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So +Travis Scott asked what Hillfolk was and why he should care. I figure some of you have to be wondering the same. So here's how I answered him: 

I was in one of the earlier playtests, and I found the system elegant and supportive rather than "getting out of the way" -- which is probably the same thing, just to different rhetorical mind spaces. 

The game focuses on the interrelations of PCs (and maybe a couple major NPCs) and the system is based around giving people incentives to roll up hard on each other sometimes and give into each other times in order to create a rhythm of interpersonal rise and fall that matches that of TV dramas.  Who wins and loses fights and other action/procedural elements are shifted out of the spotlight, and the game drives actions towards major characters getting or not getting what they want due to the support/opposition of other major characters. All without being PVP in the classic sense. 

Its pretty much built to do what you see in Blood, Tits, and Scowling shows like The Tudors, Hell on Wheels, The Borgias, etc. 

I thought it was a very elegant system that did what it did without fear or apology, and was sold on it from the first time we played. 
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Jere Genest's profile photoBret Gillan's profile photoChristian Griffen's profile photoBrand Robins's profile photo
28 comments
 
What I really want to know is how the drama system is like/not like the one presented in HQ3.
 
The presentation feels very Glorantha to me. Bronze Age, the Other lives Over There, etc. May be an incorrect reading, but that's my superficial impression. This is a good thing, btw.
T Scott
 
I'll repost here, since there's more traffic:

Awesome! Thanks, Brand! I have a follow-up question: When you say stuff like winning/losing a fight etc. are "shifted out of the spotlight," what does that mean? E.g., in Hell on Wheels or The Tudors, it matters a lot who wins or loses a fight, even though it feels scripted (like, Bohannon and Henry can't ever really lose).
 
+Bret Gillan HQ3 is procedural. It's about if you win or lose challenges. Hillfolk is dramatic. Its about if you can say no to your dad when he tells you to dump the girl you love to marry the clan-chief's daughter.

+Ian Williams Yea, there is some Gloranthaishness to it. Its technically the bronze age Levant, but the way its presented is to make it non painful to people who have never heard of Akkadian.  
 
So, there are fights and shit in Hillfolk, but they're not as much about if the PCs can win or lose as about if their winning or losing effects their relationship with other characters. 

FREX, Bohannon won't lose (unless boxing with Elam and the dirty Irish are cheating), but who he kills or if he shoots or not may well decide if he and Elam can ever get over the legacy of slavery, or if he'll be able to find new love with Lily Bell. 

So there's a system for challenges like that, but its short and simple and made mostly to be like "when you have a fight, do this and get it over so you can to the interesting part where Lily Bell now realizes that you are a stone cold murder." 
T Scott
 
Got it, Brand. Thanks!
 
I don't think I'll be supporting this. I'm very unhappy with established companies using kickstarter. I've sent a fair amount of money to Pelgrane over the years and quite frankly feel that they are successful enough that they should have the cash flow for projects like that and pre-orders should be enough.

If Robin was trying to publish this himself it would be a different story, but really Pelgrane should be ashamed of itself.
 
Awesome Brand! I'm going to support it now!
 
Blood, Tits and Scowling should have been the name of the game.

"What are you doing tonight?"

"I'm heading over to Bret's to play some B, T and S."
 
It is really odd that as I wrote his name, Bret posted.
 
I've never backed a Kickstarter, actually, but I'm jazzed enough about this one that I think I'm going to order it!
 
Backed! And I wouldn't have done it if it weren't for this post and the comments!
 
That's a pretty strong recommendation from Mr. Robins here. Guess I'll have to check it out. Sigh.
 
I know, I normally bring the hate!

But I liked this game. Plus, if you back you'll get the pre release .pdf in no time flat. (I already got mine.) 
 
Whoa! I wasn't expecting to get it already!
 
Yay BTS reference!

I was also in the playtest. I thought there was a good core to the game but it needed some polish, which I imagine it's received by now.
 
"You know those magical game sessions where the dice and rules fall away, and the entire group spontaneously enters a collective zone of pure story and character?"
 
+Jeff Zahari It was that quote, I think, that made +Travis Scott start questioning the game in the first place. 

Ignore it, the rules set is solid. For those who know games like Fiasco you could say "the game works just like that, providing a foundation that you build on" -- but as Robin is selling more to people who know D&D and WoD, he goes with the words he goes with. 
T Scott
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Yeah, it was really the whole system that "gets out of your way" bit that turned me off. I like my games like I like my discursive metadialogues: highly structured shared imaginative experiences. Call me old-fashioned.

Or more seriously: I don't believe systems get out of the way. I think they structure the conversation. And anyone who says differently is selling something.
T Scott
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Also: How does one get that pre-release pdf?
 
I'm presuming that it gets sent once you get charged?
 
Actually, I've already gotten it. 

I think Robin sends out a notice every day or so and you reply and he sends it to you. 
T Scott
 
Ah, cool. Thanks, Brand!
 
Not good enough. This is the worst Kickstarter ever!
 
+Jere Genest I feel quite the opposite of shame. I'm getting 50% of net margin on physical elements of the Kickstarter - Robin is getting everything else. I've waived my PDF margin for Kickstarter pledges. This is as close to publishing as Robin wants to get. He absolutely does not want to spend his time wrangling printers, shipping books, sourcing components and dealing with all the other minutiae of publishing. And that certainly isn't the limit of my involvement in this project.

We certainly sell more copies this way than with a pre-order, and we already are able to add far more content, get better production values and put the game out to a much wider audience than with a pre-order. Not only that, Robin is almost certain to hit the target of releasing the system itself under an open license.

If you want 100% of your pledge to go to Robin and not Pelgrane, just get a PDF, or any other virtual reward. I for one would be very happy with you doing that, but you are of course welcome not to back at all.
 
+Ian Williams We are working on a wormhole so we can send your PDF to you before you've backed it. It means that if you get the PDF, you must back or you'll trigger a paradox and become trapped in a tesseract full of enraged time monkeys.