Last week Friday, the gang came together and we tried to run a play test! It went as well as expected from a room full of people who haven't gamed in two and a half years.
First day of the week, time to get things done! Ended up playing Overwatch all day, crap.
Doing laundry, clothing, detergent foam, grayish water; Augmented Reality restaurant menus should be animated, steam coming off of hot food, utensils cutting, lifting and interacting with the food. Drinks infinitely pouring for free refills, cup already full for non free refills. Color tabs on the edge of menu, highlighted tabs for specials.
Are the rules really done, do we have enough things in place for people to do what they want? Is it still fun with all these bells and whistles? Conglomerate backed crypto-currency; offering to pay employees more in that currency than normal cash. They offer local businesses discounts and contracts to incentivize them into using their crypto-currency. Then threaten them with "action" if they refuse.
Season of the scavenger
If I'm not working on the game I feel like a beach. Waves of time crash into me, eroding away while I wait for a new idea to surface. It would be so much more fun if I could do this with my friends as a job; instead of having to pop in and out of creating things for the game and living a second life as a bored minimum wage worker. Government workers trying their best to keep their offices, agencies, organizations funded. The government is consolidating agencies in order to save money and cut red tape. The Agency of After-school Activities is trying to keep open all the rec centers. Their Agents have been given the okay to do anything they can to show that Recreational centers work.
Trying to write a blog post for the website, to get more views, to get more people interested in the game, to get more coke; AR baby daycare because Screw drone dog walkers! Little padded visor helmets showing different things teaching them young while they interact with not air but jungle gym surfaces. ...Nope we've built too many things in AR already, instead make it a AI teddy bear companion.
Mountain top mining, standing on top of a mountain and tearing it apart for materials. Ghost guns are guns built without serial numbers. 3D printed ghost guns might be a thing in our world. 3D printed pharmaceuticals on the black market, heart pills, asthma and other usually expensive medication. The answer to big pharma. Micro-chipping trafficked humans. Ex-vets turned vigilantes, Unionized prostitution, destabilizing the diamond industry with made to order customized artificial diamonds, Ride through the storm, see the knights fighting evil and crime.
A modern day team of heroes in medieval times.
Arthur and the Knights of Justice, putting evil down.
Ride through the storm with the knights of the table ’round Come on, come on!! (Guitar Solo!!!~)
King Arthur ride!!!!!!
First jumbo shrimp buffet day!
I think that by this point the writing style of each developer is becoming easier to identify. While we all write under the combined alias of "Stock and Bull" as a team, each one of us speaks with a particular voice. In general when it is my turn I actually have some difficulty figuring out what to say. Do I talk about myself, do I talk about my life? Do I talk about the product, the creation process, how far along we are or how far we landed from our original ideas? I usually land on the side of caution and talk more about the company and the game then I do myself. This is for two reasons:
One: We are a team and talking about me as the individual feels selfish.
Two: The talking Heads. (The band)
Obviously this begs explaining. While I am writing or looking over rules or devising NPC's or whatever Jack of All Trades Cap I am wearing for the day, I tend to work in silence for a while but inevitably that drives me batty and I turn on some music. And so it was that I was listening to a playlist today as I was trying to write up what was initially a very different post about ghosts, horror and pre-marital sex...yeah...I went off on a tangent and looked at the ramblings of the mad-man that started back at me. While I may go back to that one day, this time I heard the "Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime".
The part that best describes me is really "there is water at the bottom of the ocean"...nah that's bull. It's actually "same as it ever was" and that part is repeated over and over. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. That's what it feels like mostly. I will start winding this down as it is in danger of becoming more about me the person and less about me the game developer. While this seems more on the side of complaints, this is more akin to cautious ambivalence.
In the past few weeks (not months and certainly not years) I have been watching with renewed vigor and cautious optimism as what once seemed like a distant dream has become an actual possibility but even now there remain many smaller tasks that require attention and detailing that still feels like there remains a gulf to be overcome before the dream becomes reality. On a more optimistic note, I can see more than just a horizon now and over that gulf seems to be within reach.
I'm afraid. Very afraid. I'm gonna have to do something that I dread. I'm gonna have to do another test-drive of our system.
There's a couple things we do that bite us in the ass:
When we get ready to start showing our game to other people, we do an initial look-over to try and sense out some pain points that could need attention. Sensing out pain points means pushing them. I'm the person that tends to twist the system's arms and make it do things that it doesn't want to do.
I find a combination of new rules that are scary and old rules we forgot about. The old rules aren't terrible by themselves, but when they overlap with new things that took their place, we get stupid results. Like a lion jumping into a helicopter a hundred feet in the air to rescue its cub. Don't ask.
Actually, yes. Do ask. That's our process for breaking the game. We try and come up with the most uncomfortable scenarios we can think of and see if the fun of breaking things is outweighed by how fucked up the results are. Basically, the game's not broken unless one person has way more fun than everyone else. As long as people are having fun, we're okay with ridicuous results. In fact, we love them. There's a lot of abilities in this game that make us personally uncomfortable, but they're just so much more fun than they are uncomfortable.
Malic Duo A.K.A Apex: Young Malic's aunt Mabel told him he was going to be something great, told him he came from good stock. She told him to walk tall like his proud mother and to share her pride, speak with authority like his law defending father and to share his authority. Above all else, he should always be proud of where he came from. Like most things from Mabel though this was just brightly colored spackle covering a bigger problem.
Aunt Mabel was really just an abused wife who never had a child of her own due to the ferocity and frequency of the beatings she endured from her alcoholic husband. She needed someone to believe the lies that she'd lost the heart to believe in. In truth, Malic's mother died of a Overdose a few weeks after giving birth to him and his father is a lifer, lost in the prison system; bouncing from jailhouse to jailhouse.
Once the truth came out, Malic left Mabel and made a beeline for the City. He got a job off the books, paid in cash at nights end. Turns out there's all sorts of unsightly work for people running from their name. He used that money to buy a new identity; new name, new face, new family, new him, the whole nine yards. He shed the lies of Mabel and carved himself a new lie all his own. It was all going well, his sculpted physique and rehearsed charismatic personality brought him admiration, accolades and envy. An unscrupulous man’s woman took a liking to Malic, while the unscrupulous man took a liking to the idea of post-mortem Malic. At the woman’s penthouse the couple planned to strike down Malic, but in the heat of the moment his powers surfaced. Call it a spirit animal or the physical manifestation of his desire to change but Malic became a beast of claws, fangs and fury.
While the blood and viscera coagulated on his claws and the taupe accented walls; he took a new name for his new form. Apex. To forever commemorate where he was reborn and what his place in this world is. The Top. Where he stands unopposed, with no equal. Now he is brash, blunt, he wholeheartedly believes that might equals right, and he is out to enlighten the world beneath him that he is always right.
Image: Malic stands tall with his just under bulky frame, ocean blue eyes and short black slicked back hair. Sharp is his preferred style of dress, If he isn’t walking under the light of the day star he prefers to walk in the skin of his apex chimera.
Quote: "An appetite for destruction , quick to violence, strifeful, impatient? You say this as if it were a bad thing."
Animal Transformation: Change into beasts or even Chimeric monsters of your own design!
Body Adaptation: Alter the body to survive harsh environments!
Weaver's Note: For all the bravado and flexing he is a boy running from a legacy of victims. Giving him the opportunity to show off or victimize peoples or groups is his catnip. Rebuke him with his short comings or compare him to his failed family members when necessary.
Malic was inspired by the song "Big Cat." I have included it here for your listening pleasure.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Stock & Bull is a small team of six guys, who set out to make the RPG game that could finally handle their wildest dreams, and even wilder antics. When we set out to turn a bunch of made up rules hastily jotted down in a Spider-Man notebook into a full-featured, mature game that anyone can enjoy. We were a bunch of kids (plus one adult) with barely a clue on how to begin. Except, we didn’t know how deep that rabbit hole goes.
When we started down the path of turning a great idea into a great game, we were all obsessed with just getting it on paper. It didn’t need to be pretty, it didn’t need to even make much sense. Art? What art? Yes one of us knew how to draw, but that could come later. Setting? That’s easy to do! We’ve already got most of the setting down anyway. No, back then was the time for design. We wanted this game to be awesome. We needed this thing to be stacked with all the superpowers, the rules, and the systems necessary to do the stuff we couldn’t in every other game we have played so far. Numbers? Probability curves? Screw that, the dice always sort themselves out.
The time soon came where we figured that’s enough. We can practically play this as is. When our regular play group got together we all ran a test run. Our friends think it’s fun. It’s time to present to the masses. That’s when it hit us. How do we do that exactly? We had a small spot of forward thinking when one of us applied for a Tax ID number about 2 years prior. Except that’s only the tip of the iceberg in establishing a legitimate business entity. How do we get this to the public? What if they steal our ideas? Do we need a lawyer? How do we make money? How do we get a business bank account? Do we pay taxes? Revenue? Profit margins? The void was exposed, the true depth of the rabbit hole laid plain for the first time.
“Improvise, adapt, overcome.” Thus the writer became the salesman, the designer became the accountant, the artist became the editor, the programmer became the business manager, and the mathematician became the typographer. We’ve all each had to pick up 2-3 extra skills just to try to inch this game ever closer to completion. What else could we do? Give up? Impossible. Pay someone? With what money? We had to do 100% of the work. It was time for us kids to grow up. We’re throwing ourselves into the arena that’s known as the tabletop games industry, dominated by men many years our senior for the better part of 50 years. We had to shape ourselves into men to match. Even our aforementioned adult knew nothing of value here. Last time he ran a business was the ‘80s. The skills required then were a firm handshake and a nice smile.
Not knowing how to do something, or being thrown into a task that places us well outside of our comfort zone is now commonplace. That feeling has almost become an indicator that we are on the right track with an idea. As I write this, I’m looking at a tutorial on textures in Inkscape. I have no clue how graphic design works. I’ll figure it out though, because our demo adventure book needs a front cover.
We're making a demo for the game! How does one make a demo for a tabletop RPG?! Start with a Dash of adventure, Stir in pre-made characters and bake with only the rules necessary to run that adventure. Set on the internet for one month and read the feedback.
A quick breakdown; It's for 2 to 6 players including a narrator. Each player chooses one character. Each character comes with a quick backstory to get a feel for them, their own unique powers, with a few tricks to get you thinking. The Adventure involves intrigue, action, twists, turns and rewards out of the box thinking.
Stay tuned to the blog to keep abreast of our progress with the demo, sneak peeks of the characters, sketches of some of the art (some might just be crude concept sketches) and more about the world you'll be stepping into.