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glaucus

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A member registered Dec 04, 2017 · View creator page →

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Rather than rave about this game, I'll summarise its major differences to Troika.

  • No prewritten backgrounds. You make six rolls on a table to determine your starting skills and equipment. This does lose some of the charm of Troika's writeups, but is easier to quickly customise for your game world and keeps the zine short.
  • No Skill stat. The game keeps Stamina and Luck, but breaks Troika's Skill stat into Brawn, Knack and Knowledge. These ability scores are determined by which starting skills you rolled: roll Archery and Navigation and you'll start with more Knack. Then to hit a target with a bow, you'll roll 2d6 equal-or-under Archery + Knack.
  • Combat round structure resembles The Black Hack. All characters act once a round. PCs test initiative at start of combat by rolling equal or over their number of filled item slots. Those who succeed act before NPCs each round (in any order). Those who fail act after the NPCs.
  • Attacks are Roll Under, not Roll Versus. If you miss a melee attack, the enemy doesn't get to hit you for free.
  • Armour reduces to-hit, not damage. You add the defender's Armour to your 2d6 attack roll. It's possible to start with a Shield (+1 Armour) but most PCs will start with no Armour. It goes up to +5 for PCs. The example NPCs max out at +4 Armour, though it indicates a dragon might have as much as +6.
    A starting PC will typically have 7 or 8 as their Skill Total for a weapon. So to hit an NPC with +2 Armour, they need to roll a natural 5- (28% odds) or 6- (42% odds).
    I bring this up not because it's a bad design choice (as a post-OSR/OSR-adjacent/NSR/whatever game, you shouldn't expect a straight-up fight to be winnable). But if you don't enjoy how attack rolls work in D&D (lots of misses, which don't provoke GM moves) you'd be better off sticking with standard Troika combat rules, or using Into the Odd's "attacks always hit" system*.
  • No quick spells, only slow rituals. Rituals have ingredients & requirements, but don't cost Stamina. The shortest example Ritual takes a minute to perform. Most take hours. Not all rituals are literal spells, the examples also include making a forgery, brewing poison, and leaving milk & mead to attract a brownie into your home (I love this)
  • The theme. I adore Troika's implied setting, but it's a lot of work hacking it to run something moody, folkloric, or closer to earth. This does most of the work for you. Note by "moody" I don't mean "grim, mud-covered fantasy with lots of random injury tables

Layout is excellent, both in visual attractiveness and in containing information within single spreads.

It looks like it'd run just fine as-written, but the end has a few pages of advice on hacking the game for different settings, introducing quick-cast magic

I bought the printed zine on a whim from the Soul Muppet web store, not knowing what to expect, and I'm really glad I did. It's a well-thought-out game, and I hope this overview helps you decide if it's to your taste.

*I also think kitbashing this game with Cairn would be an excellent idea.

also there's now a small python script for making random booster packs (i.e. folders of images)if anyone wants to get into set design/curation or Limited formats.

Reply to this comment if you have requested features for the Python script. I don't know if I'll be able to implement them, but at least it lets me know what to prioritise.

Hey so I broke up the card frame png into different elements you can recolour, turn on/off etc. And there's an A4 & Letter template for printing 9-10 cards to a page.

Hope this helps some people :-)

https://glaucus.itch.io/tools-for-basic-tcg

Image description:

A level 1 card called Mindfulness.

Art: a whale floating in an ocean. Cartoonishly drawn, though with "realistic" baleen and eye instead of an anthropomorphic face.

Card text:

Exercise (action): Touch noses with opponent. Together, imagine a beautiful whale.

Redirect (passive): Whenever a card targets another card, gently redirect it and your attention to this card.

I currently use Affinity Publisher, in the past I've done layout entirely with html & css ;-). Tried Scribus once and didn't know what I was doing, though that was probably inexperience and time pressure.

There's no shame in using Word or Google Docs though! IIRC Maze Rats was laid up entirely in Word, and it's one of my go-to examples of great, if understated, layout.

(youtube video linked since the itch page doesn't have any screenshots of the booklet)

This looks hella cool, and definitely keep us updated regardless of whether you decide to submit it to this jam!

A concise one-page move/procedure slottable into any game. The reverse side of the page gives background & summarises the main points of the linked pamphlet.

While I generally prefer some randomiser element, this is a great framework that lets magic be powerful & impactful, "balancing" it against player consensus (two other players have to be on board with your proposed effect) and against possible consequences for your character and the world.

Really nice job. Would work equally well in a game where everything is freeform and negotiated, or in a game where everything else "mundane" is handled by hard rules. e.g. a Star Wars game where the Force retains a sense of mystery, rather than being a laundry list of superhero powers.

You're right. I usually have a pdf available at launch for my other-in-browser titles, but I was tired and really wanted to get this out there. I'll throw up a pdf version soon, it won't have the best layout as this is text I'm still adding to.
Thank you for the kind words!

A couple of hooks for Shrines.

  1. "Some shrine priest charged me for entry, then tried to recruit me for some mission to 'reclaim his birthright'! The nerve! Someone's going to take advantage of him, you mark my words!"
  2. "Y'know, there's cultists in the area, word is they worship the One Who Hungers. They have some real power too, I traveled two-days north to get a barrel of my favourite mead and [some important landmark] was to the east, y'following me? But when I returned it was on the west! That's sorcery if ever I've seen it. *hic*"

Hey so while I don't yet have an adventure site written (a couple are percolating in my head), I did write some shrine descriptions that can be scattered around the hexcrawl. If it doesn't fit the theme of the jam I can remove, rename, and repost it as something separate.

https://glaucus.itch.io/shrines-of-the-rittermarch

Thank you! Your work did inspire me to print off some isometric paper and try sketching some dungeons, but I'm just not happy with them. And sometimes it's nice to deal with the constraints of someone else's drawing :-)

Quick question: are these for personal use only, or is commercial use (i.e. keyed, not just redistributing the blanks with no alterations as-is) OK?

Cool, that's what I thought was most likely, the jam description was just a bit vague.

...incidentally, I would be open to including whatever I make in a charity bundle. Depending on the cause, of course.

The main jam page is unclear about whether you'll be compiling the text of all submissions into a big hexcrawl, or just a sentence or two as overview, with a link to the relevant itch release for that hex.

It's also unclear about whether you expect submissions to be free/pwyw, free just for the duration of the jam (so creators can check out each other's work, or whether attaching a minimum price is OK.

To be clear, I'm fine with answers that require giving away my work for free. e.g. everyone's submissions could be put into an itch bundle and sold at a bulk discount, perhaps with proceeds going to charity, Or if they're compiled into a single document you publish, I'm fine with that being set to $0, or sold to raise money for charity. I just want to know what to expect, going into the jam.

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I really like the escalating advantage/take +10% forward system, and how you can give it up for a retreat. Really clean and simple, pushes gameplay towards certain tropes.

Like many rules-light systems, you'll have to fill in the blanks with your own preconceptions. e.g. how does initiative work, and do NPCs have similar stats to players? The "take the 10s digit of a successful attack, this equals damage dealt" would suggest this, because The Black Hack-style "roll over player's stat to hit" would produce only really high damage numbers.

edit: I missed the ref booklet, which answers this question. NPCs deal static damage on a failed roll by the player.

(this isn't meant as a criticism--there's necessarily gaps when a game fits onto a single-sided A4 sheet. Just a forewarning for people not sure what to expect)

Overall I like this rules module. Could someone write it themself for free? Sure, especially since the text of Troika and Knave are freely available. But hopefully this review/comment gives you an idea of whether $2 is worth the inspiration and labour saved.

First, some notes about format. 3 (landscape-oriented) pages, 650 words, simple two-column layout double line spaced. Easy to read, but a bit wasteful to print. Copy-pastes to a text editor without any text flow errors, so screen readers should be fine with it.

It's impossible to write a concise system that can effortlessly plug into *every* OSR game, but this gives enough ideas that a playgroup can decide how to interpret or tweak various things.

Some noteworthy things:

  • Item slots equals your Str score. For games with only a *modifier* (e.g. World of Dungeons) I'd say slots = 10 + Str mod. Note that unlike Knave, where the minimum score is 11, B/X or any 3d6-in-order system can produce characters who are very limited in carry capacity.
  • You *can* carry more stuff than your item slots, with escalating penalties to all rolls. Penalty to rolls obviously has different effects depending on what players roll for -- it's worse in The Black Hack or WoDu than for, say, a B/X magic-user.
  • It borrows Troika's (and Torchbearer, I think?) mechanic of having to roll whenever you want to retrieve items. The order of item slots matters.
  • Armour takes up 1 slot per bonus it gives. This is probably a bit much for "armour reduces to-hit" systems, I'd make it take 1 slot per +2 bonus to Armour Class. For "armour as damage reduction" (Into the Odd) or "armour as ablative HP" (The Black Hack 1e) you might need to tweak this ratio.
  • There's good guidelines for deciding how many slots a non-armour item takes. Knave partly leaves it up to the GM, so it's nice to have some more concrete advice here.
  • Damage takes up item slots! 1 hp per slot feels very inappropriate for B/X, to be fair the author points this out and offers solutions. But it could work with Jared's The Vanilla Game, other games with Vitality/Wounds, games with less granular HP, or with HP that never scales.
  • There are items (magic backpacks, bandoliers) that either adjust your carry capacity or your roll to retrieve things.

I'm perhaps a little biased, but the two maps are a real treat. Cat buildings!

Also excellent wordsmithing, as with all of Brian's stuff

Interesting! I was expecting this to be freeform stat bonuses, without the bennie economy of Fate.

But you've done the reverse -- keeping 3d6-in-order to decide what stats your Aspects relate to, and interpreting the Fate point economy within typical OSR game procedures.

If your class is Joker, how do you resolve flipping a Joker card? Crit fail or crit success?

(it's late here so other stuff might stick out on a more thorough read)

This is neat stuff though! A nice adaptation of Offworlders's light-pbta framework to a different randomiser, that exploits some unique features of said randomiser.

ooh yes, gimme that sweet sweet 225 MB of pastel noise filters

actually if I do have one small criticism it's that the flipbook implements 2d6 not very well. Of the 28 pages, 24 pages have a pair of dice printed on them, with the mean being 6.75. Throwing a pair of dice has 36 possible results with a mean of 7.

The probability of rolling 8+ on 2d6 is about 42%, using this flipbook it's 38%. Shouldn't be particularly noticeable over a one-shot session.

If you want to use the flipbook to reference a d66 table, you can flip the book twice and use the second die of each pair (no page has a "2" as the first die, so don't do that). This has a less accurate distribution, but unlike the printed dice pairs can roll any d66 result.

(yes i do get that printing costs of a 28-page booklet are lower than a 40-page one. It's a *small* criticism)

Yeah, it was more a note for people wanting to print on their home printer.

though for flipbooks i would recommend people do a Chinese/Japanese stab-binding rather than a saddle-folded booklet.

list of stab-binding tutorials

I love the implication that different worlds have different rules (both fictional/worldbuilding and game-procedural).

The three 1d6 tables of portal appearances, destinations and inhabitants are well-written, enough for a starter session.

The GMing advice is similar to WSCAOS, but rewritten and expanded upon. My favourite line is "If there’s a rule you don’t like, burn it as part of a ritual to open a portal to a new world.

The little page-flip dice down the bottom are great.

Overall, a really lovely standalone game. Definitely worth the asking price.

I love Let's Steal A Spaceship! Nice combination of a linear structure with random "things that go wrong" tables.

The letter spacing is a tad hard to read though :(

This game is pretty great. I particularly like the rules for Wounds, the table for how you die, and the simple rules for botched spells.

For anyone on the fence about the asking price, it's substantially longer than many of the other #wscaJam entries, at about 4500 words. Lots of random tables for adventure generation, character creation, 22 concise spells, 11 monster descriptions, GMing principles, a summary of a few safety tools.

It's more of a complete game than WSCAS or Sword & Backpack, though of course that's not the *point* of those games, they're deliberately meant as starting points.

Whitehack has two pages of d6 and d20 results, and I never quite understood why other OSR games inspired by Whitehack never did the same.

Hey Batts, this game is wonderful like all of your work, but could you add some alt text to the images in the game description?

This is lovely -- more fleshed-out and ready-to-go than World of Dungeons, simpler and with a lower power ceiling than One Shot World.

On a cursory read the only bits that I immediately dislike are Wizard and Fighter's respective Gear bubbles (I would swap them) and the use of funny dice. Maybe I'll pinch Troika's weapon lookup arrays and have Fighter roll 1d6+1, Wiz 1d6-1.

Hey if anyone else needs a workaround to make this comments section more readable, try the following:

1. Open your browser dev tools.

In Firefox, Shift-F7 will open the Style Editor, or open the following menus: Tools --> Web Developer --> Style Editor.

In Chrome, Shift + Ctrl + J (or Option + ⌘ + J on macOS) opens the developer console.

2. Turn off the following styles: <inline style sheet #1>, <inline style sheet #2>. In Firefox you click the little eye icon next to each style, I don't know what you do in Chrome.

I hope this helps, obviously providing instructions to make a comments section more readable within a comment is to some extent self-defeating.

A+ cover design :-)

just a heads up -- the nobleed file has four backgrounds in it (all four?) while the other file just has the Traumatised Standing Tank Pilot?

It's pretty easy to download the wrong file from the game jam page instead of from the product page and never realise they're missing three backgrounds.

These are cute, and I love the hearthstoney border on the backside of each card. Did you do the art yourself?

I love the goofy weapons and being unable to enter consecrated ground without an invitation.

I always love seeing how you reinterpret Michtims for different game systems

cool that you included a json file. Let me give you a money though!

Considering card printing has been suspended at drivethrucards for the foreseeable future, do people have any other ideas for printing them? (other than home/office printing & sleeving with a tarot deck)

so this is kinda late notice, but if ppl are still trying to get submissions together, there's this excellent collection of woodcuts:

https://collectie.antwerpen.be/impressedbyplantin/all-woodcuts