Oh yes, the Tee Shirt RPG or Blue Buddha and the Bifrost Valkyrie.
Well you're lucky - I have a lot to say so I'm gonna talk about both. And I'm gonna talk about Touranne!
First a little context on what I'm gonna chat about. It's a pretty well established maxim of indie game design that one should not strive to create something unique just to be unique.
Of course, if one happens to stumble upon uniqueness that happens to integrate itself in the design of your game, that's pretty well accepted as being OK.
A lot of what I like to do with designing games is to take a mechanic or theme or whatever and go "What if you did it this way? What would happen then?" Not always does this lead to success. Sometimes - like integrating Conditions from Lady Blackbird with Moves from Apocalypse World - I like to think they are.
As for the following ideas - well I guess we'll just have to wait and see - they don't seem stupid at first pass.
Touranne really gets me excited when I think about it. It's inspired by Casablanca which must be one of the greatest movies I've ever seen (right up there with Shawshank Redemption, Clueless and Mean Girls). It's also inspired by crazy takes on the occult. I'd put Touranne aside from the longest time due to a block I was having with it and then I happened to listen to a Podcast called The Mask of Innana (www.themaskofinanna.com/ go off and listen to it now, I'll wait).
Whilst the Mask of Innana isn't identical to Touranne it felt like it touched enough of the same themes and motifs that it sparked Touranne in my brain again. There was still the issue though, of what to do with Touranne.
My problem related to the mechanics. Y'see, dice (much loved by gamers everywhere) didn't feel right for the game - partly to do with the note-passing that the game was designed to incorporate. After all, when you're on an Occupied Island, you'll need to pass coded messages - dice don't work for that.
So I was fiddling with cards and whilst they inspired the magic system for Touranne, it wasn't so tied in that it was essential and it didn't sit right. Then I thought - just today in fact - about dominoes. Now there's something that could do the trick!
Dominoes could be used in a fashion where one side represented success and the other consequences (as selected by the player). Higher skills mean more dominoes - which allows either greater choice, or the ability to string dominoes together to get better results and more loose ends for extra effects. And, being a discrete and discreet object, they could be used to facilitate the note passing.
My worry - and the first question of today's entry - "Will this be too fiddly? Will it draw players too far out of the fiction as they try to get the best results?"
Blue Buddha and the Bifrost Valkyrie:
This is a game for which the rules are mostly written a totally awesome person is making it look so sleek and pretty I hardly recognise the game. Awesome de nada?
Part of Blue Buddha is that it taps into this whole Social Media thing (that one that all the kids are so down with) and takes some of the best of it back to the tabletop. Despite me calling it my "twitter RPG" twitter is not needed to run or play the game, though a rudimentary understanding of social media will no doubt help people grok some of the layout and rules.
One of the things I was considering though, was having some sort of database online (preferably through an existing portal) through which people could post the cool from their game in such a way that people playing later, could, at their choice, use to extend their game by enriching their characters with the experience and characterisation of previous games.
Question the second is - "Does this appeal to people who aren't me? Is this worth going through the hassle of setting up or will it not be a draw towards the game? Or worse will it put people off?"
The Tee Shirt RPG:
(Bonus Question for extra points - come up with a better name than that)
The Tee Shirt game is designed to be printed on a tee shirt and easily accessible to all.
I intend for it to employ "Outward facing mechanics". I will explain what I mean by this through the use of an enlightening example.
On your character sheet it might say something as follows:
"Sneak +12" or "Worlds Greatest Shot 2d8" or "Jen must be protected from the Cult of Agolia"
For the most part, these mechanics are inward facing - they direct something about you - either how well you sneak or shoot etc. Now this is all pretty cool and easy to work with. I have Sneak on my sheet so I know to say "I'm being sneaky here." Inward facing mechanics are awesome.
Outward facing mechanics are awesome too. Outward facing mechanics are things on your sheet that gets other people to act in a certain way towards you. It makes Jen threaten to defect to manipulate you. It makes people challenge you to shoot a quarter from between their fingers. Outward facing mechanics get other people to act in certain ways with regards to you - what could be more awesome than that?
So the tee shirt game uses outward facing mechanics. Some of them are more general "Ask probing questions" and "Pursue your interests with vigour". Other ones are more specific - "When I reach for my gun, take cover."
I'm not sure if there's a question in this section, but feedback and ideas on cool, outward facing statements would be appreciated.
Next time I might talk about Beneath a More Auspicious Star some, or I might talk around something else.