Archive for June, 2011

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Left Coast playtest

20 June, 2011

Steve Hickey wrote a small game called Left Coast for the Ronnies contest back in 2005. It got some good feedback then, and now Steve has re-written the game entirely, as I understand it partly helped by a playtest in NZ in 2009. In Left Coast each player plays a less than successful sci-fi writer trying to juggle life, family, income and indeed creative output. The setting is California in the 1950-70s.

Now that alone could be an interesting game, kind of like Contenders with writers, but Left Coast now has a pretty unique concept to add to the mix. Let me see if I can explain it, because my head is starting to explode every time I think about it. That’s how good and indeed genre appropriate it is.

Every player character is also the main character in a book written by one of the other player characters, so what happens in the game’s fiction is also the in-fiction stories being written by the player characters. In other words, your player character’s GM is one of the other players who is also playing the author of a book featuring your player character. Are you with me?

I think this is mind-blowingly awesome, but have no idea whether it’s possible to actually pull it off. I gues no-one knows, because it hasn’t been playtested yet, which we are going to try hopefully next week before I go on holiday.

Download latest version of Left Coast

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Thin Blue Line, 5

5 June, 2011

After a period of distractions, I’ve gone back to the Thin Blue Line draft. I’m currently half way through David Peace’s “1980”, the third book in his Red Riding quartet about the Yorkshire Ripper, and this is the kind of dark police drama I would play any day.

I’m nearly done with briefly describing all abilities and skills, which is kind of boring but necessary to explain to playtesters (and players) what kind of stuff they can be used for in play. As I mentioned earlier, I have included player character templates to kick things off faster when starting to play. I won’t bore you with skill descriptions here, but I can show you the templates I have in mind, which are called Character Packs. The draft includes 10 packs, but it’s very likely that more will emerge as time goes by.

Character Packs

Each Character Pack comes with a, hopefully inspirational, title and a pre-made set of abilities and skills. All that needs to be filled in by the player is close NPCs, Credo, Burden and Hunch, and sometimes a backstory question. Here’s a full example:

Ex Military

Born in your game’s city/setting. Been a police officer a couple of years. Working-class parents. Already famous/notorious in the police force (for what?).
Human Nature 6
Will 3
Health 5
Skills: Bureaucracy, Intimidation 3, Law, Firearms 3, Deception, Persuasion,  Report-writing 2, Tactics, Unarmed combat, Vehicles
Traits: Brave 2, Fearless, Sense of Duty, Skeptic
Wises: Surveillance-wise, Wiretap-wise
Resources 1
Circles: 4
Notes: Can’t take Cool Under Fire, Naive, Compassionate, Merciful, Diplomatic, Jaded, Uptight or Righteous traits.
First sergeant:  Mentor:  Good friend: Enemy:
Gear: Police badge and service firearm. Shotgun. Lockpick.
Destiny 2

Here are the rest of the Character Packs, short description only.

Rookie
Born in another city. Middle-class parents, and a family with a long tradition in police forces. Once committed a crime (which?)

Action Man
Born in another country, but grew up here. Well off parents. Has been in the force 10+ years, now a Detective, and have powerful enemies.

Old Hand
Born and bred in this city, and an institution within the police force. Middle-class parents. Rank Lieutenant.

Egghead
Born in another city. Parents filthy rich, expensive private education, top class degree, Masters, PhD, the lot. And then the police force? Wtf?

Mr Ambition
Born in this city. Went straight through the ranks and is now Captain. Middle-class parents.

Shrink
Born in another city by working-class parents. Scholarship and now analyst with the police. Rank as police officer.

Technician
Born in this city by middle-class parents. Last generation in a long line of police officer. Detective.

Working for the Man
From another country, well-off parents. Police Officer.

Rebel
Born in another country, working class family. Has been in the force for decades and ranks Detective. Bit of  loner.