I have a draft of a fraternity-themed Lasers and Feelings hack, which I’m tentatively calling Frats and Bros. L&F feels like a nice simple for a novice designer like me to dip my feet into. There are a lot of small elements to reskin into my setting, a bumbling yet affectionate take to fraternity college life.
Love the name, although I also like Dudes & Bros
If you’re keeping an & in the title, I would assume those are the stats? It’s not immediately clear to me what a Bro action and a Dude action are though. I would go with something like “Bros & Feelings”, “Bros & Assholes”, or “Bros & Ladiesmen” depending on what I wanted to explore.
Sorry if I’m over-stepping. I feel like I’m halfway into workshopping a game I know nothing about.
I am mulling over the best way to name and describe the two stats. At the moment, “Frat” maps to “Lasers” and “Bro” maps to “Feelings.” I want to encourage players to roleplay their characters to embody both the responsible, reverent side of fraternity (upholding traditions, handling responsibilities, negotiating with administration) and…the less serious side (both frat house hijinks and camaraderie).
Ideally, “Frat” would be like the superego/left-brain/logic to the id/right-brain/emotions of “Bro.”
Also, the current inciting event is the chapter president going out of town and not answering his phone, leaving the rest of the chapter to run operations without their “responsible“ leader to rely on.
Cool premise! It sounds like you have more experience with actual frats than I do. Popular media of crazy frat boys has overshadowed the connotations of “responsibility” when I hear the word “frat”, which is unfortunate.
I’m not sure what kinds of words would emphasize those ideas, and eschew the overlap. I feel like the word “brotherhood” fits in here somewhere, but for an audience more familiar with what the word “frat” is supposed to mean, you might have already nailed it.
I got a couple projects in the hopper right now!
First to come out is my game for the Wretched and Alone game jam, Far Beneath the Barrows a game about being trapped in a terrifying, constantly shifting underworld, drawing inspiration from the story of Orpheus and Eurydice and the novel House of Leaves.
Second, I’m working on The Tournament Arc, a game designed to accompany my upcoming article about how to design action sequences for gamefeel. It’s designed around quick back and forth, and character arcs built into their mechanics. It’s meant to be easy to learn and play, while still packing a decent punch of spectacle.
Finally, I’m in the very early developmental stages of a game called Chef Wars which draws inspiration from cooking competition shows like Master Chef, while combined with elements of the anime Shokugeki no Soma. This one is rough, but I already have a lot of interesting ways about how to incorporate preparation and research into the more dynamic cooking battles, and plans for Forged in the Dark style territory control and faction management systems.
And I’m making significant progress with my ZineQuest game after taking a fair bit of time off for mental health stuff. So, all in all, quite a bit of stuff on my plate but I’m hoping they will turn out nicely!
I was out from the community for a while. In that time I released some game stuff, and currently working on others:
HEAVY WIZARDRY is a game about VR hackers fighting against greedy corporations to better their communities. It is my take on anti-colonist dungeoncrawler with a strong online privacy angle. Instead of delving into “undiscovered” lands for gold and glory, PCs break into corporate nodes to get stuff that will help people around them. It is a game about direct action against the avatars of late stage capitalism. It is dungeon crawling with synth/vaporwave and video game aesthetic. It is based on WoDu and modern OSR games like Maze Rats, Knave, Into the Odd and Black Hack. I plan to release it as an “art” zine, so the layout and graphics are taking me forever (you can see some sample spreads here).
Of Maps and Men lays on crossroads between narrative world building and OSR. It is played by (snail)mail and you end up with a fully fleshed out map of a region. It is playable now in its jam-game status, but I got a tonne of good feedback that I want to incorporate and re-release it in a expanded version.
Waking World (?) The idea behind it was to create a PbtA like game that can be played easily by blind and sight impaired players (there is a lot of info checking in PbtA that makes it far from perfect for such players). Over time, with bunch of feedback and after multiple tests it mutated into something much closer to Trophy/BitD, but it is now in a working state (you can read about it here). Soon I will get to writing it all down, either as a system-only game focused on accessibility, or connected to the Waking World campaign I have been running (which is an anti-setting focused on weird fantasy and discovery).
This sounds super interesting! Since this is not a thread for discussions, would you consider creating a separate thread for HW?
An Ashcan edition is now available for free download, if anyone would like to take a look
I am working on Paris Gondo - The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying.
The Elevator Pitch
a storytelling GM-less game for 3 to 6 players, designed to be played in a few hours with polyhedral dice and no preparation. This game is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to encumbrance rules and tropes commonly found in our beloved dungeon-crawling tabletop roleplaying games…
…through the lens of contemporary wellbeing influencers, thanks to the fictional character of Paris Gondo.
Why you’re excited about it
Well, it is the first-ever game that I am designing and trying to publish.
Also, I will attend (virtually) Origins for the first time to run many sessions of this game which is exciting and a bit scary too.
What your hopes are in relation to it
I hope that I’ll continue to find people willing to try it and that the game will inspire enthusiasm with more of them (I already ran 10 sessions).
Beyond that, I hope to publish a Quickstart PDF ahead of Dragonmeet at the end of the year and then a year later to launch a Kickstarter campaign.
I’d like to introduce my current project: Agents in the Sky
The elevator pitch
Agents in the Sky is about specialized agents on world-wide missions with an airborne base-station (like in Agents of SHIELD).
Why you’re excited about it
It’s building on ideas I’ve been developing for over 6 years, including feedback by numerous playtesters and several game designers. It brings together all of my favorite ways of playing.
It comes in two flavors:
- Simple Play: rules-light spy action for i.e. one-shots.
- Deep Play: GM-less campaign-play with addition of relationship drama and character development.
There is also a designated subsystem for investigative plots.
What your hopes are in relation to it
The Simple Play variation should be very accessible and fun.
Especially the Deep Play style brings together Jeepform/Freeform style GMless indie play and deeper, open-ended campaign play. I haven’t seen anything like this and would like the world to experience it.
My wish is that a lot of people play it, love it and hack the hell out of it.
Here is a sneak preview of the Google Online Play Aids.
I’ve made an OSR-cloneish thingy - The Bad-Ass Basic RPG
I wanted to make a game that uses the familiar rules structure of BX/BECMI but instead of leaning into the traditional OSR exploration/wealth acquisition structure, make something that focuses more on epic/heroic adventure.
The thing I love most about OSR rulesets isn’t morale or xp for gold or resource management. It’s the simplicity, speed, and the “you can do anything” openness created by the paucity of rules. I wanted a game with those aspects that was focused more on saving villages than scouring ruins for treasure.
I wanted something that could contain all the rules you need in a few printed handouts (inspired by PbtA games); something that doesn’t require confronting new players with thick rule books full of options. “Here’s your character sheet - make these two choices and roll your stats”…that’s what I was going for.
I also got rid of some setting assumptions being part of the core rules that I think can end up being problematic - namely race and religion. Not that those things don’t have a place in some fantasy settings, but I don’t think they should be required/assumed.
WHY I’M EXCITED ABOUT IT
I like it. It’s what I’m using to run OSR material. It’s the closest thing to “my ideal version of D&D” that’s out there.
That someone else out there gets use/enjoyment out of it. It’s free, and its functional. In an ideal world, the next time I see a thread somewhere about, “What OSR clone/system should I use?” somebody mentions this as an option and I get my ego stroked.
Anyway, check it out
I’m currently cooking something up for the Eclectic Bastionland Game Jam
Elevator Pitch: Gonna not spill the beans on that yet.
Why I’m Excited About It: It looks like I’m actually gonna finish a thing for a change.
Hopes: That people will find it fun and be able to use it
MERCHANT IN RED ZONE
The elevator pitch: OSR space adventure where Hornblower-in-space meets Rogue Trader meets Heavy Metal comics.
Why you’re excited about it: It started out as an idea of some sort of forgotten French comic book space adventure now getting an RPG adaptation. So I made a cover and started writing.
And it is pretty pleasurable thing to write. The very lose concept lets me write what interests me in the moment. And I’m selling a beta through DriveThruRPG, it comes with an invitation to join my group on Facebook to vote on what I should write next. I get a very direct feedback loop with the customers/fans.
I took Knave as a base for the further development as I did for Kuf two years ago. A quick and easy way to get a solid base, now I can add subsystems and extend the mechanics and setting more or less at random and it will still be mostly playable. I haven’t played a single session of it myself, but I have gotten a couple of play reports already.
What your hopes are in relation to it: To sell 90 copies. To play a campaign of five or more sessions online. To buy pretty art to decorate the pages.
The elevator pitch: Supernatural operatives running high-stakes missions and juggling loyalties in the shadows of Cold War Vienna.
Why you’re excited about it: It’s a PbtA game with a really specific premise and setting (The Third Man meets Hellboy/BPRD!) that has sparked a lot of imaginative engagement from playtesters. I love getting to build my own take on historical urban fantasy (with spycraft as its distinctive flavor) and I like focusing on weirder folkloric sources—no vampires or Cthulhu here, but you can play as a rusalka assassin or a gorgon racketeer or a matagot masterthief.
What your hopes are in relation to it: I’ve gotten some interest from publishers, so I am hoping to seal the deal and see this published and distributed as a physical game book that gets some traction in the indie scene.
PTA: Independent Productions
The elevator pitch: GMless hack and expansion of Primetime Adventures 3rd edition.
Why you’re excited about it: it takes one of my favourite storygames and cuts out the most underwhelming part of it - largely disengaged and passive role of the Producer - while making a few extra adjustments and adding a handful of neat features, like Episode Themes or scenes focusing on side characters and Issues of the setting.
In the first 4 sessions of playtesting it’s been engaging for all participants (including those who GM rarely or not at all).
What your hopes are in relation to it: reach a handful of people with it and either peak or rekindle their interest in PTA while, hopefully, improving their experience with the game through my hack.
My Friend and I
Elevator Pitch: My Friend and I is a game of asymmetrical buddy stories, where a mundane person and a powerful being must team up to accomplish something incredible.
What I’m excited about: Pulling from stories as varied as The Iron Giant, Pokémon, Dr. Who, Persona, or His Dark Materials, the structure focuses on the tension in their relationship and less on external tensions. The game explores how two very different people react when forced into the same situations.
What I hope to get out of it: This game is getting published, even if I have to do all the publishing myself. Probably going to use this as Kickstarter practice if we get that far.
Sounds neat! I started on a Iron Giant / Encounters of a 3rd Kind / ET / Arrival / The Day the Earth Stood Still game last year before I put it on hold. My game was more focused on how the Us vs. Them dynamic changes when individuals from both sides meet one on one. I think this is a great source of relatively untapped source of rpgs.
The elevator pitch: Small town, weird mystery, and character melodrama. Essentially, stories tied together by a mystery where the real importance is the characters. Inspired by Life is Strange, Night in the Woods, Twin Peaks, Riverdale, Sharp Objects, etc.
Why you’re excited about it: I’ve seen lots of games try to tackle this genre, but none focus on what I like most about these stories. Monsterhearts can do this, but not for stories that aren’t about monsters or teenagers. Monster of the Week can do small town/weird mystery, but it’s about fighting the monsters, whereas I’m more interested in the surreal horror you can’t fight. Other horror games can capture that element of the story, but I don’t want to restrict these types of stories to horror-only. Several GM-less story games tackle similar themes, but aren’t built for campaign play.
Strange Days is focused on providing (1) small town dynamics, where characters must live under the knowledge that they are always watched and people have opinions of them, (2) character (melo)drama, where the emotional focus is about the complex relationship webs between our player characters, and (3) a surreal mystery, gradually built collaboratively, that ties a supernatural horror to a “real-world” incident.
What your hopes are in relation to it: I see a lot of interest in emulating these kinds of stories for campaign play, but everything skews either too much towards horror or too much towards fighting the monsters. I hope people can play short campaigns about their characters, with the mystery and horror mostly serving to further those character relationships and dynamics.
I’m still in the early phases, but I have a version that I think can undergo some playtesting, so I’m looking forward to getting into that in the next few months.
Initial writing and initial layout for Convocation Prime, my Pokémon-like Anima Prime hack, is complete.