Itras By

Itras by is a surreal roleplaying game set in a city reminiscent of Europe in the 1920’s. The system is card based and focuses on freeform and improvisation.

The rule system in a narrow sense is simple and takes up only a few pages. Itras By pioneered the use of Matthiijs Holter’s resolution cards (also featured in e.g. Archipelago III), and additionally features a Chance Card system. The resolution cards have texts like “Yes, but…”, “No, and…”, “Yes, and…” etc. The results are interpreted by players.

The Chance Cards can be drawn once per session by each player, and serve to infuse the game with a surrealist touch.

Game Type: 
Roleplaying Game
Collaborative Story
Crunch: 
2 - Focus/Imagination
Players: 
2+
GM?: 
Yes
Free?: 
No
Excerpt: 

Don't Block
It might not be too pedagogical to start by telling you what you’re not supposed to do (and as most naughty children, you’ll hopefully break all our rules at one point or the other), but this one’s quite important, so we’d like to stress it. “Don’t block” also translates to “don’t be a jerk”. Check it out:

Player 1: Guys! I heard this rumor about grimasques smuggling cursed antiques down by the docks. What say we go investigate?
Player 2: No, I don’t want to have anything to do with grimasques, they’re horrid.

Sound like fun? No. See what Player 2 is doing: he’s blocking, or denying, if you will. He’s refusing to accept the input of fellow players (including the gamemaster). This, boys and girls, is NOT the way to have fun while roleplaying. But it’s a great way of making sure nothing happens and that we’re all very bored.So what should we do instead? Easy (or Hard):

Build
In addition to being the system of the game, the resolution cards described in the previous chapter are intended to socialize players not to block.

You remember how the cards work. None of them just say “Yes” or “No”. They all go “Yes, and…”, “No, but…” and so forth. This shouldn’t just be the mode of play while using the cards; it should be the mode of play at all points. In many roleplaying games, there’s a fairly strict divide between player and gamemaster authority. We like to blur this line somewhat, and that’s what the cards do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add to the story when not using the cards. Rather the opposite.

Have you played it?