Fae’s Anatomy: A Melodramatic Medical Mystery RPG parodies the stories found in procedural medical dramas. Think General Hospital, Grey’s Anatomy, M.A.S.H, or House. Only insane, because who needs realism?
One player takes on the role of the Patient, struggling to provide the medical team with enough clues so they can make a diagnosis. Each Patient can come down with any 1-of-10,000 possible diseases! Roleplay the symptoms…or die!
The rest of the players are Providers, medical professionals dedicated to solving the case and saving a life. But being a doctor is stressful! To stay focused and solve the case, our medical heroes need to steal medications from the pharmacy, make out in broom closets, and the other heinously unprofessional stuff that makes science interesting enough to watch on television.
No one starts the game knowing what’s wrong; the game “black boxes” the diagnostic puzzle so that even the Patient doesn’t know what they’re suffering from. The whole table has to work together to solve the crisis!
Fae’s Anatomy is an indie storytelling game wrapped around a sprawling logic puzzle. It features the fun and freedom of an improv game (like Fiasco or Hillfolk), but fueled by a deductive challenge difficult enough to engage more traditional RPG players.
Fae’s Anatomy is GM-less and dice-less. The rules take five minutes to learn, fit onto a single character sheet, and require no more than one person to have read anything beforehand.
Everything in Fae’s Anatomy — theme, mechanics, presentation, etc. — is designed to get the game started as quickly and easily as possible.
As much as possible, the book itself acts as the “Gamemaster.” The RPG runs off a list we call the Diagnostic and Supernatural Manual of Magical Medicine-DCLXVI (i.e. DSMMM-666). This list constitutes the combined knowledge accrued by all Doctors of Supernatural Medicine in the game’s setting.
The DSMMM-666 is split into two lists of 100 diseases, called the “Super-” and “-Natural” lists. By combining two numbers between 1-100, the Patient becomes afflicted with 1 of 10,000 possible conditions included in the game.
The DSMMM is organized into hierarchies, each element corresponding to a category (five families each), family (four diseases each) and individual disease.
Using this hierarchy, the game procedurally generates a unique combination of symptoms that players use to identify and treat the disease. The challenge comes from the fact that every individual symptom corresponds to multiple items in the DSM.
- Is the Patient’s fever the result of a viral infection. Or is it pyrokinesis again?
- We know it’s never lupus…but could it be Lepus?
- Do those boils come from a loa possession? Or the Patient’s human-dragon ancestry?
- Are the mood swings due to a regulation issue in the amygdala? Or are they a lycanthrope beginning to transform? Damn, both maybe? What phase of the moon is it?
Winning the game means using feats of medical expertise, deductive logic, and tests to determine the proper treatment.
In the world of Fae’s Anatomy, all forms of magic, spirituality, and mysticism are science. Science is just another form of wizardry. There is no difference between the two, and there never was. Every quack treatment and pseudo-science you can think of? It works. So does chemotherapy, antibiotics, and every other modern medical treatment ever theorized.
As a result of the weirdness, players can say whatever they want to establish their medical expertise. A CAT scan can mean computerized axial tomography, or it can mean rubbing a literal cat against the Patient. Just say it like you mean it! You’re a doctor, damnit!
Reality is first come, first served.