Thursday 28 May 2009

Invisible Eyes made Visible

Well, I've teased at this for two posts now, so it's finally time to unveil my new game in its first stage. Far from complete and pretty much untested, here's Invisible Eyes.

My target was to hit a couple of design goals I've been mulling over for a while. 

  • Make Exploration and Travel key elements of the game.
  • Have very little focus on combat and replace rewards for killing with consequences.
  • Use a real-world modern setting that can be "spiced" to the GM's liking through conspiracy theories and supernatural happenings.
  • Encourage teamwork in as many areas of gameplay as possible, while not making a small group unplayable. 

As it stands it seems like I'm hitting all four. Exploration is the name of the game, as is pushed through the sample character, sample groups and gameplay examples. Investigation goes hand in hand with exploration and the Knowledge and Insight mechanic makes this a focus of the game too, somewhat supported by the Connections all characters have (explained later). Travel is enforced through the parkour-inspired movement mechanics and the fact you're going to doing a lot of sneaking-in and  running-away.

There's very little reward for combat. The hostiles you're likely to encounter will be security staff or policemen, if you follow the suggestions in the document. Leaving dead innocents wherever you go is going to make you public enemy number one, not desirable for supposed "invisibles". What's more, combat can be nasty, especially against someone you're outclassed by. It's not a matter of getting killed in one hit, but if a trained security guard catches up with you and he's probably going to pull you to the ground and put on the cuffs. In many ways a breaking and entering charge is scarier than death for a PC. Finally, there's a Shock mechanic that means you don't want to be constantly being shot at unless you have a steady mind and a good psychiatrist.

Teamwork is encouraged most simply through the Helping mechanic, which can literally be a lifesaver. However, a couple of secondary methods enforce it further such as every character having connections. These connections mean that even in a solo game the character will have some friends to call in favours from. In addition, starting characters have a relatively small pool of points to put into Stats and Expertise. This encourages specialisation and means a group are likely to have  a variety of personnel that depend on each other in certain area.

As always, the game is free, but remember this document is little over two days old. Changes will be frequent and there are sure to be lots of mistakes riddled through. It's good enough to get across what I want out of the game, though, so check it out.

Invisible Eyes Tease

I mentioned in my previous post that I've started work on a new project. I recently finished up the opening bite of fluff to set the mood for the game, based on the help of a friendly contributor. 

The voice rang. A siren in this silence, a whisper in my ear.
"If we're to get out of this, we need to get up there".
The floor cracking beneath our pursuers forced our plans into action. Up I go, the wooden beams under one foot, my backup's hand under the other.
We're up.
Finding a path in this mess of a dilapidated structure isn't easy, but I'm searching. My nimble feet barely catch the splintered ledges. Then the heavy steps of my counterpart. His heavy boots crush the tiny barbs. The darkness around us disturbed by scanning flashlights.
We ascend higher.
The structure is weak up here. We are surrounded. A look to each other and in a spiralling duet we jump. Explorers, going where even demons fear to tread.

And I'll only answer one question on the game today, fully explaining things in tomorrow's post. Who are the players?

Example Operations

Invisible Eyes:
This guerrilla journalist group promote themselves as the necessary eyes of the public, exposing secrets and corruption wherever they find it. Whether the general public believe their paranoia-filled newsletters is another matter.

City University Paranormal Society:
Students of a variety of subjects gather to discuss supernatural activity. Their expeditions are most commonly led to the woods and caves outside the city, following the frequent UFO and ghost reports.

The Wet-necks:
Adventurous people of all sorts meet on this online community dedicated to exploring the storm sewers beneath the city, also expanding into other underground networks.

This popular TV show involves its three presenters heading into areas rumoured to be haunted or contain cryptids to disprove their existence live on air.

Archo-Mythic Investigations:
Retired Cambridge archeology professor Irving Brown has near unparalleled knowledge of historic and mythological artifacts. He and his small team now dedicate their lives to ensuring those that have found their way into the wrong hands end up safely on display in a museum.

Who would you like to be?

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Another New Project

Another new game has taken over my brain. I'll be posting about it in more detail after I've worked on it a little more, but for now I'll summarise it with four pictures.

It's this sort of place...

Being explored by people that can do this...

With the teamwork of...

And the occasional thing that might interest...

It could be fun! More about it soon.

Saturday 2 May 2009

Skullados, a 30 minute MS Paint RPG

An RPG designed in 30 minutes using only MS Paint. Who'll join in the challenge?

Behold, Skullados. 

Addition: This is too addictive.

The Restless Dead of Redway

I mentioned in a previous post that I'm after groups to test The Adventurer's Tale. As a further treat to lure in testers I'm going to provide all you need for a quickstart adventure in the game, right here in a blogpost. Expect little in the way of plot, but an immediate action-filled starting point for a group wanting to dive in.

The Restless Dead of Redway

Redway is a village of no more than a hundred people. Its exact location is unimportant but it will have Woods to the North and a main road leading in from the plains to the South. The adventurers should all have a reason to be entering the village some time after sunset. They could be returning home or stopping by on their travels. 

Upon entering Redway, from the bottom of the map below, the adventurers will not find a living soul. Instead they will face an immediate encounter rolled on the Wandering Zombie table found further below.

Village map, shamelessly taken from elsewhere. Just rub the serial numbers off. 

The buildings not labelled are family homes, all others will be suitably outfitted for their purpose listed. Each building will have 1d6 Treasure that can be salvaged from it. Roll each time the adventurers enter or leave a building. On a 1-3 they will roll on the Wandering Zombie table found further below. On 6 they will find a survivor (Body 4, Craft 2) that will provide a little insight into the situation. Roll once on the Survivor Insight table found further below.

Wandering Zombie Table

1: 1 Hulk

2: 1d6 Chargers and 1d6 Hounds

3: 1d6 Shamblers and 1d6 Crows

4: 1 Lurker

5: 1 Tearer and 1d6 Shamblers

6: 2d6 Shamblers

Immediately after any Wandering Zombie encounter is completed make a roll. On a 1 the noise has attracted the Zombie Horde. Roll below immediately and have the Horde rolled emerge.

Zombie Horde Table

1: 2d6 Shamblers, 1d6 Lurkers and 1 Tearer

2: 3d6 Shamblers and 2d6 Crows

3: 3d6 Chargers and 1 Tearer

4: 1d6 Hounds, 1d6 Chargers and 1 Hulk

5: 1d6 Lurkers and 2d6 Crows

6: 5d6 Shamblers and 1 Tearer

The GM should keep track of the number of human zombies that are killed. If this ever exceeds 100 then Redway has been cleaned out completely, now just another abandoned town filled with corpses.

Survivor Insight

1: This survivor can do nothing but babble nonsense. 

2: The survivor tells the adventurers how their family were brutally killed, in horrible detail. Other than that, they know nothing.

3: This survivor can only babble about this being the work of "her" and will attempt to flee from the adventurers at every opportunity. 

4: This survivor has no immediate insight, but if asked about the Black Hag they will reveal that she is known to live in the woods to the north.

5: The survivor is quite mad, but will babble about the Black Hag of the woods constantly. 

6: The survivor reveals that a hag living in the northern forest was seen lurking around the village outskirts recently. They suspect this is the work of her!

Forbidden Knowledge

Any adventurer may attempt a DN7 Wisdom test to recognise the weakness of the Zombies, specifically that they are killed by being beheaded or having their bodies utterly destroyed. 

The Zombies

Zombie Shambler

The most pathetic of zombiekind. They seem to have retained no intelligence at all and simple walk slowly towards any survivors in great numbers.
Body 3
Melee 1
Claws and Bite (Damage 2)
Relentless: A zombie ignores any non-critical hits that cause less than 4 Damage. Critical hits damage the Zombie as normal.
Arise: Roll when the zombie is killed without being beheaded or utterly destroyed. On a 6 it immediately rises again, but this time any damage will kill it permanently.

Zombie Charger

Rather than shambling forwards, these zombies hurl themselves forward at great speeds, leaping onto their prey. 
Body 3
Melee 2, Grace 2
Claws and Bite (Damage 2)
Relentless: A zombie ignores any non-critical hits that cause less than 4 Damage. Critical hits damage the Zombie as normal.
Arise: Roll when the zombie is killed without being beheaded or utterly destroyed. On a 6 it immediately rises again, but this time any damage will kill it permanently.

Zombie Tearer

Some bodies react violently to becoming a zombie, their muscles swelling and bone claws sprouting from their hands. Other zombies instinctively gather around them due to their knack for finding victims.
Body 6
Melee 4, Awareness 4
Claws and Bite (Damage 3)
Relentless: A zombie ignores any non-critical hits that cause less than 4 Damage. Critical hits damage the Zombie as normal.
Arise: Roll as soon as the Tearer is killed. On a 6 the body twitches and spasms as it grows into a Zombie Hulk, recovering all Damage.

Zombie Lurker

These Zombies have retained some of their human cunning and survival instinct, preferring to strike from the shadows with throwing axes or rocks.
Body 3
Melee 1, Shooting 2. Grace 3
Claws and Bite (Damage 2), Improvised Thrown Weapon (Damage 2, Ranged)
Relentless: A zombie ignores any non-critical hits that cause less than 4 Damage. Critical hits damage the Zombie as normal.
Arise: Roll when the zombie is killed without being beheaded or utterly destroyed. On a 6 it immediately rises again, but this time any damage will kill it permanently.

Zombie Hulk

A Zombie Tearer that survives long enough will go through a second phase as a huge, hulking beast up to twelve feet tall. These will do little more than rampage around the area, smashing walls and any survivors they encounter. Other zombies know to give these horrors some space.
Body 14
Melee 4
Pounding Fists (Damage 4)
Relentless: A zombie ignores any non-critical hits that cause less than 4 Damage. Critical hits damage the Zombie as normal.

Zombie Hound

Not only humans were affected by the zombie curse. These dogs appear at first to be rabid, living beasts, but a look into their red eyes reveals their true nature. 
Body 3
Melee 1, Awareness 3, Grace 3.
Bite (Damage 2)
Pack Attack: A hound deals an extra point of Damage when he hits an opponent that has been engaged by one or more Warhounds since their last turn.

Zombie Crows

Picking at the flesh of zombies turns many crows into flying corpses, leaving a trail of feathers as they flap. They follow zombies so that they can scavenge on their kills, sometimes descending on the victims to aid in their death.
Body 1
Grace 5, Awareness 4
Beak and Claws (Damage 1)
Distract: If there are any Zombie Crows next to a character they subtract 1 from any combat rolls. 

At the end of any encounter, secretly roll for each adventurer that took damage from a zombie. On a 1 they are unknowingly effected. Roll again after each encounter, or every hour. On a 1 they turn into a Shambler, on a 2 a Charger and on a 3 a Tearer. On a 4-6 they do not turn yet.

A DN8 Wisdom test will identify an infected adventurer, who can be cured by any form of magical healing. Even if they are unaware of the infection, magical healing will remove it.

Anyone killed by a zombie will arise as one within a matter of minutes.

The Black Hag

This curse is, in fact, the work of a Hag living in the forest just to the North of Redway. If the adventurers head into these woods they will soon find her and she will happily boast about the success of her curse on the village. Her motive in doing so is little more than jealousy, after being cast out from the village as a child for her deformation and wicked nature.
If the Black Hag is killed the curse is lifted and all zombies will immediately fall to the ground as corpses. Anyone infected, but not yet turned, will immediately recover. 

A black robe and hood covers the deformed face of the Hag, hunched over a gnarled staff. If attacked she will point her staff at her opponents and attempt her Mind Stab. If the fight turns against her she will attempt to fly away to safety using her magic. 
Body 4
Melee 3, Awareness 3, Grace 3, Wisdom 6
Staff (Damage 2, counts as shield in Melee), 3d6 Treasure.
Spells: Tongues, Mind Stab, Flight, Magic Strike

This is a very quick and dirty adventure, so it's ripe for a little expansion or customisation from a GM.
Enjoy and do your best to survive.