Slime Story continues to be a game that fights against its own completion every step of the way. I tried to do a very simple test of the conflict rules by myself–let’s have Phoebe and Matt have an argument!–and it totally fell apart. But, as has been the case since the beginning, each step leaves me with a bit more usable stuff.
(Joe Hunter Archetype illo by StreyCat)
Aside from the fact that just because stuff sounds good on paper doesn’t mean it’s actually going to work (something every designer knows, or will learn very quickly), there are two Slime Story specific things I noticed:
First, making players spend their one action for the round on changing footing doesn’t work with the game as written. It works with the range map in 3:16, but then 3:16 works quite a bit differently. This led me to have “Full Actions” and “Maneuver Actions”, and you can take one of each (or two Maneuvers) during your turn. This lets players change footing before (but not after!) attacking, and lets me put some other nifty things into the game. Of course, it also makes the rules a little more baroque, and a bit more like 4e. This will hopefully alleviate the overwhelmingly optimum status of planting oneself in one footing and making an attack every round.
Secondly, the death spiral sucks. I originally had it as a -1 penalty for each point of Stress a character takes, but when you’re rolling 2d6+Attribute (ranks range from 4 to 10 or so for starting characters), getting hit with a -3 penalty from taking one hit is just too damn much. I need to find the right balance between giving players an incentive to avoid damage, and punishing them too severely for taking it.
Once I get the conflict rules down, I’ll have the proper chassis on which to mount the rest of the game. Probably the single biggest reason I’ve been procrastinating on working on the game more is that I have to get this one highly mechanical and game-y part of things all nailed down before I can really go any further. The Talent descriptions and monster writeups all depend heavily on interacting with the conflict rules, so I’d be wasting my time if I tried to work on them, even if they’re potentially more candy-like and interesting.
In Other News: Shinobigami
I special-ordered a copy of Shinobigami (“Ninja God”), published by Role&Roll Books, and designed by none other than Toichiro Kawashima, designer of Meikyuu Kingdom and Satasupe. The game is sold in the form of a small paperback, and it’s uniquely Japanese in that the book starts with a 160-page replay (littered with explanations of the game), and then has about 60 or 70 pages of actual rules. The game is about modern-day ninja with over-the-top powers having epic battles. I’ll be posting more about this when I’ve had a chance to read through it, which will probably take a while. I’m especially intrigued by the “Velocity System”, which involve a chart that goes from 0 (Mundane) to 7 (FTL).