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A Smouldering Lighthouse

A member registered Dec 03, 2018 · View creator page →

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As simple as it is intuitive, this improv-inspired "oracle" would be a great addition to pretty much any game. Clean, smart, evocative.

A quiet larp, an inside joke, a lyric game, an invitation. Beautiful in construction and concept.

I am handing you a pamphlet.

What a cute game! I like that this could feasibly provide legitimately tasty drinks, in addition to just being a party game lampooning elaborate coffee orders. 

As someone who also worked at a place serving coffee, I 100% understand the urge to start messing with the add-ins when you get bored. :) Welcome to itch! Good job!!

It's beautiful, it's raw, it's driven, it's niche, it's open, it's relatable, it's distant. It's also going to get whatever I can give it for the algorithm to boost it for your eyeballs, so please forgive my unasked for comment.

Ian has written a collection of poems that are sometimes about games and sometimes games themselves. The whole chapbook is fresh, candid and just cool as hell. If you like writing and games, I feel like you pretty much have to read this one.

Honestly, reading this is wasted time you could be spending reading Everyone is My Enemy. Go.

What is there to say about Fiasco that hasn't already been said? It's the definitive game of self-inflicted catastrophe. It's the king of drama, the queen of failure, and the jester watching it all burn down. If you haven't had the chance to try this landmark game of narrative storytelling, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. There are literal years of content for the classic game, waiting for you to explore it.

I could talk about Fiasco all day -- and I have -- but the bottom line is that Fiasco stands the test of time as a thrilling celebration of storytelling.

This is great. I love the way you've mashed the genres together into a big campy romp -- definitely leans into the pulpy vibe of L&F in the best way.

Favourite details: The names are fantastic, for starters. "Billy Oblivion" and "Elijah Moon" are both pretty incredible. I also love that everyone has a "loyal mechanical steed," and that the goals are a great mix of western and romance. Honestly, all the little details are great -- "Bessie the laser cow" is particularly campy and delightful.

Maybe next time: The body text is just a liiiittle tricky for me to read. It might just be me though! I really dig the aesthetic you pulled together, and I can see why you went with the style you did; it does feel like a great midpoint of western and spacey. It might also be nice to have a little passage about player consent if there's PC-PC romance situations? You don't have a lot of space to work with, but it would be a nice nod to safety tools!

Thank you for sharing your game!

First off -- this game made me finally look up the titular video, and it's so much worse than I expected. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, hahaha. So, the game:

Favourite details: I like the extra steps you took to establish a few things, my favourite of which being that diversity of body type and gender are welcome on the team. I also like that you explained the GM's role! You would be surprised how many folks leave it to the reader to puzzle out. The Play section is also a great overview of how to do narrative roleplay! I feel like the tips out outlined could apply to (and enhance) a lot of games, and you did it with very little space.

Maybe next time: For me, it feels a little counter-intuitive that success is rolling under the stat, but a critical success is the highest possible roll! I imagine this wouldn't be a problem for a lot of folks, but I can see myself getting my wires crossed in-play.

Thank you for sharing your work!

Thank you! It's been great getting a chance to explore all the ideas people have brought forward; so many interesting games. 

And you're bang on with the feedback - - a printer friendly version is high on my priority list for this post-jam, and early drafts mapped out fae prompts. The former I'll definitely do; the latter I'm mulling over. People have created much more interesting fae in playtesting than I could have imagined, haha. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my piece and provide such a thoughtful response! 

Gotcha. Joke went right over my head, haha. 

I'm impressed that this jam managed to conjure up multiple office sim games! Hahaha.

Favourite details: The semi-cooperative game state is an interesting twist to put in. Because like, why would devils help each other? Haha. So the Scheming rule makes a lot of sense. I dig the Hot Couture table for character building, and the 666 rule is a nice touch.

Would be nice to have: A liiiittle more of an idea what conflict looks like in the game! I think in another setting you'd be good to go, but it would take a lot of spice for me to convince people to play a game that looks like their workday -- haha. So a few more hellish details about what you might encounter would be a welcome addition.

Thanks for sharing your work!

Super cool! I like that the same bones of Pocket Adventure are on display here, but with a fully-integrated theme surrounding it. The use of REDACTED here is just delicious. And just generally speaking, the document is beautifully formatted and put together.

What a fun idea. :)

Favourite details: I like that, contrasting the Jenga system of resolution, this tower is expected to fall regularly. I also like that players have agency over how ambitious to be! A little strategy and risk management on top of pure stacking makes for a much more well-rounded system than there would be otherwise.

Would be nice to have: Some clarification on d4s would be great! How could anything be stacked on a d4?! Hahaha. Maybe I'm just not very talented, lol.

I really like this! The card-driven and horror combo makes me think of Murderous Ghosts, which is good company for a game to be in.

Favourite details: Well, the title is great, first off. Really gives off the gothic kind of vibe that suits the story well. Shout-out as well to the beautiful job you've done with the formatting and public domain art assets; the game is clean and well put together. Mechanically, I really dig the possible Joker draw (you must betray the party) -- what a fun wrench to throw in, especially given the low chance it will happen. The resolution system makes sense to me too! The way you've parceled it out into different card groups seems like a good way to resolve skills and abilities.

Would be nice to have: I dig the Act 1 / 2 / 3 thematic formatting, but it did throw me off a little. Read as written, it kind of implies that setting and character creation take a full two thirds of the game! And like, maybe that's the case, but I would guess that's not what you had in mind.

Anyway -- again, really solid work here. It's been fun exploring your submissions to the jam, and I'll be sad to not see more of them in the ocean of games I have yet to wade through! Haha.

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Nice to see a solo submission to the jam!

Favourite details: The two roll resolution is nice! I like that the player has the choice to gamble and improve their chances, and I like that the Bear table has mechanically distinct challenges. I don't envy you for the true story element of this, haha.

Would be nice to have: I feel like it would be cool for there to be tangible progress towards escape, even if you fail the helicopter roll -- maybe the target number lowering after a failed attempt? Just a thought -- it works as it is, and if the uncertainty of rescue is part of the thematic experience, I can dig that.

Thank you for sharing your work!

I have received your briefing, agent. Below, you will find my evaluation of your mission.

Favourite details: Clever to include gadgets in the rules. It's really appropriate for the theme, and I like the way it interacts with the stat system. I also like that there a Compromised status that impacts rolls -- because like, of course there should be, right? What's the point of a spy that's been outed? Oh, and the video is a nice touch, haha.

Would be nice to have: The art integrated into the rules themselves! You drew several pieces for the game, so it'd be nice to see that present in the text.

Thank you agent. This message will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3...

When I read the title I was like, I feel like this man is about to make me write an actual book report. And I was RIGHT. Which is fantastic, honestly; anything that pushes people towards more reading (and critical thinking!) is a great thing to create as far as I'm concerned.

Favourite details: The Western-centric callout was a strong detail that I think could have been easily overlooked. The resources and rubrics you're linking are great points of reference, too... after all, you're right that it's been decades for some of us. This is also the first pervasive game I've read in the jam so far -- that is to say, something that's not confined to a "gaming" session, instead reaching into your everyday life or activities.

Would be nice to have: I'm not sure everyone has access to a friend that teaches literature! Haha. I love the community creation alternative, though. Hopefully someone takes you up on the offer.

Great idea with this -- it's rare that games focus on dismantling a single powerful entity, even when they're otherwise focused on combat. As your long list of inspirations points out, it's definitely an established trope... so why not explore it in TTRPGs?

Favourite details: The hot and cold tokens are a really cool (ha) way to lay the groundwork for the climax. I particularly like that it means everything before the final fight matters, even if it's not moving in the "right" direction. And just speaking generally, I think the writing is really clear here! It's nice to see strong technical writing in an indie game, because sometimes that element falls to the wayside.

Would be nice to have: A link to your page or credits on the PDF! Credit where it's due, right? :)

Thank you! I really liked painting it.

Mine! Help! Aye!

Favourite details: I love the little prompt asking what the beard is decorated with. Because why shouldn't dwarves accessorize? The player communication restrictions are also hilarious, though I have a hard time wrapping my head around what gameplay looks like. Which leads to...

Maybe next time: I love a super minimalist system, but I'm a little lost at sea here! Haha. Is player action "completely random"? Is the resolution of dice (are there dice??) random? What's happening at the table if there's no GM and the players can only use three words? Lmao.

Still, I love your cover art. I'm going to go think about dwarves with decorated beards. Thanks for sharing your game!

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Echoing Jacob, this is a really interesting way of exploring the theme!

Favourite details: The dexterity element to the dice resolution is great, but what I really like is the clause for what happens when you roll on the border. I like that it could incentivize risky rolls (for some people) or just act as a fun answer to what might otherwise be a puzzling, hard-to-interpret result.

Maybe next time: I like that there's a theme that matches the mechanics, but I wouldn't have minded a little more about it! Possible threats, worldbuilding prompts, whatever. Could be fun to see a little more of the setting, or help players along in building it.

Thank you for sharing your work with us!

This is the first L&F hack I've looked at so far! And the first submitted to the jam (chronologically), so kudos for that. I really like that the two stats here are opposites, but you'd still roll for them in similar circumstances -- that's a key thing that I think some folks miss about the system, and you nailed it.

Favourite details: The aesthetic section is basically all gold -- really fun ideas in very few words. I also really dig the character goals -- especially the one that preoccupies the psychic with their own mystery. As a last prompt callout, "do nothing, really" for the overarching plot is a great inversion, and I love the idea that everyone's making a fuss over an arcane nothing. Ties well into the psych-ish direction.

Maybe next time: The rules are just a little small and the background is just a little too high-contrast for easy reading (for me!). Love seeing folks playing with cool formatting, but I would've been happy with something a little bit less busy.

Thank you for sharing your work with us!

I wanted to review this earlier, but I was out of bananas.

Favourite details: Lots of fun prompts here, and the whole concept is good goofy fun. Mace (medieval) and mace (spray) is pretty great. Would also have accepted the wildly unuseful mace (spice). Obviously the bananas rule is delightful too. From the final set of tables, my favourite entry is party bot, and my favourite table is... the last, deeply critical one to run the game (of course).

Maybe next time: I feel like you could -- if you wanted -- really channel your inner space stat and cut this bad boy down to only the weirdest, the zaniest, and the most fun prompts and rules. You definitely have a working game here, with a lot of great pieces! But I'm going to pull a classic teacher-picking-on-the-talented-student move and say that I would love to see you edit a little more ruthlessly and really run with your most gonzo ideas. Of course, I'm not your teacher. I'm just some guy.

Thanks so much for sharing your game with us! Very much in the vein of Howitt or Harper, and I think it would be a lot of fun to play at a con or with some beers. Hefeweizen, maybe. (That was another banana joke.)

Congrats on submitting to the jam! The theme of demigods navigating home is really fun -- lots of possible trouble they can get into, if my mythology memory serves me right...

Favourite details: The list of gods is great -- the idea of being a demigod of electricity or the cold is just inherently fun, and very much in line with Greek/Roman inspiration points. I also really like the mix of prompts for their possible return avenue, especially "phone booth" and "a magic pool of water".

Would be nice to have: A title in the document! The rule page doesn't have a title at the top, and the PDF is (adorably) just named "My one page rpg". If I download it, I don't have any record of who designed it or what it's called! Give yourself credit where it's due, haha.

Thank you for sharing your game with us!

I want to say that this looks like "good, campy fun," but I feel like the joke is too easy! Haha.

Favourite details: I mean, I'm sure you expected this feedback, but the map and icons are gorgeous and absolutely bring the whole setting to life. I feel like you drew the icons / map, too, which is just huge props from me. Love seeing other people doing both their own illustration and design. Oh, and specialties as "Merit Badges" is such a fun, evocative way to tie in the theme to character generation.

Maybe next time: The font looks great, but it's a little hard to read from farther away! I'm torn giving this feedback, because I do love the look, but I feel like (especially on the player page) it gets a little small.

Thank you for sharing your game with us!

I already pretty much covered this in the Discord, but I really like the story you paint here. :) Lots of really interesting prompts and setting leads that I feel like combine to make something even greater than the sum of its parts. I hope more people drop in to check out Grimsbury, because it's just cool.

(OH! I was meaning to tell you, just a few days ago, I read the term "ley lines" in a Neil Gaiman book and was like ohohooooo I know what that is now! So I owe you one for that, haha.)

Very cool! I'm a fan of maze themed games, partly just because you never know what you'll find. I won't comment on the system itself, since I'm not familiar with SGS, but I do like the way the counter interacts with the prompts.

Favourite details: "Is there anything else with the arrow?" is a great leading question that opens a lot of interesting narrative directions. I also really like 18's "what makes it safe?" (super evocative) and 19's "this section is artificial," which tells a story all in itself.

Fun system, thank you for sharing. :) I like the cheeky use of the red box and white font for the logo... looks familiar somehow, lol.

Favourite details: "Roll only if both results are interesting". This is such a great point, and it's awesome to see it highlighted in the text -- no reason to roll if an uncertain outcome isn't going to be compelling. The permanent degradation of an item for automatic success is pretty rad, too.

This was a great system to sink my teeth into -- you did a lot with the space you had, and I feel like this is a complete system that could even support a small campaign. Pretty impressive for 1(-ish) page!

Favourite details: I really like that the PCs aren't central to actually solving the city's predicament. There's something to be said for games about heroes, but it's great to see a game about people just trying to keep things afloat. The setting is also great... kind of reminds me of an even more post-apocalyptic Blades in the Dark. I like that the Talents are suggestions, not set; I like that there's a mechanical reason to lean into personality flaws. It comes together really nicely.

Would be nice to have: If there's one thing I'm left wanting, it's protagonists that have a little of the same weird and wild vibe of the setting! There's mad kings, reality fog, rat forces, and a city on the edge of nothing... but the PCs could be in more or less any fantasy realm. Which, like, totally works, don't get me wrong. But I wouldn't mind at all seeing some example prompts of weird supplies, or Callings, or Traits.

Anyway. Not at all surprising this is really well-written, given your equally strong work on HOBS -- but props where they're due, this is neat. Thank you for sharing.

Spells! Who doesn't like a bunch of troublemaking spellcasters? Had to read through this one, and I'm glad I did; the spell system is really neat.

Favourite details: I really like that you can use some of your Proficiency to connect otherwise separate nodes -- I see fun opportunities for creative thinking, with the cost of some level of efficacy. And just speaking generally, it's obvious that the spell weaving system is the jewel of the system you've put together here -- it's really cool, and I love that the most important part of the game also looks like the most fun part.

Would be nice to have: I feel like a couple of the Mishaps have the potential to remove the player from the game or narrative for a while. I generally try to avoid that, if I can... partly just because I hate having to miss my turn! Haha. Unrelated -- it would also be great to have everything on one PDF! If we need both sides to play, having them in one document is always something I'll advocate for. (:

Thanks for sharing your game with us!

Ha! Okay, you got me, this is pretty goofy in a fun way. If you were to ever revisit this, it might be nice to have an indication of clockwise vs. counterclockwise reading direction, or maybe just self-contained sections. But I am already FLAGRANTLY DISREGARDING YOUR SUGGESTION to ignore this submission, so I'll leave it at that -- lol. There could be something here though, maybe?

This is a really fascinating look into a side of RPGs I've only ever brushed up against the corners of. I don't think I'm in a position to offer critique, but I did want to comment to acknowledge that it was pretty neat seeing how wargame scenarios could be developed, and that I appreciate you shared it here.

Lol, Borders. I mean, you kind of had to, right?

Favourite details: "At least you have this tucked away in your jacket pocket" -- love that for the Dropout. Is it a flask? A gun? A phone? The ambiguity makes it shine. I also really dig "hello, my name is..." on the character sheet; it's a great thematic tie-in.

Would be nice to have: Some alternative paths of escape, maybe? It would be cool if addressing the book villains helped the players reach their goal, rather than just acting as something between them and the hiding Greg. But maybe I'm just saying that as someone who would try to break unbreakable windows!

Out of  curiosity -- why 2010?

I dig it! The ultra-minimalist rules and the collaborative creation tools set players up well for making chronicling a creature together.

Favourite details: I really like "someone sees the creatures in the shadows," because it really opens the path for unreliable narration and gives the tall tale writers a great start. I also love "Entry Number," because it does a lot of heavy lifting for such a small detail in getting across the archival theme.

Would be nice to have: A few more colourful prompts could be fun! Stuff like someone falls in love with the creature or the creature betrays its kind could help give players some variety to explore. But I love leading questions, so this is my personal game preferences showing.

Anyway -- cool! Nicely put together and super compact. Pass my thoughts onto Vrakroth, yeah?

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MAPS! I'm always excited to see a player-led mapbuilding game, and I feel like you've done an excellent job here using the physical presence of the dice and materials at the table. There's something to be said for a game that really leans into how tangible TTRPGs can be.

Favourite detail: The whole crossroad / encounter trail mechanic is super interesting, and I like that it emerges organically from the dice. The way you use the crossings to drive interaction is cool and novel, which is immediately intriguing.

Maybe next time: I feel like Conquest and Glory could use a tiny bit more room to breathe! The rules text is dense and bursting with ideas  in a way that makes me wish you had a little more room to explore it with diagrams or examples. Still, that's the name of the one page game! Limitations breed creativity, and I like what you've built here.

Thanks for sharing your game with us!

And here I thought Fate Accelerated was the pocket version! Haha. This is pretty darn impressive; there's a lot to pack in for a tiny tiny zine.

Favourite details: I think Fate Points are described particularly succinctly, getting a lot of interesting rules out in a small space. Between that and the dice, you manage to sketch out the system surprisingly well.

Would be nice to have: It would be nice to see "pronouns" instead of "sex" in the character boxes! Might be a little more useful than the person's raw biological sex, in terms of getting a feel for them.

Great to see a two player game in the jam! The map mechanic combined with the narrative scene play is a fun way to explore the plight of the protagonists, and it was cool reading the piece.

Favourite details: This is actually the first game I've read out of sixteen that has any nod to safety mechanics, so huge kudos there. I also just love seeing romance games (though I'm noting you've taken care to phrase things so it includes non-romantic love, too, which is great). I also like the alternative scene responsibility akin to GM-ing, which is a nice way to share the role.

Would be nice to have: The skill rule as it stands right now is a little sparse -- might have been helpful to consider a different kind of modifier, like a question prompt.

Thank you for sharing!

I dig it! FMA is such an exciting world of trouble and power, so an RPG adaptation makes a heck of a lot of sense to me.

Favourite details: Oh, the Rebound Die, 100%. The way it plays with both forbidden knowledge and the temptation to seek it -- as well as the consequences for doing so -- is a great little spice to add into the standard roll resolution. It's simple, but carries a lot of weight to make the system stand out and do something unique.

Best of luck as you develop your next version!

YES, I am thrilled to see that someone else went the fae route on this prompt!!

Favourite details: Building something from home that reminds them of their humanity is a really nice touch (and also a great way to make the story move back and forth dynamically!). I also love the max level fae mutation details, which tow the line perfectly between playful and unsettling. There's great use of public domain art here, too -- that hex flower is gorgeous. Speaking of which, the GM hiding the exit in advance feels like a fantastic way to randomize the flow of the game.

Would be nice to have: The two skin colour mutations from the increasing fae number step on each other's feet a bit, should someone end up with both -- would love to see another mid-level option for these troubled backpackers.

Some fairy thoughts: Reflecting on my own experience, I really like how we both took the same general idea -- humans getting into increasingly deep trouble, countdown ticking down, on fae borders -- and went very different directions with it. The fae mutations and transformation narrative are great, the fact that they're accidentally lost backpackers is really evocative, the gear informs direction and action, and the map approach seems super cool... and these are all elements completely and wholly absent from my piece.

Anyway -- super cool, really glad to see this here. (:

Great work on this. :) I feel like you really pulled together a strong system in a small space! The system feels pretty solid in spite of being both minimal and setting agnostic, which is not an easy thing to do.

Favourite details: This is really formatting nerdy, but I just really like your simple palettes and clean design. The rules and character sheet are just nice to look at, and the text blocks are spaced out well. It just looks good! Mechanically, I really like the idea of Gear as a non-modifier; just something that broadens what's possible. It's a great way to contextualize "stuff" as a whole, and also a subtle reminder that some things are impossible (so don't make zany rolls, just don't do it).

Maybe next time, consider: Page two is DENSE! I love all the extra work that went in to providing jumping points, but it gets to the point where you'd need a magnifying glass if you printed it.

As a last point, I feel like Pocket Adventures is juuuust flirting with a fantasy theme. You're clear that it could be setting agnostic, but there's still hints here and there what you had in mind. I don't think this will apply to everyone, but I would have loved to see you either lean into theme or take pains to be totally setting agnostic. Especially since there are little hints of how well you do theme already (see the Prestidigitation description on the first page).

ANYWAY. I'm grading you on a curve here because this is so well put together, haha. Reads great and you made a very cool piece; something to be proud of. I hope you got a chance to play it! And that it went great!