Whoa, good catch! That's a typo, thanks for letting me know :) I'll have to fix that and upload a new version.
The Nerdy Paper Games of Rob Hebert
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Thank you for the wonderful feedback! It means a lot that it inspired you to make new tech for it.
You have my permission to upload your solo rules to itch so long as you link back to my page. And please let me know when it goes up so I can link from here, as well. Thanks!
Thank you playing, and for the questions! I’ve done my best to answer them fully below:
Inflicting 2 wounds vs minions with only 1hp... Is the extra damage is wasted?
It’s up to the GM to determine whether (a) the extra damage or condition carries over to another enemy, (b) the extra damage is “lost,” or (c) the player/PC receives some other appropriate benefit.
What about using the Reapers scythe "vs groups"?
Same principle applies, although in this instance I would almost always transfer the “extra” damage to a monster in the same group.
How is area attack intended to work?
This is super-easy to miss, so I should probably reiterate this on the weapons page, but per p. 24 : “Area attacks and magical burst effects are especially effective against swarms (i.e., the hero rolls with advantage).” So basically “roll with advantage on attacks against swarms,” but also there could be situations where the GM grants some other ad hoc benefit (like extra damage against a group of enemies tightly packed into a hallway or something).
How do you handle disadvantage when rolling with the Beast die? Roll all 4 dice and then drop the lowest? Or roll 3 normal dice, drop lowest, and then add Beast die to that?
The latter (though it would be drop the *highest* for disadvantage). It might be simpler to think of the Beast Die as a separate mechanic that works independently of the initial dice roll. You just “add +1d6” to appropriate rolls (but watch for the “lose control” condition).
Conditions are never actually explained. They're kind of intuitive for players, but how would they work against enemies?
It can be any hindrance or situational disadvantage. Broken limbs, getting frozen in ice, blinded by bright light, whatever. I usually factor it into (a) what sorts of actions an enemy takes (eg, if a PC opens a crack in the Steam Knight’s boiler, then maybe it can’t use its steam blast attack) (b) advantage/disadvantage against the enemy (eg, giving a PC advantage on their attack against Candelabra Spider bc it has “Condition: limbs bound in rope”). In an earlier version, there were specific conditions with explicit mechanical effects PCs could inflict on enemies, but it just wasn’t worth the complexity.
Amulet? How does armor work in this game?
The Summoner’s Pentacle decreases all damage received by 1.
How much Blood can you spend on a single roll?
As far as I’m concerned, if you got it, you can spend it! Though a GM can certainly substitute their own ruling for a different vibe or difficulty curve.
Can you spend Blood first to get a +1, roll badly, and then spend Blood for a reroll?
When a player attacks an ally (Beast loses control etc), I assume they roll the Attack move. How much HP loss is each "wound" the attacker inflicts? I assume the defender can use the Dodge move.
I treat it as “defender-facing”: the Beast doesn’t roll against the defender, we just assume the Beast is out of control and attacks. Usually, the defender gets a reaction roll, like Dodge (to keep things feeling fair). For the damage, it depends how hard you wanna go. I usually leave it at the default Major Trauma (1d6) but YMMV.
Trauma is wildly dangerous, which is ok, but it's VERY unpredictable. Even Minor Trauma will do 5-6 HP damage somewhat regularly. Perhaps change the damage scale (use smaller dice?) or change it to a flat number of Wounds, the same as enemies use.
It’s intended to be swingy, because I wanted every failed roll to feel dangerous—but feel free to alter to taste!
But that being said, I actually think it *feels* more dangerous than it really is. Outside of Epic Trauma, every PC can take at least one hit, because the max damage is 6 and HP starts at 8. Secondly, dropping to 0HP doesn’t mean a PC dies. They are only “taken out,” so it’s left up to the table’s interpretation of the fiction what being “taken out” means in context. Could be knocked unconscious, get thrown into a nearby pit, or start bleeding out.
I hope those answers help, let me know if any of that didn’t make sense!
Sorry for the late reply, I didn't notice your comment. Here is a screenshot of the character keeper from a session we played. A lot of the PC definition comes from play, but I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need anymore guidance!
Thanks, Raul! You can hack/modify/use this system for your own stuff so long as you include appropriate attribution (eg, a link to this page) and get my permission beforehand. Which... uh, I hereby give you. Go forth with the Frogmother's blessing!
Thank you, DeReel! Good catch, I've uploaded a new version with the arena strip fixed.
I will be also be adding an addendum for "translating" the system to settings/conflicts exactly like what you mentioned, so stay tuned!
It does seem similar from the outside, but I haven't read it yet. I'm doing a review series this month on Twitter, and I'll probably review Castle of Memories bc it was suggested in a Discord I'm on, so I'll see how close it is then. It's possible that Adrian was either inspired by my game or maybe it's a case of "multiple discovery." Will be interesting to break it open and see what makes it tick.
Glad you found us, Brett! There's not a dedicated server, although apparently it's pretty easy to get together a group on general RPG Discords (esp ones that focus on indie or story games) because it's GM-less and on the shorter end of a one-shot. If you have trouble finding other players, reach out to me directly and I'll see if I can find other players.
Thank you for the kind words on the art!
To answer your question: every playthrough will be different, depending on the roll of the dice, the shuffle of the deck, and how the player reacts to the prompts. The layout out of your castle and your escapee's memories will be unique. Mechanical player choice is mostly limited to what items you find and when you use them, but the goal is not necessarily to "beat" the castle so much as have a good time discovering its dangers and uncovering your escapee's history. Think of the cards (and the events on them) more as journaling, improv, or creative writing prompts than mechanical puzzles that you can solve with tactical play.
Cool! Let me know how it goes. Map is attached.
v14 is probably the last major update for a while. I might drop a full campaign appendix later this year, depending on what happens with other work.
Thank you, I hope you enjoy the game!
To answer your question: you can roll during the memory scenes if you want to—sometimes a little RNG helps you work out the story. But their primary purpose is to flesh out the characters’ backstories, their relationships to one another, and the setting in general. To that end, I usually run them as the main character or characters the memory revolves around get the most narrative control, and as the GM I just ask lots of questions.
You can have multiple Flashbacks for one character as long as they're not too same-y or uninteresting.
For the melon example, is it really "illuminating" in context? Probably not. That being said, I can imagine a scenario where it would be, because Cowboy Bebop can be really silly sometimes, and that's totally fun to play. Like if a character is obsessed with a melon that only grows on their homeworld, and they haven't been able to find one for 5 years or something. That actually *would* illuminate something about their past, and is totally something that could become something of a running gag.
The Flashbacks don't have to be connected specifically to a Trouble or Bounty. You could use a Flashback to show how you know a particular contact, or why you were kicked out of your gang, or what growing up on Venus was like, pretty much anything. It's basically a way to sneak extra "moments" into a session.
For campaign play, you can use multiple Flashbacks to show how your character's motivation has changed or deepened, explore a new facet of their past, or anything like that.
Thank you for the kind words!
Playing it with a group would be an interesting challenge. You could probably use the character playbooks and resolution mechanic from Demon Castle Dracula with the castle-building deck mechanic and prompts from Escape.
Hmmm... maybe I'll try that...
Depends on the table. Usually when we get to the end of the scene a little too quick so we added another short "set piece" to the sequence.
One time, a Hacker PC tried sneaking into a high-roller casino and rolled a 6- trying to use a fake ID with the front desk guy, so we had security take her into custody. The guards left her alone to get the head of security and she pulled a panel off the wall to access the ductwork (second roll, which was a 10+). We decided that she got out the room (that was the success) but we didn't gain the Hold since that didn't seem right given the initial 6-.
The main point I was trying to make was that you can roll to "let the dice decide" what happens before you answer the question of the scene with the Release.
What does your player dislike about a 6- on the Tension?
Love the side scenes where the crew shares information!
So, your group certainly isn't playing the game "incorrectly" or anything. If they prefer a lot of roleplaying, that's a perfectly fine!
But it does seem like the Lead in that case was not really "Leading," they were letting the Follow take control of the scene and more reacting. During a Solo, the spotlight is on the Lead, so they have ultimate control of the narrative. The Follow is a supportive role; if the Follow is spending too much time on one thing (RP or otherwise) and preventing the narrative from moving forward, then that sounds like they're stealing the spotlight (which gets a thumbs-down from me).
The third-person/first-person thing is not a huge distinction for me. For instance: "FOLLOW, interrupting: The receptionist asks to see your appointment card and then hands over a tablet and tells you that you will have to fill in the NDA before you can be escorted in to see DR. Kincaid..." is still roleplaying, because they're controlling the NPC.
Regarding the situation where a scene wraps up without a roll, that happened in a playtest once as well. There are a couple of ways you can play that.
The first is to treat it as an automatic 7-9, and figure out what the cost or limitation is. For instance, in your Dr. Kincaid example, maybe he agrees to make the appointment, but only under the condition that you destroy the information/item being used to blackmail him, or you give him a share of the reward money, or something like that.
The second is to roll after the fact, and decide how to interpret the outcome of the dice sort of "off-screen." Let's say you do that and roll a 6-; maybe Dr. Kincaid is in cahoots with the bounty, or he decides to double-cross you for the money, or he just runs away and leaves your crew holding the bag, or he plain screws the whole thing up accidentally and your crew has to pick up the pieces.
Stars & Wishes is a tool designed within the Gauntlet RPG community, which I've found super useful. The creators can speak on it much more effectively (and authoritatively!) than me, so here's a cool thread about it: https://www.gauntlet-rpg.com/blog/stars-and-wishes
At my own tables, we use the basic version. There's no mechanical effect to Stars & Wishes, it's just a nice way to end on a positive note and generate constructive criticism in a kind and supportive way.
It depends on what happened in the Moment of Truth. I didn’t make it a required scene because sometimes you don’t get the bounty.
If there’s some narrative juice there, like the person you’re handing the bounty over to is a character with a connection to a PC, then that player will do it as part of their Tag scene. If it’s not interesting or important, though, we can just have it happen off-screen.