Tag Archives: i.hate.everyone

Progress Sort Of

I wanted to take some time to write a bit about what I’ve been up to, admittedly in part just to not have that D&D post at the top of my blog. I’d rather think about making and playing cool stuff myself than worry about what’s going on elsewhere, and I have a heck of a lot of cool stuff going on. On the other hand I’ve had some writer’s block and had a hard time getting serious writing done, which is probably a lot to do with why I keep getting ideas for more random projects.

Magical Burst
I’m just about ready to wrap up my first playtest campaign of the 4th Draft. It’s exposed a huge number of issues with the game, and Versions 4.1 is going to take a good amount of work on various fronts. Right now I’m right about to where I need to step back from the project and mull over all the feedback I’ve gotten and my experiences with the playtest. One key thing I’m definitely writing into the GM advice is to let the magical girls have some semblance of normal lives, because that’s where a lot of the tension and drama of the game come from.

Golden Sky Stories Stuff
Apart from stuff like taking care of the few remaining packages that went missing or got returned, the major thing left to do with GSS is finish up the remaining original material. I was able to knock another thing off the to-do list when I found an artist for Faerie Skies, namely Clove, who among other things did the cover and some other art for Inverse World. He sent me the first of his sketches for Ellisandra the elf, and I am ridiculously happy with the results so far.

Dragon World
For some reason I got inspired to look at Dragon World again. This led to spending an evening reading through the 25k or so words I’d already written, and brainstorming more classes. Among others, I’m working on one called the Digital Invader, which is an MMORPG character being mysteriously projected into the fantasy world. I’m also making some minor tweaks to the rules here and there. It’s going to need more playtesting of course, but it’s looking really good, which I guess shows the advantages of building off of an existing system rather than trying to build one from scratch. Also, using this as an excuse to start watching the 52 episodes of Slayers I haven’t seen. I kind of want to Kickstart it, both to get it out into the world and to have the excuse to see what classes and such my various gaming friends and colleagues could come up with. (Ben Lehman already floated the idea of doing either a maid class or something based on Ryuuko from Kill La Kill.) Also possibly custom dice, though of course I’m getting way ahead of myself.

That also has me inspired to look at what else has been going on in the way of PbtA games. Since I already backed the Kickstarter I finally started reading Inverse World, which turns out to be pretty fantastic, particularly in how it evokes the setting. Likewise there have been some really great new third party Dungeon World playbooks like the Princess and the Dashing Hero. Although core Dungeon World seems really good at what it does, some of the third party stuff seems just spectacular, especially for the stuff where they weren’t beholden to D&D cliches. (And that’s before we talk about Monsterhearts, which is just astonishingly good.)

Slime Story
Looking at all this Apocalypse World-based stuff led me to think about the possibility of reworking Slime Story as a Powered by the Apocalypse game. Slime Story is a concept I came up with literally about 8 years ago, a present-day setting where mysterious magical portals have appeared and started dumping cute monsters like something out of a Korean MMO into the world, and while in many places they’re under the control of warlords or corporations, in suburban America a subculture of teenage monster hunters has arisen. The “Slime Engine” system that I’d been struggling to put together may eventually turn into a good base for Slime Quest (my anime/JRPG-influenced fantasy heartbreaker), but the more I think about it the more it seems a poor fit for Slime Story’s weird mishmash of monster hunting and teenage slice of life. Among other things, it definitely calls for a system where many monster fights are routine and come down to a few quick die rolls.

i.hate.everyone
I got inspired to finish and publish i.hate.bronies, the MLP-themed expansion to i.h.e, and further to do a prototype of i.hate.gimmicks, an experimental expansion with a bunch of stuff to try out new mechanics (which I’ll have to do some actual playtesting on). I also got inspired to do a Game of Thrones expansion. I was going to call it i.hate.thrones, but I realized that i.hate.joffrey might be a better name. It’s coming along slowly though.

Sharkicane vs. Dolphoon
Not an RPG thing, but after watching the RiffTrax Live of Sharknado I got inspired to write this incredibly weird story. The sharks are using dark magic to summon up the Sharkicane, and the dolphins may be our only hope. Also, I realized that the reason the people are being so slow and dumb when they should be evacuating right away is because the sharks’ sorcery has dulled their wits.

Beyond Otaku Dreams
And for an added bonus, reading Epidiah Ravachol’s Swords Without Master (in Issue 3 of Worlds Without Master) got me thinking about Beyond Otaku Dreams. It’s a game I really want to make happen, as it’s based on personal experiences far more than any other game I’ve done. SWM has this intriguing thing where you roll to set the mood as either Jovial or Glum (with passing the dice around the table being an important part of how you play the game), which put me in mind of how Beyond Otaku Dreams is about a collision of Hope and Delusion. It’s incredibly tricky to figure out, since it needs to be a simple but carefully-made mechanism for group storytelling, and it generally gives me a feeling of trying to build a castle in the air.

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i.hate.everyone Custom Pack

Okay, so here’s the deal. i.hate.everyone is out into the world, but it’s not exactly making me money, and was first and foremost a game I made because it’s fun to play with my friends anyway. I have thus decided to do a Creative Commons release, aimed at letting people make their own i.h.e cards. That’s the “Custom Pack,” which is a Creative Commons licensed set of files with all the stuff for making cards. It’s an attribution license, so the sole caveat is that you have to give credit to me (and Clay, who did the graphic design for the cards).

The pack also includes Photoshop files, but for the full effect you need InDesign, which has the insanely powerful and useful Data Merge feature, which is seriously phenomenally helpful if you’re trying to make 380 cards. If you want to learn more about designing cards and stuff like Data Merge, I highly recommend Daniel Solis’ Skillshare class on the subject.

There’s also an included document (in docx and PDF) with the rules (also CC licensed), card writing tips, and guides for preparing cards for DriveThruCards, The Game Crafter, SuperiorPOD, and a basic PNP version.

Download the i.hate.everyone Custom Pack

May Status Update

I Want to be an Awesome Robot
IWantToBeAnAwesomeRobot[smallpdf.com]
The book is done! It’s up on Amazon (POD) and DriveThruFiction (POD/PDF). It is the fruit of something like 3 years of work, ranging from free-flowing satire to profound acts of creative masochism (like the list of 700 catgirl names and the Today in Geek History calendar).

I already started working a little bit on the follow-up, Most of My Friends Are Potential Supervillains (Subtitle: A Book of Humor, Almanackery, and Darkness), which will cover such diverse topics as villainy, board games, sports, more Secrets of Silicon Valley, places I have never been, and possibly that mini choose your own adventure thing I never finished for the first book.

i.hate.everyone
IHE-previewMy weird tasteless party card game, i.hate.everyone, is up for sale on DriveThruCards. Since it’s print on demand and the came has 380 cards, it’s pricier than I’d like, but them’s the breaks. I got Clay to do graphic design for the fronts and backs of cards, and I used InDesign’s Data Merge feature (following Daniel Solis’ great tutorials on the subject) to automatically slot the text into the cards. I currently have two core sets: i.hate.everyone (the normal version), and i.hate.fandom (the geeky version). I also made free print-and-play versions of both, and they’re in the little 2″x2″ format so you can shuffle them into your homemade CAH set if you really want too.

For now the plan is to keep doing it as a POD (with free PNP) thing, and to expand and experiment. Professional publication is a possibility, but it’s not something I’m going to actively pursue until I get several other projects out of the way.

Golden Sky Stories
On the general GSS front, apart from a tiny handful of lingering shipping issues, I’m first and foremost trying to wrangle the remaining PDF material, while my business partner Mike is working on going to local conventions and looking for interesting new avenues to sell the book and otherwise reach people.

The big thing that will doubtless make some non-backers happy is that we’re actively working on getting a bundle of stretch goal material ready for retail sales. I decided to combine the five new character types, two of the scenarios, Allen Varney’s “Henge Sweets” piece, and the two prose stories into a PDF product called “The Colors of the Sky.” The quantity of material puts it about on par with the Japanese GSS supplements. Other stretch goal material will depend on when it’s done and what form it makes sense to put it into.

I also got back into translating the remaining supplements. I’d gotten a good amount done (including the Elder Henge rules), but between Hitotsuna Komichi and Kore Kara no Michi there’s five or so scenarios, a replay, another character type (a more detailed writeup for humans), and some stories that recount the history of Hitotsuna Town. (Which is really interesting so far, but also a lot of work to translate.) I already finished translating Mononoke Koyake a while ago, but editing is taking time.

Fantasy Friends
The big new thing I did with Fantasy Friends was to finish up the set of 36 magic items (enough to fill a d66 table). Making magic items for GSS was a major challenge both because I was breaking new ground with the system, and because through fiction and RPGs magic items that aren’t meant to cause harm in some way are the exception to the rule. I went through all 1600 pages of the AD&D Encyclopedia Magica books,[1] the GURPS Magic Items books, and lots and lots of Wikipedia pages. The big thing I started doing that created more work for me but also made the whole thing better overall was to include a few Story Fragments with each one. The easier those flowed, the more sure I was that I had a promising idea for an item.

I’ve also found an artist for the book. I’ve already sent him a set of instructions and sketches for the designs for the six signature characters, and I’m hoping he can give Fantasy Friends its own distinct feel, a little different from core GSS, but still just as heartwarming.

For Faerie Skies meanwhile I’ve mainly been doing some tweaks, especially those based on backers’ feedback on making its depiction of the English countryside a bit more authentic (but still idealized and idyllic, and taking a few liberties with the mythology). We’re still trying to find a suitable artist; if you know (or are) an artist who might be a good fit please feed free to contact us.

Magical Burst
IMG_1025The fourth draft is nearly ready for release. I decided I wanted to do some playtesting first, and this turned out to be the right idea, since I found several small but important changes to make. One of the smallest in terms of the word count involved but big in terms of its impact on play was that instead of players being able to take up to 3 Overcharge to get extra dice on every magical roll, I turned that ability into a “Boost” move that’s limited to 3 times per scene. Giving everyone so many second chances was cumbersome in play, and limiting how often a player can use it seems to be a good way to keep that element without making it so overwhelming. The youma rules still need some more work too, mainly in figuring out how to give them abilities that are both interesting and make them into good “boss” enemies.

Surprising no one, the most recent additions is yet another table, for stock NPC archetypes to use when setting up relationships. I’m also putting in a series of “strategy guide” sections, with tips to help players better understand the whys and hows of the rules, and play more effectively. That covers a variety of topics, including stuff on how to more easily keep track of stuff at the table. One thing I came up with is that since the game uses the Marvel Heroic style initiative system (where the current person passes initiative off to someone else), I started giving each player an “action token” (and as many tokens as the youma has actions per round for it), which they turn in when they take a turn, so that it becomes much easier to keep track of who has and hasn’t gone.[2]

This will easily be the biggest revision to the game, but it’s also much closer to being the game I want it to be. The game has enough subtleties and moving parts that need fine-tuning that it’ll need some fairly intensive playtesting to fully finish it, but I’m hoping to complete it and in 2015 make it Star Line Publishing’s first fully original RPG.


[1]In PDF form. I’m tempted to see about getting the actual printed books, but (1) they’re not cheap these days, and (2) I really have way too much stuff and I’m trying to at least get more digital rather than physical stuff.

[2]The lack of thought about that kind of thing is one of my big criticisms of D&D4e, which I otherwise like a lot.

Card Games Update

Time for an update on where I’m at with card game projects, notably i.hate.everyone and a new magical girl battle card game. (Did that get your attention?)

A little while back Clay did the graphic design for fancy i.hate.everyone cards, and I got a prototype made through DriveThruCards. Daniel Solis’ card design tutorial covers using the Data Merge feature in InDesign to automatically slot text into a card template, which made the whole thing much easier and generally more bearable to do, though I find InDesign bizarre and infuriating for all sorts of things. (It’s really, really weird to me that Adobe apparently doesn’t think anyone would want to import a Photoshop file into InDesign without completely flattening it.) Anyway, the results were pretty excellent all around,[1] and i.h.e is becoming the time-wasting card game of choice with me and my friends. I had upped the number of cards with special effects to about 1 in 4, and all the shenanigans with drawing, discarding, and trading cards were a lot of fun. I’m also very happy with the quality of printing from DTC, though a game with 380 cards is less than optimum both in terms of pricing and the fact that they don’t currently sell boxes that hold that many (though when I corresponded with Brian via email he said that’s something they’re working on.) Anyway, here’s a look at the cards!

IMG_0044
IMG_0043

Right now the plan is to tweak things a little bit, and then start sales of both i.hate.everyone and i.hate.fandom through DriveThruCards. I’ve also already started on the first expansion, i.hate.bronies, which is indeed My Little Pony themed and weird and terrible and I already commissioned a pony mascot for it named Flippy.

flippy_by_hourglass_vectors-d78hd84_web

Anyway, setting that aside, playing a bunch of Hearthstone (Blizzard’s new freemium online Warcraft tie-in CCG) put the idea of making some kind of battle card game thing into my head. Which I think is a good thing because I really should branch out beyond goofy stuff with words on cards. I specifically want to do something non-collectible (not that a CCG would be practical anyway) partly because losing solely because the opponent has more time and money and thus just inherently better cards is my least favorite part of playing Hearthstone. (And I really don’t remember it being that pronounced when I was playing Magic in high school.) Looking for an actual theme, I hit on the idea of doing a game about magical girls fighting, and thus a Magical Burst tie in was entirely natural, so the game I’m working on is tentatively titled “Magical Arena.”

I wound up messing around with various card games a bit, notably the new Adventure Time Card Wars game (which is really weird) and the WCW Nitro TCG (which some of my friends got way into because it was cheap, and which is way more clever than anyone would ever suspect), and I still can’t wrap my head around Weiss Schwarz (but there are some broad ideas in it that seem neat). The game that started forming in my head was a weird hybrid of Nitro, the plot system from Shinobigami, and a few other random things, and I’m already barreling towards having a playable prototype. It’ll also involve an Overcharge Deck, which gives you random effects if you try to push yourself too hard in one turn.

I’ve also been getting quite a bit done with Magical Burst proper, and I’ll be posting an update on that soon.


[1]When I playtested it with some friends earlier this week I was informed that the cards smell like porno mags, which I guess is appropriate.

Yaruki Zero Podcast #23: The Trumpet

ykz_023

Yaruki Zero Podcast #23 (26 minutes, 51 seconds)

Listening to way, waaaaay too much of The Bugle (a comedy news podcast by John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman), I wound up doing a YKZ podcast that’s a weird mix of my usual blather and some weird attempts at humor. I talk in silly bullshit mode about the Super Bowl (be sure to check out the Breaking Madden Super Bowl) and some weird stuff from the news, and in normal mode about i.hate.everyone and Kickstarter stuff. (And you should totally check out The Whispering Road, Dice Empire, and Japanese: The Game.)

This podcast uses selections from the song “Click Click” by Grünemusik, available for free from Jamendo.com. If you like the song, consider buying some CDs from Nankado’s website.

Caricature of Ewen courtesy of C. Ellis.

More on i.hate.everyone

The other day I brought my prototype of i.hate.everyone along when I went to hang out with some friends, kind of on a whim and kind of because it’s so much lighter than my Cards Against Humanity set.[1] That in turn led to me getting inspired to work on i.h.e more, and in particular to try to finish up a functional prototype of i.hate.fandom, the geeky alternate set I’d started working on a while back. My experience with creating cards on geeky subjects for CAH was that it was very easy to come up with cards that made sense to me but were alien to a lot of my friends, which was part of the inspiration for having flavor text (a la Apples to Apples) in i.h.e, though it was a lot less necessary for general stuff than for geeky stuff (hence the ones in i.h.e wound up being more of an avenue for sarcastic jokes). Limiting the selection to stuff that was reasonably widely known also made it harder to come up with geeky cards, though I did finally manage to put together an initial set, if one that overdoes certain topics.

IMG_0981[1]

I posted the current prototype of i.hate.everyone ages ago (some of the more topical cards feel out of date; Tebowing isn’t exactly making headlines these days). The rules are so far unchanged from then, but here are the current decks for i.hate.fandom. I make these decks by printing the Status Cards on yellow cardstock and the Comment Cards on white cardstock, since otherwise they’d be hard to distinguish.

i.hate.fandom Status Cards
i.hate.fandom Comment Cards

I also finally got around to playing We Didn’t Playtest This At All, a silly party game from Asmadi Games. It turns nonsensical, pointless, time-wasting gameplay into an artform. To get the full effect you have to play several games, during which players will routinely be made to lose by random card effects. What pushes it into Japanese game show territory is things like how certain cards make you not use certain pronouns (even when they appear on cards!). At one point two of my friends were in a duel where they couldn’t use I, me, my, you, your, they, or their, and resorted to silent pantomime to play out the rest of the game. I want to keep the effects in i.h.e a bit less crazy (less “you lose,” more “discard a card” or “lose 1 Like”), but having random constraints on what players are allowed to do can have amazing results and generally help a game live up to being a “party” game. It’s also the main thing that keeps i.h.e from just being a CAH clone, so I want it to be interesting and prevalent in play.

Presently my plan for i.h.e is to make it into a series of DriveThruCards products, with both full, independently playable base sets (the core i.hate.everyone plus i.hate.fandom being the first of these), and mini-expansions that I can easily create and keep topical. Like a lot of other similar games, making new content is basically a matter of putting text on cards, and POD will let me make all kinds of weird little sets for very specific groups if I want, and pretty quickly too. I asked Clay Gardner to make card designs for me, since this will be fronts and backs for two types of cards and nothing else, rather than the logo-making nightmares of Channel A. With some playtesting I should be ready to move to the “fancy prototype” stage fairly soon.


[1]Which is partly my own fault for insisting on getting all of the expansions, plus Crabs Adjust Humidity, plus making some cards of my own.

i.hate.everyone

Not too long ago I was in contact with a game publisher who was interested in a game in the general style of Cards Against Humanity, a tasteless drinking game type of thing. I got a good start designing and testing such a game, but the publisher went with something else. I don’t bear them any ill will (I will admit to being disappointed), but I like the game I created enough to want to share it. I may eventually pursue publication, but I have enough other projects going on that without a publisher lined up I’m going to shelve it for the time being.

i.hate.everyone is a game of social media whoring. It follows the query/response from a card format of Apples to Apples and CAH, but everyone plays a response, and everyone votes by giving a Like token to the player whose response they liked best. Cards can also have special effects, ranging from reading cards in a French accent to various shenanigans with the cards. For me and my friends the silliness with drawing and discarding cards fixes the single biggest issue with the game’s predecessors, namely the tendency to get stuck with a lousy hand.

I picked the name “i.hate.everyone” partly because I feel it conveys about the right sentiment, and partly because it leaves it wide open for expansions and alternate versions called “i.hate.[something].” I already started on one called i.hate.fandom, which was the game I was kinda sorta thinking about doing before the aforementioned publisher came into the picture.

To play you’ll need to print out the cards on cardstock, preferably with a different color for the Status Cards, and you’ll need a decent supply of tokens of some kind. I find bingo chips or sorting chips work well, but pretty much anything will do as long as you have at least 100 or so. You can also pretty seamlessly shuffle them in with the print and play version of CAH if you want.

Players: 3-8
Play Time: 30+ minutes
Recommended for Ages 17+

i.hate.everyone Rules PDF
i.hate.everyone Status Cards PDF
i.hate.everyone Comment Cards PDF