Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Jinkies! RPG - image of a purple panda rapping wearing a milkshake necklace

Jinkies! Final Day on Kickstarter

A project I’m working on, Jinkies! RPG, is in its final 36 hours on Kickstarter– and it’s so close to funding!

Jinkies! RPG - image of a purple panda rapping wearing a milkshake necklace

Jinkies! is an RPG where you play teen musicians-turned-sleuths solving mysteries with your talking animal companion– basically the Saturday morning mystery cartoons we all grew up loving from the 70’s and 80’s!

This is a great game, and my friend Toby Strauss is creating it, I’m project managing it, and there’s some great talent lined up for art, editing, and stretch goals– but as of this morning, the real challenge was hitting the funding goal so we can make it a reality!

Gamex 2016 (Strategicon): What we played!

This weekend, I went to Strategicon, as I do two or three times a year. Memorial Day weekend is Gamex, and it’s usually well-attended and of course a lot of fun.

brehahaFriday night, I’d pre-registered for a game called Brew Ha Ha from UNCORKED Games! It has 24 left in its Kickstarter right now, and I highly recommend it!

The premise of the game is like Apples to Apples, Funemployed, or Cards Against Humanity, with a judge and each player submitting cards to tickle the judge’s funny bone. In Brew Ha Ha, however, each round starts with a 1-ounce beer tasting, and you pick cards that describe the beer. The judge awards a point to the “most accurate” description, and one point to their personal favorite, which may or may not be accurate, or maybe just funny.

In the course of a few rounds, we drank about the equivalent of a single beer, but had a lot of fun doing so! Really fun game, and one of the few “drinking games” where the point isn’t to do irreparable liver damage!

Saturday was a good day for kicking around, going to the vendor hall, and catching up with friends. I ran Threadbare at 2 and 8 PM, so I didn’t want to get too overtaxed beforehand. My 2 PM game was in the “family hall,” which was poorly marked, but consisted of a set of tables in the hallway. When only adults showed up to play, we moved over to an empty table in one of the gaming rooms. I ran the first run-through of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” a new adventure where you’re a scouting group for your community. For the 8 PM game, I had 7 players, and was reminded that 7 is just a bit too many for PbtA games (I never learn!)

Sunday morning was beach time, which was lovely! I took my kite out and we had a  great time flying it at Venice Beach. Lots of fun, lots of people working out (I guess this was the area known for lots of gyms and such!)

Sunday afternoon I played in Dave K’s new game, Bedlam Hall. It’s a (PbtA) cross between Downton Abbey and Edward Gorey. Wonderfully dreadful, and I can’t wait to see how he continues to develop it. I think it’ll be a very fun game once he’s ready to release it.

In the evening, I played in Toby’s game Jinkies! Also PbtA, Jinkies is a Scooby-Doo inspired adventure where you play the Scooby gang, solving a mystery and having adventures on the way. I playtested a new playbook that didn’t really fit in with the other archetypes. He’ll be revisiting that playbook as he continues to develop it.

Monday morning, we busted out Yellowstone, an Avalon Hill game about the national park. It’s basically Chinese Checkers with predators, and although we had fun, this was definitely our “bad game for the con” experience. It didn’t help that this was the game I personally brought to the con, and which I now own. Ah, well. It was fun anyway, and I got to play a herd of elk!

While I was out of town, Threadbare hit $9K in funding, and continues to go well. The Kickstarter has 8 days left, and I’m excited and hope it hits its next two stretch goals before it finishes up!

Metatopia 2015: Experiences and brain-dump

threadbareThere were a lot of experiences– both amazing and not-so-amazing– at my first Metatopia last weekend, where I brought Threadbare to playtest among strangers and other professionals. Totally not intimidating, right?

I went with my friend Toby, and we practiced the buddy system quite a bit all weekend. This meant I was less likely to go insert myself into groups the way I normally do, but also meant that we always had someone watching out for each other, making sure we ate and hydrated, and going to bed at reasonable(ish) hours. Also, having someone split a bar tab with you is always nice.

There was a meet-and-greet with other female and non-binary designers on Thursday night, which was fun and exciting and involved a lot of arts and crafts. I was exhausted, having been up since about 2:30 that morning and having spent 3 more hours than I was capable of spending at the Newark airport before we finally caught a ride and got into the hotel. Nonetheless, not having any overly structured things on Thursday really helped us settle in.

Continue reading Metatopia 2015: Experiences and brain-dump

#RPGaDay 5: Most Recent Purchase

Well. Because I only bought board and card games at GenCon, this answer is a little silly given yesterday’s post about larping at GenCon. See, on Tuesday before GenCon, I bought the ebook version of Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition, just so I wouldn’t have to carry the paperback with me, in case I thought I might need it at the con (I didn’t).

153922On Wednesday, I acquired (pay what you want… I paid $0, because cheapskate) the Just A Game playtest packet (Luke Green), though, so I will talk about that. Also, the Kickstarter for 14 Days finished ($8), but I don’t have it in hand yet.

Just a Game is a campaign framework for running a "trapped in the game" style RPG campaign. Like Sword Art Online or .hack. It could even be for running a "trapped in a tabletop RPG" campaign, like the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.

The playtest packet has three variations– a Fate version, Gumshoe version, and Powered by the Apocalypse version. Because I run all three systems, I’m really excited about playtesting this game. I’m already talking to a friend about running it as "Trapped in Minecraft" for his 9 year old daughter. Which means, even though it’s not a #RPGaDay category, my "next video game purchase" is probably going to be Minecraft….

Gaming Catch-Up

Not wanting to fall too far behind on my gaming writeups, I’ll do a quick summary post:

Wednesday game: We played Time Quest, my Goblin Quest time-travel hack, and it was a lot of fun and resulted in a lot of really good ideas for improving the game. If you want to playtest it, leave a comment here or on Google+.

We’ve decided to put Monster of the Week on hold– my players’ play styles don’t mesh well enough to make it enjoyable for everyone. Instead, we’re going to playtest my Night’s Black Agents scenario, Day of the Wehrwolf, in the next few weeks, and see how well it runs. I was out sick with food poisoning this week, so we start that in 2 days.

Moving Forward: So. The apocalyptic event happened. We all leveled up to 10th level and fought a primordial in 2 phases (so, like 2 separate creatures). We did well. We lost two PCs– Ordune was literally ripped in two, and Firiel was disintegrated into her atomic parts. But we defeated the monster and learned something about its abilities, combat, and alliances. Also learned that Firiel’s patron is going to double cross and there’s nothing we can do about it if this fight goes as planned.

There was, in some of our treasure, a scroll that would undo the past 5 minutes of time. Gwenn has it. While Tristram was putting Ordune’s body onto a stretcher, she used it to undo the shot that killed Firiel. Instead, she slew the last of the monsters in that fight, and promptly threw up. Nobody else in the party knows about the world-ending events, although since their players know, and since Gwenn is presently keeping it a secret (we haven’t left Thuul yet, so we’re not safe enough to talk about it), all the players keep making references that are completely innocent, but make Gwenn blanch. Like Ordune will say something about splitting the party, or Firiel will comment that she sometimes feels downright invisible, etc. It’s awesome and good storytelling. We’re heading now into Vecna’s old house to find whatever horrific thing is in his lab. We should probably die there.

Dungeon World: We converted the Sunday Epyllion game to Dungeon World after the end of the dragon campaign. Now, many years after the Age of Dragons has ended, in the Age of Humanity, our PCs are going about our business, meddling in the affairs of dragons. We are Illustria, an illusionist wizard, Anitra, a sea druid whose natural form is a dog, and Ramona, an ancient bard with a songbook in draconic and no way to read it. We started out as circus owners, and have quickly found ourselves running away from everything until we accidentally-on-purpose released the protective bubble that covered the Hell Chasm, releasing the dragons and all the other monsters trapped within.

First Date: I played a playtest of a game by a friend of mine about going on a first date. We discovered that the math was not usable as it was– it was nigh-impossible to succeed at the game. You start with a goal– his was "to sell a timeshare" and mine was "to make him admit I’m smarter than him." The goal is public, so you can veto the other person’s goal if it’s creepy or weird. And then there’s a dice mechanic that was hard to track and harder to succeed– he’s going to go back to the drawing board on the dice and see what he can do to fix the math.

Whispering Road: We finished the Whispering Road game! After 5 sessions, each covering one act, we finally wrapped it up with a very satisfying ending. I’m going to write it up as a short story to post here in the next few weeks.

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