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Groundhoggoth

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A member registered Mar 26, 2018 · View creator page →

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Great game! Really cool, clean appearance married to simple, easy-to-play on the go rules.

This and other games (Cheat Your Own Adventure, Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne) come out of the Pompey Crew, an English RPG club that became a strong part of the British indie RPG scene at the end of the Noughties, around 2010, give or take a year.

Attending conventions in the South Coast of England and also making appearances at the London Indie RPG Meet-Up administrated by The Magus (another luminary in the indie RPG scene at the time),  members of the Pompey Crew did a lot to promote the new wave of RPG creativity that had hit in that era, reflected in the online presence of things like the Story-Games Forums and the revelation that was Apocalypse World. The London Indie Meet still exists, though in these pandemic times, it takes place online most months, hosted by the Indie RPGs server on Discord.

'Vicar' arose out of a trend for creating 'game poems,' short, punchy story-game experiences that were hyper-focused on a particular story and mood; it was often used as an ice-breaker for getting to know a new group or as a warm-up before the main event at any of the gatherings mentioned above.

I was fortunate to play most of these games with their creators, because the Indie RPG scene in Britain seems ridiculously small looking back now, with designers such as Malcom Craig and Gregor Hutton coming down from Scotland to attend these gatherings in England. It was a fantastic time for the great indie breakout and lead to the creation of Indiecon, an annual, residential convention dedicated to playing games from outside of the mainstream.

Fantastic to see this made available again; a great game poem I've enjoyed many times.

Here we go... it's the demo version of Troublemakers, my PbtA game of childhood adventures. This is just a taster of the full game, with a look at the basic moves and a couple of playsets with ideas and character outlines. If you are familiar with the mechanics of PbtA games, there's enough here to get at least a one-shot game out of it. Feel free to ask me question about this, but the full release, which should follow soon, will hopefully answer them.

We've played it with as few as two, but it can support larger groups; there's no real limit other than the patience the players can exercise in awaiting their turn to contribute. I'd recommend no more than six.

I am working on yet another game for the Jam, after thinking about the consequences of some design elements in my previous entry and wanting to explore that direction a little more. That has lead me to Live: Survive the Wild, a game about being stranded in hostile terrain and having to survive until you are rescued, or make your own way back to safety. As well as fighting the beasts of the wild, PCs also have to overcome challenges & obstacles in order to get the resources they need to in order to see the next morning and also build tools that improve their odds. Still roughing out elements of play and how they interact with each other,  but I am enjoying the way this makes me think about game design.

Love Hades, looking forward to  seeing what you come up with!

Things I'd like to see

Choice of Weapons: have a handful of core weapons to choose from each time you play and this is the foundation of your character build. I also wouldn't mind an actual character choice, so you're not always playing a Zagreus equivalent, you might also play Meg, Thanatos, etc.

Progressive Powers & Upgrades:  you don't start a run with a lot of powers, instead you have the option to gain one after each competed chamber; it's be nice if this was semi-random but still weighted towards building on your choices in prior chambers so you can focus on a particular style and skillset.

Challenge Chambers: a mix of scene types, so there are some vanilla fights using the basic rules, but then also some special scenes where an additional rule applies, e.g. you earn a special bonus if you don't take a hit or you have a limited number of rounds to kill all the foes in the room, etc.

I got inspired by a random comment about having my best ideas when I'm half-asleep; that, combined with watching Doom Patrol, fermented in my subconscious for a day and produced Don't Wake Up!, a game about sleepwalking superheroes using the surreal power of dreams to save the world from legions of nightmare monsters.

I have a couple of PbtA games up on itch:
The Continent Adrift is a sci-fi hack of Dungeon World loosely inspired by pulp magazine covers

Liquid Soap does daytime soap opera, heavily influenced by the breezy, Australian style.

SOUP! is one of three small games that make up my modular Atomic Summer series and is best described as an anime comedy action adventure,  mashing up ideas and themes from Thunderbirds and Cells at Work.

I'm currently toying with another PbtA design with more anime inspiration, dealing with the lives of the various employees in a brothel or bawdy house in a semi-serious way but still trying to keep it wholesome and treat the sexual content with sensitivity.

Nice to see this :-)



I've just published the preview edition of Atomic Summera compilation of micro releases for small, table-top RPGs scheduled for the summer of 2021. Each edition contains a selection of materials for different games, ‘atomising’ the rules and content over several playbooks. That means instead of getting a new different game every month, three brand new games will have their content atomised over those three months.

In this preview edition, instead of getting material for new games, there are new playbooks for some games I’ve already created & published:

I Choose You! The asymmetric game of monster pets and their trainer gets a new pet playbook; now you can play Crystal types, who use their translucence, shininess and sharp edges to help their trainer out of a tight spot.

Neon Snowflakes: A new unique character joins the roster of exceptional misfits in their bubblegum fantasy world; the Spoon brings their culinary skills and friendly yet commanding presence to the mix!

Liquid Soap: every soap opera needs that shady character who is prepared to do anything to make a quick buck and will throw anyone else under the bus to save their own skin. The Crook is just that character, stirring up the cozy lives of the other characters with risky schemes that bring everyone’s secrets out into the open.

Feedback is always appreciated; download & enjoy!

I've updated the document now with a couple of minor changes:

 - A chip is added to the pot at the start of every new round and also at the end of every turn if there are still players who have not made a bet yet; this means there is always something to play for and the value of the pot always increases the longer the round goes on.


 - The turn order has been clarified, so the player to the left of the dealer goes first and the dealer passes left each round.

Good questions:
 - If you bust, you lose: you're out of the round, so you won't collect the pot this turn; I might deincentivise this by adding that the pot always starts with a chip in it.
 - The first player rotates around the table as normal, but I'll clarify this in the text.
Thanks for the interest!

Ah, that background is much better! Cheers!

Cool game! Nice parody take on certain movies...

I did find it hard to read due to the dark, patterned background though; also, the text states there are two mechanical stats but then goes on to list and describe three.

Now, as a Scottish man, I need to practice my Spanish, which would be more than Sean Connery ever did.

I have nothing to say yet

I'm happy with a broad brush; if the genre is folk horror, then something like "rural medieval village" or "isolated island, hostile to outsiders" pretty much tells me all I need to know. I don't think a map or the names of all the locals is necessary, except as an oracle list to draw inspiration from.

I enjoyed the demo: great graphics and good music. It would be interesting to see what later levels are like.

Hopefully getting a one or two sessions of this going as a tryout on a new queer/trans friendly TTRPG Discord server soon!

Great stuff! We highlighted this in our podcast on the Bundle for Racial Justice & Equality! Please forgive our atrocious acting
https://theindierpgpipeline.blogspot.com/2020/06/james-lloyd-itchio-bundle-for-r...

Awesome game! It was one of our highlight picks for our podcast on the Bundle for Racial Justice & Equality!
https://theindierpgpipeline.blogspot.com/2020/06/james-lloyd-itchio-bundle-for-r...

Hey there, just thought I would let you know that we picked this out as a highlight in our podcast on the Bundle for Racial Justice & Equality
https://theindierpgpipeline.blogspot.com/2020/06/james-lloyd-itchio-bundle-for-r...

Cool game; we featured it in our podcast on the Bundle for Racial Justice & Equality
https://theindierpgpipeline.blogspot.com/2020/06/james-lloyd-itchio-bundle-for-r...

Oh, also we picked it out as a highlight game in the bundle for our podcast

https://theindierpgpipeline.blogspot.com/2020/06/james-lloyd-itchio-bundle-for-r...

No worries! We muddled through with what felt right and had a really nice, sweet game; thanks for creating this!

Also, this was how we played online!

https://jamboard.google.com/d/1itchIhx6iDzoTKEOaLSYMKDtNv7A-1LfMYXBWa6dylE/edit?...

We played this today and had great fun; one question we had though was whether the PCs start with any Heart or Skill tokens?

Sure, go for it! Any credit will be fine as Groundhoggoth or Groundhoggoth games; drop me a link and I'll spread it around the internets!

Here's my twitter handle is you want to contact or @ me there

https://twitter.com/Groundhoggoth

If you're on Discord, you can usually hmu in the Indie RPG or PbtA servers as well
https://discord.gg/pRNNUm
https://discord.gg/Zejrkf

Cool game: I'm making a spreadsheet to act as the character sheets so I can play this with some friends on Discord!

Oh, and before I forget, I also mentioned it on the podcast

I played this twice yesterday with a friend on Discord (we get through games very quickly) and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for making this, it's an awesome directed story-telling experience.