In the fourteenth episode of their above-named podcast, Ken and Robin talk Chicago film fest, DramaSystem vs. Skulduggery, gangland mapping and the burnings of the libraries of Alexandria.
The Hillfolk Kickstarter has been an unprecedented success, we never thought it would reach $25,000, let alone the $85,000 it’s currently on (13 hours to go), with over 2000 backers, so thank you all for your support. The kickstarter has some fantastic deals, from just $10 for the PDF version, $25 for the print and PDF bundle, and $55 for the book, the pdf, the companion book, playing cards, and semi-precious stones. A lot of these deals won’t be available after the Kickstarter ends so get in on it while you can.
Over on the Twitter, Jack Of Spades asked why DramaSystem uses cards instead of dice.
The answer is that as soon as you have dice in your resolution system, you have numbers on your character sheet. Since DramaSystem presents a new play style revolving around the way emotional interactions occur in fiction, I wanted to help gamers jump into it by pulling them out of familiar territory.
In the game (for those of you who have yet to sign onto the Hillfolk Kickstarter and get their playable draft copy), cards come into play only in the type of scene the game de-emphasizes. That’s the procedural, in which characters exert skills to complete external, practical tasks. In other words, the kind of scene we’re used to going to in roleplaying games. As they acclimate themselves to DramaSystem, most groups find themselves going to procedural less and less, invoking it only when it really matters.
As seen on its character sheet, DramaSystem is about the aesthetic of the word and not of the number. In fact, arithmetic plays essentially no role in game play itself. You may compare numbers but you’re never doing even simple math.
(An exception occurs in the post-play bookkeeping phase, when the GM takes a vote and tallies the results, to see which two players get bennies they can use in subsequent sessions.)
While we seasoned gamers feel comfortable seeing numbers on our character sheets—maybe even adrift without them—it’s my hope that the simplicity of the system will allow you to draw in people who are interested in story but never put the words math and fun in the same sentence. (For example, the current stretch pitch for the game, Andrew Peregrine’s Jane Austen tribute Vice and Virtue, might be the perfect vehicle to suck in your book club.)
That’s also why I simplified the already not-crunchy procedural system further after playtest groups found the initial version out of keeping with the game’s overall feel.
I’ll be typing a storm at you on #RPG.NET chat at 8 PM Eastern tonight (Tuesday Oct 23rd.) I’m sure that Hillfolk and its ongoing Kickstarter will be the topic du jour. But feel free to ask me anything within my remit, from GUMSHOE to Skulduggery, from GM advice to podcasting.
To join #rpgnet chat: go to http://www.magicstar.net/chat2/, select your nick, log in, and type "/join #rpgnet".
Thanks to Dan Davenport for the invitation.
DC script writer Lowell Francis turns from sceptic to believer in this detailed breakdown of Hillfolk.
I didn’t think this game would be good. I read it. I was terribly wrong. It is great.
Rick Neal goes into some detail about the system here.
…for those who are interested in the kinds of story that involve lots of interpersonal drama, who want to model the kinds of TV shows that are getting a lot of press – and a lot of viewers – today, who are interested in the kind of gaming that de-emphasizes combat for interaction, this is a Kickstarter you should get in on. Now.
RPGamer’s Scott Wachteron says:
In the case of Hillfolk the dare was to create a game that emulates both the beat analysis model of story construction used in Hamlet’s Hit Points and the character-oriented drama present in premium cable series. And like his other bizarre dare-based games, it delivers all while creating a story game I want to play more with as many different people as possible.
Brand Robins posted on the game on Google+
I thought it was a very elegant system that did what it did without fear or apology, and was sold on it from the first time we played.
The Hillfolk Kickstarter is flying along, smashing through stretch goals.
This post is for you graph and stats afficianados from the delightful Kicktraq.
Episode 10 of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast is now available for your auditory enjoyment. Listen raptly as we discuss Hillfolk, Puritans, annoyingly inevitable game design, and a Tibetan Nazi space god.
Response to the Hillfolk Kickstarter has been so overwhelming I haven’t had time to tell you how overwhelming it’s been. Things are moving faster than I can type this update. As of this writing, we’re at the 16 hour mark and are already 201% funded. The first two—no, make that three—stretch goals have been surpassed before I could even hype them. I thought I had a good store of stretches in my back pocket, but, no, you’re going to send me out on an immediate game guru harvest, aren’t you? Good thing I have a fat contacts list.
In the meantime, funding levels have surpassed the thresholds needed to commission Jason Morningstar’s Hollywoodland series pitch, Michelle Nephew’s Mad Scientists Anonymous, and Kenneth Hite’s Moscow Station. And we’re a tad
more than less than $500 from Matt Forbeck’s World War 2.1.
Now that you’ve shown me that you’ve come to throw down, I’m going to make it a little tougher on you (and buy myself a little recruiting time) by widening the distance between stretches a little.
$8500 gets us another Series Pitch: TS Luikart’s Malice Tarn, which he describes as King Lear meets Watership Down.
Then comes the $12,500 stretch goal: open licensing. If we reach this goal, I’ll release DramaSystem under a permissive open license. I’m open to input on the exact parameters of the license but want to err on the side of availability. The reference document will be a stripped-down affair, without the Hillfolk setting, examples, or Series Pitches, so those of you purchasing the PDF of the finished book will still be getting excellent value for your ten smackeroos.
Finally, there’s the all-important battle between the clans. When last our judges calculated the tallies, the Wolves pushed past a late night Lion offensive to once again grab the high badlands ground, howling in the glee of their victory.
Are the clans, in addition to being a thinly veiled contention between cat and dog people, a proxy for a certain political struggle? Maybe so—the lions are fewer, but are drawn disproportionately from the ranks of high-ranking pledgers: your Chieftains and your Nabobs of the Northlands.
Fight the power, or be the power, by pledging to the Hillfolk Kickstarter today, and declaring your allegiance to Clan Lion or Clan Wolf.
After much preparation and furrowing of brows on the badlands, the clan council has decreed it: the Kickstarter campaign for Hillfolk has now gone live! Throw in with the Lion clan or the Wolf clan and help bring this labor of love from the manuscript stage to finished product. Backers of the project receive a complete draft text of the game, so you can get started right away. For much more on the game, the book, and the goodies, hop on over to the freshly activated Kickstarter page.
Update: The first stretch goal is funded!
Robin appears as the guest in this week’s exciting episode of Jennisodes, where, in addition to explaining your dreams to you, he talks Hillfolk, Ashen Stars, Dreamhounds of Paris and more.