Phenomenon 2024 Phenomenon 2024

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 trio of more serious games (the Triptych) and a duet of lighter, more humorous games (the Diptych).

These games have tended to be system-light (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 Triptychs

The Immortal is Dead

By Daniel Ryan

"..if the irritant can’t be flushed out, to protect itself, the irritant is coated over and over, eventually forming a pearl."

30 years ago the first super hero emerged and the world changed. Beloved by the masses, the media dubbed him The Immortal.

Since then countless other heroes and villains have appeared. Corporate sponsored heroes in bright spandex with bright smiles fight criminals, socialists and super villains.

Now The Immortal is dead and the world mourns. Change is coming.

“Villain? Who says? Stop a million dollar bank robbery and you’re a hero! Stop a billion dollars of bank fraud and you’re a dangerous vigilante.”

A loose group of 5 supers who knew The Immortal gather for a quiet wake to see off the first hero and discuss the future.

The Immortal is Dead! – A game for 5 super powered individuals about power, history, and the line between heroes and villains.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? 5 supers fight villains, heroes, corporations, media perceptions, science, and entropy in an attempt to save the world.
Seriousness? 4
Genre/Setting Superheroes
System TBD, probably some custom PBTA like thing.
Movie Rating PG


The Mine

By Fi McConachie

Sparklers, Ice, a girl’s best friend, take your pick of names. They glitter and gleam in the jewellery of the rich and famous, to magical musicals, wealth, war, and heists. No one, it seems, can deny their allure. In the cutthroat world of diamond mining, the whys and wherefores of this highly sought-after product are unimportant. Balance sheets matter and, of course, healthy profit margins for the shareholders. This mine produces pink diamonds. The least understood of the diamonds.

Today. A tremor. An unexpected shaking across the entire region. It began slowly, a small crash of unstable rock. Something so small, so slight, so insignificant that even the geologist dismissed it. This morning it became an undeniable shift and shake of this ancient earth. Its epicenter? The diamond mine. That giant open-cut scar on the landscape. The gaping wound that allows humans to bring these glittering prizes to the surface from deep below...

Today will not be like any other for the people of the mine or the town.

Set in a fictional supernatural and haunted re-imagining of Kunnanurra and the Kimberly region, The Mine is a 25-player single-session multiform for 5 groups/teams of 5 players with front-row seats for an extraordinary and potentially frightening occurrence.

Note: Each Team will have a tabletop section with the game style determined by which group they chose – Miners, Scientists, Investors (and associates), Protestors, and Town Leaders.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 25
What's the game again? The people of an outback mining town are about to face more than they bargained for when an unexpected tremor strikes their area.
Seriousness? Variable; one group starts in Parks & Rec, another is in The Descent. Appropriate content warnings & safety tools will be available.
Genre/Setting Mixed genre, Outback Australia setting
System Mixed custom systems – both freeform (LARP) and tabletop elements.
Movie Rating MA (can be modified to suit) Supernatural, Horror (often implied), Racism, Sexism, Poverty and the Economic divide.


The Sublimation of the Self

By Paul 'Polly' Stephenson

This was the last journey of the venerable Maga Aostargart bani Veriditus, honoured Majestrix of the Durenmar Covenant in Germany. Gathered in her attendance were her ageless fae blooded companion, talented young magi representatives of Durenmar, and her faithful Grog, Dietrich.

For over three centuries she has peeled back the magical mysteries and calcified them into arcane treasures, she has purified her soul while her body was tended to by generations of mortal servants, and for over three centuries she has failed.

Failed to remember the steel-willed girl who made all of this happen, that determined child who seemed so completely removed from the powerful and ancient will-worker who embarked on this final quest.

But perhaps in this journey, she will remember. She will remember her origin, she will glimpse her future and she will see her legend unfold.

It is through legend that we may all find legacy, it is through legacy that we may all find meaning, and it is through meaning that we may all transform the grit of humanity into the immortal pearl.

—— From the memoirs of Berthold banu Bonisagus, of the Durenmar Covenant.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? A 5 player tabletop of Wizards and their companions in Mythic Europe looking outwards to forge a legacy in a world that is slipping away from them.
Seriousness? 4 - Relatively serious with space for personal levity.
Genre/Setting Mythic Europe of Ars Magica. With a focus on Fantasy transhumanism.
System Custom rules-lite with printed handouts about the Ars Magica world.
Movie Rating MA15+ Adult themes, references to violence, isolation, exploitation and personal extinction.


The Diptychs

Of Glorious Adventure and Solving Mysteries

By Barb Kearins

Princess Kiri Oakloaf wants to experience life without bodyguards before adulthood and being the official heir. Prince Namoo Oakloaf wants to prove that brawn isn’t everything and that a male can be an advisor not just a fighter. Sage, librarian, cat-dragon, discovers that in dragon years, she is still a teenager. Rowan, shapechanging dog, wants his past as a human, then a cat, firmly put behind him. Crythandor Warithan Cullen, a clumsy young wizard growing into their name whose power will kick in any moment minute hour day now.... Combine then with a sentient wizard tower who's kidnapped them, the legendary Pearl of Gustrid, the tome (or is it Tomb?) of Bigrannath and you'll have an adventure to remember.

  • Will the characters work out what the tower wants?
  • What's that mysterious glowing thing on the horizon?
  • Where are they and can they get home, with or without the towers co-operation?
  • Who were Gustrid and Birgrannath?

Find out the answers as the characters approach their Coming of Age!!

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? Cross species coming of age
Seriousness? 2 – not very much
Genre/Setting Fantasy
System Systemless
Movie Rating G/PG


The Great Conjunction!

By David James

You awaken in a cell, deep underground, with no knowledge of how you came to be here. A combination of technological and mystical bindings have stripped you of most of your power and are stopping you from escaping this tiny prison. There are five other cells down here as well, four hold other people, similarly trapped as you are, while the last stands empty.

You are a powerful being, a creature of myth and legend. But why you are here, and who has done this to you is a mystery. The other four prisoners look like normal humans, and possibly the only blessing is that without your powers, you will look the same to them. But maybe one of them might know something about what is going on?

Meanwhile, echoing down through ancient stone corridors from somewhere far above you, you are sure you hear several voices bickering with each other.

Something about taking over the world?

The Great Conjunction is a comedy game for five supernatural people who some self-styled super-villain has decided to claim as their “personal nemesis”. Five of these idiots have all come together to try to use this night to “Take over the World™” and have imprisoned you all together while they argue amongst themselves as to which one of them gets to enact their plan.

It seems the role of reluctant hero will fall to one, or all of you tonight. Let’s hope you can do it before the monologuing starts.

Content Warnings: Possible triggers surrounding imprisonment, lack of agency (at first), some religious symbology and trust as the PCs do not know each other at the beginning.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? An imprisoned Angel, Fae, Mage, Vampire and Endless come together to stop a group of self-styled super villains from taking over and/or destroying the world. And to stop their interminable speeches.
Seriousness? 1 – Comedy and ridiculousness abound.
Genre/Setting Modern day with a supernatural twist
System Home brew – hero/power tokens spent to do supernatural wackiness
Movie Rating PG