"On Stage! - Metodo di improvvisazione teatrale nel mondo di William Shakespeare"
Summary courtesy of Andrea Angiolino, used with permission.
On Stage! is a role-playing game based on the comedies and tragedies of William Shakespeare. Every player is one of the characters of the play and gets an archetype usually set on a different Shakespearian character. The mix is changed at every game session, that's complete in itself. At the end of the "play", goals of each specific character are checked and he can be successful or not. But as in every RPG, winning is not the most important thing: the aim of the game is to put together an enjoyable "show" for the virtual public.
But the public is not always virtual. Several rulesets have been developed for "live" games: often with a public, sometime with an active role: "On Stage! schizfrenico", "On Stage! teatro interattivo", "On Stage! Vox Populi". Some f these rules are included in the "Inventare destini" book.
The boxed set contains a 72 pages rulebook. Character sheets. 29 characters' profiles. Game Master control sheet. Cardboard stage. 9 cardboard heros with the main characters of Shakespeare's "Hamlet". 40+ "Idiomatic sentence" card. Simplified rulebooks for beginner players. Characters' names stands.
The On Stage! basic set is centred on Shakespeare's "Hamlet", even if the players don't need to know its real polt to enjoy the game. Every one of them, from 5 to 12 people, chooses one of the main characters of the tragedy. Then he secretly chooses one of the possible profiles: for example, Ophelia can choose to be Ophelia the Naive, Ophelia the Lover, Ophelia the Lustful or Ophelia the Instigator. In the latter case, for example, Ophelia has the character of Lady Macbeth (even if the player can ignore that) and wants to push a man to take the throne and make her queen. Hamlet the Rebel, tailored after Brutus, can be an idealist wanting to bring the republic... to Danemark, of course, instead than to Rome. From the mix of the characters, it comes out an every different "Hamlet".
Every game is divided in acts and scenes: the 5/12 players (7 is the basic number) bid to get the control of every single scene. So they are actually game masters in turn: the winner of the bid decides where the scene is set, who is on stage and can participate to the story in that moment, which characters and Non Player Characters (NPCs) come in and who comes out. The only player with no character, the Director, rules the bidding, checks the secret informations, decides about NPCs and plays them.
The players play their characters as if there was a virtual public looking at them. The characters have three characteristics: Debate, Fight and Luck. When two characters argue or fight, the Director secretly compares the involved characteristic and the character with the higher one, convinces the other or wins the fight, with wounds to the loser depending on the score difference. Each profile has two special abilities that are taken into account by the Director in particular conditions.
Each player gets also three "Idiomatic sentence" cards. They are used to force the will of the scene master, coming in or out of the scene even if he does not want it. Cards are also used to win Debate and Fight confrontations in spite of the characteristic scores, to send accidents to other characters (Luck is used in that case), to put poison or killers or ghosts into scene. Each event must be fit to the story by the player. The humoristic effect is assured also by the title of the card, that is a real "Idiomatic sentence": the card "Lupus in fabula", for example, is the one that allows a character that is out of scene to enter if anybody on the scene speaks his name.
A game lasts about 12/15 scenes, for a total of 90/120 minutes.
On Stage! is one of the most innovative role-playing games and his success has been immediate. Even when it was still unpublished, game enthusiasts from all over Italy who had the opportunity to try the game at shows and conventions developed a huge amount of expansions with the most different settings: from Star Wars to Victorian horror, from soap opera to Disney comics. Some of them became official supplements, some have been published on magazines, and many more are available on the web.
On Stage! has been also used in schools and libraries, in educational projects.