Hand To Hand With The Blue Bastard

I planned a creative update a couple of weeks ago after finishing the Death Comes To Wyverley playbooks, but Nine Worlds got in the way (and jolly good it was too). This is what I said I was working on back in November:

  • Death Comes To Wyverley (for Beyond the Wall)
  • Transuranic World (Sapphire and Steel, powered by the Apocalypse)
  • Our City”, a game about… cities. With an uninspiring title.

So these are the updates.

Death Comes To Wyverley

Is a thing. Not done, but a functional thing, functional enough for me to use and maybe for other people too. I will use it, maybe after cementing some of the rules tweaks. There may be a version 0.2 release (around the time I run it next), but not for a bit.

Transuranic World

I play tested this a couple of times, it went OK, but I’m not quite feeling it. For three reasons:

  1. I liked Apocalypse World to play, less so to ref. My AW campaign has picked up in the last few sessions and the mechanics have started to shine for me, but still… it’s unfamiliar territory.
  2. I’ve realised how much effort it’s going to take to turn this into a decent game (something I suspected from reading on the hacking process). Not sure I love it enough to do that much work, but definitely not going to do it half-arsed.
  3. Also there’s the doing an AW hack for the sake of it.

I’m putting this on the regret list, which means indefinite hiatus. But, you never know.

“Our City”

Yeah, I hate that title, but the problem was I could never think of a better one. And the reason for that is this game has always been a set of mechanical principles, but the actual game in all of it has been elusive.

The good news is, I now have a functional game premise and core activity for the PCs to actually do. The working title is Black Mantle and I’ll be playtesting in the Autumn. It’s a dystopian future city, with mecha. Sort of like The Hunger Games meets Knights of Sidonia.

The funny thing about this one is for the longest time I vacillated about what system to use for the character parts (that the city part plugs into). I went around in circles for a bit, going between variants of WaRP (which are still viable for another project) through my own version of Everway, before finally settling on the d20 OGL for a portion of the system. Not something I would have expected a couple of years ago, but working on DCtW involved coming up with a few system tweaks that just seem to work very well and evoke the right level of survivability, so that’s a good basis.

And that’s the adventure portion. Last year I went on at length about heroic cycles and mono-myths and how they relate to Beyond the Wall — and while that was probably more interesting to me than anyone else the principle remains the same: outside and inside the village are two different environments, and should be two different roleplaying experiences. So the external stuff will basically be OSR mecha as werewolves, nothing heavy or too crunchy — I’d like GMs to be able to plunder their monster manual and apply a genre-appropriate reskinning. And the internal stuff will be… something else. And the two have to fit together, which is the design challenge.

Other Things

These are the projects I have sort of on the back burners for when I feel like a break or when I’m travelling on business and need something to do in the evenings.

  • [We Are] is a game about werewolves/mutants/supers, using WaRP with a few tweaks here and there. Half finished. I’m really pleased I found my copy of Darker Than You Think, because I thought I’d sent it to Oxfam.
  • The Last Days Of Dorian Aquila is a GMless storygame, which (after I described it to my partner) is sort of like a cross between Fiasco and Alienor, apparently. It’s about a gender-neutral scoundrel who is about to fight a duel to the death, and the people they make peace with as they put their affairs in order.
  • Lag is a storygame about travellers in a sterile and impersonal luxury hotel in the wrong time zone. Local encounters and calls home will be strained by the difference in personal time zone; so as the characters become acclimatised to their surroundings they should become estranged from their contacts at home.

No idea when I’ll finish these. Black Mantle is the game I want to work on right now, because it’s the game I want to run right now. There may be updates. TTFN.