A downloadable theatrical experience

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It's opening night at the theatre, and you are woefully unprepared to go on.

Due to a ludicrous level of mismanagement by the director and producer alike, you have neglected to hold a single rehearsal. In fact, you haven't even bothered to pick up a script. Frankly, you don't even remember what show you're supposed to be putting on. All you know for sure is that it's meant to be a comedy by the master of the Victorian farce, Oscar Wilde. With only that to go on, you're just going to have to improvise. 

By the Author of Lady Windermere's Fan is a story game with two parts. On the one hand, you're putting on a comedy of manners in the style of The Importance of Being Earnest or An Ideal Husband, which that means a gaggle of self-absorbed characters weaving increasingly complex webs of deception to make themselves look good, punctuated by as many witty one-liners as you can think up, as they careen wildly toward a happy ending they have absolutely not earned.

At the same time, you're actors doing everything in their power to keep the show from grinding to a halt. That means thinking quickly, dashing on-and-off stage to change characters, and never EVER stopping for breath while the audience's eyes are on you.

  • Cobble together a plot out of whatever sets you have on hand. 
  • Lie, cheat, and steal the spotlight through three breathless acts of quick changes, missed cues, and bon mots. 
  • Do whatever you must to keep the audience's attention until the final curtain.
  • Bask in the thunderous applause you so richly deserve.

By the Author of Lady Windermere's Fan is a role-playing story game for three to five players, meant to be played over three to for hours, with no GM and no advanced preparation required. 

If you are interested in a physical edition of By the Author of Lady Windermere's Fan, it can be purchased as a Print on Demand title from DriveThruRPG.

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Notably, this was a game that I designed and wrote years before I came out as transgender, and what's it about? A bunch of people going to increasingly desperate lengths in order to avoid having to admit to the thing they've lied about their whole lives. Inspired by one of the most notorious queer voices of the 19th century.

Kinda... kinda wish someone had pointed that out to me a bit earlier. 

Purchase

Buy Now$20.00 USD or more

In order to download this theatrical experience you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $20 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Character Sheet (8.5x11) 275 kB
Character Sheet (a4) 270 kB
Windermere Digital Edition 29 MB

Community Copies

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Community Copies

Whenever someone buys a copy of By the Author of Lady Windermere's FanI will add another community copy to the pile. Community copies are free downloads for those who, for whatever reason, don't have the ability to pay—no judgement, no strings, no hoops to jump through. Enjoy.

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Two-Page Quickstart Summary 1 MB

Comments

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(+5)

By The Author Of Lady Windermere's Fan is a theater rpg wherein you and your friends have to improvise your way through an Oscar Wilde play you don't have the script for, hopefully scoring recognition and audience approval along the way.

It's 152 pages, with public domain illustrations from old books that fit the theme and atmosphere really well. The writing is also extraordinary. Wilde's a hard style to duplicate if you're not feeling it, but I would buy tickets to a full stage play version of this game's intro story.

That wittiness stays constant throughout, and---similar to games like Baron Munchhausen---this is a joy to read.

I want to stress that, because I think the game's initial impression might bounce some people off of it. It's not a short PDF, and it's about old British plays, but if you have a group that likes roleplaying at all, I feel pretty confident in saying you won't have a bad time with this.

The rules themselves are pretty simple, and if you're reading the book as a player you can skim and get everything. If you're reading this as a GM, I'd recommend going cover to cover since the writing does a *very* good job of conveying the tone and style you should be directing the game towards, but the book itself doesn't share this opinion. It expects you to read the bits you're interested in and skim the rest, which is really generous, convenient design.

I think I'd recommend the chapter on acting (it's about 8 pages long) to basically anyone who likes the roleplaying part of rpgs, though. It's got a bunch of good advice geared towards how to step in and out of the spotlight, maintain character, help other people stay in character, give cues without breaking immersion, etc. It's all presented in service of *this* game, but a lot of the advice is extremely portable.

The actual flow of the game, like the rules themselves, is simple and can be explained by someone who's read the book in under five minutes. You follow the structure of a play you're making up as you go. You push to keep the plot always moving. You get tokens when you make someone at the table laugh. And you lose tokens when you break character or let the action stall.

There's a summary of of how to play on page 128, and I sort of wish it was included as a separate 'quickstart' PDF because it's only two pages long, it covers everything, and it's way less intimidating than cracking open a 150+ page document.

Overall, I think this is a fantastic one-shot for groups that like comedy and roleplaying. It's got a fun energy to it, it's extremely well-written, and the structure of the game is completely solid. It *does* benefit significantly from being an in-person game, but I can see no reason why it's not also runnable remote, and if anything I've mentioned has sounded interesting to you, I would strongly recommend picking up a copy.


Minor issues:

-Page 2, second to last para, per the instructions on your profile, there's an older name

-Page 3, same issue

-Page 4, same issue

-Page 44, "Running out of Favour" heading, missing capitalization

(+4)

Thanks so much for the kind words, I'm glad you enjoyed it! And making the rules summary available as a quickstart PDF is such a good idea that I spent this morning doing Just That. It's a little rough around the edges (I don't have access to my layout files right now, so I had to edit the PDF directly), but it's serviceable enough and lets me put a free downloadable on the page for folks who, as you say, might find it daunting to jump straight into the extensive and self-indulgent morass of the game proper. Brilliant!

Thanks also for pointing out the name and capitalization issues; I will put those on my list of things to take care of when I'm able to actually edit the thing effectively.