Tag Archives: Raspberry Heaven

APE/Raspberry Heaven/Slime Story

APE 2010 Report
I went to the first day of APE (Alternative Press Expo), an indie comics event held yearly in San Francisco. If you want to see my thoughts on it you can check out my blog post over on Neko Machi. I’m really jazzed to have a booth there next year, which may include some RPG stuff, depending on what we can get together.

Raspberry Heaven: Rethinking
I’m thinking of giving Raspberry Heaven another major rewrite. This mostly came from looking at what I want it to do and comparing it to how Fiasco does what it does. It’s becoming a major theme in my grappling with RPG design lately that there’s a sharp distinction to be made between guided and unguided creative input. While as a player I don’t want a game to constrict what kind of character I can make too much, starting with a totally blank canvas is much harder. If I want to make a fully realized GURPS or BESM character, it’s going to be a major project, best undertaken a week or more before a campaign starts. Compare that to a game with more input provided be the rules, whether it’s a Fiasco playset, an In a Wicked Age oracle, or even just the suggestions inherent in picking a race and class in D&D, and I have a starting point to hold onto so that the whole thing goes much more quickly.

With the current version of Raspberry Heaven there’s a tension between the game wanting to be a light pickup thing and it requiring lots of unguided creative input to really get off the ground. While the source material (slice of life 4-panel manga about schoolgirls) lends itself to long-term storytelling (in an episodic kind of way), the tone of the genre and game are such that I think it needs to be more about getting into role-playing situations with ease and finding out where it goes from there. Although for a variety of reasons it’s definitely not going to be a clone of Fiasco, the generation of the situation and characters definitely needs to have something of Fiasco’s ease of use. That still leaves the question of what will go on during the actual play, for which I’m getting various ideas from Jeepform and Norwegian Style, and the Jeepform adage of “structure but not rules” is proving particularly helpful. The end result isn’t going to be much like a typical RPG, and it’s likely not going to be much of a “game” in any traditional sense, but I think it needs to be that way.

Slime Story: Relationships and Stuff
Right now the major thing I’m struggling with for the next revision of Slime Story is the relationship/connection rules. While I have the combat rules pretty much where I want them, the connection rules and the stuff surrounding them should pretty much be the entire other half of the game, and they need to both be interesting and have incentives to engage them. I’m still working out how to do that exactly, but the ability to strain a relationship in order to help you out with other things is likely going to be part of it.

Another thing I’m adding is explicit guidelines for “Stunts,” which is just a codeword for “stuff not explicitly laid out in the rules.” They are my attempt to pull back a bit from stereotypical D&D4e “pick a power and use it” combat, with the added advantage that in Slime Story if a proposed stunt seems especially difficult the GM can have it cost Awesome Points.


Of Podcasts
As I alluded to before, I’ve decided to slow down the podcasting a bit, not that I ever had much of a schedule to speak of. I’m slowly setting up a couple more interviews, but I have more than enough other stuff going on at the moment.

However, WalkerP over at The RPG Haven has started up a podcast of his own. The first episode, an interview with Cynthia Celeste Miller (of Spectrum Games), just went online today.

More on Raspberry Heaven
As you might have surmised, I’m gearing up to start playtesting Raspberry Heaven, and having entirely too much fun preparing the materials for it. I printed and cut out two sets of quirk cards, and even made a (flimsy) box for them. There was also a short thread on the game on Story Games, where it was pointed out (not for the first time) that the text doesn’t make it clear enough that the characters are all schoolgirls; I’m working on fixing that now.

I’m also working on scripts for 4-koma comics to put in the book, but I’m not having any luck finding an artist to hire who can actually draw 4-panel comics with screen tone. I may have to look into getting someone from Japan, something I’ve been wanting to figure out how to do anyway.

Raspberry Heaven Playtest Version 0.3


After getting some important inspiration out of the blue, and doing a good amount of writing, I’ve got a new playtest draft of Raspberry Heaven, my silly high school slice of life RPG.

The biggest change is that I’ve vastly simplified how Special Moves work in play. Players pick a card rank from 2 to 10 for each Special Move to be a wild card associated with it. This also makes it really easy to create new Quirks. I’ve put together a set of Quirk Cards, which will hopefully make it all-around easier to keep track of things. On the cards you circle the number of the card rank you’re using as wild cards for that Special Move.

The introduction mentions some stuff I’m working on/thinking about for the game. I’ll hopefully be doing some serious playtesting/playstorming soon, and generally whipping the game into shape.

Update (9/22/09): Added v. 0.3.2.

Raspberry Heaven Playtest Version 0.3.2
Scene Template
Character Cards
Quirk Cards2

Yaruki Zero Podcast #7: Random Thoughts

In this episode I talk briefly about a variety of different topics that have been on my mind.

  1. PDFs and Piracy
  2. Randomness and Cinematic Role-Playing
  3. Oban Star-Racers
  4. Grognardia: Genre Bending
  5. Raspberry Heaven Design Notes
  6. The “Pink Panther” is what you get when you put a scoop of strawberry ice cream into lemon-lime soda.

Yaruki Zero Podcast #7 (32 minutes, 26 seconds)

Next Time
I haven’t decided what to do next. ^_^;

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.

Very awesome caricature of Ewen (with his mascot character Kurumi) courtesy of the talented C. Ellis.


Kurumi Project: Part 1

(Artwork by vmat on DeviantArt)

You may or may not be aware that I have this mascot character named Kurumi. She’s a 19-year-old bunny girl with pink hair. I’m that much of an otaku. Anyway, I’ve decided to do a series of posts where I try to do write-ups of her in as many different game systems as possible. This time around I’m starting with the obvious stuff, though it will get steadily more strange and contrived as I go along.

Cute Bunny Girl (3)
Warm and Caring (3)
Mysterious Power (3)
Lucky Shots [][][]

Maid RPG
Kurumi Hayashi (Age 19)
Maid Types: Sexy Heroine
Maid Colors: Uniform: Blue, Eyes: Purple, Hair: Pink, Ears: White
Attributes: Athletics 2, Affection 3, Skill 1, Cunning 2, Luck 2, Will 2
Maid Special Qualities: Bunny Girl, Nymphomaniac
Maid Weapon: Broom
Maid Roots: Love
Stress Explosion: Spoiled Child
Maid Power: Windows of the Soul

Yuuyake Koyake
Kurumi Hayashi
True Form: Rabbit
Attributes: Animal 1, Henge 3, Adult 2, Child 2
Base Powers: Cute, Mochi Pounding, Lop-Eared, Help Me, I Dunno, Moonlight
Additional Powers: Friendship
Weaknesses: Loneliness

I have pink hair –> I like pink things in general –> Especially strawberry ice cream

I’m a bunny girl –> I have some kind of special power –> A scientist in the future altered my DNA before I was born –> Someone has to save the future

Raspberry Heaven
Quirks: Busty, Cute, Softy

Changeling: The Dreaming
Court: Seelie
Legacies: Panderer/Pandora
Seeming: Wilder
Kith: Pooka (Rabbit)

Physical: Strength 1, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3
Social: Charisma 4, Manipulation 2, Appearance 4
Mental: Perception 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 2

Talents: Alertness 2, Athletics 1, Dodge 2, Empathy 4, Persuasion 3
Skills: Crafts 2, Drive 2, Etiquette 1, Leadership 1, Performance 3, Stealth 3, Survival 1
Knowledges: Computer 1, Enigmas 2, Greymayre 1, Linguistics 1

Backgrounds: Dreamers 3, Remembrance 2
Arts: Chicanery 1, Primal 1, Wayfare 1
Realms: Actor 2, Prop 2, Scene 1
Merits and Flaws: Acute Sense (Hearing), Changeling’s Eyes
Tempers: Glamour 5, Willpower 5, Banality 3
Ravaging/Musing Threshold: Create Hope

Raspberry Heaven, I’m Coming Back To You

Watching Hidamari Sketch and Sketchbook has done wonders to help me deal with crippling stress and anxiety lately, so I got inspired to get back to working on Raspberry Heaven. Out of my excessive collection of unfinished game projects, it’s the most promising and playable. It also doesn’t hurt that the kinds of 4-koma manga that inspired the game are becoming more readily available in English. You can buy all of Azumanga Daioh in one $25 book, and Yen Press (which has been putting out some seriously great stuff in general) has released the first volumes of Hidamari Sketch and one I hadn’t heard before (but which turned out to be great), S.S. Astro. Plus, Bandai has supposedly licensed the Lucky Star manga. Sketchbook is absolutely wonderful, but so far no one’s picked it up.

Anyway, the major issues with the game as it stands are as follows:

1. Turn Order: Originally I had players just put down cards as they felt like it. I’m contemplating using some kind of turn order mechanic, but I don’t know if it will help the game or screw things up.

2. Special Moves: I went through and cleaned up the selection of Special Moves (so that none of them overlap), but I need to see if they’re all more or less equally useful. In the one playtest session we did, no one used any non-wildcard Special Moves. At this point it may just be a matter of playtesting.

3. Memories: So basically, I want to have something where the game sort of archives particularly memorable things that happen during play. However, I don’t think much of the rules I have in place right now, and I’d happily chuck them out in favor of something better. Or I may just drop that aspect of the game entirely. I’m thinking that Memories should be something that belong to the whole group, which in turn let me to the idea of doing a Mad-Libs type thing to create one or more Memories when you first start playing.

4. Applause: After seeing meta-game player encouragement work so well in both Yuuyake Koyake and Peerless Food Fighters, I’m thinking Raspberry Heaven could benefit from something similar… but the existing structure of the game doesn’t really lend itself to that.

5. Snippets: Basically, I want to let players to individual mini-scenes during the game.

On the plus side, Tobias Wrigstad was kind enough to send me an article he did that is an overview of jeepform. While I intend for Raspberry Heaven to stay a tabletop game where you play with cards, the game is getting some jeepform influence here and there, especially when it comes to telegraphing, which to me is one of the most fascinating new things in role-playing, like, ever.

Also, I realized that if you want to make a visual representation of your character and you’d don’t have $200+ worth of Pinky:St dolls on hand like I do (some of them were gifts. shut up.), you could use an avatar creator website. Tektek.org’s Dream Avatar would be my favorite (in case you couldn’t tell), but there are plenty of others.

Not About Maids

Illustration of Rita by Sue-chan (www.sue-chan.com)
Illustration of Rita by Sue-chan (www.sue-chan.com)

Time to post about some non-Maid stuff for a change.

I Design Too!
“This guy always has all the best ‘let’s smoke some peyote and watch anime’ ideas.”
— Eero Tuovinen

I haven’t gotten a whole lot done in terms of designing my own games of late, so I’m trying to make a conscientious effort to actually get some goddamn work done, and maybe even bring one or two to fruition. Raspberry Heaven is by far the most promising of my game projects, and the one that had probably my single most successful playtest session ever. I’ve already done some fine-tuning since then, and right now it basically needs more writing, testing, and tuning.

I’m also getting more seriously started on Slime Story, hence I started a thread on the Forge about it (which is where the above quote comes from). The thread explains what the game is about (and I’ve posted here about it before), and the game is basically at this point where I have a good idea what I want it to do, but I’m still trying to work out how.

Playing Games
My group is currently doing two different campaigns. There’s my Divine Machine campaign, which runs on OVA because it seemed the best system I had on hand that could handle all the crazy stuff I wanted to do (though now the scale of events is kind of pushing past what even it can handle), and which is barreling towards its conclusion. I’m kind of starting to wish I had a game that could mechanically handle an epic struggle against a sentient nanotech menace that threatens the entire multiverse…

We also finished our second adventure (fourth session) of D&D 4th Edition. Our characters reached level 2, and we’re generally playing the game more like a well-oiled machine, rather than looking up and arguing about the rules every 5 minutes.

Much as I’m enjoying both of these, I’m kind of looking forward to Divine Machine ending and/or D&D going on hiatus, because I’m increasingly wanting to shift away from long-term play and also to jump headlong into playing more of my accumulated indie games (plus playtesting my own stuff, and playing some of the stuff I’ve translated). In particular, I want to clean up Raspberry Heaven a bit and run a playtest, give Yuuyake Koyake another go with different local friends, and try out Monsters! Monsters!. I also want to play 3:16, do a PTA game about the lives of otaku, and do a Solar System game inspired by Fairy Quest.