Wednesday, August 29, 2012

[Atomic Robo] Public Playtest, Round 1

Okay, here we go.
Behold, an ordinary playtest!

If you want to be a part of the Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game playtest -- and I think I know you enough to say that yeah, you do -- simply follow these steps:
  1. Ask yourself, "Am I going to have a chance to actually experience this with a group of players in the next few weeks and provide feedback?" If your answer is "Yes," proceed.
  2. Download a copy of the disclosure pledge.
  3. Read and sign it (typing your name on the signature line is enough to acknowledge you've read the pledge and agree to abide by it; no need to put your actual John Hancock on this thing).
  4. Email your signed pledge to the email address indicated on the pledge. The subject line should say "ARRPG Pledge."
  5. Remain calm and trust in Science.
  6. Once we have your signed pledge, you'll be sent a link where you can download the current playtest documents.
The playtest will take place in multiple rounds, and is expected to run through October. This first round of the playtest will include only 20 groups. If you don't make it in, don't sweat it -- the next round will start within a few weeks. We fully intend to include everyone who's able to make a serious commitment to playtesting.

And remember, if you're going to be at Gateway or Dragon*Con this weekend, you'll have a chance to playtest there as well.

On a personal note, I hope you're all as excited as I am about all of this. I mean, I kinda already know you're not, but if you're even approaching my level of excitement, this is going to be a fun time. The playtests at GenCon were really solid, and the rules have only gotten better and tighter since then. It's only going to improve going forward, and that's largely going to be because of playtesters like you. So thanks, and let's do this!

UPDATE: The interest level has been... well, I don't want to say "overwhelming," but it's right up there. As of 8/31, I have all the Round 1 playtesters I need. But! Round 2 still has plenty of room. Please keep 'em coming! Science needs you!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

[Atomic Robo] GenCon Playtesters

Hey everybody. I'm just putting this post up here so when I tell the ARRPG playtesters at GenCon to come by the blog and leave a comment, they'll land here and feel special.

Playtester-types: I welcome your comments. You'll have talked to me or your duly appointed ARRPG GM about your feelings on the game, but if you want to say anything else, good or bad, this is a place to do so.

Everyone else: You can just read this and, I dunno, be jealous, I guess.

Friday, August 10, 2012

[ARRPG] Atomic Robo at Gateway!

Did you know that Gateway is just a scant two weeks after GenCon? I feel like that can't possibly be the case! And yet it is. If you're going to be some combination of a) there, b) wanting to play Atomic Robo, and  c) available Friday night, Saturday afternoon, or Saturday night, come on down and playtest.

These playtests will no doubt benefit from ARRPG having been through the wringer at GenCon, so odds are quite good that the rules will be all the better for it. Plus, the public playtest will have started by then, so people may even show up familiar with them before coming to the table. Imagine that!

Here's the extremely non-committal blurb, in case something horrible happens at GenCon and I need to ditch the intro scenario I've planned:
Come playtest Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game, currently in development and due for release from Evil Hat Productions in early 2013. ARRPG is based on Fate Core (also currently in development!). New to Fate? No problem. No familiarity with either Fate or higher-dimension mathematics is required. Just remain calm, trust in Science, and roll those dice.
(As you can see, I tend to return to the same gags over and over again.)

I'm running the Friday night and Saturday night games, and a friend who shall remain nameless is running the Saturday afternoon game. No matter what game you play in, though, you'll have a good time.

Event pre-registration begins tomorrow, August 11th at noon-ish. If history is any guide, these games will fill up fast, so get on it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

[Fate Core] Men's 100pg Hurdles

Pictured: My office.
As of... now, the Fate Core chapters I was assigned to revise and/or rewrite have been sent off to Camp First-Round-Edits. They'll be back before the end of the month. I'll miss them, but at the same time it's good to have them out of the house.

So that's one hurdle hurdled, then. Whew! What a relief. Now I can just relax.

Except that before I get on a plane for Indianapolis a week from tomorrow, I still have to bring ARRPG up to the new specs, devise and/or revise an ARRPG scenario, make proto-characters for said scenario, figure out the rest of my Kerberos Club (FATE Edition) scenario, make a few pre-gens for that scenario, and... I dunno... pack, I guess. And for all I know, my Fate Core chapters could come back to haunt me before GenCon, too. So while it's nice to have met a goal more or less on time, it's just one hurdle of many over the next couple weeks.

Incidentally, I made mention on Twitter of a way-too-long sample magic system I wrote for a Fate Core chapter that's already been removed for being, well, way too long. But assuming it doesn't turn out to be the late-night rantings of a freelance writer working on a sleep deficit, it'll see the light of day somehow or other. Might be here on this blog, might be part of a supplemental Fate Core PDF. I dunno yet.

Don't sweat it too much, though. It's not some revelatory thing you can't live without. It's just an example of how to use elements of Fate Core to make a magic system for your game. I mean, I hope you like it and everything, but there's no need to batter down my door to get it. My office is noisy enough as it is.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[Atomic Robo] Minor Repairs

Good news, everyone! Turns out the aftershocks from Fate Core Rules-Quake '12 weren't as severe for ARRPG as I'd originally feared. I mean... they were still pretty serious. We lost a whole thing. But it looks like everything's working out pretty well, skill-wise. It's probably even an improvement, actually.

Let me elaborate on that, because you're probably all, "Hey, could you be less specific about the thing in question?" But, like, in a sarcastic way.

So I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before (at least once) that, in ARRPG, there are these things called modes. You can think of modes as thematic bundles of skills that reflect broad areas of competence. Action is a mode. Science is a mode. Modes make on-the-fly character creation easy, because they don't require you to make a decision for every single skill your character has.

Prior to yesterday, there were a total of five standard modes (among them, Action and Science). Now there are but four. When you make a character, you pick (and rate) three modes. With only four standard modes to pick from, however, what you're also doing (as Fred has pointed out) is deciding which of the modes just isn't important for your character.

Why was this done? A number of reasons -- so many, in fact, that when I wrote them all out I was surprised by how compelling they all were en masse. But the most practical reason is the math.

There are two ways to make a character in ARRPG. One involves making choices. The other involves some simple math. Neither method is better than the other, but the choice-making one is simpler in practice than the math-doing one (an important difference when making a character during play). The thing that makes that no-math one work, though, is the math going on behind the scenes. Thanks to a certain change in the Fate Core rules, that math wasn't working out anymore, which had the potential to be a pretty serious issue.

What with one thing and another, the way to fix this issue was to cut one of the modes. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say that two modes have been merged, but... not that much more accurate, to be honest. Regardless, in the process each of the remaining modes has been made a little more distinct, which is a good thing. (Except Science. Science has experienced no change whatsoever. Science don't care.)

If you're wondering how four themed skill-bundles can possibly reflect everything that, say, Atomic Robo does, or Dr. Dinosaur purports to do, the answer is simple: They don't! Those four modes are just the standard modes, but there are other modes -- weird modes -- that you can make yourself.

I'm not going to get into all that now, though. I have a literal ton of work to do. (Not literally.)