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Twisted Confessional | Lexicon

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This is a list of all Lexicon games hosted on the Confessional.

Lexicon Game

This has been adapted from The Original Lexicon: The RPG by Neel Krishnaswami. The rules are mostly unchanged, though clarified and expanded. Several variations and house rules can be found at the bottom, collected from research on the 'net.

The basic idea of a Lexicon Game is that each player takes on the role of a scholar, from before scholarly pursuits became professionalized (or possibly after they ceased to be). You are cranky, opinionated, prejudiced and eccentric. You are also collaborating with a number of your peers - the other players - on the construction of an encyclopedia.

This encyclopedia is an historic one describing some bounded space - a world, or a nation, or an historic event, or perhaps a person or object. Your scholar should have his own entry on the Wiki, and generally you should stick to one scholar for the entire game. Scholars might very well be played over multiple Lexicon games, sometimes even by multiple players.


Before the game is started, the player hosting the particular Lexicon should set the general subject - being preferably vague, but giving enough guidance that the players don't start on nothing. "You are all scholars arguing about how the Void Ghost Rebellion led to the overthrow of the theocracy and the establishment of the Third Republic." What that theocracy entailed, or what happened to the first two republics, or what the Void Ghost Rebellion is, are all unknown - they are named specifically to evoke a mood and inspire the other players' creativity.

The host should decide how many days each turn should be, and what the indices are. Each index comprises one turn, so for standard Lexicon Game playing with one index for each letter of the alphabet, there would be 26 turns. There should then be a short period of time where players can announce their intentions to play, and choose an author/scholar to portray.

  1. On the first turn, each player writes their first entry in the first index. You come up with the name of the entry, and you write 100-200 words or so on the subject. At the end of the article, you sign the name of the scholar you're working on, and make two citations to other entries in the encyclopaedia.

    These entries will be phantoms - their names exist, but their content will get filled in only on the appropriate turn. Generally speaking, no category may have more entries than the number of players - and all citations made on the first turn must be in later categories.

    Entries have a standardized format, which should be adhered to; scholar pages also have their own format. Always add a link to any entry you write on your scholar page!
  2. On the second and subsequent turns, continue to write entries. Now, however, you need to make 3 citations - one must be a reference to an already-written entry, and two more must be to unwritten entries (either new phantoms, or existing phantoms cited in previous entries). Additional backwards citations are allowed, but you may have no more than two phantom citations.

    On your last turn, you need cite 0 phantom entries, and on the second to last turn, you need only cite one.

    It is an academic sin to cite yourself, so your scholar may never cite another entry he has written, and may never write a phantom entry he has cited. As the number of entries per turn tend to be limited, phantom entries should be taken/claimed first where possible, and free entries written only after. Scholars are also encouraged to refrain from citing phantoms they have previously cited. This is not, however, a strict rule.

    Despite the fact that your peers are self-important, narrow-minded dunderheads, they are honest scholars. No matter how strained their interpretations are, their FACTS are as accurate as historical research can make them. So if you cite an entry, you have to treat its factual content as true! (Although you can argue against the interpretation and may introduce new facts to shade the interpretation).
  3. A player can call dibs on any one phantom entry in either the current index, or the next in line. Whoever calls dibs first, has it. One cannot call 'dibs' on an empty space, and cannot call dibs more than one index in advance.
  4. An author generally belongs to a given player for the entire duration of a Lexicon, and is encouraged to speak with a distinctive voice. Players should not change authors on a whim - there are numerous other techniques to vary writing style and presentation without sacrificing character continuity. Of course, the host of the Lexicon Game is the final judge.

    Lexicons on other sites have historically been very lax on this last point, allowing players to dance between authors at will. Any Lexicon Game on the Twisted Confessions wiki will have this point enforced.

Lexicon Links


Variations of Order

  • Letter Groups - A vanilla game of Lexicon has 26 turns, one for each letter of the alphabet, and assuming a turn every day but Sunday, plays over the course of a month. Some alternatives are listed below.
    • Groups of two letters (AB, CD, ..., YZ) - 13 turns, or two weeks
    • Telephone Keypad. (ABC, DEF, ..., WXYZ) - 8 turns, or a week and a half
    • Letter groups based on frequency within the language.
  • Non-Letter indices - There are other ways of organizing beyond letters. Some suggestions are below.
    • Dates (season, months, years, days)
    • Symbols (tarot major arcana, runes, elements, D&D alignments)
  • Scattered Sequence - In this variation, each player chooses a different index to start with, then moves forward sequentially from their starting point, looping back around to the beginning after reaching the end. In Scattered Sequence games, dibs are generally unimportant unless two players are choosing the same/similar letters.
    • A proposed (but untried) alternative to Scattered Sequence is Jumbled Sequence, where each player gets their own, jumbled, letter order. One player might start on ABC, while the second would have BWK, and the third maybe DZA. This feels overly complex.
    • An interesting Variation of Type for the Scattered Sequence is the following: "Each entry requires two phantom entries - one to an earlier index, and one to a later index." The exceptions to this are, of course, the first and last index, which can only look forwards and backwards.
  • Nonsequential Lexicon - On each turn, each player writes one entry in any index they choose, in which they haven't already written. In addition, they may not write a new entry for an index if that index has an available phantom entry (i.e. not already cited or dibbed).
    • The Nonsequential Lexicon is the first Variation proposed that allows there to be more turns than indices, or less. Several possibilities occur:
    • The number of turns less than the number of indices. In this case, whole letters can sometimes get skipped entirely. Players should make a good-faith effort to fill in existing phantom entries, and perhaps the last few turns should prohibit the creation of new entries.
    • The number of turns is greater than the number of indices. In this case, don't allow multiple entries for any given index until there are no available spots in all existing indices.
    • This variation is untested and there are several obvious problems with handling phantoms.
  • Fixed Size Indices - Rather than setting the size of an Index as equal to the number of players, indices can be given a fixed size, either the same across the board, or varying by Index. In this case, a turn lasts until all available entries are filled, and then immediately moves on to the next. A dibbed phantom entry is considered filled.
    • Usually, the rule here would be only one entry per scholar, regardless of required entries. Other variations apply, especially if you want certain indices to be more populous than others.
    • With fixed size indices, it might be allowable to dib a free entry, though never more than one. Dibs of this nature should be given an expiration date however, generally no more than a few days.
    • Fixed Size Indices is a second-level Variation of Order, and as such that works well with the other Variations of Order listed above.
  • Follow the Phantoms - On the first turn, each player creates a single entry under any index they desire. On subsequent turns, players must only fill in phantom entries, although they may fill them in from any letter. Citations on all future turns must include one existing entry, and two phantoms (existing or otherwise). Only if there are no available phantoms (through dibs and prior citation) can a player create a new entry.
    • In Follow the Phantoms, the dibs rule becomes "no player may have dibs on more than one entry at a time." The length of a turn determines the minimum time between entries.
    • The host should feel free to call any turn a 'free' turn, allowing all current players to create a new entry if they desire. New players that come in later should also be allowed one freely-created entry, again if they desire.
    • Follow the Phantoms has no natural endpoint, making it perfect for a perpetual game where new players come in at any time. Of course, like Fixed Sized Indices above, a game can always set a maximum number of turns.
    • If a game does not set a maximum number of turns, but it's clear that the game is about to end, a 'sunset' can be invoked. During the sunset, the only citations that are made must be to existing articles and phantoms. Once everything is filled, the game is over.

Variations of Type

  • The Rule of X - In the English language, not a lot of things start with X. So in one game, the Rule of X was made, that was defined as follows: "When reaching X, once all phantoms are claimed, players may create a new entry in any other letter, assuming all the other rules are followed."
    • When playing in English, this is an excellent rule to use for Q, X and, sometimes, Z. Players playing in other languages know what letters are infrequent, and will be able to decide what to avoid.
    • This rule helps add a bit of irregularity to the entries, rather than the somewhat artificial "every index has the same number of entries" feel a generic Lexicon game inspires.
  • Codependence - In order to encourage interconnection, the following alternative can be put in place regarding phantom citations: On the first turn, two phantom entries must be created, as per normal. Afterwards, each entry must have a citation referencing at least ONE existing phantom. On the last turn, no citations are made. On the second to last turn, exactly one phantom citation, either new or existing, must be made.
    • This synergizes well with Follow the Phantoms above, to keep entries from exploding in size.
  • Credence - Credence makes the unofficial annotations players sometimes enjoy putting into their posts, official. Under Credence, each entry may have only one phantom citation. However, for each annotation, the opining player may add an additional phantom citation. Furthermore, that citation is considered to be cited by the scholar authoring the article, not the annotation - thus an annotator could point a reader to an entry he eventually writes.
    • You may never annotate your own entry, and no scholar may annotate an entry more than once.
    • Codependence and Credence are natural companions.
    • An interesting alternative to the basic Credence rules is to have annotations handled by a second set of characters, who are putting in their comments after the book is completed. Each player would then have two characters - the scholars writing the book, and the ones annotating the same book later on.