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Halfling Caravan Games

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A member registered Feb 04, 2019 · View creator page →

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I have a stack of ideas that my brain is chewing through slowly.

This has previously been released as a Roll20 Module, but is now presented here in PDF.

Waylaid is a D&D 3E and 5E short adventure intended to allow you to dovetail it into other modules.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/waylaid

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Supanova Expo is going to be happening on June 21-23 2019 at Olympic Park and a number of the Sydney TTRPG people have banded together to get space.

I'll be there all three days running a booth along with Steve Dee of Tin Star Games

I'll be bringing the first hardcopy print run of Beta Maxx X, and also talking about a card game I'm planning to Kickstart. It would be great to find a number of Itch people and other TTRPG people. Come past! It would be great to talk.

Add Variety not needless Complexity

You can usually get interesting result by hijacking existing material and concepts. You don't need to totally reinvent the wheel, often you can just grind the serial numbers off something else, put new paint on it, and drop it into the game as a new rule.  But don't make new rules just because you think another 7 moving parts is going to make it 'good'; sure lots of people love their crunch, but if you can get the same variety without making it a Rube-Goldberg of die rolls and tables and whatever else... then you've achieved your objective.

Is it "Bizz-face" or "Bits-fa-che"??

Names are an item of world building for me.

So in one of my D&D worlds, cultures have name lists and how the names work (such as the fact that Halflings have Given - Mother's Given - Family, and a bunch of other familial stuff with names). 

But where culture elements aren't so heavily resting on names, then I don't bother.

Sister Stones

The locals say it never snows in Sister Stones, but its snowing in Sister Stones.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/the-sister-stone

The Lamp

A strange tower is above a hotspring and the locals know nothing about it; time for some high level party to explore.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/the-lamp

Keeps & Towers

Players often want to build, or upgrade, or repair, fortifications and towers; this gives you a little mathematical heft if that is something you want in your game.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/keeps-towers

Frontiers of the Empire

This supplement is a set of XP rewards to try push players to explore, particularly if you're using a Westmarches with large or mass-play groups, for D&D 5E.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/frontiers-of-the-empire

My immediate reaction is that in RPGs Profluence is the narrative drive of the players-as-players engaging in the activity. It's similar to board game engagement, but focussed on a different outcome. When the actions of now, don't have a link to the future, the narrative loses its drive. When the events of now, don't have enough instability, the narrative loses its drive.

I love in VTES the way that depleting your resources to set yourself up, and the "Kill left, protect right" setup immediately shoves instability right into the game.

Your game needs its metaphorical finger on the scales towards creating certain instabilities which can then 'roll downhill' to their conclusions.

(I feel like in many ways I might be too close to it to see it clearly, but this is what I feel those four might be). 

I'm answering this thinking of Beta Maxx X.
Premise
Systems, Structures, and Leaders can be fought. The people who will likely do the fighting are "ordinary Joes" who get screwed or attacked by those things further up the ladder. Species are not culturally monolith in the "D&D Sense" but Species have their dominant cultural elements (you can be brought up 'out of your culture).

Action
If you can figure it out, you can try do it. It might not succeed. Violence is just another tool in the box which also includes magic, cybernetics, social methods, and thinking methods.

The Art
It depicts a lot of surrealism and futurism (and a fairly high number of women, but has predominantly white people because of the ways my budget has constrained my art options and I really wish it could be more diverse. There are pieces I would probably replace and more that I would want to add).

I was with you until I had to count a lunchbox of d6 for successes in Step 4...

And that's part of the idea of looking at a game this way: know what your game does in its design, and know what the story you want to tell requires of the other stories around it.

If you get a hard clash (e.g. The D&D Pacifist) then it's likely to be unsatisfying.

Nice misread of the intent there...

Preamble

Feel free to chop this up or have a go at it. I've been bouncing this idea around for a while in my head, and while it probably isn't perfect, I think it's probably about the right mark? Anyway, bash it around and see what falls out.

The Layers

  1. The Story of the System Itself
  2. The Story of the "Long Game Story" (e.g. Campaign)
  3. The Story of the Players as Players
  4. The Story of the Characters

Story of the System

For the pithy one-word thing this is "Ludonarrative".
D&D wants to tell stories of kicking open doors, killing stuff, taking stuff, and repeating that. Blades in the Dark wants to tell stories of Heists going wrong, that maybe involve a fair chunk of failure. Punk systems (particularly Cyberpunk) generally want to tell stories of the underdog battling the systems of the world around them to reshape the world into a place where they aren't outsiders.

Basically, games have a story that they tell well by the structure of the game. What the game finds important enough to detail feeds into the stories it tells.

Story of the Long Game Story

This is what would be called a Campaign, or Series, or similar. This is often the story set up by the person taking the Referee/Umpire/GM/DM chair. Maybe there are other ways it is done if there are GM-less games that have long arcs that span multiple sessions.

Story of the Players as Players

This is one of the very very social parts of an RPG. This part is in many ways absent in a GM-less game, but can't disappear completely while you still have someone playing a game.

This is where people would talk about the stuff they did in the game. It's that story. It's the story of "My friends and I sat down with made up people and did stuff, and that stuff was this and that and it was fun..." you get the idea.

"We played a band of heroic types who slayed dragons and saved townspeople!"

"We were a bunch of society's outcasts who banded together, and overthrew the man to try rebuild the city from the top down!"

"We are courtiers around the king, and we manage to convince the king to avert a few different crises during this, got some other nobles in line, and probably prevented a civil war for another year."

"We sat down and has most of our people die as we tried to survive the winter".

Story of the Players as Characters

This is the story of the PC as told by the Player.

"This is Dave, he's a wizard in Neo Hong San Tokyo who is on the run from his previous employers for freeing a bunch of slaves out of an abusive factory. He did it by...  Dave wants to bring down the company because they're abusive and exploitative and Dave's had enough."

"Liz is the third courtesan to the Emperor and is pretty sure the Empress wants her dead. She needs to survive this, and maybe if she does she'll end up one step up. Survival first, gaining rank second."

Why care?

Players can complain about games because two of these, or maybe more of these, pull in different directions.

Your game system might be setup to tell gritty combat, but the setup for the long-run narratives talks about spies, assassinations and court intrigues.

Your long-run narrative might be setup to talk of heists, espionage, getting out by the skin of your teeth, but the Players are really wanting less Action Movie and more Period Drama... so heists and pulp action isn't going to cut it.

The Players you have really want to play interpersonal diplomatic conflict (Yay! A Diplomacy group!) but the game you have on hand is... D&D. Those are going to clash.

The character really just wants to be a pacifist and help the poor. In a "Story of the Game" which promotes espionage and assassinations, that won't work. In a Long-Run Game which is based on courtly intrigue, that won't work.

Why care as Designers?

I think it's important that we make it obvious the kinds of stories our games are set up to tell (if we aren't aware of it already) and maybe the times when people don't like our games, is because we have clashes forming between these layers.

Blades in the Dark won't tell the same Stories as For the Queen or Shadowrun. You can try maybe "Ship of Theseus" your way into hacking Blades to give you "For the Queen" but... why? Why not just play For the Queen?

You won't be hacking Kagematsu anytime soon to give you Conan Fantasy Pulp... it's probably not going to be a "smart plan".

And if your game at one layer isn't backing up the other layers, then maybe its something you need to change.

But I looooooove hacking (system)!

Okay, that's fine. Hack away.

Just know the limitations of the tool. It comes with assumptions built into it.

Not all knives are the same. Scalpels aren't bread knives aren't filleting knife aren't machetes.

I suspect I will be rubbish at this considering I have not watched any of it to any extent in 30years...

Dark Beach by The Peep Tempel 

https://youtu.be/u_r8G5aqZHg

or

Jet Generation by Guitar Wolf

https://youtu.be/d82ukYXj52U

I have previously skirted around systems like Shadowrun and Storyteller. From my waaaaay back when in about 4th or 5th Edition Warhammer Fantasy TTWargame... I learned the appeal of “lunchbox of dice” but also the downfall of counting... (I had Orcs & Gobbos, I could easily have 40d6 being rolled).

So when I looked about everyone was loving PbtA, Fate, and FitD systems and well... they didn’t feel very “pulpy” to me. I wanted a bit of “lunchbox of dice” thrill but not so “and now we spend 45 seconds separating d6s”.

So, Beta Maxx got born. Most of the time players wouldn’t be super likely to have 10d10 they are rolling, probably 3-7. So a little bit of lunchbox of dice but not separating out 40d6 into two piles and rolling the second pile, and then...

The big thing for me about the system is the table-addition Traits making the game quite easy to theme/genre modify, and that “fistful of dice” feeling.

I can give one here.

I’m going to use Beta Maxx X stuff but the other games have the same setup)

You hit a situation: you are trying to escape through a crowded marketplace on a motorcycle with another player. You are driving, they have magic ready to help.

Your character is going to use the Traits Agility, and Perception with the Skill Land Vehicles. You have 3 Agility, 2 Perception, and 3 Land Vehicle Skill; you will roll 5d10 and reduce the Target by 3 for you. Your friend has Enchantment 3 Trait and Combat Magic 2. They are going to try use these to make the crowd part in front of you both; they will roll 3d10 and reduce the Target by 2 for them.

Target & Successes are described to be a two part way of figuring out how hard it is to do something. High target = difficult to get any progress, high Successes = lots of steps to completion. The GM looks at what they know, and lets you know the Target and Successes. They tell you you two need Target 7s and 4 Successes to get through the market unscathed and at full speed.

You roll 5d10 and look for (7-3)=4+ on your dice. Each one 4+ is a success. Your friend rolls 3d10 and looks for (7-2)=5+ on their dice. Each of those is a success. If you get 4 between the pair of you, it is all good. If not then something might go wrong, somehow, and if you roll badly, things could be much worse.

Did that help?

*gently sweeps away all references to his folder of campaign concepts that would probably run for 150+pp each*
I have NO idea what you might mean there Anna... no idea AT ALL.

Hey Everyone,

So I created my own system after getting frustrated with a well known cyberpunk game brand and it’s spinoff. And after a chat with Bebarce (who you might know from his Kids Game targeted RPG “Power Outage”) the names Beta Maxx X and Beta Maxx were born.

The system itself is meant to be easy to handle at both ends, pulpy, and depending on the work you want to put into details relatively easy to reskin. 

It runs on a d10 die-pool system where your Traits increase the die-pool, and Skills reduce the Target value needed for Successes; both Target Number and Successes float. Each of the Cartridges of the system are then hit with “genre trope sauce” to get each to live in their own space.

Beta Maxx X being the pulpy Space Opera/Fantasy game, has magic, cybernetics, and special rules with Action Movie tropes such as “The Blue Wire”, “Battlecry”, “Bad Day”, and “There Is No Plan B”. This is in addition to spaceships, a considerable number of puns hidden in plain sight, and camp suggestions for antagonists and plot (at least one NPC is suggested to be a disgraced sports player who established a sporting goods company selling wooden bats and is actually a several thousand year old vampire who has been hiding behind changing names).

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/beta-maxx-x

Beta Maxx Death is the Slasher Horror reskin of the game with mundane people, like sexy teens going to spend the weekend in the woods by the lake, who are then attacked by either a mundane or supernatural Slasher (which could be the building!) and their objective is to make it out alive. The mechanics of the game are very similar but include genre tropes for “slasher horror movies” such as a mechanism for Players losing control of their actions and in a panic.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/beta-maxx-death

Beta Maxxthulhu is the Victorian Adventurer in Weird Tales reskin of the game system riffing off movies such as The Mummy, and Indiana Jones (but backdated 50-100+ years). Now the players can become exposed to the surreal or occult having their world view shatter, and potentially giving them Psychoses that they have to manage during their downtime to mitigate the effects OR which can crop up during their adventures causing them to possibly enter a fearful panicked state, or a kind of “blind rage”. Lore already includes French speaking overly large spider monsters who speak French because it is more comfortable on their fangs than English, German, or Latin.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/beta-maxxthlhu

RE: New Releases

It might be worth subcategorising them to somewhat limit the effect of stuff flowing right out of sight before it could be easily seen. The group could grow quickly soon be releases every hour etc.

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So my biggest two "recent" releases (because I've been porting across a lot of stuff into Itch which I have had up on other platforms) are...

Beta Maxx X

Beta Maxx X is a Pulpy Space Opera/Fantasy TTRPG (gorgeous artwork by the skilled George Cotronis aka Ravenkult on Twitter and other places) running on its own d10 die-pool based system. 

The Other World Game

I've created a card and dice based game that is a camp, murderous, fantasy-themed, football (the round ball kind) game.  It should remind you of things like Bloodbowl, and many tropes about 'The World Game'. This is a Print-and-Play set for people to playtest and later this year I am planning to Kickstart to get the rest of the art I will need for the first three teams.


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Hey All,

I'm Andrew C (@halflingcaravan on Twitter and all over the place) and I've been creating stuff for D&D3.5E, D&D5E, and working on my own RPG game system (Beta Maxx Engine which I've got cartridges for X, Death, -thulhu, and other concepts ready to go) as well as  card game projects like Lost Stories, The Other World Game, and in tinkering with a Gotcha Heist Game. 

I'm looking to do more Cooperative Game creation, teaming up with Artists, Editors, and other Writers. If you're looking for people to work with, I'm really wanting to get a diversity of people around me working on projects together because I think it makes for better games.

Edit: He/Him. Responds well to coffee, dark chocolate, cheesecake, debates, and randomness.

New Stuff or Schilling your stuff could be broken down by categories as well to limit some of the “waterfall” tendencies you can get on busy forums.

The Roll20 LFG forum is notorious for washing every post away before it gets lukewarm let alone cold. BGG forums seem to do this too.

Could we have a New Releases category?

Thanks Leaf!!

There are stock art type things for digital  games around Itch already. So it should be doable to have Itch selling stock art.

Thanks.

I'll try read this more a bit later. I do come from a TTRPG background, rather than a Computer Game background (I'm one of those Physical Games migrants) so that's probably why the references didn't hit immediately.

I know a few groups that would love to have this because it increases transparency for cooperative work.

It would be great to see some kind of option to do this. I couldn’t disagree with DaedalusMachina more on this.

I would push for Analog as the top category. I think it fits nicely and you can easily have two forums next to each other and people know what you're on about (i.e. Digital Game Dev and Analog Game Dev, etc)

Andrew Chirgwin, a creator of all sorts of TTRPG and Analog Games. A few card games, an RPG system (Beta Maxx), and materials for use in other RPG systems. I'm planning to release more of my experimental works here, leaving things like the D&D products to remain on platforms where those communities buy more often.

https://halfling-caravan-games.itch.io/

Halfling Caravan Games on itch

Hey everyone and anyone, I'm just wanting to get feedback from you about this page and what you might improve. I'm not super technically savvy, so if you're talking about complicated HTML stuff you'll need to walk me through it or punt me towards a simple tutorial.

Halfling Caravan Games on Itch

I've been publishing Analog products (games, TTRPG materials, card games) for a few years now, and now that Itch seems to be pushing to have a stronger Analog Games community, it seemed to be a good place to come join.

My first uploaded items are:

  • Beta Maxx X - A Space Opera/Fantasy Pulpy TTRPG using the Beta Maxx game system
  • Beta Maxxthulhu - A Weird Tales/Supernatural Adventures TTRPG using Beta Maxx 
  • Beta Maxx Death - A Slasher Horror TTRPG using Beta Maxx
  • The Other World Game - A silly violent fantasy Soccer Card Game for 2 players in its Playtest Edition (because I'd love to get feedback from people who are coming to the game cold)

This feature would help out a lot with a few groups I've been chatting with who are looking to get Coop-Style publishing together.

If I could mash like and get that to +100 I would.

I'd love to get any feedback you have about this game:

  • Did you actually enjoy it? Was it fun?
  • Were there parts about the game you felt clunked or didn't flow well?
  • Did any one of the players or cards feel like they were way too good compared with the rest?
  • Did any one of the players or cards feel like they were terrible compared with the rest?
  • Did you find the rules easy to pick up and use?
  • If you were going to buy a Team Box (a team + 1 set of the Standard Tactics), how much do you think you'd expect it to cost printed by someone else?
  • Any other comments...?

I'd like to +1 on the ideas for

  • A kind of traceability system for both ends (buyers and vendors can see "Your thing is ordered", "Your thing has been made", "Your thing has been posted") and a simple bulk-adjustment thing for that. Cause that system would SUCK if you had to change one-by-one manually rather than "do these 20, select 20 in the thing, change to been made".
  • Present the above stuff in a simple sheet? Something you could export to your preferred spreadsheet system of choice and use as your to-do-list if you're doing this across more than one platform.

Yeah that simple graphical thing would be awesome to let people know which were physical and which were not.
Or another easy solution is to put a colour border around the item.
Red Border = Digital
Blue Border = Physical/Tabletop
Purple Border = Both Versions Available

Hey Itch Peeps,

I got here through Cecil (CONE/SwordPeddler) and Olivia Hill.

The sort of stuff I'd want from this kind of thing would be...

  • A general Tabletop Game category
  • Tags for Roleplay Games, Card Games, and maybe for individuals RPG systems or suites of systems (if they will function like a cloud of searchable tags, rather than a categorical box)

The other big wishlist would be to have a way to do PoD type stuff. I know that you don't do physical material printing, but if there were ways to either do a bulk-order-and-ship (explained a bit more below) or a per-transaction-order-and-send that would be great.

Bulk Order & Ship

For printed stuff, there are usually economies of scale to be had in sending a large enough job to a printer. The pie-in-the-sky idea would be to have a kind of 'preorder' list that could be set up. When someone wants a physical thing, they go on a list and are not yet charged (like Kickstarter... pledge to buy but not yet pay) so that when the orders for that hit a certain volume the Creator can then hit "Charge and send to Printer" and then the usual PoD stuff would kick into gear.

If that idea is way outside what you'd want to do, then just garden variety PoD like you find at Lulu, or DTRPG, or similar would be fantastic.


Andrew C