Hot Take Table

It’s been too long since I wrote a post because my head is full of fragments instead of cohesive thoughts. Roll 1d10 and consult the table below for a synopsis of today’s hot take from the Indie Game Reading Club:

1. In my next space adventure game I’m naming the ships after Pokémons. This is free trader Snorlax, calling anyone…mayday, mayday.

2. I’m pretty sure I could run World Wide Wrestling with mechs as the playbooks.

3. Because every cyberpunk RPG out there sucks in the same way, I’m taking a page from Johnstone Metzger and done one up where you only have two stats: Cyber and Punk. Literally everything you do leans on one or the other of those, 3:16 style. Hope you enjoyed my 200 word RPG entry.

4. I take way more creative and emotional chances running and playing at cons with once-a-year friends and randos than I ever do at home. There must be a way to recapture that.

5. Canon nerds are the literal worst but they are legion in gaming. I was brainstorming with Bret Gillan about how you could actually leverage player mastery over canon, rather than living in fear or despair of it. I feel like it needs to operate different than the Dungeon World Spout Lore or Burning Wheel Wises stuff, where players make up “facts” whole cloth and then roll to test its truthiness. I’m talking about, like, Glorantha or Star Wars supernerds who want to bring that shit in and/or show off their big brains.

6. Probably half of the roleplaying Kickstarters I get I have no interest in by the time they arrive. Currently that’s Kult, which just shipped to me (it should arrive next week).

7. How is there not a licensed Dinotopia RPG? (Yes I know I’m not the first one to ask this, and yes I Googled and found someone poking at it this year as a homebrew. Still.)

8. Homebrew followup: dirty word in storygaming, tolerated in conventional play, celebrated in the OSR. This is one place where the OSR is doing so much better than indie. There’s a weird fixation on professionalism and playtesting and Kickstarting in the storygame space. I think I can track it (EDIT: the fixation to professionalize) back to The Forge. It’s not the worst thing but I do think it’s gotten in the way of more freewheeling design efforts.

9. Tonight we start Legacy, second edition. Gosh what a gorgeous production it is. One thing that jumps out at me is that, between the world books (with more coming out via the current Kickstarter) and the SRD, it’s feeling more like an adjunct parallel branch of PbtA. It’s kind of the Pathfinder of PbtAs in a way, right? The move set feels fundamentally different than the Apocalypse World move set, prep feels related but not really the same (fronts but no clocks!), and the big/small picture split is a fundamentally different approach to how Blades and Scum do it with their downtime phase. I have no idea if it’s fun or not!

10. Roll twice and combine hot takes.

0 thoughts on “Hot Take Table”

  1. I’m really quite interested to try out Legacy. I never really looked into first edition much (because I was being an ignorant snob), but 2nd looks gorgeous. And I don’t just mean the art. And some of the alternative settings are awesome.

    Also, fuck yes homebrew.

    … and also, ditto Kult.

    … wait, are you sure we’re actually not the same person? Our opinions these days seem to be identical.

  2. I thought that I had already seen someone produce Cyber/Punk as a Lasers and Feelings hack.

    Or maybe that was a game idea I started making but never actually finished.

  3. Oh gosh. I love the idea of #5 with a twist: You spout your lore or whatever, and then you roll to see if it’s actually true or your character is just misinformed.

  4. Related (I hope) to #8, I send boundess love to all of my RPG designer homies, but loosening the iron grip of “play it as written” on my brain has been as helpful to me recently as PITW was when I first found it.

  5. I don’t remember which game it is (and it may be upthread), but we once played a hack of SwoM that was essentially, or maybe literally, the tones “cyber” and “punk.”

  6. Something I love about Dinotopia is that it takes the structure of a very colonialist Victorian adventure story and breaks it, turning it into something more like an assimilationist immigrant narrative, quite independent of anything about dinosaurs, as the humans have to come to terms with living in a new culture, and one that they cannot exploit (maliciously or no).

  7. 3. I was just gonna mention Lasers & Feelings hacks, isn’t there one called Mirrorshades, too? If there isn’t one that already uses Cyber and Punk for stats, somebody dropped the ball.

    5. Canon is fucking poison.

    8. I have no problem with people calling an actual homebrew what it is, but if somebody calls a book I published a homebrew, damn right I get pissed.

    9. I have some regrets about not getting Legacy 2e in print, even though I don’t think I would get much use out of it anytime soon.

  8. #5. Canon is soooo tough. I totally feel that about Star Wars. I like about three percent of the expanded universe, and a somewhat larger percentage of the detailed canon supplemental material (like the visual dictionaries). But Star Wars (ANH) came out when I was 6 and will permanently be that awesome thing for me, in a very specific way that I don’t want you to fuck up with your cat alien suggestion.

    #8. I miss the 90s when I’d search around for various house rules and stuff for some game, and it was all over the top webhandles like “Lord Deathblade” who had his Cyberpunk page on geocities or whatever. And I’d forget to bookmark and search engines kind of sucked back then and it would take me forever to find the page again.

  9. I’m really excited about Cyber/Punk.

    The Forge publishing culture gave me (or just encouraged) a lot of baggage that I’m still dealing with, so yes. We coined/appropriated “hack” partly as a way to get around it, and then people started saying there were too many hacks. (Shrug emoji)

  10. #5 Canon.
    For the last year, I’ve been running a campaign called Star Wars Saturdays, set in the Star Wars timeline of the original movies.
    Each month I run a different game system, usually with completely different players than the previous month. We use the original trilogy of movies as our touchstone and the events of our game sessions are a loose canon we create as we play. Some NPCs become PCs in future games, some PCs re-occur. One PC’s backstory was that he left the Empire because his squad of Stormtroopers were forced to murder a couple of moisture farmers for no good reason. It’s this lovely side story that exists in the Galaxy.
    I’ve found the approach works incredibly well. I use the canon of Jedis and the Empire and all that to pull everyone along to create new stories.
    This past weekend during Gauntlet Con, I ran Apocalypse World set on Tatooine moments after Jabba the Hutt was killed by “those darn Rebels” and it was a glorious romp through Jabba’s abandoned palace. One of the players told me he literally had never played a Star Wars RPG even though he saw the original trilogy as a boy, and he LOVED IT.

  11. My regular group is currently several sessions into a Legacy 2e game. We’re actually playing this coming Sunday after a hiatus. There are several things to wrap your head around (e.g., there’s no move to find stuff out on the character level — only on the faction level), but it’s a great game overall.

  12. Adam Schwaninger Agreed, sometimes the best thing to do with canon is gut it.

    Alternatively, I like to draw a line as to where established canon ends and my setting begins, carving out a spatial and/or temporal sandbox for my game where what really matters is the canon we create at the table.

  13. Rolled a 10, then a 2 and 9…

    I wish more people were willing to lift frame works and spin them… A wrestling show where your trying to survive the apoc, or a settlement drama manager with mechs. [I want to play that] or a settlement drama game where actually it’s a tv reality show where the GM is the “showrunner”.

    P.s. I’ve fallen off playing games unfortunately, but i would pay money to keep reading your posts and getting to comment.

    P.s.s. dino princess comes with coloring book character sheets and is pretty cool.

  14. Adam D not a problem. You’ll just have to wait until the last cycle. We’ll put you on a boat with Tsunenaga, and assume the Pope told him to send you to Ireland to help Rinuccini with the Confederation.

    It’d be aweful sweet if you managed to ninja-murder Robert Devereux — just saying.

  15. 5. There are some things where I fear the canon. If I’m playing a game set in an existing world from another source, I quite strongly don’t want to interact with existing major characters from that source, at least nearly always. Existing places and concepts are another matter.

    Weirdly I don’t fear the canon in The One Ring or Star Trek, but it terrifies me in Star Wars or Glorantha, to give a few examples.

    8. Is a home brew acceptable if it’s called a Hack? Do story gamers go further and turn their home brews into finished games? Are things trad gamers would call homebrews playtesting for indie types? That’s sort of where I am with homebrews; past a certain amount of effort I want to just write the game and maybe even get it published.

    I sort of like that trend, but maybe I’m just seeing the positives.

  16. 4. I go to quite a few local conventions with under 100 people. Lots of regular attendees are gaming friends who I only see at cons, and we click.

    Some of my very best games (and certainly all of my very best one shots) have been con games (I’m talking as player, as GM, and as GMless game participant). And some things I’ve loved at con’s have bombed with my home group.

    For me home games are a solid staple, but cons are where I strut my stuff or experiment. Probably my con buddies would fall into patterns like those I game with regularly if some of us formed a group to game regularly together, but as things are there’s a certain freshness, and a changing circle.

    Of course, some experiments fail, otherwise they wouldn’t be experiments, but when they work they can raise everyone’s game.

  17. Mamading Ceesay I recommend the experience. I enjoy the Sheffield cons for this (and I’m now unbiased since I handed over the one I organised 😉 ). Dragonmeet (I seem to recall you’re London-based?) was good last year for two hour indie games on demand, and less commitment, though in general that’s of course something very much at the other end of the scale in terms of numbers, with tens of thousands of people…

    And a big YES to gutting established protagonists!

  18. Paul Beakley what can I say? For me IGRC isn’t just where you post your thoughts, but a jumping off point for a social club.

    Also, the three I responded to are super interesting to me, and I’d love to hear more from you on those if you ever go beyond fragments.

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