playtest Archive

  • i09 just posted about Charley Lineweaver's assertion that human-like intelligence is almost certainly unique. Furthermore...Lineweaver thinks that big brains aren't the be-all and end all of evolution. In fact, he argues that the answer to Sagan's question is

    [Do] Aliens in the Playtest

    i09 just posted about Charley Lineweaver's assertion that human-like intelligence is almost certainly unique. Furthermore...

    Lineweaver thinks that big brains aren't the be-all and end all of evolution. In fact, he argues that the answer to Sagan's question is "no" — functionally equivalent humans don't exist elsewhere in the universe. Instead, life elsewhere might be so weird as to be unrecognizable. "Intelligence" could easily take the form of some kind of system at profound disequilibrium with its environment — something like a hurricane or a star could be intelligent.


    Nice to know that the sentient storm concept wasn't so far-fetched after all.

    You might recall previous posts about how to play "weird" characters. Because the letter format enforces such a sweepingly inclusive policy on settings for each episode, I anticipated some bizarre protagonists. The playtest certainly bore this out.

    Our pilgrims were a reformed clown from a circus-world, a reluctant witch from a rural pagan village, an effete elven flutist, a steampunk tinkerer and the two following goddish characters.

    One was a girl from a world where all imagination became real, to the point where the entire vernacular of distinction between reality and fiction was an alien concept. When she left her world, she carried her abilities with her to a more limited extent. She got into trouble at the temple during character creation. I liked to think of her as a Green Lantern.

    If she was the embodied creative force, then her counterpart was essentially destructive. Borne from a black hole, his one desire was to consume all power. The only time he didn't make this attempt was when he felt it would lead to an even larger source of power. I liked to think of him as a malevolent Katamari ball.

    Yet, in the structure of the system, all had equal power over the course of the game. Almost as if the idea of player-avatars wasn't even necessary to play the game, they were just superficial conduits to mess with the world and introduce some bizarre complications to the world. I did intend for a detached relationship between player and character, but perhaps not this much.

    I think I've essentially created a different way to play Universalis. :P You can see in the annotated PDF some ways I'm addressing this issue.

    The primary problem was the disconnect between troubles the player created and the impact it has on their character. Players were introducing increasingly gonzo troubles to the world because there was no threat to their own ability to control the game. Further, by giving confirmation powers to the star of a scene, it created a disincentive for anyone to confirm a trouble that would tie their character to a trouble.

    Solution: When the group proposes troubles, it's the Star getting into trouble. And instead of the Star deciding which troubles to confirm, the next player in line will confirm. As a matter of fact, confirming the previous player's troubles is the first thing you do on your turn. This creates a seamless flow from one turn to the next.

    Logistically, this means that you keep a growing stack of trouble cards in front of you. This is an easy visual cue to see who is deeper and deeper in trouble. This also creates direct interaction between the protagonists because each pilgrim is constantly getting another pilgrim out of trouble. In doing so, they themselves will get into trouble as well.

    The other big problem was one of economy. Right now the system is all rising action, rising action, rising action, but no climax and definitely no denouement. I'm revising the Ladder significantly to accomplish this, but I think this idea of being in personal possession of your troubles is also a handy device.

    Anyhoo, I'm rambling. You'll see how this all works out in the revised playtest document.

    Continue Reading...

  • Mike Parker from the Bleeding Alpha playtest group is putting out more info every day about his group's playtesting experiences.  There's now some actual play up as well (though I haven't listened to it myself) as well as a new detailed playtest report:http://spazingames.blogspot.com/search/label/Dresden%20Filesjenniferrodgers has turned in another piece for the RPG and I'm damn pleased.  I'm going to zoom in on three key parts, though, rather than show the whole piece -- for now.  Blame it on Lea.Why is Bob freaking out?Harry's distressed again. What's over his shoulder?Agh! It's Leanansidhe!Hey Jenn, care to share some of the earlier sketches/stages of this piece over on your LJ before I reveal the final version?

    Dresden Files Alpha Playtest Sightings and RPG Art Preview

    Mike Parker from the Bleeding Alpha playtest group is putting out more info every day about his group's playtesting experiences. There's now some actual play up as well (though I haven't listened to it myself) as well as a new detailed playtest report:

    http://spazingames.blogspot.com/search/label/Dresden%20Files

    [info]jenniferrodgers has turned in another piece for the RPG and I'm damn pleased. I'm going to zoom in on three key parts, though, rather than show the whole piece -- for now. Blame it on Lea.


    Why is Bob freaking out?


    Harry's distressed again. What's over his shoulder?


    Agh! It's Leanansidhe!

    Hey Jenn, care to share some of the earlier sketches/stages of this piece over on your LJ before I reveal the final version?

    Continue Reading...

  • The aftermath of six people playing Do as of last Sunday.Click here for a PDF of the document I printed out for the playtesters. I've added color-coded PDF annotations for all the comments the playtesters wrote on their copies. (The voice recorder crapped out, sadly.)The beginning was a little awkward as I introduced the concept of the game. The setting has so many zany elements that saying it out loud with a straight face is kind of hard. I need to be able to describe it without apology if I'm gonna sell it on the floor of GenCon some day.Things hit a groove pretty quickly once the basic procedures had been established. People introduced some funny troubles. The Tesla vs. Edison letter established a gonzometer baseline, so by the end of the episode, the whole situation had dissolved into plagues, economic disaster, rampaging elephants, love triangles, etc.Lots of really good feedback is noted in the PDF and I'm eager to get another, non-MacGyvered draft ready for open betas!

    [Do] Playtest April 6, 2008

    The aftermath of six people playing Do as of last Sunday.





    Click here for a PDF of the document I printed out for the playtesters. I've added color-coded PDF annotations for all the comments the playtesters wrote on their copies. (The voice recorder crapped out, sadly.)

    The beginning was a little awkward as I introduced the concept of the game. The setting has so many zany elements that saying it out loud with a straight face is kind of hard. I need to be able to describe it without apology if I'm gonna sell it on the floor of GenCon some day.

    Things hit a groove pretty quickly once the basic procedures had been established. People introduced some funny troubles. The Tesla vs. Edison letter established a gonzometer baseline, so by the end of the episode, the whole situation had dissolved into plagues, economic disaster, rampaging elephants, love triangles, etc.

    Lots of really good feedback is noted in the PDF and I'm eager to get another, non-MacGyvered draft ready for open betas!

    Continue Reading...

  • Item the first!Levi is working on Perfect Century, a mash-up of the Spirit of the Century SRD and Perfect 20, a simplification of the d20 system's open content.You can see his progress here, and it's pretty impressive:http://the-tall-man.livejournal.com/137867.htmlItem the second!Bleeding playtester Rick Neal has finished up one of his playtest groups' cycles.  Fate Points can still rule the roost, meaning higher-refresh mortals can have some big shining moments (Murphy with a chainsaw, anyone?)http://www.rickneal.ca/

    Perfect Century of Dresden

    Item the first!

    Levi is working on Perfect Century, a mash-up of the Spirit of the Century SRD and Perfect 20, a simplification of the d20 system's open content.

    You can see his progress here, and it's pretty impressive:

    http://the-tall-man.livejournal.com/137867.html

    Item the second!

    Bleeding playtester Rick Neal has finished up one of his playtest groups' cycles. Fate Points can still rule the roost, meaning higher-refresh mortals can have some big shining moments (Murphy with a chainsaw, anyone?)

    http://www.rickneal.ca/

    Continue Reading...

  • One of our alpha playtesters for the Dresden Files RPG is blogging about his playtest experiences... in Spanish!http://againstshadow.blogspot.com/2008/03/dresden-files-bleeding-alpha-playtest.htmlStilted Google translation here

    Dresden Files Alpha Playtest Sightings – Spanish Edition!

    One of our alpha playtesters for the Dresden Files RPG is blogging about his playtest experiences... in Spanish!

    http://againstshadow.blogspot.com/2008/03/dresden-files-bleeding-alpha-playtest.html

    Stilted Google translation here

    Continue Reading...

  • Rolemonkeys After Dark #5 is titled

    Dresden Files RPG Alpha Chat – The Rolemonkeys After Dark

    Rolemonkeys After Dark #5 is titled "A double shot of Dresden". I wonder why?

    Find the podcast here:

    http://www.rolemonkeys.info/2008/03/rolemonkeys-after-dark-5-double-shot-of.html

    Continue Reading...

  • Scott Acker posts up a supernatural cop from his Dresden Files RPG playtesting:http://johnpaul613.livejournal.com/5193.htmlRyan Macklin posts actual play from his

    Sightings

    Scott Acker posts up a supernatural cop from his Dresden Files RPG playtesting:
    http://johnpaul613.livejournal.com/5193.html

    Ryan Macklin posts actual play from his "Bad Man" scenario for Don't Rest Your Head that he ran at the Endgame minicon. If you like DRYH, it is mandatory reading:
    http://macklinr.livejournal.com/585412.html

    Continue Reading...

  • Mick Bradley podcasts about Fate and the Dresden Files RPG playtest: http://harpingmonkey.com/tgtmb/?p=23

    Mick Bradley Talks Fate and Dresden

    Mick Bradley podcasts about Fate and the Dresden Files RPG playtest: http://harpingmonkey.com/tgtmb/?p=23

    Continue Reading...

  • State of the HatSo one thing that chrishanrahan tells me that folks kept asking at the recent Endgame Minicon was

    State of the Hat

    State of the Hat

    So one thing that [info]chrishanrahan tells me that folks kept asking at the recent Endgame Minicon was "So how many books are Evil Hat going to put out before they put out the Dresden Files RPG?"

    The answer to such a question is complicated, and in parts, vague. If you've listened to the That's How We Roll podcast where we held an internal Evil Hat roundtable, some elements of that question have already been answered (though to be frank, how much, I can't remember).

    In the interests of getting as much of this spelled out as possible, I present this State of the Hat post.

    Here's a quick breakdown of what we've got on deck at Evil Hat in the near and not so near future. Some of these may die on the vine, but I'm sure hopeful they don't.




    The Dresden Files RPG

    The Dresden Files RPG is currently in "bleeding alpha" playtest. This is where we put parts of the system in front of some fairly understanding, vocal, proven Evil Hat supporting people and ask them to rip the thing up, look inside the factory and see how the sausage gets made, and tell us where things are just plain broken. We started assembling this group of "bleeders" at the beginning of the year, mid-January.

    Over the course of February, we incrementally staged out the system pieces and other drafted bits of writing for them to take in, one piece at a time. As of today, the mailing list we've been using to interact with our bleeders has over 400 messages on it, just to give you an idea of the level of activity going on. The last file -- with spellcasting in it -- got given to them in the first week of March, and the official four-to-six-week "get your playtesting done and your feedback in" clock started on approximately March 10th. This means the soft deadline for the bleeding round of playtesting is April 7th, with the harder one coming two weeks later on April 21st.

    That's when things start to get a little vague, date-wise.

    From there on out, I'm anticipating, at minimum, these following phases of activity (semi-linearly in their presentation):
    • Post-bleeder revision pass on core materials
    • Selection and establishment of Main Sequence Alpha Playtest crew
    • Main Sequence Alpha Playtest (4-ish weeks).
    • Post-alpha revision pass on more materials
    • First draft on as-yet unwritten portions that depended on ratification of the twice-gone-over core
    • Selection and establishment of Beta Playest Round One
    • Revisions as necessary
    • Lather-rinse-repeat with additional beta or gamma rounds as needed
    • Completion of edits
    • Completion of art acquisition
    • Completion of layout
    • Print quotes
    • Proof review and acceptance
    • Print run
    • Launch strategy
    • Launch
    D'you want to ascribe a firm date on the basis of so many variables? I sure don't. So I haven't. :)

    Resources tied to this project: Primary resources tied to this project are Leonard Balsera and Chad Underkoffler on system design and writing, Amanda Valentine as managing editor, and myself as layout, print production, marketing, playtest group wrangling, etc.

    Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies

    This is Chad Underkoffler's next PDQ game, using an expanded (and slightly crunchier -- or at least fiddlier) version of PDQ called PDQ# aka "PDQ Sharp" focused on delivering strong swashbuckling action. It has gone through two full rounds of playtesting as well as a few convention playtests, and is looking like it's going to need a gamma playtest round at minimum before really getting to the point of moving on.

    The playtesting has gone well, but it's definitely revealed a number of places where the system and setting wants rewrites, so the timeframe on this is not super definite. Look at the Dresden Files RPG timeframe above, drop the first several steps, and simplify it a little, and you'll have a sense of what the expected phases of development yet to go on this one are like.

    Resources tied to this project: Chad Underkoffler on writing, playtest group wrangling, etc; myself on layout, print production, etc.

    Spirit of the Season

    This was an upgrade of a free giveaway project that Chad Underkoffler, Christian N. St. Pierre, and I banged out real quick back in November as a holiday giveaway. With some help from Daniel Perez from Highmoon Media, we expanded it, added some new system bells & whistles, new characters, etc, and it's now in preorder, with a current estimated number of preorders around 70.

    Resources tied to this project: At this point, just me, finishing out print production and marketing and the rest of my usual day to day Evil Hattage.

    Spirit of the [Encrypted]

    This is a project getting developed in partnership with another company. I can't say more yet, so you'll just have to suffer! This may end up as a PDF only thing at the end, but I think a few folks out there may like it.

    Resources tied to this project: [Encrypted] is doing the writing, and [Encrypted] is doing the layout. I'm consulting on the Spirit of the Century specific portion of things, providing half of the capital, and other "post-production support" elements once it's done.

    New Horizons

    This is the "take the prejudices of the time period head-on and turn them into engines for driving story" supplement for Spirit of the Century to be written by Bruce Baugh. Timeframe highly undefined as it's one of those "when Bruce has the time and energy to do so" projects. It'll happen when/if it happens.

    Resources tied to this project: Bruce Baugh on writing, Brand Robins on editing, myself on that other stuff.

    Don't Lose Your Mind

    This will be the first supplement for Don't Rest Your Head, and will delve deep into the nature of madness talents and making the most of insanity in the Mad City. Benjamin Baugh of Arc Dream's Monsters and Other Childish Things is point man on this project.

    Resources tied to this project: Ben on writing; Ryan Macklin on editing; George Cotronis on art; myself on system finalization, layout, print production, etc, etc.

    The Dinocalypse Trilogy

    Details to be determined. This is next on Benjamin Baugh's plate once he's done with Don't Lose Your Mind (above). A set of adventures (and support of campaign-style play) for Spirit of the Century.

    Resources tied to this project: Ben Baugh on writing, others TBD.

    Shadow of the Century

    A "sequel" to Spirit of the Century set in 1984. Details TBD.

    Resources tied to this project: Ben Baugh as lead writer, others TBD.

    Fate 3.0

    This is what diehard Fate fans have been waiting for -- a full-bore update of the Fate 2.0 core engine, without setting specific implementations like Spirit of the Century and the Dresden Files RPG wrapepd around it. We'll use our tried & true method of heavy examples, lots of plug & play out of the box modules for building the Fate game of your choice, and so on, just like Fate 2.0 did.

    Resources tied to this project: Leonard Balsera will be lead author, with Rob Donoghue and myself, at minimum, pitching in with additional material. Other resources TBD.

    Escape or Die!

    This is my convention game, the one I take to Dreamation and Dexcon and (so far) run in midnight slots. I don't know how full on of a publication I'll end up making out of it, but I think there are some interesting ideas here and I'm eager to see it come out even as a thin pamphlet or electronic download.

    Resources tied to this project: All me right now, though Russell Collins is doing some audio work for a value-added portion of the product.

    Faith and Credit

    This is the name given to a Rob Donoghue lead project that I'm not going to get into the details of. This is still in the early research phase; there's a lot of background material to be taken in, and that's all squarely on Rob D's shoulders right now (and he's loving it).

    Resources tied to this project: Rob Donoghue, myself, others TBD.

    Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

    This is Daniel Solis' game project which he posts about voluminously on his own livejournal. Definitely one of those "done when it's done" projects. Daniel's going to be doing pretty much everything prior to getting it to a print-house to be printed (save for things which he asks us to do); Evil Hat takes it up from there and runs with it.

    Resources tied to this project: Daniel Solis, myself, others TBD.

    Other Stuff

    I'm sure there's other stuff that we've got going on that I've completely forogtten to mention, or which is solely in the "idea phase" and not something I'm ready to mention. We'll see where those go.




    What I hope is discernable from the above is that while we've got a lot planned out, the stuff that's currently getting generated "before the Dresden Files RPG comes out" is stuff that's getting worked on primarily by people who have at most one other project on their plate -- for Chad, for example, he does time-trading between DFRPG and S7S, but in a way that hasn't really caused either project to suffer. And while Lenny's chomping at the bit to work on Fate 3.0, the Dresden Files RPG is his first and, currently, only active priority. Me, I'm split all over everything, but that's intentional; these days I'm much more effective for Evil Hat by doing the final run from layout to sales, and much more of a speedbump if long, focused, dedicated writing is on my shoulders. So that's been delegated.

    If you have any questions, please reply here on my livejournal, and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.

    Continue Reading...

  • Item #1: The Rolemonkeys have posted some of their playtest characters over on their forums.  Other discussion is bound to happen there.  Check it out:http://rolemonkeys.phpbb.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=27Item #2: Given some of my recent reactions to things -- taking on Story-Games vacation out of necessity, getting incredibly grumpy with some other folks in the community, etc -- I am clearly in vast vast need of a chill pill.  So effective immediately, I'm going to try to work less, for a couple weeks, and try to stick to a firm 6pm(ish, okay, I have to admit that's ish) end of my computing day.  This means some of you will be unable to reach me for the usual evening chats.  I'm sure you'll somehow survive. :)

    Monkeys and Chill Pills

    Item #1: The Rolemonkeys have posted some of their playtest characters over on their forums. Other discussion is bound to happen there. Check it out:

    http://rolemonkeys.phpbb.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=27

    Item #2: Given some of my recent reactions to things -- taking on Story-Games vacation out of necessity, getting incredibly grumpy with some other folks in the community, etc -- I am clearly in vast vast need of a chill pill. So effective immediately, I'm going to try to work less, for a couple weeks, and try to stick to a firm 6pm(ish, okay, I have to admit that's ish) end of my computing day. This means some of you will be unable to reach me for the usual evening chats. I'm sure you'll somehow survive. :)

    Continue Reading...

  • johnpaul613 kicks off blogging about the Dresden Files playtest with a look at Birmingham:http://johnpaul613.livejournal.com/4833.html

    More Dresden Files Playtest Sightings

    [info]johnpaul613 kicks off blogging about the Dresden Files playtest with a look at Birmingham:

    http://johnpaul613.livejournal.com/4833.html

    Continue Reading...

  • Playtester Mike Parker has started posting some details of his game.  First target -- city creation: San Francisco:http://spazingames.blogspot.com/2008/03/city-creation-san-francisco.html

    Dresden Files in San Francisco

    Playtester Mike Parker has started posting some details of his game. First target -- city creation: San Francisco:

    http://spazingames.blogspot.com/2008/03/city-creation-san-francisco.html

    Continue Reading...

  • Playtester Rick Neal Is At It Again

    Continue Reading...

  • Scott Acker is running a Dresden Files playtest con slot (maybe two!) at OmegaCon in Birmingham, mid-March:http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25811

    Convention Playtesting in Alabama

    Scott Acker is running a Dresden Files playtest con slot (maybe two!) at OmegaCon in Birmingham, mid-March:

    http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25811

    Continue Reading...

  • The Rolemonkeys have a storm-locked chat about their plans for the Dresden Files RPG playtest:http://www.rolemonkeys.info/2008/02/rolemonkeys-after-dark-4-bleeding-for.html(This may not be the best for listening to if you don't also have the playtest materials, but I'm striving for completeness here.)

    Dresden Files Alpha Playtest Sightings

    The Rolemonkeys have a storm-locked chat about their plans for the Dresden Files RPG playtest:

    http://www.rolemonkeys.info/2008/02/rolemonkeys-after-dark-4-bleeding-for.html

    (This may not be the best for listening to if you don't also have the playtest materials, but I'm striving for completeness here.)

    Continue Reading...