Confabulation is my entry for the 2018 200 Word RPG Challenge. The game is based on the concept of distorted or manufactured memories that witnesses recall during testimony without malice or ill-intent. This “innocent” skewing of the truth has led to an irrational amount of convictions based on nothing but the faulty human memory. In an era of widespread police brutality and abuse of power, it is important to remember that destroying a life on someone’s word is almost never fair.

A huge thank you to Jennifer Kaplan for helping me take my initial ideas and forming this game. Thanks also to Hannah Shaffer for her feedback and support.

Five players portray Witnesses of a crime and Detectives looking for answers. Need: pencils, 20 notecards.

-Setup-
Write Detective attributes on separate notecards:
– Personality: Arrogant, Intelligent, Cautious, Rookie, Observant
– Approach: Demand, Intimidate, Empathize, Bargain, Convince
– Flaw: Temper, Nerves, Overwhelmed, Distrustful, Lazy

Randomly take one from each category.

Write questions on separate notecards:
– What crime was committed?
– Who did it?
– Where did they go?
– When did it occur?
– Why did they do it?

Randomly take one. Write five answers on the back. Keep them secret.

-Witness-
Pass answers left. Cross off one answer. Repeat until only one answer remains on each. These are the answers. Hide them. Remember what you can. Memory is subjective.

-Investigate-
Take turns being a Witness. Detectives to your left and right question you. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Detectives act their attributes, attempt to learn answers. Witness reacts to Detectives, attempts to recall answers. Stop when the timer ends. Repeat for each player. Perception becomes truth.

-Deduce-
Detectives piece together answers to solve the crime. Do you know enough to confidently close the case or is it left unsolved?

If you close the case, check answers. Were you wrong?

How do you succeed or fail?