Sunday, June 17, 2018

FreeRPGDay - Wrath & Glory



Yesterday was Free RPG Day and I visited my local store to pick up some of the offerings and buy some books as well. All gaming products were 20% off!

I'm not gonna lie. I went there early hoping to get my hands on Wrath & Glory. Besides a few vague teasers on blogs this was to be the first preview of this new RPG. When news of this RPG first came on my feed I quickly dismissed it thinking it used the same system as the others in the series. It was only after actually reading about it that I learned it was going to use a dice pool and narrative system. Color me interested.

So here I am a day later. I read the quickstart rules and the adventure summary. I'm here to tell you what you missed out on and share some of my impressions.

Wrath & Glory - Blessings Unheralded comes shrink wrapped. The cover and back is printed cardstock inside of which is a map. Inside is a 32 pages booklet containing the quickstart rules and the adventure. There's also a token sheet printed on cardstock and 4 character folios.

The production quality is top notch. Starter sets like FFG Star Wars offer basically the same thing, and charge you for it. This one is free and holds up to it.

The Booklet

So Wrath & Glory takes place in the WH 40k universe. It's a grim gothic sci-fi universe where the last bastion of humanity fight xenos, corruption, heretics and daemons. I've always been a fan of the lore, but not the system. I read Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader and played in a few games over the years but never ran it.

The writers warn that this is an introduction and that some rules have been simplified in this Quickstart. The full game promises not to restrict your warband to only Imperial archetypes. That means you could an Eldar or Ork boys if you want. I'm not a purist. I can see how this may offend long time fans but I welcome this change. I think it can only lead to interesting roleplay opportunities.


Sorry about the glare!


 The Core Mechanics

Task resolution is dice pool based. You add a number of d6s equal to your skill and linked attribute, add bonus dice and you roll against a Difficulty Number (DN), usually a 3 but it could be higher or lower depending on the difficulty of the task. A 4 or 5 counts as one Icon (success) and a 6 counts as two Icons. If you meet or exceed the DN, you succeed. 

Then you have the Wrath Dice. One dice out of every pool is designated as the Wrath dice and should be of a different color. If that dice comes up as a 6, you accumulate Glory. If it comes up as a 1, a Complication is added to the scene. You can gain Wrath or Complications regardless of if the test is successful or not.

Glory is a pooled resource for your warband. Complications is something the player and GM work together to add unexpected drama to the scene. If you can't think of anything, you can elect to give the GM a point of Ruin.

Then you have Shifting. Shifting is a resource you can use to gain additional effect. If you've accumulated more Icons than needed to accomplish a task you can deal more damage, improve the quality or speed. It's basically a crit.

You start with 2 Wrath Points. This is a meta currency not unlike Bennies, Fate Points or Force Points. You can spend it to re-roll failures (not the whole roll), restore Shock (stress damage) or make a Narrative Declaration. You can gain more Wrath Points with good roleplaying or accomplishing personal objectives (included on the pregens - they're pretty cool!).

Glory is a representation of the Heroes' will to win. As previously stated, it's a collective resource. You begin with 0 in the pool but gain some by shifting Exalted (6s) Icons into the pool or with a 6 on the Wrath Dice. Note that there's a set maximum number of Glory points you can have, at which point you can't gain more. So it's good to use them instead of hoarding them. You can use Glory to increase a Dice Pool, damage or seize the initiative.

Ruin is the GM's equivalent of Wrath. You gain some with failed Corruption or Fear Tests and with 6s on the Wrath dice as well. You can spend Ruin to active special abilities, interrupt the PCs during initiative or seize the initiative, re-roll failures, restore Shock or Soak Wounds.

I think you can see the influence of games like FFG Star Wars and Genesys here. I sense a bit of 2d20 here as well. What do these two have in common? Jay Little. He didn't work on this game, though. At least not that I'm aware. No. The lead designer is Ross Watson. He's worked on many RPGs but I know him better for his work on Savage Worlds products such as Savage Rifts and Accursed. And the adventure is written by John Dunn, who also worked on Accursed.

While the core mechanics offer just a faint hint, the combat options (such as multi-actions, firing into melee), interaction attacks (tricks and tests of wills), the way damage works and combat effects (hinder and vulnerable), feel familiar to a Savage Worlds player like myself. Defiance checks feel like saves vs death from D&D 5e. So there's a bit of everything. It feels like they've used fun mechanics that work well together that I understood instantly.

Character Folios





The character folios are gorgeous! Full character portrait on the front, the character sheet spread with cheat sheet tables in the middle and a bio plus a handout on the back. My only complaint is that I wish there were one or two more.

Token Sheet

Then you have a token sheet. They aren't pre-perforated, though. But this is a free package, remember? Use some scissors and make sure your tongue is sticking out while you do that. They cover everything from the PCs, NPCs, troops, tracking wounds, shock and statuses.

The Map

Finally, there's the map. I have yet to read the adventure so I don't know what it represents but it looks pretty good to me!


Conclusion

I'm hoping this is made available in digital format soon for people that couldn't get a copy. If this was something you could purchase, I'd tell you to go grab it. I'd have paid $5-10 for something like that. Meanwhile, I started scanning it, hoping I can run this online for my friends soon.

I have to say I'm looking forward to see the full book. Although a bit crunchier than I usually like, I quite dig the system from reading it. Sometimes you read something and it isn't as complicated when you play it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wiseguys Update June 13th 2018

Hi everybody!

Eric Lamoureux here for an update on the progress with Wiseguys. I recorded the latest Wiseguys Video Diary last night but the audio is completely borked, so I decided to put it into words here. My Wiseguys Video Diary is a YouTube series where I talk about my journey through the process of writing my first setting for Savage Worlds and hope that it can help other creators going down the same path.

It's been a month since the release of the Wiseguys Demo Kit and it's been downloaded over 400 times! We've received very positive feedback so we're quite pleased. Several wonderful people around the world have also come forward to help playtest the Demo Kit and beyond.

I've concluded the playtest with my group this past weekend. I have to say I've gotten what I wanted out of it. The biggest effect it's had was to prune out the things I believed were cool and essential to the Wiseguys experience but turned out not to be simply because they didn't come up, were overlooked during character creation, or that I didn't want to use during play.

Something else that influenced my decision was the discussion my Wild Die Podcast co-hosts and I had in a recent episode on Setting Rules and an interview at Veiled Fury Entertainment. At that time, Wiseguys was working with about 9 Setting Rules. Some were nothing more than a paragraph. Still, I took a hard look at what I had and decided to take half of them out, or at least represent them in another way. The Organized Crime setting rule that gave every player characters the Vow (Minor) Hindrance, Connections Edge and left them with 50% of their earnings at the end of each week became part of character creation instead, with the 50% being represented the Poor Hindrance. I worked hard on the Contacts Setting Rule and I Know a Guy Edge but the players didn't seem interested in taking any of the 30 or so cool contacts I had created. So I changed how it worked. You can now make up one Contact as needed per rank, and the I Know a Guy Edge allows you to create more. All those contacts I created will become nice cards that a group can use when someone lacks inspiration. The Source of Income Setting Rule inspired by the Optional Wealth system from Nemezis, and meant to highlight a mobster's life outside of "adventuring" is in the process of becoming a random table the Don can use to put the spotlight on a particular character, creating a side-trek adventure of sort.

If you're writing your own setting, when it comes to Setting Rules my advice to you is this. What are you trying to accomplish? What is the desired effect on the game? The mechanic you thought was needed to illustrate it may not be the best one for that. For instance, in Wiseguys, when mobsters get caught they are likely to go to jail. This is the result of accumulating Heat and gaining the Wanted Hindrance. In Savage Worlds, Social Conflicts have an example of a trial. For the longest time, this was the way it came down to for me in my design. When I took a closer look at how Heat worked (basically like Wounds or Fatigue) it became obvious that once your Wanted (Incapacitated, hello?!) you roll on the Verdict Table (Incapacitation Table) using Knowledge (Law) instead of Vigor. Always keep mechanics as simple as possible when you design them. Then playtest them. Once you're done with that. Make them even simpler. Let them simmer for a while, and then make them even more simple again!

Finally. I've been working on Wiseguys almost non-stop for 13 months now. I'm very close to completion. Summer is here in North West Pennsylvania and it's very short. We're waiting on Savage Black to finish it because we want it to be compatible with it. So I decided to take a break from writing and playing Wiseguys for the summer. I'll still be coordinating the various playtest groups, taking notes and using the valuable feedback to finish the book. We also plan to release a few One Sheets leading up to the Kickstarter.

So that's it folks! Talk to you later.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wiseguys Video Diary #7

In episode #7 of my video diary I talk about designing Edges and Hindrances.
#wiseguys #justinsertimagination

Thursday, May 10, 2018

What's Next for Wiseguys?

Yesterday, Just Insert Imagination (Winter Eternal, Fuhgeddaboudit!, The Mutation Deck) released a FREE Demo Kit for the upcoming setting and tool kit for Savage Worlds that I wrote, Wiseguys.

In the coming months, I will continue my developer's vlog on YouTube, write more blogs, coordinate play test groups, publish new one sheets, and of course continue to write the full book.

The plan is to go to crowdfunding for artwork and editing once the draft has been completed.

Happy gaming!

Eric Lamoureux (justinsertimagination@gmail.com)



Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wiseguys - Organizations


It's time for another preview of the upcoming demo kit for Wiseguys, the Las Vegas crime and 90s cult movies setting and tool kit for Savage Worlds.

Who you know in Sin City is as important as what you can do. For player characters, organizations are potential allies, people that can be called upon to provide information, resources, services or man power. In Savage Worlds, this is represented by the Connections Edge.

For the Don, organizations are perfect villains of the criminal underworld. They can build whole scenes, misadventures or campaign arcs around them.

In Wiseguys, we provide you with several examples of organizations.

Bell Bottom Brigade

La Cosa Nostra isn’t the only player in Las Vegas. As a matter of fact, competition is fierce and, as a result, the demand for people that can eliminate said competition is at a premium. On the rise in this elite market is the Bell Bottom Brigade, a group of deadly female assassins with soul. That’s right. Their wardrobe is filled with platform shoes, bell bottom pants and low cut, large collar blouses. That’s when they aren’t back at the car wash in their bikinis. These ladies aren’t averse to beguile their victims first if they feel it may give them an advantage, nor do they feel that the element of surprise is absolutely necessary to complete the job. The Bell Bottom Brigade comes at you with style and an attitude to match.

Rumors & Story Seeds


  • They received their training in a monastery up in the Himalayas.
  • They all use a codename and don’t know each other’s real names.
  • One of them is the illegitimate child of the Colossus Casino and Resort owner and she waits for her chance to get her piece of the fortune.