Looking Forward…

If the last post was looking back at the worn path of 2023, this one is about looking forward into 2024. What has Caradoc Games got planned for this year, and what are some things I’d like to work on outside of that?

Ganymede Outriders

Scheduled to be the first release for 2024, Ganymede Outriders will be hitting Kickstarter in February as a part of ZineQuest/ZiMo

Ganymede Outriders is a big game in a little package. The game uses a custom designed system built for thematic and quick play; putting the emphasis on fun and high action.
Ganymede Outriders includes a full RPG system, and is ideal for both one-shots and campaign play. It is designed to be played with 2 to 5 players and a GM.

Ganymede Outriders will be published as a 40 page A6 zine – another pocket sized book because I like the format, and it keeps the shipping cheap for overseas buyers.

I’ve been working on a bunch of support material for this one, including an SRD, an example of play, and an adventure. It will be available for people to hack, remake, or create for under the Caradoc Games license. Which means you can make stuff using the system, or for the game setting, for free or for sale, without Caradoc Games expecting a tithe.

Everything for Ganymede Outriders is done and ready to roll, and I am super excited for this to launch. I think the setting is fun, and the rules lean into it – something I love doing with all my games!

Ganymede Outriders will be the first game I launch in 2024, but it won’t be the last.

With Every Fibre

Coming in second is With Every Fibre, which will probably be launched somewhere on crowdfunding a month or so after Ganymede Outriders, or the middle of the year at the latest.

With Every Fibre is a fantasy dungeon crawl. The system is designed to OSR-like, but uses D10s for skill tests, and a range of other polyhedrals for weapon damage, spells, and the like. Here’s the pitch:

With Every Fibre is a rules-light fantasy adventure game. Between the covers you’ll find the rules of play, spells to cast, weapon traits you can unlock for special powers, adversaries to face down, tables to roll on and more.

With Every Fibre includes a full RPG system, and is ideal for both one-shots and campaign play. It is designed to be played with 2 to 5 players and a GM.

With Every Fibre will be published as a 48 page A6 zine. I’m really proud of this one. First of all I think the game system is fun, and contains some interesting ideas. Mostly though because all the art and maps for With Every Fibre and the adventure were done by own hand!

Like Ganymede Outriders, everything for With Every Fibre is already done – the rules are written, the art is complete, the layout is finished… So basically, it’s ready for launch!

Heralds… Maybe…

The third release for 2024 is likely to be a game I have been working on for a while called Heralds… A game where setting building and map creation are a strong part of the game – but I haven’t decided whether this will be a setting book, or whether it will come with a game system as well. Knowing me, I’ll probably end up designing a game system for it, but who knows!

This one is planned to come out late in 2024, I don’t know the page count, and while it’s partly written, I need to go back and rework stuff I put down to paper from a couple of years ago… it’s very much fluid at the moment.

Of course, if Ganymede Outriders or With Every Fibre do particularly well, this third release for the year might be something expanding those systems, and Heralds might be bumped back to 2025. Speaking of which, at some point, probably in 2025, I want to revisit Corsairs and Rascals.

A Podcast?

One of the things I have been considering is starting a short review series – one where each episode is less than twenty minutes, and focuses on a single table top role playing game. One of the reasons I thought about doing this is because there are so many indie games that struggle for reviews, I thought it would be nice to do something to fill that gap. Yeah – it would probably keep a fairly positive focus, but that’s mainly because I’m motivated to talk about the things I like. I’ve done podcasting before, and I’m not sure I have the energy to make this a multi-person affair, so it would probably just be me talking into a microphone. Sure it could be TikTok or YouTube or whatever, but I’m not really interested in creating video content, and I almost never watch these forms of game media myself, stick to what you know right?

Other Stuff…

Three games and support material is a pretty reasonable release schedule for 2024, but there are other things I am working on, including a novel manuscript, creating more art for my projects, and other things both personal and professional. We’ll see how it goes.

Looking Back…

I’ve written about my gaming goals for 2024, and in the great tradition of the new year haze, I want to continue in that vein of thinking. But first, we need to look back.

2023 was a relatively quiet year for Caradoc Games, at least in terms of releases. Prisoners of the Elf King launched as a Kickstarter in February of last year, and only just scraped over the line thanks to the generosity of a friend. I was a little disappointed in how Prisoners of the Elf King fared on Kickstarter. I think it’s a fun game, and more than that, I think it’s a fun read. It’s done reasonably well post Kickstarter though – so there is a silver lining! With the post Kickstarter sales the game managed to cover it’s costs and make a little bit of money. By which I mean I paid the artist and made that money back, and managed to keep some change for myself as well, and if not enough to pay me for the design time, writing, and layout, is better than it not covering costs!

For anyone interested, Prisoners of the Elf King a game that pokes fun at some of the classic tropes in fantasy fiction, and in particular the Hobbit (who would have guessed from the name). If you want to know more, you can pick up a below, or from Indie Press Revolution, or from Exalted Funeral.

Why did it not fare so well?

It could be the format – A6 might not be as popular as A5, or something with a hard cover. To be honest, I don’t think this is the main issue, it just failed to capture much attention on Kickstarter. It could be that it was because it was marketed as a one-shot game – it is an adventure and all the rules required to play that adventure. I think it’s a fun idea, but maybe it’s not a commercial idea. This concept (story arc and bespoke rules set) may be something I come back to, but for now I’m going to focus on making game systems and settings that are not built around one plot concept, however funny I think that concept might be (and trust me, it’s funny). The next few games from me will keep the format, but will be fully fledged RPGs.

Sales of my other games also slowed down in 2023, though I did send off my last copies of Corsairs and Rascals to Indie Press Revolution. Corsairs has sold about 600 copies, and Rascals about 500. I could order another reprint of both, but sales have slowed, and to be honest, both of these are games I’d like to revisit.

At one point I’d love to do a bigger version of Corsairs, with the supplements rolled in with the core rules, maybe even a hard cover if that was possible. We’ll see.

Rascals is a game I am really proud of. I think the playing card system is solid, and I like it a lot. Again it’s a game I’d like to revisit, maybe as a second edition, maybe using the same core system in a different setting.

For now, both these games are almost sold out. The last copies available can still be purchased from Indie Press Revolution (Corsairs, and Rascals) and Exalted Funeral (Corsairs, and Rascals).

Why the slow down? I honestly don’t know. It could be related to the economy, but it’s most likely related to two factors:

1) I wasn’t very active in promoting my games in 2023. A fact that is almost directly related to

2) A main source of traffic for me in the last was through Twitter, which fell of a cliff in 2023. Post engagement is really low, directed traffic is really low to non-existent… Twitter was the main platform I used for putting out news and promotional material related to my games, and it was killed in a brutal if not amusingly ironic fit of capitalistic hubris.

Last year, when it came to considering how I’d promote my games, or whether I should post something, I just felt very disengaged and lacking in motivation. I tried all the things everyone else in the TTRPG industry tried: Hive, Mastodon, Tribel, Threads… the only one I have come to kind of enjoy is BlueSky, aka Twitter with the serial numbers filed off, and you can find me on that site here.

All of that, combined with changes to MailChimp – which I use for my mailing list – made it feel very difficult to get any sort of engagement. I think for 2024 I am going to focus on three things: BlueSky, my mailing list, and this blog.

A bit of a quiet year for Caradoc Games, and a part of this was the fact I changed jobs, and a part of this was that I felt a little disengaged from the whole thing. Prisoners of the Elf King was the only game I released last year, but I did put a lot of work into the design and development of some other games that will be coming in 2024. More on that in the next post…

The year that was…

2022 was an interesting year, for myself personally it has meant some significant change, for Caradoc Games it’s been a year of overcoming complications and trying out some new things.

Looking back over 2022 from a ‘games and writing perspective’, I have achieved a number of things this year. I finalised, printed, and fulfilled Foundlings. I ran a Kickstarter for Owlbear Omelette. I designed and wrote Prisoners of the Elf King. And I have almost fully developed the next game, slated for the second quarter of 2023: Ganymede Outriders.

It sounds like a lot, and I suppose it is, but I also felt like I did a lot more than I actually did. On reflection, the key reason I didn’t get as much ‘game related’ stuff done as I had planned or thought I might was because of how busy my own life was outside of Caradoc Games. In 2022 I worked full time as a teacher, I also worked some 20 hours a week coaching gymnastics, and then worked on Caradoc Games related stuff outside of that. I have three very active kids, and family life is important. If I got less done on games than I had intended I think I can give myself a break – this year was busy!

One other significant change that happened this year was that I stepped away from the classroom after nearly 20 years as a teacher, and took over the management of a gymnastics center. All of this happened at the same time the little country town I call home flooded. The gym was forced to move locations and the weeks from the floods to the recovery were massive. While this chaotic start to a new career was interesting, to say the least, I really am hoping for a more stable year to come. I loved coaching throughout 2022, and am looking forward to what the new year brings.

So back to game related stuff. The year started with Foundlings, and it was a rocky start. Originally I had intended to fulfill Foundlings through my own webstore, but an error I couldn’t work out in the coupon system was taking time to resolve. In the end I opted to run a pledge manager through Gamefound, which was… interesting. While it took more time than I had planned for, I am thrilled to say that Foundlings was successfully fulfilled, if a little late. This game seems to have done well post-kickstarter, and I ended up having to order a second printing not long after the first. I hope it continues to do well, I really like this little game, and I think it uses some really fun rules. If you’re after a post-apocalyptic fantasy game, with strong environmental themes and a focus on the slow degradation any post-apocalypse brings – this game might just be for you!

The second quarter was spent getting my game Freedom or Toaster finished and laid out for the Tiny Tome – a Kickstarter run by Long Tail Games. I really like this little micro-rpg of mine, and was thrilled it got a chance to be a part of such an awesome anthology of games. As a one-shot I think Freedom or Toaster works great – it has simple resolution mechanics, a fun and funny theme (human-like robots trying to escape a busy mall to live their best lives, while human robot police hunt them down). It also has one of the best rules I have added to a game (imo): every time a robot speaks they have a noise they have to include in their speech – maybe it’s ‘beep’, maybe it’s ‘woo!’ – every time I have played Freedom or Toaster this element has been a lot of fun.

Around the same time I started work on Ganymede Outriders, a game I originally hoped I would release as a perfect bound book of something like 100 A5 pages. But…

When fulfilling Foundlings I had a number of messages from backers complaining about the high cost of shipping. Believe me, I get it. As an Aussie, shipping is a nightmare. Having the cost of shipping be about the same as the game itself – for a game which is a staple bound booklet no-less… yeah. For Foundlings I actually charged less than what it cost me to put those games in the post, and at $14 for shipping per copy – no, it was not cheap. I looking at working with a shipping partner, I looked at localised printing, and while these offered some solutions, the cost in currency conversion between AUD and USD meant that any savings I could pass on were negligible or non-existent.

My plans to make bigger books with Ganymede Outriders and Heralds was only going to mean bigger shipping costs, but what if I went smaller instead? What if I could send something in a DL envelope? That would cost about $4 AUD for international shipping.

The plan for Owlbear Omelette was hatched.

Owlbear Omelette was a game I had originally released in 2019. I chose to revamp the game for this little experiment, and converted it into a 36 page staple bound A6 booklet. I reworked the rules, added some fun new options, redesigned and added a bunch of random tables for generating a dungeon or palace, and let it loose on Kickstarter. It didn’t explode, in fact, it barely scrapped over the line, but it funded. It funded and it let me trial how much cheaper and easier it could be to send stuff via DL. Owlbear Omelette wasn’t even on my radar for a re-release at the start of the year, but here we are: a successful Kickstarter fulfilled, and copies already available in retail at places like Indie Press Revolution, and soon to be at Exalted Funeral.

The experiment was a success, and this led me to work on my next game. It wasn’t that I abandoned Ganymede Outriders – that one was still percolating in the background, but I wanted to make something that was spiritually like Owlbear Omelette, something that was hopefully amusing to read and play, and that poked a bit of fun at itself and it’s genre. Prisoners of the Elf King was born.

In Prisoners of the Elf King you play as Dwarves, captured by the eponymous Elf King, and released from your cells by your burglar. Rather than climbing into barrels and getting dashed to pieces in a river, you have collectively decided to find your own way out.

Like Owlbear Omelette, this game is both the adventure and the rules system, with the rules specifically designed to engage with the themes. In Prisoners of the Elf King Dwarves can ‘Dig Deep’ to score extra successes, but if they do it to much they can release their bane. The characters all have passions – which play off the characteristics of the Dwarves in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, and if they are fulfilled the player can advance their characters. The party also has a sheet with three tracks – Fly You Fools measures how close the Dwarves are to escape. Diplomatic Incident is rolled after the game, and can mean the antics of the Dwarves lead to a massive war (Battle of the Five Armies style), and Drums in the Deep is the track that gets filled up if the Dwarves dig too deep too often.

I think the system is fun, and I got a lot of pleasure out of designing a set of rules that play with the material that inspired it. Like Owlbear Omelette this is a strongly focused game – it sets out to tell a story, and has all the rules you need to play that story. I’m thinking of calling this little line of games ‘Episodes’ – because that’s very much what it feels like. They are a different design experience to something like Corsairs, Rascals, Foundlings, or Ganymede Outriders – all of which are game systems and settings.

Prisoners of the Elf King will be hitting Kickstarter in February this year, as a part of the ZineQuest and ZiMo promotions.

Of course, with the rules for Prisoners of the Elf King done and dusted, I turned back to Ganymede Outriders. This is a game and setting, includes vehicle rules, and a travel system. I am going to try and squeeze all of that into an A6 book. Will it work? We shall see…

Toward the end of last year Thunderworks Games ran a Kickstarter for their Roll Player Adventures game. This was hugely exciting for me, as a part of this Kickstarter included the Tales of Ulos graphic novel. I wrote one of the comics in this novel: Blackjacked Buccaneers, and it was one of the most enjoyable pieces of freelance writing I have ever undertaken. You can read some thoughts about it all here. I was very pleased to see Roll Player Adventures do so well, not least for the selfish reason that I get to see a comic book I wrote go to print. And who knows, maybe we’ll see more of Kaemon and Pitlin in the future…

Well, that about wraps up the year that was. 2022 was a busy year, but I am pleased with everything I got done. It wasn’t the biggest year for Caradoc Games in terms of money made, and one of the reasons for this is because I had made the decision to move away from freelance work to focus on my own games (Blackjacked Buccaneers was the exception – I mean who could say no to writing a comic!).

The Owlbear Omelette Kickstarter raised about $1600 AUD, of that about $100 was profit, but I also sold copies into distribution, and that, for me at least, has been where my games have made the most. Online sales through my website were almost non-existent, sales on itch.io came to about $40, and DriveThruRPG sales totaled about $140 (after DTRPG took their 30% cut). Royalties from Long Tail, and sales through distribution (both Indie Press Revolution and Exalted Funeral) came to a bit over $3000. None of this includes royalties for the comic book – I expect those will start next year some time. Not a huge amount to show for the work it has taken, but all building. I now have four games in print, the experiment with cheaper shipping options was a success and has created the model for Caradoc Games moving forward, and I have two games ready for 2023. With a back catalog starting to make some money, and at least two games lined up for release next year, I hope the building I have put into this year will start to grow in 2023.

I have rambled long enough, I’ll write about my plans for 2023 in another post.

Announcing Prisoners of the Elf King

So, you’ve managed to escape the dungeons of the Elf King… But what next? While your burglar helped you slip your cages, the next steps they proposed could be generously described as ‘sketchy’, at best. So, while the burglar heads off to prepare, you and your fellow dwarves are going to find your own way out!

Yes! You’ll all be damned if you let some button-less burglar drown you in barrels, there has to be a fitter way out of this foresty fastness! 

Prisoners of the Elf King is a madcap escape from the palace of the Elf King… can you and your fellow dwarves get away?

Temporary cover (art is currently being completed by Juan Ochoa)

Inside Prisoners of the Elf King you will find:

  • Rules for the doing of deeds.
  • Rules for Digging Deep, for when a dwarf needs to push for extra successes (but be wary of digging too deep)!
  • Rules for Fortune and Misfortune, Hurts, and Helping.
  • Rules for Dwarf Creation
  • A table of secret Dwarvish Passions
  • Party rules, including three tracks that can affect all the characters: Fly You Fools, Diplomatic Incident, and Drums in the Deep.
  • Fly You Fools measures how close the Dwarves are to escape.
  • Diplomatic Incident: Do your antics lead to a massive war some months after your escape, and do you survive it?
  • Drums in the Deep: Did the Dwarves Dig too Deeply and release their bane?
  • A table of magic items.
  • A table of Elvish curses.
  • A selection of NPCs to face down.
  • 8 tables for randomly generating an Elf King’s Palace, and the sorts of encounters a Dwarf might stumble across while escaping.
The party sheet and character sheet…

Prisoners of the Elf King is the next game coming from Caradoc Games. Like Owlbear Omelette, Prisoners of the Elf King is an adventure and a unique game system all wrapped up in one A6 zine. Designed for 1 Dwarf Master (DM), and between 1 and 4 other Dwarves, Prisoners of the Elf King is ideal for a one-shot, a mini-campaign of 2-4 sessions, or for convention play.

Prisoners of the Elf King will be going live on Kickstarter in February, just in time for ZineQuest and ZiMo! And if you’re curious about what either of these things are, or are keen to create your own game, then check out my Zine Resources page here.

Downsizing, a Plan?

A few weeks ago I completed fulfillment of my latest game: Foundlings. This is the third game I have published physical copies of. All three of the games I have published (Corsairs, Rascals, and Foundlings) are A5 saddle-stitched zines of varying lengths.

Foundlings is the largest, clocking in at 48 internal pages, and cover (4 more pages). It has the highest GSM cover stock, making it the heaviest game I have produced. Why is this relevant? Well, this post is broadly about shipping costs.


You can also grab Foundlings, Corsairs, and Rascals from Exalted Funeral, or Indie Press Revolution


If you backed Foundlings on Kickstarter, $15 AUD would net you one physical copy of the game (as well as PDFs, etc). The cost of shipping (which I collected through GameFound) was $14 AUD.

Yes.

Shipping cost nearly the same as the game itself.

Anyone from Aus will probably not be overly surprised, but for anyone else: this wasn’t me price gouging, inflating the cost of shipping to make more out of suckered in backers who just wanted their physical copies, this is actually less than what shipping those games cost me.

A backer jumps onto GameFound, uses their credits to get their copy of Foundlings, and pays the $14 for shipping.

Stripe and Gamefound take their %, and I get about $13.30 deposited into my account. Shipping an envelope large enough to hold an A5 zine internationally (let’s say somewhere in Europe), costs me $13.50 at the post office. This does not include the costs of the envelopes, labels, time, or anything else.

Shipping is wildly expensive for a small time publisher.

With Foundlings I tried something I hadn’t done before, I used shipping partners in the UK and the US to help reduce the costs of shipping. So how did that go?

It did not really reduce the costs of shipping.

The cost to send a box of games to the US (or UK) is expensive, the processing costs charged by my shipping partners (which were very reasonable I need to add), were in USD and GBP – both of which are worth considerably more than the humble AUD – so whatever the cost, you can times it by a minimum of 1.5 for USD, and about 2 for GBP.

All of it meant that the actual savings passed on to the customer were small – indeed, the shipping costs for Backers in the UK and the US were both only a couple of dollars cheaper than had I not used shipping partners.

It might have been more cost effective if I was shipping larger quantities than I did, but not significantly.

Now, I’m not complaining – it costs what it costs. It’s important to note that I absolutely understand why backers might be upset with the costs – hell, I certainly am! It is also absolutely reasonable for shipping partners to charge – of course – and both partners I used were extremely reasonable and extremely helpful, and I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with them – they were and are wonderful.

But… Shipping is expensive. It is, by a long way, the most expensive part of creating and getting a game like Foundlings (or Corsairs, or Rascals) into the hands of gamers around the world.

In fact, it’s so expensive, that I’m not sure I want to try publishing a game of the same size (or larger) here in Australia, and sending it out internationally. I think for any future game of this size (or larger) I will need to look at working with a publishing partner, probably in the US. Anyway – food for later thought…

So why is this post called Downsizing? Well, if you made it this far, this is the experiment I plan to undertake…

The next game I am releasing is called Owlbear Omelette – a reworked and rewritten version of a little game I published back in 2019. This game is designed to be a fun and silly dungeon crawl style game, in which the players (Goblins) are ransacking the Goblin King’s palace for an Owlbear Egg for the express purpose of omelette making.

Owlbear Omelette will be published as an A6 saddle-stitched game. At 34 internal pages, it will be about the same thickness as Corsairs, with the added bonus of being literally half the size.

Why?

Shipping.

Besides the fact the A6 is a fun little size, and I quite like mini-games, shipping an A6 booklet of that size will allow me to use tough card DL envelopes, keeping the cost of international shipping to about $4.00-5.00 AUD. That reduces the cost of shipping by two thirds, and with currency conversion should come out at a pretty minimal addition for most international backers.

Will it be successful? Who knows! I will be Kickstarting Owlbear Omelette during the ZineQuest promotion Kickstarter is running in August, and will let you all know how successful (or not) it was after that…

If it is successful, then maybe I need to take a long and careful look at a few of my planned and upcoming games, and ask myself how they would look wearing an A6 sized overcoat.

Winging away…

Rascals is in the post and winging it’s way around the world!

After a mildly stressful beginning, the Rascals Kickstarter has been fulfilled. So what was the stressful part? Well, full of excitement, I marched into the post office with the intention of sending off Rascals. The postal worker informed me, that due to Covid, Rascals would be treated as ‘parcels’ instead of ‘letters’. A difference that would mean the cost for shipping each copy of Rascals would more than double, and that the money gathered for shipping was no where near enough to cover what I was told it was now going to cost. After recovering from the mild fit my heart decided to undertake at this news, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and legged it.

I was fairly confident I had done my due diligence, and had researched the shipping costs properly, but by the same token, Covid has had a way of changing things rapidly. Add to this that fact that being told a thing by a person who should know has a way of getting one to question one’s own reality, and I was ‘somewhat’ concerned.

After undertaking some more research, and finding that I had been correct after all, I decided the best course of action was to try my chances at a different post office. Thankfully the people there were wonderful, took everything in hand, and to cut a long story short: Rascals is in the post.

Now seems a good time to mention that in addition to Rascals you can also download the adventure module, Operation: Bramble, get a copy of the official card deck, as well as make full use of the Rascals DLC for TableTop Simulator​.

I have been thrilled to see some photos from people locally who already have their copies, it is wonderful to finally see the game in the wild!

 

Rascals is live!

Rascals is live on Kickstarter now! You can check the project page out here.

On the project page I preview some of the wonderful art created by Juan Ochoa, and you can also see my first foray into creating a project video…

I’m really thrilled with how this project has come together, the black and white interior, supported by the sublime artwork of Juan Ochoa, looks really nice (in my very biased opinion). I can’t wait to see how the project goes!

On the Cards… A Question of Design

You’ve been called back. Back to the life you thought you had escaped. A foul plot is afoot…

Rascals is an action-adventure science fiction role playing game. It was inspired by such movies as Rogue One, Bourne, The Dirty Dozen, and so on.

Rascals uses traditional playing cards as the core engine for resolving skills tests and challenges. Today I want to talk a little about how this works, and some of the design decisions I made when creating this system.

You can find the pre-launch page to Rascals here, hit Notify to follow the project…

Context

Before I delve into why I made the system this way we need to know how the system actually works.

In Rascals each player will have a hand of cards. When a player undertakes a Challenge, or Reacts to something, they will play a card from their hand into the middle of the table (called the Pot). The GM (called the House), will also play a card according to the Difficulty of the Challenge or React.

  • Easy: The House will draw two cards, will discard the higher card face up, and play the lower card face down into the pot.
  • Average: The House will draw and play a card to the pot.
  • Hard: The House will draw two cards, will discard one face up, and play the other one (note that the House can choose which to play).

Discarding a card face up in an Easy or Hard Challenge will give the player some indication of what they need to succeed. The House may choose the card to play in a Hard challenge, because many adversaries have abilities that can be activated when they play a card of a specific suit. Sure the House may play a card thinking they have a good chance of losing the Challenge, but it might mean that the Adversary gets to do something extra, or special…

Players will redraw cards on Reactions, but not for Challenges they undertake. Cards are the characters inspiration, their drive, and their focus. If they get caught in a series of Challenges – a chase, a complicated engineering problem, heated debate, or firefight, their hand will slowly dwindle. Their options will contract…

Why?

Because in the movies this game is inspired by there is always that dramatic narrative, the heroes are challenged, they are set upon, beat down, they escape and struggle, thrown from one bad situation into another, they are running out of options, out of luck…

Until…

They manage to duck into a cafe and avoid pursuit, find that vet’s clinic and patch themselves up, or lay low in a dive-hotel, giving them a chance to reset, draw breath, plan…

This is the drive behind Rascals, the second act, the false victory leading to despair up to the point where all seems lost, but…

The purpose of this system is to have the characters pushed, to stress their hand and their Hustle (that’s another post), encouraging the players to find ways their characters can break the momentum, change the scene, take control, seize the initiative.

When characters find space in a scene they can use a Second Wind to regain cards or heal some, if they escape a scene they can redraw their hand… it’s about movement and momentum. About changing the ground. It’s about the characters, beat down and hurting, relentlessly pursued, struggling as they roll from one encounter to another, and finally managing to find space, time, to catch their breath, to reform…

This momentum swing – in a narrative arc going from the second to third act and back again – is exactly what the card system in Rascals is designed to reflect. Players should start feeling powerful and in control, slowly feel the pressure mounting as the action builds, then feel the drive to force change – a change of momentum, a change in scene, an escape and reprieve…

Rascals is all about that second act, when things start going sideways for our heroes, when, in the movie theatre, we are on the edge of our seats waiting to see how they’ll escape this one… and the relief and excitement when they do, when they pause the tempo, when they manage to find a way to wrest back control.

Did I mention the prelaunch page? It’s here… go hit Notify!

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