The Triptych & Diptych

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.

Diptych (dip-tick) n. A picture or carving as above, except one of the panels has been nicked.

Each year Pheno invites respected designers to present bespoke single-session games: a set of three more serious games (the Triptych) and a pair of lighter, more humorous games (the Diptych).

These games have tended to be systemless (emphasising characterisation and drama over rules use and tactical simulation), and showcase what we consider the best of Pheno roleplaying: characterisation, genre, entertainment, innovation.

Players and teams can enter each game by itself and the games will be judged separately, but complete teams finishing all three games of the Triptych will also be eligible for the Triptych Perpetual Trophy. Teams finishing both Diptych games will be eligible for the Diptych Perpetual Trophy.

The Triptych

The Triptych games may not be always dark and angsty, but they will be pretty serious in tone. All are for 5 players.

The Diptych

The Diptych games are a light brain cleanser after the Triptych. They may be silly, they may not. They are for 5 players.

The Triptych Games

What about the Children

by Barbara Kearins

You think you’ve been here for two weeks. It’s hard to tell, confined to these four rooms as you are. The only sounds from the outside world, carried by the wind, are the sounds of children. Happy at first but then, something changed, you debate amongst yourselves (when the wind is in the right direction) are they angry, sad, frustrated or in pain? Are there less voices now, it’s so hard to tell, maybe, one day, when you are released you will finally know and then discover or decide: ‘What about the Children?’

What’s the game again? A moral dilemma for 5 test subject/investigators.
Seriousness Serious note the following Trigger warnings: Medical Experiments, Distressed Children
Genre/setting Blood Tests, apple pie and the faint whiff of a cold war.
System Systemless.
Rating M


As Blossoms Fall

by Luke Jordan

Mythic pre-feudal Japan, in a time that never was. Five champions make their choices as tribal war looms on the horizon.

For longer than anyone can remember, even the little gods of field and stream, three tribes have laid claim to the Shoku Valley: the cunning Gomori, the fierce Tatara, and the friendly Yayoi.

Each has rights to the valley and its land, gifted by long-dead Emperors. Each has put down deep roots through long lifetimes of sacrifice and labour. Each has ties to the gods of the valley, great and small, and obligations to them.

For twenty Emperors’ lives there has been an uneasy peace in the valley, intermarriage and trade holding firm against greed, hate, and tribal pride

But no longer.

Cherry blossoms open all through the valley, and a strong wind blows from the east. Spring is come, and the very world seems to hold its breath.

Any day now the storm will break, and the valley will be littered with blossoms: beautiful, and bittersweet, and cut down before their prime.

If only we might fall
Like cherry blossoms in the spring—
So pure and radiant !

A single-session game about champions torn between duty to their tribes and the bonds of feeling that tie them to each other, forced to choose what they will save, what they will give up, and what they will destroy.

Characterization-heavy. This is a game about characters struggling with messy complicated choices and their responsibility for the consequences. Play the characters hard, and play them honestly.

System-light, but system-driven. This game uses a custom mechanic driven by the emotional demands that characters make of one another, with meaningful consequences flowing forwards from each roll.

Competitive/PvP. This is a game where characters want and need opposing things, and may have to escalate to violence to make sure they get them.

What's the game again? Tribal champions make their choices between duty and human bonds.
Seriousness On the serious side.
Genre/setting Mythic pre-feudal Japan.
System Custom, Apocalypse World inspired.
Rating M – R, by negotiation.



by Joe McNamara

Through the dense din, I say, we heard him shout
"I see your lights!" But ours had long died out.
    The Sentry , Wilfred Owen

It is 1917, and for the ghosts of the Craiglockhart War Hospital, the war will never be over. You huddle together against the storm-ravaged No Man’s Land that surrounds the hospital, unable to move on, haunting the inhabitants of Craiglockhart, haunting each other, haunting yourselves.

Outside, there are miles of barbed wire, fields of severed hands, rains of blood and shrapnel and the howling, hungry dead. Inside, it’s you, a ghostly doctor whose violent death you are almost sure you had nothing to do with, and the cold voice of Oblivion. The Shadows in the halls and rooms are growing darker, and the black mould is creeping up from the cellar, and you may not be the scariest things which roam Craiglockhart much longer.

A Wraith: the Great War tabletop game for five war-ghosts.

What's the game again? Five ghosts surviving the hostility of the wartime land of the dead, fighting amongst themselves, dealing with their issues.
Seriousness Generally serious, but tone may vary based on player preference
Genre/setting Wraith: the Great War, surreal historical horror
System Old World of Darkness, but system and setting knowledge is not necessary.
Rating R (Violence, war, adult themes, mental illness, suicide).


The Diptych Games

Monster Hunters

Once you were famous TV stars with a hit show that lasted 5 seasons...
but as they say....

Fame is Fleeting

Once the show was cancelled work started to dry up, no-one wanted to hire you except for the occasional (if you were lucky) guest spot and dog shampoo commercial. It was then that you remembered that other industry catch phrase....


Even the gigs at cons (usually at least free accomodation and drinks) have started to dry up....
It was all starting to look a little gloomy

But your management has given you a glimmer of hope. You have just received the following message

Your Show has been syndicated in Eastern Europe and a small fan club wants you to appear for them
Maybe, Just Maybe this is your chance to live again.... at least for a little while

Monster Hunters is a game for 5 has been actors hoping to recapture their glory days

What’s the game again? 5 has been actors seeking to restore their glory days
Seriousness Not Very
Genre/setting Horror, Vampires and TV
System Systemless
Movie rating M


William Shakespeare's "All Vampires Must Die Part II - The Movie"

For vampires, escaping the notice of the mortal world is all important. The members of Team Indigo take pride in keeping the very existence of vampires and the supernatural out of the eyes of the public.

And yet, sometimes things happen. And sometimes things happen very publicly and very messily, and these days there is sure to be someone with a camera putting it on FaceTube or some such.

It was Bill who came up with the idea of pretending to be making a movie, and claiming all the weird occurrences were special effects, and it worked!

For years now, Team Indigo Productions has been "Making Movies", and the Masquerade has never been in better hands.

Until now: Team Indigo has been told in no uncertain terms to "produce the god damn movie, and do it now!"

It's an offer they can't refuse.

It's an opportunity they can't miss.

Coming this Summer:
"William Shakespeare's: All Vampires Must Die! Part II the Movie."

What’s the game again? A game for 5 supernatural wannabe writers, actors, directors, and the guy who just needs the money
Seriousness Low
Genre/setting Vampires and Movies
System A little light Fate
Movie rating M (ish)