Crushing Heads Can Be Fancy

I was organizing my files, removing doubles, verifying I had the most recent working files, and considering old files on which I had stumbled. One such file was a project that started in 2013 and was shelved in 2015. It’s been known as F#ck You Up and Fancy Pants, but it ended its development as Head Crushers, an homage to the fantastic comic Skullkickers.

I shelved the project because it never truly did what I wanted it to do. It was fine, but didn’t actually nail the fast, furious fun that was its goal. It was fast, and it was furious, but not enough. I wanted something that ran faster and was simpler than Nefertiti Overdrive or Sword’s Edge. At the time, Head Crushers didn’t do that.

Looking at it again after I had left it for a couple of years opened a couple of doors. I realized that the problem was I had locked myself in a specific paradigm of game flow, and simply tweaking how the game ran started the road to simplifying it and making it run faster.

But what of it? I mean, I just finished Kickstarting Sword’s Edge, so what will I do with Head Crushers?

There are always options, but right now it and the Wall are simmering away, perhaps on the back burner, but ready to get moved to the front and supply a feast. I just need to figure out the venue.

You can find out more about Fancy Pants here.

You can find out more about Skullkickers here.

You can find out more about Skullkickers creator here.

Gen Con Wrap-Up: Thursday, It Begins!

Gen Con Tip: There’s a food place under the escalators at the convention centre which I believe is “Crossroads” that has an area to sit and WiFi. A couple of times I grabbed a single slice of pizza and checked my email there. If your hotel doesn’t have WiFi, this place is a saviour. It was for me back in 2013.

Calling it early Wednesday night at Gen Con was a damn smart plan, because I had three games to run. I won’t do that again. By the evening, and my game with Becca, Evan, Stingray and Rich, I was kind of burnt out . . . and it was the first day!

I went to Gen Con as a rep for Sword’s Edge. That got me a press badge. I was also running four official games, which could have also got me a GM’s badge. I was also there with the Indy Game Developer Network representing Sword’s Edge Publishing. In the end, trying to do much meant I did none of it well.

Thankfully, the first game of the day went really well. That had more to do with the players. Since our game of Kiss My Axe in 2011, I’ve tried to run a game for the Lanza boys every time I meet them at Gen Con. Every single time, it’s been an absolute pleasure. This time was no different. We had a lot of fun and they got to be big damn heroes, with a bit of wire-fu action thrown into their Renaissance-style gangland revenge quest. More on the system later.

We hit the Ram for lunch, and I thought we had plenty of time. It would be a little tight, but watching the servers, I felt pretty confident that even though I only had 75 minutes before my game, we’d make it in and out in time. We did make it in on time, and the drinks and appetizer arrived fast, but then nothing. I swear our waitress forgot to enter our order. In the end, I got my burger late and undercooked. I wolfed it down and prayed I wasn’t going to regret it later. I didn’t.

I like the Ram. I like it a lot. But that was not a good experience. Happens everywhere to everyone. I guess I shouldn’t have been so flippant and cavalier about the time it would take. Will I learn this lesson? Probably not.

Not only did I leave in only barely enough time to make the game, I got lost on the way, arriving late. The players were forgiving and my first official Nefertiti Overdrive game at Gen Con went well. I’m going to let you in on a secret: all the Nefertiti Overdrive games I ran at Gen Con went well. They went great. The players were awesome and really got into it. I think next Gen Con, I’m just going to run games – not worry about the other stuff. Run a game a day and get a GM’s badge.

You heard it here. Mark your calendars. (I kid, I kid)

I had barely enough time to wolf down some food before the next game. This was another tradition, started when I ran “Crossing the Millers” at Gen Con 2011. That crew also were the first outside of my home group to try Nefertiti Overdrive, back in 201. Unfortunately, most of the crew weren’t there, but Becca and Evan joined me, and I got to game with Stringray – a Gen Con buddy from back in 2008 – and Rich – one of my G+ buddies.

So I don’t think “Train in Vain” went as well as “Gangwar” did. I blame it on me having had a full day of really intense GMing (if that’s a thing) and the system. To run a game of Nefertiti Overdrive well takes a fair amount of enthusiasm and focus. By the time 19:00 hrs rolled around, I had been “on” for about eight hours that day.

It didn’t help that Fancy Pants the RPG/F#ck You Up did not do what I wanted. It worked fine, but it didn’t work well. Fine doesn’t cut it for me. It really didn’t work as a Borderlands-style system. It was okay for “Gangwar,” for which I had no real system expectations, just story expectations. For a Borderlands-style game, I had expectations for speed of resolution and excitement. Nope.

It wasn’t the players. Everyone was on their game as usual – one reason why I love to play with these people! It was me and the system. I think if I had been running the game with Nefertiti Overdrive‘s mechanics, it would have worked a lot better.

F#ck You Up, Too will get its baptism in fire 14 Aug with my home crew going through “Train in Vain.” I’m hoping the fixes worked. We’ll see.

Becca and Evan have a young daughter, so once the game wrapped up there wasn’t much time for socializing. That was okay. I needed to get to bed. I had another busy day on Friday.

You can learn more about the Ram here.

Gen Con – Train in Vain

As you may have heard, I’m running a couple of games with a system I was calling Fancy Pants but now has two names – F#ck You Up and Face ‘Splosion. Yesterday I told you about F#ck You Up: Gangwar. Today, let’s looks at Face ‘Splosion.

I’ll be running Face ‘Splosion: Train in Vain Thursday evening. It sees the characters arrive on the planet Anesidora in an attempt to get the secret location of a vault filled with alien artifacts known as the Pithos out of a mole within Cronus a mega-corporation with both mining and manufacturing interests. Anesidora was once a mining colony but has since been mostly abandoned. Mostly.

Just in case it’s not clear enough, this is a riff on the concept behind the Borderlands video games.

The characters for Train in Vain are:

The Assassin (picture Zer0)
Elements: 2d6/1d10 – Alertness; Stealth
Tools: 2d8/1d12
Plasma Blade; Hologram Projector
Traits: 2d4/1d8 – Physical; Social

The Deathbot (picture Gaige’s Deathtrap)
Elements: 2d4/1d8 – Electronic Brain; Hover Drive
Tools: 2d6/1d12 – Plasma Claws; Laser Eye Beams
Traits: 2d6/1d10 – Physical; Mental

The Gunslinger (picture Nisha)
Elements: 2d4/1d8 – Fast; Cunning
Tools: 2d8/1d12 – Big Bore Pistols Akimbo; Attitude
Traits: 2d6/1d10 – Physical; Social

The Leader (picture Maya)
Elements: 2d6/1d10 – Presence; Mythic Entity
Tools: 2d4/1d8 – Communications; SMG
Traits: 2d8/1d12 – Mental; Social

The Mad Scientist (picture Gaige)
Elements: 2d8/1d12 – Science!; Make things go BOOM!
Tools: 2d6/1d10 – Electro-static Plasma Atomizer; Sonic Screwdriver
Traits: 2d4/1d8 – Mental; Social

The Scout (picture Mordecai)
Elements: 2d8/1d12 – Awareness; Survival
Tools: 2d4/1d8 – Bioform ISR/Strike Asset (hawk); Big Ass Rifle
Traits: 2d6/1d10 – Physical; Mental

You can find my Gen Con calendar here.

Read more about Fancy Pants here.

Gen Con – Gangwar

As you may have heard, I’m running a couple of games with a system I was calling Fancy Pants but now has two names – F#ck You Up and Face ‘Splosion.

I’m running F#ck You Up: Gangwar on Thursday morning. It sees the characters caught in the middle of enemy territory – that being a part of the city run by another, hostile gang – and forced to fight their way back to safety. They learn that not all is at it seems and something might be waiting for them in the place they thought was safe.

The characters for Gangwar are:

The Boss
Elements: 2d8/1d12 – Precise; Cunning
Tools: 2d4/1d8 – Tactics; Presence
Traits: 2d6/1d10 – Mental; Social

The Duellist
Elements: 2d6/1d10 – Balance; Daring
Tools: 2d8/1d12 – Blade; Awareness
Traits: 2d4/1d8 – Physical; Mental

The Face
Elements: 2d4/1d8 – Persuasive; Connected
Tools: 2d6/1d10 – Charm; Insight
Traits: 2d8/1d12 – Mental; Social

The Muscle
Elements: 2d8/1d12 – Tough; Strong
Tools: 2d4/1d8 – Fists; Speed
Traits: 2d6/1d10 – Physical; Social

The Thief
Elements: 2d4/1d8 – Agile; Silent
Tools: 2d8/1d12 – Acrobatics; Timing
Traits: 2d6/1d10 – Physical; Mental

On Monday, I’ll introduce you to Face ‘Splosion : Train in Vain.

You can find my Gen Con calendar here.

Read more about Fancy Pants here.

Mr. Fancy Pants!

A Guy This Fancy, You Call Mister

Nefertiti Overdrive Quickstart has been sent to layout and my crew in Ottawa has settled in to A Team of Losers Pulp Edition, so I have no more pressing design issues. There is work to be done on Nefertiti Overdrive since I want it to be 90-100% complete before the Kickstarter (trying not to contemplate what happens if it fails to fund again), but this is not really what I consider design work, although it is explaining a process (creating adventures and campaigns).

My work on the need-a-new-name RPG based on the Borderlands computer game series has stalled because it is not something I’m ready to pursue right now. The concepts are laid out, but the work required to realize it as a game is daunting, especially since I see no opportunity to playtest or market it. It was and remains a thought experiment, and it was a lot of fun. This was an exercise in disassembling a game in another medium and reassembling it as an RPG. Perhaps in the future this is something I will pick up, but a modified version of Nefertiti Overdrive or the UGS would work for me running a Borderlands-style game with my crew (should that happen after the pulp campaign).

That’s Right, Fancy-Pants

Or I might use Fancy-Pants the RPG (working title).

Every time I’ve gone to Gen Con, I’ve gamed with JJ Lanza (formerly of Fist Full of Comics and Games). The last two times have been with JJ and his two sons. I’ve decided I’m going to Gen Con 2015, and part of my excitement is to run a game for the Lanza crew yet again. This time, I promised something even more over-the-top than Nefertiti Overdrive, and so I have created the basic framework for a game of even more insane action, which I’m calling Fancy-Pants for absolutely no reason whatshowever. The design goal is for a game that is fast, easy, and promoting crazy action.

I have no idea if the concept I’ve laid down will do this, but I have a little under a year to prepare.

I have come to the realization that my games tend to focus on cool people punching bad people in the face with outlandish style, and I am very okay with that.

The pictures of fancy-pants action are Chow Yun-Fat, the Killer himself.