing
  7. Helpful Item
  8. Defense Item
  9. Bag of Beans*
  10. Legendary Item**

* The Bag of Beans is an item that comes from an old 1994 edition of Dungeons & Dragons Encyclopedia Magica volume 1. You can substitute it with something that does random things at the roll of a die if you would like, or something entirely different.
** The Legendary Items are usually transformation trinkets from different Japanese pop culture shows. Things like Sailor Moon‘s transformation brooch, or the Power Ranger‘s wristwatch are typically included. I tend to stick to magical girl transformation items only because they’re hilarious when male characters use them, and it’s great pulling up these transformations on YouTube in order for players to see what their character is doing whilst using them!

¬†Afflictions: They are more optional these days since I’m finding that the objectives alone, along with all the bag items, are more than enough for players to keep tabs on. But typically I will create afflictions that players will randomly draw from a bag and it ends up being a crazy handicap during the course of the game. For example, two afflictions were “fear of flags” and “colorblind”. The game was Capture the Flag, and the flags themselves were triangle-shaped and solid colors with no other designs or markings on them. Essentially I pass out the afflictions before I announce the game just so I can relish in the slew of “I hate you” stares right afterwards.

Shao-Mecha Soccer – (Information coming soon!)
Iron Chef: Spirit Pear Edition – (Information coming soon!)
Capture the Flag – (Information coming soon!)
Battle Royale – (Information coming soon!)
Operation: SANTA – (Information coming soon!)

If you decide to host a Tower game I’d love to be sent pictures and stories of how it went! Contact me with the name, the objective, your character cast (don’t forget to add what book, movie, series they’re from) and tell me about some of your funniest moments! I’ll post it on this page for others to see!

The works and toils of Lauren Sefchik