The Quill Shoebox
Quill is a different kind of solo RPG game. In Quill it is your character’s job to write a letter -- yes, an actual letter -- and the better the letter the greater chance your letter will be received favorably.  

To play Quill you first need to pick a character from the available archetypes.  Each archetype has three Stats: Language (how well your vocabulary is), Heart (how much emotion you write with), and Penmanship (how visually pleasing is your letter). Each stat is assigned a number of six-sided dice. Additionally, you get to choose 1 skill which you can use once per letter.

Next, you pick a scenario. Each scenario provides all the information you need to write your letter. First, it has a Profile, which explains to who are you writing, the reason for the letter, and what you hope to accomplish by writing. Next, you are given any specific rules that either need to be followed or might offer you an advantage. Third is the Inkpot. This is a list of words (both inferior and superior) that you will choose from. Finally, each scenario has a list of consequences, or reactions to your letter, based on your final score.

You will need to write a five-paragraph letter. For each paragraph, you will choose one word from the inkpot to include. The rules for choosing your word are as follows:

1. Decide if you want to add flourish (or additional description) to your word. If so, roll your heart dice. If one of the dice is 5 or 6, you may add flourish. This is an optional choice as the flourish may help or hurt your score based on the next roll.

2. Roll your language dice to determine if you can choose a superior word or if you have to settle for an inferior word. Once again, a 5 or 6 lets you choose a superior word and you gain 1 point. If you added flourish to the superior word, you score 2 additional points. However, if you decided to add flourish and the word is inferior you lose 1 point.

Once you have finished your paragraph you roll your Penmanship dice to see how visually pleasing your writing is. If you roll a 5 or 6 you gain 1 point. When all five paragraphs are complete, add up your score and compare it with the Consequences list for the scenario to determine what result your letter has.

In reality, what you actually write has no bearing on the result of the game since everything is determined by random dice rolls. However, if you are creative it is a nice writing exercise that can be fun and gets the creative juices flowing.

If anyone wants to try Quill I would invite you to post your letters here in this thread (hence the name, Quill Shoebox, since it is common to collect letters in a shoebox). I will start it off with a letter of my own.
The Father by Teviko604

Format: I will post my final letter as is. Inkpot words will be in red, flourish in blue.  Then, once the letter is complete I will post my scoring per paragraph. Finally, I will post the consequence. 

Character: I chose the Knight which gave me  3 Heart dice, 1 Language dice, and 2 Penmanship dice. I decided to use the character Harper Wyghtwing from my Roses & Wyght stories. However, nothing in this letter is to be considered canon unless it actually appears in the formal campaigns.

Skill: I chose Augmentation which adds +1 to a Heart test. In hindsight, this was a foolish choice as I already had 3 dice in heart. I really needed Inspiration to boost my language.

Profile: You are writing to inform a father about the death of his son.

Rules of Correspondence: Monks gain an advantage, which doesn’t apply to me.

The Letter:

Greetings Mr. Winsborough,

This is Harper Wyghtwing. I trust you remember me. My parents are Ryan and Jutte Wyghtwing and I grew up with your young boy Rupert. He and I used to hunt together in the forests just outside of Swifthaven. While he did look to me for advice, he was already a skilled bowman in his own right. 

As I’m sure my parents mentioned I moved several months ago to the city of Duskcall. I have done well here, even gaining a position with the King’s Guard. You can imagine my surprise when I ran into Rupert at The Flaming Friar, one of the bawdy houses where I go from time to time for a drink and a game of cards. He told me he had come to Duskcall to sell some tanned hides and a bit of your wife’s needlework. I bought him a drink and we spent the rest of the night catching up. 

Which brings me to the reason for this correspondence. It is with the deepest sorrow that I must inform you of an unfortunate situation concerning your son. A couple of days past while on patrol I was hailed by a frantic woman who directed me to where a small crowd had gathered at the mouth of an alley. Their attention was directed at something inside the narrow passageway. I pushed my way through and saw a pair of legs protruding from a pile of sacks and refuse. Looking closer I discovered the man was Rupert.

From the bruises and blood on his face and body, Rupert’s death appeared to be the result of a brutal beating. A quick search of his pockets revealed they were empty and no coin pouch could be found. It is my guess that, only being familiar with village life, Rupert was naive about the dangers of the big city. He must have been out late and not aware of the fact that the district he was walking through housed several thieves and ruffians. I suspect he made an easy target, was mugged and left to die. 

While it may not have been expected of me, I feel I have failed Rupert, as well as you and Mrs. Winsborough, by not taking a greater interest in warning him of the dangers of the city. This was an unfamiliar place for him and I should have offered more guidance. I hope that you can forgive me. I know it is of little consolation, but I spent my own coin to purchase a fine mahogany coffin for Rupert. Furthermore, I will personally escort the carriage that will carry him back to Swifthaven and stay through the funeral. In the meantime, I am sending this letter ahead so it will be less of a shock when we arrive.  

With regrets,

Harper Wyghtwing


P1 - Flourish: 5,6,6 Success   Inkpot: 4 Inferior word (-1 for flourish)  Penmanship: 3,4 Fail  Score=-1

P2 - Flourish: Did not roll   Inkpot: 3 Inferior word   Penmanship: 2,5 Success   Score=1

P3 - Flourish: 2,3,5 Success   Inkpot: 6 Superior word (flourish adds 2 points)   Penmanship: 3,3, Fail   Score=3

P4 - Flourish: Did not roll   Inkpot: 2 Inferior word   Penmanship: 1,3 Fail   Score=0

P5 - Flourish: 5,1,2 Success   Inkpot: 5 Superior word (Yes!- and flourish adds 2 points)   Penmanship: 2,5 Success   Score=4

Total Letter Score: 7


Anthony is clearly disappointed in how you have relayed the information to him, but he does not blame you.
Halloween Quill: Shadow and Ink Part 1

To get in the Halloween spirit  Wink I’ve decided to play through the Quill campaign Shadow and Ink.  This campaign presents five scenarios that are inspired by the horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Each scenario can be played on its own or as part of a bigger story. If you play the latter (which is what I am planning on doing) you can score “Story Points” for each letter. If you are able to complete all five scenarios your total “Story Points” determines the final ending of the campaign. In addition to the new scenarios, Shadow and Ink offers six new characters to play.

Inkpot words will be in red, flourish in blue.

Letter 1 - Vir Stellas

Character: Historian    (Skill: Detailed  +1 dice to a single Heart test) 

Penmanship: Good (3d)
Language: Average (2d)
Heart: Poor (1d)

Profile Summary (see product for full profile): 1887 - While in England, I have come into possession of an ancient book through auction. The book is written in an unknown language and most of what I can gather about its contents come from the drawings included with the text. I am unsettled by the book and decide to write to my friend Pierre who is an expert in the occult.

Rules of Correspondence: You will try to put forward your disgust and disturbance at the text - gain +1 to Heart rolls.

(The rules of Quill state your letter needs to be five paragraphs long. For proper form, I felt the final sentences of this letter should really be a separate paragraph. I did make any rolls nor scored anything in this last paragraph.)

*   *   *   *   *


I realize this letter is long overdue and that you are probably eager to learn of my trip to England. As you are aware, this trip was prompted by my interest in a particular item to be sold by Sotheby’s. This particular volume -- the Vir Stellas -- was unique to me as I had never encountered any mention of it in any of my historical studies. Bidding on the item was fierce. Most buyers dropped out once the price reached one and a half times it appraised value. However, one gentleman of middle eastern descent seemed particularly intent on securing ownership. But I had to own the Stellas. We went back and forth until, at last, I posted the winning bid, the highest price I have ever paid for a single item and much more than any sane person would have spent on an artifact they know so little about. 

Upon return to my room following the auction I wasted little time before making an examination of the volume. I set it on my desk and studied it for a long time before even opening the cover. The exquisitely decorated tome was covered in intricately tooled leather. Grand designs of criss-cross patterns broken by all manner of geometric shapes lined the edges and filled the corners. Many hours of work must have been spent on the light tan material. I can only guess that previous owners took great care of preservation as little sign of wear could be detected either by sight or touch. 

Finally, it was time to open this mysterious book and see what was inside. The text was written in black ink by a flowing hand, each word a work of art. You can imagine my dismay, Pierre, at the realization that the text was a language of which I had no knowledge. I knew it was unlikely that it would be as plain as French or English. Still, the words on the pages bore no resemblance to any tongue of which I have encountered. Several days later I did bring the volume to a professor I know who specializes in ancient and obscure languages, but even he was unable to decipher even the tiniest fragment of what was written.

However, my friend, it was not a total disappointment, for throughout the manuscript are the most detailed, intricate, and, if I may be blunt, disturbing illustrations. While several of the drawings depicted buildings, maps, and abstract symbols, the majority represented hideous and grotesque creatures. Some were humanoid with multiple limbs or wings, like demons escaped from hell. Others had fish or serpent-like bodies. They were all shapes and sizes. Large bulbous beings with many eyes and tentacles. Small insectile critters. By the time I turned the last page my hands trembled and perspiration dotted my forehead.

But I save the most distressing thing for last. A single page, right in the center of the Vir Stellas, contained nothing but blackness, stretching from edge to edge. It perfectly resembled nothingness. Yet, I found it hard to ignore and I kept returning to that page. I stared long and hard, at first seeing nothing. Then suddenly images began to appear in the darkness. First, I witnessed magnificent heavenly bodies: stars, planets, comets. I felt as though I was actually flying among them. Next, I saw several of the disgusting creatures flying toward me. I wanted to flee, yet felt compelled to await their arrival. Finally, I heard voices calling to me, enticing me to join them. I was losing control of my own will and it took all my effort to close the book, ending the vision. Checking my timepiece, I discovered I had lost track of over two hours! 

Pierre, as I know you have vast experience studying the occult I urge you to write back upon receipt of this letter with any explanation you might have. Do you know anyone who might analyze this dreadful book and offer insight into its origin or purpose? I intend on returning to France shortly, however, if you have any colleagues in England who might be able to help, I am willing to stay and await your arrival, should that seem more expeditious.

Your friend,
Hampton McMillan


P1 - Flourish: 2+1=3 Fail   Inkpot: 1,1 inferior word   Penmanship: 1,4,6  Success  
        Total Score: 1

P2 - Flourish: 4+1=5 Success    Inkpot: 4,5 Superior word   Penmanship: 2,5,6 Success   
        Total Sore: 4

P3 - Flourish: 4+1=5 Success   Inkpot: 3,5 Superior Word   Penmanship: 1,3,6  Success   
        Total Score: 4

P4 - Flourish: 5+1 Success   Inkwell: 2,6  Superior Word   Penmanship: 4,5,6 Success   
        Total Score: 4

P5 - Flourish: 6+1 Success    Inkpot: 4,5 Superior Work    Penmanship: 1,1,5 Success  
        Total Score: 4  

Total Letter Score: 17 

Result: It doesn’t take long to receive a response from Pierre, who is clearly excited in the way he writes. He has read of Vir Stellas many years ago. The tome was said to have been a myth, but he always believed there was evidence to suggest that it was real. While he is unsure of exactly what the contents are about, he does believe it could be a magical text. He says that he is visiting you immediately to see the book for himself. Gain 2 story points.

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