A retrospective on my games so far

Some musings about my games so far. As an independent amateur author I’m lucky: I write the games I’d like to play without constraints from market or audience logics. In this post I’d like to leave you with a few brief notes on each of them.

GIST!

I wrote GIST! because I fell in love with this post by Chris Kubasik about using Traveller mechanics as a universal system. GIST! is simply as this: Traveller’s mechanics reduced to the bone, in freeform version. Relevant gear grants a mere +1 on the roll and that’s all, the crunchiness of 2d6 OGL gone. None of the original text was maintained, I rewrote it from scratch to release it under Creative Commons.

GIST! FKR Edition

GIST! FKR is just one more step towards freeform. I think that if I could find players with the same mind as me, I would propose to play this one. But it requires active effort and creativity. You cannot simply consult a list of skills and build your PC from there. Damage management is greatly streamlined: you have only 5 Hit Points, losing for 1 each dangerous action taken.

Roamers of the Dream

Roamers of the Dream was a bet I won with myself: packaging a game in less than a month (by the Dreaming Jam deadline). I wanted to write a game about Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, but I didn’t have time to reread in detail to recover the geography. I also had little time to work out a vast world, so I closed everything into a walled city surrounded by the Nightmare. In the city reside the descendants of dreamers who lost lucidity and became trapped in the Dream. Players run the same risk. Beneath the city is a procedural megadungeon to venture into. I’m very happy with how it turned out, but I never got around to completing the bestiary. Someday maybe I’ll rewrite it (maybe as a Cairn hack) and complete it!

Binary Trinity

I’ve always loved Risus and its clichés. This system immediately came to mind for Business Card RPG Jam. I wanted to elaborate on something with I-Ching, but it was non feasible in the constraints of a business card, so in the end I simply kept the 3 coins (instead of dice) main mechanic and built a pub mini-rpg. In my mind it has infinite expandability. Binary Trinity has 5 scenario, one of which was written by The Sketchy Hedgehog.

so1um enhanced

I am a solo player. When I returned to RPGs nobody wanted to play with me, so I had to find a way to play by myself. In the end I played in my head all my life, it was only matter to add mechanics to it. so1um by Matt Jackson was one of my favorite rulesets: it’s brief and dense, a perfect one-pager with plenty of options and depth. so1um enhanced is nothing more than an expansion of Matt’s game, I just added tools that I found useful to enhanced play: hook generator, a big list of cliché, an expanded bestiary and the Tiny Solitary Soldiers’ Oracle with its twist and scene mechanics.

The Black Pit

I consider The Black Pit my best work by far, at least for me. It’s a sphere for Troika! and my submission for the Troika!Fest 2021 set on six planets orbiting a black hole. Weird Sci-Fi and time dilation effects. Very personal work and the setting I would play if I ran a mini-campaign in Troika! I had a lot of fun to draft out the planets, the backgrounds and the enemies. My only regret is it was not so well received, but I am proud to have written it.

Loner

Loner is simply how I play solo. I love tags system (like Risus’ clichés, ditto, or FATE’s aspects) and Freeform/Universal by Nathan Russel has a clever way to resolve actions with its oracle dice. I took the main idea of tags, distributed in concept, skills and frailty, added some narrative steam in goal, motive and nemesis and combined all this with Recluse Oracle as the game engine, but using Tiny Solitary Soldiers’ twist and scenes. For all intents and purposes I merged so1um enhanced with FU, reusing many of the tables from the former. I also added a harm mechanics whereas one would “zoom in” in a tactical combat.

I released it for free and since then it was downloaded around 900 times. I’d very happy if this goofy attempt it’s used by someone. The Loner Assistant was only a tool made for myself, but I gladly released it in the public.

Thálassa

I’ve already written a lot about Thálassa in this blog. I wanted a version of Mazes & Minotaurs that was mechanically simpler, less gonzo, and more true to the myth. From this premise I think something original was born, just in the search for adherence to the source. So far it has been my most successful work.

When I think that up until two years ago I had given up roleplaying games for almost 10 years, it’s amazing that in the last year I’ve written so much. The only regret is that I haven’t necessarily created something that others can enjoy, but that’s the cross and delight of writing for yourself isn’t it?