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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 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 Triptych


By Mike Walker

“Watch Thou for the Mutant”

The Old People, at the pinnacle of their civilisation, erred and bought down Tribulation upon themselves, destroying the world that was. It is up to us, then to climb the same path, but to restore the world as God intended for us. We must destroy any creatures among us that deviate from the norm, whether it be the wrong colour, or an extra limb, or horns where there should be none. And any deviation that resembles a human, must be cast from us into the Badlands to either live, or hopefully, to die…

From a lecture by Joseph Storm, Preacher at Waknuk

We are telepaths. We are other. And we are in hiding. They fear the very idea of us, because they can’t tell just by looking at us that we are different.

A woman, once one of us, now threatens to marry one of them. She threatens to reveal our nature… to protect ourselves, we have a terrible decision to make…

A story for five telepaths surviving in a society seeking to destroy them…

Based on the novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. Knowledge of the book is useful, but not necessary.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? A Post-apocalyptic sci-fi story for five telepaths surviving in a society seeking to destroy them...
Seriousness? 5
Genre/Setting 4
System 1
Movie Rating PG


The Dig

By Ian Bartlett

Excerpt: Blake, T (2015), "Historical Curiosities and Mysteries", p. 25.

Of the limited artifacts to survive the 1805 storm of Mont St Michael, perhaps the most curious is the final note in Seigneur Rosseau's journal:

"Never again.
When I entertained the archaeologist's notions of some fantastic treasure buried beneath the island, I fell for the primal curiosity that infects mankind.

Had I foresaw what awaited us within the darkness of the dig, I would have cast him back across the ocean, and be rid of his delusions of grandeur.

But alas—I shared those delusions.

How do I reconcile my guilt over the good men and women swallowed up by the dig? I would let it rot down there, yet any fleeting moment of silence conjures up their echoing cries of dread.

I can bear my guilt no more. I will venture down into that dark, twisted horror, and undo what has been done, myself.

Never again will I allow someone to venture beneath the abbey…
…into the dig."

No further records were made on this subject. Despite its ominous nature, we may never discover what transpired that night, deep under the Abbey.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? The Dig is a supernatural mystery set in 1800s France. Five people attempt to discover the secrets of an enigmatic excavation and subsequent disaster on the family estate.
Seriousness? 5
Genre/Setting Horror/Thriller/Mystery
System Rules-light, story focused homebrew
Movie Rating MA 15+


A Song of the Transfigured

By Nardia Kelly

The prosperous King Aeetes has charged his sole heir with their first crusade to win the approval and safety of the kingdom. Out on the south-western edge of the lands at Mount Circaeum, the people are miserable as they live under the shadowy taint of the Evil Sorceress Circe, who turns all the brave men who seek to drive her from their lands into pigs.

A Pythian prophecy long-buried is bubbling to the surface, the pieces falling into place as the group gathers to set forth: Princex Surtis, inexperienced yet brave; their betrothed, Canens, daughter of a god; Ambrosious, teacher of the Princex and knower of Prophecy; Aeolus, a musician whose beautiful music makes men weep; and Medina, the best sword in all the lands.

Will the champions be transfigured by Circe? Will they unite in the face of tyranny?

Content warnings for: authoritarianism, abusive authority figures, family conflict and trauma

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? Hero's Journey plus revolutionary elements, to save a kingdom and its warriors from being pigs for the rest of their lives.
Seriousness? 4–5 – On the serious side
Genre/Setting Fantasy setting inspired by Ancient Greece, with swords, magic and mystery.
System Homebrew! Rules are designed to be light and easy to pick up
Movie Rating M (15+) for mature themes


The Diptych

Five Hunt Ghosts

By Stephanie and Robbie Matthews

Episode Guide:

The History Channel proudly presents —

Ghastly Investigations

A reality show following a crew of paranormal investigators who seek out legendary haunted locations across the globe. In a television first, our new crew will be investigating the famous L’Amore Inn LIVE ON AIR! Can the existence of ghosts finally be proven? Tune in to find out!

The L’Amour Inn was owned by the famous aviator, Ronald Spector, allegedly built for his mistress, and the scene of a series of horrific murders in the 1930s.

You are a ragtag band of ghost hunters who have won the jackpot and scored yourself a shot on a new reality show!

Your first job is a tough one, going into one of the most haunted locations in the country, and proving that ghosts ARE real. You will need to do whatever it takes to gather the evidence and/or be entertaining enough to secure future work and television deals. Finally, you can prove to the world that your career wasn’t a waste of time and money, DAD!!

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? A silly game for 5 players about ghost hunters and reality TV.
Seriousness? On the lighter side
Genre/Setting Present day ghost hunters
System Systemless
Movie Rating M 15+ (GMs swear a lot)
Trigger warning for Supernatural Elements


Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines

Three Short Stories about Flight

By Rodney Kearins

Ever since Humanity strode out of their caves and marvelled at the Magnificence of the creatures flying effortlessly above and thought

“I wish I could fly like eagle ….. birds make good dinner”

Probably more like Ugh thump, Thump

Be quiet and let me finish


A game about Humanity's epic journey to achieve flight told in three parts:

The Mythic Age: A time of Magic, when Gods ruled and Fantastic Beasts roamed the land. Only the bravest would dare challenge the rule of the gods and think to fly to the heavens

The Steam Age: When majestic Dirigibles crossed the skies in search of new lands to explore, oh and the occasional record to break

The Silver Age: A time of jet packs and ray guns; of Heroes and heroines, who having conquered the skies were reaching for the stars.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? Humanity’s pursuit of flight through the ages in three parts
Seriousness? On the lighter side
Genre/Setting It’s all over the place really!!!
System Systemless
Movie Rating M