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John Harper
game designer | graphic artist | combatives instructor
game designer | graphic artist | combatives instructor

John Harper's posts

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Help out with the Blades in the Dark page on Wikipedia if you can. :)
The Blades in the Dark page on Wikipedia has been nominated for deletion!
Please go and help improve it. No need to stab anyone just yet!

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The time has come.
Stone Dragon Mountain is on Kickstarter now

Thanks to all the amazing people that worked with me (+Karen Twelves, +Thor Olavsrud, +luke crane, +Kurt Komoda, +Michael Wenman, +Radek Drozdalski, +Topi Makkonen, +Nathan Black, +Jason Morningstar, and more) we've brought this Stone Dragon to life.

Stone Dragon Mountain is my adventure and campaign setting, inspired by the Himalayas.

Deep inside the frozen Stone Dragon Mountain, an unearthly fire burns. It is stoked by generations of hatred for the local mountain dwellers, who try to forget their shameful history appeasing wrathful gods. But before the mountain erupts into violence and fire, a few ambitious explorers will have the opportunity to climb its frozen peaks, learn its secrets, and plunder its hoards.

Will that be you brave adventurer? Or will the mountain consume you as it has so many others before?

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Blades in the Dark is the Deal of the Day on DriveThru RPG! (it's 40% off)

I'll be at Go Play NW this weekend. If you see me, say hi! I'd love to meet all you lovelies face to face.

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I think this is a good backer update. I talk about The Flirt archetype—the one everybody is afraid to play.

We've hit +Caitlynn Belle's Ice Cream Fundae stretch goal (yay!) and we're now really close to unlocking +Alex Roberts' underground hip-hop duo, M2B. Thanks for your support!

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I'm so excited for this new show!
Shanti Bhavan on the Netflix Original documentary series Daughters of Destiny

I am not sure what to say, so I'll just repeat what I wrote on Facebook:

My job is Director of Operations of the Shanti Bhavan Children's Project, but as I reflect on this moment, I know it has not been a job -- it has been my life's calling.

I have seen children come through our gates year after year. I have heard their struggles, felt their pain, and have known the enormous hardships they and their families have faced through the years.

I have also known my own struggles and hardships. There have been days that were so dark I did not know if I could make it. Days that were so hard I saw no hope and no future. Days that made me want to lay down and die.

Shanti Bhavan that gave me strength. The children, the staff, the volunteers, all the incredible people who make this place so magical.

We stayed together, worked together. We did not give up. From those darkest days, we have grown and continued doing the best we could.

I cannot believe where we are now. I am so deeply thankful that the story of our school has been captured by the amazing, Oscar-award winning Vanessa Roth and that none other than A.R. Rahman is doing the music! And all of this coming to life through a 4 part Netflix Original documentary series.

It feels unreal.

There are too many people to thank. Too many people who have been with us at different points and made this possible. Too many friends who have been there for me, personally.

Thank you all.


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The new version of SWN is looking very good. Starship combat in particular has gotten a cool overhaul, which gives multiple PCs stuff to do.
Stars Without Number revised beta 0.10 is here now. The main addition is a 28-page chapter on starships, with the new starship combat system and reworked travel and sensor rules. I worked the process so that 1e ship stat blocks can be used unchanged with 2e rules, but hopefully there's significantly more for PCs to do when aboard a ship during combat. I wouldn't be surprised if they required more tweaking before true final, however.

As usual, comments and observations are welcome.

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This is a clever way to put a Blades-style "alert clock" into a Dungeon World stealth move.

(I'd edit the move slightly if I actually used it in DW or AW, but overall it's good.)
What do you think of this stealth move:


When you move silently and hidden from sight, hold 3 Cloak.
When you risk revealing your presence while holding Cloak, roll 2d6+ Cloak :

On a 10+, you remain undetected.

On a 7-9, choose 1 (the GM will fill in the details):

- You arouse suspicion and lose 1 Cloak.
- You are spotted but have the drop on them.
- You stumble on an obstacle you did not expect.
- You leave behind incriminating evidence.

On a 6-, lose 1 Cloak in addition to whatever the GM says.

When your Cloak reaches 0, the jig is up.

(Credit to u/Qrowboat on reddit for 90% of this move)

Rolling 2d6+CLOAK is key here : the longer you stay hidden and the more stuff you do, the harder it is to remain undetected. No nonsense like "it was just my imagination" from the guards.

If you have a Thief in the party you might want to tweak some of their moves so they can do fun stuff with Cloak. 

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One Seven Design Game Bundles Now Available on DriveThrRPG

I've added some new game bundles to my DriveThruRPG store, including a Blades in the Dark + Bootleggers bundle as well as a bundle with my Star Force sci-fi rpg.
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