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Kevin Kulp
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Just in case your vampiric conspiracies need funding.

I'm currently on vacation and happened to pick up the book Einstein's Dreams. It's a slim, fast-reading reflection full of essays on the nature of time. I'm yoinking half of them for TimeWatch adventures in alternative timestreams where the very nature of time itself is different.

For instance, one chapter posits a world where everyone knows exactly when the world will end. I can see this in a cut-off timestream that is in the process of dying, eliminated from true history by a time traveler's actions.

Or another chapter, where time is another walkable dimension and you can walk your sentience to any point in your life. This must be what it's like for the Colony, one of the bad guys, a fungal intelligence that knows everything that happens to it from its inception millions of years ago, to its eventual death millions of years in the future.

Good stuff. Well worth the read if you want to wrap your brain around different types of time. 

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Plant aliens galore! I've converted a Ken Hite / Robin Laws KARTAS creation to GUMSHOE/TimeWatch RPG use. Go read, if you're so inclined.

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(If you're playing my game at Camp NC Gameday, SPOILERS. Otherwise fine to read.)


I'll be prepping a TimeWatch game where a "haunted" house turns out to be inhabited by adrift, insane, disembodied time travelers who are drawn and trapped there for reasons unknown. You know. Ghosts. And best of all, future versions of the PCs could be stuck there as well.

Clearly, something happened on that spot that created some sort of horrible chronal whirlpool that drags in unstable time travelers from across history.

So what could do that? Maybe a murder combined with an unstable time machine incident? Which makes me think of unsolved, particularly creepy murders. Maybe H H Holmes' Murder Castle in Chicago...


I'm picturing a game where the Agents are sent in as paranormal investigators to find out how a house could legitimately be haunted, an occurrence that clearly didn't occur in true history. The ghosts (treated as walk-ins) may try to possess the Agents. I can always prep two character sheets, one for the normal character and one for the ghostly personality.

It seems like the Agents must discover and stop whatever turned it from "normal murderhouse" to "temporally active murderhouse". I bet one or more time tourists came back to meet Holmes (maybe autograph hunters or a future fellow serial killer?) and they fought over the time machine, which imploded. Heck, maybe Holmes is also there as a sentient walk-in and literally controls the house to make it kill people. The Agents will need to figure it out, head back, and fix the problem before it occurs -- or head forward to stop the visitor from ever arriving in the first place.

Any ideas, plot hooks, improvements? I welcome 'em -- I'm still having this fun thinking it through. 

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Pelgranistas going to Gen Con! Tomorrow is the last day of GM signup, and I'd love to wrangle more GMs for the seven different TimeWatch games we have running. The book will be out, excitement will be high, and I may wrangle nifty giveaways for GMs.

Sign up if you can, and please feel free to share -- I'll be grateful! (TimeWatch games are near the bottom of the form.)

Verbatim TimeWatch quote from yesterday's game: "Last week five years from now, the velociraptor will do me a solid. I owe her."

A question about writing RPG rules:

When you're writing rules text, do you prefer dry and concise rules, or more flavorful (but longer) rules?

What about when you're reading someone else's game instead of writing your own?

How important are examples?

Hiya! Kevin Kulp here. I'm a Boston-based designer who helped develop and co-design Clinton R. Nixon's wonderful fantasy western Owl Hoot Trail for Pelgrane Press. I've worked on lots of GUMSHOE stuff; most recently I'm finally about finished with the investigative time travel game TimeWatch. Text — almost 300K words of it — just went out to backers.

Almost there!

Edit: you may also know me as Piratecat from my beloved, where I helped run the forums for a decade. 

The TimeWatch Pliocene edition (all text, pre-proofreading) is emailed to backers! If you're a backer and didn't see the email, please holler.

And of course, holler with any questions or comments. 

TimeWatch-related question, but applicable to anyone who games:

I have summary character templates (assassin, medic, etc.) in the core book and fully filled out templates in the character sheet/smart PDF. These latter ones are completely "print and play."

My question: would you also want the print-and-play templates in the core book, 1 to a page and ready to play (as in Feng Shui and Apocalypse-World-style games) as well?

It's 20 extra pages, but there may be real value in having ready-to-play templates right in the book and ready for photocopying. I'd love peoples' opinions.
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