A zero-prep roleplaying game of saving the universe by bending reality as you pull off the perfect heist.
Heists are hard. The most beautiful jobs rely on meticulous planning and perfect execution. And even then, some wrench always seems to get thrown into the works. An unexpected twist (or three!) that throws the whole plan into disarray. But you’re pretty awesome at pulling it all back together and coming out on top—with panache!
How do you do it?
A heist in Stealing Stories unfolds in three Acts. In Act One, the GM and the players work together to create the heist—the scenario and the plan, together at the same time. The GM starts the mission briefing with the objective and location, like: “The key is a thumb drive kept in an office building in the middle of Dallas.”
Then the group starts building the plan, suggesting elements that fit their strengths. If a PC is good at climbing, crawling, and getting through tight spots, the player might say there’s access to the office suite via the air ducts. But then the GM steps in with a complication: “Yes, but there’s no vent access from the ground level. They connect to the roof.” The players suggest a stairwell, fire escape, or access from a nearby building, and the GM adds in the security cameras, patrols, or other complications. In this way, the players and GM work together until they’ve created a detailed scenario, and an equally detailed plan, all at the same time.
Once you move into Act Two, the action starts. You’re good at what you do, but the universe doesn’t always play ball. You’ll call on your excellent skills, your wits, and your lies as you overcome the challenges you foresaw in your plan. But there’s always more to it than that, right?
The GM will throw a few Twists in here and there—things that no plan, no matter how careful, can fully anticipate. And then there’s the Turn: The moment where the mission goes in a surprise direction. Maybe there’s another team after the same thing. Or an unrelated emergency nearby puts the authorities on high alert. A storm rolls in, or a fire breaks out, or the target isn’t where or what you thought it was. Suddenly, everything is different.
It's time to think on your feet!
In Act Three you close in on success (or at least a conclusion!). The stakes are higher. The results more definitive. Your actions are bigger, bolder, grander. It’s now or never.
But you've got even more at your disposal than wits, skill, and lies. Mission Cards give players an additional resource for playing heist-savvy characters. One might reveal that you brought a special tool perfect for the situation. Another might let a story from your past pertain to this one, making the current challenge easier. A third might provide a way in which your character is prepared or knowledgeable for the situation at hand (even when you, the player, are not). It's all part of a game that makes the perfect heist come together.
A Zero-Prep Roleplaying Game. Really!
Prepping to run Stealing Stories for the Devil is easy—because there’s literally zero prep work. You start the session with a few key pieces of information, then build the scenario with the players in Act One. If you and the players are already conversant in the rules, you can all be playing within five minutes.
Stealing Stories for the Devil contains all the rules you need to play—and more importantly, the structure and resources that make a collaboratively created game session amazingly easy, fun, and successful with zero prep. Everything you need is included in the game.
That includes powerful GM tools. Loads of resources, ideas, and inspiration let you take the scenario you’ve created with the players and, in minutes, layer in the details that bring it to life. The game includes dozens of maps, images, NPC generation tools, Twist ideas, and more. Easy-to-use reference materials let you quickly answer the questions that come up for the scenario, like "How long will it take for the fire department to show up," or, "What happens when the shaft is jammed with debris?" It'll seem like you prepped for hours!
A Campaign Full of Astonishing Twists and Turns
A one-shot can be a fun way to play Stealing Stories for the Devil—and its zero-prep nature makes it ideally suited for a spur-of-the-moment game. A one-shot game is going to feel like a typical heist tale (think of films like Ocean’s 11, Heist, The Italian Job, etc., or television shows like Lupin or Leverage) with just a little bit of sci-fi.
But as you might have already surmised, there's more going on here than meets the eye.
Stealing Stories gives you a fascinating meta-plot, filled with as many surprising twists and astonishing turns as any individual heist. It takes the PCs through a "season" of gameplay as they come to grasp the big picture and discover what's really going on. You can also run an open-ended campaign, taking the story in any direction your gaming group desires.
The core twelve-heist season begins like a standalone adventure, but quickly introduces mysterious forces at play, delivers surprising twists, gets stranger (with more science fiction/science fantasy elements), and ultimately reveals the cause of all the reality disruptions. And the characters grow and develop, as each time they successfully return reality to its natural state, they gain a little of its power for themselves.
But you aren't limited to the core season. As with most RPGs, an open-ended campaign can take on whatever style the group desires, focused more or less on the weird sci-fi elements as they wish. (You could, in fact, remove all the reality-changing aspects of the game and just run a standard, modern-day heist story.)
Everything You Need in One Box
Stealing Stories for the Devil contains everything you need to play with zero prep: The rules, resources, and game components, all in a handsome box.
- Liars (the primary rulebook)
- The Devil (the GM's book full of background information, secrets, and the twelve-heist season of games)
- The Stories They Steal (a GM's reference book filled with resources and information—super handy for running heists on the fly!)
- Twist, Turn, and Mission cards
- Character and reference sheets for the players
- Dozens and dozens of maps, handouts, and other resources