I want to say it was in one of the earlier Fate Worlds volumes? I'll look through my books and see if I can find it. I was about to say it was a Transhumanity's Fate thing but I think I just carried it over from a different book
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Really interesting idea, definitely giving me a lot of think about - I don't have much of substance to contribute cause I need to let this percolate a little but this innately makes a lot of sense to me
I don't have anything more to add here other than that I don't really consider the Platonic Session to be a critical tool - I think I'm largely the only designer to actively use this lens and plenty of great games are being made without a cohesive and singular vision. It's just something vital to my own personal work process and something I think many designers would benefit from is all.
Otherwise I think we might be at a bit of an endpoint here. Thank you for the discussion! It's forced me to rethink a lot of the specifics behind the idea and the way I present it, I really appreciate your viewpoint.
I think I have a better grasp of what you mean, thank you for clarifying. Apologies if I'm still off base at all here.
I think in a lot of ways this is tied somewhat to a slightly more common discussion about what happens when games hit players tables - about house rules and unintended rules readings and so on - and my reply is largely the same to that; that we can not control what the players and readers do with our texts doesn't seem to me to be something worth worrying too much about at the end of the day (Except in wanting to make sure our rules are clear and accessible anyway). It's inevitable that people will read our games and do things with our games that we simply have no way to predict or imagine, and regardless of what design lens, tools or lures we use, they may be missed, misunderstood, misread, re-worked or re interpreted. To some degrees nothing of our intentionality survives past first read/play, such is Death of the Author I suppose. You have no control over what the players ideas or desires are, only in how you communicate your own expectations of their play. A Platonic Session might also be understood as your work luring the players meshing perfectly with their desires and ideas. An impossible reality, but as a hypothetical, its a useful tool.
I'd also say that your platonic session isn't a set-in-stone thing established at the start of your project, I'm sure we've all had the experience of writing a game or a system and realizing the very essence of what we were aiming for wasn't working and had to rework the fundamentals or even scrap it. Understanding what you want people to do with your game in the end is just another part of the design process - The Platonic, or Perfect, session of your game may be very different by the time you finish writing, but there's still a lot of value in understanding it and being aware of it, even if it changes drastically after your first playtest or rewrite or what have you.
I should also maybe specify that my idea of a Platonic Session is strictly a design tool, it's not really useful to anyone after you've put your work out there - Think of it the same way some people write a guiding principle or a mood board. Its intended to keep you on track with what you're trying to make, rather than an attempt to bind players to that specific vision.
For the last part here, I'm worried the idea of a platonic session (the design tool intended to help inform a designer and guide the work process) is getting a little mixed up with the overall advice of providing narrative tools (a player-intended inclusion).. All games that intend to tell stories should have information and education for how those stories work and function, and its my belief that all games, fundamentally, intend to tell stories of some form. I'd also point out many of the games mentioned that have excellent narrative tool inclusion are actually fairly large games in the grand scheme of things - Spire is actually a great example of one, AW too. Blades was mentioned, etc. Smaller games can be good at explaining very focused, very intentional-narrative and guided experiences, but that's only really one form of what I'm talking about.
Also Edit: No worries! It happens, I should wait some time before replying. I have some thoughts about the specific stuff edited in but I think I largely addressed most of the stuff in some way here, at least, I hope so. Some of it doesn't make any sense anymore but I've already wrote a lot of words. To try and address the first part tho - By conscious or not I'm saying all games are ultimately saying something regardless of the designers intent, and being aware of that something is a useful tool, and many games are published without being actively aware of what that something is. If your intention during design is to make a bundle of machetes with which the players hack their own path through a jungle of your own design - that's your Platonic Session right there.
Sort of side-ways to this conversation, but relevent I think; this Twitter thread showed up on my feed today - https://twitter.com/the_strix/status/104247685907666944 - One area I think I failed to make clear is that the goal of including narrative toolkits shouldn't be to teach any particular specific field of media analysis or education - I'm not promoting the enforced monomyth, that would be a terrible mistake. These tools must, by default, be different for the game you make, they must be as tied to the experiences you hope to enable as your mechanics are. The monomyth and three act structure is a good place to start, but its not the best fit for a lot (most?) of games.
Quick Edit: Be sure to check the replies to that tweet too, some of the conversation in there is super good - and lots of good reading material in there.
It's interesting that you name AW as one of the games without platonic sessions - I actually built a lot of this idea from studying it in part and, in the abandoned longer write up I did of this a while ago used it as a prime example of a game that has a pretty solid "intended experience" (a flawed term, as it implies some kind of imposed thing) in spite of its relatively generalized nature. Not every story told with AW will look similar, but they are, by necessity of the games ruleset, told in similar ways.
But I digress - even the most general game has, in my mind, a platonic session, consciously or not, a designer is trying to make something for a particular purpose, to fill a need they see missing or to contribute to a particular ongoing dialogue. When you say you're building games that provide tools for players to do interesting things, the particulars of those interesting things are what make up the fundamental grounding of your platonic session (and the needed guidelines for narrative tools). Some of the comments I made in the thread above this speak on this a little - while it's absolutely possible to limit player (and designer, and GM) creativity with bad narrative design or poor educational frameworks, well made ones are liberating and further allow those wonderful interesting things we're all trying to enable. The goal of the tools I'm proposing and talking about aren't necessarily about telling a particular story, or even a particular type of story, rather it's about informing a reader what stories they can tell with your games they perhaps couldn't with another game - or how the storys they tell in your game would differ from another, similar game.
But, of course, I have to admit I have a personal bias for more focused experiences, so perhaps its some of that creeping in - either way, great points. I agree at the very least that the approach to narrative tools and education must be very different depending on the intent of your design and goals of your game.
Patreon is proposing some pretty drastic changes to how its platform works - including striping back a lot of the features we currently have, only allowing you to keep them if you chip in more of your monthly income.
This sucks, but luckily they're grandfathering in everyone with a Patreon account at the old rate. These changes aren't happening just yet, so I highly recommend making a Patreon right now if you're at all interested in using the service for your games, writing or whatever, even if you have nothing to post yet. Your account should maintain its Founder status and you'll get the better rate when you do start producing content.
I think that's absolutely a big concern - and one I think anyone who's had experience in a structured lit class has probably felt at some point. It's a pitfall to be avoided when writing this sort of thing, and something to actively educate against the use of. In my mind, and hopefully in my writing, the goal is to enable people to better embrace their ability to express themselves or creatively explore their ideas and unique stories through making people actively aware of how the sausage is made, rather than enforce specific and strict cookie-cutter plots. Blades is a really great game that does a lot of great narrative and media aware design/tools while encouraging GMs and players to have fun with and mess with those rules rather than stifling them.
I definitely have had bad art teachers who didn't know how to weave these two concepts (That of personal self expression/freedom and the education of the 'rules' of the artform), but I feel like I'm a better storyteller and writer for having learned the rules and media conventions in the first place, after all, its hard to break, bend or make new rules if you're not super aware of how they work in the first place.
I've found the most useful tool for me is iteration and rapid playtesting. That is to say - get something, some basic grounding, of your game ready and working as quickly as you can. Don't sweat bugs, presentation or gaps in the design so much, just get something written. Then play it, write down every comment you get, and revise. Obviously this has a couple requirements - you need a regular group who's willing to play your half-baked nonsense of course! - but you get a really dynamic flow and ideas get tested very quickly, refined where the work and jettisoned where they don't and you'll find you often only discover ideas during play.
This isn't for everyone, and I've also seen some people just knock out the best games ever in a draft or two before any playtesting at all, but for me, constant iteration, rapid design gets the results.
There's some really interesting dialogue being made here, and some perfectly valid critiques of the idea put forward which I deeply appreciate. I think its fair to say that some people go into GMing and games with very different ideas of what constitutes a "good game", a division I think we're all pretty familiar with. I'd argue that there's a lot of value to be found even by (for lack of a better term) simulationist designers and GMs by examining (and being given the tools to examine) what the fictional, emotional and narrative repercussions of the naturalistic character choices they make within the space they build for (or with) their players. Just as I think it serves even the most story-game, narrative driven person to be given, for lack of a better word, mechanical tools to create worlds with a degree of verisimilitude.
To admit my own biases, I'm pretty obviously squarely on the Games as Story side of the discussion, and so a lot of my analysis comes from that.
Regardless, thanks to everyone who posted some examples of games that do this sort of thing very very well. I really appreciate having more reading material on the list. Maybe we could post some more examples, maybe even a chunk of your favourite usage of narrative tools, to aid in the discussion? Here's a small snippet of one of my games (Americana, currently shooting for a June release date) from the Adversaries section. The game is in investigation game where you play as high schoolers, just for context.
"The Best Friend
Strengths: Cute, Loyal to the End, Trustworthy, Always Got A Plan, Emotionally Switched On, Physically Strong
Weaknesses: Forgetful, Magically Useless, Rocky Home Life
You’ve known this person your whole life, and you’ve most likely spent more hours with them than your family. You trust this person more than you trust yourself, you love them like a sibling. Which is why they’re a problem.
The Best Friend may seem like an odd choice for an adversary, but think about it. Who’s going to be bugging you about where you were last night? Who’s going to be knocking on your door and asking your mom where you are? Who’s going to get really upset and hurt when you blow them off to investigate the sewers tonight?
The Best Friend is a perfect double-sided blade. They are someone the player’s character can trust and get help from, but they’re also emotionally invested in their friendship to a degree that can impact the character’s ability to conduct their investigations. They might even accidentally jeopardize it by prying too deeply or asking the wrong questions at the wrong time. They mean well, of course, they mean the best, but they’re working with half a deck and their best friend looks tired all the time, and why do they have a black eye? What’s going on?
Best Friends are great to put unexpectedly with a Crew or at a Hang, they can be waiting for player characters when they get home, asking piercing questions. They can be great at school too, trying to get the character’s attention while the player is chasing up a lead or spying on someone. "
What I tried to do here with the Best Friend was provide a kind of simple explanation of what role that character archetype often takes in high school investigation stories, and suggest places and times for the reader to use that archetype, identifying common tropes and their purpose without being too overt about it. I'm not sure I've 100% succeeded here, but this is a small bit of what I'm talking about when I suggest including this sort of thing in your game.
Something I realized in writing this out is that there is one area of narrative tools we are really good at - plot hooks! Every game I've ever read is full of plot hooks and little evocative story beats.
Oh and shout out to King Crackers who has explained the idea just beautifully and with more patience than I think I'd have been able to muster
Stress tracks seem like a really versatile mechanic that could be used for a lot of cool stuff, and I was just curious if anyone has any neat examples. I know a couple of games that use an Exalted-ish power system have used them as a kind of power-meter you fill and risk hurt if you go over a certain amount of stress. I could also see using them to track Community Stress or similar for games that have community building as part of their base.
Seconding Core, to me it just provides a very fully set to build from without too many bells and whistles or streamlining, and most of my designs in Fate tend toward a longer campaign setting. Plus its the one I think most people are familiar with, so that helps.
From several people saying they had actions taken against them for reproducing those on Kickstarters and other places. It's absolutely true that you can't copyright mechanics - but WotC has frequently went after people for reproducing their CC rules in text - I think the legal argument they fall behind is that the CC of D&D is a unique enough process to fall under their IP, but I'm not really clear on the specifics - I just see people saying its a thing Wizards have went after people for. See this comment thread for more;
While you may be technically correct, it's probably better for most creators to ere on the side of caution in these situations - no one wants their big project squashed by a C&D they can't afford to fight.
I was asked to write up a quick summary of how to properly use the OGL to make content based off of WoTC content. This is accurate to the best of my understanding, but with the caveat that I'm not a lawyer, and I recommend everyone read the OGL before posting any derived works for sale! Please feel free to mention any corrections or missing important stuff here or ask any questions about OGL/Licensing in general here.
D&D is by far the most popular game out there, and it's a place ripe for developers and designers to cut their teeth and reach a bunch of people with their ideas. Making settings, monsters, classes and other content for D&D is likely the first place most people get a start on the content creation side of things.
However, when you make stuff for use with D&D, you have to follow the OGL or the Open Game License. This is a document that comes with a lot of D&D products these days that specifies exactly what is "Open Content" and what you're allowed to do with it. It's most commonly attached to the SRD or System Reference Document, which you can find here - http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/DND/SRD-OGL_V5.1.pdf - the first thing to know is that if it shows up in the SRD, you can use it in your project. You can quote it, you can copy it, edit it, whatever you like. Its "Open" by the terms of the license.
If you use anything in the SRD, you have to include the full 2 page OGL attached to the SRD. You also have to make it clear when and where you're using something from the SRD - if you use a creature or a stat block from the SRD, you have to include a note that it's reproduced under the OGL.
It seems complicated, but the basic breakdown is - if it's in the SRD, you can use it, so long as you include the OGL in its entirety and make a note wherever you use SRD content. Something like “Reproduced under the OGL” under the stat block or whatever is fine. So that sounds pretty good, but what can't you do?
Well, a lot. The OGL itself specifies the following are part of WotC's Brand and cannot be touched:
"The following items are designated Product Identity, as defined in Section 1(e) of the Open Game License Version 1.0a, and are subject to the conditions set forth in Section 7 of the OGL, and are not Open Content: Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master, Monster Manual, d20 System, Wizards of the Coast, d20 (when used as a trademark), Forgotten Realms, Faerûn, proper names (including those used in the names of spells or items), places, Underdark, Red Wizard of Thay, the City of Union, Heroic Domains of Ysgard, EverChanging Chaos of Limbo, Windswept Depths of Pandemonium, Infinite Layers of the Abyss, Tarterian Depths of Carceri, Gray Waste of Hades, Bleak Eternity of Gehenna, Nine Hells of Baator, Infernal Battlefield of Acheron, Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia, Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia, Twin Paradises of Bytopia, Blessed Fields of Elysium, Wilderness of the Beastlands, Olympian Glades of Arborea, Concordant Domain of the Outlands, Sigil, Lady of Pain, Book of Exalted Deeds, Book of Vile Darkness, beholder, gauth, carrion crawler, tanar’ri, baatezu, displacer beast, githyanki, githzerai, mind flayer, illithid, umber hulk, yuan-ti"
You can not reference, mention, use, replicate or modify anything to do with any of the above. Technically you can't even mention it in your text. Doing so violates the license and puts you in trouble with Wizards.
The other part to keep in mind is Section 7: "7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark."
What does this mean? Very simply, you can't say or imply that your game is for or compatible with D&D. I know this seems weird, and a bit backwards, but them's the breaks. You can still make the content, publish and sell it, but by the terms of the license, you can't say "This is a D&D 5th Edition Game". You CAN reference the SRD (By adding "System Reference Document 5.1 Copyright 2016, Wizards of the Coast” to your game description), you can say "Compatible with the world's most popular RPG system" or something similar, you just can't say "Dungeons and Dragons" or "D&D". You can also reference the OGL itself to describe what your creation is. Just don’t explicitly reference Dungeons and Dragons or any trademarks or elements of the Product Identity, and you should be clear.
You also can not reproduce any mechanics for character creation anywhere in any of your books - you can make new classes, new backgrounds, new spells, etc, but you can not tell people the rules for picking them, unless you're making up new ones somehow. The same goes for making monsters, stat blocks and so on - you can make new ones, just don't reproduce the rules for making them anywhere.
Muddying the waters somewhat is the Dungeon Masters Guild, which is a storefront that has some very different, much looser rules on producing content for D&D. You can find out more information on the DMG here - http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd
Despite the somewhat confusing and overworked way the OGL works, once you get to grips with it, it's actually not as restrictive as it may feel, and it's perfectly ok for you to create content under it and post it here on Itch.
I can see what you're saying here, and the argument is there for sure, but I think the main difference with what you're saying here and what I was putting up is that the mechanics you're talking about are implicitly narrative shaping tools, rather than explicit ones, and they tend to only cover fairly specific areas of gameplay. Building a fully implicit narrative toolkit is def. possible and something I think should be shot for (Lots of games that do narrative tools well, like the aforementioned Dreams Askew function really well this way), but they also assume inherent genre savvy and media awareness on the behalf of a GM/Player.
An example; D&D is clearly a combat focused game, where combat and violence shape the narrative naturally by its very inclusion and focus in the books, inarguably that's a narrative shaping going on there, but D&D raw doesn't tell a GM *how* to use that violence to tell a story besides its broad themes of Kill Stuff Good. It doesn't educate a player on how to build drama into their characters, it doesn't explain what kind of plot beats go best with which kind of monsters, dungeons and traps (tho some editions and third party content def. have spent some time on this). It tells you how big a dragon is, how much health it has, how much damage it does and how to kill one, but very rarely does it give examples of what a dragon can *mean*. It's missing a very important element of passing down these storytelling tools - the education in their proper usage.
I see where you're coming from, and I agree to a big degree that narrative and mechanics are best blended where you can, but properly written rules can contain these tropes explanations and media education without being tacked on, Dreams is a good example, I'm hoping my next release is a good version of it too.
I don't really want to keep this going at this point, but just for future reference, OGL (and most D&D licenses) and the Fate license don't make any explicit restrictions on storefronts. There's no legal issues there - I only want to make that clear so designers stumbling on this aren't scared away from the platform. As long as you follow the license you can host/sell it anywhere.
A fantastic little tool I found recently for organizing events that works super great for RPG sessions. It lets you mark a calendar with when you're free, then send it around to all your friends and they do the same, and it spits out a nice visual representation of your schedules.
I think if we're not providing explicit space for these fairly large design spaces, there's not a lot of incentive for people working in those spaces to transition to the Itch community. If the goal is to expand the TTRPG community on itch, it seems strange to me to stick only with what's already popular on here. But this is ya'lls show, just felt like it was something to discuss.
Edit: just as an aside, D&D and 5th Edition tags have about 8 or so games on Itch while Belonging Outside Belonging has 4. I'd say the community is def. there if its a numbers thing
Already started, but my city runs a local yearly con called BFG Con. Very small, but lots of passion and fun. I'm not making it this year personally but Sandy Pug folks will be there demoing one of our newest games.
Small cons like this can be a real godsend to smaller scale creators; they're cheaper, focused, and you have a better shot at not getting lost in the pile of hundreds of designers. If you're in the area maybe check it out!
There is certainly a difference, at least in my experience, between recording APs and more traditional play - players tend to streamline, cut down on the cross talk and highlight a certain amount of "entertainment" compared to a 'normal' session - APs tend to be more bombastic, the prep tends to be a little more intense, and the arcs we make generally try to be more focused in an attempt to make it easier to follow for any given listener. A normal campaign for my groups at least will often amble this way and that, explaining random details or NPCs or points on a map in a kind of ramshackle route to the ultimate goals of the campaign, while a AP campaign will be much more focused, and where deviation occurs it's obviously different in its approach.
There is a certain degree of traditional performance stuff creeping in for sure, but most of my players haven't done any other kind of performance so I can't speak to that - I know personally I look at a game much more from a cinematic point of view than I do with my home games.
Very few games come with narrative guidance tools, and I think that's a shame. Lets talk about Narrative Guidance.
Most games are full of mechanical tools and guidance - advice for how to build an encounter, how the numbers work, why things "cost" whatever they do, etc. These are, in many ways, the foundation of our hobby, but as a fundamentally storytelling medium, the other side of the coin is often missing - games very rarely explain how to weave the narrative they're designed for. Missing are lists of tropes, explanations of important narrative beats, character archetypes and where/when/how to utilize them to create the arcs and stories that these games seek to enable. These are largely left to the reader to figure out for themselves.
There's a few reasons for this - page count can be a big problem when publishing and these ideas are often seen as extraneous, it is often assumed that players will be genre/media savvy and able to construct narratives without any aids, but I think this is a bad assumption to make, especially if the goal is growing the hobby - we don't assume every reader has read an RPG before, we shouldn't assume every player is familiar with Red Herrings, properly structured Climaxes, particular kinds of characters and their roles in stories. There's also an issue with games aiming to be as generalized as possible - even when unintended many games tend toward the "You can tell any story with this game!" style of thinking, which isn't inherently a bad thing, but does create a number of assumptions.
This leads me to Platonic Sessions - I'd argue every game (even explicitly generalized systems) has a platonic session, a perfect game that exists only really in the designers mind during development. This session may change, it may be more than one session in practice, but every game has, deep inside of it somewhere, The Game that those mechanics and narrative choices are being designed for. Understanding what this platonic session is can be a powerful tool for a designer for a number of ways, but the reason it ties in here is because understanding the platonic allows you to better explain to the reader how exactly to go about crafting those narratives - by understanding that your cyberpunk game's platonic session involves, say, corp heists, you can better identify which tropes and beats to communicate to the reader - either via explicit means (a chapter on narrative guidance) or implicit means (mechanics, lore, etc).
Short games and Story games tend to be very very good at Narrative Guidance - either directly telling the reader "this is what you should do during a game" or being designed such that the only game possible is as close to the Platonic as you can get irl. They still tend to lack overt explanation of narrative design, but they still achieve fundamentally the same goal through implicit means.
About as close to narrative guidance tools most games get is including a list of influences, like movies and books and the like, that influenced the designer, or a preamble that roughly explains the same information. This speaks to me as a sign people understand the need for some kind of narrative guidance but simply telling people your game is inspired by Firefly isn't enough - what elements of firefly? what narrative beats and tropes does your game seek to replicate? Why? How can a reader best use your game to craft their own narratives?
Including more Narrative Tools in games would help build the hobby, help build up new GMs and give readers a wealth of information to have better games using your systems. Give it a whirl!
Sandy Pug Games offers free kickstarter consultation for people of marginalized backgrounds. Just fill in the form and I'll be in touch as soon as possible. We've done the KS thing a few times, and have a pretty wide network of folx who've been through it from various angles too. I know a lot of info out there isn't super great or geared towards smaller creators, so I figured we should share the knowledge as best we can.
Take care ya'll.
Hey everyone! I'm Liam (He/They). I'm the head designer at Sandy Pug Games, we're a collective of marginalized folx banding together to make cool games. Back when it was just one or two of us we mostly made Dungeon World sheets and setting books. We've had two pretty big Kickstarters (Orc Stabr and Americana), so right now we're focused mainly on producing the latter. I'm really hyped to see people finally coming over to Itch. It's such an awesome platform and we can grow so much here.
SPG does a lot of stuff besides making games. We offer free Kickstarter help for marginalized people, we produce a small video series that helps explain TTRPGs in a quick and concise way, we produce a radio drama set in Americana. I'm also a mentor at the San Jenaro Co-Op, and heading up their first project as a co-operative owned design house, producing a large anthology of very cool small games. Oh, and I just launched a fiction writing project that I'm hoping becomes a collective profit sharing space all about writing evocative stories about games that don't exist.
You can follow me @SandyPugGames on twitter.
Glad to see the physical games getting expanded on here. They may be obvious but having a subtopic for the top couple of popular systems designers make stuff in - D&D, Fate, etc - is probably a good idea, in addition to the others suggested.
I'd also be happy to put myself forward as a mod.
I'm going to put together a small miniatures race/battle/defense game based on chess pieces and movement, hope that's ok with the rules. The general concept right now is movement based on Car Lengths, and you can build a "squad" from the various chess pieces; I.E. one car can be a Knight, one a Rook, etc, with different special moves and attacks for each.
Hey Folks, Sandy Pug Games is a Tabletop RPG design group that has been making cool stuff for about a year and a half now, and we've recently launched here on Itch. What a wonderful community and marketplace it is! We'll be uploading more of our work in the coming weeks but for now, I thought you'd all enjoy our Fiasco playset collection, which is Pay What You Want right here:
The collection includes the dark-horror-comedy set Infomercial World, where you and your friends find yourselves awakened within the nightmare that is late night infomercials. Nothing works, you can't do anything right, and these suburbs have no end in sight. Also included is The Closed Circle, a murder mystery playset designed around the trope of a closed box mystery - the killer is among you, no one can leave, no one can enter, will you solve it in time, or are you the killer, and will you get off scot free? Finally there's The First 100 Days, a political comedy set about playing out the first 100 days of a particularly wobbly presidential administration. Will you ride the sinking ship into the ground? Foster Revolution? Hell, will you make it work?
Fiasco, for those who don't know, is a fantastic small GMless RPG designed to create Coen's Brothers-esque situations and stories, published by the fantastic Bully pit games. It's one of, if not the best party style RPG systems out there, and I highly recommend you check it out, even if the above playsets don't grab you!