This Miracle: A freeform game about religion

rsz_pages_from_thismiracledraftscript_final_20150314This Miracle is a freeform game about religion written by Nick Fortugno and me. Download the free script for This Miracle here.

Below, we’ve got the quick pitch for the game, followed by some tips and tricks discovered in play test. If you’ve played or run the game, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.


How do religions emerge over time, and what do they mean to the faithful? This Miracle explores religion and its place within human society with storytelling, roleplaying, and arts and crafts.

During the first part of This Miracle, players work in small groups to build a set of religious myths, ceremonies, and artifacts* that are swapped from group to group to simulate how religions emerge over time. During the second part, participants enact the new religion as characters undertaking a religious pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage, they will try to work out their personal dilemmas through interacting with the divine.

In this game, you will portray an archetype, and a character that draws from that archetype. You’ll also have the opportunity to make cool stories and cooler ceremonies, unleash your inner child with some craft projects, and consider how religion can be transformative.

This American freeform game incorporates elements from Fastaval-style freeform, US indie storytelling games, and Norwegian Larp Factory-style larps. It is a game about storytelling, spirituality, and how on the journey toward self-discovery, you are never alone.

*Afterwards, these artifacts may be displayed as part of a larger pervasive game

At a Glance

Duration: 4-5 hours

Number of players: 6-12 players +3 facilitators

Genre: Mythic storytelling and spiritual pilgrimage

Player type: You are brimming with secret creativity, and don’t mind improvising story and character elements in a supportive environment. You also aren’t afraid to play hard, and even risk embarrassment for a role. You love stories and want to think deeply about religion.

Game master type: You are great at thinking on the fly and pulling story elements together with your co-facilitators to create the best player experience. You’re also good at creating a reverent tone among players, and a caring environment in which players feel they can go hard and still be supported. You are comfortable both explaining the methods of the game, and playing a character that will perform some light facilitation tasks from within the storyline.

Tips and tricks

  • tone is everything
  • Supplies that can be nice for enhancing the mood, but are not essential:  a small lamp, other objects like chimes or masks that could be useful during a ritual. In a pinch, a sheet would be a good prop to bring.
  • feel free to add a little chanting to the start of the warmup if it feels right
  • When you divide the players for act 1, try to avoid character duplicates and character opposites in the same group.
  • Tell the players that if there are contradictions that arise during play, it’s not a big deal–just roleplay past them and incorporate them into the religion. After all, old testament god is vengeful, and new testament god is loving.
  • The instructions for the very beginning of act 1 tell you to (a) do a meditation, (b) explain the storytelling game and then (c) do the storytelling game. This is silly–it flows better if you reverse the order of (a) and (b).
  • During Act 1 you make up a story and then retell it to one another several times. Do retell it a couple times, but don’t feel you have to keep going if it feels like the horse is already dead and beaten.
  • In act 2, the space is divided into the hotel (in one room) and ritual space (in another room) one of you should play the guide of the pilgrims and two of you will play temple attendants who set the space for each ritual.
  • During act 2 it can be helpful for the guide to tell the characters that this ritual might be done a little differently from how it’s done at their home temple…
  • The game is budgeted for 4 hours, and we condensed down the hotel scenes to make the game fit a four hour slot. The players told us that these scenes felt a bit short to them in play test–you could easily beef them up by 5-10 minutes if you have the freedom.
  • WARNING: In a play test, the players looked bored during Act 2, but they have assured us they were not.

If you ran or played this game, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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