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[Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks] Steampunk playtesters required

Started by Lynne H, February 10, 2010, 03:38:11 PM

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Lynne H

A free version of the Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks steampunk RPG is available from:

The system needs further playtesting prior to the release of the full for-sale version of the game. Any and all feedback gratefully received.

Thank you.

Simon C

Hi Lynn,

There are a few things I don't understand in your game.

When am I supposed to roll dice? The game says "there are times when you should roll dice", but it doesn't tell me what those times are.

What do I achieve if I succeed or fail at my roll? How do I know this?

In one of your examples, it says something like "The GM knows that the mole-car will be needed later on, so it shouldn't be destroyed." How does the GM know this?

Lynne H

Hi Simon,

Sorry not to get back to you sooner.

In this game, the main reason the GM should ask for a dice roll is if the results of a player's actions might be open to dispute by other players in the game or if the GM feels the dice result might add some dramatic tension to the situation. In some groups, this may mean that there are lots of rolls, in other groups virtually none. Say, for example, a player wants their character to leap across a gully with a very deep drop. Its quite a wide gully and there could be severe consequences if the character fails to make it (even though in the long run, the whole jumping thing isn't really critical to the plot of the story). The GM knows that the other players in this particular group are unlikely to be happy with the GM glossing over it with a quick description ("oh, its a bit wide but you grit your teeth and fling yourself across; you have a bit of a wobble when you land, your arms wind-milling to regain your balance, but in the end you're fine and stumble onwards!"), so he calls for a roll to see if the character succeeds. The GM sets a difficulty level they think is appropriate (i.e. not very high) and the player rolls to see if they make the jump. If they beat the difficulty number set by the GM, the character manages to get over the gully without falling in. If they fail, they do fall in and the game takes a different direction. Exactly when you need these sorts of rolls is down to GM experience and the group of people you are playing with, there is no hard and fast rule to cover it. I've run games for and played with gamers who demand rolls for everything to make sure there is no argument but also with groups who never touched the dice because they trusted each other and the GM to do what was right to move the story forward.

In terms of what will happen if you succeed or fail at a roll, that is usually up to the GM. They make take advice from the group as to what the over all outcome is, or they may decide based on where they would like the story to go. Sometimes a failure opens up all sorts of new possibilities or some creative thinking as to how to get where the story needs to be. As with the dice rolling, its all down to co-operation between the GM and the players to create a coherent, interesting story and ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves.

As to the example you mentioned, the GM has an overall plot arc in mind for this story. They want the mole-machine to survive so that it can come in useful later on when its really important, because they know there's probably no other way that the characters can get home. But because the character has no driving skill, the other players might well object if he suddenly manages to drive a very complex piece of machinery perfectly.

Hope that helps!