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Triptych and 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 trio of more serious games (the Triptych) and a duet 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 Diptych

The Triptych

The Curious Case of the Corpsified Contact

By Jenny Mason, David James & Cass Williams

newspaper clipping - body dragged from the Thames!

A body in the river. Not unusual for London, and generally not newsworthy. So why are your sources telling you that it's in the Bureau of Unnatural Registry's morgue?


It is not unexpected for one to be fashionably late; but really, to miss elevenses completely is rather rude. Up to now, your contact has been a very punctual informant. This is too tiresome.


You've been up to the British Museum to talk to the Boss. You hate to break up the Queen's soiree, however something like this is way above your pay-grade. But it seems the Boss isn't quite himself at the moment and it looks like this body, and this investigation is now your problem... Bloody bollocking hells!


Nefarious Menacing Tea Cup (Jenny Mason, David James & Cass Williams) presents a game of murder, mystery, espionage and steampunk for 5 players set in the supernatural Victorian London of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate novels. Trying to save the Empire, just in time for supper and the evening post.


Mr. Elmer Wibbley – The Intrepid Rookie Journalist
Miss. Sophronia Angelina Temminick – The Accomplished Intelligencer
Mr. Phineas B Crow – The Werewolf Operative
Mr. Clarence Haverbink – The B.U.R’s Best London Field Agent
Mdme. Etta Chomondeley – The B.U.R.’s Day-Watch Chief Medical Examiner

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? Supernatural true crime mystery for 5 players in an alternative Victorian London.
Seriousness? Light/Moderate to Serious depending on players
Genre/Setting Supernatural Victoriana with etiquette, battle-parasols & treacle tart.
(Knowledge of the Parasol Protectorate setting is beneficial but not required)
System Manners System by Nefarious Menacing Teacup
(A variant of the Etiquette System by David James and Sandra d’Argeavel. No previous knowledge of this very simple system is required)
Movie Rating MA to R depending on players (occult/supernatural/horror themes)
Website https://curiouscaserpg.wordpress.com/


Fall of the Silver Tower

By Stephen Justice

The five of you were unwillingly turned into Immortal Travellers long ago. Travellers visiting countless worlds, some new, while others seemed to be pulled from the fiction of your youth.

Often you have all tried to meddle in the worlds you visit. Due to differences of opinion however, the results are only occasionally successful, while other times it has been disastrous. These past failures have resulted in further disagreements, and more ruin. A cycle that continues to get worse.

For the first time however, the five of you arrived at a world that each of you treasured in your youth. A world of the fantastic, but a world on the brink of Armageddon. Stopping it would seem obvious enough, if you didn’t know that the Armageddon leads to a Utopia. Now the five of you gather to once again discuss the fate of a world, and like always you all have different ideas on how to proceed. This would often spell disaster for the world, but this time the stakes are different.

With all of you caring so deeply for the world, will it finally mean you can work out your differences enough to compromise and save this world? Or will your bickering and growing powers result in the worst disaster you’ve all caused yet?

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? A story of 5 people with strong opinions trying to convince each other how best to proceed, while dealing with millennia of conflict and personal baggage between them.
Seriousness? Towards the serious side
Genre/Setting Modern/High Fantasy
System Custom System designed to progress discussion
Movie Rating M or higher depending on player preference


Silver on the Tree

By Random Jones with Summer Vimes

At the end of days, when the light does fade,
Five heroes shall be called to fight the desolation.

When desolation does rise, and hope seems lost,
Five artifacts must be found to hold back the sorrow.

If sorrow floods makes darkness rise,
Five challenges will be faced to hold back tyranny.

Once tyranny rules, and joy is gone,
Five hearts will hold fast to defeat the adversary.

The adversary falls, and peace now reigns,
Five choices will be made to live life ever after.

Five children thrust into a world of heroism and adventure, but be warned: while these stories are exciting to read, they are a much different thing to actually live...

With thanks to:

  • The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • Both Adventures of Alice by Lewis Carroll
  • The Wizard of Oz (et al) by L. Frank Baum
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  • The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire
Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? 5 kids become the heroes of another world, and must live with the choices they make.
Seriousness? On the serious side.
Genre/Setting Five children fall through a gateway to a fantasy world.
System Systemless
Movie Rating PG-13


The Diptych

Escape from the Country

By Sandra d’Argeavel and Ryan d'Argeavel

"This week we’re off to Midsomer, and we’re starting our search in the quaint but busy Village of Lower Warden just 15 miles from the bustle of Causton. Our first house has recently come on the market, with a fresh coat of paint inside and new carpet in main living and snug, and I think our couple will find it’s full of surprises..."

Why are there so many empty houses for shows like Escape to the Country? Where do they get all the stories for those Rural Crime Dramas? What if there was a connection? What if they knew you knew? Who's driving that Combine Harvester?

A new episode of your favourite show featuring the new host, a couple from Hackney, the local realtor, the camera man, and of course, a Combine Harvester.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? Midsomer Murders meets Escape to the Country
Seriousness? On the lighter side (black comedy)
Genre/Setting Thrilling satire of English village life and ‘almost’ reality television
System Systemless
Movie Rating M


'It's a Long Way to the Top'

By Gavin Lucan

Last night was the greatest night of your lives. The show was sold out, the mood was frenzied with anticipation and then, it was time. From the second you stepped on stage and hit that first chord, you felt as gods before an adoring crowd who obeyed your every command and who drank the venue dry in homage. You felt like heroes from the old sagas, and the party didn’t stop when the show did!

But that was last night.

This morning is... quite different.

You’re 5 young Orcs, with debts to pay, raging hangovers and no-one’s sure where the keys to the van are. You’ve a small local following, but the time has come to break big, or cut your hair and get day jobs. And when a bunch of pretty boy Elves are topping the charts, there’s only one thing to do. It won’t be easy, but as the old song goes, it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll...

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? 5 Orcs who want to rock and roll all night, and party every day.
Seriousness? Air guitar isn’t mandatory, but is highly encouraged
Genre/Setting D&D crossed with This is Spinal Tap. Magictech fantasy.
System Savage Worlds, but no system knowledge needed
Movie Rating High PG to low M. This game contains sex, drugs and rock and roll.



By Writer


Pheno game ratings
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