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Threadbare RPG
Threadbare RPG

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GenCon Threadbare tickets acquired!

"Off to See the Clockmaker": less coherent play report (for +Sophie Lagace)

I ran the adventure "Off to See the Clockmaker" (by +Bryanna Hitchcock) for some new players. I only had three hours to run the game, so I provided pregen characters (with some blanks for them to make up Parts), and these are who they selected:

Scrounge +1, Smile -1, Strongarm +2
Transforming spaceship/robot
6 Parts: Laser light blaster arms, face, jet wings, stompy feet, anime-style theme song, something

Dougzilla - Sock: SOCK PUPPET
Scrounge -1, Smile +2, Strongarm +1
Rainbow toe-sock puppet with a single Jolly Rancher stuck to it.
7 Parts: Face, friendship bracelet, eyes, forked tongue, iridescent fabric paint scales, sugar obsession, gumball nose

Valentina - Softie: RAGDOLL
Scrounge -1, Smile +1, Strongarm +2
Bipedal fox doll dressed like Robin Hood
7 Parts: Head, Torso, Arms, Legs, Longbow, Medieval outfit, something else

Fang the Die-cast - Nemesis
Japanese anime style robot with stylized lion’s head chestpiece; one forearm is a metal fire truck toy with a working winch; wings are from a large Softie bird; supported by a squadron of die-cast cars, a platoon of retro-style die-cast cartoon soldiers (rejects from Wind-up City), and diverse clockwork automata.

I made the following pre-game checklist to go over the rules and set up the game:
1. Brief History (p58)
2. Boundaries, Tone, Safety (pp2-3)
3. Fluffy, Scruffy, or Dented? (p4) - Fluffy = Noncombat
4. Making Moves (p5)
5. Stuff vs Things (pp5-6) and Devices (p32-36)
6. Stitchpunk Bodies (pp6-7)
Parts, Damage, Repair, Shapelessness, Unbreakable
7. Hindrances (p29)
8. Upgrades (p30)
9. Glitches (p37)
10. Influencing Others (p7)
11. Basic Moves (pp8-10)
12. Montage for large-scale conflicts (p27-28)
13. Fight Song Montage - if combat is enabled (p27)
14. Pronouns
15. Pick Characters - use Playbook Choice to guide (p28-29)
16. Character Ties (p13) - one w/ each other PC
17. Tent Cards
18. Pick two regions
19. Begin

I made a few choices ahead of time to make things go more quickly. I detailed the realms, and we picked two.

Forest of Mechanical Bees - Need: Repairs to an important doorway
Empire of Dreams - Need: Friends to help them get home

The others realms would have been:
Card Nation - Need: Competitors for the toy Olympics
Frog Fairy Sea - Need: Someone to help them make decisions
Great Kingdom of Chess - Need: Contestants in a line dancing event

I also determined that:
The group is following signs in the clouds.
They are riding a very large toy dinosaur named Edie
They will start in the Forest of Mechanical Bees - the toys there need repairs to an important doorway - can’t access one of their factories.

So we started out at the border leading into the Forest of Mechanical Bees. I placed them in an immediate conflict trying to leave the previous realm, and it was a rocky start for this novice PbtA referee and three new-to-this-kinda-thing players. I honestly don't even remember what it was: it may have been an intimidation challenge with a bunch of Fang's toy soldiers.

We resolved the conflict: the players won, with some loss of Parts. The least-qualified Scrounger kept being the only one volunteering to fix anyone, and kept breaking his own parts in the process, which was a bummer, and this game's example of a player getting the unfortunate impression that bad things only happen when we roll for good things. I think the Mekka got upgraded to have an actual rocket pack.

The group proceeded onward. Grass gave way to trees, and I started narrating how the dinosaur they were riding could poke its head up through the forest so they could see the signs in the clouds leading them to the Clockmaker. It was at this point that I started having trouble reconciling that the players were toy-sized, but the world was people-sized. This would continue to be a challenge for my visualization. I snapped the dinosaur back down to large toy size, nowhere near the canopy of the forest.

Soon, the group happened upon the mechanical bees, making their way through a real forest. I ended up making the mechanical bees weird, clockwork creations. The players asked for guidance through the Forest, which the bees would provide in exchange for helping repair one of their factory doors.

By the time I got to the actual Queen bee’s court, I was comfortable enough to make her a big stuffed Plushie bee with a rubber head. The players ended up using the Queen's repository of Stuff to fix the factory door (while making off with some of their own). The players finally visited the Queen Bee's court to pay respects. I furnished her with a court made up of humanoid bee-themed toys and figures, of varying types, like that one He-Man character Buzz-Off (who would end up infatuated with the Transformer character), and a bee-themed Sectaur, one of those toys from the 80s which was a big plastic bug with a furry glove for its legs so kids could play with it like a puppet. The players came up with a flower-themed gift for the Queen, but it took a bit of prompting and a retroactive dice roll. The players ended up trying to take as many of the Queen's Court as they could for protection, and a few actually went.

Time was running short: I think we skipped the Dream Realm and went straight to the Clockwork City, but I kept the “people needing help getting home” bit.

On the border between the Forest of Mechanical Bees and the Clockwork City was an abandoned farmhouse, and from behind a stack of dilapidated haybales, a company of tin soldiers ambushed the party. I think Fang came out to fight them too. The players won with help from their bee-themed friends, and then heard some noises. There were about three toys: a Monster High doll, and two other doll-style toys, lost and disoriented and needed help getting home to the Clockwork City. The players let the lost toys join them, and they made their way to the Clockwork City. One by one, the other characters peeled away from the group as they made it home, or left to pursue a new crush.

We made it to the Clockwork City, and the Castle. I decided the Clockwork Queen was an articulated porcelain doll of some sort. Players made the rolls to see what they could get from the Queen, and we resolved them. The sock got a map to find a missing part, the Mekka got a cheap, non-union knock-off replacement part (instead of a map to an OEM part), and the Stuffy got... something.

Anyway: I felt disappointed in my improvisation ability, and I'm sure I could have adjudicated/explained the rules better.

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"Off to See the Clockmaker": play report!

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I had a great afternoon running Threadbare at EndGame's 3D6 mini-con in Oakland, CA today. My players Kate, Julie, Topher, and Anthony played, respectively:

- A Christmas stocking (sock) named Holly;
- An armadillo softie "Unhand me!" named Artie;
- A sock whose base was two pairs of tights, but that behaved more like Stretch Armstrong, named Swell; and
- Creepers, a buncha little guys (mekka) made from the "Creepy Crawlers" of old which you could mold then bake in an oven.

We played +Bryanna Hitchcock's adventure "Off to See the Clockmaker." Travelling aboard Big Red, a red Radioflyer cart pulled by a Big Wheel tricycle, they had time to visit the Empire of Dreams, where the current passion was the Olympic Dream; and the Forest of Mechanical Bees, who had been captured by the team's nemesis Fang the Die-Cast, before finally reaching the Clockmaker in Wind-Up City. Character sheets and question cards below.
7 Photos - View album

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OMSFSM, stitchpunk character generators! Did everyone know about this but me? Here is a simple one...
make a stich punk
make a stich punk

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And a second stitchpunk character creator, more sophisticated.

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Mine came today, too! Woo!
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