Tag Archives: role-playing

The MASHED RPG is now in open playtest

As you may have seen if you’re following me on social media, I’ve finally posted the open playtest PDF for the MASHED RPG! I’ve been working on it for a year, off and on in my spare time, and I MASHED_playtest_v160424_coverthink it turned out pretty well. I intend to run a Kickstarter a few months down the road, but right now I want to spend at least 2-3 months playtesting. I’d like all the playtest comments to go in my new MASHED RPG group on Google+, if you have any, but you can also get me on Facebook and twitter as well.

If you’d like to check it out, you can get the PDF via direct download from Dropbox or on DriveThruRPG. It’s free, of course.

What It Is

MASHED is a story game that you play with your friends. It’s a game that’s based more on conversations than on rolling dice—though you’ll use those too. Everything that you say crafts an ongoing narrative, like a stage play where everyone’s ad-libbing their lines. The rules and dice are there to help this along, adding an element of randomness that lets you succeed in what you want to do—but also ensuring that that there will be consequences and complications, especially when you fail. After all, war is hell.

You take on the role of an Army Medical Corps nurse, physician, or corpsman assigned to the 8099th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in South Korea. It is the summer of 1951, one year after the United Nations’ entry into the “police action” that will later be called the Korean War. It’s a game about medics whose government sent them to a foreign land with little to no military training. It’s about men and women who spent their working hours cutting, sawing, snipping, and sewing up human bodies, sometimes those of their friends—and were expected to stay sane.

This is a game about the value of human life and the stress that war imposes on those who live through it—but it’s also about relationships. And courage. And laughter. And love. Although the medics may spend hours—even days—in the operating tent, the game abstracts these into much shorter scenes, focusing on the most dramatic moments. Most of the conversation actually occurs outside of surgery, in those times when the flow of casualties has ebbed. Here you may fall in or out of love, fight the orders of ineffective top brass, pull pranks, help the South Koreans, pick fights, seduce your way through the unit, pull rank, and more. If you can find ways to blow off the stresses of surgery and war, you might get rotated home with your sanity intact. Just remember
that you’re practicing medicine in a combat zone—and death isn’t confined to the operating tent.

First Look: MASHED playsheet draft

I’m making good progress on my Korean War RPG (working title still: MASHED), based on the Apocalypse World engine. I’m almost finished with the second draft; I just need to edit a little bit of text and include rough layouts of the hospital tents, camp, and both basic and deluxe playsheets. Here’s what I have so far for the deluxe playsheet. Any thoughts?




Familiar Spirits

The latest Corporia supplement, Familiar Spirits, is now available on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow for only 99 cents!cover_familiarspirits_800w

This little 14-page expansion details on how Sorcerer and Witcher characters can conjure animal familiars out of the very atmospheric energies (aka the Flux) around them. I tried hard to make familiars really easy and convenient to use, without the inconvenience of how they’ve traditionally appeared in the RPG medium. For instance, because they’re corporeal but still composed of energy, you can summon and dismiss them back into the ether – so you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to board them when you’re going on a particularly dangerous or stealthy mission. This supplement also includes a form-fillable record sheet for your familiar.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

First Thoughts on Fate Core

Some of you may be looking at the title of this post and thinking ‘what took you so long?’cover fate After all, versions of the Fate RPG have been around for years and – according to a recent Examiner article – is currently the 5th most popular RPG around.

Well, it’s not like I’ve never heard of Fate before. I’ve thumbed through it occasionally over the years, but just couldn’t get a good handle on the rules. Possibly this is because I come from a dice-heavy as opposed to narrative/story-heavy gaming background, or possibly because I find the rulebook’s layout confusing.

There seem to be a lot of undefined terms or new terms for the sake of new terms (effort, magnitude, shifts…) and concepts thrown at me in the wrong order. I took me lots of internet and book searching to determine whether the term ‘effort’ means your dice roll + skill rank, or just the dice roll alone. Also, I quickly understood how the skills work, but had trouble finding the section that tells me how many skills a new character gets. That kind of thing. Maybe this would have been easier with a print book instead of trying to read it online; I’m not sure. Or maybe it’s just me.

I find it interesting that so much of what I’ve read from players online, and in the early pages of the book, weighs heavily on ‘aspects’. In the designer notes that I’ve read, however, there seems to be a preferred focus on each part of the rules as having equal weight, with aspects being no more important than the rest of the ruleset. Maybe that’s an incorrect interpretation. What do you think?

I’m toying around with ideas for a Fate conversion of Corporia, and if I follow through on that, then I think I’m going to stick with that interpretation. I feel like a minor change in the order of how the rules are presented may make it easier for the dice-heavy player to latch on to. We’ll see how it goes.

Any thoughts?

What I’ve Been Writing – and Where I’m Going

Agents of Change final coverWith the release of the Agents of Change expansion for Corporia (now available on DriveThruRPG), I’ve wrapped up all the stretch goals for the Kickstarter. It was an intense experience, and I’m glad to now have some time to relax without any deadlines hanging over my head. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t fall behind on any of the announced deadlines – only a few personal deadlines that I’d set for myself.

In the midst of that, I also took the time to write a stretch goal adventure (case) and do lots of editing for Fearlight Games’ Baker Street RPG. That’s now on DriveThruRPG as well – though the cases will come in a separate release. If you’re a gamer and a Sherlockian, be sure to check it out. Note that it does use special dice – I’m guessing those will be available direct from Fearlight.

For upcoming projects, I’ve got several things in mind:

  • a 1 to 2-page free summary of the GRAIL system, to encourage its adoption; I really think it has some mass reach potential
  • Corporia mini-adventures, with a twist on the production and layout
  • a text only edition of Corporia for Kindle and ePub readers
  • occasional free playtesting downloads for rules that might make their way into future books and editions
  • Corporia setting supplements
  • Fate and/or Savage Worlds conversions of Corporia
  • a completely new system involving dice – but not in the way you think (more on this later, if it comes to anything)

The big question is where I’ll find the time for it, considering I have maybe an hour each day that’s not devoted to my day job, my family, or sleeping.

At least blogs don’t take much time to write, so I’m hoping to get back on track for that. I’ve love to be able to have a reliably weekly blog, if possible. I’ve been thinking about my experiences over the last decade and a half in the gaming industry, and I probably have some decent stories and advice to share, if I can cull my memory for them. So, there’s that.

Okay, time to wrap up for today. I have a ringing in my ears and it’s either the doorbell or the oncoming storm.

Agents of Change sample

I just wanted to share a sample of the pages I’m editing for the next Corporia supplement. I hope to have this published by the end of this month. (I’m not sure why the image looks so brown – I think it’s a combination of multiple indoor light sources. )

new pistols draft_resized


For you firearms enthusiasts, here’s a look at a bit of the research for the new firearms in the Agents of Change supplement. TKO is the Taylor KO Factor (TKOF) is a derived figure that allows hunters to compare bullets with respect to stopping power. ME is muzzle energy; muzzle energy is the kinetic energy of a bullet as it is expelled from the muzzle of a firearm. It is often used as a rough indication of the destructive potential of a given firearm or load. The heavier the bullet and especially the faster it moves, the higher its muzzle energy and the more damage it will do.


In the end, I went with something much simpler, which you can see here:



Corporia: Boomerang statistics

Here’s a first look at the draft text for the boomerang, a new item to appear in the next supplement. Let me know if you have any comments!boomerang

Skill Rank: 4

Price: $60

Base Range: throw

ROF: 1

Damage: STR

Reload Die: n/a

Thanks to the latest in high-tech composite materials, the three-wing XXXXX-brand boomerang maintains the range of similar sport boomerangs and the striking power of the traditional aboriginal hunting weapon. This item is primarily designed for tactical scenarios versus AUTAC security devices, though a good throw can also temporarily hobble a flesh-and-blood opponent. Color options vary widely, and glow-in-the-dark variants containing LEDs or long-life cyalume are also available for easy nighttime tracking and retrieval.

The thrower must declare (before throwing) whether he intends to strike a particular target (in which case the boomerang does not return) or throw the boomerang and have it return to him without striking a target. The latter can be useful in order to (for example) cause a distraction or to activate a motion-sensitive alarm. If the throwing Attack succeeds (see 4.2.4 | Ranged Weapon Basics: Throwing, in the core rulebook), the boomerang strikes or returns as previously declared. Failed throws leave the thrower’s grip but do not strike the target or return to the thrower (for the direction of a failed throw, see also section 4.2.4). A returning boomerang comes back to the thrower within 1 round (in time for his next Attack roll; barring a Director ruling otherwise). Again, note that a boomerang only returns on a successful Attack roll where it does not strike a target or is not itself struck or held by an opponent or other force.

A target struck by a boomerang must succeed at a [MTL + WIT] check versus a TN equal to 7 + the amount of damage inflicted, or lose its next action. If the boomerang’s damage result exceeds the target’s MTL, the target suffers one wound as normal.