Steal Away Jordan: Stories From America’s Peculiar Institution is a self-published indie RPG from Stone Baby Games with a very strong theme. Drawing from “neo-slave narratives” like Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Octavia Butler’s Kindred, it asks players to take the roles of slaves before the Civil War, an uncomfortable prospect for some players. The game needs lots of d6s and a single die marked with a skull for the 1. A character is defined by descriptive attributes that determines a slave’s Worth (expressed as a dice pool), with strong, skilled male slaves being of higher Worth than female or children slaves. A character also has 3 Goals and Motivations, each with an associated Task. Complete a Task and a Slave increases his (self) Worth. Goals and Tasks are kept hidden from the GM, but in keeping with the genre/history, the GM has the powerful task of setting a Slave’s Worth and giving him his name.
To resolve Conflicts and Goals opposed Worth dice pools are rolled to get Lucky Seven successes (paired dice that make 7). Winning minor Conflicts increases a slave’s Worth, empowering him for later major Conflicts. The Skull die is rolled for luck or desperation, but a bad roll (the Skull) can kill a slave. Playing Conjourers and ghosts is possible, but this optional supernatural element adds complexity. Designed to educate and promote historical awareness, this storytelling game needs a good GM and sensitive players to play. Underwritten, it needs developing to become a better educational tool.