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Shae Davidson

Make Stuff!  - 
Here is a quick horror-themed game that grew out memories of the way my best friend in grad school and I would spook each other.  
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The GMless Mystery Explainer
Several times in GMless games I've encountered the situation where one player creates a mystery, other players feed the mystery because it's so damn attractive and mysterious, and then no one's willing to explain the mystery because it's too gosh-darn big and intimidating. ( called this the black hole of GMless games and it's a good name for several reasons.)

To help get games out of that pickle, I've tested and developed this: the GMless Mystery Explainer. If your game develops a mystery and everyone's shying away from actually revealing any of it, then you can bring this out mid-game. You fill it out as far as you can and then follow the steps to reveal the mystery as part of the game (because it's no fun everyone stopping, figuring out the mystery outside the game and then trying to inject it that info back into the story). 

So what this is, in truth, is a way of allocating responsibility to different players for them each to take a step forwards in explaining the mystery so the reveal can be enjoyed as part of the game.

There are two versions (so you can print it out double-sided). A 'Questions' version which provides a slower reveal as individual players take the responsibility to start linking unexplained events together. There's also a quicker 'Rumours' version where the players come up with their own theories, but are randomly allocated which are true. The players then have the responsibility to bring these facts into the story in order.

Feedback or anecdotes from games where you've used it are welcome.

Download the pdf below.
Charlie Etheridge-Nunn's profile photoGordon McDonald's profile photoMatthijs Holter's profile photoschizoid from rpggeek's profile photo
Thanks. You may want to add a pre-filled example into the PDF to demonstrate how it works.
In my design, I do it like this: One designated player manages the mystery (becomes GM just for this mystery). Others can propose details either openly or by writing & giving the "mystery manager" an index card.
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catty _big

Story Games  - 
[SkipJack] First playtest
I wrote this game about a couple years ago, but it didn't garner much interest at the time and so it just sat on my laptop, but last Saturday I had the good fortune not only to playtest it but to do so with a group of players who really got into the game, and played it exactly as intended. What's more, as we were noodling playsets and alternative settings after the game, one of the players, +Chirag Asnani came up with a playset idea there and then and e-mailed it to me a couple of days later. It's called Fallout Shelter, and I've now added it to the doc (see below for link).
Ok, the playtest. First, I have to confess to something that seems depressingly common among designers, to whit forgetting one's own rules. It happened during several playtests of my first game, Sci-Fi Beta Kappa, including one game where one of the players put on their feedback sheet that Mechanic X should have Effect A instead of Effect B, and Mechanic Y should have Effect B instead of A. I thanked the guy for his comments, went back to the draft, and... found that what he'd suggested was actually how I'd  written it. D'oh! In the playtest of SkipJack, I'd said that first the objects should be chosen, and then going the opposite way round the players should then add the valences, i.e. they would add assign valences to objects that other players had chosen. I don't know why the hell I said that, it was confusing for the players and in fact wasn't how I had it in the rules. But no big.
The procedure is as follows: the player group goes round 2-3 times choosing from a limited list of everyday objects, assigns each of them a value, and then starts the game. In the first part, each player in turn chooses one of the objects, notes its valence (+, - or +/-), suggests a period of the Protagonist’s life, and imagines a scene where the chosen object would play a pivotal role or be the focus of the action. Then the group decides who, in addition to the Protagonist, would be in the scene, what the relationship to the Protagonist would be, assigns roles to players and acts out the scene. It really is that simple. Thereafter, more objects are chosen and scenes imagined and played out, perhaps with the same NPCs as previously, sometimes with completely different ones or a mixture thereof. (The active player always plays the Protagonist). At the end of every scene the active player notes down what they learned about the Protagonist from that scene, whether that be one word personality descriptors, or ambitions, hopes or relationships with key NPCs etc.
We ended up with a character called Thomas, who we first met after a rugby match in which he was named Man of the Match, the object being a rugby ball. The rugby ball’s valence was +/-, so we decided it should be positive because Thomas had been named Man of the Match, but also negative because he’d received a serious injury during the match which put paid to his hopes of turning professional, the second scene being in the hospital, with the Doctor saying it was unlikely he’d ever be able to play again. Thereafter he ended up in a dead end job, had a brief relationship with a waitress called (I think) Sophie, and later on married someone called Diane, who cheated on him with one of his friends from his rugby days, who he’d also set up a business with (another object chosen was a set of cheque stubs, which we’d decided were from cheques spent on setting up the business). The last scene had as its focus a sofa, still in shrink (when choosing objects the players have the option to decide on a condition - used, new, slightly worn or torn etc.), which the player taking on the role of Protagonist at that point imagined had been bought for the couple’s new home. The final scene was quite climactic as Thomas stormed into the office of his best friend and confronted him over the betrayal.
So we managed to get a pretty good session out of it, although we had only an hour to play with, as it was part of a playtest event where several games were scheduled and played. If we’d had more time, after a sort of wash-up period (Reflection), where we’d have discussed what had happened in the first part, and what kind of protagonist had emerged, in the second part we’d have started jumping about in time a lot more, revisiting some of the earlier scenes and exploring those periods of the Protagonist’s life in a bit more detail, we’d have gone back to the objects and changed the valences of some of them, then we’d have done the closing scene (Closure) - although we actually did manage to squeeze that in (see the scene above involving the sofa) - and finally we’d have done the Epilogue, where the player group looks at then Protagonist’s life a few months or years further on.   
What did we learn about the game? That the rules are straightforward, and very easy to pick up. That the game works, and that a lot of mileage can be got from surprisingly little input. Other comments included the point that having constraints (in the form of the objects and their valences) is a good thing as it encourages player creativity and ingenuity, that there should be a few more objects (done), that the process of choosing the objects and valences should be more speedy (done), and that the tone should be set at the beginning of the game, so that it doesn’t run the risk of straying into dark or gonzo  territory unconsensually (also done – see the new Stage 0: Setting the tone section in the latest draft). Also, one player noted that the group should write down all the names of the NPCs in case they forget them later (we found that Significant NPCs recurred a lot).  
If any of the other players wish to comment, feel free to so do, and stand by for some playsets and alternative settings, starting with Chirag’s Zombie-themed Fallout Shelter, which I’m hoping he’ll talk about in another thread. 

Link to current doc here:
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Hi, y'all.

So, I've finally sat to write down another game (first draft, work in progress and so on). It's called:

I Love You But We Can't Together.

It's about long lasting relationship during galactic war and four chance meeting during this war. It's a short game for two players.   

I won't say it's my game anymore because without +Aleksandra Sontowska input this game would be shit. She's  officially co-author here. If you want serious game design help, go ask her. She's awesome with bottom - up game design thinking and at-the-table procedures organisation.

(I'm good at top down game design and general game design theory if you want my help.)

Anyway, here's the game. This is just first draft, so that's why we (me and Aleksandra) need your help here.

I'm not native speaker - I'd like someone to look it over and do some basic proofreading. Also, we'd like someone to look at the game, its procedures and maybe even playtest it.

Thanks in advance,
Have fun. 
I love you but we can't be togetherI love you but we can't be together war torn galaxy edition by Kamil Węgrzynowicz and Aleksandra Sontowska Introduction This game is about two people in love with each other. Players will act out four scenes: three in which these people meet but somehow they decide they can't be together this ti
Sara Williamson's profile photo
Sub - I definitely want to take a look at this!
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Josh T Jordan

Make Stuff!  - 
#GameChef is coming!
Ole Peder Giæver's profile photoJosh T Jordan's profile photo
+Ole Peder Giæver Thanks. I'll email you. 
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David Schirduan

Make Stuff!  - 
PDF Collection has begun!
#200WordRPG  PDF Collection

It's finally started! Several creators have offered to help me organize, layout, and polish a PDF collection of all of the 200WordRPG entries! To prevent any money hassles, we'll simply sell the PDF as Pay What You Want, and any money raised goes directly to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Now, by default, we'll simply use the versions submitted for the contest. However, if you want to update your submission (or withdraw it from the PDF collection) please visit the web page below and fill out the form with your updated submission.

You have two weeks from now (midnight, sunday, May 14th) to put in your updated creations (otherwise, we'll just use the version submitted originally).

This will also be your chance to add some developer commentary; use that space to talk about your inspiration, play advice, or mention some of the other things you've worked on. Just don't use that commentary to expand the rules (Bad Designer!)

Thank you all again for your incredible work! I can't wait to start working on the PDF Collection. Let me know if you have any questions.
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scott slomiany's profile photoDavid Schirduan's profile photo
Hey Scott, please fill out the form with the updated version you'd like to use. I'm trying to keep thing more organized, so I don't lose any more submissions.
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David Rothfeder

Make Stuff!  - 
So here is an update on the story game I've been working on. It is about badasses on a quest where most of them will die.  Players have complete control of their actions without being contested, but forming emotional connections are.  The point is for characters to be awesome, become beloved, and then die in memorable ways.  I know that there are areas that still need work (like how the world player structures stuff) but I think I need to see playtests of what I have first.  Anyways, let me know what your think.
Benjamin Davis's profile photoDavid Rothfeder's profile photo
Well, considering this is an alpha draft and I haven't had a chance to playtest, it is understandable that the game is incomplete. Cards could work for the same system, but I wanted to try something different. Plus chips have a very different feel. I also like how players should be able to guess what's left by looking at everyone's chip stack.

As far as the color of chips, I'm not sure that would be a problem. On one side, if a player wanted to read all the outcomes, there are only 6 moves with 4 results each about a sentence long. That's 24 sentences, not a whole lot. On the other hand, if a player chooses randomly that should also be fine. What I hope would be most common is players look at moves, say that result would be cool for that move, and decide to put in a few chips of that color. Really it shouldn't matter what chips a player chooses, so long as they know what they put in and nobody else does. The idea is that I want that knowledge and guessing of what's left to help drive the late game tension, but also that I wanted a randomization system with an unknown distribution. 
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June Shores

Make Stuff!  - 
I'm writing a game for non-linear narratives about people crying. Like Steven Universe or certain seasons of Adventure Time. Mark Waid's Impulse and Aaron Alexovich's Serenity Rose are also inspirations. And I'm sure it could be drifted to do My Little Pony too.

At this point it's very much an Archipelago hack with some Dream Askew, Apocalypse World, and Primetime Adventures bits.

This here is draft 1.2 of Love Like You.

It's not quite ready for playtest yet, but it will be after the next draft when I get play materials put together.
Marshall Miller's profile photoJoseph Le May (UserClone)'s profile photo
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Neil Smith

Story Games  - 
Neil Smith originally shared to RPGs:
Session 3 of The Glittering Trumpet of Kutaraja at +MK RPG 

Session events
Based on the feedback from the previous session, we spent a bit of time at the beginning rewriting Exemplars and going over some rules clarifications. 

I also retconned the location of the Glittering Trumpet: all along, it was displayed in pride of place, hanging from a couple of wires from the ceiling of the Sultan's audience chamber.

That night
Charlie waited in the Yang Peka Badak for people to leave. Phisut left first; after he left, Charlie went to the room and confronted al Zahr about the goings-on. al Zahr was rather flustered, but eventually regained enough composure to explain that he realised he was being taken advantage of by Phisut, but felt helpless to do anything about it. He offered Charlie, and the other picaros, his gratitude (in the form of jewels and gold) if they could find evidence of his involvement in the plot to kill Mambo Violine. Charlie agreed and al Zahr wrote a note that Charlie could give to the loyal Dhien to arrange access to Phisut's rooms.

Loki asked to see the Sultan that evening, but was rebuffed by a palace guard. Loki returned to her room.

Next morning
Mohit went into town and roused ill-will against the Sultan. He succeeded (Buying the Result for a 5d Advantage and a Flourish). The Sultan's secret police noticed his agitating and nearly caught him.

Lady T went into town to buy a new dress for the official reception that evening. On the way, she met Merian Headley (from Nan Madol), walking around the palace walls, divining for ley lines with a pair of orichalcum rods. Merian told her sob story of being trapped in Kutaraja after her airship crashed, trying to run the Dutch blockade. Merian said she was trying to track the ley line to Nan Madol, that it was corrupted by something in Kutaraja, and that Merian could make it worth the picaros' while as she was a princess in Nan Madol. Lady T thought this was implausible and left her to her divining.

Phisut visited Loki's room while she was reading Mambo's notes. Loki made excuses why she couldn't see Phisut now. He replied that he had a proposition for Loki and she should visit his suite as soon as she was able.

Loki then went to Charlie's room and secreted Mambo's notes there. Charlie climbed the outside of the palace to Phisut's suite's balcony, narrowly escaping being spotted. She searched Phisut's room, discovering all manner of official paperwork plus some other notes and messages from Louis T Leonowens in Angkor Wat, seemingly connected with Mambo and her assassination. 

Lady T and Mohit had a brief R&R scene, where Mohit revealed that he was given his idol by a guru on the slopes of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) and that his mother used to call him "Little Cha Cha". Lady T revealed that the "T" stands for something, but didn't say what.

Back in Phisut's suite, Phisut returned. Charlie hid on the other side of his desk then sneaked round in an attempt to silence him before he could raise any alarm. Phisut's magical amulet alerted him at the last moment, there was a brief struggle, then Charlie pulled a brick-like thing from her coat and knocked Phisut out. Charlie searched him, discovering his amulet and tattoos. The other picaros arrived in the room and had a brief conversation about what to do next. Phisut was left trussed and unconscious in his bath. Before they could put plans into action, they heard shouts, crashes, and gunfire from outside the palace as the Aceh Nationalist Uprising started. 

The uprising
Still in Phisut's suite, Mohit expounded his Manifesto and persuaded Charlie and Lady T to assist the Nationalists. Mohit rushed to the palace gate to help the rebels. Loki cloaked Charlie and Lady T in shadows with her magic and the three of them headed to the Sultan's audience room.

Mohit found the main palace gates locked, but bowing under the pressure of the Nationalist mob. The guards inside were shooting over the mob's heads while others were setting up a Zinderi tekrar-gun to fire on the gates, and the mob. Mohit and Bandamasa channeled the power of the spirits to destroy both the gate lock and the gun. Unfortunately, he only had power to do one. The gates burst open as the gun started firing. Several people were killed, but the mob soon overwhelmed the tekrar-gunners and then rushed into the palace.

Meanwhile, the three women entered the Sultan's audience chamber, still cloaked in shadow. Some of the palace guards were at the windows, shooting out at the mob. Some of the mob were shooting back. Just as they were considering what to do with the Trumpet, they saw the Sultan, al Zahr, and four palace guards rush through the audience chamber. The picaros decided to follow them; the Sultan was led into a cellar, through a secret door, and into a tunnel. The picaros followed them, emerging into a safe house somewhere in Kutaraja. The Sultan's party then changed into civilian clothes, discussed the picaros' airship, and headed out into the city. The picaros followed, but the shortcut they took ended up making them arrive at the airship after the Sultan's party.

Back at the palace, Mohit and Dhien met in the Sultan's audience chamber. Dhien thanked Mohit for his help with the uprising and the two of them agreed that Mohit could take the Trumpet, as a token of appreciation.

Mohit and a few nationalists arrived at the picaros' airship just as the other picaros offered passage to the Sultan and al Zahr away from Kutaraja. Following Phisut's paper trail, they headed off to Angkor Wat. 

It was getting to the end of the session, so we skipped over the negotiations and the escape through the Dutch blockade.

Outstanding threads
* Information leading to Mohit's father.

* Charlie's double standards when it comes to sex.

* The limits of Charlie's avarice.

* Loki's schoolmates, and the people who set up the school of theurgy.

* Lady T's resorting to killing as a solution.

* The return of de Zoet at the worst possible moment.
* Loki has Phisut's magical amulet.

* Phisut's pursuit of the picaros?

* Aceh nationalists want the Trumpet back

Playtest comments and questions

Play style
After the game, we had a discussion about tone and playstyle. Renny Jennys is very much a game in the vein of the Forge tradition, by way of Smallville and Marvel Heroic. It's a game where engagement with the mechanics is required to guide the fiction, and the fiction guides how the mechanics are used. It's not a game where "roll playing" is different from "role playing", and it's a game where the players have to move stances from In Character and Actor to Author and Director fluidly and often. It's quite a different play style from more traditional games, where role playing is the ideal and mechanics are only grudgingly used for combat and similar events.

It's also a game where the picaros are never in control of events. Everything worth doing carries some risk, and most actions will come at a cost. Actions always disrupt the status quo. The risk and cost are encouraged through the mechanics, particularly the Dev economy. I think this is an unfamiliar play style for some of the players.

Finally, it's a game that uses Protagonist Play. The players should be driving their protagonists (the picaros) hard towards their goals, with the GM as a fan of the characters (as Apocalypse World would have it), playing the NPCs hard, and using the game to find out what happens.

I bring this up not as a criticism, but as something that might usefully be highlighted in the game text.

The difference in familiarity with the play style became apparent in the amount of Dev earnt: Mohit ended up with about 8 Dev, while Loki had none.

Mechanical questions
I tried a few "simple" contests in this session, where the idea was to use the mechanics to quickly resolve an issue without going into the whole iterated-roll detail of Standing Attempts and all that. This led to two comments.

* Most of these "simple contests" were initiated by the PC, with a Threat Pool rolling in response. The PC rolled a number of successes, applied to the Attempt, and the Threat Pool's successes were applied to either Denying the Attempt or Exploiting the picaro's failures. However, this meant there was no opportunity for the picaro to Exploit any failures rolled by the Threat Pool, which would reduce the Threat Pool for later actions. 
:I'm not sure if that's a design feature or what, but it seems slightly strange.

* If I want to quickly resolve a conflict between two or more picaros acting together, collectively opposed by a single Threat Pool, it's not clear how to combine the effectiveness of the picaros. Assits don't seem to be appropriate, as they come into play the beat after an Attempt is partially Denied. The other obvious alternative, that of building a large dice pool from all the participants, would lead to large groups steamrollering all before them.

Finally, the handling time of conflict resolution still seems long. It takes a while to identify the appropriate cogs and gears, justify why they might be appropriate for this conflict, find and roll all the dice, and apportion successes to the various effects that could result.

I hope this doesn't make the game head towards Dogs in the Vineyard territory, where the conflict resolution mechanics only come out for major events. I'll give it another couple of weeks to see how much things speed up when people become more familiar with the mechanics.
Session events. Based on the feedback from the previous session, we spent a bit of time at the beginning rewriting Exemplars and going over some rules clarifications. I also retconned the location of the Glittering Trumpet: all along, it was displayed in pride of place, hanging from a couple of ...
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Michael Wenman

Pandering!  - 
Just thought I'd spread the word over here, for those people who don't follow me. I'm pretty happy with the way this project has turned out.
...and we're live.
The Hold 'Em NPC Generator for Modern Characters has just gone live on RPGNow/DrivethruRPG. Here's the link Hopefully it sells a few copies in the next couple of weeks, that'll certainly get me motivated to create a few more generators along these lines.
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About this community

This is currently a test beta of a Story Games G+ RPG -slash- Role-Playing Community. Just trying to figure stuff out. Not a replacement (yet) for the forums!
In Your Heart
Have a free rpg day, everybody.

It's a small role playing poem inspired by Game Chef. #freerpgday  
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catty _big's profile photoJennifer Fuss's profile photo
Thanks dude. I'll check it out when I've got a minute. 
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Michael Duxbury

Story Games  - 
Just wrote a review of Psi*Run and it occurred to me - has anyone ever tried running this game over several sessions? I've only ever used it for one-offs, and was wondering how the experience of play would differ.
When people talk about “empowerment” in RPGs, they usually mean giving players the ability to own their successes, but I think it’s more important for players to own their failures. When I screw up...
Erik Weissengruber's profile photocatty _big's profile photo
I haven't yet had a chance to read the review; I'll do that in a bit, but while I think of it, two things strike me. First, to answer the question in the OP: I've only played it once, and I'm obviously not privy to Meguey's authorial intent, but I'd say it's designed to play out over a single session. I can't really see which bits of it could be prolonged enough for 4-5 hours being a reasonable running time. (As a side issue I'd say that this is the 'problem'* with a lot indie games).

To the point about reviews written by people who haven't actually played yhe game: yes, reviewers should make this disclaimer at the top of their piece, however I think this kind of review is extremely valuable. If a reviewer says something like 'I can't see how saving throws work', or 'such and such aspect of the game confused me', it's highly likely that people leafing through the book in their FLGS will be thinking likewise.

This is important because for a new game these are precisely the people that need to be reached. A designer can't be in every shop ready to answer any queries or dispel any confusion, but following the publication of a review with the type of comment mentioned above they can jump onto forums and social media to make clarifications. 

*If people are looking for longer form games that is. 
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Michael Wenman

Pandering!  - 
Just thought I'd share a little personal project I've been working on...

Any advice is always welcome.
With the arrival of the 20th Anniversary Edition of “Mage: the Ascension”, I’m really happy with the way the background material has been updated to reflect the changes in the sociological and technological landscapes over th...
Davide Losito's profile photoMichael Wenman's profile photoSimon Brake's profile photoDaniele Di Rubbo's profile photo
I hadn't quite considered it that way, but that's the kind of thing I'm thinking of.

Mage20 has some really nice ideas that help clarify the concept of paradigms and practices as well. Different paradigms and practices are generally linked to one another, and each practice has related abilities and focii. It's all much more distinct than previous iterations of the game.I could easily see a Mage counting as a witness to their own vulgar magick if they worked against either their paradigm/practice or their Nature. If they worked within both, they might get coincidental effects, and conversely it would be impossible for them to go against both.

Certainly more thinking needed here to get an elegant solution happening.  
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Daniel Hodges

Story Games  - 
Hi Story-Game G+ folks. I've introduced myself at the .com but hello again anyway.

My name's Daniel and I've got a new story game in development which I'm inviting you all to the playtest of. It's actually a twin set of games called Das Sonnenrad and Nimbus. They're set against the back-drop of WW2 and even though they have the potential for action and heroics, at their heart, they're really games about sacrifice and power.

Nimbus is set during the Blitz and follows an allied group of investigators. It lends itself to swashbuckling fiction, stoic perseverance, and heroism.

Das Sonnenrad is a far more exacting game but before continuing I want to make one thing absolutely clear: no reasonable person should entertain any argument excusing the abhorrent actions and policies of the Nazis. Das Sonnenrad is not a vehicle for perpetuating, even in fiction, the evil of Adolf Hitler.

Writing das Sonnenrad, came from imagining what I would have done if I were a German in 1945. How could you reconcile, hating Hitler and the Nazis for what they had done in the name of your country, with an all consuming desire to protect your loved ones from the Soviets?

It's naive to think all Germans were Nazis. Most German soldiers at this time must have suffered the same fears for the safety of their families as any of their British counterparts during the battle of Britain. 

Anyway, I'd love your feedback on the games and, if nothing else, it's a free game in this form. It's already gone through one round of playtesting so it should run fairly smoothly.

Thanks in advance.

You can check it out here:
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Alan Barclay

Pandering!  - 
Seeking players interested in Fate Core and Apocalypse World Engine games. Meeting face to face every second Sunday afternoon in Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

We're interested in playing story arcs of 3-8 sessions, with occasional one shots with systems other than FC or AWE. GM may rotate between sessions, so aspiring GMs are welcome.

The kind of worlds/stories that currently interest us include:

- - Firefly type SF, with a crew of traders, bounty hunters, or criminals-with-hearts-of-gold struggling to get by in an oppressive galaxy.
- - Post apocalyptica, particularly about a group striving to find a cure or fix the world.
- - Fringe / X-Files /Monster of the Week style covert investigation of paranormal/Lovecraftian phenomena.

You would collaborate in the creation of our next series of sessions.
Alan Barclay's profile photo
Email me if interested by visiting my profile then clicking the email icon.
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David Schirduan

Stuff to Watch  - 
Winners Announced!
#200WordRPG  Winners!

After another round of voting from our incredible judges, we finally have the results of the contest. But first, the 6 random winners who will receive a PDF of the entire Lumpley Games Library:

Mike Quintanilla
+Nathan Harrison
Steve Segedy
+David Hertz
+Gabriel Nuñez Mariosa
+John Lewis

And now, the 3rd Place Winner:
All Fall Down
By +Ryan Ó Laoithe 

The 2nd Place Winner:
By +Nick Wedig

And finally, the honor of First Place goes to......
Escape Pod One
By +Stephanie Bryant 

WOOHOO! Great job everyone! This was an incredible contest. If you haven't read all of the entries, you really should. There are a ton of great games and ideas in this collection.

Thanks again to our incredible judges, they really burned the midnight oil by reading each and every entry, whilst putting up with my insanity.

And thanks to you all! This has been an awesome experience for me. More details on the PDF collection will be coming soon. It's going to be so cool, especially since I've got a ton of designers who are helping me out!
Finalists: All finalists are listed in alphabetical order. All Fall Down By Ryan Ó Laoithe The Argument was Loud By Scott Slomiany  The Artifact of Ashana By Marcin Kuczynski Budget By  Emily Care ...
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Cinnamon Bunny's profile photoChris Shorb's profile photoJoseph Le May (UserClone)'s profile photo
Giving Steve Segedy all the Lumpley Games catalog is like giving JK Rowling a full set of Suzanne Collins' books.
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June Shores

Make Stuff!  - 
So my main group -- +Sarah Kaplan & +Zach Hall -- and I just finished a playtest session of Love Like You and we got some great stuff out of it. Here's an Actual Play report.

The good news is that, the way we created characters, we knew very well who our characters were before "episode 1". And they came out as compelling, watchable characters. But the character and setting creation took an hour and a half, and most of that was us talking about the context of our characters and how they fit together. It was cool, but it needed more structure. Which we ended up filling in naturally. But it still took twice as long as an actual episode of play.

Things to add to character and setting creation:  Creating a setting theme (like "town full of supernatural mysteries"), place categories (like "town" and "wild"), common bond  between PCs (like, "siblings"), "playsets" with pre-made setting details and a common bond.

We only got one episode in, and most of it was spent trying to figure out how the game is supposed to go. What Setup looks like, how to make the Spiral work, and when to call for the Resolution.

The town we made is a sort of southern gothic place with a really big river (with a pier) and a lot of really small rivers. It has a video rental store in 2015. The PCs are young teens, triplet girls who have been sent to live with their aunt in an old timey boat (it's a house AND a gimmick restaurant!). Cassandra Champagne is the runt, who uncovers adventurous mysteries and is cripplingly shy. Persephone Champagne is the overly analytical one who is trying to be an adult. Antigone Champagne is the one who is always texting.

Cassandra has this Block: I can't talk to that girl I like.

The episode opened with the triplets at a diner, eating breakfast. Cassandra is hiding behind her sisters because that girl she likes, Paige, is across the street. Cassandra recovered Paige's lost hairband and hasn't been able to pull herself together enough to actually give it back.

We ended up doing a lot of zoomed out summaries during the Setup phase. There was a bit of first person, moment-to-moment play, but we ended up just summarizing large blocks of activity, like the one flashback.

At the restaurant, Cassandra is talking to aunt Looey about this monster she heard rumors about out in the wilder parts of town. Aunt gives her a sharp look and insists that there's no such thing as monsters. That's when Paige and her family come into the restaurant. I think this should have been the turn to the Spiral phase, but it wasn't called out until Cassandra was spying on Paige from inside a potted plant while the Mission: Impossible theme played.

There was a  scene where Cassandra laid out a not-actually-foolproof  plan to give Paige curry to break the ice, and then take her monster hunting. But Antigone hijacked that with a 300 page plan featuring football-like diagrams and a mariachi band.

Looking back, we should have gone with the overwrought Rube Goldberg Machine plan, but instead we went with the curry plan. This was a mistake, I think, because the Spiral ended up feeling a bit anemic without another step of things going horribly wrong.

In the next scene Cassandra is sitting on the front step of Paige's house, with a take-out tray of shrimp curry & waiting for her to come back from Soccer practice.

Cassandra gifts her the curry & her hairband and makes a friend. They go out to find that monster that Cassandra was talking about before and there is a silly photo montage.

One thing that came to light is that the dice were not needed and that we could just as easily go with phrase as a cue for complications instead. Aura was never tracked either. So I'm thinking that entire sub-system needs to be rethought.

Zach also suggested playing out an episode of a throw-away premise where you don't write down any character or setting details or blocks, just to get the rules down.

I think the game would have run smoother with another player involved. With 3 total there were not enough details or key phrases being thrown around to drive the whole thing forward.
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David Rothfeder

Story Games  - 
David Rothfeder originally shared:
Had this idea for a game last night.  Then I woke up at 5 am and couldn't go back to sleep, so I just wrote the thing.  The rules are pretty short, but I think with some work, it could make for some pretty intense play.  Let me know what you guys think.
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Mendel Schmiedekamp's profile photoDavid Rothfeder's profile photo
In general I've come not to like those kinds of awards. It feels like a slight to those who didn't win. I wanted to make a game where your spectacular death is its own reward. 
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Game Chef

Stuff to Watch  - 
Less than one month until #GameChef2015. Spread the word. Bring your friends. Everyone is welcome to design with us! June 13th to 21st. 

And while you're at it, say hi to global coordinators +Rachael Storey Burke and +Josh T Jordan . Or say hi to English language coordinators +Cheyenne Wall-Grimes and +Stentor Danielson . If you have questions not answered by the website, these are the people to ask, assuming English is your language of choice.

You may also want to join this Game Chef 2015 Google+ Community.
Aleksandra Sontowska's profile photoJoshua Fox (Rabalias)'s profile photo
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Josh T Jordan

Make Stuff!  - 
Looking for fellow language nerds...
Josh T Jordan originally shared:
Do I know any fellow language nerds? Especially construct language nerds? I'm in the mood to set up an informal Language Jam.
Specifically, I'm thinking about setting out a three day challenge to create a new language. I'll set up some criteria, like maximum number of vowels and minimum dictionary size. People interested in participating can work in teaams of two or three.
At the end of the Jam, we congratulate each other with badge or something. Then we release our construct languages via Creative Commons.
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I'd be interested.
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