Breaking (o)U(t)P – A Role-Playing Poem

by Thom Kiraly

Breaking (o)U(t)P.

This is a role-playing poem for two players about breaking up/out. The poem deals with how we communicate and say things without saying them. It also touches on the fear of being left by a loved one leading one to leave before they get a chance to.

The aim of the game is to say a specific phrase without using spoken words. This is done through gestures. The game ends once someone has been able to express their phrase through gestures or once all spoken words have been replaced by gestures and none of the players are speaking.

I stumbled upon the concept of RPG Poems over at the Norwegian Style blog. Check it out for other, more condensed, examples of poems.
Also, don’t forget to check out my RPG podcast Märklighetstroget.

Write three phrases per person of 4-10 words each. Bring them to the game.

Player A writes:
1. I want to break up.
2. This is not working.
3. I don’t love you anymore.

Player B writes:
1. I want to break up.
2. Let’s just be friends, ok?.
3. We should stop seeing each other.

Agree on playing area. There are three alternatives:
1. A Café (must be an actual café)
2. At home (must be the actual home of one of the players)
3. Out walking (must be played while on an actual walk)

When you meet up, show each other that you have brought three notes. The other player will pick one of your notes without reading the text on it and give it to you. This will be the phrase you’ll have to express through gestures to end the game.
Note: Writing the same phrase on every note is playing safe. Don’t play safe, break up.

For the game to start, the following has to have happened:
The players have met up at the agreed-upon spot,
They have picked each other’s phrases
One player has asked: “Ready?”
The other has answered: “Ready.”

During the game you are not allowed to mention the fact that you want to break up. You are, however, allowed to hint towards it by using phrases like: “I feel like I don’t know you anymore” or “we need to talk”. You are not allowed to utter words any more specific than that and you are not allowed to say your phrase out loud even if it could be interpreted as one of these hints.

You create gestures by repeating a word the other player has just said while at the same time making a clear and distinctive gesture. The anchoring of a gesture to a word has to be confirmed by the other player nodding to be valid.

The game ends when:
One of the players has been able to express their sentence through gestures
Once all spoken words have been replaced by gestures.

Once the game is over:
Go your separate ways and don’t talk to each other for at least 24 hours.

With audience = The audience are the chaperones of the couple and walk a few feet behind them, listening intently. This works for a high-society setting or one where family ties are very important.
More players = Polyamorous relationship.