THE UNTRUTHS GAME ("ROCK OF TRUTHS", "TOMI TALL TALES")

HISTORY - EQUIPMENT - GAME SET-UP - RULES

Untruths - also called Rock of Untruths, Game of Lies or in the common Santharian variety Tomi Tall Tales - is a very simple but entertaining game dealing with the art of lying in a creative way. Initially only practised by Shendar children, who tried to best each other with even more wondrous stories during the process of collecting Falserocks, the game made it in the course of time into Santharian taverns, where people made a true sport out of it.

An illustrous round playing the Untruths Game

View picture in full size Image description. The Unruths Game often entertains young and old and different races at a nightly campfire. Sometimes even the telling of whole ghost and horror stories is chosen as topic of this creative lying game. Picture drawn by Eratin.

History. In the Shendar lands in southern Sarvonia, where the land is harsh and unforgiving, children still want to play, and Untruths is one of the games that children long before them created to lighten their days. The Shendar children are often tasked with collecting Falserocks, well-camouflaged plants that are a popular food item when cooked. These Falserocks, being as they are plants 'lying' that they are rocks, inspired a game in which the usually honest Shendar children would try to outdo each other with their lies while holding one of the 'lying rocks'.

As the game left the Shendar lands, it became popular with children of other lands, who would use a simple pebble passed from hand to hand, and with witty tavern-trawlers who would wind out the tales into a form of entertainment themselves - usually involving the everyman character 'Tomi' - each one increasingly absurd.
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Equipment. Originally this game required Shendar children to seek out Falserocks; each Falserock found earned the child a 'turn'. Elsewhere a counter - be it a pebble, a bottle or some other item - is needed to show whose turn it is, and can be passed from player to player.
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Game Set-Up. The players sit around, usually in a circle; one player picks up the rock from the center and starts the game. Play continues in a widdershins direction.
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Rules. Simply put, each player takes the rock and tries to tell a bigger lie than the player before. The first player may start with a very simple lie just to give everyone a chance to speak at least once, and the respective 'tallness' of the tales is decided jointly by the assembled players.

In the tavern version, those wags who think they can tell a taller tale often forgo the rock and take turns - with each 'player' or teller trying to tell a much longer, meatier tale. This style of game has come to be known as 'Tomi Tall Tales', and it's a popular tavern game that can be as entertaining to observe as to play. There is often no 'winner' in these bouts of creativity, and it is more usual for each tale told to be applauded and appreciated for the humour within.

In certain areas there are even 'ritualized' opening lies which everyone knows, shorn of their details by time but still prized for their cadence, which have passed into folklore. One example will suffice:

Teller One: "Times just ain't like they used to be. When I was a little lad the pompions were so big you couldn't put both arms around 'em..."

Teller Two: "Well, that's nothin'. When I was a little girl they got so big I could carve 'em out and use 'em for boats!"

Teller Three, knowing his cue: "You two ain't as old as me then. When I was a little sprog we had a family of twelve living in one of the pompions in our backyard patch. The da' put a chimmy up the stem, the ma' used a leaf for a blanket to tuck the younguns in at night..."

Crowd, knowing its cue, howls with laughter and finishes the joke: "And they stabled the horse in one of our turnips!" Return to the top

 

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