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Ostrichmonkey Games

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A member registered Oct 21, 2018 · View creator page →

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They have access to any desperation dice they've unlocked, and can use as many as they want! So the more ticks on the Countdown Timer, the more DD they could use on any given roll, but the more likely they are to attract the attention of the Watchers. Which is generally a bad thing (but can be a fun thing).

It can be easy for player's to stack bonuses (which, is intended lol)! Activating a token that deals damage does not require a roll, correct! And yeah, if a player is attempting to do something outside the "regular" effect of a Token, then calling for an action roll is appropriate. But any immediate effect of the Token only costs the stated Flow.

Also, if you're looking for other ways to tweak the challenge, given how much damage players can output when they're creative/lucky, adjusting the overall stakes of the scene is a good idea! Different time limits, environmental changes (I ran a session where the battlefield shifted to be in the middle of "traffic" and players had to dodge cars and stuff on top of dealing with the enemies), changing the parameters of a mission, all of that sort of stuff is a great GM tool to keep in your pocket. And all of those challenges would fall under "changing the battle in a big way" too!

So! During the GM turn, "change the battle in a big way" doesn't have much in the way of limits! The three provided examples in the text are just ways to get started. 

The "default" setting for enemies and their moves is that the GM activates them in response to failures/partial successes after a player's action roll. But, if the GM wants, those moves can also be activated during the GM turn to make the enemies more dangerous (potentially letting them activate their moves multiple times/deal damage multiple times).  You could activate as many enemy moves during the GM turn as you want, depending on how dangerous you want those enemies to feel. 

There's not a specific rule for the order or which enemies act during the GM turn. I personally tend to lean toward less dangerous enemies, but for more balanced challenge, having the "bigger" enemies (striker/solo) also act during the GM turn and leaving minions out of it could work well. 

If you find that a particular enemy gets taken out too quickly, you can also use the GM turn to introduce more enemies (or maybe even play around with the idea of a second or third "phase" of the fight with strikers/solos/bosses).

If I had had some more foresight, some "swarm" or "large group" rules for minions would have been cool (might make it into a re-edited version eventually though). 

Hope that answered your question, but I'm happy to continue the discussion!

Thanks for catching that one!

No problem! I keep meaning to make an update on this anyway. Beneath the Mirror is fully written and is in the layout process. Rae (the layout artist) has had several very important projects to manage that have had to take priority the past year (insane that it's been a year!) so there's no current ETA on when the PDF version of the expansion material will be out, but hopefully sooner than later.

Right now I'm considering releasing a "just the text" version so that people finally can have it. Which could happen maybe toward the end of this month? I'm also under some tight deadlines for other projects, so admittedly, the BtM release has just managed to keep getting pushed back!

There's some other half-plans for the future of Vibe Check as well, but I'm gonna wait to share more on that until more things are set in stone.

You're welcome! Bummer that the table isn't having fun with the current level of challenge though. The game is designed to be pretty over the top, kind of "here for a good time, not a long time", so super lengthy "traditional" campaigns may not be the best fit as-written right now (I see the campaign length as closer to 3-6 sessions, but each table is going to be different). I don't want this to come across as dismissive or anything, but right now the game is functioning as-designed (though I will admit the sale stacking issue is something that I completely overlooked😩), so there's only so much I can offer as suggestions!

That being said, there's nothing stopping your table from changing things within the game to try and align it better with what you're looking to get out of it. Off the top of my head, the easiest elements to adjust are enemy HP and the cost of items, if you're looking to draw out fights and make buying things more challenging. You can also increase the narrative stakes, but that's going to depend entirely on what's happening at your table, so I can't offer much in specific examples there unfortunately.

As for the Metallic Shout bonus, I think it's still fun! But if it feels "weak" you can also push what exactly "rip and tear" means. Why stop at something physical? Maybe with enough juice, a Player can rip and tear through the veil that separates the City and the Inversion itself? The effect is as strong as however you choose to interpret it. 

I sincerely hope that you can find the fun you're looking for in the game and I'm more than happy to keep discussing ways to tweak things to suit what you're looking for!

I appreciate you taking the time to write all this up! Gonna try and address each point best I can; 

1. Thanks for pointing that out! I'll make sure it gets filed for updating (unfortunately, some higher priority projects are currently ongoing, so I can't say when that update will happen). 

2. Copying the reply from another thread, but for both Favored Primordia and Metallic Shout, both those core bonuses are more narrative rather than hard mechanics: "For "rip and tear" its largely narrative! You might interpret it to mean that you now can rip through an enemy's armor or tear through a barrier. The exact effect is largely up to the table!" Those bonuses are more about setting up "fictional positioning" within the current situation vs some sort of stat bonus. They more directly benefit action rolls in that sense. 

3. HP source being hard to find is definitely a known issue 😩 . Hopefully you were able to find the answer, but just in case, HP all comes from the Looks you have equipped.

For the play questions!

1. Looks (and enemies, and everything else that references a Tier) cap out at Tier 3! Though nothing is stopping you from going higher with Tiers if you wanted! The only major thing that would need tweaking would be some specific Token effects, but otherwise Looks and Enemies could just keep scaling up (I think). 

2. Cash drops are high! Also like you pointed out, some builds (like the Flow stacker) can kind of break the game! That's pretty much working as intended. The LUMEN system that Vibe Check is running off of goes all in on the power fantasy, basically showering players in stuff. It's kind of the opposite of more "trad game" style of character progression. The sort of "philosophical goal" of most LUMEN games is to give the players the cool toys they want to play with upfront, and then see what happens!

3. This one's tricky! Players definitely can output a ton of damage very quickly when working together. You could try to throw some Bosses (using the templates) their way, to see if that changes anything, but also don't forget that on the GM Turn, you can also introduce more enemies! Additionally, there are other ways to create challenge outside of just enemy stats/density. Shifting the environment to become more dangerous or changing the mission type so that the players need to swap their tactics are good places to start. Also, are the players having fun wiping the floor with the enemies? Again, that kind of goes back to the wild power fantasy of LUMEN: lots of powerful toys. If the challenge aspect is really eating at you, I'd talk it over with your players and see what they think! If everyone agrees and wants more challenge, then bumping up enemy HP, decreasing cash drops (or increasing costs of everything instead) are fairly straightforward levels to adjust. If you're concerned about diagetically making those changes, well, maybe a Watcher isn't happy with how successful the Players have become and forces a reset!

4-6. This one kind of goes into the above response! If the players are having fun getting the cool loot, personally I don't necessarily see a drastic reason to change that, but if everyone wants more difficulty, then definitely adjust it! Every table is always going to be a little different in their goals. Also for the last part of 6, that concern does make sense! The intent of the random Tokens is to encourage players to always be trying out new strategies (and Looks). But if players are really wanting a specific Token and it just isn't coming up when rolling, then you can drop it in a store either to buy, or maybe as a side mission reward.

7. A little tongue in cheek, but they do do a lot of shopping in the TWEWY games 😆. But if you think that that doesn't make sense in your version of the Inversion, then absolutely change it! Could turn into an element of the narrative, like, maybe the shops are still open but the Players can't enter them. Now there's a new story hook to follow to see what has restricted their access!

TWEWY is also one of my favorite games of all time! Though I took inspiration from different elements, so the slower growth you're looking for isn't necessarily as hard-coded in Vibe Check. You mention that players effortlessly clearing the challenges isn't fun, and genuine question, are the players having fun doing that? It sounds like that no-challenge element is frustrating for you as the GM, which sucks! The GM needs to be having as much fun as the rest of the players! It's absolutely worth discussing this with your players to figure out the best way to adjust things so that everyone at the table is having fun. 

I'm always happy to talk about ways to "tweak some game settings" so to speak!

Ooh! That's a good question and not something I had considered! There is currently no "Tier 4" level to upgrade something to, so I could see maybe it becomes a "buy-one-get-free" sale (two items at +1 Tier for no extra cost), maybe you get an extra tag on that item, maybe it can count as two Brands (like how the Looks the Watchers can drop work). I'd pick something that seems fun and rewarding and that makes that Look feel particularly special!

Just gives more excuses to get more Looks! Hope the game goes well!

Well then I'll definitely make sure that makes it into the next update! (If the stat drops are from the starting Looks, I think it's fair to allow some rerolls if it ends up being untenable lol).

Neo-Chicago sounds like a blast! Feel free to drop any more questions you might have here (or just to share cool stuff from your game!!)

Great question! Theoretically it's possible for your stats to go down to zero. I think it's in the text somewhere that if a stat drops to zero, you would roll 2d6 and take the lowest result if you ever need to make a roll with that attribute (if that's not in the text, then I'll make sure it's added in the next major update).

I honestly don't remember if I had meant to include a Flow cost for Starfall or not, but I think since you have to have two other 5 slot tokens equipped to even use it, let's go with no Flow cost to activate it!

The latter (so two rounds at II and three at tier III). I think a better wording would be "lasts a number of rounds equal to Tier" to avoid any confusion. Thanks for pointing that out!

Destiny tends to influence a lot of my stuff honestly. For this one in particular, Nausicaa is another great touchstone, and Hyper Light Drifter was also one my mind (particularly for an unreleased, older, much larger version of this game). Lots of bits and pieces of different things really!

If damage isn't listed, use a d6 as the default!

And thanks for catching that typo on the disc, I've updated the main files to correct it!

Thanks! Happy to hear you're enjoying!

Such a great review Aaron (and not only because you said some very nice things about Riverlands 😆)!!

Finley is both immediately familiar as a reflection of the midwest, but also delightfully uncanny and fantastical. I love how many interesting pieces of the setting are packed into all the tables. Can't wait to explore Finely more in the future.

Thank you Rae!!

Now that I have experience adjuncting, I should absolutely add in an adjunct class lmao

Oh awesome! Feel free to link the video here for others to see, if you want!

Missed the actions, whoops! Wheelie Mobs get;

  • Move very fast
  • Circle like a pack
  • Isolate one target

Good catch! For Wheelie Mobs it should be: 1 Health. Burn Rubber: 1 damage, Near.  Super happy to hear you love the game! I'm planning on updating the main text with all these corrections when I release the bonus content. 

Thanks for the interest! Unfortunately no print options right now. You are more than welcome to try to do a print-at-home sort of deal, though the page dimensions are square so it might take some adjusting (maybe the epub version would be easier? I haven't looked into that though). Definitely considering print for the more distant-ish future, and should that happen I will make sure to post about it on the game's page!

I keep meaning to update that on the main page! Beneath the Mirror is almost completely written (and then needs layout), its just taken a bit of a backseat the past couple months due to other work related deadlines. Realistically, its looking more like a September release right now. 

I appreciate the comment! Each player should be starting with three different Tier I Looks at creation so they should be starting with at least some HP ( I suppose there is a chance to roll three accessories which would be some bad luck there!). If there are repeats like that then rerolls are absolutely okay (and honestly, if the players wanted to take the tables as more of suggestions that's fine too).  I'll make sure to add a note in the next revisions pass about rerolls for starting Looks. 

Health is dependent on what Looks you have equipped! Page 40 is where that's mentioned, and then the HP stats for each type of Look is in the Looks section. 

Yep, those just do damage equal to Tier (plus any effects they might have at higher Tiers like Blazing Hearts). For "rip and tear" its largely narrative! You might interpret it to mean that you now can rip through an enemy's armor or tear through a barrier. The exact effect is largely up to the table!

If the damage isn't specified, then it deals damage equal to its Tier (also any particular Token you're looking at? just to double check I didn't accidentally leave something out).

I'll get one up shortly!

https://ostrichmonkey.itch.io/reaching-in-the-dark

Thanks for catching that! And let me know how GMing it goes!

A few typos have been pointed out, which will be corrected the next time there's a revision pass on the text. But in the meanwhile; 

  • Page 31: change "... complications from a 4-5..." to "... complications from a 3-4..."
  • Page 61: Point of the Spear; additional Tier bonuses; at Tiers II/III the effects lasts additional rounds equal to Tier.
  • Page 62: Psychokinesis: Rarity is Basic. This matches the rarity listed elsewhere. 
  • Page62: Dynamite; takes up 4 inventory slots. 

If you catch any other issues, feel free to drop them here!

No discord specifically, though you're welcome to drop questions here or get in touch on my twitter. More than happy to answer questions/give clarifications. 

The full release is very soon (like, almost certainly next week soon!), it's right now in the final stages of layout. The stretch goal content (all the extra pins, new archetypes, etc) are going to be compiled in a separate release in the next couple of months and added to the game's downloads here when its done. 

Thank you for the kind words!

Thanks Logan!! I'm really glad to hear the game is working for you (I think you might be the first group of people that I know that have played it).

As written, enemies don't have HP and are defeated when it best makes sense (also I didn't have room in this version!). Having the damage be a stand-in for HP is a good idea though.

They're the same thing! Sorry for the confusion.