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A member registered Apr 01, 2019 · View creator page →

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I'm from Northern New England (currently live in Masshole City) and one time in the UK, I was informed I am from "The spooky part of America." Thank you for providing resources so I can continue to properly rep the Spooky States of America.

I think we can allow late submissions, so feel free to do that in this case if needed!

It usually takes me awhile to write scenarios and I thought a month was optimistic, but hoo boy, this was definitely optimistic. 

So far:

  • GMCs are all done. This is actually the lion's share of the work for me in some ways, as I have to do this in order for the plot to make any sense in my head.
  • PCs are 90% done.
  • The "getting started" questions are done (these are similar to chargen questions in a PbtA game, they shape the PCs relationships with each other & the story.)
  • I have a rough outline of the major locations and events of the scenario, albeit mostly in my head at the moment.
YoJambo community · Created a new topic a quick update

Just a quick update to say it makes me so happy to see submissions rolling in!

It's looking like my game will definitely not be finished by Jam time, but I plan on submitting what I have to be updated later, and if you have incomplete work I encourage you to do the same! Just make a note that it's currently in progress.

Just a friendly reminder: your jam submission must be a TTRPG and include themes from Yojimbo, as well as the include the Yojambo seal. Thanks!

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For this first week and the week before of YoJambo, I'm really kind of just working on deciding what the pieces of my one-shot are going to be.

I already knew I wanted to do Unknown Armies, and I've got a few rough ideas:

  • I've rolled #9, A member of one of the warring factions has an extremely advanced weapon that they have a near fetishistic relationship with, so I already know that's in the mix. 
  • I definitely wanted one of the "warring factions" to be made partly or mostly of Demons. 
  • Even before I rolled #9 I knew I wanted to use a fulminaturge character, a wizard whose magic is powered by their fetishitic relationship with a gun. (Not that kind of fetish. The other kind of fetish. Well, maybe that kind of fetish, depending on the fulminaturge.)
  • I knew that the one-shot would involve a precursor to the modern roadside attraction based on SP Dinsmoor's Garden of Eden. (I will probably change details of this while still making my inspiration clear.)

While I'm doing this, I'm also compiling sources--articles, books, even images--that serve as inspiration. All of that stuff is going in my Nimbus note document.  

Note that I've mentioned using "Alex's ritual" here. This is Alex Powell, a fellow UA writer who I often chat with to bounce ideas off of, and who play-tested my my previous anthology. It's a good idea to have a friend to bounce ideas off of if you can find one--makes writing much easier! My goal for this first week is just to have a shape of the scenario--who are the GMCs? What is the player's goal?


I'm a relative newcomer to scenario design (though I've been running and playing games on and off for twenty years) but here are some of my favorite resources for scenario design. Please share some of yours as well!

Alexandrian Articles:


Basic Advice:

When I write scenario, I typically:

  • Have an establishing scene, where the players introduce each other OR are plopped, in medias res, into the action. Motown Showdown starts in the former manner (the players already know their goal, the establishing shot allows them to decide how they want to accomplish it) whereas Run Off begins in medias res, with a PC in serious danger at the top of the game.
  • Have ~3 scenes that build up various facets of the plot. The scenes should usually be non-sequential (see node-based design) and the players should be able to skip or avoid a scene and still have the plot hang together.
  • Have 1 scene that provides the climax, where the consequences of whatever the players did in the other scenes "come together" and they have any necessarily confrontations with antagonists.
  • Have a "conclusion" section for the game moderator, with tips on how to satisfyingly close out the session and tie in its core themes.


Some folks are not sure what to do in terms of copyright. One of the challenges of scenario-writing, instead of being a developer, is that you have to work within the confines of copyright and other people's games. If you can develop and then write for your own game, that's great, but many of us (me) are good at writing scenario but not good at the more mechanical side of development.

Here's a good rundown of what is and is not copyrightable in games, though they use the most famous and litigious example (the Dungeon Game):

Personally, the game I plan on writing for has a community content program on DriveThru, but not here. Since I plan on using setting/lore concepts from the original game, I plan on publishing my Yojambo entry as a free ashcan version and then making a "nice" version for the community content program, at which point I'll remove the ashcan from itch. This is kind of a legal gray area, to be clear, but one I feel is probably not going to land me in hot water, any more than sharing free game content on a  blog would. 

If you want to keep yourself in the clear, you can always write a scenario for a game with a creative common license, like TROIKA! or Mörk Borg or, well, most of the other OSR games. (There's a reason there's a lot of scenario content for OSR games compared to other indies... it's easier to write scenario content when you know you're legally in the clear!) Other games have OGL or CC for their generic or SRD system (PbtA, FATE, FitD) but not necessarily for the specific properties you may be hoping to write scenario content for, like Blades in the Dark or Masks.

That said, ultimately I don't see Yojambo as an enterprise I'm personally doing to make money on scenario writing, I personally see it as a way to increase adoption of indies games among D&D fans by increasing the supply of scenario content, and as practice module writing. 

Excited to get the new tileset after loving HPS Cartography for my Ryuutama game. I work in watercolors and I'm thinking of releasing a setting for Ryuutama... these will be great to use for maps if I go that route. Thank you so much for letting folks use these commercially, since I'm absolute dogshit at making maps on my own.

Is this game GMless or does it have a GM?

A lot of good feedback in this post. I will admit, when I picked up Omphalos, I found it a little less helpful for my Ryuutama game that I expected because a lot of it was very *specific.* Like Andrea, I was hoping for something a bit more generic and reusable for fantasy OSR. While there is tons of lovely, evocative, very specific stuff here, it means once I've drawn the 10 of Swords for a town... I should probably take it out of the deck. It's too specific to be reused on additional towns. 

There's still a lot of great stuff in Omphalos and for His Majesty the Worm I think it will be fantastic. It's still useful for setting generation, but more in the way of PARIAH or A Thousand Thousand Islands--this is very much specific metaplot to help you generate detailed session content, not so much broad idea generation.

Hey! I'm not really interested in Skyjacks as an AP (Sorry James!) but I am interested in Skyjacks as a game setting. Will this zine make sense if I don't listen to the show?

Great to use as inspiration for character questions when you're doing session zero, but even moreso, useful as questions for scenario inspiration/creation in interpersonal/iyashikei focused games like Golden Sky Stories or Ryuutama, 

Try it now! I think maybe when I released this it had to be directed to an outside link (this was before many people were publishing tabletop RPGs through itch.)

This is my favorite safety tool and it's not close. Thanks for making it; much better and more responsive and nuanced than the x-card or veils/lines, without being complicated.