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April 2014

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Ladies League of Invells, Part 2

inverseworldMore notes from my all-woman Inverse World game!

Note: Inverse World is now available in PDF format from DriveThruRPG!

We spent about an hour on character creation, some updates, and more worldbuilding. Professor A’s player was called into work unexpectedly, and my friend LeeAnn was joining us for the first time. LeeAnn decided to play Naga, a copper-skinned goblin Mechanic. Ugly as sin, usually dirty, but very friendly (to the point of social awkwardness) with her cockney accent and big grinning smile. And wig– Naga is usually wearing some kind of bouffant wig, usually unkempt.

For the updates, I handed out a custom sheet of InverseWorld-BasicMoves. One of the basic moves is my custom Investigation move– which I still need to tweak a bit– which expands the “Discern Realities” move to include other skills, and always results in a clue, but may give the adversaries a hold for when they encounter you (preparation). I’ve also adapted the Last Breath move to accommodate the Death Moves from Grim World (you get the Death Move at level 6, but cannot use both in the same death– those who would try to bargain with Death do not deserve to change the world on their passing.) And I altered the End of Session and Level Up moves. Level Up doesn’t add a spell to wizards’ spellbooks (because there are no wizards), and End of Session replaces overcoming a monster or enemy with changing a place for better or worse.

Finally, for my returning players, I handed out some possible Backgrounds from Pirate World by Iain Chantler and James Hawthorne. I explained these are completely optional, but give them a bit more background for their characters, based on what  I’d seen in their role-play. The Pirate World backgrounds are still in development, but I wanted to roll them out, see how they play, with options to expand or change them later. I suggested Mercantile for Captain Sparrow, Witch Hunter for Lantern Aeos, and Sneaky for Walker Enn. Enn liked Sneaky, but changed the word “Sneak” to “Stealth,” because it’s less pejorative. The Captain liked Mercantile. Aeos returned Witch Hunter and explained that she wouldn’t want to focus on driving the darkness out of just people– she wants it to be a more generalized thing.

This was a good lead-in to talking about the Darkness, which we decided as a group is an entity, a real thing that seeps into people and places and convinces them to turn away from Sola’s light and do bad things. It is subtle evil, though– pervasive, convincing… but rarely overt. I can already see that I will have many challenges in this group, as I cannot simply pit them against a Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) and make it obvious he’s their target.

We also discussed some of the more mundane adversaries the party faces– in particular, the oppressive, yet advanced, Empire that unites many of the Island nations.

Finally, we got underway. We picked up where we’d left off, and the party decided to explore the Fruit Market, a place on Glass of Sands where you can now buy nearly any type of technology you might wish for. Professor A was described as disappearing into the Fruit Market to do some “shopping,” presumably for bones.

Some highlights:

  • They ran into Naga and the Captain re-hired her onto the ship.
  • Enn investigated the vinyards on the belowside.
  • The party spoke to Mayor Kelvine, who is a charismatic fellow… who is probably lying through his teeth.
  • The Mayor and Captain Sparrow are old friends. He gave her a writ of salvage if she wants to go off to check out Smallski.
  • He set the Captain to meet someone named Marius… who may be the leader of the terrorists.
  • Aeos made contact with “Jehanne,” the woman who collects bread for the poor in the city (perhaps.)
  • Naga stumbled into a few dozen drinks and lifted a bunch of shiny things.
  • Aeos spoke to Donovan while Enn investigated the upper rafters of the Tax Agency building.
  • Donovan thought at first that Aeos had seen his dead wife, and was surprised to learn she was speaking of Elder Lantern Ethyl.
  • Enn met a young lad who looks startlingly like her long-lost younger brother. He’s the monkey-keeper in the Tax Agency.
  • Enn and Naga decided to track the goggle-wearing Dr. Glassner, first at his home, then at his lab at the university. Naga distracted his students while Enn sneaked down to the sub-basement lab.
  • And that’s where Enn saw the Crystal for the first time.

We ended there for now, with a number of leads and some fascinating stuff happening for the party.

Solo Playtesting for Monster Under the Bed

The next game I’m working on is called Monster Under the Bed. It’s a cooperative card game for families– about age 8 and up, I think. The basic premise is “you are preparing to fight off the monster under the bed.” Everyone needs to have at least 1 good dream worth about 9 points or more in order for the players to win. There are three phases, with the monster deck reshuffling between phases.

I playtested it by myself today at lunch. Dealt out three players’ hands and the monster deck. Here are my notes:

  • Monster deck is too large. Needs to be 1/2 the size (it was 180 cards, needs to be ~90).
  • Player decks have too many actions and not enough items, at least for the third phase.
  • Phase 3 needs actions– I seem to have forgotten to put any in, so every card is a Nightmare.
  • Need to be more clear about things like who wins in a tie (the Monster), and whether you can choose not to take a monster Okay Thought card or not. I need to playtest this in both directions– I think making it optional means players get to make more strategic decisions, but it’s going to result in stagnating Dream cards towards the end of the first phase.

I have a few more notes on this, of course, but these are the bare-bones. I am going to retool parts of it and try to play it with my family in a couple of days.

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