This is just a brief peek at a current prototype.
As I mentioned in my update post, I've been reworking/rethinking my idea of mixing Dungeon World with the teenage-superhero vibe of Masks to make a game about being heroes-in-training. Think Fable 1, especially the short interlude where you were training in the Heroes' Guild fighting beetles and bandits.
I want to combine this concept with my burning desire to have a game designed for West Marches style play, by which I mean you can have a different group of players every week but still have a sense of progression individually and within the larger world narrative. In addition, I want a game with minimal GM prep...inching towards the realm of a GMless game. The idea is to make picking up and playing the game as easy as possible, with as little extra time investment as possible.
I realized I needed a mental break from Karma when the very mention of anything cyberpunk made me recoil. It's probably a decent idea to step away for a week or two so I can come back with fresh perspective.
That break has let me return to my slap-together pirate hack Corsairs. It was a pleasant surprise to go back to something I made months ago and have my first reaction be, "Wow, I want to play this," rather than my usual editor-brain critique fest.
I intended to put together a world creation system similar to Karma, but my mind went blank every time I sat to write down some world creation prompts. Next I turned to my old favorite system of random-generator charts, to see if I could hack a Star Without Number like system together for world generation.
(This post assumes familiarity with the Forged in the Dark game system, i.e. Blades in the Dark).
I've been taking a mental break from cyberpunk to play around in the world of community-crime. This game focuses on mysteries set in a specific, close-knit community, and is inspired by everything from the TV show Shots Fired to the Stillhouse Lake books, and my own time working in a rural police department.
The game starts with a murder; the PCs are part of an investigative team brought in to determine the truth of what happened. Similar to Criminal Minds or Mindhunter or Shots Fired, the PCs aren't a local group. They have to overcome the secrets and suspicion of the locals to make any progress in their case.
The current release of Karma in the Dark is more or less stable until I get significant playtesting feedback. I will continue to make small edits for clarity, but no real design changes for a while.
This frees me up to turn my attention to other design projects. I will focus on smaller hacks and micro RPGs for a while. I don't want to tackle another major game release until Karma is done.
Corsairs on the Dark
This will remain a small hack for Blades. It will feature 5 new playbooks, 3 new teams, and 4 ship models. The only rule changes will be simple rules for ship combat and downtime while out to sea. It will include a basic island world map with some quickstart rules to create your own tropical fantasy setting. Everything will be compatible with the Blades main game and require Blades to play. I need to finalize my write-up of the ship rules and setting creation, then I can release it.
Unnamed Mystery RPG:
I want to play around with a micro rpg that is basically the movie Clue but set in a small town or other isolated community. Players will be part of an investigative team trying to solve a crime/string of crimes that has rocked their small, contained community. New mechanics will primarily focus on giving the GM tools to create a compelling mystery and giving players interesting ways to investigate the mystery. I doubt this will use Blades as its base system; I'm more interested in looking at Tales from the Loop and/or Dogs in the Vineyard for inspiration.
This will be a micro hack, likely using Blades as a base system. The game will take place in a space opera sci-fi setting. Players will be part of a military-controlled team of psychics. The focus will be on completing missions while trying to find a way to escape the military's control. Basically scores will be super hero psychic zaniness, and downtime will be Prison Break.
As I wait for the Blades in the Dark SRD to release, so I can release Karma in the Dark 3.0, I decided to work on a quick side project. It started with one thought: What if you could take the perfect teen-angst hero simulator of Masks and put it in a fantasy setting?
This blog is a mix of game design analysis, commentary on issues affecting indie dev spaces, and some personal reflections.