Gamicon, 2019, is less than a week away and for the first time since I ‘ve been running games at Gamicon, I feel like I’m more or less ready to go. I even have my stuff packed up near the door.
I look forward to gaming at Gamicon because it’s often the only time I get to see some of my friends who kindly travel from nearby states to participate with Corridor Games on Demand. And many of my gaming friends are also game designers so I get to talk shop face to face over food and fun.
Games that I’m scheduled to run:
- War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus – An offering from me for the Indie Game Grab Bag.
- I absolutely love this “Muppets Meets Game of Thrones” fantasy RPG in so many ways from the setup, the world, the furry little muppets with sharp pointy teeth and weapons, the incompetent meddling gods, the scary ridiculousness of each faction.
- Epyllion: A Dragon Epic –An offering from me for the Indie Game Grab Bag.
- This is a wonderful family-friendly game where friendship IS magic and the world is literally larger than life for you when you begin because you are little drakes in a world built for massive dragons. The evil Darkness, the politicking, the world building—it’s all so much fun.
- Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game – I’m running this for the first time in a long con format, three acts with one per day for players to sign up and drop in as they like.
- This is one of my all-time favorite games that I was introduced to when I was a still in high school and while I have quibbles about the system, it’s still a wonderful game set in an interesting setting thanks to Roger Zelazny’s imaginative writing.
Photo: Games I’m planning to run at Gamicon include War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus, Epyllion: A Dragon Epic, and the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game.
And so it continues…
I’ve got a draft of Space Station Omega (SSO) ready to undergo a closer inspection and more ruthless editing after Gamicon, 2019. I already know that there are sections which need cutting—even after adding them in to remind me to not forget about them, but the question for me will be to see how important it is to salvage the essence of those parts for the game.
What I’m attempting to construct is a game that pulls together parts of the Cortex Plus/Prime RPG system to emulate a subgenre of science-fiction television stories, such as Babylon 5, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, and The Expanse.
I’ve reviewed many of the game sourcebooks and the Hacker’s Toolkit. I’ve studied the releases for the Cortex Prime Handbook. For SSO, I feel that I need drama, action, and politics. Cortex Prime uses traits to build out parts of its modular toolkit system, so here are the ones that I’m working with:
- Drama Traits: Values, Beliefs (value statements), Relationships
- Action Traits: Roles, Talents, Abilities, Specialties
- Politics Traits: Backgrounds, Factions, Sectors
- Other Traits: Signature Assets, Extras, Scene Assets
Areas of Consternation
I’m wondering how much of the game I can simplify or leave with more system mastery pieces. The Abilities for one are quite long and serve a game with powers at its core very well. However, in SSO, I feel that Abilities are rarer and should fit into the specific story.
For example, what if my group decides that they don’t want telepaths, but do want genetically engineered super soldiers? And the next one wants mystical space magic but not teleportation? How much of the Ability structure needs to remain to give a group enough content to confidently build their own without requiring a significant number of pages to read and understand or to see enough examples to understand how it would play out in your particular situation?
Also, I’ve dropped the use of the Effect Die and it’s raising alarms specifically for the Abilities. I don’t want to break something that would work normally out of the sake of wanting to simplify the game.
Another long-ish area that I like and want to simplify is the use of Events. Similarly to dropping the Effect Die I’ve dropped the use of Milestones and XP, again to make things easier so I’m not certain how Events will play out mechanically at this point.
Since Cortex Prime updated mid-January, 2019, I’ve worked to do extensive writing and editing on Space Station Omega (SSO). Version 2.5 is coming along nicely and I’m getting a better sense for how the whole system hangs together, as well as how it differs for SSO.
> Space Station Omega RPG
Today I created a new bare-bones character sheet based on the revisions and have a version that I feel confident to use with the next round of playtests. I went ahead and made it landscape, double-sided with the front hosting the following categories: Profile (Background trait), Views (for The War, The Alliance, Homeworld), Values and Beliefs, Stress and Trauma Tracks, Roles and Specialties, and a space to list Plot Points. For the back, the categories include Talents, Resources (Factions, Sectors, Relationships, Signature Assets, Extras, and Scene Assets), and Growth (Callbacks and Challenges).
> Space Station Omega Personnel Datafile 02-09-2019
The next step is to have a mostly done first draft ready for review by late winter or early spring for friends to read and comment on regarding obvious issues and provide feedback related to the Cortex Prime RPG experience. Depending on how well this step goes it will either be a fair amount of rewriting and/or revisions for clarity and crafting examples specific to SSO.
Hopefully, with a new round of robust playtesting on the way this year, it will shake out remaining stumbling points and provide a next draft which I can share with other GMs to run and report back to me for improvements.
On a side note, I can’t wait to watch season 5 of KillJoys and season 4 of The Expanse later this year. Bring on the Sci-Fi shows!
Photo: Promo piece from The Expanse TV show, now hosted on Amazon Prime.