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Loreshaper Games

A member registered Oct 06, 2019 · View creator page →

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I'm preparing for a v0.2 update.

The big changes have been some refinements to the core content and a couple layout changes, plus more guidance for hacking and advancing the system.

I'm interested in hearing from people who have looked at and used Initiated (as well as people who chose not to use Initiated) about features they'd like to see.

In particular, I have the following questions:

  1. Does the hacking guidance section work? Would people prefer having pre-built rules to add in as they see fit?
  2. Do the three generic layers work well? They're the original core I built Hammercalled/Initiated from, but they were always meant for more adaptation?
  3. Does the character sheet work? Are there any other formats/styles for character sheets and logos that people would like?

Client/patron is definitely going to be part of Jovia, though I'm still working out the details. One thing I'm thinking of is giving characters special currency based on their role (e.g. patrons have wealth, prestige, and influence while clients have talent, obscurity, and integrity).

Update: I've started working on Nova Tali, a system reference document for the core that will power Jovia and which also integrates some of Alter Data's philosophy/explorations.

My goal is to get the Nova Tali SRD out this week, and then move along to Jovia proper and integrate those rules into its system with its own unique Roman twist. I don't see any major delays or roadbumps keeping me from doing that, though it might wind up coming out on Monday if something unexpected comes up.

Alright, I'm going to share something I'm working on. I didn't have time to finish and I wanted to have at least one resource for people that want to get into making a game with AI to view, even if it's partial.

I've been using Midjourney for about two months now. I make tabletop roleplaying games, which are somewhat different in their needs (since I need illustrations, not sprites/textures/etc), but the basic principles still apply and there are certainly people who use Midjourney as part of a 3d art, pixel art, and texture workflow.

My plan is to make an itch page that features the (free) book and its samples, but for now you can have the first twenty pages or so. The Midjourney community is incredibly helpful, so if there are any other questions you have they can probably help you out with them (and I'm happy to provide advice and share my tips).

I've also used Midjourney in a few of my own projects, which you can see by clicking through to my store page (I'm not going to drop a bunch of links here). I even made a texture resource pack, The Paper Project, using Midjourney, and using that would technically satisfy the requirements for Ludus Ex Machina.

My initial plan for the jam is to make an expanded version of Jovia, with one of my intentions being the creation of a tali ruleset based SRD.

You can find an overview of it here (courtesy of @hessan_yongdi, who is a great person to follow!):

It's one of the example games in the jam listing, and it's CC-BY 4.0 licensed (the text itself may not say that but the store listing should), so feel free to use the tali mechanic (which, admittedly, is almost certainly in the public domain) however you want, even if you're borrowing my implementation of it word-for-word.

I also recently released Alter Data, which applies this ruleset but replaces the d4 (which replicates knucklebones) with a d6, giving somewhat more design space to work with.

Figuring Out the Game Design

Jovia was conceived as a one-page game, and that means that there were things that couldn't be included because of length limitations.

The core is simple: roll four dice, try to get four different results. 4 is bad (unless you get a straight--which is special).

Now, there are a few different variations of tali, and while they're not all recorded with great accuracy there are many that care about particular combinations.

In Alter Data, I didn't have to worry about this because it has a 1-6 space, with 1s being good and 6s being bad. But with tali, you do have fewer options to move around. Having a very simple system still worked out to having a good numerical space to work in.

Tali is a little different because you have fewer possible results, so manipulating the number of dice is less of an option.

Jovia's Existing Concepts

You go for 1, 2, 3, 4 by rolling four dice. The number of unique results is your score (e.g. 1, 1, 2, 1 gives 2 score). Higher is better.

This will likely stay the same in the expanded game.

There are two forms of character input: score manipulation and strengths/weaknesses.

Score manipulation involves simply adding a point to your score. Since the score you require is based on the difficulty of the action, you wind up with a simple scale for the GM to use.

Characters in Jovia get a Heritage, reflecting some divine descent that they claim. This is a score manipulation (+1).

They also get a virtue and two "responsibilities" (profession) that gives them a reroll each. for a maximum total of 3 rerolls.

This is very powerful, and maps onto what I'd want to do with a one-page game since there isn't room for character advancement.

4s give a mishap, which is usually a complication. When you suffer a mishap, you might mark off one of your responsibilities, which temporarily reduces your power and can lead to character death.

For a one-page game, I think this works, but it's rather limited.

Concepts to Experiment With

The obvious elephant in the room is that characters hit very high power levels when they mix their things. To turn Jovia into a longer game means working around the limitations of the d4 and figuring out a way to provide greater diversity to characters while also allowing some overlap (e.g. if you have two characters who descend from Mars they already occupy 90% of the same space).

Here are some things I'm thinking about doing.

1. Extend the score space. This would lead to a numerical scheme somewhat like Fudge, where you have a dice mechanic that provides a random number *around* a point primarily determined by static numbers.

For instance, you might have your descent provide a bonus to your score, but also your responsibilities or heroic attributes. These could be capped, or even made exclusive but given their own value.

2. Dice pool manipulation, perhaps using a static attribute. You might roll more dice in something you're good at, and fewer dice in something you're not. I probably can't go above 5 dice in any circumstance without giving a pretty good chance of straights, which could just provide 4 score and defense against a setback without causing too much trouble.

My initial idea here would be to have a small set of attributes that determine how many dice you roll.

3. Points pools. This is almost certainly the best way to handle rerolls, instead of having flat rerolls on any relevant actions.

This is also a great way to power special abilities and give options for character advancement.

I used some of the textures from Postconsumer to add a little texture to the layout of The Lurking Fear while I was working on it.

It's the having the game that counts in the end.

Alright, I've got my game uploaded so now I have time to actually talk about it.

The game I made for this was Dragons of the Western Shores, which is basically a 40 page attempt to recreate the appeals of a certain d20 fantasy game without having some of the issues I dislike with it.

There are a couple changes. It's player-focused, one-roll resolution, d20-only (no other dice!), and has more options for character and item customization. Characters are built from Aptitudes, which are a blend of attributes and skills, then gain Specializations and Domains as they increase in power. Domains unlock Abilities, powerful rule-bending options that let players customize their playstyle.

I've started from scratch around a narrative core, with a focus on giving players an opportunity to roleplay and adventure without obligatory combat (though there's plenty of that if you want it). Each Domain functions a little bit like being a spellcaster, having ki points, etc. in more traditional d20 systems, opening the pathway to loads of special abilities and providing point pools used to fuel their use.

There is a lot more focus on the mechanics of adventuring, such as gear maintenance, but this tries to go as quickly as possible. The goal is to discourage wanton violence and encourage using helpers and taking advantage of civilization when it's around. If you're an adventurer, you need to think about travel considerations and pack accordingly, without having a complex encumbrance system that's bothering you over picking up every little thing.

The system is fairly simple: it's a roll-under mechanic, with your result providing a boost to the effectiveness of your results. Combat uses range bands instead of a grid, allowing you to track each character's position as a number. Characters in the same range band join a formation, allowing them to defend more easily and providing potential bonuses.

Content-wise, it's a little "light" with a lot of options but very little room for advancement. Since a lot of abilities and actions scale with Aptitudes and Domains, this isn't necessarily a huge problem, since you can still become more powerful, but my next goals are to work on spellcasting, making a system for characters who have access to various schools of magic to learn specialized spells by extending the current ability mechanics. Right now this is handled using tests and GM fiat or a couple of options under the ability itself.

Other focuses include expanding armor and gear options, potentially rebalancing the Aptitudes and Domains, and who knows what else. The setting is borrowed from one that I've worked on for years, but is looking at a part of the world that hasn't gotten much attention before.

Getting close to finished with a minimum viable product. I just need to finish off combat, upbringings, downtime, and a couple small things. If I get enough time, I'll even start into the setting. Admittedly, this is one I have a lot of "world" content for, but the Western Shores are previously uncharted territory on the setting's main continent.!AncNOvn6DPyImZBPVyCFq490xuWawg

Note: As a one-page game, I ran into length limitations and couldn't explain the target number manipulation mechanics, so I ask players to use d12s and then just ask for a 50/50 roll.

For each relevant background (up to 2) that a character could use, the die they contribute to the roll succeeds on a lower number, stepping down in increments of 2 and then 1 (so for the first relevant background the success is a 5+, and for the second it's a 4+).

Backgrounds that have been crossed off due to a loss don't contribute to reducing the requirement for that die to remove Risk.

Well, I'm almost to the length requirement. 

I may have bitten off more than I can chew, since I'm only about a quarter done from my initial plans.

I've been doing a game a day for over a month now and it's kept my head down, but now I see that this is going on.

Right now I'm working on basically three games, two of which are fairly mature and one of which is my own spin on a d20-based fantasy roleplaying game that I just started today.

My main computer is in the shop, so I don't have access to some of the tools (and distractions) I normally use, so we'll see if I'm able to get it done before the deadline while keeping up with my daily games.

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Fortunately, it doesn't make too much sense for me to cry about the one that got away, given that I have 32 submissions today :P

Thanks! I'm hoping to make it a triptych, though Helion, Our Mother probably won't be a one-pager.

The Oracle has those rules abstracted into the drawing mechanic, though it could be down to group preferences. If you played with the expansion rules and an Oracle the game wouldn't suddenly catch fire, but it would make the tone a lot lighter and give players a very strong edge.

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With the addition of Miscellanea's chalkboard, I am proud to also present Chalk Knights, a one-page whimsical family-friendly storytelling/roleplaying game.

Tremendous game with excellent style and production value and a setup that carries out the best of the roguelite genre while still feeling like a game that you can tell great stories in.

My goal was basically Castlevania Minimalism, and I think I pulled it off okay.


If you want to make your one-page game look more like a game on a page, you can check out my The Paper Project. Some of the images there were made for my own use in games during this jam!

If you've used The Paper Project in your work, please feel free to share it here! I'd love to check it out.

Here's one I've done: Last Broadcast from Station Cobra is a 1+1 page roleplaying game set during the Cold War, with a supernatural horror element.

You're welcome! I hope to update with a few more varieties in the near future, so stay tuned!

The Specimen.pdf file is, at the time of writing, 17 pages long and contains literally hundreds of lines of samples.

If you'd like some advice pairing fonts, choosing fonts for a project, or otherwise delving into the wonderful world of fonts, leave a comment and I (or someone) will follow up with help or advice.

Title says enough. Since it's not eligible for submission, I'm going to gripe and post a link to it here.

The Stars' Lightbringer

Basically picture retrofuturist art-deco Star Trek, and you've got a perfect one-page game for exploring known space. One-page front and back.

You could probably play with one player and one GM or two players and an oracle for this.

Breathless really leaves very few things up to the GM that can't be handled by group consensus or an Oracle. I don't have unique Oracle tables for Letters from December, but a generic oracle (like the one) or any post-apocalyptic flavored one could do it.

Still working ion other stuff, but Half-Tone Halcyons is next on the list. I've got a few ideas for things, but it will probably release as a semi-complete ashcan edition rather than a full finished game. Will still be playable and hopefully enjoyable until I get the time to come back and finish it for good.

Still working, had some project schedule move-arounds. Might not finish in time for jam since other things got shuffled in first.

The game I'm working on (and which, hopefully, I'll be able to finish by the end of the jam), is inspired by a song called From December by Project 86, though it also draws from my MFA thesis novel (which I listened to From December while writing, so there's some recursion there).

Here's an initial preview:

I have a question with regards to monetization. I'm considering  an arrangement with an artist in which they would recieve a share of royalties from each sale of a game.

If I just take all the revenue and then disperse it to contributors there's a lot of extra bookkeeping overhead and they can (and ought) to be able to peek at my statistics at any time. I'm fine with the payouts and having them see my analytics, but I'd like 

I know that on DriveThruRPG there's a way to handle this automatically through their system, which saves some hassle and overhead since I can either set it up for them to be automatically paid out royalties or have DriveThruRPG withhold royalties automatically but send them when I tell it to.

Is there a way to do anything similar here? It would function like the split on a co-op bundle, but I don't want to have a product bundle just for this.

Thanks! I'm not much of a Trekkie, but Trek was definitely the main inspiration.

I'm hoping to do something for this jam. I technically have a game (Back from the Dark) that would qualify, but it's in my May game collection and not listed as a stand-alone product so I won't submit it to the jam.

If anyone's curious, it's Back from the Dark in, which is based off of a song by Geomatic with the same name (I was in a Discord server where someone gave the prompt "make a game based on the song you're listening to right now").

Update: Obviously I didn't release on Monday like I'd hoped, but that's because I've been picking away at the game piece by piece while having other stuff come up (fun!).

Right now the design hasn't really changed much at all. I've gone through and done some adaptation of Initiated text to the Half-Tone Halcyons system. Tonight I'm hoping to wrap up the core of the Archetypes system and finish the adaptation, and tomorrow I'll get started on powers.

Alright, I've got a basic concept for a game here. Half-Tone Halcyons is built around a sort of classic superhero roleplaying format. 

I'm using my Initiated SRD, which is a lightweight d100 core that can be expanded fairly easily.

The core of Initiated is that each character has Attributes and Specializations, which they add up to get a Target Number.

Roll beneath the Target Number and you succeed. Drop the ones-place digit. What you have left is your Margin, which gives a boost to whatever you were trying to do. 

To build on the core, Half-Tone Halcyons has an archetype system, powers, and gadgets. 

Attributes are universal and shared between all characters, making them the fundamental lever that the game rules operate on.

Specializations reflect learned and practiced abilities or unusual physical characteristics. 

Archetypes give a "party role" to a character (e.g. DPS, support, tank, skills).  Each archetype is associated with an attribute (though this is more of a correlation than a causation).

Powers are your usual buffet list of abilities, with the option to pick from them for points. Most have to be activated with Energy.

Gadgets function kind of like Things in the Initiated SRD. They may provide a  bonus to TN and/or Margin,  and the Gadgeteer archetype can add special abilities on their own (and, with the right development options, their allies') gadgets.


Attributes are a scaling system. A character picks one attribute for their Prime Attribute and two Secondary Attributes. The Primary Attribute rating ranges from 20-35, depending on the mood of the game (street-level to world-wide). Their Prime Attribute has the full rating, while their Secondary Attributes have a -5 penalty and unchosen attributes are at a -10 penalty (this saves on bookkeeping, but also means that the "level" mechanic is the GM increasing the Prime Attribute value). There's no hard cap on  Attributes, but the GM determines their advancement.

Strength, archetype Bruiser. 

Quickness, archetype Speedster. 

Toughness, archetype Survivor. 

Awareness, archetype Sleuth (pending new name?)

Intellect, archetype Gadgeteer. 

Charm, archetype Leader. 


Specializations are a second layer of character-specific abilities. You never need a Specialization, but since the d100 system tends to make you fail pretty often without a bunch of bonus modifiers on the raw Attribute number, it helps to have one. These are narrative and take the form of "I can" statements. (e.g. "I can fight," or "I can fly.") 

Players and GMs agree on these statements before play, and they can be nudged and tweaked; we explicitly suggest "I can VERB" style statements, and then anything after that is details ("I can fly because I levitate" or "I can fly with my wings" both have the same mechanical effect, but may have some extra narrative outcomes).

Usually a Specialization runs from 5-15 at character creation, and they cap around 30.


Archetypes include a free ability and an ability a character can add.

Each archetype will have a handful of selection picks for Constant Powers, including the Enhanced Attribute ability, letting them use a superpower for free instead of expending Energy on them, and a discount on certain powers.

Bruisers can improvise throwing weapons for ranged combat and get a minimum bonus damage (stacks with Powers/Gadgets). They don't have as much of an discount list (single-target powers), but make up for it because they have a stacking bonus.

Speedsters move between combat ranges without needing to  spend an action on it. They get discounts on expensive multi-attack powers.

Survivors recover from Setbacks more often. They get discounts on additional resistance and regeneration powers.

Sleuths get an Intuition ability that lets them ask the GM questions. They get discounts on unnatural senses and reroll abilities (and maybe something with doubles results?).

Gadgeteers can exchange superpower points for Gadgets that ignore the usual limitations. This replaces their power choices, though they get special options for customizing their Gadgets (like Remote Activation).

Leaders can share Energy with their fellow heroes. They receive discounts on energy management abilities and party buffs.

I'm not opposed to adding more, I just want to limit the scope off the bat. Archetypes don't give number bonuses, just a special ability.


Powers are the unique element for Half-Tone Halcyons that defy anything I've done so far in my system. There's a loose parallel in unique talents, but Powers work a little differently.

One Power that is relatively novel is the Enhanced Attribute power, which each archetype gets for their favored attribute. This gives a +1 Margin on all tests using an attribute, making successes more powerful (may also apply a modifier, not sure how I feel about that given that many characters will have Enhanced Attribute permanently on). These will also have narrative effects (e.g. Enhanced Strength means you can lift 800 pounds beyond what you'd lift normally for each point).

Some powers will scale (Enhanced Attribute, for instance). Others will be one-off.

Using a power requires Energy, unless you've paid extra to unlock it as a Constant Power.

Superpower Points are a currency that, like the Prime Attribute, are determined at the start of play by the GM's chosen power level. Unlike the Prime Attribute, they are bought with XP (which goes into a pool for Archetype upgrades, Powers, Specializations, and Gadgets.


Gadgets are items that each have their own uses (as opposed to the Energy pool, though Gadgeteers can convert Energy to device uses). These are mostly number-pushers, though the Gadgeteer may buy special abilities for their gadgets.


Combat is abstract, with a sector-based movement. Each Margin on a player's attack does Setbacks to enemies. Enemies attack against a player's defense (all rolls are player-centered), and players attempt to remove Setbacks based on their incoming effects.

Technically, you can use this ruleset for social combat, but I don't think I'm going to. Bad guys, secret identities, and the like might be beyond scope for the project.


Instead of a vanilla-style health system, characters suffer "Setbacks."

These include:

Injuries (self explanatory)
Confusion (hinders most actions)
Publicity (reveals Alter Ego, which might have mechanics if I get time, also hurts social rolls because it's always "negative" from the villain)

There are also narrative setbacks, which are anything the GM wants to impose. If you've fallen in the river on a winter day, you get the Wet & Cold setback and it hurts your Toughness tests to stay warm, but it might not hinder anything else.

A Setback imposes a -5 penalty on relevant tests. If the penalties from Setbacks exceeds a character's Prime Attribute, they're incapacitated.

Goals & Timeline

My goal is to let players simulate pretty much any superhero while staying in the "any player with experience won't be overwhelmed and you can probably introduce 12+ kids to roleplaying with this" difficulty range.

With Attributes, Specializations, and Gadgets (both Specializations and Gadgets can represent magic or other superpowered stuff that doesn't fit neatly in the Powers section), I think you're pretty much a go on the more modest characters, and the Powers and Archetypes give a more superheroic element to things.

In the past I've used the predecessor of this system with just Attributes, Specializations, a more advanced but unnecessarily bulky gear syste, and generic low-power talents that superpowers are replacing, to run or play everything from Arabian Nights to giant robot battles to weird fantasy, so I think this should be doable from the gameplay side.

The two concerns are balance (everyone should feel useful, I'm not so concerned with 1:1 power) and accessibility (keeping it easy to play).

I'm giving myself three days. I'm doing a daily game project for the month of May, and I've already done my game for today, will do a microgame for tomorrow, and will make this my sole focus on Monday. I'm recycling directly from my Initiated SRD and my other similar games. 

I already have about 2000 words of what will probably be 10-15k words in the Half-Tone Halcyons rulebook, and my focus for the rest of the night will be to borrow components from other Initiated-compatible rulesets to get my combat and other stuff in place.

It's live!

I have one more page of rules and then a character sheet and store page stuff left, then I'll post it.

I should point out that this isn't really table based, but how often do you have a 4d20 mechanic?

I saw this jam last night during a bout of insomnia and figured I'd make a game for it.

SUFFERING DOGS (stylize as you'd like) is an absurdist roleplaying game built around a 4d20 system. Characters have a number of attributes that represent how they approach the world. The goal of a player is to develop an application of their character's attributes in response to stimulus from the GM.

Although nominally post-apocalyptic, the system is sufficiently abstract to permit any sort of storytelling.

Every page is a unique suprematism-inspired visual work with the rules for the game built into it.

(the design for this page has changed significantly, but I haven't gotten around to exporting the new version yet)

Barring the artistic inspirations (which are mostly from artistic movements of the 1910s and 1920s), the primary theme was belligerent design.  Fonts are not repeated through the book and the rules are presented in minimalist fashion to add a sense of chaos and confusion.

While the store page will feature a price of $10, a free "demo" version (identical to the paid version) will be available. I'm committed to the absurdist bit.

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Might go back and do ones for Terminal Blackout and The Empire Wants You, if anyone's interested.

I didn't start from soundtracks for this, instead working from a mood playlist that I used for a character in a military-sci fi game and expanding from there.

The Visitor and Main Character descriptions in the oracle were not filled in. This has been corrected.

Since I'm working on a challenge to make one game for every day in May, I figured I'd join this jam and do a couple games. Right now my goal is to get these two done over the next couple days, though I have a major project coming out and I may not get them done immediately.

The Empire Wants You

Result: 11 - advertisement

Since my big project right now is a 1910s-era game that doesn't focus on WWI, I figured I'd make an equivalent to it in "The Empire Wants You."

The plan is to do an experimental two-character game; each player takes on the role of a character in the homefront and a character at war, with phase-based play that highlights the effect of war on communities.


Result: 54 - Volcano

Named (roughly) after the citizens of one of the ancient Roman cities that was destroyed in the eruption of Mout Vesuvius, I haven't really decided what the game will entail overall but the old painting from Joseph Wright presented too much of an opportunity for me to pass it up.