Ooh, no I had never heard of him. What books of his would you recommend?
The Pitch: Be the Media is a World of Dungeons Turbo format game about documentary filmmakers trying to make their community a better place by exposing wrong-doing and/or giving a voice to the voiceless. The goal is to have the character sheet and player-facing rules fit one single-sided sheet of paper, supplemented with a similar single-sided GM rules sheet.
Why I’m Excited: There are a bunch of reasons that this project interests me, but one of the big things is minimalism of it. Also, when you release your film each player gets to say what they want to have happen and roll for a move called “Make a Difference” that I’m proud of.
My Hopes: I’m really trying not to attach any expectations to this.
Edit: Please do let me know if you know of something similar that already exists.
Dangerous Times is a story-telling game about reporters in a version of 1920s New York that’s recently discovered magic is real. It’s a game about getting into and out of trouble, where the focus is on following rumors, finding things out, publishing articles and seeing if what you print is credible enough to make the world a little better.
Why I’m excited—
So many reasons. I love history, and I’ve been able to dive deep into public domain archives, spending months reading old newspapers, books, immersing myself into the life of New York a century ago. It’s a fascinating place!
And then, the mechanics have come together really well. Players collaborate even as their characters are following separate stories, and there’s a lot of neat hooks for the editor to gently guide play interesting places. Plus, at the end of each session you’re left with new characters and open questions which make a good hook for future play.
And also, you get bonus points for making funny headlines! That’s always fun.
I’ve already gotten way more out of this than I ever expected to. Enough people are interested that it’s actually turned into a real thing, with a Kickstarter ending in a few days, booklets to get printed, layout to do…
I’ve gotten to create something, learn history, meet neat people and join cool communities. I’d love to be able to keep making games, but even if that doesn’t pan out, I am made of joy right now.
Not at the moment. I actually got close to publishing it a few years ago and then a playtest picked up on some massive issues that I’d inadvertently introduced following previous edits (I’d changed how the skills worked and not properly taken into account how it affected the difficulties). After that, it languished for a while and I’ve only recently gone back to it and am in the process of reworking it.
My hope is to be able to put it out for feedback/playtesting in the summer but if you were interested in the earlier version there is a copy available to download from here. While the skills are getting redone I’m pretty happy with a lot of the other mechanics, especially the approach to defining the scenario on pages 7 & 8.
The Service is a PbtA game of espionage, covert operations and coping with the day-to-day difficulties of working in the bureaucratic, stressful and morally gray intelligence community. It’s set in Cold War Great Britain, and it’s inspired by the works of Le Carré, Len Deighton and the tv-series The Sandbaggers.
The players take the roles of Visiting Case Officers of the Secret Intelligence Service. Their job: to go anywhere in the world to deal with crises that are too difficult, dangerous or sensitive to be handled by regular SIS station personnel.
What am I excited about
Giving people tools to recreate exciting spy fiction in a dreary Cold War world.
Learning how to hack, write, layout and playtest a game.
Getting elbows-deep in understanding what makes a good PbtA-game work, what parts do what, what you need and don’t need to include etc.
I hope to get it written, tested, polished and finished. I hope it finds an audience that are interested in this relatively niche genre and find the game does it justice. I hope it’s actually fun to play at the table, not just an excercise in brow-furrowing.
(Is it okay to put in a link? If so: The Service playtest kit 0.9)
Sand Dogs is out now too – same system but the plane is a little less esoteric. An easier sell for some tables. https://www.vsca.ca/soft_horizon/sand-dogs.html
I would be so down for a Queen & Country RPG.
Q&C is one of my sources of inspiration, for sure! Although the mileau in The Service is the Cold War UK, it’d be relatively easy to reskin for a modern setting. If you have time to check it out at some point, I’d be happy to read feedback.
I am working on a game called The Between. It’s a rules-light game about a group of monster hunters in Victorian London, directly inspired by the TV show Penny Dreadful, but also taking inspiration from British horror classics and graphic novels like From Hell. The project excites me for a few reasons: 1) it has tech and procedures that I think are genuinely novel in ttrpgs; 2) the game is very forward about sexuality and kink, an aspect of life that is little-explored in games; and 3) it essentially codifies my deep experience running ttrpgs.
The alpha version of the game has had 35 playtest sessions, and we have just started playtesting the beta. The public beta will be available in June, and I hope to Kickstart in Spring 2020.
The big project is Red Carnations, ramping it up for some kind of kickstart/quickstart in the coming months. But when I get a chance to work on it, this is my next big thing:
Weekend in the Country
Elevator pitch: “Let’s do a Chekhov play!”
Why I’m excited: I like drama! I like Chekhov & Ibsen! And I’m kind of curious (and have been for a while) in exploring the space around “playing a character” and “theatricality of drama” and other stuff (currently considering having people move tokens around a stage diagram to indicate their availability in the scene.)
I know what I want it to do, no idea how to get there yet but doing my research…
A Chekhov game sounds really fun. Why move tokens when you can move people? French scenes, larp, JOIN US
@Jmstar: Mon cher ami, I’ll have you know I have LARPed and even in one you helped bring to English. (You may remember my recommendation to use Leonard Cohen instead of Classical Music to stand in for the Beatles in the original of “Explosion in Space.”)
More seriously, the space where larp meets tabletop has always been one of my interests; I mean, Red Carnations hits that, as does its spiritual ancestor Montsegur. One of these days I’m going to follow through on my plan to rent a rehearsal space and do some kind of weirdly staged version of My Daughter the Queen of France.
A lot of the LARP space I’m tied to in NYC tends to be of the larger, plottier, collect token type rather than the parlour, emote like fuck, ambiguous ending kind of Larp I like better; I need to get @oh_theogony to run “Deranged” for me and friends one of these days. (I wanna play Brahms. I can play a gruff asshole who carries a torch hopelessly and insults everyone around him; I mean, I pretty much was that guy in my 20s.)
So I’m interested in the theatre-of-the-mind meets actual theatre with distressed character monogamy (I mean, the impetus for the project came from a mutant game of Good Society) a bit more than the standing up & moving aspects of it
That said, I’ve been meaning to talk to my girlfriend about putting together a Paris Commune larp…
I’ve been working for about two years on a playful hack whose name keeps changing. At present I’m thinking of it as “Advanced Dungeon World”. It’s designed to feel familiar and even canonical to those who played AD&D and other Old School FRPGs but want the fluidity of a PbtA experience. Straight up murder hoboism. The central principal is that travel and exploration moves trigger random events, very much in the the spirit of Judges Guild and heavily inspired/influenced by both The Perilous Wilds and Freebooters on the Frontier from Lampblack and Brimstone. The key differences between this game and traditional Dungeon World include:
- The system GMs itself, for both group and solo play. GM moves depend on random tables; fronts are replaced by self-advancing “Plot” structures based on “Campaign Stories” and “PC Stories”.
- It is played with 2 d12, which allows for a finer granularity of plusses and minuses (+1 sword? Much less of a problem!).
- It is designed for long term campaign-style play. As in LONG. I played over 60 4-hour sessions with one group.
- At the same time, it’s pretty deadly. We have seen a number of character deaths and TPKs.
- The underpinnings are broadly compatible with OSR materials with just a little adaptation needed.
So that’s what I’m working on.
Can we have both? I’d like to be able to play it.
In Insomniacs, you play the crew and colonists aboard the Somnambulist, a colony starship fleeing known space in search of a new home. You will contend with the dangers of space travel, alien horrors, ancient mysteries, and your increasingly unstable comrades. We will play to find out what you are willing to sacrifice to shepherd humanity through its long dark voyage.
I’m excited about Insomniacs because after several intermittent playtests to refine the basic mechanics, my ongoing campaign is going really well. I’m inspired to keep working on it past the point where it’s simply useful for my own purposes. I don’t know when that’d be - maybe later this year, maybe early next.
The elevator pitch
A little hack of @Tylom’s Fire Ships at Midnight, called Three Thieves in the Moonlight. It aims to create a fable-like story of three thieves (all siblings) travelling to the moon to steal something from the Moon King. The “winner” gets control of the narrative during the climax of the heist - perhaps making a choice of whether to save their siblings or to cause the most harm to the King depending on how the challenges have gone.
Why you’re excited about it
I’m excited because i’ve been working on a small graphic novel version of the story for a while, and realised that it could very easily be a game; and that I could get to see multiple version of the story and the characters!
What your hopes are in relation to it
I’m hoping to finish it quite quickly and create a bunch of nice illustrations for it. Hopefully get it up to scratch for playtesting with Gauntlet friends. Perhaps publish it in codex if there is an appropriate Moon, Revenge, Thieves themed issue in the future?
The elevator pitch
Magpie rhymes are cool and spooky and don’t they sort of remind you of a dice results table??? Wait, don’t go, I meant what if you were a simple country lass who feels like her whole life is determined by unseen forces which can be only vaguely augured through folk superstition and nursery rhymes. What if you could take control of the inscrutable forces that govern the world and forge your own path?
Why you’re excited about it
Really I just love dumb dice mechanics, but I think I’ve hit on something that can really support a certain structure of story and atmosphere.
There are two cool sides to magpie augury.
First: It’s so mundane! It’s all about, like, am I having a girl or a boy? Am I going to be rich? It’s like the most simple, folksy superstition stuff. Touch wood. Throw salt. “Good morning, Captain”. Perfectly encapsulates a sort of childish anxiety.
But then, second: One of the entries is usually “The Devil, his own self”? And that’s ambiguously separate from “Sorrow” AND from “Hell”, so it’s got this whole occult angle (I mean apart from being straight up divination), and I’m thinking: Folk Horror. The VVitch and so on. Occultism as a metaphor for ideological awakening. The characters in the game will start out at the whims of society, i.e. it’s completely not up to them if they’re in for Sorrow or Joy or Girl or Boy. But then we advance the timescale and run some scenes where they gradually gain abilities which affect the magpie dice rolls.
Or, played straight, it’s just a cosy little story generator. The rhyme could be player-crafted and so on.
What your hopes are in relation to it
Right now I’m just having some fun with graphing probabilities. Like, here’s the output for two dice with one, two and three magpie on three sides, and one die with one magpie on three sides:
It’s missing basically everything else.
At some point I’d like to write it up as a con scenario and run it somewhere (which I have done before with less high-concept things). Timeframe is probably a couple of years. For now it’s just fun to jot down system notes every once in a while (mostly when I spot a magpie).
I’d release it freely after that, of course, although I’d probably have to tack on a dice conversion guide.
Oh, and it’s either called “One for Sorrow”, “Ex Avibus” or “The MagDie Folk/Occult Role Playing System”.
I’ve been working on a PbtA/FitD game set within a multiverse which I call Infinitum, which focuses on a motley mix of characters, technology and magic, and the setting includes some micro-settings which I’ve always wanted to explore, such as a version of ancient greece/rome where towering magical colossi can be piloted like Mecha, or a prohibition era noir place with actual spirits (djinn, ghosts) as the bottled contraband, or a place where the continents are giant living beings, etc.
I’m excited about it because I love the idea of multiverse settings, but most other multiverse RPGs I’ve tried just haven’t been my cup of tea for one reason or t’other. A “version” of any fictional setting, original or existing, fits within this, and I love the idea of having juxtapositions between different realities involving varying magical and technological levels. Also, I am a “collector” of game settings and apart from the micro-settings I mentioned above, there are so many that for one reason or another I haven’t had the opportunity to explore, and this would allow me to do so, without necessarily being beholden to any established canon or timeline. It’s basically an amalgamation of all the things I love, which extends to characters and settings that perhaps only rarely feature in RPGs (eg. the Sun-King’s city of Meridian and its nearby Spire twinkling in the distance, the cursed sorceror Lo Pan gleefully casting a dark spell, an Atreides Ornithopter hovering over desert sands, or a Soot Sprite carrying a tiny piece of coal underfoot). The characters themselves could be inspired by whatever amalgamation of universes they desire, and along the way change and pick up new abilities, such as learning to Blink from Corvo Attano, being cursed with vampirism by a lonely Tremere or keeping a good blaster under the folds of your cloak in case those Walkers get a mite too close for comfort.
I’m hoping to finish this first draft and get the opportunity to playtest it. I would love to find an artist that I can afford, and actually put it together in some form, at least to get it into some rough playable and tangible form. This is one of those ideas that just keeps coming back to me again and again and I would really like to play in that world, and see how it might work and refine it where it needs improvement.
Zonecrawl (working title) is a pointcrawl module centering around exploring a hostile and ever-changing area of magical wasteland. “Abbasid North Africa meets Roadside Picnic, as shot by Sergio Leone.”
I’m working on the module manuscript and developing the pointcrawl components.
Why I’m Excited
I’m building upon design ideas that some of the creators I most look up to in the RPG space have pioneered, and I think I’m doing something good that builds usefully upon their work. I’m also excited to create something that draws upon Islamic myth and folklore - partially to better understand it myself, and partially to share it with others.
What My Hopes Are
I want to create a kick-ass module with some amazing art and layout. I want to be one of the folks showing that no, not everyone working in the OSR design space is an old cis white dude, and that this design space is not restricted to rehashing TSR modules with a new coat of paint.