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ATELIER HWEI (Alone in the Labyrinth)

A member registered Aug 20, 2019 · View creator page →

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My pleasure, it's fully deserved: thanks for making such a cool game! 

I got my copy through the post after backing it on Zine Quest. Really, really beautiful object, itself worthy of the epithet 'Kozmik'! The square(ish) format and bold colours reminded me of early 90s SNES game manuals (that's Nintendo famicom my American friends).

The content would fit any Space Opera or Sword & Planet game (especially as there is a literal Sword Planet!) campaign: Troika, Hypertellurians and Solarblades & Cosmic Spells all spring to mind, but if you don't have any of those there are a bazillion hacks of the Nate's own Tunnel Goons system that would fit.

An absolute triumph: my one objection would be that the beautiful print edition is just too tempting for my toddler, who smears their grubby fingertips over it at evey opportunity!


Thank you! Just this minute posted something in the devlog to let you know of the plan!

Currently writing for my own game (apologies... but someone has to..) PARIAH

Free version is here:

Just wanted to announce that this is a really cool game. Currently playing in a PbP with other Brightonians but was also very lucky to take part in last year's New Geographies livestream of The World After, its antecedent!

I've been in... 7(?) jams so far and only managed to submit to one (the first one I entered, since you asked... therein hangs a tale...).

In order to make sure I don't flake out before the deadline (which I now realise is next year) I've put a page for this prospective adventure (Atop the Wailing Dunes, since again, I'm sure you just asked). 

Going to attempt a rigorous (vigorous?) DEVLOG too, so anyone can see how the sausage is made.

Anyone else thinking of doing something similar? Or am I a lone maniac screaming into the void (for a massive change to the scheduled forecast)?

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Good catch, thanks! I'll update on Thursday- haven't taken a look at this one in a long time.


First of all thanks for the comment and questions, and apologies for not replying sooner. I wasn't notified (or missed the notification) for some reason. This is probably late and I'm sure you've come with your own solutions, but it would be remiss of me not to answer your questions now.

DC is target number. Use stats as a reference: 3 is something all pariahs can do, 18 is something very few pariahs can do. Upwards of that it gets into murky territory.

In practice I work out a target number based on the difficult and their relevant attribute, and let them know what it is so they can decide if they want to try something else instead or spend a hit die if they are unlikely to make the roll.

Which brings us to "makes narrative sense". Yes, an example would probably have been helpful! Think of HD as spending your inner reserves: that extra bit of effort to make the shot or make the save. Would it make narrative sense for someone to exhaust their hit dice while making a stealth check? That depends on your table, and what makes sense in your game.

What prevents players from abusing it is that hit dice are a limited resource: pariahs only start with one. remember: HP are regenerated by rolling hit dice  (similar to 5e) and the pariah must rest to replenish them. 

Lastly, thanks for the typo-catch: there have been three revisions to the original volume that went out at zinequest, and I'm still finding stuff, so sorry about that.

You are correct: "Characters may NOT attack anyone except those they're engaged in melee with"

I did another update, come and have a look!

New update! Please check the DEVLOG for further information.

Sorry there's not been an update for a while, life has gotten very distracting for me as I'm sure it has for many people. Hopefully some new material this weekend.

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PDF is now up- please check DEVLOG above!

Looking for comments and feedback: this is very much undeveloped so don't feel obliged to be gentle.

There's a PDF up now @theplatypus with plenty of stuff to get you started... should be more added to the file each week!

It's up now @theplatypus

Yep, I'm just way behind with everything. I'll post some screenshots as they have some useful material.

Still in development hell, available soon!

I absolutely love this, incredibly evocative material, beautifully laid out and intelligently selected public domain art! Fully approve, 20/10 would buy again!

I fully support this idea! I'm a newbie to this platform but have plans to publish a lot of work through it next year: a revenue sharing option would solve a great deal of headaches, as my collaborators are scattered across the globe.

Hi! I came across your game during the 48 hour Mega RPG Jam. Lst week I had the chance to play it for the first time with a class of seven advanced English as a second language students. Just wanted you to know that they (well, we) all had a really good time and enjoyed creating our footage of a Kaiju attack!

don't get too excited - I was unable to finish it, and conceptually it's much less original than your submission (and that of most of the games in this jam). But don't mention it: the kind words were well-deserved.

Thank you for such a comprehensive response, that's quite clear. If an action card is lost, is there a way it can be replaced ot is it gone forever? Sorry if this is already covered in the rules... I should probably have another look!

Great work!

I usually go for sandbox-y, old-school type games, and this competition has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of more structured, narrative-based games, especially for single sessions. The turn based mechanic, timer die, and trials die all mesh together well to make a very coherent, clearly structured game. 

I'm really impressed, well done again! 

I enjoyed reading through the ruleset and was attracted to both the themes, setting and playstyle, but in its present incarnation I'm a little foggy as to how the game moves forward after the first scene: in a nutshell, the mechanics surrounding the action cards!

But yes, this is a wonderful game and you should be proud of what you have achieved here. Have you playtested it yet? I'd be most intrigued to read a report of a session!

Then I feel entirely justified for awarding you the highest mark! I should have picked up on that (especially with sneakery being in there, though in my defence a lot of these get written rather late at night).

I tried a run through with some of  my ESL students last night. The role playing only really comes out between missions, which is weird: if you do decide to have another go at it, it would be great if you worked more player agency into the missions. They loved the simple character builds and stocking up on supplies at space stations, so thanks for providing forty minutes of entertainment to my class!

I mean yeah, of course I like it! We came at this from vaguely similar angles, and not just the monster minion aspect, but the granular skill/ attribute checks, too.  Mechanics all seem sound (I'm also a fan of die progression!), although I would have appreciated just a little more information on how monsters progress (presumably they receive additional HP or not? )

One thing that would have rounded this off as a more complete game would be just a little on the GM side, like various suggested follow-ups to  session 0.  That said, so few games have a structured session 0 so that has to stack in your favour.

The layout was clear and the document really well structured.

Finally, the world-building was excellent, not least due to its brevity! It establishes the tone perfectly, as well as serving as a taster for the starting session.

Great work - well done for being so diligent in reviewing our fellow jammers! I keep coming across your reviews and realising I need to get to yours. Sorry it was a tad late, I have a system, trust me!

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<<The Beauty of “The Game” This is a game in which there is virtually no expectation of verisimilitude. Within a match, the environment you create was canonically created by someone called a Gamemaster. There is no need to hide the purposeful design of anything, because all of it is a video game created to challenge players. This can be a liberating thing which makes unleashing creativity a bit easier. At the end of the day, there is no worry about whether anything makes logical sense, because the Gamemasters can do whatever they want, which means the GM can design any nonsensical environment they desire, with no expectation of a cohesive world.>>

Yeah, having gone through the doc, I agree that it's the most fun element. Initially the concept of playing characters playing a game didn't strike me as intereting  (a bit too meta), but it does enable the players to run a concurrent campaign, build and develop characters, but not feel constrained by genre i,e, they could be dropped into a medieval fantasy setting, then the following week something more contemporary to the implied setting next time, or face off against a variety of monsters of the week,  

My criticism is that as written, the focus seems to be on combat, or at least tactical play (although you do mention other possibilities).  I hear Into the Odd talked about a great deal so it was great to see a hack out in the wild! Well done for completing and thanks for submitting.

The cover image is fantastic. It's instantly evocative of bleak, 70s 80s sci-fi, tonally just right for the game, and this carries through in your font choice for the rest of the document. You undertook an ambitious task for the jam, as a deckbuilding game needs a deck, and obviously you ran out of time. Are you planning on developing this further?

The concept is fun, though definitely suits a one-shot rather than a campaign, I can't imagine anyone being that invested in a stapler (or the hapless Ted, for that matter)! Also, I'm not really convinced by the influence-insight mechanic, purely because there's no example of this operating in the game.  Why do hero rolls get more difficult as his reputation improves?

That said, it's a complete, playable game with plenty of humour to carry it through the session. The inmate correspondence letters were a nice touch... in fact, it all seems very specific... are you Ted?

Well done on finishing and submitting!

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So far I've counted four of us in the bad-guys-in-the-dungeon camp: you guys, me, The Dark Lord Told Me..., and The Dark One.  Yours is probably the most complete, and I congratulate you for that! That said, I don't know where the line is between your work and BitD (I'm not familiar with it), so it's hard for me to assess the quality of your rules. It's apparent, however, that an awful lot of work went into this so well done.

I like the background concept: obviously I was immediately reminded of Altered Carbon and "double sleeving" but this is its own thing.

The pixel art is gorgeous but pasting the tables in without formatting them was a bad idea.  

Speaking of tables, some more random encounters/events (or just anything more on the GM side than general pointers) would have rounded this off nicely. I think you've done well, and I commend you for completing the job. I failed in that task, so you have my eternal envy.

Oh: you also used d12s, of which I am a great fan!

Looks good, nice concept, would have been nice to have included some examples of trucker lingo (with a space twist). Great job.

This is my favourite. I gave you 5 for writing even though you misspelled inventory. Don't get rid of anything, just add more mission tables! 

I "ran the simulation". Binky lost her heat ray on the way to the wreckage of the Mercator,  possibly during the accident that also cost her one health. On the flip-side, our engineer (with mind 1) was able to get some additional inventory training, thanks to a friendly traveller at a rest stop. 

During the mission, the crew were set upon by Sacvengers - a deadly drone to be precise, which was able to wound our soldier, Morgan. He dealt with the threat but sustained further injury. Undetterred, they pressed on,only to encounter a further incident. While retrieving thedatacore, Syliva witnessed the unsettling spectacle of a floating corpse pointing eerily into the void. 

Shaken, but not stirred, the crew made it back to the Победа, uploaded the datacore and received 70 credits as a reward. 

They're eagerly awaiting their next mission!

" You can follow my slowly degrading mental state as I make this game. It gets gradually less coherent and more nonsensical."

I like you.

Everywhere I go thebigtabletop has already been and said what I wanted to say! Having designed (and failed to complete) a game set in a dungeon where players control the minions, I concur that heroes are indeed "bellends". 

So uhhh... great work! 

I'm following so keep it up!

You're very welcome.

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I saw another one-pager and wanted to say: "...but this is a MEGA rpg jam! Stick to the programme!"

Then I read it.

I see from your project page that you're not happy with it, but I really think you should be! This game has clearly resonated with at least three  (four counting your project page!) and I don't think that should be taken lightly.

Veering away from the inevitable discussion about life in post-industrial cities, the focus on negative attributes was inspired. Are you on the OSR discord? I remember a discussion about this a month or two ago.

Also, hit points-> wounds -> frailty is a really neat and logical mechanic. I like stat damage, so I'm biased.

Great work. Be proud. Stand up tall!

I empathise with your feelings and understand how you arrived at that conclusion, but ultimately you have produced something interesting and thought-provoking, even if you consider it to be a failure.

This was neat, concise and clearly written. For a short piece of text  (comparatively, some of the entries here are crazy big) you crammed a great deal in.

I think the mechanics are fine but what I would have liked to see more of is the side-kick theme, so emphasis on assisting the heroes, setting up their corny one-liners and possibly being a hot-headed youngster whose rashness sets up the scene for the superhero to shine. Additionally, it would be nice for the status of superhero to be a goal of the sidekick, maybe as an endgame scenario ("There's nothing more for me to teach you, Gravity Girl!").

Of course, the fact that the side-kick has weaker powers than the hero will help to facilitate this, but it would be nice to have that embedded in the mechanics more solidly.

The play through narratives were great. We need to see more of these in RPGs, they used to be such a common feature. Yours were also nicely written as well as demonstrating the rules of the game in practice.

Great work.