Monday, January 21, 2019

DISCS - A Discworld RPG

You need 41 cents, a big index card, and a pencil. It can help to use a second index card to make a "board" to move your coins to as they Flip in order to keep track of things as you learn. Destiny's name should be Fate but I cannot be bothered with that particular Abbott and Costello shit at a public table.

Heads means...
Tails means...
Magic: Cast a spell or benefit from your fantastic biology
Weird: Flip for a surprise, or to force a Toss from Destiny
Fighting: Flip to attack, or to defend from an attack
Death: Toss to escape Death, Flip to deal a killing blow to a Broke target
Clever: Flip to apply your knowledge or work experience
Luck: Flip for a clue or a fortunate break, Toss to force a coincidence
Action: Flip to do anything non-trivial 
or to assist another player on their turn
Reaction: Flip to double for any coin except Death on another player's turn

For when turn order matters, play always begins rotating to the left of Destiny. Coins represent things the players can do on their turn and ways to mitigate threat on others' turns. This is done by Flipping the coin over. Flipping a coin changes what the coin represents. A smaller coin can always be Flipped in the place of an already Flipped or Spent coin during a player's turn, while a larger coin can always be Flipped in place of another coin on another player's turn (or Destiny's). If a character would reasonably take damage they must Toss one of their coins, with a result of Tails meaning the coin is Spent and reverts to Destiny's control. Coins can also be Spent in a scene in order to acquire some special resource, at Destiny's discretion. Characters who have no coin which can reasonably be flipped in a situation, or characters that have Spent all their coins, are considered Broke. Broke characters are helpless before the powers of Destiny and may be killed. Coins are returned to a player if Destiny Spends them in order to add challenge to a player's Flip, causing them to Flip an additional coin but receive no additional benefit; Destiny's coins re-enter play – face up – after the double-flip is made.

On a player's turn they may perform each of the following they choose, once:
MUSE- Investigate or consider the world around you, or communicate with another character
SHIFT IT- Move across an unobstructed space about the size of a living room
FLIP- Use a coin to effect change in the world or apply your abilities
TRIVIA- Anything you wouldn't ordinarily be expected to fail, like drinking a beer

Using the Magic coin does not always denote the casting of a spell or use of an artifact, but whenever true Magic is in play it abides by its own rules. First, casting a spell always reverses the order of play. Second, Magic may be used to restore a Spent coin mid-scene. Third, a player may immediately apply the Weird coin and Flip it whenever a spell is cast, in order to recover their Magic coin right away. Finally, characters who are not Witches or Wizards casting a spell always involves Spending your Magic coin instead. Witches are particularly keen on subtle magic that affects themselves or somehow involves them directly, while Wizards prefer ritualized and dangerous magic that ideally affects everyone else. [[There is no list of spells. You can do a thing or you can do a thing magically, and usually they're equally difficult or time consuming...unless done recklessly or dangerously, in which case Destiny may Spend against you, as they will for more powerful effects. This will be signposted in order that players make informed choices.]]

Jobs broadly fit into eight categories: Tradesperson, Hero, Guild Member, Peasant, Noble, Guard, Witch, and Wizard. Witches and Wizards can cast spells, Heroes and Guards can Flip their Fighting coin to ply social influence, Nobles and Guild Members can usually reasonably acquire any mundane resource without Spending a coin, while Peasants and Tradespersons can always Flip their Luck in order to establish an existing contact. [[The distinction between Tradesperson and Guild Member is largely social class, or the difference in a thief or a master thief, or apply to specialized esoteric social groups like Assassins.]]

Players must choose from humans, dwarfs, and trolls, initially, although other types of being may become playable over the course of a game. Humans can Toss any coin when escaping Death. Dwarfs spend coins for harm at half the rate. Trolls can Flip twice a turn when in a fight. [[Your choice of shape can act just like your Job, providing a knowledge base and contacts you can can also, in certain circumstances, work against you. These social aspects are not mechanized because they will vary from region to region, person to person; because players are more adept at applying these ideas than bonuses or negatives would achieve; and because it is considered rude.]]

On the index card record your character's Name, Job, Shape, two things you suck at and one thing you're good at. Every session you can add justify something you succeeded in that night as a new talent, or vice versa for failure, but you always balance one new trait with the other. These are used by Destiny to determine whether something is Trivial or needs to be Flipped for, e.g. climbing a building, baking a pie, or memorizing a handshake. Also use it to record any other items you have on your person at one time. You can never have more possessions about your person than can fit on one side of the index card. [[Common sense is the rule here, and overloading and trying to game the system can be punished by Destiny's coins.]]

Destiny will have a number of other index cards on the table at a given time, representing the issues in need of resolution, and can introduce new ones at any time. Other players can also introduce new plot points through the exploitation of a contact or resource. Players move their tokens around this "map" as they choose to tackle any individual issue, and a party can and often will be divided across multiple fronts. A single note card may represent a wider issue involving multiple persons or locations but any card represents only one (1) location at a time and everyone addressing a particular thread is considered to be at that location. A game will naturally spread out like spilled milk and Destiny will draw those different elements together over time. Whenever that happens it necessitates a scene change.

A player may switch characters at any point during a session and may be asked to fill other roles temporarily by Destiny. Only the character you end play with may gain new traits. Destiny controls basically everyone else at any given time, characters which may be more complicated or less complicated than a player's characters.

So that's the game. Please play it and share it but if you do share it on social media or whatever please also include a link to or or or some other charity Terry Pratchett would approve of, with my thanks. If you want to hit my own donate button I wouldn't cry but the rest of these are more important.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

You Know Why I Can't Wait For BREAK!!?

Because it represents a beautiful world that doesn't care about you.

We are all saturated with cold cruel worlds enormous beyond space old beyond time indifferent to mortal concerns and scornful of immortal conceits. Hell that might be close to my ideal genre of play.  But you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a wall of space marines, rot-infected henchmen with 10'poles scared of the fucking curtains, human unkindness, eldritch shapes from without our understanding. and even a modern superhero genre devoted mostly to evidencing there are no heroes and super powers are bad too. We get it. By all means keep it coming as long as you don't shit yourself but we get it.

And as a panacea to this we are offered games and worlds where we all have a shared history, we're all resolving each others' traumas and conflicts, we can dictate huge swaths of the world and even about other characters, we got books full of rules to mechanize our cool backstory we wrote in study hall, showy fart goof podcasts, traditional fantasy narratives with nontraditional gender roles, games where we even get a huge say over who lives and who dies with no randomization, strategy, or play element beyond regurgitating half-remembered Robert McKee. AND BY ALL MEANS more of that, too, or at least more of most of that. Everything can be rosy and wonderful if we work together and to a figurative, literal, mechanical degree the world ultimately does revolve around us.

and here's G/Rey

and maybe they aren't trying to make any grand statement about anything or trying to subvert your genre expectations. Maybe they go to sleep on a pillow stuffed with printouts from TV Tropes and all their years years y e a r s of effort has been to produce a run of the mill shelf-filler. Maybe that's the case, but I feel like it's not.

Because I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth or press their game FOR them or insert myself into their success any more than I've already tried. I just want the game to succeed. Because many players in the world are brilliant people and many DMs are creative juggernauts and everyone I've met at a table contains multitudes. BUT.

A lot of gamers are fairly ah....well, if not literal, then uncomplicated. They don't want to work and build and create, necessarily. This doesn't represent most gamers but it represents a lot of them: they want the book to do the work. Whether we're talking an adventure or a whole system they are counting on the buy-in being provided. Less driven by discovery, they crave a thing known. I was very nearly something like this once so I don't judge, I just don't relate. I get the instinct to do most of your creating and building and exploring in-game at-the-table but the idea of the game text as operating system and player characters as executables... That doesn't feel alive to me.

BREAK!! feels alive to me in a way that will defy scholars since it's been incubating since Moses struck the stone. The FIRST time.

And that's good because what BREAK!! represents to me is an opportunity to hand the people of the world for whom campaign planning and house rules are fairly alien one big ass book and go "Here: no hacking or modding, no third party content, no cooperation required, just a big aesthetic playground sown with old Capcom games, card battle anime, Shonen Knife, TSR, Kamen Rider, and that cartoon all star VHS where George C Scott was drugs."

But because this isn't an anime, because this isn't a video game, because this isn't a MIDI playlist, there is no central arc. There are no nine assholes the world revolves around, unless you set out to become those assholes. And if you choose to do that you're choosing to do so in a gorgeous and well realized world that is ALSO not here for you to be comfortable in. It will be cold and bad things will continue happening in most of the world no matter what you do. There won't be a bliss event. It's....

I don't think of rock and roll as a genre, I think of it as a vanishing point. It's an achievement. You know when something is rock and roll, even if it's only in part. That's why when people talk about rock and roll the amount of material that covers is a sprawling mess and it seems to encompass a lot of things that are, well, other things. Johnny Cash is undeniably rock and roll and provably not rock and roll. I think of D&D the same way. There are people who are allowed to put the word Dragons on a book cover after the word Dungeons but that's a fucking fragment of what D&D is and so much of what D&D is is so strange in so many different directions that it's hard to keep track. Now it would be a disservice to a lot of G/Rey's work to imply that in the end it's just D&D but it's D&D *too* because it's that good.

A lot of beautiful games are not D&D. They never get to be D&D, I mean. And a lot of D&D is never bright and beautiful, promising welcome. BREAK!! is an inviting world of rolling pastorals and Ghibli alphabet soup and feudal towers and the power of our dreams and emotions that will still break your shit in the way the best D&D can. Please excuse me for calling every video game I see a Nintendo but that's just how it is.

And so I'm excited for BREAK!!

Because a ton of people who wouldn't quite "get it" under other circumstances will "get it" from break, and then they'll get it. The book, they'll get BREAK!!

And run it

And then I'LL get to fucking play it.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Visit Beautiful Befly (Content Warning[s])

My other Santicore prompt was for a hex so horrible no one would ever want to go there or talk about it again. O.....KAY.....
Image result for flower clock

Befly was a small village with fewer than 100 souls calling her home, all of them at most second cousins from one another. They lived good, pious lives and denied themselves all vices. Not too long ago a particular plague was brought to town by a stranger named Russtle. It moved with such swiftness that no attempt at sending for aid could be successful in time – messengers died on the roads and their horses trotted off with them still in their saddles. This inconsequential little hamlet could have passed out of all history without their tragedy every having been known. Instead, everyone got back up in a week or so.

They have thoughts like themselves and they go through normal courses. Their behavior is far from mundane. They consume but do not need to eat and do not eat correctly. They mill in the church and scream with tearing, wet, sucking-sound throats full of rending cords in place of psalms. They collect hens' eggs, crushing each in their grip and never stopping to wipe them off. They face each other and make polite small talk but their eyes are clouded over or rolled back in their heads or missing altogether.

These are the Yeast Zombies, animated by an airborne venereal infection which can be cleared up with a simple Cure Wounds spell. Absent of such magic it infects to the point of making its host nonviable upon exposure, though the body's individual systems take some time to become septic and shut down. After about five days the infection itself is advanced enough to take over your simple motor functions and hammer old chemical pathways, enough to make a simulacrum of your old self that could pass for You-but-with-a-serious-head-wound at a distance. Perhaps the idea is that this will help it spread itself but the small lives of the people of Befly did not leave much room for journeys or ambition. They would probably simply circulate through the square night and day until the microbes had completely stripped bone and flesh of anything useful and collapsed into a mushy mass. Perhaps that is how the players come upon them but, more likely, they will have to deal with Russtle.

Russtle is an apprentice necromancer and a huge pervert, immune to the necromantic arts himself but with little gift for applying them. As such he made a terrific carrier for this zombie yeast, picked up from (why start with euphemisms now?) corpse fucking. Befly was his first stop on the way to a new life after his master cast him out of study for the breach of protocol of fucking the corpse before his master could do so first. Instead, as villagers died around him, he found a gift from some fucked up gods and stayed on as the ghost town's pope of pleasure. He wasn't going to let a little thing like the corpses reanimating stop him from enjoying himself.

Key Features

The Disused Mission- Forgotten here is a small well whose waters allow you to remember something you'd forgotten up to a year ago. The more you drink the further back you recall. This secret was kept by a miserly and haunted preacher before he fell off his horse ten years back. The Mission will be in disrepair, all other valuables long ago looted.

Russtle- Lv. 1 Necromancer. Immune to poison, disease, necromancy. Knows the spells Comprehend Languages, Cause Light Wounds, and Create/Destroy Stench (make a Poison save vs. the Stench where failure leaves you unable to take actions or cast spells for 1 round, must be made each round with a bonus equal to your previous successes, until you have either failed thrice or succeeded thrice) but may have some stolen office supply scrolls (20%). If found in his lair (the pub) he will likely be asleep with exhaustion, gently reposing in the nude while sucking lovingly on long matted hair. If encountered on the street he will likely (90%) be busily pleasuring himself with the Yeast Zombies, wearing clothes stuffed with soiled matted hair (-1 from any damage dealt to Russtle). Russtle has an oral fixation. Speaking of which, Russtle casts his spells by pulling his own rancid teeth from his maw with rusty pliers. If he is able to put one of these teeth inside you somehow then you do not get a save from that spell's effects. Cause Wounds spells heal Russtle and re-grow his teeth, which makes an ear splitting fingers on chalkboard noise. Russtle is constantly moist and gains +3 AC unless his attacker specifies that their target is moist by slowly stage-whispering it. Russtle has 9 nipples like a dog, and they all bleed when he experiences sensual pleasures. Stimulating Russtle through nipples or other means causes him to take 1 point of Exhaustion penalties per round until he passes out from ecstasy. This means that when you encounter Russtle pleasuring himself with the Yeast Zombies you could just wait until he pleasures himself into unconsciousness. Russtle never does anything as untoward as just fucking these walking corpses, usually; instead he likes to open ragged, gaping, pus-oozing wounds and insert different body parts into these new orifices, often to cries of “Oooohhhhhh, Mmmmmmommyyyyy...” Simply being in his presence, however, puts you in danger of catching this disease.

The Floral Clock- This is set to some timekeeping scheme with 26 hours in a day and populated with strange breeds of roses. These are nor magical but are remarkable: Befly was home to some secret botanical genius unseen by the wider world before it fell ill. Sustaining these plants until you can get them to someone who knows their value would be like selling a spell book. Flower people are crazy.

Yeast Zombies- 10% chance of being armed but will not attack you; these are weapons Russtle might use, though. While it goes without saying that their genital zones would be a thing of nightmares to look at right now every orifice is crusted with some horrible goopy collection, trapping dirt and gnats. Sores from before they died had crusted over and now their scabs are like a creme brulee. New wounds which they have suffered in their brainless meanderings go unnoticed and untended and sprout new goop from these infectious lava vents. The mayor and his wife were so gored by their prize bull before it ran off that their torsos have great gaping chasms now leaking a small trail. The mayor's is only held together with rusty gut-covered fish hooks, a bit of ingenuity on Russtle's part that allows him to strip down and slide his torso in and out of the mayor's torso hole to achieve maximum stimulation. They are not really alive but will act like it, up to and including facing you with dead eyes and making unending pleasant small talk all while Russtle ruts away oblivious of the wider world or any sort of virtue or cleanness. The creatures inside of them create a lot of waste heat and so these hosts constantly sweat buckets. Any you see will be dripping as from a bath, reeking of both decay and active body odor. Their homes have been untouched so there is a 100% chance to loot basic stores, provisions, tools, nails, animal feed, other such supplies, but remember these are simple people: outside of a few coins or deeds they only have 1% chance to have anything extraordinary. You will not find any children in the village of Befly, and so no children who have become Yeast Zombies.

Tiny Hurried Makeshift Cemetery
- 5% chance to find something of value here, as all manner of strange trinkets and heirlooms have been left as offerings for the departed young of Befly. Only eleven markers stand here in this special burial mound far from the other, older plots. It was believed to be a kind of fever....It is not obvious unless you are looking for signs of Befly's children around town. As I finish this sentence I cannot in good conscience state that Russtle the pervert necromancer is aware that it even exists and ask only that if you make a command decision about disregarding his ignorance you simply never tell me about it.

Corpse of Santicore, pt. 1

I participated in what I guess was the 2017 Santicore and got two prompts out of it. I don't know that they ever went up in any capacity but statute of limitations should have run out by now. The first one was for something like an elemental theory of the world, like how everything is made of earth air fire heart, but without using any of those. Okay.

Image result for weaving

Philosophers refer to the Honeycomb, chymists call it the Star, the holy speak of a
Gate, and the masses call it the Weave. First proposed by Horax Baldersheef in
Year Unicorn and refined by the Mosphebe cloister in Year Candle, the Weave is a
way of understanding the larger world without getting bogged down in arcana.
Even peasants know the stars do not affect the omens of their birth but even
scholars admit to being lost in the enormity of everything. To seek an answer you
must ask a question but to frame a question at all you need a language. The Weave
is a responsible lexicon to begin inspection from and serves as the only true
common tongue between the civilized kingdoms, the Wracked Legions of Fleisch
Peak, and the Middlers with their strange eyes, short lives, and ancient catacombs.

The Twins: Light and Blood

We know that light was here when nothing was, for we know that darkness comes
when things get in the way of light. Logically once all was light, and we see daily
the aspect of light in all things and creatures. The eyes of those around us, the way
gems and strange fishes shine even deep beyond light's reach, the flash that the
storm cloud uses to frighten the rain into fainting and falling... But we know that
constant effort puts a strain on everything in the world whether it's the plow or
sinew or a dam. The light was wounded in the agony of its own eternity, and so
became two things: blood, which gives all things color and dries in strange shapes
and textures, and the shine itself which bleeds. All things at their most elemental
contain light and blood. This only makes sense since we can see and touch
everything in the world. It's easy to see why the primitives back in the Crystal
Epoch believed this to be the limits of science.

The Movers: Worms, Trees, and Noise

Mosphebe translators correctly theorized that while light and blood make up all
life and matter there was no part of either alone which accounted for the
locomotion of beasts, swiftly racing winds, or the changing of stars and season.
We know that big things are very loud when they move so that's obviously part of
it. We have seen the corpses of the dead dissolve into different kinds of worms
over time so we know that worms are in every creature, probably responsible for
carrying breath and blood and bile. It was difficult to determine what caused the
wind until they realized that clouds drove the winds around and smoke looked like
small clouds...and we ALL know that smoke comes from Trees. Everything falls
into place once these motivating agents are realized. After all, the very ground we
walk on is filled with worms, creates trees, and due to its size sometimes creates
rumbling noise so powerful that everything violently shakes. Volcanoes are places
where we can see light-filled blood bursting out and making smoke at the same
time, which means mountains are rich in Trees make. Countless examples can be
drawn connecting these examples, from the towering clouds that are themselves
noisy to the almost-invisible worms that are found in thin, dying smoke.

The Balance: Cold

A controversial modern concept is the presence of Cold as a binding, limiting,
completing factor. We see this in the way it makes water (a mix of blood and
noise) into a solid thing, so this would logically hold true for blood as well. We
know that when things become colder the light doesn't last as long, bound into a
smaller space filled by cold. And we have seen the way the cold keeps trees from
growing too much at once. Most telling is how snakes and lizards are often cold,
as if they might fall apart into worms and blood and trees if not for cold. This is
probably why light seems to stun them into lying around, while during colder
times they move too fast to see (though we constantly hear their hissing as they
move about the ground, scattering leaves, chasing after their prey the wind). While
generally accepted it has yet to be introduced to any scholarly texts because of the
perceived diminishing power of cold, since most academics agree that you don't
see winters like you used to when they were younger, suggesting cold is an
exhaustible resource we are running out of rather than a fundamental force.

Monday, January 14, 2019

I'm alive I just got empty. Hit me up if you need anything.