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Author Topic: [Pace/Otherkind Hybrid] Swashbuckling Librarian & Demonic Cheerleader!  (Read 5548 times)
Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« on: November 24, 2007, 02:04:04 AM »

Hanging out tonight, a friend and I were bored, so I decided to fiddle around with the simple dice mechanic Vincent posted about (http://www.lumpley.com/archive/148.html). To start with a little momentum I grabbed the "2 descriptors" character creation from Fred Hicks'  Pace (http://www.1km1kt.net/rpg/PACE.php).

We came up with Guy, the Swashbuckling (2) Librarian (3); and Amy, the Demonic (4) Cheerleader (1). We actually ended up reducing the descriptor bonuses to a total of 3, because we rolled too many pluses (we were using Fudge dice). Yes, that's right, we were succeeding too often, so we cut back. We briefly considered forcing ourselves to assign all the dice, so that each complication would have a net result, but discarded it as too clunky. Speed and simplicity were the name of this game, and we discarded every tweak we came up with that would have dragged things out.

So, right, anyway, the mechanical combination was that you rolled 1 for your goal, 1 for each complication, and if you could apply one or both descriptors, you got dice equal to the value.

It worked pretty well. We decided it was not a game you'd play with a competitive person. We did a lot of coming up with complications for our own characters, and assigning minuses even when we had plusses to spare, just to make things interesting.

Guy ended up late for a date and followed his date and his replacement to the theater, where he confronted the other man after he got fresh with the girl. They duelled on the stage (it was a combo theater with both a stage and screen) and Guy thoroughly trounced his opponent, who ended up with a bucket of popcorn stuck on his head. Unfortunately someone pulled the fire alarm and Penny (the girl) got trampled in the exodus. Guy grabbed a rope from the side of the stage and swung to her rescue, taking her back to the school where he worked to tend her bruises with the first aid kit. We left them dancing in the music room, exchanging tender pleasantries, Guy about to ask her if she will go on vacation with him- but Brad, the other man, is on his way to the school to cause more trouble.

Amy's dilemma was that it's the night before the big game, and Nancy, the head of the squad, has not shown up to lead them in practicing the new cheer. After getting a text message (PLZ HLP!!!) from Nancy, the squad piles in a van and follows the phone's buddy locator (one of those new Helio thingies) to a warehouse in the shady part of town. Amy uses her demonic strength to break in, without even breaking a nail. The squad finds Nancy tied to a chair and surrounded by thuggish looking men. Amy summons the powers of hell to douse the lights, tear free of her human flesh, and eviscerate all the men with inhuman speed. At stake is whether the other girls will cop to her diabolical nature, whether Nancy will lose her sanity, and most importantly, whether or not the blood will ruin their uniforms. Everything works out great, except the uniforms. The girls get back to the school and manage to dodge inquiries from the janitor (It's just, yanno, woman stuff. He didn't want to know any more). Amy produces some weed to calm the frantic girls down, and convinces them that nobody needs to know about any of this- at least until after the game. They can use their Away uniforms until the old ones are clean. Unfortunately they get so stoned they forget to practice the new cheer at all. Amy is not about to let the school's reputation suffer, so she manages to possess the entire squad long enough to run them through the most perfectly synchronized routine ever performed. Too bad that the girls' souls can't find their way back to their bodies after that much time has elapsed... looks like Amy might have to keep pulling their strings until she can find a way to get them back! And of course there's still a chance someone might find the bloody uniforms...

This was a great, fun little pickup game. We decided that blanks meant the complication carries over to the next scene, and that if you rolled ALL blanks, you could either carry everything over and add a new complication in the next scene; or you could reroll all the dice for the same scene. Scene framing, narration, and complications were pretty informal. In general, the guiding player narrated successes and the framing player narrated negative outcomes, but it wasn't hard and fast, and there was plenty of back and forth suggesting and discussion.

There's a good chance I will try this again, whether picking up the same characters/stories or starting new ones, possibly with other players. We'll see. I and some friends are auditioning to join a group next month, so I'm looking forward to getting to actually play for a change. Wee!

Thanks, Vincent & Fred, for the mechanics ^_^

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2007, 11:31:38 AM »

Hi there,

You, uh, do realize that you just designed a game?

Give it a name!

Best, Ron
Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2007, 03:49:10 PM »

Well, right now it's just called "the pickup game". And... actually, to save time, I'll just post the contents of an email I sent the other day, to the friend I played with:


 I was thinking about potential further development of the pickup game (which does not currently have, or need, any better name). Some stuff I was pondering:
* what about having more than 2 players? I think this would work fine. who framed scenes for each player's character would be simple enough, either the person across from you, or to your left, or whatever. It might not even need to be the same person every time, it could just be whomever had an idea first. Probably other players could pitch in ideas at any time, with the framing player having the final say on what gets included or not.
* what about if each player has more than one character? This is no big deal, except that it depends on the next thing, which is
* how do "guided characters" (PCs) interact? I think if they all belong to the same player, then it doesn't really matter, it's just more traits for them to call on for dice. PC vs PC conflict, tho, is a whole other bag of fish. The general idea I have for this is that everybody sets stakes as normal, and then rolls, and then they can put their dice not only on their own conflicts, but on the opponent's as well. Not sure if that would work out well or not, it'd take playtesting. Also not sure how exactly opposed (rather than orthogonal) stakes would work out.
* how to add/change/remove traits... for the pickup version, this isn't necessary, but for more sustained play, eventually someone's going to want to change their character somehow. Even if it's adding a resource, like "I found a magic sword, and I want it to be worth 1 die when I use it". There are probably a few ways this could be handled. One is that the framing player can maybe add a complication to the object itself, like "it's a magic sword, but it's haunted, and the former owners sometimes require tasks of you" or something. Maybe it should be a scene goal, just like anything else? Or maybe it should just be handled by agreement. This might take some fiddling with to see how to handle it best.
* "traditional" style play, with one player in a GM-like role, framing for all the other players and guiding most NPCs... simple enough, right?
* something to do with leftover dice. I'm thinking maybe the guiding player keeps +s, the framing player keeps -s, and the blanks just go away. Perhaps either player can spend those at will, adding +s or -s to rolls for scenes. Also maybe they can be saved up to purchase traits? Like, instead of just saying "I want a magic sword worth 1 die", or "I want to change my 'Cowardly' trait to 'Fearless' now that I've passed the Trial of Terrors", they'd have to go "I'm spending 3 +s to make this magic sword I found worth 1 die", etc. One aspect of letting the players save up +s and -s, is that it gives the guiding player a reason to hose their character sometimes, so they can save +s for later, or so they can hose them on their terms rather than letting the framing player save up -s to hose them with later. Is that even an issue?
* Can the framing player call on character traits to force extra dice? Like "Your Demonic bloodlust rises up and urges you to slaughter the helpless janitor to prevent him from revealing your secret... add 2 dice to your roll". Or is that deprotagonizing? The dice aren't really about your character's ability to succeed at tasks so much as they are about the PLAYER's ability to control the direction of the story, after all. Having "2" in Demonic just means 2 more results to assign, and yeah, there's a better chance of getting plusses, but there's also a higher chance of minuses. Basically it just means that being Demonic is more important to her story than being a Cheerleader, because for better or for worse, it will have more influence on the story.
anyway, just some thoughts, figured I'd get some feedback from you.


So, basically, one step ahead of ya *g*.

Feedback from Forgizens would also be cool.


Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2007, 03:54:45 PM »

Oh, and also my blog post with the complete AP report (heavily paraphrased, mind you). The tentative rules we used are included at the end for anyone who wants to give it a try.


pickup game : redux[ edit | delete ]
posted 12/05/07
I originally posted the first few scenes of this a couple weeks ago, but have since gone back and added the missing parts and cleaned it up a bit. So here is the complete post, as new.


O : I want to play a Swashbuckling Librarian. His name is... heh. I have a librarian friend who refers to all male librarians as "guybrarians". That's totally his name, Guy Brarian.
S : Oookay. I'm going with a Demonic Cheerleader. Her name is Amy.
O : Cool. I'm assigning 1 to Swashbuckling, and 2 to Librarian.
S : Demonic 2, Cheerleader 1.

O : Ok, you're in the school gymnasium with all the other cheerleaders. The big game against the rival school is tomorrow night, and you're all supposed to learn the great new cheer that Nancy, the head of the squad, has come up with. Only, Nancy's not here. Nobody's seen her all day. One of her friends is frantically trying to text her, and getting no reply. Her cell phone goes right to voice mail. All of the girls are babbling excitedly and wigging out. One of them starts to hyperventilate. After Nancy, you've got the most seniority in the squad. What are you gonna do?
S : First, I'm going to try to calm the girls down.
O : Fine. Let's see, the complication is that I think there's a chance that the squad will lose confidence in you to lead them in Nancy's absence.
S : Ok. So I'm rolling 1 for calming them, 1 for them not losing confidence, and 1 extra for my Cheerleader trait. S. rolls +, /, /. Crap. Ok, I'm assigning the + to them not losing confidence in me, and a blank to me calming them down.
O : Right. The girls are still looking to you for guidance, but they are also getting increasingly spazzy. In fact, the hyperventilating one passes out. As you are all standing around trying to revive her, one of the girls gets a text message. It's from Nancy! She holds it up for everyone to see: "OMG, PLZ HLP!!!" Aaand, cut!

S : Hm. You're in the school library, adding some new books to the collection. There are a bunch of bored kids in there, basically making a nuisance of themselves, looking for books on sex, rearranging things just to be obnoxious. It's going to take you forever to clean up after them.
O : Ooh, what if I have a date that night, that I don't want to be late for!
S : Yes, you have a date. But if you get short with the kids, you might piss them off and they might make more trouble.
O : And also, if I make a mistake entering these records, there'll be hell to pay with my boss tomorrow.
S : Right.
O : Ok, I'm rolling 1 for "get out in time for my date", 1 for "don't piss off the kids", 1 for "don't make any mistakes", and 1 extra dice for being a Librarian. O. rolls +, +, -, -, -. Hmm, something's gotta give. I think I'm a dedicated Librarian, so I painstakingly double check all my entries. + to that. And + to not pissing off the kids. Which means I am SO not getting to my date on time. I totally show up half an hour late to her place, my shirt's not ironed, and I've just grabbed a handful of flowers out of the pot on somebody's stoop on my way down the street.
S : Yep. And as you approach her place, you see her get in a convertible, with another guy behind the wheel, and peel out.
O : I'm totally following them! Do I need to roll for that?
S : No, that's cool. You tail them to the theater, where you watch them pay for their tickets and go inside.
O : Good. Back to you!

O : So you all go and pile into one of the passenger vans you guys tour in. One of the girls is driving, and the one with the phone; it's one of those Helio deals with the GPS and buddy locator, is giving directions. After driving for a while, you end up at a darkened warehouse in a shady part of town. It's surrounded by a chainlink fence. The girls are milling around and talking, nobody seems sure of what to do.
S : I'm going to snap the chain around the gate with my Demonic strength. But I don't want any of the girls to see, so I'm being surreptitious.
O : Okay, so your goal is to get inside, right? And the complication is that the girls might freak out if they see you do something demony? I think there's also a chance you will draw the attention of the guard dogs inside the grounds.
S : And I might break a nail.
O : You want that as a complication?
S : I'm a cheerleader, it's important.
O : Right. Roll those puppies.
S : 1 to get inside, 1 to hide my Demonic nature from the girls, 1 to avoid alerting the dogs, 1 to not break a nail, and 2 more since I'm using my Demonic strength. That's a total of 6 dice. S. rolls +, +, +, +, /, -. Yes! I totally snapped the chain, nobody saw it, and we all sneak into the warehouse without getting noticed. Your turn.

S : So you've followed your date and the mysterious man to the theater.
O : Yep. I'm sneaking in behind them and sitting a few rows back so I can see them clearly, but I'm not quite close enough to eavesdrop on their conversation.
S : It's the same sappy romantic comedy you were supposed to take her to. She's paying attention to the movie, but the guy is paying more attention to her. As the movie goes on, he gets more insistent, trying to neck with her, but she's not really interested. Eventually he gets a little too fresh and she smacks him. He gets mad and stands up, looming over her menacingly.
O : Oh, hell no. I leap up over the row ahead of me and balance on the backs of the seats, drawing my, um, trusty umbrella that I always carry and pointing it at him just as the music swells for some dramatic moment in the movie. "Unhand her, you cad!" I'm totally trying to intimidate him, and impress her at the same time.
S : Ok, those are two separate goals, right? I think you're pushing to get kicked out of the theater with that kind of behavior.
O : Totally. That's 1 for each of my goals, 1 for not getting kicked out, plus one for Swashing my Buckle. O. rolls +, +, -, -. Hm. I definitely impressed her, I'm throwing a + there. And I don't want to get kicked out and lose this chance to woo her, so I'll drop the other + on that. Which leaves Mr. Man completely unfazed by my challenge. Great. Meanwhile...

O : So, you and the rest of the girls cautiously cross the yard and enter the warehouse through a side door. The place is dingy and dark and filled with stacks of pallets and boxes. You all spread out through the maze of anonymous merchandise looking for Nancy. As you get closer to the open area at the front, you see the ever cliche swinging light over a chair, with Nancy bound and gagged and a bunch of thuggish looking guys standing around her talking in low tones. Her back is to you, and you can see she's got her Helio in her tied hands, that must be how she texted her friend. As you watch, it beeps and one of the men exclaims and grabs it from her, smacking her across the face before dropping it to the floor and stomping it into junk. At that moment, her friend's phone beeps out "signal lost" and the men all start looking around for the source of the sound.
S : I'm going to slaughter them all. But I want to do it without blowing my cover with the girls, so I'm making the lights go out first.
O : Uh... ok. Those are some pretty big stakes. I think that with the lights out, there's a chance you may kill some of your fellow cheerleaders, too. Not to mention that you will probably ruin your uniforms.
S : That's fine. That's "slaughter bad guys", "don't blow my cover", "don't kill cheerleaders", and "don't ruin uniforms". Plus two for Demonic. S. rolls +, +, /, /, /, -. Ok, I summon the powers of hell and darkness shrouds the room, you can still see the lightbulbs are on, but they don't cast any light. I shed my human flesh and leave it on the floor. Moving with superhuman speed, I move through the men, eviscerating them before they can even react. That's the + for that. The life force of the cheerleaders is familiar to me, so I can avoid them easily even in the dark, there's the + for that. My cover isn't blown, but it's still at stake, and so is ruining the uniforms. I think the darkness starts to fade just as I finish the last bad guy... actually, I don't even know if they were bad, do I? Good thing I don't have a conscience. So I might not make it back to put my skin on in time. Those will carry over to the next scene. Back to the theater.

S : So the girl is impressed that you came to her rescue, but the guy is not. He grabs someone's 72oz Coke and goes to throw it at you.
O : Oh, man... do I let it hit me and see if I can get some sympathy, or dodge it and hope he gets kicked out? Actually that could happen either way. I think that's my goal, for him to get kicked out, but not me.
S : You could be totally humiliated, though.
O : Absolutely. But since she's already impressed, I think it'd be more internal, like I'd lose confidence in myself even though she wouldn't.
S : That sounds good. Anything else?
O : No, let's just go with that. I'm not being Swashbuckling or Librarianing here, so no bonus. O. rolls -, /. Crapsticks. He's not leaving. And I'm not humiliated yet, but I might still be.
S : Right, he goes to throw the Coke at you, but it turns out to be empty and it just bounces off you.
O : I'm going to challenge him to a duel!
S : Not until after I get my skin back!

O : Yes, the shroud of darkness is fading, and poor Nancy is whimpering and trying to twist her hands free of the ropes as the other cheerleaders are stumbling out into the open area.
S : Obviously, my goal is to get back into my skin before anyone notices me. Whether or not the uniforms will be ruined is still at stake, too.
O : I think there's a strong chance that little Nancy's mind will never be the same, after being kidnapped and tied to a chair, surrounded by thugs, and then just as suddenly surrounded by inside-out thugs. I think you might have broken her.
S : So, that's three sets of stakes, plus two for Demonic. S. rolls +, /, -, -, -. Uh oh. Let's see, I don't want Nancy to lose it, so I'll put the + there. But she is totally splattered with her kidnappers' vital fluids, and some of the other girls might have gotten some on them as well. These uniforms aren't going to come clean easily. I make it back to my human form just as the darkness subsides, and come out from behind some crates like I don't know what's going on, but the / says some of the girls may still suspect something. My "cover" is still up in the air for now.
O : That's a bummer. But at least you're all safe and sound.
S : Yeah, we pile back in the van and drive back to the school to clean up.
O : Ok. In the meantime...

O : ... the guy accepts my challenge and grabs one of those mini-brooms the ushers use to sweep under the seats as his weapon. I'm still at risk of being humiliated, but now so is he, because I'm going to duel him right up on the stage in front of the screen, and publicly trounce him.
S : Cool. But the audience doesn't really know what's going on and starts to stampede out of the theater. The girl... does she have a name?
O : Um, Penelope?
S : What, like Pureheart?
O : How about just Penny, for short.
S : Whatever. Anyway, she's trying to fight the human tide, calling out to you, but you're concentrating on the fight. Will you notice her cries in time to keep her from getting trampled?
O : Uh oh. Let's find out! O. rolls +, +, -, -. Oh, crap. I can't lose this duel, I'm Swashbuckling, after all! I disarm him dramatically just as the background music crescendos, then toss him off the stage. He lands headfirst in a titanic bucket of popcorn, fake butter sauce all over him. Now, do I suffer humiliation to... nah. I think it's cooler if she goes down and I have to rescue her. More dashing that way.
S : If you say so. Jerk..

O : So you get the girls back to the school and get to the locker rooms to shower and change. The uniforms are soaked with gore, and some of the girls are saying that you should report everything to the police.
S : Oh, hell no. I don't want anybody connecting the dots back to me. I totally need to convince them to keep their mouths shut.
O : Also, the janitor happens by and catches sight of some of the bloody uniforms. If he starts asking questions...
S : Yeah, yeah. My cover is still at stake anyway. I'm rolling one for that, one for the janitor backing off, one to convince the girls to shut up... is that it?
O : I think so. Add one for Cheerleader, probably.
S : Right. S. rolls +, +, +, +. Awesome, a clean sweep! I grab the uniforms and grin wryly at the janitor and say something about "y'know, woman things. That's more than he wants to know, he turns pale and shuffles off. Then I tell the girls that if we report anything to the cops, they'll probably cancel the big game tomorrow night, and it'd ruin the school's rep. They completely agree, and their complete trust in me is established- they're practically eating out of my hand.
O : Well done.

S : Penny cries out just as you kick... Brad... off the stage. You turn in time to see her get trampled by fleeing theater patrons.
O : Crap! I grab one of the hanging ballast ropes by the side of the stage and swing to her rescue!
S : Hm... I can't think of anything good for a risk...
O : What if the ballast comes loose and hits another patron? Hm, you know what, I don't care about the other patrons, and we already have an injured person. I think one stake is good for this scene.
S : Fine by me.
O : Cool. O. rolls +, /. Ok, I dashingly swing down and land beside her in a protective crouch, opening my umbrella so that the rest of the people part to either side of us. I cradle her head with my other hand, there's a small cut just above her right eye where she banged it on a chair as she fell. She looks up, and says "It's you!" just now realizing that I'm her original date. I'm all "Don't worry, my dear. I'll get you out of here and have you patched up in a jiffy."
S : Could you be any cornier?
O : Swashbuckling is two parts dash to one part corn, my dear.
S : *snorts*


Apparently the Forge limits posts to 20000 characters, so I'm splitting this into two posts. Annoying.

Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2007, 03:55:27 PM »

Here is part 2, including the rules:


O : Okay, okay. You have the girls convinced not to talk about what happened to anyone, but they're still pretty spazzed out.
S : I know, but I'm prepared for that. I go in my locker and pull out a big bag of weed.
O : Are you freakin' kidding me?
S : Nope. We're gonna pass the doob until everybody is nice and mellow.
O : *shaking head* I guess the obvious risk is that you'll get busted with the weed. But more importantly, I'd say there's a chance you'll get too mellow, and forget to learn the new cheer entirely.
S : I'm ok with that. I'm not being demonic or cheerleadery, so it's just the three dice. S. rolls +, +, -. That'll do. I'll put plusses on chilling everyone out and on not getting caught.
O : The one girl's cell phone rings, and it's her mom, asking where she is. You look up and realize practice was over an hour and a half ago.
S : Oops! We'll just have to make do with a cheer we already know.
O : Ok. What about your uniforms? Don't you need to get them cleaned before the game?
S : No, we have Away game uniforms we can wear. I don't think anyone will notice, and if they do, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
O : Hm. I think Away uniforms have the colors reversed, don't they? I don't follow sports, so I'm not really sure. But whatever, it works for me.
S : Now, where are you taking Miss Penny?

O : Well, I think I take her to my office at the school, since it's closer to the theater than either of our homes. There's a first-aid kit there I can use.
S : Fine. Is that your goal, getting her patched up?
O : Yeah, that's good. If I fail, she's going to need professional care. And as a secondary goal, I think we do a little bonding. A little TLC with the band-aids and neosporin could help her forget that I stood her up.
S : Sure, but while you're busy putting the moves on her, Brad has recovered from his humiliation and is headed over here for a reckoning.
O : Ooh, that'll be fun. That makes three for me, too, since I'm not buckling my swash or answering reference questions. O. rolls +, +, /. Let's see, the plusses say she's going to be fine, and she's all smiles as I take her down the hall to the music room to put on something slow we can dance to. The / says Brad isn't here yet, but he could still show up at any moment.
S : Fair enough.

O : Alright, it's the next day, the day of the Big Game... is there anything special you want to accomplish before then? Cuz if not, I'm gonna fast-forward to the game itself.
S : Well, I talked to Nancy during the day, and basically got her to show me the cheer she was working on. We don't have time to teach it to the rest of the squad, but I have an idea.
O : Oh really? This should be interesting. As a side note, I'm going to say that until you get the bloody uniforms cleaned, there's a chance someone will run across them.
S : Yeah, yeah, fine. Right now, it's the big game, and we are going to get this cheer right. I'm going to call on both my Cheerleader trait and my Demonic trait- and I'm going to possess the entire squad so that we're all in perfect synchronization.
O : Sweet baby Jebus Crow. You're shitting me.
S : Nope.
O : That's AWESOME.
S : I know. But let's see if I can pull it off.
O : Woah, woah. Those are some huge stakes, and huge stakes call for a huge risk. And the risk is this- with you animating the girls' bodies for that long, and your control spread that thin, there's a strong chance their souls will become disconnected, and not find their way back to their physical forms when you're done.
S : Oh, that would suck. I like it. S. rolls +, +, +, /, /, -. Sweet. Plus on the possessed performance...
O : Looks like you swept the scene again.
S : Yeah, but it's no fun if I win that easily. I'm dropping the / on the uniforms thing, I think that's just going to be a recurring background threat. And finally... the - on the souls.
O : You're serious? Even with 2 leftover plusses?
S : Yep.
O : Wow. So, you guys put on the most synchronized, flawless, spectacular routine anybody's ever seen. Your team wins, but the front page is like, "CHEERLEADERS OUTSHINE THE CHAMPS" or something. This will be remembered for years. Sadly, when you go to release the girls from your grasp, you find that all their souls have wandered off to who-knows-where. Looks like you'll have to play Gepetto until you can figure out a way to get them back.
S : Nice.
O : And meanwhile, those bloody uniforms are sitting in the laundry bin, just waiting for someone to run across them before they get cleaned. Red herring? Time will tell...
S : And the corpses in the warehouse, don't forget.
O : Right.
S : I think that's a good place to wrap. It's late and I still have an hour drive home.
O : Yeah, I'm starting to get bleary myself. This was fun, though.
S : Definitely.


How to play the game:

1. Pick a name and two descriptive features.

2. Divide three points between the descriptors.

3. One player frames a scene for the second player's character. The second player guides their character, saying what they will do. Both players are free to add details to the setting, other characters, etc.

4. When there is a conflict (either the framing player narrates an obstacle for the character to overcome, or the guiding player sets a goal for the character that may cause complications), the guiding player determines what they wish their character to accomplish in the scene. They may or may not say how they will accomplish it, or what action they will take. Note that it's not necessary to make a conflict out of every little thing. Sometimes it's more fun to let a character succeed at the little things so they can get to a more interesting situation.

5. Either player may add one or more complications- possible risks that may arise during the attempt at the goal. These should be orthagonal to the stated goal or stakes, meaning that they should not be dependent on whether or not the stated goal is accomplished or not.

6. The guiding player picks up one six-sided die for each goal, and one for each risk/complication. If they are acting in accordance with one or both of their descriptors, they may add dice equal to the value of the appropriate feature(s). If you have them, Fudge dice are best (Fudge dice have "+", "-", and "/" (blank) sides instead of numbers).

7. The guiding player rolls all of the dice.

8. The guiding player must assign one die result to each goal and/or complication, according to the following guidelines:

A result of 1 or 2 (or "-") means a negative outcome to that aspect of the conflict. Either the character failed to accomplish the goal, or they failed to avoid the complication.

A result of 3 or 4 (or "/") means that the outcome is still unresolved. The goal was not accomplished, but it wasn't failed either. There have been no negative consequences from the risk, but they are not out of hot water yet. Any unresolved complications should carry over into the next scene. It's up to the guiding player if they wish to attempt an unresolved goal in the next scene, or let it go and move on.

A result of 5 or 6 (or "+") means success! The character accomplished their goal, and/or avoided the complication.

Left over dice aren't important, so don't worry about them.

9. The players together narrate the outcome of the scene based on how the dice were assigned. The framing player will probably tend to narrate negative outcomes, while the guiding player will tend to narrate positive ones, but it's not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes it's fun to make trouble for your character and get them in sticky situations. One note; if you roll "/" (blanks) on all of your dice, you may choose to simply reroll them all, since otherwise nothing will be resolved either way, and that's probably boring. Of course, you could leave everything to carry over, and add more complications in the next scene, it's up to you.

10. Once the players are satisfied that the scene is finished, or when another conflict arises, it's time to switch roles. Go back to step 3, only now the guiding player frames a scene for the first player, and the first player becomes guide for their character. New scenes can pick up where the last ones left off, or they can be set later, or even be a flashback if you want.

11. Salt to taste and Enjoy!

Big thanks to Vincent Baker for the Otherkind dice mechanic, and to Fred Hicks for the Pace character descriptors and conflict carryover mechanics.

Also, big thanks to my friend S, whom I ruthlessly paraphrased (and in some cases just flatly made up dialogue for- simply because my memory sucketh), for being a good sport about trying the game; and for being willing to hose poor Amy when it proved more interesting than letting her win everything.


Comments & questions welcome, of course.


Posts: 152

« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2007, 04:32:34 AM »

The girls get back to the school and manage to dodge inquiries from the janitor (It's just, yanno, woman stuff. He didn't want to know any more).

CHEERLEADER: Tee hee!  It's 'that time of the month'!
JANITOR: Five GALLONS of 'that time of the month'?

Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2007, 06:06:34 PM »

Well, it is an entire squad. And if they practiced together enough they might be on the same... why the hell am I having this conversation?


I'm wondering if "uninvolved" players should get a die to contribute wherever they want, SHOCK: style. Or maybe only if they contributed a complication... or would that effectively cancel out? Hm. Maybe it's not an issue.

Definitely needs more playtesting. I'm going to a party this weekend, maybe I'll see if anybody's up for it...

Paul T

Posts: 369

« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2007, 08:55:46 PM »

I've designed a similar sort of game, except that instead of being the twisted offspring of Otherkind and Pace, it's a cross between Otherkind and the Pool. The mechanics that created have worked very, very well so far.

The way I handle it is that the player who has encountered a conflict names their goal, and then decides how many dangers they're willing to face. The dangers themselves, however, are named by the other players. (After all, the number of risks/dangers is a significant variable, as more risks = higher chance of success at the goal.)

However, the outcome of each goal and risk is binary--there is no "neutral result". You either succeed or fail, and you either avoid the danger or suffer the consequences. Each instance of resolution comes with so many possible outcomes that I didn't find the third option to really be useful or interesting (basically, it's "nothing happens", after all). I found that to be simpler, more fun, and more satisfying.

Just thought you might find that interesting!

One other point: Pace has a neat balancing mechanism built into it. Your ability to spend tokens in situations not covered by your descriptors is equal to the value of your lowest descriptor. This penalizes characters with unbalanced descriptors, which is kind of interesting. You might want to consider whether there is something like that you want in your own game, especially if a player can but all three (!!!) of their starting points into one descriptor.

Finally, a question: you thank Fred Hicks for the "confict carryover mechanics"... but I don't see any in your rules. Did you leave something out? I'm curious.


Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2007, 09:45:47 PM »

Well, there is effectively no "nothing happens" here either. Whether or not the character succeeds at the player's goal or not, something will happen. I suppose it's possible that rolling all -s could lead to something like that, but it hasn't happened yet... something to think about though. We did decide that if you roll all blanks, you can just reroll, I think I put that in the rules listing...?

Interesting idea, where the player decides before hearing them how many risks they are willing to take on. Clever. I'm not sure I want to have that much pressure for the other player(s) to come up with stuff... right now, the "rule" for that is "if you can't think of any neat risks, just Say Yes!" In fact, that's not a "rule", it is the rule. Quotation marks be damned.

I have given some thought (and will probably give more) to the orthogonality of conflicts. It's one of those things that hasn't been a problem yet, and we will probably patch it if it comes up, and then tinker with the patch to find a permanent solution. And that's assuming I can continue getting people to play, which is always the bogeyman of my own futzing with design.

I remember that "balancing mechanism" being one of the things I didn't care for about Pace. The way we're doing things now obviates that entirely. A player can basically get as many dice as they want, and it's ok, because the dice don't represent character ability, they represent story-control. The only "extra" dice come from descriptor-dice, aside from those, every die is going to get assigned to one of the conflicts. You could roll a hundred dice, and you're still risking a lot of minuses coming up.

I guess a player could put all three points in one descriptor, but it seems like it'd be limiting. They could also put one in each of three descriptors. Not sure yet how either of those would affect the game, I'm not sure it'd be a big deal either way. Even if we end up using the "saved extra dice" thing, they can still come up minuses as often as pluses.

I wonder if the leftover-dice should remain tied somehow to the descriptor they came from... hmm... is that too limiting? should it remain more "meta"? Hm. Playtesting.

The "conflict carryover mechanics" that we have are basically that any time you assign a blank to a conflict, that conflict remains unresolved, and therefore carries over to the next scene. The best example of this is the bloody uniforms, that just kept rolling over- it was important enough that S. never wanted to put a - on it, but never a high enough priority to put one of the +s on. Although, in the end, I think she just decided it was more interesting to leave it unresolved.

Thanks for the questions, Paul, and the suggestions. Glad to hear your own designs are working well for you ^_^


Posts: 5574

« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2007, 11:27:06 PM »

Here's an idea.

If a complication is left unresolved (/) it gets to carry over once as is.
If the same complication is left unresolved again, then it not only carries over but spawns an additional complication.
The complication could be either a related consequence (like the Athletic Director becomes concerned that the Cheerleaders wearing the wrong uniform was bad for school spirit) or a "doubling down" of the nastiness.
The guiding player doesn't get to roll any extra dice for a spawned complication.
This should ramp up tension fairly nicely, threatening to put a player in a situation without enough dice to go around (assign automatic -) and encourage the player to go ahead and use a - even when they have a / available just to close out a thread and keep it from spawning again.


Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2007, 07:21:00 AM »

Hm. An interesting idea.

Hm... yeah, that's going to need more thought. I like it in theory, but I'm not sure if it fits the tone... but hey, it's a design in progress, and I can change the tone. Hm. I will add that to the list of stuff to talk about / playtest. Thanks.

Also, I'd meant to mention this, and you reminded me by picking up on and using the term- after hearing/reading all manner of conversation about what to call GMs and what GM means and blah blah blah, I've started using the terms "framing player" and "guiding player" to refer to the framing and guiding (thanks, Ben Lehman!) roles in any game or design where those terms are suitable. I like them a lot, especially in that by having "player" in each of them, it helps remove that artificial demarcation between "master" and "player". Everyone's a player, sometimes with different roles, but nobody higher or more powerful or better, etc.

Others have probably got their own terms, and maybe this is old hat to most Forgizens already, but I like it anyway.

Thanks,  Ralph. I probably don't have to say it, but Uni has influenced the underlying aesthetics of this design too, as well as Polaris, Pretenders, FATE, and probably a few others I can't think of off the top of my head. As simple a collection of concepts as it is, the pickup game draws from a lot of sources, because they are all bouncing around in my head all the time.

Nev the Deranged

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.

« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2007, 11:39:55 AM »

I did some more thinking about the game, sadly I haven't gotten a chance to do more testing (big surprise).

From my blog:

Hm. What if, instead of a kicker, each character is created with a goal in mind, or a general story arc- and then set a number of scenes in which to get through that arc. Sort of like a "season" of a tv show. So, a freshly generated character might look something like,

Bram Ebonhawke, Amnesiac (1) Adventurer (2); Rescue a princess and learn something important about his past, in twelve scenes; Go!

So, for some of the examples from the last post, (on my blog)

Alfred Percival Worthington, Pulp Alchemist; find the lost temple of Hapa Nui in ten scenes.

Murga Lo-Tor, Minotaur Adventurer; find an adventuring party to join in eight scenes.

Akkarshamon the Pale, Apothecary Assasson; get double-crossed and go on the lam, in ten scenes.

The Betashade, Cybernetic Phantom; find his murderer and get revenge in twenty scenes.

It occurs to me that the combination of the scope of the goal and the number of scenes will have a dramatic effect on how much ground a scene covers, in general; and whether a set of scenes is equivalent to a "season" or a "chapter" or whathaveyou. The goal could be a whole story for that character, or just a fragment to be followed by more in the same storyline.

I don't know if that should be standard play, and it'll be impossible to come to any useful conclusion without playtesting, but certainly at the very least it could be presented as a solid option.

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