Random Inc presents a Phenomenon Labs games convention

The Triptych

Triptych (trip-tick) n. A picture or carving on three panels able to fold over the centre; a set of three associated works so placed esp. as a centre piece; a set of three writing tablets hinged or tied together; a set of three artistic works; such used as an altar piece; a treatise in three parts.

Each year, Pheno invites three respected designers to present a systemless single session game as part of a triptych. Each game showcases what we consider the best of Pheno roleplaying: characterisation, drama, entertainment, innovation. Each game will be judged separately, but teams competing in all three games will also be eligible for the Triptych Perpetual Trophy.

The Triptych games are all for 5 players.

Dead Man Walking

by Mik Bonsall

Run, run, run, as fast as you can.
You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man.

— Children's song

It's said that your life flashes before your eyes in the moments before death.
The first time it happened was unforgettable. Now it's all I exist for.

— Suicide note found beside Henry Candleson 1858.

I can feel something coming. A storm of the like we've never before encountered.

— Sylvia Carpenter, August 1939

We have reason to believe that the Nazis know about the Gingerbread Man. Some of you have been hunting him since last century. We have information pointing towards an area in Texas.

— Opening to the mission briefing.

It's good to be back in the saddle. Let's go get 'im, boys.

— Uriel Hael, former leader of the Black Hand Bounty Hunters (deceased).

Zombies! Nazis! Texans! Military Intelligence! The Suicidally Possessed! Can our intrepid band of five bounty hunters stop the Gingerbread Man before he is recruited for a darker purpose?

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4+ Genre 3 Rules knowledge N/A
Story/plot 3+ Seriousness 3 Advisory rating MA15+ R Horror, adult themes


Silence of the Bush

by Fi McConachie

Today I buried you my love, my dearest John. You were my beloved husband and even with your death I will remember who you are and I will not let our child forget his true father. I know that we would have had a good life together and I pray to God that we will be reunited when God sees fit to call me to his side. I know you wanted more for us than our modest little hut here in Rheola but it was our home, the one we made together. These tears I cry will never stop for you are not with me. Do not worry for I know that Francis will take care of me as you would have wanted.

— From the Diary of Genevieve Johnston, February 1861

Dear Jeffery and Lorraine Telford,
The Government of Victoria accepts your application for the legal adoption of Henry Smith, Aboriginal Ward of the State, aged 9 months.

— July 1958

The Jaara baby was an Aboriginal Australian girl child who died at some stage during the 1840s to 1860s. The child's remains were discovered in 1904, and kept in storage by Museum Victoria. The bundle contained more than 100 wooden pegs used for staking out skins to dry, necklaces and an emu-feather apron. Intriguingly, there were a few European-made items too, including an axe head, a crockery fragment, a button and a tiny leather boot. These helped Mr West date the bundle to approximately 1842-60, violent contact years when the fertile Avoca River region was invaded by squatters and the Aboriginal population was decimated by disease.

— The Australian, 1984

Silence of the Bush is a ghost story set in the Australian Bush for five young people.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre Modern Australia Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 5 Seriousness Adult Content 5


Vengeance of the Vampire Lord

by Nick Argall

Wang Qi is the most respected herbalist in the town of Zhen Lou. As his patients, you pay him a small fee every week, unless you get sick, in which case you stop paying him until he restores the health you expect him to maintain. One day, he surprised you by saying "I will not accept your fee anymore, unless you train in Kung Fu alongside these four others".

Since there was no better doctor, you agreed, and it should not have been surprising that the five of you get along well. Doctor Wang says that your elements balance each other, and under his supervision you are coming into your own, individually and collectively.

But what should the patients do when the doctor falls sick?

A story of five friends, using Weapons of the Gods.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre 3 Rules knowledge 2
Story/plot 3 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating M (adult themes, some violence)


Previous triptychs


David Hollingworth — Crime and Punishment

Andrew Smith — The Fall of the Family

Mike(y) and Liz Argall — The Group


John Hughes — Quest: Mask of Heroes

Jacinta Thomler — Six Soldiers

David James — Those Left Behind


Liz Argall — Being There

Joe McNamara — Killing De Villefort

Ingrid Bean — Rebirthing Eden


Stuart Barrow — The Mask and the Moonlight

Xole Karman — Familiar

Andrew Smith — Something Wonderful


Robbie Matthews — Mayhem Over Manhattan

Peter Rousell — Last Night in Eden

Eric Henry — The Fishbowl


David James — Can you go home again?

Mike Walker — Psi

Ingrid Bean — Silence


Ben Hunter — Project Hydra

Robert Barbetti — Something Wicked

Mark Bruckard — This Way Comes


Larry Larkin — Once upon a time

Ryan d'Argeavel — I knew she was trouble the minute she walked into my office

Jon Naughton — They don't advertise for killers in a newspaper


Michael Hitchens — You are Number 4, I am Number 6

Caitlin May — What is Honour?

Tony Guyot — Citius Altius Fortiu

1999 [The year Pheno ate Cancon]

Richard Canning — Memory Lost

Jo Ellem — Signor Jacemo's Circus of Wonder

Morgan Morningstar — Redemption


Liz Argall — When I Meet My Family

Felix White — Lost Highway

Scott Walton & Daniel Wilks — Spazmo


Andrew Smith — Fatalism

Diana Leithead — The Charity Gig

Antti Roppola — Understanding Ellen West


Richard Percy — Covenant

Mark Barnes — Prometheus Rising

Brent Steves — Graenlendinga Saga


John Hughes — Fallen Angel

Madi — Freaks

Grant Allen & Lindsay Beaton — Portents


Ian Wanless — The Breaking

Robert MacLean — Faded Giant

Chris Slee — Uncle Jurgen's Happy Hour