Sunday, 11 March 2018

Tidbits

The last few weeks have been a lot of writing non-core stuff for me, so since I don't have a really good pertinent update I figured I could post some stranded bits I'd thrown out on various social media:

Adoption is informal and very common in the Outer World. This is mainly due to an abundance of families who are unable to bear children for a variety of reasons (same sex couples, inter-species relationships, chronic heroism, so on and so forth) and an alarming amount of orphaned individuals (the Outer World can be a dangerous and unpredictable place).
This means the concept of family itself has become pretty broad. It has brought the folk closer together in general; in a world where chibs and bruun can be brothers and sisters, it seems silly to fight over trivial things,
It also means that your human character may have been raised by a happily married couple consisting of a ghost and a robot.

In BREAK!! - you have your Hearts, which are basically a buffer for damage, representing luck, courage, and gusto. Once those are depleted you start taking injuries (or damage, if you’re a synthetic character). Enough injuries/damage can render you inert or kill you, of course. Hearts are fully restored at the start of every dangerous situation, and lots of magic and items can give you a bonus heart or two. Injuries/Damage does not - you either have to get them treated by someone trained or you have to take downtime actions to rest to heal them. A few spells assuage them for a time, but these are temporary solutions.
Hence why I say it’s harsher - it’s not gritty or anything, but a lot of games give you ways of restoring yourself instantly. BREAK!! doesn’t,
Status Ailments in BREAK!! are another harsh but not terribly gritty thing. I wanted to skew a bit more fantastic/animated, as well as have ones that make things odd or challenging rather than totally debilitating - so you might end up becoming a slime version of yourself, squashed into a chibi like state, blown up like a balloon, or randomly acting in ways counter to what you are trying to accomplish. Of course, some of the classics are in there too (being turned to stone/calcified over time, being blinded/deafened, etc) but I was careful when implementing them.

The 1st Aeon was a time of little order - beyond the intrinsic nature of mortal shape and finiteness, everything was at the capricious whim of the Unshaped. This changed with the actions of Regulus, the first hero. Not only did his rebellion against his former peers force them into physical form, it solidified the formerly liquid nature of reality itself. This was the creation of Fate, an invisible hierarchy that influenced the actions and consequences of the Outer World’s inhabitants.
Fate was an ever present force, but not a direct one. It would empower various individuals (predominantly Chosen Ones and their “villainous” counterparts) and encourage them towards certain actions via contrivance and coincidence. These actions were machinations in a cosmic cycle, one where the dominance of Light and Dark was in constant flux. This cycle was meant to be unending, a symphony which would vary somewhat in sound but never in basic structure. But the folk unknowingly defied this idea again and again, forming societies and taking initiatives that made Fate’s key players increasingly less relevant.
Some theorize that the catastrophic actions of Regulus during the 3rd Cataclysm were as much spurred on by the ragged remains of Fate as his own initiative. Indeed, this once omnipresent force now clings to him like a mournful wraith, only occasionally extending its influence to bitterly pull its chosen towards catastrophe and ruin.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

BREAK!!cast Round up!

For those who might have missed these, all three podcasts where I answered questions about BREAK!! are linked here:

BREAK!!cast 1 -Where Sam and I talk about character options.
BREAK!!cast 2 - Where Kelsey, Produce and I talk about system stuff and the Shadowlands
BREAK!!cast 3 - Where Kiel and I talk about Game Master-centric stuff.

Thanks for listening everyone!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

BREAK!!Cast Q&A Part II

A second podcast answering questions! This time with the help of two local playtesters. Audio is a little bad this time, so I do apologize for that. I still hope it's informative!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Play Example - Crafting

One thing in BREAK!! I'm pretty excited for but feel I've not talked enough about is Crafting. I wanted to make it so people could create their own gear without it being too much of a hassle mechanically. At the same time, I wanted it to encourage adventure - or at the very least, be the end product of one. So here's a brief example of how a player character made "Imbued Item" (as opposed to the unique "Relics" that a GM throws around, classic Reynaldo what with having his cake and eating it too) comes about.

Wumble Eveready, at your service!


The Scene

Wumble Eveready managed to snag a prism feather during the party’s last outing. This brilliant plumage can enhance someone’s speed if utilized correctly! Always seeking a way to stay a step ahead of danger, Green decides that Wumble will try and make an Outfit with them.

  1. What are you making?
    • Wumble is the practical sort, so he is attempting to create a an Extreme Weather (Cold) Outfit to incorporate the feathers into. This will take the form of a thick tunic and cloak.
    • Green decides it will be called the “Hued Hood”, because alliteration is fun and it alludes to the Prism Feather used to create it.
  2. Where are you making it?
    • Wumble will do his Tailoring at the party’s room at a local inn since it does not require a Workshop.
  3. What are you using to make it?
    • 2 Units of Twilight Silk, 1 Prism Father and a single use of a Crafter’s Toolkit will go into creating Wumble’s Outfit. Green erases these from his character sheet.
  4. Roll your Check!
    • Wumble is using his Crafting Prodigy Ability to create the Hued Hood. This Ability allows him to use either his Deftness or Insight (whichever is higher) when crafting. Wumble is sharp-eyed and careful, so Green chooses Insight.
  5. Success or Failure?
    • Green Rolls right below Wumble’s Insight, meaning the Outfit is successfully created! He jots down the stats for the Hued Hood and it’s ready to go for the next session.

The Hued Hood

This Extreme Weather (Cold) Outfit is a cloak, cowl, and tunic in one. A rainbow plumed feather is incorporated into the clasp. It was designed to be worn by a small character, but can be easily taken out a bit to fit a normal sized one.
  • The Hued Hood shifts in color in response to the level of light, becoming brightly colored in direct sunlight and darkening in accordance with its surroundings. (Twilight Silk)
  • Anyone wearing the Hued Hood has their Speed Rating increased by a single step. (Prism Feather)

Sunday, 28 January 2018

BREAK!!cast Q&A (Part 1)

Just a quick update today, I did a short podcast answering questions about BREAK!!, and perhaps plan on doing more. Maybe a couple for different mechanics and stuff as well? Who knows, depends on how long I can stand the sound of my own voice.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Mana Inequity Principle

Just finished up a little extra bit for the setting on the philosophies and such floating around BREAK!!'s setting, and I thought this part would be fun to share: basically it's an in-game explanation between the discrepancy in abilities between "normal" folk and the main players in a campaign.

The Mana Inequity Principle
A stark truth of Outer World is that certain individuals can do things that others just can’t. Seasoned casters will spend their whole life studying at Magia’s university to master a few spells, while some cocky hedgewizard will have just as many under their belt with a fraction of the practice. Veterans of multiple wars will watch in awe as a youthful waif leaps along rooftops and displays master level swordplay to topple a flying beast, and so forth.

Both light and dark mana flow through all things, but it lingers longer and empowers certain individuals more than others. This leads to heightened physical ability, rapid personal growth and supernatural talent with magic and other skills. While these facts are easy to see, a question remains: why does this imbalance exist?

Early assumptions were attributed it to spiritual enlightenment or being chosen by fate, but ancient studies and modern observation have proven that mana attunement is not connected by these factors. In fact, there seems to be little or no consistency between those gifted few. Mana is as alive as any of us, after all, and is just as subject to whim and capriciousness as the folk are.

  • Arcane Progressivism
    • There is much debate as to exactly what a mana attuned individual should be doing. The most popular answer is “Whatever they like”, but in a close second is the primary edict of Arcane Progressivism, a philosophy created by prominent Akenian philosopher Dizah Gren.
    • It proclaims that all magic, including that which is under the power of an individual, should be used for the betterment of all folk. While there are numerous interpretations of the limits and responsibilities entwined with this line of thinking, its intent has inspired many a great hero (and more than a few villains!)

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Scripts of Outer World

Been messing with fantasy scripts so I can pepper the book's locations and artifacts with internally consistent(ish) runes, glyphs and text.

***

High Akenian: This language of a Ruined Empire is now only used for deciphering ancient tomes and runes. It’s flowery prose is beloved by linguists.

Design notes: Pentagonal construction, calligraphic, assembled into magical mandalas.


***
Bright Speech (left): The chosen tongue of the Devas and servants of the Light. A powerful, bombastic language that makes every sentence a decree.

Design notes: All capitals, Roman-Greco influence. 

Dark Tongue (right): Spoken by the Asura, the dead and the curious. It’s seductive whispering makes even the most horrible suggestions sound tempting.

Design notes: Snaking line with only typographic descenders.  



***
Biosorcerous formulae (left): Used for recording magical molecular structures by Calian flesh manipulators.

Design notes: Based on structural formula, needs a touch of shahmukhi!

Dream Call (right): Perhaps the first language, perhaps not. Haunting and poetic it’s used exclusively by the strange and Unshaped.

Design notes: Organic cloud like shapes that are sometimes abstract sometimes figurative.


***
Hoshi-Ban: This odd, speedy chatter was brought to Outer World by the Rai-Neko, from a Place Beyond the Sky.

Design notes: Quick to speak and write, evolved from this cat-like species early tree markings, cuneiform-ish. 


***
Fade Song: This melodious tongue  is famous for its onerous syntax which transforms the simplest sentence into a wondrous tale.

Design notes: Musical waves, written in continuous lines or 'ribbons'.  


***
Gleysian Code: The fallen Technocracy of Gley used an efficient, functional language. It’s used today to decode Techo-Relic instruction manuals.

Design notes: Runes based on nine point grid, dots added for circuit board vibes, vertical and horizontal construction lines. Diagonal variant.


***
Under Warble: Under Warble is constantly evolving tongue with many dialects spoken in the Buried Kingdoms.

Design notes: Geologically inspired symbols. Dwarves (left) use more strict geometric forms, Goblins (right) use looser more spikey shapes.


***
Creator’s Script: This written language of odd glyphs is found only in documents left behind by The Creator. An ancient enchantment prevents it from being spoken aloud.

Design notes: Technical, machine readable script. Uses colour in syntax. 

***
Randoms!

Design notes: May or may not find a use for these... 



Tuesday, 28 November 2017

More Thoughts on Setting

A brief discussion on TRPG settings the other day actually had me feeling a bit at odds with a number of posters involved - in no means a bad way, as exchanges were pleasant and of the "this is my preference" variety rather than the "this is the absolute truth" you see so often in hobbyist debate - but still, I was much more invested in things than I normally am, especially since it revolved around The Outer World, BREAK!!'s standard setting.

A significant number of people expressed desire of a fully (or at least well detailed) area being more useful than a more zoomed out view of the world. There are a number of good reasons for this thinking, and I believe it is a reasonable and worthwhile viewpoint.

In contrast however, The BREAK!! rulebook provides a sort of broad overview of The Outer World, each known realm is covered more or less equally and the numerous factions and odd geography is outlined.

There are two big reasons for this (beyond my own stubbornness):
  • There is a setting chapter, but the setting itself leaks all over the rest of the book. The Callings, Species, Gear, Character Origins - all connect to the Outer World in someway. Not so much that they could not be divorced from it by an enterprising gaming group, but enough that the Setting Section itself ends up being a sort of net to bring that information together to make it more meaningful overall.
  • Even straight, out of the box character creation will yield characters of numerous archetypes and homelands. This is intentional, as an underlying theme of the game is people of various backgrounds coming together to do cool things. I feel like having one part of the world featured as the "main setting" would take away from this; that part of the world would seem more real, the rest becoming "exotic" by proxy.
However, as a compromise there is a small region that is presented afterwards as a sample map. This area includes numerous adventuring sites, settlements, hooks and a random encounter chart (with monster stats, even!). The hope is that this provides a place that can be used right off the bat, but also gives people a chance to see how to take the world and themes provided by the book and make it into something game-able. 

I do worry this might undermine my previous reasons just a bit, but I can't deny it's utility. My hope is providing it as a sample of what you can do (rather than as a definitive) will let me have my cake and eat it too.

(As always, I thank poor Grey for indulging me with this; I always end up making more work for him!)

Friday, 24 November 2017

Corrections... with pen!

I still can't judge a drawing on a screen, issues become more apparent on printed page.



Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Mini comic strip for monster entries

Toying with idea of a few panels to communicate the core experience of interacting with monster/adversary.

Skeleman


Asura, Lajja


Chompa


Sunday, 29 October 2017

TridentCon 2017

Hey everyone! I'll be running two games of BREAK!! at TridentCon this year. Everyone should check it out. 😄

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Armor!

Some armor concepts for y'all:

Rabble Smasher (Super Heavy)
Holy Knight Regalia (Heavy)
Dreadnought Plate (Super Heavy)

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Play Example - Character Creation

I probably should have posted this one first, but - best laid plans and all that.
BREAK!!'s character creation is intended to be brief and fun while still yielding an interesting result; I think we managed that pretty well!


Starting off

Pink is eager to sink her teeth into the new campaign, so she decides to make her character a few days before. Naturally, she makes sure she has everything she needs before starting.
  • Pink starts by sitting at a table with this book, a d20, a printed character sheet and pencil.
  • She writes down all the basic values for Speed, Defense and Allegiance points.
  • She also notes down she has a standard weapon (she’ll decide what it looks like later) and rolls to see how much money she has. She ends up with 13 coins.
  • She decides that her character will be a young woman named Mariah, but wants to leave (most of) the rest up to chance.
  • She goes to Step 1.


Part One: Mariah’s Calling

Pink begins by scanning the Calling Chart, since that’s part of the first step outlined. She thinks she could have fun with all of them so she decides to Roll for it randomly.
  • Pink rolls a 9. That’s a Battle Princess.
  • She puts Battle Princess on her character sheet and as she is starting from the beginning puts her Rank as 1.
  • She checks the Progression Table and notes down the base Aptitudes on her character sheet. Might 8, Deftness 8, Insight 7, Grit 9, Aura 10.
  • She also notes that her character starts with 3 Hearts and an Attack of +1
  • Finally, she records the calling’s Starting Abilities. They all sound so cool!
  • Mariah’s Heart’s Blade is a Sky Steel Mighty Weapon (The Heroine’s Sword).
  • Her Heart’s Companion is a Guardian Toy named “Akky”, based on a doll she cherished as a child.


Part Two: Daughter of Shadow

Pink is tentative at first, as a solid image of Mariah is forming in her head and not all the available species fit it. She eventually decides to roll for it anyway when the Game Master reminds her that she can always re-roll or choose if the result seems off to her.
  • Pink rolls a 10: Tenebrate. She is delighted, as she likes their ethereal appearance and decides to keep the result.
  • She turns to Species section and records the two Tenebrate Species attributes: Night born and Shadow sight. Pink also marks off that she has a single point of Dark Allegiance and strangely sharp teeth as a result of her Night Born Ability.


Part Three: Humble Beginnings

Now that she has a very good idea of the the sort of character she wants, Pink has decided to pick a few things rather than roll for them.
  • She wants Mariah to be a shining light of hope in a troubled land, so she chooses the Wistful Dark as her Homeland.
  • She checks the appropriate Origin table, rolling this time. She gets a 11, which means Mariah was a Starlight Farmer.
  • Pink notes the Purviews from the Origin table and writes them down.
  • She chooses a bag of Homemade Cookies and her family's heirloom Shovel as her bonus starting gear.


Part Four: Strengths and Weaknesses

Feeling daring again, Pink decides to let the dice decide Mariah’s Traits.
  • Pink rolls for her two positive Traits, getting a 19 (Aura) and a 10 (Grit). She decides that Mariah is Determined and Fascinating, which goes well with her idea of her being a potential beacon of hope for the downtrodden.
  • Now Pink rolls for her negative Trait, getting a 13 (Insight). She decides that Mariah is gullible and occasionally unobservant.
  • Pink records her Traits and adjusts her Aptitudes accordingly.


Part 5: She gets knocked down, but she gets up again

Anxious to have her character completed, Pink turns to the dice again to decide Mariah’s Quirk.
  • Pink rolls and get’s a 17. Mariah is a Tenebrate, so this means she has a Fate Quirk.
  • She moves to the Quirk section and checks the Fate table, rolling a 1. She has the “Survivor” Quirk - she’s probably just too optimistic to be broken down!

Part 6: The finishing touches

Finished, Pink is left to fill out the details while the Gamer Master helps the other players create their Characters.

  • Pink decides to take full advantage of the odd coloring offered to the Tenebrate, and gives Mariah has purple skin and mint colored hair. She has hand-me-downs for gear and a fondness for hopeful old stories.
  • Akky, her heart’s companion, acts a bit cynical and sarcastic to be the foil that Mariah’s relentless spirit needs here and there.
  • Mariah’s family is alive and well, she just got in some trouble while running an errand (mainly picking a fight with a bullying patrician) so she ran off on adventure to keep them from getting dragged into it. Blue takes note of this and writes a few things down when Pink lets him know...
  • Satisfied with the results, Pink sketches a little picture of Mariah on her character sheet as a finishing touch.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Play Example - Downtime

Another request was to see how the mechanics of Downtime Activities work. There are a bunch of things you can do (including an option for an action that doesn't quite fit with the others) - they are basically the sorts of things that are important to your character but wouldn't involve the entire group. Examples include Crafting something, training a monster companion, building a reputation around town, and so forth.

Here's a brief example of how it goes:

The Scene

After a successful endeavor, the party returns to the town of Homble for a chance to relax. The players express a desire to rest there for at least a week, and Blue decides this justifies a session of Downtime.

  • Pink and Green’s characters have both suffered Injuries so they decide to take the Heal and Injury/Get Repaired Downtime Activity.
    • Mariah and Wumble get some well earned bed rest and their players wander off to the kitchen for a snack.
  • Yellow decides that their character has grown especially fond of a shopkeeper named Doa that the party met in the previous adventure. They attempt a Socialization Downtime Activity to see if a Social Bond can be formed.
    • Sha visits Doa’s potion shop each day of the week and makes small talk with him. While Yellow is a bit too shy to role-play any discussion directly, they let Blue know the sort of things they think Sha would want to talk about.
    • Yellow and Blue Roll the contest that Socialization calls for: Sha’s Aura versus Doa’s Grit. Yellow Rolls well under Sha’s Aura and Doa Fails - the young potion maker lets his guard down and has several lovely conversations with Sha.
    • Yellow marks down that Sha has a Social Bond with Doa and decides they’ve developed a relationship of “Mutual Interest”. They also note that Sha has a bonus Heart added to her heart total until the next time she has a session of Downtime.
  • Black has gotten interested in the various elemental dungeons scattered across the world and wants to travel to more of them. She decides that her character, Droop, is going to spend his downtime researching their location.
    • Fortunately for Droop, Homble has a small but fairly well stocked library. He has plenty of books and maps to study.
    • After Black declares her intent, Blue lets her know he will get back to her on what Droop finds. He needs to check his notes and fill in any blanks.
    • Black likes getting into character, so she and Blue roleplay a small interaction between Droop and Homble’s librarian.
    • A few days after the game session, Blue e-mails some notes on the elemental dungeons to Black. While it would have been fine to let her know at the beginning of the next session, he figures she’ll want to pitch hooks to the rest of the group right away.