Inuma: The Yellow Book

Author: Clinton R. Nixon
Version: Development
Copyright: 2007 Clinton R. Nixon
License:This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Story gaming

This book contains the rules to take the worlds you've created with Inuma and do something fun with them. You're going to make a story, but you're also going to play a game, but there's not going to be a score and no one's going to lose. As you can see, this activity is not easy to define. It is what it is. We call it "story gaming."

You'll need two to five friends to story game. It will take between one and three hours, depending on how many people are involved. What you're going to do is create a short story that can be tied together with other short stories to weave an epic involving the world you've created.

Generally, everyone playing will have the same things to do, but sometimes the "host" will have special duties. This is usually the person who invited everyone to play a story game or the person who owns the Inuma set, but it can be anyone you designate.

Getting ready for play

When you decide to play a story game, you will not necessarily have any idea what your game's story will be like. If you've played before, the events of the previous games will influence the story, but you still have a lot to fill in. In order to start the story, you'll have to narrow your options some, using two steps.

Choosing characters

First, each person playing will choose a character from the many that you have created for your world. There is an important rule to follow here: at least one protagonist, one antagonist, and one anchor must be chosen. Otherwise, choose whichever characters you like. Talk out loud about what characters you're considering, so others can think of characters that would be fun in combination.

Different groups of story gamers have different ways of approaching picking characters. Some groups have certain people start to identify with certain characters, picking them more often, while other groups like to mix it up, where anyone might play a certain character. If two people want to play the same character, the host should help them figure out what to do. The rules of civility help here, and you should make a decision that maximizes the fun for everyone.

Once everyone has chosen characters, take the chance to have everyone say what character they are playing and notice what connections those characters have with each other.

The word round

The next step will help you generate ideas for your story. Everyone should be around a table or in a circle to play this part of the game.

The host should look at the world's Blue Book and pick either an element or theme that is written there. Make a mark beside that element or theme, so that it is not ever picked again. Say that phrase, the element or theme, out loud to the group. Everyone in the group should repeat the phrase as one.

The person to the left of the host should say a word or phrase that the first phrase reminds them of. It should be related somehow, but feel free to make far-fetched connections and not think too much about it. Your mind knows how words connect and knows the flow of a story. If you can listen to that flow without overthinking it, then you've got it.

The person to the left should pick this up. It should go around the circle as many times as it needs to, with each person saying a word or phrase that the last word or phrase is related to. When someone can find a path back to the original phrase, you're done!

Most certainly need an example here.

The words and phrases you said aloud will help you out in the game. Everyone should have been listening. The ideas your group had will stick in your mind and whenever you are playing and need an element to put into the story, you will have a bag full of ideas from the word round.

Adding traits

As you look at the character you have chosen, you will notice three traits filling in the sentence at the top of the character sheet. There should be a personality trait, a job, role, or creature type, and something your character is connected to. These are your main traits. Under each of these traits, there is a column. If this character has been played before, there might be things written in these columns.

The first column, under the character's main personality trait, should have adjectives describing the character. These can describe the character's personality, physicality, or anything else about the character.

The second column, under the character's job, role, or creature type, should have action phrases, like "chopping wood." These should always be a verb and an object in this form. These are things the character is good at doing or is known for doing.

The third column should have people, places, or things the character is connected to. These can be positive or negative. The character's best friend and worst enemy, for example, can both be written here.

There should be up to seven total traits written under these three columns in total. With the three traits written above the columns, that will be at most 10 traits the character has.

If the character you've chosen to play has less that 10 traits total, you can add some traits now. If your character just has the three above the columns, like when you first play a character, you can fill in three new traits. If your character has 7 or less total traits, you can fill in two new traits. Otherwise, you can fill in one new trait.

You can fill in whatever type of traits you want. A good recommendation is to take a connection with another character being played in this story. This will always be useful to you.

Drawing stones

The last task to do before play is drawing stones. You should have a bag with 100 colored stones in it at the table. Every player should draw five stones from this bag and place the stones in front of them. Any player playing an antagonist should draw five more stones, for a total of 10. These stones will be used to increase your success at performing tasks in play, and changing the order of play.

When you are done drawing stones, you are ready for play!

Outline of the rest

Below here is a rough draft of the rest.

The order of play

Starting with the game's host, and moving to the left, each player should have a scene with their character in it. They can put any other players' characters in the scene that they want, and those players must play them. They can also make up new characters, called supporting characters that are not represented by a character sheet. They must ask someone else to play those characters.

If someone asks to have your character in a scene, and you do not want your character in that scene, you may pay one stone from your reserve to not be in the scene. They can pay a stone back, and you two can bid until a decision is made. Likewise, if you want to be in a scene that you are not welcome in, you can pay a stone to be in that scene. If you have a connection to the main character for the scene, you can come in for free.

Supporting characters

New characters can be made up at any time, but they are supporting characters and are not as powerful, game-wise, as the main characters for the story. Characters not chosen for the story, but already made up, are also supporting characters.


Whenever you state what you are doing in a scene, any other participant can try to stop you.

Conflict procedure

  • Choose traits that match what you are doing or traits that you will use to prevent an action.

  • Add them up and add 2. Note that supporting characters only get two stones.

  • Draw that many stones. Place them in front of you in separated piles.

  • Are you an antagonist?

    • Yes? Roll 3 dice.
    • No? Roll 2 dice.
  • Place the stones next to the corresponding pile.

  • Add up your successes.

    • Add up all clear stones.
    • Add up all stones that match your dice.
    • Are multiple dice the same color?
      • Yes? Those stones are worth that multiple.
    • Add the clear stones + colored stones. That is your number of successes.
    • Do you wish to spend from your reserve to increase successes?
      • Yes? Place those stones in the piles and add up your successes again.
  • Does the acting player have more points than the preventing player?

    • Yes? The acting player wins.
    • No? The defending player wins.
  • Are you dissatisfied and are you a main character?

    • No? Conflict is over.

    • Yes? Do the following:

      • Are you an anchor and do you wish to go all Gandalf?

        • Yes? Do the following:

          • Do you need a lot of help?
            • Yes? Destroy a trait and gain five stones.
            • No? Damage a trait and gain two stones.
          • Place these stones into their right piles.
        • No? Do the following:

          • Note that you are taking a consequence. These add up, and usually are bad for you.
          • Roll another die and place it next to the corresponding pile.
      • Add up successes again and compare for total success.

      • Is someone dissatisfied?

        • Yes? Do they have less than five dice in front of them?
          • Yes? Start the dissatisfaction loop over.
        • No? Conflict is over.

Consequences and damage

At the end of your conflict, draw a number of stones from the bag equal to how many consequences you took.

For each stone, do the following steps:

  • What color is the stone?
    • Red? Choose a personality trait to damage.
    • Blue? Choose an action trait to damage.
    • Yellow? Choose a connection trait to damage.
    • Clear? Place the stone in your reserve.
  • Are you a protagonist?
    • Yes? Place the stone in your reserve.

If you damage a trait, it is wounded. It cannot be used for the rest of this story, but will recover at the end of the story.

If you choose to damage that same trait again, it is destroyed. It cannot ever be used again, and will be erased at the end of the story.

If you damage a main trait, people can attempt to kill you. The only way characters can be killed is if one of their main traits is damaged and they fail a conflict in which the actor attempts to kill them, or if they are a supporting character without a character sheet.

Healing traits

Traits can be healed with clear stones from your reserve. This can turn a wounded trait back whole. You can also add traits with clear stones. This can be done at any time.

You can heal others' traits or add traits to others with clear stones. If you try to add a trait that they do not want, there should be a conflict. If you lose, you lose your stone.

Ending a game

At the end of the game, you should look at the story that has been told.

All wounded traits can be re-written or healed. If a main trait is wounded, it must be re-written. If it is the third main trait, the character can change type.

Someone should record the major happenings of the story in the Blue Book. Put the characters away and you're done!