Gests & Experience in #LincolnGreen

This #Greenwoodnesday I’m going to talk about the Gest of #LincolnGreen and how it fits into advancement, resolution and pacing.

But first, what you need to know about The Gest of Robyn Hode:

↣ It’s one of the oldest written records of the legend of Robin Hood, but nowhere near the oldest tales told of gode Robyn.

↣ The G in gest is pronounced like the G in gif.

↣ Gest does not mean guest, but rather a noble deed or exploit, or a story told of such a deed or exploit.

And what you need to know about #LincolnGreen:

↣ It’s my Robin Hood-inspired game.

↣ In it, the term points refers not to numbers or tallies, but to facts in the game fiction. Much like a point in an argument.

↣ Points Established are points previously agreed upon in the game to be true.
↣ Experience Points are not an ongoing score of how close you are to the next level, but rather a specialize form of Points Established that describe your experiences and grant you certain benefits. More on this below.

↣ Game Warden or Warden is the term for GM.

↣ In the game, you don’t accomplish things with rolls, you accomplish them with points. To hunt the king’s deer, you tell the Warden how you plan to do it. Then the Warden takes in all the points and decides how successful you are. If there’s danger afoot, you might need to make a saving throw or two, but you won’t throw anything to find out if you managed to hunt a deer.

Gests in #LincolnGreen

A list of gests will looks something like this:

◯◯ Fail a saving throw.
◯ Feast with a companion.
◯ Feast with a foe.
◯ Warm the heart of your companions through song, tale, or jest.
◯ Free an imprisoned or shackled ally.
◯◯◯ Feed the poor.
◯◯◯ Rob the rich.
◯ Engage in a wager in which you were out-matched.
◯◯ Engage in a wager witnessed by a balladeer or storyteller.
◯ Engage in a contest in which you were out-matched.
◯◯ Engage in a contest witnessed by a balladeer or storyteller.
◯ Pass the first round of a tourney.
◯ Pass the second round of a tourney.
◯ Win a tourney.

The actual list is still being worked out and will differ a bit from tradition to tradition. For example, most of the gests above are things you’ll probably want to do, but the Outlaw tradition will also feature harsh lessons, such as:

◯◯◯ Witness the death of an ally.

At the end of a session, the group recounts their deeds, checking off the gests from the list as they are mentioned. You can only check a gest off if it has an unchecked circle available. So winning a tourney can only be checked once, but feeding the poor can be checked up to three times.

When you have checked off a certain amount–an amount to be determined through more playtesting, but let’s say 6 for now–you can erase their checks and then convert a Point Established into an Experience Point. More on that Experience Point business in a moment. The important part here is that, once you’ve erased a check for gest it’s available to be checked again.

All of the gests above are about things that might happen and they’re unchecked, you’re rewarded if they do happen. There are another kind of gest. The sort that are checked when you wish to make something happen. They let you do things, even if it wasn’t previously established that you could. For example:

◯ Add to a proficiency litany.

A proficiency litany is one possible benefit from an Experience Point. There’s a little more about this below, but essentially it’s a list of things you’re capable of thanks to an Experience Point. If you’re a potter, you can

↣ make pottery,
↣ judge the quality of ceramic goods,
↣ and balance many a delicate things.

But perhaps at some point you wish to drive a cart, something potter must do to get their wares to market. When it comes up, ask the Warden if it is reasonable for a potter to know such things. If the answer is yes, check off the gest and add to your potter’s proficiency litany:

↣ Drive cart.

You have not only established that you are more skilled than previously thought, but are now one checked gest closer to a new Experience Point.

Speaking of which…

Experience Points in #LincolnGreen

So what does it mean to convert a Point Established to an Experience Point? Look to your character’s experiences and choose something so important that it shouldn’t be forgotten in the long nights between games. Something so important that it should grant you special abilities within the rules. Write it down and choose two benefits it grants.

Something like, “Threw Merle of Duncaster in a wrestling match before his own village folk,” or “Escaped the dungeons of the sheriff on the eve of execution,” or even something as simple as “Farmer.”

Here’s the current list of benefits you have to choose from. Some of these descriptions are a bit vague because they involve parts of the system I haven’t discussed here, but hopefully you get the picture. For each Experience Point, choose two:

↣ Toiling & Tending: This benefit establishes a product or result you get from an appropriate amount of unfettered toiling and tending. For example, a farmer might have “Three seasons worth of toiling and tending on good land will yield food enough to feed a family and sell at market,” or a ne’er-do-well might have “A day spent toiling & tending will yield a night’s worth of amusement in ill-gotten gains.”

↣ Saving Grace: There are two parts to a Saving Grace. The first is the condition under which you may ignore the result of a saving throw and just succeed and the second is the condition that must be met before you can use your saving grace again. Example: “Crepuscular: Save versus being discovered at dawn or dusk. Refresh after you have slept during the day or in the dead of night.”

↣ Proficiency Litany: As mentioned above, this is a specific list of things your character can do thanks to this particular Experience Point. When you first get it, you should have three things on the litany, but it will grow as you play. For example, a monk might have: “Rites and ceremonies; literacy; and chanting” to begin with.

↣ Butt Advantage: For use in the Butt System. A Butt Advantage makes you more formidable in certain competitions. For example: “Butt Advantage: Quarterstaffs.”

↣ Beloved Reputation: This is a thing you are known for that will allow you to call upon the aid and comfort of the common folk and sympathetic nobles. The Outlaw tradition also allows for Nefarious Reputations.

↣ Question/Demand: This one…hmmm…I’m going to have to work out how to explain this one. #LincolnGreen is full of scripted questions that are used in specific situations–like during a battle or a competition or a saving throw–and scripted questions that are more generally available when you want to focus the conversation and establish certain points–like who’s on watch and when, what do you hear at the door, or how can I best please this duke. Who gets to ask which questions of whom is kind of important, and this benefit allows you to play with that in particularly powerful ways. For example, you may be particularly crafty in combat and have a Question/Demand benefit that reads “While I dodge, my foe must ask me, ‘Where are you leading me?'”

↣ Unique Gest: Some experience points will come with additional gests that allow you to squeeze a little extra out of your reward. For example, a minstrel might have the Unique Gest “◯ Warm the heart of your companions through song,” which allows them to do so twice, once in the normal list of gests and once with the unique one.

Whew, okay, that’s enough for this #Greenwoodnesday. More next week.


  1. nerdwerds · May 25, 2017

    the G in Gif has two pronunciations, maybe pick a better example
    is it pronounced like Graphic or Giant?
    is it Guest or Jest?

  2. Pingback: The Glorious Butt System | Dig a Thousand Holes Publishing
  3. Pingback: The Supernatural & Other Strangeness in #LincolnGreen | Dig a Thousand Holes Publishing

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