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Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Three stories rss

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R. N. Dominick
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Cincinnati
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I have owned Once Upon a Time for eleven years. We played it today for the first time. After a quick explanation of the rules, we launched into the game. We had a very good time, and ended up playing thrice; we each got to start a story and each got to finish one, which is pleasingly symmetrical. The stories were long, meandering and fairly hysterical -- we had to stop the game many times because someone got the giggles and couldn't go on.

Our first story was about a woodcutter who lived alone in a cottage in the woods. He was infatuated with a beautiful girl named Golden-locks who lived in town. One day while returning from the marketplace after having sold his logs, he found her lost in the forest and offered her a ride home. They got to talking on the way, and found that they had many of the same interests and liked the same book and many things besides, and before they had gotten to town, they had fallen in love. Soon, they were married, and a year and a day later they had a child. What Golden-locks had not told her new husband, however, was that she had a morbid fear of axes. The reason for this fear was that one of her
brothers had accidentally killed her other brother with an axe, and had been imprisoned for it. He escaped and went home, but when he saw how sad he had made his family he knew he shouldn't bring more trouble down upon them and left forever. So one day, after she had placed a freshly-baked cherry pie on the sill to cool, she went out and sat in the garden where she saw a bunny rabbit. "Oh, Mr. Rabbit, please leave my carrots alone," she said, and the rabbit replied "Of course I will! They're yours and not mine." Golden-locks, looking at the rabbit, realized that he was blind; his eyes were completely clouded over. She did not trust the rabbit's promise to not molest her carrots, so she brewed up a potion of essence of wolf with her handy chemistry set and doused the carrots with them, so that no bunny rabbits would come near. To make extra-sure that the blind rabbit wouldn't eat her carrots, she grabbed him and stuck him in a box and mailed him to Tasmania. With that threat to her produce out of the way, Golden-locks went on to prepare dinner for her husband: a roast, with stewed potatoes and carrots. Unfortunately, as it turns out, essence of wolf is very, very poisonous, and the woodcutter fell ill quite quickly and suffered for days. In the hold of the royal mail's ship, the blind talking bunny rabbit chewed his way out of his cardboard prison, hopped up on to the deck and -- much to the surprise of the stunned sailors -- sprouted wings and flew away. His keen sense of smell and the warmth of the sun told him which direction to fly, and he eventually made his way back to the kingdom, and the forest, and the cottage, and the garden, and inside the house where he found Golden-locks weeping over her dead husband. But that wasn't enough punishment for him, so he turned them both to stone, "and there they sit to this day".

The second story: A very tiny princess is quickly cursed to sleep and sleep she does, for three hundred years. Time passes. A tradition springs up in the kingdom that each person must make a pilgrimage to the sleeping princess' castle to see her before becoming an adult. A boy from the Island of Oak Trees (revealed much later to be named Ferd) sets out in a boat on his pilgrimage. He spends a lot of time huddled in the bottom of said boat as vile knaves other ne'er-do-wells shoot arrows at him and perform other dastardly and dangerous deeds. He reaches the castle, but instead of going to view the princess, decides to try and make a quick buck off of all the other pilgrims. He enlists the aid of an old witch, who, looking at her books, remembers the legend of King Arthur and they hatch a rather improbable scheme: why not stick a sword in a stone, spread word that the person who pulls the sword from the stone and completes a dangerous quest will wake the princess and be a damn big hero. They enlist the aid of the local blacksmith to stick the sword in the stone and affix it with molten metal so that no-one would could ever pull it out. They spread rumors and tie little scrolls to the legs of wild birds and release them to spread the word about the sword in the stone. In the strange kingdom of weird people, where everyone is a beggar and goes hungry, one of the message-bearing birds is killed and eaten and its message is tossed aside. The wise King of the beggars picks it up, and figures that if some hero completes this task, he will be able to forge a new political alliance with the other unnamed kingdom and bring money to their country so they can stop starving and begging all the time. He finds the biggest, burliest strongest and least disfigured beggar in the country and sends him off to find his fortune. The poor guy can't pull the sword from the stone, however, but he figures it's only because he is so very hungry, so he goes into town and begs for some coins for dinner. Fortified by a hearty repast of stew and bread, he returns and is able to pull the sword free. Having not planned for this eventuality, Ferd and the witch quickly hatch yet another plot to send the beggar hero off to the Tulgey Wood, which is a very dangerous place filled with sharp-toothed animals and a very long way away besides, to kill a rampaging giant, figuring he'll get killed on the way there or killed by the animals or killed by the giant or killed on the way back. However, he requests a chance to wake the princess before taking on the quest, and that request is granted. He visits the princess in her tiny glass case (which has air-holes, it must be noted), and sees that she is very beautiful (tho small) except for a wickedly ugly head of hair, which is coiffed in the most hideous fashion. However his mother had always taught him not to judge on appearances, so he prepared to kiss the princess. As he was running his hands through her hair, he found out that her hair was actually many very tiny snakes... extremely venomous snakes... and the poison killed him right on the spot. Since nobody else had been privy to these goings-on, Ferd and the witch stuck up a sign reading "Castle closed due to repairs", dragged the dead beggar hero out back and buried him in a shallow unmarked grave. They had the sword re-fixed into the stone and set everything up again. (And took the sign back down, too.) Meanwhile, Ferd's stepmother, who had been wondering what happened to him, sailed her own boat up the dangerous river in an attempt to find him. She told him that he wasn't going to make any money with his own plan, but that she had knowledge of the princess' curse and knew what to do. She sent him into the castle with a pair of wire cutters. He found the princess' glass casket (with air-holes) still open, and he proceeded to snip the poisonous snakes to death with the cutters. Underneath them he found a fabulously valuable and really really tiny crown. As he took it, though, the Queen showed up and was very wroth. She said that she had stood by and let them try to make money off of the pilgrims, but that interfering with the sacred sleeping princess herself was much too much. She banished Ferd and his step-mother from the kingdom. They sailed the step-mother's boat back down the river, huddling in the bottom to avoid the bandits, and returned via ocean to the Island of Oak Trees. They returned to farming. One day the step-mother looked out the window and saw a fluttering fairy, who told her that the princess was awake and requesting their return, and to bring the tiny crown with them. They returned, huddling in the bottom of the boat to avoid being recognized. The princess, rather than being angry, bestowed gifts upon them, thanking them for releasing her from the curse. However, she needed them to return the crown to keep her from ever being cursed again. They returned it, "and she never let it out of her sight again".

Third story: There was a king with a beautiful daughter. The royal family lived happily for eight years, until the Queen was killed in a tragic hunting accident. The people were very angered, and the poor hunter who shot the Queen was thrown into prison. For two years the kingdom mourned. The princess felt sorry for the hunter and visited him in prison to tell him she forgave him, and fell in love with him at first sight. She couldn't bear the thought that he was in prison, so she hatched a plan to get him out. She prepared a place for him to hide out in the cave complex behind the prison, came to the prison, picked the lock on his cell door with a hairpin and put him there. There was a huge manhunt for the hunter, but nobody could ever find him. Just as the hunt died down the King announced that he was re-marrying, and the princess was caught up in the marriage plans. She found she couldn't stand her future step-mother and decided to leave right away. After a busy day, having had her third dress fitting and dancing lessons and several other wedding-related events, she snuck out of the castle via the kitchen, where her friend the Cook gave her lots of food. She walked through the darkened village, gnawing on a hunk of meat. She was lucky that nobody saw her, but stupid -- she was leaving a trail of food crumbs that a lean and hungry wolf named Cassius found and started following her. She sprung her beloved hunter from his hidden cave, and said "We must leave tonight!" So they did. They followed the road out of town and the wolf followed them, and they came to a crossroads. In one direction was the Tulgey Wood, and, as we had previously established, that is a very dangerous place indeed. In another direction lay an impassable mountain range where lots of mining was going on, but mines are no help in escaping. The third direction led to parts unknown -- the road only went so far and then there was unexplored territory. They flipped a coin and decided to strike out for parts unknown. After six days and seven nights they came upon the ruins of a massive castle, which was overgrown with ivy and falling down in places. There was no food to be had there, which was unfortunate, so the two of them were very hungry; and there was no living creature nearby, so the wolf was hungry too. The wolf approached the two travelers, and the princess said to the hunter "I don't like the way that wolf is looking at me, he's drooling like I'm some kind of pork chop on the hoof." But as she talked to her companion, his body began to shimmer; his extreme hunger was overpowering a spell that had been cast on him years before, which had changed him into a human. Before her eyes he reverted to his original form: that of a wolf, so that there were two wolves and one princess. Before long, there were two wolves and no princess, and the moral of this story is "you should always be sure of your companions".

As I put the game away, we were talking about how fun it was and making plans to play again soon. We also had several ideas on how to put the included blank cards to good use (this game is in desperate need of a "Pirate" card!).
 
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Mike Adams
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Brigham City
Utah
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atholbrose wrote:
(this game is in desperate need of a "Pirate" card!)


Good point! arrrh
 
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