Tag Archives: Slime Story

Slime Story: Progress

I’ve been really inspired to work on Slime Story lately, both the stories and the RPG.

The Slime Story RPG has been a strange and at times annoying project. Very rarely do I wind up ripping something apart and starting over so many times, but each time I’ve accumulated more usable stuff. I’ve gone from a d20-based system to 2d6+Bonuses Roll-Over to a d6 die pool thing and back to the 2d6+ thing, but along the way I’ve settled on the game’s basic structure, on classes and cliques, and a bunch of other things.

This time I think I’m finally getting to where I can at least finish a first draft of the rules. As I had hoped, the Mouse Guard RPG really inspired me. This is partly just because it’s put together so incredibly well, and partly stuff like the way it handles conflicts, conditions, and goals. I really like the idea of “consequences” as a result of conflicts, and just plain using group consensus to decide on things like Beliefs and Goals seems simple and effective.

Slime Story is shaping up to be a hybrid of indie, traditional, and Japanese RPG design influences, though I don’t really see all that strong of a strong distinction between them unless I try really hard to step back. The relationship mechanics in particular look like certain bits of Yuuyake Koyake, Beast Bind: New Testament, Aitsu wa Classmate, Bliss Stage, In a Wicked Age, and Dogs in the Vineyard all thrown into a blender.

The weird thing about it is that the traditional and Japanese side of things has me writing up lots of crunchy bits. However, the Feats you can get by being of a given clique (Average, Geek, Jock, Popular, Punk, or Weirdo) mostly relate to social stuff, and I’m having to do come up with some pretty wacky stuff just to reach my goal of giving each one eight to choose from. Even writing up monster descriptions is strange because like a lot of things in the game I end up presenting hackneyed fantasy tropes through a pop-culture lens.

Things I learned about the Slime Story setting by writing a novel:

  • Monster Mart sponsors a yearly convention called “MonsterCon.”
  • Slime Cola tastes like cheap supermarket cola mixed with oil and window cleaner, but it is a really effective energy drink like they say.
  • The “First Monster Hunter” was a housewife. She also is the inventor of the original recipe for healing potions.
  • There’s more–possibly a whole lot more–to squishies (the little slime creatures) than meets the eye.
  • The more gifted alchemists are coming up with all kinds of crazy things.
  • There’s a professional monster hunting circuit, most notably the M-Crawl, which is kind of like American Gladiators with monsters. A lot of hunters don’t take it seriously.
  • There’s an organization called PETM that is vehemently against monster hunting, and calls Monster Mart “Murder Mart.”
  • Monster hunting has shown up on TV and such, but by and large hunters haven’t been too thrilled with the results. The “salamander crystal thing” on an episode of 24 is infamous.
  • In that world Weezer did a song called “Monster Girl.” There are also a couple of bands that do all songs about monster hunting, notably a punk band called Wild Hunt and a nerdcore rapper called DJ Dragonslayer.

Progress

Okay, so here’s what’s going on:

Slime Story is finally starting to properly come together. I had to throw out a lot of my previous ideas for how the game might work, but the gears are actually fitting together. Right now the game in my head is like a mashup of Aitsu wa Classmate, Bliss Stage, and Tunnels & Trolls, with some Arianrhod, Yuuyake Koyake, 3:16, The Shadow of Yesterday, and D&D thrown in for good measure. It still needs a whole hell of a lot of work, but it’s getting there.

I’m increasingly thinking that fringe-y games that distribute creative input are more what I want to do. Running traditional games is proving too psychologically taxing. Not bad, not unpleasant, but they have a way of leaving me mentally exhausted at the end of the night. Besides, the friends I play with are all very creative people anyway. Also, I realized that, perhaps as a result of being the GM so often, immersion is not a priority for me.

I started on three different Kyawaii RPGs, and have been neglecting all of them, even the one that’s nearly finished.

For no particular reason, I’ve started working on a thing called “Anime+2d6.” I’ve basically taken the Anime d20 SRD and started re-working it into something kind of like Tri-Stat and kind of not. I will probably never actually play it, but it’s a mildly amusing way to kill time, and White Wolf isn’t showing any inclination to do anything with BESM3e ever again. It’s going slowly, partly just because I feel the need to edit out the SRD’s relentless abuse of the passive voice, though I also have to basically reconstruct the mecha rules and a few other things. When you think about it, the rules bloat BESM has undergone is pretty amazing. Needless to say, I’ll post it here when I feel I have something worth posting.

I still hate identity politics in RPGs. It’s like, with the whole Proposition 8 thing there are people speaking against gays even more than usual, and in a lot of cases, I want to walk up to them and say, “Have you ever actually met someone who’s gay in person? I’m guessing no, because if you had, you’d have realized they’re human beings like everyone else.” The way some people talk about indie RPGs reminds me of that. We’re all gamers, who want to have fun playing games.

I Do Not Feel Awesome


Some various small updates rolled into one:

We’ve started working on preparing the extra Maid RPG scenarios that didn’t make it into the book. They’ll be no-frills compared to Ben’s awesome layout work for the book, but they’ll be free too.

I’ve been reading Dark Heresy, and enjoying it a lot. Like Maid RPG, it’s an example of random character creation done right. Also, 40K has a really neat setting. It’s just a shame that it took them 20 years to make an RPG version.

Usually Random is trying to do a mini-RPG design challenge on 4chan’s /tg/ board. The original thread has slipped off the board, which is just as well because there was a troll who just couldn’t handle the idea that people might design RPGs because they enjoy designing RPGs, and not for fame and fortune. And who couldn’t grasp the idea that some of us have friends who are not total jerks and are willing to give an unpublished game a chance. Anyway, the deadline for the contest is on the 28th.

I’m about halfway done with the next Kyawaii RPG, which is about stuff that a lot of people will likely find very disturbing or disgusting, a few people will enjoy entirely too much, and a tiny minority will find thought-provoking like I intended. I was thinking about not releasing it, or doing so under a pseudonym, but I’ve been having a shitty time lately because of school, so I don’t really care what people think at the moment.

On a more positive note, I’m making some good progress on Slime Story. It’s like a cross between Tunnels & Trolls and… uh… some indie RPG about high school.

Also, some more Wordles:

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.

Monsters! Monsters! Monsters!


I now own a copy of Monsters! Monsters!. This is a game put out in 1976, designed by Ken St. Andre. It is essentially a variant of Tunnels & Trolls where you play as the monsters. (Here’s a rather detailed review). I had read about it in Heroic Worlds, and I got to play it at Origins ’94 (though I didn’t do well since I wasn’t getting into the monster mindset), but the new edition the GM spoke of never materialized (I can’t remember where exactly, but I read somewhere that the publisher couldn’t offer the designer selected enough money for him to justify doing the work). However, it turns out that a company called Outlaw Games offers reprints of old T&T and related game material, and even new stuff. The copy of M!M! I got (through Noble Knight Games) is a reprint in perfect condition, though it’s a pretty much unaltered reproduction of the 1976 version, which was apparently done on a typewriter.

The game itself is even simpler than old-school D&D. There are some other bits involved, but combat basically comes down to rolling your weapon dice and adding your Combat Adds (based on how much certain attributes exceed 12). It includes brief descriptions of 52 different monsters (set up so you can generate one randomly using playing cards). I definitely want to play this, but I think I’ll need to carefully limit the selection of monsters. For example, dragons have a strength multiplier of 25. That means that you roll 3d6x25 for a dragon’s Strength attribute, and a dragon with merely average Strength would be making combat rolls on 25d6+213 from Strength alone.

Anyway, it’s an exceedingly fast and loose game, though it does have some little touches of brilliance. My favorite thing is how XP is awarded. Since they PCs are monsters, they get XP for doing monstrous things. Defeating enemies who are more powerful is worth more XP, but abducting particularly beautiful victims (Charisma 17+) is worth a full 500 (which would get you halfway to Level 2).

If playing it works well, I’m going to look into getting some more T&T books to draw on (since M!M! kind of glosses over certain things, including treasure), and in particular some books, T&T or otherwise, with fantasy towns and cities for the monsters to rampage through.

Monsters & Mayhem
I have a certain knack for starting new projects even though I have more than enough unfinished ones staring me in the face. That’s how I wound up starting (if not very seriously so) on two new games. One of these is (tentatively) called “Monsters & Mayhem.” I like the idea of using the old alliteration with an amperand in the middle style name though. Somehow, as awesome of a premise as M!M! brings to the table, no one else has ever actually tried it as far as I know. This will thus be my take. A lot of my new design ideas are turning out to be this weird mix of traditional, Japanese, and indie design influences, and this one is no exception. To create a monster you combine two Keywords (e.g., Seductive+Demon=Succubus, but Seductive+Slime=Slime Maiden), which in turn affect your monster’s attributes, powers, and aspects. (Aspects tend to get you into trouble, say by compelling you to eat a town guard even though his friends will come after you). They “Keyword” approach comes from Beast Bind: New Testament, where you pick “Bloods” to make your supernatural creature.

Although I’m thinking I’ll include support for some other things, the core/default gameplay consists of the players’ band of monsters going into a (demi)human town seeking fame and fortune. In essence, for them towns replace dungeons as the dangerous places to venture into. I’m stealing the awesome idea from the “Maidenrangers” Maid RPG scenario of using playing cards to create a board/map for the PCs to move around. Different cards represent different random encounters, though of course the GM can pick out cards and generally set things up however he or she likes.

Slime Story
I had the idea for this setting ages ago, and I wrote a short story for it a while back. Now I’ve finally gotten a good start on the RPG version I wanted to make. It takes place in a world where portals suddenly started dropping cute monsters (like something out of a Korean MMO) into an ordinary contemporary world. In the game you play teenagers who hunt monsters as a hobby–and for spending money. To create a character you pick a Class (which decides how your character hunts monsters) and a Clique (which determines how he or she fits into society). Fighting monsters is a fairly simple hack-and-slash affair, but each session players create “Quests” for their characters. These can range from simple monster-hunting goals (earn $300, kill a salamander, etc.) to tricky social goals (ask Rita out on a date, convince Alex to let me go hunting with him), but they have to be things that you can do around an outing to hunt monsters (try to find the right moment to ask Rita out while you’re looking for more monsters). It’s very strange trying to come up with a bunch of monsters while making sure that none of them are even remotely sentient.

For both games I’m leaning towards using d20s, partly for what they’re referencing, and partly because isocahedrons don’t get much love outside of D&D.

The Status of My Games

I have no idea who I picked it up from, but I came down with a cold the day after I got back from GenCon. On the plus side, I also came back feeling inspired about gaming in general, so it’s time to look at my various back burner projects and figure out where I am and what I need to do. The most important thing, unquestionably, is that I need to make much more of an effort to playtest the stuff I create.

Raspberry Heaven
Today I finally finished typing up the descriptions of Quirks. I need to fill in a few things here and there, but at this point the only thing I really need to to for playtesting is have a single episode write-up ready to play. I actually slipped some elements of this game into a weird dream episode of my Divine Machine campaign (a long-term dimension hopping game using OVA), but the rules never really came into play. I’m trying to do a “Bonus Indie Gaming Night” kind of thing with my friends, and I think the first real playtest of RH will come after The Mountain Witch.

Anime Dreams
I looked through what I currently have the other day, and I’m thinking that I’m closer to having it testable than I realized. Mostly I need to work a little on how I’m presenting what I’ve already got, and maybe do a little bit of trimming. The game is essentially a conflict engine, a diceless version of games like DitV, FATE, PDQ, TSOY, etc., and while the setting creation rules have the potential to be really interesting, they’re a distraction from getting the engine running.

I also want to come up with a more evocative title. In no particular order, here are some titles and bits and pieces thereof that I came up with:
Anime Stars
Defenders of Tokyo
Dreaming of the Sunrise
Round Zero
Zero Saga
Zero Requiem
Zero Spark
Sea of Miracles
Starlight Breaker(s)
Raging Heart(s)
S, R, J, Super, Z, A’s, Zero, 1/2, +
Soul
Striker(s)
Code
Sparking
100%
Unlimited
Infinite

Tokyo Heroes
I think I mentioned this before, but Filip sent me literally 8 pages of feedback. I know more or less what I want to do with the game — an overhaul to make it much, much less handwavey — but it’s going to be pretty time-consuming. The main thing is I’m going to delineate game session structure according to kishoutenketsu as mentioned before, which in turn will require retooling several other widgets in the game to match. In particular, I want to take a cue from the GUMSHOE system and put the emphasis on when and how PCs find clues, rather than rolling dice to see if they figure things out.

Slime Story
I came up with this setting idea ages ago (and even put it in an episode of Divine Machine), and I’ve been wanting to do it in RPG form, either as a setting or an independent game. Right now I’m thinking I want to create a game that uncomfortably marries simple hack-and-slash with hippie/story game stuff about the protagonists’ hopes and dreams in the face of a bland reality brightened only by the monster hunting hobby that they’ll eventually have to give up. It’s still very much in the preliminary stages, and I honestly have no idea how I’m going to tackle the latter part of the game’s concept.

Thrash 2.0
The eternally delayed, hope to do it some day second edition of Thrash. Every time I get even remotely motivated Real Life starts dumping stuff on me, plus my tastes have changed enormously since I wrote Thrash in my first year of college, and while I still want to make a game-y hand-to-hand combat thing, I find assigning lots of points to be bland and cumbersome. I’m thinking that characters should just have set selections of maneuvers (say, 3 Special Moves and 1 Super to start with), and applying similar simplification all the way through. I’ve lost count of how many total rewrites I’ve done, but if I go this route it’ll be yet another.

we are flat
This is intended to be an anthology of three short-form games inspired by Superflat: Moonsick, Magical Burst, and Black Hole Girls. Right now it’s WAY on the back burner. Each game is going to be radically different from the others, and require its own development cycle.