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Hardcore Narrativist

A member registered Mar 17, 2019 · View creator page →

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Now I have played a second time. We used Ending #3: Dog of the Dead, but with a lighter tone (more like in the first ending). It worked well, although I wonder a couple of things:

  1. Are the friends supposed to be related in some way, or the same for everyone? If not, it feels to me that it will be essentially as many stories as there are dogs, just all set in the same "universe". Is that the intention?
  2. This time we chose different best friends, but they knew each other and their stories were connected and the dogs and best friends ended up meeting. The problem with this was that we had to take turns playing "The End" and one dog. We made it work, but it didn't feel like it was the game's intention.
  3. It feels more natural to me that one would choose the End and the tone before creating the dogs, so they make sense in the setting/tone. Is it on purpose that the dogs are created first?

This was really good! I finally managed to play yesterday with a friend and it was very enjoyable. We based the game on Ending #2: The Long Walk and went for a pretty sombre/tragic story. We both loved it, especially the end. We decided to stop at the nice moment and skip describing the actual end.

One thing that was a little confusing was realising that the Happiness needs to be something that takes some effort to prepare/setup, so that there can be a "story" about it on the day before The End. Otherwise, super easy to play and smooth. Great job!

Hi! I just noticed that Card-a-mon, the web-based card editor, has been abandoned by its original author. The code is open source, though, so you can download it and install it yourself. I think it would be nice to keep the flame alive so I was wondering if there are people interested in taking over maintenance. I can probably help but I doubt I will have time to lead the project.

Any takers? I'm happy to coordinate the takeover with the original author (eg. and make sure he leaves a redirect to whichever new place we decide), and if I see enough interest I will even consider paying for the domain name and the hosting for the time being.

What is "vying" in this context? "Trying to win over other players"? Also, are you talking about traditional RPGs, with a narrator and all that (and generally metagaming-averse), other kinds of games, or for all storytelling games?

Also, what prompted this? Are there recent games I'm unaware of that push for this model?

This looks great! Looking forward to trying it 😄

I have only read it, never actually tried it, but I really like the approach: more focused on the style of fighting / kind of fighter as opposed to which specific weapon or armour are used. Also having the excitement and drama of a fight, like the feints, dodges, and such drive it, instead of being an inert die roll + calculation. And I love that it's designed to be combined with other systems!

I don't usually play games that involve combat but I might try this the next time I actually run such a game 😄

One thing I was a bit confused about: when translating the "killing blows" to other systems, the table uses fractions, like 1/8 HP, 1/2 HP, and such. At first that confused, especially with the "1 HP" label, because I didn't know if that was supposed to be... literally 1 hitpoint. So maybe it will be clearer with percentages instead? So, 12.5% HP, 50% HP, 100% HP?

Oh, and one final thing: there are some problems with the double quote characters. It seems that when the name of the game is mentioned in the text, it always has an extra double quote character at the end. Also, the end quote sometimes is the wrong character in the table of contents.

I don't think I had ever heard of SCP (at least I didn't remember), and "Control" is such a generic word that could be anything. I have played the game, though, and I love it (and it fits into the whole SCP idea). Just wanted to be sure 😄

SCP as in And Control as in the video game by Remedy?

Aha. That works. So the rules generally already cover 2-6 for all moves, instead of having every move define it?

Wouldn't it make more sense to call the two options "They work slowly..." and "They react with..."? I don't think the options have to be "positive". You are going to pick the outcome you prefer among the possibilities anyway. I think removing the negatives would make it much easier to understand, I myself was a bit confused at first. Also for someone unfamiliar with PbtA it might not be obvious than choosing one implies that the other one happens, so to speak.

Also, what happens on 2-6? You get both? Something else?

Not really impossible in fiction by any means, but I think The Skeletons is kind of cool in that you have a group of skeletons guarding a tomb, and as time passes, they slowly remember who they were when they were alive (through the players answering questions). There are often surprising stories, like they hated whoever they are guarding (they are forced to do so, through a curse), or that the skeletons were enemies in their lives.

I'm not sure I can effectively put it into words, but I have the impression that both statements ("Things only 'work' and 'don't work' in relation to a specific individual or a group" and "game design is a skill that can be learned or developed") can be true at the same time. There are many aesthetics, goals, and styles of games and play, and many different player expectations. I think the first statement basically means that games are not objectively good or bad, which I agree with. The second statement I also agree with: you can get better at expressing certain aesthetics and designing for certain principles or player expectations.

Although I have never actually played Pathfinder, I have the impression that I wouldn't like it and that I would have specific gripes about its design, but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad game. It maybe makes it a bad game for me and for the outcomes I expect from such a game. So one could argue about whether or not its design is good for the style of play it wants to produce/encourage, and that could teach us some things about design. But because people want different things from a game, ultimately games will always "work" or "not work" only for specific people.

Fair enough! I hadn't thought of the possibility of the author providing free copies. That's cool, too. I was mostly thinking that, at least in the beginning, it would be a good idea to lower the bar for participation by choosing short games that can be downloaded for free. I know that I would not even think of participating if I had to buy and read a 100+ page book.

Regarding how to choose, I think voting should be fine. If people suggest several games first, and then people vote between those, we won't necessarily get "popular" games, I think.

This sounds great! Here is an idea: what about we choose free or PWYW games in here? I think it would have several advantages:

  • People participating wouldn't have to spend money to participate.
  • We would bring attention to creators that are probably struggling to be noticed at all, and maybe we could leave some comments on the page (those are gold for indie creators).
  • They would tend to be much, much shorter than your typical published RPG, so it would be a lot easier to participate and we could have shorter, more frequent discussions.

I'm biased because I'm such a creator, but I'd be happy to ban my own creations from the book club 😄

Yeah, "debate" was definitely the wrong word. I meant more like the short, natural discussions that would occur with questions or the kinds of prompts you mentioned 😄

FWIW I always keep a tab open with this forum but I don't have anything concrete to contribute so I never write anything. Then again I'm not currently actively doing anything, but I would probably engage if there were questions or debates or something.

Ah, I didn't know that game, thanks for the link. Also seems potentially heavy, not sure I'd dare playing that other game 😅

Yeah, I understand! I just meant that maybe it would have been nice to somehow reference the things they had done "in the other episodes". But I don't even know if that's possible/easy 😅

Anyway, kudos for the game.

Nice game, and nice mechanics! I kind of wish that the fact that the protagonists are adventurers were more present, though. Because, as-is, it seems that the protagonists could be just a group of friends? Or am I missing something?

Nice game!

In the beginning, when it says "Write your name and pronouns", that means the character's name and pronouns, right? Related, how much do you expect real life and the real relationships between the players to bleed into the game?

Also, I wonder how easy it is to come up with struggles and problems off the top of your head while playing, and if having some prompts or similar could help (similar to the initial table, but a bit more concrete).

This was great fun to read! In the Curses and Blessings section, it says "At the end of the

hole, blessings are converted to curses that last until the end of the hole." I guess it meant "until the end of the NEXT hole", right?

If you don't mind sharing, which tweet was the inspiration for this?

Nice! I have the impression that it would be bit too dark for me to play (especially the red path, yikes), but I really like the prompts. They are quite vivid.

Have you playtested this? I wonder how well the Dialect cards match up with the aspects, and how easy it would be to come up with the shared moments.

Anyway, I happened to use the same tweet as inspiration (it's gold!) but I took a very different approach: I made a new game instead of literally using Dialect, and made it much lighter. In my game, the couple has already broken up and they are remembering good moments. There is even a small chance they will go back together!

Great game! I have never watched those kinds of shows so I maybe lack references and it's a bit hard for me to imagine how it would play out, but it sounds really fun. My questions and suggestions:

  • I would love to have examples!
  • Question: it says it's for 3-4 players, but it uses a GM. Does that mean that it would be a GM and only 2 players, maybe 3? I imagined it for more people for some reason...
  • From the text, I get the impression that it would be possible to choose many judges and no hosts. Is that a valid choice? It sounds a bit weird, but I don't see anything in the text against it.
  • I love the safety tool, I didn't know it! Kudos for including one, plus thanks for bringing that specific one to my attention.
  • I think the text is very hard to read in the black boxes: too thin font for white-over-black text.
  • In the moves in particular, the alternating black boxes don't work that well. Apart from the problem above, it visually makes it look like a different section or something. Are the boxes necessary in the move list? It feels like the bold font for the move names should be enough to visually separate when one ends and the next starts. If not, maybe a small ruler would do the job.

Great game! I'm not even into the genre but this was really intriguing, I wouldn't mind playing it to give it a spin.

Two minor suggestions:

  1. It would have been good to include some reference to safety tools.
  2. The graphic design is kind of bland, this theme and mechanics would pop out even more with a nicer, possibly manga- or anime-like aesthetic! Related, and maybe most importantly, it's kind of hard to visually tell apart level 2 headings like "Do" and level 3 headings like "Setup". I know level 3 are in italics, but eg. while scrolling it's kind of hard to tell when you're changing to another level 2 heading, if you know what I mean. Maybe a ruler or a different colour would help.

Have you playtested this BTW? I wonder about the chances of winning and all that. How easy or hard is this supposed to be?

Nice game, very original! Some comments/questions:

  • It would be nice to have a couple of examples of physicality, as I find it a bit abstract and hard to grasp. Other may, too.
  • At first I thought that the soul was shared! The "your" in "Pick your soul" is ambiguous and the game is called "We, the city", so...
  • How many players is it recommended for? I guess it doesn't make sense as a solo game?
  • I wonder how this will play out over several turns. Maybe an extended example will help? One of the things I wonder is: will the characters mentioned appear again, or is the focus only the city in a more abstract way?

Specifically, these are the changes:

  • Renamed the hexagon types to make them clearer, together with the "discovering the past" action, now "building the past". Now they are "unknown", "built", and "explored".
  • Added a specific mark to empty/clear path hexagons so they are easier to tell apart from unknown hexagons.
  • Update the hexagon type table to add suggestions about how to represent each hexagon type on the map.
  • Clarify a bit how the scenes triggered by the tension/treasure questions should be framed.
  • Make it clear from early on that the questions are at the heart of the game, and crucial for the game feel.

Thanks for your comments! You're right about the expansions and the questions. Funnily enough, initially this game was sort of inspired by Uncharted, the videogame series... but the questions give it a very different feel (the videogame is more adventure/fun, and this game is much more tense and about conflict). I should probably try to develop a couple of alternative questions, or maybe whole alternative archetypes. And it's interesting that you mention horror, because the other idea I had for this jam was a kind of Silent Hill, in which the two maps represent real world and nightmare world. So maybe I can combine that idea somehow into this game?

Ah, my bad about the fragile routes. Yes, I meant that I initially said that every fragile path hexagon had to connect two sides of it, but if you had a cluster of three fragile route hexagons, it would make sense to allow people to make a fork on the road, if they wanted to. I'll try to clarify that in later versions.

Yeah, I guess more information about the epilogue would be good. I'll try to improve that, thanks!

Oh, that idea about advanced questions is interesting. I'll think about it and see if I can improve the game in that direction.

Thanks a lot, again, for your thoughtful comments!

Ciao Daniele! Your English is fine 😄
Thank you! Hehe, I have the impression that many questions I had about other games would have been answered by an example, that's why I always try to add one 😄

Regarding the Discover the Past table, it was on purpose: first, to make it more generic; second, to give the players more control. I think I even considered having a bit more detail and having categories like Public Building, Worship Building, and stuff like that, but I think it works better as it is now, for these reasons:

  • If it had categories, all generated maps would tend to have the same statistical distribution of religious buildings, private houses, etc. That limits the settings a lot, because maybe some settlements would never have religious buildings at all, or private houses. Or not as many. Or not as few! I considered having playbooks for different kinds of settlements (with different kinds of buildings and different distributions of the kinds of buildings), but that's a limitation in its own right, and didn't seem necessary.
  • It opens up for possibilities that I haven't thought of! If I added categories, maybe someone could come up with a kind of settlement that needs a kind of building (or kind of fragile path) that I didn't think of.
  • It could be difficult to make sense of why there's a certain kind of building in a certain place (eg. right besides a cliff)... although that kind of limitation can sometimes result in super-interesting possibilities than the players wouldn't think of by themselves! So maybe this is not a big deal.

I'm not completely sure what you mean about the second point, what kind of situation do you think will be problematic? Fragile paths are drawn in the past map, and as they are explored in the present, also on the present map. When they are drawn on the present map, they might be drawn destroyed, that's why they can only be drawn on the present map once they are explored ("resolved") in the present. I don't have the impression it will be confusing, but I haven't played with other people so I don't know!

Regarding your last question, every time you move you have to roll dice at least once, because you are exploring some new hexagon so you don't know its current state (including whether or not you can even enter it!) until you roll. If you want you could move hexagon by hexagon, including "clear path" hexagons... but you have nothing to do in that case, so it's kind of an empty turn, so to speak, so I didn't even consider it. However, if you are wondering if you have to discover the past every time you move in the present, that's not the case! For two reasons:

  1. Every time you discover the past, the "radius" of the discovery is _two_, not one, partly so that you switch between past and present in batches, and not for (almost) every action.
  2. Once you have discovered the past, you have around 7-8 new hexagons to explore, and often the players will want to visit several of those before moving on farther down the map.

I wonder if I should describe more explicitly what happens in a turn and what the possibilities are, do you think that would help?

3 - Ah, that makes sense. Actually I wasn't even thinking about the thing with the number of players, I just thought that it was interesting. But yeah, it would be nice to make it work with fewer players.

4 - Yeah, understandable. That sounds cool! Personally I'm not a big fantasy fan, so maybe post-apocalyptic (could be useful for Apocalypse World) or some weird horror thing, like hell or some wraith world? Or maybe zoom in and make the map a room or a house, instead of kilometres of wilderness?

Thanks for the quick answers! Aha, some things are clearer now.

Congrats for your first game BTW! This game has a lot of potential and it's very original, I hope you polish it a bit so it reaches a wider audience 😄

Thanks for the replies!

The damage die is compulsory? But the rules say three to five dice, and the damage die is one of the two that has an "IF" in the text...?

"Hippy narrative", haha. I'm more on that side, too, but I wondered because it can feel very different to play if it's very hard, or very easy, to reach the Elves 😄

Very cool idea, and very original 😄 My comments and questions:

  1. I was going to ask if the Home/Exile were Father/Demigod, as I first I thought the Home/Exile sheets were missing. Then I saw your comment, doh!
  2. The mechanics with throwing the coin and such I could only understand with the image. Great that you made that explanation image, but even better if you put it where you explain that mechanic! Also, that mechanic almost felt like taken from a party game? Not necessarily a bad thing, but very surprising!
  3. It says that the hint/question on the route is used to describe the found place, but most of the questions don't seem to have any connection to the place they arrived at? Am I misunderstanding something?
  4. What does it mean to choose from ship, crew, supply, hubris, or memories, in "Land in sight!"? As in, what is the implication or what difference does it make? Is the player supposed to tick one of the boxes when one is chosen?
  5. Is "Memories of home" = "Nostalgia"? Also, why doesn't "Hubris" appear in the Unknown list, can't they choose it? Also, is maybe the Unknown player who ticks one of the boxes?
  6. Writing everything in uppercase was probably a bad idea 😩
  7. I have to admit I had lots of problems understanding the text and the rules 🙁 In fact, I didn't even manage to finish reading through. They were too many things that I didn't understand so I had the impression that finishing the text wouldn't make any difference. I don't think it was so much your English, but the inconsistent names, possibly the structure of the text, and the visual structure of the character sheet. I didn't understand the relationships between elements or how they impacted the story, the gameplay, or players' decisions 🙁
  8. A full example definitely would have helped a lot! Not necessarily a full game of course, but at least one full round.

Really cool game! Really intriguing premise and straightforward rules. My questions and comments:

  1. Do the faerie players decide if they use the damage die or not? If so, why would they decide to? It seems that there's a 50% chance to get into trouble, and the other 50% is keeping the status quo. Or you expect them to decide for fiction reasons and forget whether or not they get a mechanical advantage? Which is fine, too, just wondering!
  2. It would be nice to have an example! Ideally of a couple of rounds, but at least for some things, like the Punctum roll. At first I thought there was a missing column or that I wasn't understanding the rules, and it took me a while to see the connection between the five points and the four columns. I guess it's on purpose that there's no equivalent column for "being a fae", and that's an extra die you get, to improve their chances a bit?
  3. Another reason to have examples, especially of the Punctum rolls, is that after reading the game I'm not sure why the maps are necessary. Wouldn't this game work pretty well without the maps? Sure, you improve the immersion by having an actual map of a place, but it doesn't feel necessary to keep track of the Punctums (Puncta? haha) and such. Or maybe the problem is that I can't imagine appropriate Punctums... aren't they supposed to be small objects tourists could bring in their pockets? In that case it doesn't even feel appropriate that they have a specific place in the map. Maybe I just can't imagine how you expect this to be played, but in that case examples would help 😄
  4. When humans oppose the faeries, what's that established scene the rules talk about? I don't understand how that fits the rest of the flow. Or does that mean that in the next turn, rolling the damage die is mandatory? Maybe that's the only time the damage die is rolled?
  5. How many players is this for? It suggests 2+ (one human and at least one faerie), but I wonder if you have thought of an upper limit.
  6. Related: the beginning says "one [map] for the human player, the other for the faerie(s)", which suggests that there is a human player and the other players play faeries. But if I keep reading, it seems that all of them are faeries, but every turn one of them controls the humans.
  7. I'm curious, have you playtested this? Do you have a rough calculation/expectation of the chances for the faeries on the last scene? I wonder how hard it is meant to be for the faeries...

It's a very free-form game, lots is left to the players' devices, but it's good! One thing I recommend is that one of the players controls/decides for the intruders, instead of doing it collaboratively. It flows a lot better and has resulted in much, much better games.

I'll add some notes in Unexplored about the scenes. Maybe nothing too formal, but a reminder of the things that the players can work with. Thanks!

Great game overall! My comments/questions:

  1. Love the city map! Also, I really like the reality/imagination split of the two maps. Very clever.
  2. It's nice that the rules are formatted so that they can be read while playing
  3. How many players is this game for? I would imagine at least two? Or maybe this could be played solo?
  4. From the POV of printing the cards to play (if you're not sure you're not going to play the game more than once), it would be nice to have a mostly-white version. And maybe a mostly-white version of the city map, too (that might be less of a problem to print because it's only one). Also, having many cards per page would save lots of paper!
  5. What does the back of the cards mean, if anything?
  6. I haven't gone through every card, but the non-trivial sample I read looked very inspiring, great work!

Wow, what a gorgeous game! Kudos for the presentation, it really shines! My comments/questions:

  1. Very clever way to use a short string of numbers as a generator!
  2. It says that it was made for the Step up for the Postal Service Jam. I wonder if that's against the jam rules...
  3. It's kind of interesting that when a person sends the letter, the next part will always have the same "structure"
  4. It feels like there's quite a bit of heavy lifting from each player to come up with the contents of every hex. I wonder if it would be a good idea to provide an initial context so it's easier to come up with descriptions and/or keep a certain common thread of consistency. It seems that maybe there's at least the assumption that it's traditional fantasy?

Thanks a lot for your comments!

Regarding tone/style, do you mean more setting-y content? If so, that's indeed on purpose because I wanted to make it setting-neutral (most of my games are). Good idea about introducing the questions earlier, you're absolutely right! They are indeed pretty central to the feel of the game, and that's not really evident until you read the whole text _and_ the questions at the very end! I even considered making extra sets of questions for a different, maybe lighter/more adventure feel... but never got around to it, didn't have enough time.

Regarding tension and such, I wonder if "tension" was a bad name. I considered "luck" but didn't want to have one increasing score and one decreasing score. I also considered "doom" but it felt maybe a bit too dark. I'm not sure it will be limiting in practice, though, as I don't think the players will feel that Carl cannot get angry only because the "tension" score hasn't increased (is that what you meant?). The idea of the tension score is to act as a time limit, so that the game isn't simply waiting until the 10th treasure and to introduce a failure condition. I had also considered counting the number of hexagon moves, or the number of explored hexagons, or whatever, but felt very awkward, very easy to lose count of, and very hard to come up with a good target number.

I'll try to find something for the scene setting, thanks!

  1. Ah, I see, thanks! I missed that.
  2. 😄
  3. "Stretch goal", haha. Ok.
  4. Ah, doh! I was trying to find that information in the introduction, and since I didn't find it there, I did a text search for "players"... but it seems the cover is an image, so I didn't find it 😩 3-5 players does sound good!
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No, the questions are simply answered as-is, without a scene. This is the rough flow of the game:

  1. There is a scene in which someone/something enters the tomb the skeletons are guarding. Players make up the details, how it goes down, and how the skeletons fend the intruders off or kill them (the skeletons always win, except for in the last scene).
  2. Each player chooses one question (they are about who they were before becoming a skeleton) and answer it.
  3. A change in the tomb is chosen randomly (time passes and things break or whatever), and the changes are reflected in the map.
  4. There is a "break" (several seconds, one minute, etc. depending of where in the game they are) in which the players think about the implications of whatever was just revealed.
  5. Repeat.

That's pretty much it. So the questions simply flesh out who those people were before becoming cursed skeletons and it actually has little connection to the action scenes, because the skeletons are cursed and they need to guard the tomb anyway (they have no will). On paper it might sound boring or unengaging, but it's anything but! It's amazing to discover the relationships between them, and realising that some of them might have been enemies in the past, maybe even killed each other, or how they might be guarding the person who killed them all. It can get extremely dark and dramatic.

Really nice game overall, and nice and evocative illustrations! Some comments and questions:

1. I assume that the faction's statistics are used for the opposed rolls (it says "whenever you roll the dice" but the statictics aren't mentioned again after the definition). In that case, does the "attacker" choose which stat is used for _both_ players, or can the "defender" choose whichever stat they want?

2. The table of free actions on page 20 is labelled 2d6, and it seems that those are the kind of dice used in the game... but the results are 1-12, instead of 2-12??
3. A "full" example would have been nice! Not a full game, but at least a full round.
4. How many players can play this game? Considering the mechanics of selecting a fabulist, it makes sense that it will be at least three, but I wonder if you have thought about an upper limit. Or maybe you think it should be at least 4, or whatever.