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Martin Nerurkar

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A member registered May 28, 2014 · View creator page →

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Yeah, that is the plan. I'm generally not a fan of defining the failure condition on pbta moves too much. I'd rather leave things up to the GM though I guess in some instances some "interpretable" circumstances are interesting.

  • Like: If this fails, you suffer harm. You have a mechanical consequence but you can still interpret the hows and whys of that.
  • Not like: If this fails, your gang despises you and abandons you.

I think this openness is especially important for the more basic and frequently used moves. If you have a rare and one-off move it's more acceptable to define what the failure state is, I feel. But if you do it on basic moves then things always move in a very similar way.

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that is an interesting idea! I am a bit vary of adding too many special rules but if I would I‘d make this gradual. Something like:

If the city has no resources skip the optional natural growth phase and instead remove 1-3 citizen tokens as people start to leave. 

Tho if you look at real world examples, there are often people that can‘t or won‘t leave. Usually people don’t simply abandon their home. So this would require more thought to get right. 

Heh. You are right. It's written that way because my resolution system is a bit different from basic PbtA and I translated into that system.

On a 2-6 the GM makes a (hard) move. I'm generally not too fond of moves that describe the fail outcome. I do prefer it when the GM has more freedom here. But I am happy to hear dissenting opinions on that :D

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So, I'm working on a PbtA inspired game project and I want it to feature a bit of a wider social angle. So the outcome of exploits are important, as is the interaction with groups and systems. Anything from getting the DMV to cooperate with you to commanding a military unit.

To that end I made this new "basic move" and would love some feedback!

Cooperate and Coordinate
When you attempt to get a group or organization to work with you, roll+COMMAND. On a 10+ They perform their typical function. On a 7-9 same but pick one:
O They work slowly or half-heartedly
O They react with resentment, increased scrutiny or a new obligation

I'm unsure how to answer this. The devlog above lays out the major changes between  1-3 and 1-2. Apart from that, the _spreads file always has two pages next to each other, which is frequently more comfortable to read on a landscape-sized screen (Laptop, tablet etc.)

wow! That is so nice to hear! Thank you!

Much appreciated! I hope you enjoy the game!

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Hey Steelheart! The base assumption is indeed fantasy but we've tried to be as wide as possible and we did space colonies and cyberpunk cities in our playtests. Since terrain features prominently, it makes space stations a bit difficult but with some imagination I think you could make it work.

As for the wild west: I  think the only thing that really needs some changing is the terrain table. It is broad enough to encompass a WIDE VARIETY of places, climates and terrain. You could either create a custom table for your setting OR simply reinterpret things accordingly. So if you're set on a dry savannah climate, a result of "swamp" would maybe be a patch of more lush vegetation but no real wetland.

In any case, if you're interested you might want to grab the game quickly before the sale runs out.

Interesting! I'm thinking a lot about similar things lately. Mechanisms that are system-agnostic but that can steer narrative in some way.

Thanks for sharing :D

There's no specific aim for how you should distribute your power tokens. They are an indicator of the dynamics of a power struggle but save for a few events that refer to the "leading faction" they have little mechanical bearing, so you are free to deal with them as you wish. It's just important to note that gaining / losing power may move more than one power token.

Also as a note: when a resource is removed, 2 power tokens need to be removed from the city as well. Probably from the resource on the map but also from factions, if some had been moved off.

Don't forget that you can do NATURAL GROWTH after each event!

Well, it's not got a random events table like Ex Novo does, so that's less likely to cause trouble. 

I think if you're good at improvising this might give you the right prompts to make up something fun and interesting on the spot. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!

Happy to hear it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. The goal of the B/W cards was to provide a nice printer-friendly alternative but I was distracted by my "MAKE FANCY DESIGN" impulse :D

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Thanks for the test and the detailed writeup! I'll try to reply to your points below. Also sorry for the long delay in getting back to you. The best route for quick feedback is the Discord (http://www.discordgg/nowhereprophet)

1. Maximum Power Pool?

No. Whenever a resource is added, more power-tokens a put into the city. And vice versa.

2. Initial Tokens?

The idea is that the city starts with a resource and two power tokens. Then one of these tokens is moved to the leading faction as they are in control of that resource.

3. Gaining Power?

Well, when a faction gains power they can take ANY NUMBER of tokens from ANY SOURCE. So you could take one power token from the remaining resource. Or one from another  faction. Or both. A small sidenote that tokens that are not on the map (but on a faction instead) are still considered to be "in the city".

5. Tokens on resources?

Tokens on resources symbolize power potential that is present in the city but not leveraged by anyone. It is meant to be vague on purpose to allow for a wide variety of interpretations that suit your story.

Feedback on your map

I love the impression pictures you put on there. I think that's a great way of making even a simple map seem a lot more alive! 

Also it seems like you only had the initial power token on the faction from the step during founding. And I'm a bit confused about the one token free-floating in the district there.

The idea is that:

- Adding resources adds power tokens to the city

- Factions gaining or losing power redistribute these power tokens

I've started putting the new power rules into the rule document. If you're interested, join the discord: http://discord.gg/nowhereprophet

Yeah, you'd only increase density by putting tokens in, not by adding lines.

Happy to hear you're having fun with the game. Let me know how Ex Umbra works out for you!

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I've tried some tweaking to the cards to make them more high-contrast and more printer friendly. How does that look?


You can redownload the ZIP and get the changed cards! Sorry it took this long.

Well, that is sort of what the game is about. You do need to have some basic idea of what you're going for and a lot of it is up to you. In a sense it shares a lot with creative exercises. It's not random things that you explore but semi-random prompts that you interpret. If that makes sense?

We switched the style of contribution from a comment-based system to the full discussion board to enable deeper chats here. This means that all existing comments can now be found under one chonky new thread, in case you were wondering.

natural growth can happen after EVERY event, if the active player wants it. 

Well the idea as currently in the PDF is that the city always starts with 1 district, thus 1 citizen token and that is moved to the one faction that is actually in power. Factions can have 0 tokens and still be valid and existing.

The purpose of the citizen tokens is, among other things, to track the size of the city and make sure the desired size is reached. If they no longer double for power that would then removed he need for the cumbersome "repeat district outlines to mark density" rule and the tokens would be placed on the map to show districts and district densities: aka where people live.

Alright, so...

yes, you only add tokens to the city when a district is added or made more dense. This can happen during events, during the natural growth part of the event turn or in the topping out phase.

It is possible to have multiple factions and only one "citizen token" for power to go around. Then they do in fact squabble over what little power there is. This also is a yes on your question: Factions without power still exist. They just don't have a significant power structure or support to really affect too much.

You may also want to check out the devlog I posted the other day. I'm thinking about changing the power rules and the new set of experimental rules can be found there:

https://sharkbombs.itch.io/ex-novo/devlog/178994/overhauled-power-rules

We actually discussed a version like that but I didn't like that it required you to have a lot of different tokens and to frequently swap tokens around if people switch allegiances.

Ohm. Sure. The idea with the B&W was to make something printer friendly that still reads well and saves on ink. I might have not hit the mark there. Granted it's hard with so many printers performing differently. Can you send me a photo of what they look like printed on your end?

Alright, so I got it fixed! You can redownload the game and you'll get a corrected tremor table in the back of the book! Thanks again for letting me know!

ah! I knew I‘d missed some references! Menaces are Aspects. 

They used to be called Menaces for a long time during development but that was too close to Threats so I had to look for a different term and Aspects fit well as it also describes what they are.

Thanks for letting me know! I‘ll fix it ASAP!

In Ex Umbra, you (and up to three friends) sit around a campfire, in a rowdy tavern or right outside the dungeon entrance. You’re huddled over a parchment, telling the stories and rumors you heard of this dangerous underground lair. Together you will try to reconstruct it from the unreliable information available to you.


This is how some of your maps may look

You will play Dungeon Cards and make sense of how they relate to the dangerous forces of the dungeon. Together you will draw the collaborative map of the dungeon and see it slowly take shape. In the end you will have built an interesting fictional place with its unique threats and rewards.

The goal is to play together (or solo) to create an interesting dungeon that you can play during your next RPG session. Making prep playful.

You can grab the game now over on sharkbombs.itch.io/ex-umbra. It's going to be on a 25% launch discount for the first week, so grab it while you can!

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I just finished THE IMPOSSIBLE SWAN, a small game that focuses on mindfulness and gratitude. It's a 12 page PDF booklet and a helpful one-page PDF that summarizes all the hard rules.

It is a simple game you are meant to play during your normal life, finding time for the Movements of the swan. The goal is to instill a practice of mindfulness, gratitude and presence that will bring you closer to embodying the swan's Grace.

It's inspired by other embodied games, my personal practice of yoga and meditation, improvisational dance classes and books on creativity. If you read it, and even more so if you give an honest try, I'd love to get your feedback!

Nah, you can play it with just the sheet.

Hey! So I made a very strange game, that I think only qualifies for the jam if you squint your eyes.

It's a one-player game that you play, but it has no real win conditions and only very simple rules that are centered on mindfulness. There's a multi-page booklet that explains some of the thoughts behind it and a one-sheet that contains the core rules.

It was directly inspired by the jam and its theme but I just ran off in a very different direction and now I'm unsure if it'd be okay to submit it.

If anyone's interested, it's up on itch but not yet released since I'm still tweaking things. You can find it at https://mnerurkar.itch.io/the-impossible-swan with the PW swanlake.

Heh. Yeah, that's an interesting corner case with the district. I think your way of resolving it is perfect. You could also go differently and say the city was extinguished, and then with the next "natural growth" you just have people coming in to claim the ruins :D

That's just what Ex Novo is meant for! I hope you enjoy building. Also I can really recommend playing with others as that adds a whole dimension to the game that I really enjoy.

Hey Naghan, Smoky82. I'll be happy to help - and update the text to clarify things. To that end it would be helpful to know what exactly is confusing or unclear.

In this case, entry simply is the word entry, not a game term. It refers to an entry in a table. Each table consists of multiple entries linked to numbers. I'm not a native speaker so if there's another word that would be more easily understood, do let me know!

Hehe. Yeah, you have to be open to discover the city. It can turn out really surprisingly. Happy to hear you managed to make Ex Novo work for a space station! We did some cyberpunk and sci-fi colony tests on our end and found that it works really well. Something as constrained as a space station might be tricky, but good job!

As for the rules: Yeah, removing the landmark does not remove the faction. It may have story consequences tho as these factions have no "headquarter" anymore. Also change something generally refers to district/resource/landmark but to be honest, that was perfectly fine!

Thanks for sharing!

Ah man! Quadrant is a holdover. I guess I missed those when we changed from the quadrants system to the regions. Will be fixed in the next update!