Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cast Off - Launching of a Kickstarter Project

I've been pretty quiet on a lot of fronts because I've been working hard on a variety of projects (Veronica Monsterhearts, Rent's Due, Third Life, AIR to name a few) but one of them is near completion.

Cast Off is now live and we're hoping to get some people to be interested by movie trivia and funny voices!

It's the first "big print run" game that I've done. Suitors was a bigger total print run, but this is the biggest game I've ever done and that's why I'm looking for help with the funding. Spread the word!

Monday, April 14, 2014

TAG - Dungeon World (RP)

You know what? Instead of doing an Actual Play thing, I'm going to call it a Remembered Play because I'll be damned if I'm going to record and then type out what everyone is saying and/or doing.

What happened? We played Dungeon World at a local Meetup for the Toronto Area Gamers and had a good time doing it damn it.

The Party:
Human Thief named Sparrow
Human Cleric of the Divine Healer named Constantine
Human Ranger named Emery with Owl companion named Chirpy
Halfling Fighter named Olive with a Spear of Death and Destruction

Highlights:
* Bonds and having two people independently think that Emery was incapable of doing anything right then both of those same characters saying that they were there to protect Sparrow whose response was "Ha, suckers."

* Olive knocking Sparrow out of the way of an incoming Wraith, and letting the Wraith inhabit her body turning her into a Paladin of the Necromancers. With a special move to deal with whose memory was currently on top (Spoiler: Not Olive pretty much the rest of the game)

* Sparrow trying to keep the gate shut so that nothing bad comes down, and then a large zombie-like wolf comes down and licks her hands with a hot breath smelling of rotting flesh, blood aged for years in the darkness.

* Olive manages to get the Wolf to calm down enough to report on what's going on, but Sparrow is having none of that nonsense and sneak attacked the wolf while it was busy about to say something.

* Emery has been 6- every single Ranger like roll in the game. Then brings out the bow and arrow and 10+ the next four rolls and kills all the things.

* Constantine turning undead all the time, and catching Olive the new Paladin of the Necromancer and stunning her too.

* Finding a chalice that the goddess said would heal Olive, and finding a potion that they figured they might as well try since they knew that it was a colour favoured by the necromancers, they tried to give it to Olive who finally figured out that the other three were intruding on the domain. After one massive punch to Sparrow who had the chalice the potion sprayed everyone but Sparrow who threw the chalice up in the air and high tailed it out of there while the others fought over the chalice.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rent's Due - Residential 1 Character Sheet

Please forgive the look of it. I grabbed some clip art from OpenClipart and put together what is a very rough idea of what I think that the character maps can look like.

Residential 1 - Rent's Due

Feedback is appreciated. I mean someone with far better skills could come up with something a lot better looking, but this is me futzing around and not really paying too close attention to things as I would if this was a final. It's more about seeing if it's workable.

RPG Review Recess - Posthuman Pathways

There is currently a kickstarter going on by Jason Pitre over at Genesis Of Legend publishing who have also put out The Spark.

You can follow the link here to the kickstarter, but if you want you can wait until after the review of the game. I'll repost the link at the bottom.

Posthuman Pathways

This game is designed to be a GMless 3 person game where you talk about the transition from a current era society towards a post-human society. There's some piece of technology that causes a huge change, and you and 2 other people will go through their transitions from the youth of today, to the adults living through the changes, and then as the generation that looks back knowing how the world was different before. Through the game you explore your characters decision about the technology, and what happens on the other side.

It designed specifically for 3 people, where each person takes on a specific role with a specific goal in mind. You have Trailblazer who is responsible for the Timeline questions and setting up the scenes for the other players. The Trailblazer is also the one who can push forward action by asking questions to keep things moving. The Guide is the one who sets up the challenges and is the main source of confrontation for the Voyager who is the person playing their character. You'll switch these roles so that every one gets a chance to play their character in each phase of the game.

Now if you've played, or read, The Spark, you'll see a lot of that in there. The setup, the language, and a lot of the idea behind the game shine through in Posthuman Pathways. That only makes sense because of who is writing it, and it really fits there. This isn't a game where you need a person to moderate what's going on, it's not RPG storytelling in the traditional sense where you've got a bunch of obstacles to overcome. It's far more about the introspection that comes with great change. The Voyager will always win any conflict,  you don't have to worry about winning or losing there. It's all about the decisions that the Voyager makes. What prices you pay for the choices you make. Everything has a cost.

You keep track of all the changes on pieces of paper, cue cards if you have them but they also have downloadable "cards" that you can use in order make things all nice and neat if you're into it. The format is also great because it's a set of pamphlets that you pass around as you take on each role. It outlines what your responsibilities are and gives you the steps for how to go through a scene.

My only personal wish is that there was some way to have the story go off in a direction that even the Voyager couldn't totally expect. I don't know if it fits into the game, and there is enough variation with things like the questions that the Trailblazer puts forth. If the technology first seems to be something the divides and scares people then you'll have to deal with that rather than have it turn into a nice little utopia. However, that's really picking at nits.

There are two really great parts to this. The first is that it's almost at it's funding goal and just needs a little bit more to get it over the edge. The second is that you're looking at 7 bucks to get the game. That's it, 7 whole dollars and you get a copy of a great game that you can pick up and play when your normal group can't make it. Just pull it out of the envelope and play, no setup needed or anything like that.

This was shorter than I thought it was going to be, but if your mouse is down here then you can always click on this link to go and give them your seven bucks.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rent's Due v.2

With a lot of fanfare, and a huge thank you to Mikael, here is the beta version of Rent's Due.

I think it's a lot better, with a lot more interesting choices to be made as well as a better way to deal with Park Problems.

You can check it out here if you're so inclined. It's almost 10k words and I think it could use a lot of examples (another wonderful suggestion from Mikael) and options to choose from but that's list building. It doesn't actually have any impact on the mechanics.

Thoughts, comments are always appreciated.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Veronica Monsterhearts - Looking anew at the Basic Moves

Why am I doing this? Because I didn't really like what was there, it was more the first thing that came to mind rather than something actually useful. There was also something that someone said about the difference between something like Apocalypse World and Dungeon World is that DW is about the players dealing with their environment and AW is about the players dealing with the other players. I think this game needs to be somewhere in the middle, and I don't feel that I managed to get there. The original Basic Moves as written are here. Let's see if I can improve them.

Basic Moves

Sweep the Scene
Whenever you're looking for information about a situation, a scene, or a crime, ROLL+eyes. On a 10+ you pick up 3 Clues. On a 7-9, you get 2 Clues, but you get interrupted, discovered, or attacked. You must spend at least 1 clue to ask one of these questions:
-Who should I talk to next?
-What am I missing here?
-Where is the next place to go?
-Why should I care about this?
-When is something going to happen?

On a 6- you get 1 Clue that you can't spend on any of those questions, and something bad happens ... good luck. 

Okay, I changed up the questions because I thought this is a little better. There's a few more leading questions that give the player a direction to go in rather than just have them answer questions about the environment. It should be more "how do I move this story forward."

I also wanted to make sure that you could get at least one clue from this move so that's why it got a -6 section as well. 


Open Up
When you reveal something personal to someone else, ROLL+Soft. On a 10+ you can either remove 2 conditions, or 1 condition you have and 1 condition they have. On a 7+ you can remove 1 condition you have, or 1 condition they have.

Confession time, I'm adding another change to AW here. I'm not using Harm or anything resembling an HP stat. I don't want this to be about damage, I want this to be about problems. With that in mind, I'm going to give people 4 conditions in 3 "branches." You hit the 4th condition in anyone of those branches and you're taken out. I don't know what that means yet, but I like that better for this game than Harm.

Three branches? Physical, Emotional, Social. Because that's where a lot of the hurt in Veronica Mars is. I like this a lot more now because you can open up to share, or you can open up to be selfish and I think that's really in keeping more with how the show goes than say filling up a circle or ticking marks of HP. I think that the one way everyone has to recover is more through opening up to other people which makes them possibly vulnerable later on is great. Maybe do it with four of them so that there's one for each STAT, and if you get a stat taken to -2 then you're taken out? That way if you have a high HARD 

And Action
Whenever you act where there's any immediate danger, ROLL+Rash. On a 10+ you get to act with no consequences of the danger. On a 7-9, you get to act but choose one: you take a condition; you get a cliffhanger even if you have another move.

I like this one more than the previous And Action move. First of all it's a little more general, so that could be if there's a danger of getting caught, or a danger from another player. It provides you with the option to decide what happens if you get a 7-9, it immediately stops the scene or gives people damage in the way we're doing damage here. Is it too vague? I don't know, but I like it more because the immediate danger is less specific than "something physical."

Shut Someone Down
When you need to put someone in their place, ROLL+Hard. On a 10+ choose one: give them a Condition; they lose a String against you; if they held no Strings on you, gain a String on them. On a 7-9, choose one: you each give a Condition to one another; you each lose a String on one another.


I think this is something that belongs into the basic move section. I think shutting people down is something that should be tied to hard more than anything else so I think keeping it here is worth while. The others I think should be more open, and then I think we need to have the "Putting Clues together" move that I need to add.

Adaptable Moves

I'm going to keep Adaptable Moves for now because I still like the idea, I think it's workable, and I don't have something to replace it just yet. If I do, then we'll talk about it then, but right now let's keep this as is.

Pick which STAT will apply to each move. You must apply each STAT only once.

Manipulate an NPC
When you want to get NPC to do what you want them to, ROLL+. On a 10+ they'll do what you want depending on how you manipulate them except confess to a crime without evidence. On a 7-9, the MC will tell you what it'll take to get the NPC to do what you want. Do it and they will.

This is straight out of Monsterhearts with a little modification. I don't want people to manipulate the suspects with just a single move, so I modified it to make suspects a little harder to manipulate. You still need to be able to manipulate them to get them arrested, because solving the crime is 3/4 of the job ... the other 1/4 is getting them into the hands of the "authorities" with a smug sense of satisfaction.

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
When you want to hurt someone physically, emotionally, or socially, ROLL+. On a 10+ choose one: you give them 2 conditions,  you give them 1 condition and take a string on them or get a clue from them. On a 7-9 you give them a condition, but choose 1: They gain 1 String on you; They get a Clue from the exchange; They deal give 1 Condition to you.

Back to the conditions instead of Harm. I also like the fact that you can trade clues this way too. I think it's good that it doesn't generate new clues, but it still can move the clues around the table. I want to just leave it as hurt someone, but I think part of me feels that I should include physically, emotionally, or socially because that way there's less ambiguity. 

Hold OnWhenever you need to withstand something, ROLL+. On a 10+ you withstand whatever you needed to, and managed to get a clue, and a string on whoever was working against you. On a 7-9, you withstand whatever you needed to, but managed to get a clue or a string on whoever was working against you.

I like the results of this move a little bit more than it was before. Instead of being another avenue for conditions, it gives you the ability to get more clues and more strings by taking people's best shot and taking it. It's a little reminiscent of how you get more dice in Technoir when you take risks and damage. 

Put it All Together
Whenever you want to use a clue to help solve a mystery, ROLL+. On a 10+ you get to place two clues on a suspect. On a 7-9 you get to place a clue, and the player with the least clues get to place your second clue on a different suspect. On a 6- the player with the least clues places your clue on a suspect.

And this is the final one. I like that it's on the changeable scale, so you can be good at putting clues together even if you aren't good at getting them. I think this solves some other problems I had with how do you solve the mystery.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Veronica Monsterhearts - GM Less play

I think this is the next thing I need to talk about, because it's one of the big thoughts about this game on how I want to take AW and make it GMless. I mean, Murderous Ghosts kind of does that, but not really. It's very much a two person game, and it's got its on way to do things. I ended up writing down notes, because I think better with a pen in my hand than a keyboard in front of me, and here are some thoughts I have about GM less play and what that means for Veronica Monsterhearts.

1. Each person takes their turn as the Investigator. As the Investigator its your job to set the scene, describe who is there, and figure out what's going on. You have free reign to put NPCs in the scene, but you should probably ask if someone wants to have their PC there.

Side thought: Should there be a reward for being in a scene? One per episode mystery you gain 1 XP or 1 Clue for showing up. You can get each reward once and then after that you're there if it makes sense? Do I want to rely on "good playing" to get people involved, or do I want something mechanical to get them there.

2. Once the scene is set you can improvise as much as you want. If you want to have long discussions, and huge acting scenes because that's what you love then go for it. If you want to just describe things, have fun with that. Play it the way you have more fun in. However, in the scene you get to use two moves. Originally I had it written down as you get to do one basic move and one Casefile move but that might just be a little too limiting. I think that will have to be a test thing to see how that works.

When you're done, you resolve the scene by creating a cliffhanger. This can be a soft or hard move, depending on how well you did with you move, that you decide upon. You won't be able to resolve it, but it sets yourself up for your next turn as investigator. When you're done with your cliffhanger you pass that investigator hat onto the next person. Think of this as cutting

Who is that next person? You decide, you pick who goes next and because this is Marvel Initiative, everyone gets a turn at the investigator hat before it goes around again.

Note on not mentioning the move thing you see in all *World games.
I get the idea behind it, it's just reinforcing the idea that you want to sell the reaction and the fiction rather than say "You're now split up" but even AW breaks that rule when you tell them how much harm they're taking. The stronger phrase, and the one that I think the focus should completely be on, is tie the moves to the fiction. Also, because this game is GMless you're all taking part as the GM which means that you'll all get to use/see those moves anyway.

3. Dealing with Cliffhangers
You can deal with a Cliffhanger as the next scene, or even the next scene with another player in them. Basically player X gets his two moves, and creates a cliffhanger that now Player Y deals with because she was there at the same scene. Or when you get back to your turn you can deal with it.  There was also a though on how you could deal with a cliffhanger if you wanted to set your next scene elsewhere, you could handle it like a flashback but at the cost of a clue or something. Not sure how to do that, but I do like that whole kind of Leverage feel to it (it might be because I'm currently watching a lot of Leverage).

It's a little bit of everything really, a little bit of Geasa for GMlessness, but with a lot more control on the part of the person being the Investigator. A little bit of M:HR when it comes to the initiative because it's the best way to handle initiative I have seen, ever.

One thought could be to try to Fiasco it up a bit, where you either get to set the scene or choose the cliffhanger. That might be something to incorporate into the game. Still thinking about a lot of things really.

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