Perhaps as an exercise in narcissism, I’m going to ask questions that nobody has ever asked me about my upcoming rpg system: The Patchwork Manifesto. That said, I figured it’d be a fun way to talk about the Hows and Whys of the project. Besides, you can’t tell me that any FAQ posted at time of any other game announcement consisted of questions that were, ya know, frequently asked up until that point.
A lot of folks ask what the mechanic differences between Sigil & Shadow and other d00Lite games are. The bulk of the mechanics are derived primarily from Covert Ops, with some of the fantastic from BareBones Fantasy sprinkled in. But I didn’t intend for S&S to be a mash-up of the two games with a new skin. I wanted things to have a certain ebb and flow to them, allowing the game’s pace to be optimal to my style of gaming.
- Percentile Based System — The core mechanic is about rolling under a percentile score, either against one of four ability scores (STR, DEX, LOG, WIL) or against a Skill (which the base half of the score is derived from half of an ability.) 00-05 always succeed, 95-99 always fail. Rolling doubles are critical success/failure.
- Professions as Skills: The skills tend to use names that sound like classes in other RPG’s.
- Multiple Action Economy: Performing multiple actions in a round is a big part of the game, but it’s handled rather elegantly: On your first action, you roll against your score as normal. Each additional action results in a cumulative -20 per action to the score (even if it’s against a different score.) Also, defensive actions (like dodging) also count as actions. So, all because you have a score of 100 or over and can make multiple attacks, you’re also stacking penalties for when you need to defend against others beating up on you!
- Bones: being that the system is also known as the “BareBones” system. bones are the action point/luck/bennie economy of the game. The interesting factor is that you start off with a pool of these at character creation, and can permanently spend them to make certain key decisions which are usually determined by random rolls at chargen time.
- Morality System: I think the d00Lite Moral Code system is my favorite alignment system. It’s a matrix where you select key moral aspects, and then rate it as somewhat, very or totally.
Here’s the big list of what separates S&S from the rest of the d00Lite family:
- Design Goal: Players only need 2d10 to experience the whole game.
- Character Creation: Lots more options for Bone expenditure to tweak the character. Ability scores are now 50+2D. Starting characters may take two skills at Level 1, receiving a third from either a Background or spending a Bone.
- Castings: Characters fall under one of two alignments (Illuminated or Shaded), further divided into four castings. These archetypal roles determine what drives or burdens allow the characters to replenish their Bones during play.
- Backgrounds: The core backgrounds are similar to Covert Ops, with mild tweaks. Backgrounds now also have a Monthly Allowance tied to them to determine funds the character has. There’s also Special Backgrounds, which are really weird and give strange little benefits to the character.
- Skills: Skills have been flavored more as archetypes than professions. A lot of them have been condensed/streamlined compared to the original system. A “Socialite” skill has been introduced, replacing “Leader” which I felt was too crunchy and genre specific for this broader, more open ended title.
- Equipment: Characters have a Monthly Allowance based on their background, and can pay a Lifestyle cost to cover their holdings such as home, vehicle, business and what kind of random belongings they may own. Characters still pick around 5 specific pieces of equipment (like weapons or equipment packs) to establish what they generally have on them at any time.
- Weapon Damage: All weapons roll 2D, and are rated as Lowest, Average, Highest, or Total. Lowest and Highest means, well, lowest or highest die rolled. Likewise, Average is the average of the two, and Total is the sum of both. Unarmed is still 1D/2.
- Body Points: All characters have a base BP of 20 points. The STR bonus for damage now also serves as bonus BP for the character.
- Advantage/Disadvantage: Characters who have advantage roll their two dice, and uses the lowest in the tens place. Disadvantage, therefore, means the highest die is used in their tens place. This replaces a lot of circumstantial rolls that originally cut scores in half. For instance — being shot at without partial cover leaves defensive actions at a disadvantage, where originally in CO the character’s DEX score was cut in half.
- Driving: Operating civilian vehicles are just a given, and any actions taken with a vehicle are based on the DEX ability instead of a skill. Those who want to pilot/drive more complicated vehicles can do so by taking a specified focus under the Technician skill. DEX is still used for piloting, but they’re considered to have operational and diagnostic training.
- Manifestations: The Medium skill allows the character to acquire special powers. These powers are actually based on or inspired by the spells found in BareBones Fantasy. They are relatively scaled back in power, however, and the amount the character adopts is greatly reduced (two at first level, one again levels 3 and 6.)
Here’s what has been added:
- Terror System: An optional system for fear and terror. Players encountering terror make WIL checks to resist being frightened, going temporarily insane, or traumatized to the point their Moral Codes shift! The table of effects rolled on uses the sum of 2D, putting the most extreme results on the lower end of a curve.
- Gifts: A system of general powers and abilities that players can pick and choose from to flavor their own supernatural characters.
- Occultist Magic: Comes in two forms — Rituals and Thaumaturgy. Both use the Academic skill (with Occultist focus). Rituals are slow, time consuming spells that either Illuminated or Shadowed characters may pick up and learn. Thaumaturgy, on the other hand, is spontaneous magic that uses a free-form system. Both spell systems are centered around the six Arcanum: The four elements (Fire, Water, Air, Earth) and the two fates (Life and Death). The elements include not only the literal forces, but the common tarot interpretations as well. For example: Fire is an element of emotions and passions, air is an element of the mind, and water is the element of illusions.Sound interesting? Then go download the play test and let me know what you think!
Now that the summer heat is subsiding to a modest heat in Texas (with the occasional bouts of “feels nice”), I figured it was time to post a seasonal update regarding current projects that The ChaosGrenade is waiting to pull the pins on:
- Sigil & Shadow: It’s still happening, I promise! There’s a lot going on with DwD these days, including the wrapping-up of the second edition of Covert Ops. S&S is next in line, but, it needs to wait its turn. And believe me, I’m as impatient to get it as you folks are. I’ve played the crap out of this game, and I believe in it. I can’t give an ETA because it needs to go through some edits, layout, and have art commissioned. All of which equals time and money. And with my college degree at full attention right now, I don’t really have the time, money or resources I’d like to devote to pushing it out by myself. I’m purposefully keeping the hype-train restrained on this until I have a better timeline to tell the awesome folks who’ve been hounding me about it. It sucks, but that’s just how it is.
- Website Overhaul: I’ve worked on the site a bit and re-organized things. Pretty much, everything is either a personal gaming blog post or a news update related to my projects (such as this!). I know my posting is infrequent these days, so the focus of the site now is a repository for our games first, a hobbyist gaming blog second. I appreciate everyone who continues to drop by, and I’ll continue to post about my home games. But I think my time as a frequent and relevant blogger has long passed — I don’t have the steam I used to have during the 4e D&D days. I’m happy to be gaming once or twice a month now. It sucks, but that’s just how it is.
- WASTED! as a Stand Alone Game: This is happening at a snail’s pace, but, I’m collaborating with a friend to create a full rulebook version for playing post-apoc, Madmax style games using the REWIRED rules. We’re treating this as a separate (albeit compatible) game — it’ll have its own twist of mechanics and flavor. I think this will be appealing to a lot of newcomers and be easier for GM’s to run a game like this than having to walk through a hack-guide.
- I’m playing a lot more games at least. I have a group I’m running Cypher System with. I have a weekly D&D 5e group I play with at a local game shop, that I’ve been attending somewhat regularly (regular enough to hit level 5 on my Warlock.) One of my buds hosts weekly board game nights, so I’ve been getting to experience a broader range of things outside my own collections. My personal creativity and production may be completely focused on schoolwork, but, it’s nice playing stuff without having to have my “playtest and feedback analysis” hat on. You know, playing for fun again.
- Don’t do anything I wouldn’t eat.
- Make sure you turn the lights off when you leave.
- Keep Calm — Napalm.
- Have yourself a nice cold beer, and drink yourself away.
- Straighten your necktie.
- Free Parking
- You’re a rebel, I like that.
Just a bit of an update for projects we’re working on over here.
Sigil & Shadow
The game is getting closer and closer to being ready. There’s been some hefty revisions to how certain parts of the game have been approached. I’m pretty certain, though, that I’m finally at a point where I’m happy how the magic system and the supernatural powers work. Right now my main focus is in the flavor of things — the default cosmology and setting details. The goal is to provide a game world mythology that can be taken out easily and replaced with whatever mythos the GM intends to run, but still delivers plenty of flavor and intrigue so others would actually want to run the default setting.
Up until now, my goals with the game have been merely mechanical — I wanted to create a game that fills everything I want and love in the genre of modern horror and fantasy without all the stuff that I felt bloated things down for both players and Game Masters. Now that I have that, I want it to be something more than just a rules alternative. A friend of mine asked me the other night “What makes your game stand out from, say, the Buffy RPG?” All I could answer was in terms of mechanics. My goal in the next couple weeks is to provide a better answer with content to back it.
Something I’ve been keeping a lid on for a bit: Matt Bryant is currently doing some revisions and brainstorming for a big update of Main Sequence. He’s let me in on some juicy intel, some of which includes a provided setting that spans three eras of play. We plan on giving this version the works — a new layout and design, some better attentions to detail, that kind of stuff.
Another big announcement related to MS — WYRED is officially getting retired. I no longer really support or endorse it, as REWIRED was the direction I chose to take with that game. Fans of the WyRM system shouldn’t fret, though! MS was originally a derivative of WYRED — pretty much the same game, just one had augmentations and the other had spaceships. So why not both? WYRED will now be merged with MAIN SEQUENCE, making the upcoming revision our one big go-to for WyRM powered science fiction!
I can’t give a proper ETA on either project. S&S is the top of my priorities, and I’m shooting to be complete by late August or September. MS is dependent more on Matt’s schedule, which is centered around his own full-time (and over) work schedule. We can assure you, though, that we’re putting in lots of work and love to make these releases spectacular. We will be keeping updates here as best as we can.