Judging the Game

Composer of the interactive symphony of imagination that is a role-playing game, its Judge performs several duties necessary for play to proceed. A Judge codifies the scenario in which the game will occur, acts out the role of every character as they appear, aside from those controlled by the other players, and serves as a referee when actions are required while the game is afoot.

Players wishing to serve as Judge require a willingness to entertain their fellows. Sure, the other players' characters get center stage, but someone has to adjudicate what happens when they act, describing these results in vivid detail. These are the masterminds that set events in motion, move the plot forward based on the actions of other players, and provide the very personality of the unfolding adventure.

While every game requires a Judge, it is vital to note that the Judge is not the most important person at the table. Everyone playing the game is participating for the express purpose of having fun, not necessarily to stroke someone else's ego. Furthermore, most of what one needs to serve as Judge is available elsewhere in the rules, as they are presented such that anyone who wishes to can know precisely how everything works.

Thus, all the material presented in Judging the Game can be considered recommendations, not guidelines. The rest of the text for the Costumed Adventurer Simulation Engine covers all the mechanics, so the goal of this work is to provide enough information for the aspiring Judge to plan an adventure for their fellow players - and then to enjoy it with them once play begins!

Judging the Game may be read by all of its players. Sure, it's primarily useful for those who wish to take on the role of Judge, and some players may not get a lot out of it, but there's nothing 'secret' included that would prompt Judges to forbid non-Judges from peeking. If anything, it might help non-Judges understand the effort their Judge must exert to help make their game night go!

On The Structure of Reality

A CASE Judge's first job is to determine the scenario he or she is staging for their fellows' costumed adventurers to play through. The CASE is designed such that its players can engage in adventure literally anywhere in existence, with enough thought and preparation. Narrowing down exactly where and when it will occur, though, requires a basic understanding of the structure of the reality the CASE recognizes.

An Infinity of Infinities

Characters in the Costumed Adventurer Simulation Engine experience reality in the same basic fashion as the players behind them. They typically perceive the universe around them as one comprised of three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension. This is generally more than enough to quantify one's basic, continuing existence, not to mention that of everyone and everything they interact with.

However, there are more facets to our actuality than most can readily account for in their day-to-day life. This primarily comes into play when one considers the nature of causality, which is comprised of an infinitely large probability field that represents every possible outcome of every possible event. This field forms an impossibly complex matrix of possibilities that sums up the here and now.

That infinitely large collection of previous results, present states, and future probabilities is what comprises a timeline. And for every possible outcome of every possible event at every given moment of time, a divergent timeline buds off from this first sequence, where one or more of those events transpired differently. In other words, an infinite amount of variant timelines are generated every single moment.

Over billions and billions of years, this process has continued, generating a countless array of universes both hauntingly familiar and frighteningly alien. The endless divergence of timelines occurs in a second temporal dimension, what we would consider the fifth. Not that this is a recent concept, as this realm of 'absolute everything' was known to ancient philosophers as the Aperion.

Where this gets especially complicated is when links between timelines are formed after travelers bridge the vast gulf separating them. This occurs in a third temporal dimension, a 'space' where minor multiverses form once the probability fields of two or more timelines become inextricably linked to one another. But this realm also provides a structure for additional universes to exist within a single timeline.

These other universes occupying a timeline are generally adjacent to our earth-like realm, but have their own crosstime variations just as 'we' do. Thus, every timeline where some people on earth find themselves worshiping the Aesir will have an associated Asgard, and so on. Which can lead to instances where the only differences between two timelines is how events transpire in one of these earth-adjacent planes.

Finally, there is an even further dimension we experience - or, more accurately, countless more - that defy classification by mere human logic. Consider this (these) to be the seventh dimension, a coordinate of concept whose vast reaches overlap with all others in one way or another. This is where 'locations' such as the astral plane and the mindscape occur, and events there can touch all times and spaces.


...or What To Do With All Of That

The grand tapestry of existence as described above offers a truly boundless playground within which to adventure. After all, an infinite number of timelines branching off an already infinite number of timelines upon the elapsing of each Planck unit of time means one can set up stakes and act out scenarious literally anywhere they can imagine - and that's before you account for higher dimensions and alternate multiverses!

But for the most part, players aren't going to visit literally everywhere possible, and Judges shouldn't have to plan for a countless number of possibilities. They literally can't! So, when pondering their use of the CASE, prospective Judges need to figure out what it is they intend to do with the thing. Once this is determined, the when and where one's scenario will play out typically falls into place by itself.

This starts by determining the genre of the game the Judge wishes to indulge in. Genres are categories of performance, literature, or other art that primarily conforms to a series of conventions that define it in comparison to its counterparts. In other words, genres are a sort of big tent within which one's adventures will take place, a few of the more popular of which are minimally described here:

Fantasy: "As awareness of the world slowly returns, you feel the stinging burns from the explosion that unhorsed you. A few moments later, the blunt force trauma caused by your fall from Old Bitey reminds you of the bruised ribs and cracked teeth. Getting back on your feet, you eye the source of that ruinous blast, the mad wizard cackling in the middle of her firenado, and draw your sword."

Fantasy tales hinge on magical elements, whether they be enchanted objects, fantastic creatures, and/or literal sorcery. They can occur on present-day earth or at any moment in the past, or perhaps on entirely different worlds (or universes) entirely! These mystic elements shape the larger than life adventures of the larger than life characters trafficking in one or more occult matters.

Heroics: "flavortown text"

(insert description here)

Horror: "flavortown text"

(insert description here)

Science Fiction: "Steadily stalking up the starboard side of the smugglers' corroded craft, your magnetic boots keeping you from spinning off into the inky black void of space. Intent on breaching the criminals' mobile base of operations, you fail to notice it making the leap into hyperspace until its too late, and barely avoid being peeled off its pock-marked hull and forever lost across countless dimensions."

Forward-looking in nature, science fiction tends to speculate about one or more concepts of the future, taking place anywhere between the current day and age to the end of time. Its characters invariably have to deal with conceptual innovations to come, most often involving technology and the changes wrought by it, whether it has been freshly introduced to their world or has shaped society for countless eons.

War: "flavortown text"

(insert description here)

mystery, western


...or Narrowing It Down Further

(workin' on it)


It may not shock you to realize that I am nowhere near completing this work. I'm still bending my head around everything I want to describe, which is a lot more in depth than the ten or whatever pages the old books provided. The trick is to include everything without losing everyone, which is, you know, tricksy. Here's hoping I can actually pull this keystone of the rules off!

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