Tag Archives: Thrash RPG

Thrash 2.0 Beta: GO!

I was originally planning to wait for my local friends to give me some feedback before putting the rough draft of Thrash up on the web, but I got impatient, as I’m sure plenty of you guys have. So:

Download Thrash 2.0 Beta (PDF)

A couple of things to keep in mind about this:

  • This is the first draft, so the text is pretty raw and unedited. There WILL be typos and such.
  • There’s a list of things I’m concerned about in the game’s design on the very last page.
  • I’m trying out some neat indie-influenced stuff, but this is still Thrash, which is a fairly traditional game. My model for this approach is Truth & Justice.
  • Although the general approach to the genre is the same as previous versions, the changes are massive, and it’s pretty much an entirely new game cast in a similar mold.

Edit: I should mention, I don’t mind getting feedback here, on the Thrash mailing list, by e-mail (ewen (swirly-a) neko-machi.com), or what have you. It’ll be neat to have the ML start picking up again though… :)

Also, while looking for Thrash stuff on Google I came across this. Good times.

Tokyo Kung Fu Catgirls

(This is what the subject headings usually look like on my LiveJournal).

The first rough draft of Thrash 2.0 is finished! Seriously! After I get some feedback from my local friends I’ll be posting it up.

In the meantime I wound up poking at some of the other things on my hard drive. I’d forgotten how neat Catgirl: The Storytelling Game (a semi-tongue-in-cheek parody of White Wolf-ness, but with lots of otaku memes thrown in) was looking. It’s going to be a ST-ish Fudge variant, and the point of it would mostly be just to do the setting for the fun of it.

I also wound up poking at Tokyo Heroes a little, finally. Again, with tremendously helpful feedback from Filip. Here’s what I’m working on so far:

  • Sessions are divided into four distinct phases: Prologue, Investigation, Battle, and Epilogue
  • The Investigation phase essentially involves clearing “gates” set out by the GM for the heroes to find and/or figure out how to beat the monster of the week. Gates can be cleared by using Keys, or just by being in the right place, or by succeeding at challenges. Gates can become improvised, they can be linked, they can branch, and they can provide special advantages against the bad guy.
  • The switch to Keys being the basis of investigation stuff has made many of the attributes in the game irrelevant. Tentatively there’ll be three: Courage (melee attack/defense), Prowess (ranged attack/defense), and Kiai/Spirit (for finishers, and encouraging teammates). This neatly does away with having an overpowered Attack attribute.
  • I’m pretty much getting rid of Stamina and Resistance. I still need to work out more of the specifics, but basically the heroes have a Blast Gauge that indicates how far the battle has escalated. For sentai heroes it starts at Basic Attacks, and moves up until it reaches Finishing Attacks. The Blast Gauge varies a little bit depending on the type of battle (the version for robots and magical girls doesn’t include a Basic Attack stage). Bad guys cause heroes to accumulate Pain, which can eventually cause them to be de-transformed or incapacitated if they get enough.
  • Part of setting up the game is setting up a Budget progression, which determines how powerful the bad guys are and creates a long-term pacing mechanic for the heroes getting handed new robots/powers/etc. Gates are part of the GM’s budget for each episode/monster.

Thrash 2.0: Destiny

I get happier with Thrash 2.0 the more I work on it. Things are just generally fitting together really well. The new maneuver design system seems to work just fine so far, and I’ve got the Special Maneuvers all taken care of (though there wound up being more Support Maneuvers than Specials, and only about 6 Supers, though most of them are meta-things used to make supers based on your special moves). Although I mentioned this before (a while back), the new AP system has allowed me to finally get combos and counters figured out in a way that looks fairly solid, for which I’m immensely glad.

I also keep coming up with rules options — three pages so far — that I’m sticking into the playtest version for people to look at and mess with to their heart’s content. I wound up creating a “power level” rule similar to Mutants & Masterminds, to set and gradually raise caps for various character traits.

The major thing I’m still working on figuring out is the details of the game’s more narrative-oriented aspects. I’ve added “Destiny points” to the game, which do double duty as XP and meta-game Drama Point type stuff. My inspiration for this melding of two elements is Truth & Justice. The game starts out with just adding clever rules for superpowers to the PDQ system, but its implementation of Hero Points goes a long way towards adding some of the feel of superhero comic storylines to the game. The question is, what do I need to do to give more of a fighting game/fighting manga feel?

Fighter Nature is sort of like T&J’s “Motivations” in that it’s going to describe the fighter’s reasons for fighting and affect the flow of Destiny points. I’m still working out what I want to do with Story Hooks though. These can be things like having a murdered family member to avenge (Chun Li), being famous enough to attract challengers (Ryu), or having been created by a secret organization as a fighter (Cammy). Stuff like that. I’m thinking of taking a cue from The Mountain Witch and giving the player the power to introduce things related to the Story Hook into the game (albeit with a Destiny point cost, and a potential for a Destiny point reward).

Some of the other uses for Destiny I’m thinking about include:

  • Second Wind (get some Health back)
  • Digging Deep (get a bonus on a roll)
  • Duel (force someone to have an uninterrupted one-on-one fight
  • Epiphany (suddenly figure out a new move pertinent to the situation at hand)
  • Fury/Quiet (reach a new plateau of rage or meditative calm to be more effective for one scene)

Thrash: Not Dead, I Guess

After it coming up in an e-mail conversation, and being mentioned in this RPG.net thread alongside Final Stand, I think I got sufficiently embarrassed over the fact that I’ve been failing to work on Thrash 2.0 for 5 years that I got inspired, and came up with some new ideas for how to handle and fix some of the things that have been bothering me. I’m still keeping the majority of the stuff from my last big push to work on it (last year), but changing some fairly major things too.

The main thing is that I’ve come to dislike systems with lots of fiddly points to spend. Now, I admire what’s been accomplished with stuff like Hero system and Mekton Z Plus, but I just have a very low tolerance for dealing with that kind of stuff personally. The earlier draft had characters spending pools of points on Attributes, Techniques, and Everything Else. I’ve decided to nix that last category (for which PCs originally would spend a big wad of Character Points) in favor of something less granular. Characters get a set number of selections for Maneuvers and Supers (by default, 3 and 1 of each to start with), and a set number (10) of “Support Traits,” which are a catch-all for Edges, Skills, Maneuver Upgrades, Support Maneuvers (which are where you get your movement and defensive maneuvers mostly), and Story Hooks.

I’m still working out the details of Story Hooks, but I want them to be something like TSOY Keys and the whatever-they-were-calleds in Weapons of the Gods. Basically the player has an opportunity to “buy in” to storylines ahead of time, and get extra XP for it. I’m also thinking of brining back that “Fighter Nature” idea I had a while back, which is basically where you pick an archetype that represents your character’s basic motivation for being a martial artist and going out to enter tournaments and whatnot. I was originally going for more of a purely “gamey” design, but I think I want to also include at least some stuff that points the characters towards getting into fighting game/fighting manga style storylines.

I also got sick of dealing with so many fiddly bits for maneuver design, and decided to come up with the simplest system possible. So, although the game still has Action Points and whatnot, its maneuver design rules are more akin to BESM Weapon Attacks. You take a base maneuver, and add Enhancements and Drawbacks, up to a certain limit, to get what you want.

So, at this point the final version of Thrash 2.0 is looking like a crazy mashup of The Shadow of Yesterday, Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game, and Cinematic Unisystem.

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, +

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.