One last Kickstarter before notifications die on our beloved G+
One last Kickstarter before notifications die on our beloved G+
The Veil: Inheritance, a biopunk PbtA game of bioengineered bounty hunters in space is now live! It’s a little Cowboy Bebop, a little Blade Runner and there’s links to the QuickStart on the page. Give it a try.
One of the stretch goals is to have Mabel Harper adapt the game to an OSR framework. If we reach our funding goal, you’ll be walking away with two cyberpunk games, not just one!
Accessible to new-comers in the hobby without feeling bloated for the more experienced people. An elegant framework based on World of Dungeons, in which you add an attribute (Strength, Agility, Intelligence, or Willpower) to 2d6 with degrees of success. At a cost, full success, or a miss. When you roll with an applicable skill you can re-roll one die.
It seems quick and easy to make a character. Stat block, choose a class (Warrior, Outlaw, Geek, or Psychic), get some gear, name yourself–and you’re on your way. You also make a ship together, which feels like it’d be fun and fast. You need to maintain the ship and you can upgrade it.
I like that money is abstracted like in Powered by the Apocalypse games, I hate bookkeeping but like shopping. So this is for me. Gear is more than just fictional positioning, dictating damage and harm, etc. Supply and travel matter.
GM section seems solid, giving the GM goalposts for the kind of fiction the game is going for. There’s a die of fate, as in World of Dungeons, where, if the GM isn’t sure about something, they can adjudicate it to a die roll and be impartial and be surprised by outcomes just as the players are.
There’s also a job framework, a star map and factions (inspired by Stars Without Number), includes some tables for inspiration, and feels pretty complete. Where World of Dungeons is 2 pages, this is 31 and the additional information is a benefit. The additional design inspirations feel like they’d be in service to the desired fiction.
The layout is mostly great. For a free product, uh, it’s amazing. I don’t like three column but the layout shifts throughout, keeping things easy on the eyes. The font is a little small but on a PDF where you can zoom in–no big deal. There’s way more art than I’d expect in a) a free product b) a 31 page PDF. The art is good, the tone might clash a bit with the text, though; which feels more old-school and dangerous. Whereas the art is pretty light.
Overall it seems like it’d fit together nicely and I’ll nab it in print for sure, I think. So hype to be playing with Jason again, it’s been forever (seemingly).
Symbaroum run by Darren Brockes last night was great (pic from the core book)!
Symbaroum run by Darren Brockes last night was great (pic from the core book)! I didn’t expect such a good starter adventure. Somewhat disillusions you as the colonizers escaping their dying land and going into a new one, where indigenous folks are already about without the knowledge of the PCs, who are fleeing their dying lands.
If you don’t mind spoilers for the adventure in the core book, continue reading!
Our characters were all a part of a caravan going to the new land. To get on we had to fight some guards to prove ourselves able and basically entertain the leader, who was fucking with us. It’s a fairly trad game. Somewhat like Dnd, but you roll under your target numbers. You take abilities, Boons, and Burdens; the later of which really help you create a unique character.
Variol Hope, my character, is a witch hunter that specifically goes after abominations. Blighted, corrupted creatures. But on a hunt years back sustained an injury from one such creature, twisting her nature with Dark Blood (Burden), granting her a Bestial trait (Boon). Her skin is tough as nails and she has unnatural strength, making her Robust (Boon) and bloodthirsty (Burden). As a witch hunter she now keeps this Dark Secret (Burden) from everyone. If people knew this there is a chance other witch hunters would strike her down for this corruption, for fear she too would become an abomination.
You can really see how these choices springboard character concepts. Originally I just was thinking I’d like maybe some sort of ranger.
Anyways, since we had to fight these caravan guards there is a chance Variol would be revealed. If she’s wounded she becomes blood thirsty and when she uses bestial traits, there is also a chance of being discovered.
I actually ended up being able to describe some pretty awesome combat maneuvers instead, though. Rushing in and attacking the guard and striking their armour, then using her bestial strength to push through it and draw just a bit of blood, which was all that was necessary for the challenge. The second guard got pretty messsssed up by me because I used an ability called Twin Strike, doing a double attack and a d8 and d6 of damage on the poor fella. but I still wasn’t discovered. Woot! Also, I remembered near the end of the session that if you did meet their HP you can choose to knock them out or whatever, you don’t have to kill them.
We all made it on. Iomigoi, played by Agatha was doing some pretty epic action, too. Shadow stepping about and what not. We also had a new player, I think? I hadn’t played with Angel before and so I won’t go into detail about his character just in case.
Anyhow, along our path NPC rangers in the party hunted in the forest for food. On one such trip, they were set upon by a Hunger Wolf (kinda like a dire wolf) and we rushed in to help. I’ve the slowest Quick stat in combat so I always go last. A great and quick (hah) way to handle initiative. Iomigoi got a massive hit in first so when I went I let off a well aimed shot that was pretty epic. I described it kind of like a Princesses Mononoke scene, racing toward them on a horse and using my bow to bury my arrow in the wolf’s head. But just then, to my/our horror, the wolf transformed into an elf. So I pretty much murdered someone when Variol’s personal goal is to find a way to rid herself of her bloodthirsty nature, as well as start anew and leaving her past behind. Thematically this was so damn compelling and kicked me right in the feels.
As we proceeded two elves approached and demanded we give over the two rangers, claiming they were corrupted and as good as dead. Importantly, though we had killed one of their companions, they were nothing like what our lore of elves suggested; essentially painting them as rabid forest creatures.
Obviously, the characters’ preconceptions were entirely wrong. Though we had murdered one of their own they did not want to start a war and were there to make sure abominations weren’t born from the ostensibly corrupted rangers of our group. Even though they definetly had some righous anger re: you know, murder.
After some deliberation, Iomigoi purposed we ask that the elves to follow us and if the rangers “turned”, we would end them. When this was purposed to the elves though, already during this discussion a ranger turned. The talk turned into a fight to slay the abomination instead. Clearly the elves were right all along about this as well.
I really liked this because it showed the massive biases we had as playing the main human colonizer folk. And struck a cord with the themes I was going for with my own character. The other players were also great and Darren ran the game very well! I am stoked to play more.
I’m stoked for Symbaroum tomorrow, run by Darren Brockes.
I’m stoked for Symbaroum tomorrow, run by Darren Brockes. My character, Variol Hope, is a bloodthirsty witchhunter with a bestial affliction from one of her previous hunts and carries a gunmetal grey shadow. She is not to be fucked with~ although, of course in the game she will be more heavily attired.
I have to say the character creation process for the game was excellent. I have a number of interesting burdens that add mechanized backstory elements, I feel like Variol is already very cool and there’s a lot to work toward, both in the fiction as well as things I want to purchase with XP in the future.
Tomorrow is very exciting. The start of so many peoples’ work on a very ambitious project that has supported and validated countless people in the community will take another step forward with the Kickstarter launch. I believe it will do very well.
Today though, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Tyler Lominack on his brilliant game, Fire Ships at Midnight.
“players take on the roles of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, Cardinal Ribera, and Captain Salazar (referred to, collectively, as the Pillars).They must endure the horrors of the journey. But most importantly, they must save their own reputations when they return to Spain. The game is played over three turns (referred to as Conflicts), each with four phases.”
It sounds so fucking good! I can’t wait to try it!
It’s always wonderful seeing folks here creating and playing together. But in particular I wanted to make sure I spotlighted Tyler because I believe this is his first game! He has been incredibly supportive of this community, as well as of me, personally. If you don’t know Tyler, know this: he is one of the most supportive, kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and one hell of a GM. Now we can also add and celebrate his work as a game designer!
I appreciate you and I’m happy to see your work in this months Codex issue!
Yesterday I ran the first session of Perdition and it went pretty well.
Yesterday I ran the first session of Perdition and it went pretty well. This is becoming a bit a kitbash adventure. Originally what I was going to do is craft a unique race for the characters as angels/angelic beings. But the problem with that is I was interested in making space for the characters to express their own interpretation of what a being like that would be like. Placing a static ability and modifiers to their attributes felt too restrictive.
What I ended up doing what switching to The Whitehack and giving the players an additional group–specifically Species–nebulously defined as Divine. What that means exactly, because it’s a group in the game, is up to the players to define while pushing for fictional positioning that fits that subjective notion. I also added Wickedness from Perdition. A measure that will quantify the corruption that setting has on the player characters, which might also increase if they end up taking actions that would reasonably increase their corruption. I’m using the monsters and other portions from Perdition in the overall concept of the adventure.
I’ve ascribed the player characters’ angels to the fictional choir of the Bellator, special angelic warriors that are activated when an unforeseen calamity strikes. The angels are in stasis until a danger is detected. When that happens they are dropped to another plane of existence outside of the timeline to a temporary limbo-like plane where another angel, a watcher, describes what has happened and what their mission is.
In this particular case, a demon has stolen a powerful divine object. A horn that when trumpeted 7 times, each “trumpet” taking a nebulous “age”, would call forth an Armageddon. The angels are to cut down the demon and prevent this from happening.
We’ve gotten as far as the players getting the mission after character creation, arriving in Perdition, and combatting the guard of a place where Raphael, the angel who gave them their mission, has said they would find holy weapons. This place is called The Trickle. A fun little thing I found on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/292030357079101720/)
So far I’m excited about it. There are the usual pains of getting to know a system. I’ve only played Whitehack myself 4 times so it was hard for me to articulate the ruleset and some stuff I just have not internalized yet. I expected that and think it’s fine. I’ll be prepping fairly heavily for the future sessions since it’s such a weird adventure and not many tropes to draw on. In my head, the fiction looks like an animated version of classic paintings like The Fall of the Rebel Angels and others.
Anyway, so far it’s going pretty well and I’m excited to play it some more and get the fiction more in hand. Thanks a lot to the players for their patience and willingness to roll with my weird idea! Lauren McManamon, Luiz, Maria Rivera, and Darren Brockes.
The fact that I checked both my offerings over at Gauntlet Con just now and they’re both already full–fills my…
The fact that I checked both my offerings over at Gauntlet Con just now and they’re both already full–fills my heart with an immense amount of joy. Thanks a lot folks.
One is a playtest and design that I think is fairly out there. A game that attempts to distill the feeling of one of the first things I ever watched–and at the time, didn’t understand at all–which felt, even while watching it, to be formative experience of my youth. FLCL was something that gripped onto my mind and left hooks there. When you read or watch things in your adolescence, at least from my own experience, they became tied to my identity going forward. Never Knows Best is a PbtA game with some new tech that tries to communicate what that experience was at a fundamental level to me, so I really appreciate people signing up and giving something a little weird a shot.
The other a playtest,Inheritance, the third book in The Veil series that I expect will be similarly cathartic when complete. My first design was outlined to be taken to this point. I’ve been planning this book over the course of years; literally. It’s my version of Cowboy Bebop and mission based cyberpunk. All three when played together make a sort-of cyberpunk Cloud Atlas. Moving your character from one book to the next to create a story that spans a gulf of time.
So again, thank you very much to the folks who are excited about my games and want to spend their valuable time with me or choose to play my games with their own group. It is deeply appreciated; especially now because lately, I’ve been a ball of anxiety due to some personal life stuff.
Ya’ll are fantastic and I’m very happy to have found this place. I cannot wait to see you all at Gauntlet Con next month. There is already so much energy around the event that it’s picked me up some.
The same user who created the roll20 character sheets for The Veil has added functionality for Veil2020 for the game…
The same user who created the roll20 character sheets for The Veil has added functionality for Veil2020 for the game on the same sheet. There’s a tick mark at the top that swaps it to 2020 mode. SO COOL! Even has a picture of the feeling wheel embeded in it as well.
Originally shared by Plex Soup
I’ve updated the character sheet for the Veil on Roll20. It now supports Veil 2020 from the Gauntlet zine: Codex: Chrome 2, available from the Gauntlet Patreon
Last week I shared some initial thoughts on The Gardens of Ynn and Whitehack (links to both products will be at the…
Last week I shared some initial thoughts on The Gardens of Ynn and Whitehack (links to both products will be at the bottom). Yesterday we finished up the two-shot and I have some more I thought I’d share.
First of all, damn what a cool point-crawl. There was always some super cool, mysterious shit going on. Bizarre and strange. It always felt like we were on the cusp of discovering just what the heck was going on. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that deep into the “levels”. I think Horst Wurst said we maybe got 9 deep out of 30 something, so it probably would have taken a while longer.
This session also still felt very through the looking glass and haphazard as heck, most likely because of the random tables. We had some discussion about what it might look like if you decided to take the things you liked the most, or even decide on a theme going in and then choosing options to construct the rooms in that way; then having the players navigate and experience the “point” of the Gardens in that manner.
For me, I approach my characters in a meta way. I like to know the themes and tone and then decide what I’d like to explore, crafting a character that explores those things. My feedback at the end was pretty much this. I would have liked to have figured out what was going on before we ended and that I like it when there’s a “point”, reoccurring themes, a theme, etc.
I’m not familiar with OSR products much, or the movement, in general. However, Horst told me that the “point” somewhat with OSR is crafting your character as a reaction. You go in cold, shit happens to you, and that the “point” is that the random shit that happens is the story. You roll random, “regular” people who get entangled in wild scenarios. Sometimes figuring out who your character is based on the random things you roll, even strange gear you have as a character in some systems. It won’t seemingly make any sense, and so you make a storyline emerge from these details. You’d have never thought to craft such a person because it’s so messy and haphazard that it’d have been near impossible to think that kind of shit up. As you all do this and experience these things together, you remember it and talk about it with your friends. If the module landed for you or if things made sense and the point was made, or these details are less important because you’ll be remembering the crazy events that occurred and how other people reacted. To me, what Horst sounded like he was saying is that the point is the shit that happens along the way, not the overall plot (if there is one at all). It seems like that makes sense with the whole random table business and perhaps never making it to the “end of the story”. I would have never considered running an adventure I know we wouldn’t finish, but scanning the OSR stuff up, it seems to be fairly common?
I really like that take. And looking back on those two sessions, I found myself struggling because I clearly didn’t grasp this point at all, while Jason Cordova, by contrast, as well as Paul Staxx Spraget and Agatha, just roll with it; bringing a lot of characterization, while I was tied up mentally trying to figure out what was going on with this place. A few questions were posed to Jason’s character, Vincenzo, through dreams which had a broad theme, which Jason then had to incorporate into his description of the dream. It worked so well!! It was my favorite part of the story, in fact. I expect if you played it through to the end, this would be happening more and more, revealing some of the mysteries hidden beneath the “levels” of the Garden.
In retrospect, Horst was absolutely correct. I would have enjoyed the sessions a lot more had I been more focused on who my character was and how this place was affecting them. I was driven primarily by my desire to figure out what the heck was going on with this place and missed the opportunities to flesh out my character.
I had a fantastic time despite that, though. And took a lot of joy in other’s strong roleplaying and dynamics. I can see the appeal of OSR products for this method of thinking; it does feel different than when I have played D&D and Pathfinder, and not in the way largely spoken about in my small little Twitter world and other social media. Usually, I have seen it condensed to “people who want to play old D&D”, and sure, the various hacks seem to do that. But if this is the larger cultural mythos around the style of play that OSR is going for, this reduction largely misses the beauty of emergent play. Something I have talked about frequently and absolutely adore in my games. In short: I hope to play more OSR stuff. I am sure there is a large breadth of products that aren’t all focused on emergent aspects of play… but there’s gotta be more products into this and I’d like to explore that stuff. If nothing else to see if I would enjoy it or not.
Horst pitied us and decided we hit a milestone of saving one of the missing boys, leveling us up! I have to say, rolling the two hit dice to get 9 HP rather than 2 was more empowering that I thought it would be; it felt great! Poor Jason rolled two dice and got 3 HP… but continued to Thief it up and tap those fucking statues good. We also increased our Saving Throw and Attack Value and continued on.
After Christian Mehrstam let me know about the design intent and the point of being squishy in the last post (https://plus.google.com/+FraserSimons/posts/cyfUb7yHp2K), I intended to get some cool shit into the fiction and if I got killed–whatever. And so, as a monk from the Whispering Tear Monastery with my hand carved staff, I destroyed the marble base of a statue, leaning on my “hard but not impossible” attunement to my staff. It felt awesome and led to some cool shit beyond, exposing a weird crypt with skeletons.
We got to see the bidding mechanics, which I think I like? One-upping each other might lead to a gonzo tone, though, and I generally prefer that scenes in crypts and shit be spooky and more “serious”, rather than kinda funny when people all try and grab the loot. Applying the mechanic to other situations would be really fun and neat, though. A cool way to include multiple people in a scene when others might be bored with a scene consuming a bunch of time with one player.
Looking at the system in a broad sense, I love it. I got to advocate for my character again in a different scene to get the double positive role; love that dynamic with the Referee. Narrowing on character creation specifically: I love love love love it. Because I missed the point, and kinda the spirit, of what we were up to with this point-crawl–it would have been a worse experience had we used a different system. Why?
Character creation made me come up with the coolest bits about my character, and because I was focused on unraveling the mysteries of the Gardens rather than character work, these bits were the things I could reliably fall back on. I’m from a monastery, I know martial arts, I’m attuned to my staff, and I’m a wanderer. Had I gotten the same affliction as Jason’s character, with the dream stuff, I would have been able to grab onto those bits to expound on them, I’m sure. Very cool.
So as with the first session, I felt really supported and felt like my contributions to the fictions mattered. Love the scaffolding and I think it definitely implements the design goal of empowering the players and their characters in the world, shaping it in ways that make the player excited. I want to play more and get more slots, changeup and grow my Groups. Hit on the stuff I have already to try and leverage more double positive rolls.
Totally down to play more Whitehack and OSR stuff; see if I can’t adjust my brain to this different mentality. Thanks so much to Horst for running and to the players; all of whom were fantastic! Hope to play some more of this kind of stuff as it has proven that I don’t dislike fantasy, I dislike D&D and Pathfinder. Neat.