26 February 2012

Vote For Adventure: Series 2 Retrospective

I have just finished the second series of Vote For Adventure, the RPG that I run via Tumblr and form polls I create with Google Docs. When I finished the first series I talked about what worked, what didn't and what happened. I'm doing it again with series 2.

On Setting

This time around I did things differently. I presented the voters with a big list of different genres and setting elements and told them to choose 3. I then took the top 3 responses and mashed them up into the setting for series 2. The top three results were Weird, Survival and Post-Apocalyptic. To me, this meant a weird apocalypse and for that I had to turn to Lovecraft. I came up with a setting based roughly on The King in Yellow, but modernized. This turned out to be pretty successful. People liked the setting.

Despite the setting being popular, it was an absolute chore to write for. The big issue here was the survival aspect. In a world where there isn't really anywhere to go, no hope or way to save it, there just isn't much of an ongoing plot. I really struggled to keep the plot forward moving. I won't be doing a survival game in with Vote For Adventure again.

On Character Creation

I also did Character Creation differently this time. I presented the voters with a big list of skills and told them to select 4. At the end I was left with a % for each skill based on the number of people that selected them. I used this as the baseline success rate for those skills whenever the protagonist tried to use one. This worked out pretty well, but the reality of how the character was played (aggressively) did not match with the character that was created (an engineer with little physical prowess). This is what ultimately lead to the character's demise.

On Update Schedule

I slowed the update pace down to 3 days a week (Mon/Tues/Fri) and this seems to be the sweet spot. It doesn't absorb my life nearly as much and I get less complaints about people missing updates.


I enjoyed VFA 2, but I moving the narrative really was a chore this time around. I started rooting for the character's death after a while because I just wanted to move on to something new. It didn't take long for him to pick a fight with a shotgun-wielding maniac, however, and I got my wish.

If you would like to read through Series 2 then you can start at the first entry here.

11 February 2012

There is now a Polish version of In Between.

Just like the headline says, the folks over at RPG Kepos that reviewed In Between so long ago have actually gone and translated the game into Polish. This was the last thing I ever expected to come of a game I made in 10 days for Game Chef almost two years ago.

As if translating a game from English to Polish wasn’t enough work, the Polish version of the game is quite a bit nicer than mine. They secured the rights to some artwork, got a nice layout put together, and generally prettied things up in ways I couldn’t even begin to do on my own. I got in touch with their layout designer, Tweet, and he agreed to send me that files he used to gussy-up the game so hopefully I can make the English version look almost as nice some time in the near future.

I’ve actually been emailing back and forth with RPG Kepos while they worked on this project and between clarifications on rules and additional playtesting done by their team the rules were reworked and added to. There have been enough changes to the rules that it wouldn’t be remiss to call the Polish edition version 2.5 of In Between. One of the highlights of the new additions are rules for taking a more demonic path rather than the path to redemption. While I have a copy of these updated rules in borrowing old .doc format, there isn’t a nice PDF in English available. Those updated rules will make it into the version using Tweet’s layout which will probably show up whenever I have a free weekend to work on this stuff.

You can see the Polish version by visiting RPG Kepos, which I have handily provided as a translated google link. If you’d like to just go straight to the PDF then click here.

2 February 2012

Vote For Adventure

In my last post I talked about how I had run an RPG via a series of polls. In late December I started up another one of these games, only this time with a Monday/Wednesday/Friday update schedule. I’ve been feeding all of these posts into a Tumblr website called Vote For Adventure.

This time around the unwashed masses voted for a game that mixed together elements of weird fiction, survival horror, and an apocalypse scenario. I went with a survivor struggling through life after a large portion of the world’s population went mad.

So far this one has been significantly more difficult to write. The big problem, for me, is that there is little direction in a game set in a world that is really beyond hope. It’s about survival and it’s been a struggle for me to find a meaningful plot that makes sense. Ultimately, I think the game will end in the protagonist’s death, but I’m not going to force it. I do have a general direction I’m moving the story in, but it isn’t easy to get there while giving players the freedom to control what the protagonist does. In any subsequent games I will be forcing a setting and game setup that fits into a more standard adventure format.

In any case, if you’d like to be a part of the Vote For Adventure game then be sure to click the link and catch up with the story. Don’t forget to vote!


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