Sunday, June 17, 2018

Guard Duty is out now

I told my wife I wouldn't come to bed at 4:00 am again. I crept under the covers at 4:40, so technically I wasn't lying, it certainly wasn't 4:00.  The sun was coming up and as I tried to adjust the curtain to make certain it wouldn't look like the sun was already coming up as I finally called it a night the dog spotted a rabbit from the living room window, started barking, and I got busted.

The upside to all of this is that I was able to make a cover for "Guard Duty", and pull the text out of the "Bubb's Diner" file to create a stand alone "multi-path/ choose your own" style adventure that serves as a prequel to "Bubb's".

The reader plays the part of Randal, an NPC that is embedded in the player character party at the onset of the adventure.  The idea behind creating it was to make the characters a bit more familiar with the setting, and of course Randal.

My playtest group was terrible to Randal, using him as a pack mule and a meat shield, even taking his unique weapon right from the start. I tried to dish out a little karma by having Randal shoot one of them in the rear end during a tense firefight, but in the end he was treated as fairly one-dimensional by the players.  The thought of having them read a short adventure where they play as him occurred to me only after running the adventure. Perhaps they would have more empathy for him if they did?

I was able to use the story to cram in lots of little bits about the setting as well, so that players can be a bit more familiar with "The Downs", an underground town with three levels (Copper, Silver, Strontium). The lower levels are off limits to first level characters ( the characters the adventure is aimed at) as they are reserved for the elite merchant class. Above ground scavengers pick through the ruins of a ruined city in hopes of finding enough salvage and scrap to trade in for food.

The rich get richer and the poor barely survive.  It's a miserable existence for most. 

There are a few false endings that are either "red herrings" or actually give some clues as to the rest of the adventure, or are nods to another one of my books.

Writing a multi-path adventure was a lot of work, even for one this short, but I have had some prior experience with the process using Inklewriter when it was a thing.

Still, it was a lot of fun, and helped me get into Randal's head, which would also have been useful before GMing the play session, so I think it is a pretty good resource for Game Master's as well.

Of course there are ending codes as well. These are designed to track the impact of a player's choices on the adventure.  As "Bubb's Diner" takes place around a month or so after the events of "Guard Duty", the setting might be slightly different by the time the player characters inhabit it.  Of course we can assume that Randal survives, but this might not be the case for everyone.

I put it up on RPGNow as a free download.  I would just drop it download folder and link to that, but I want the "Mature" filter, as Randal is a bit of a boozehound and there are frequent references to that as well as using "stims" to fight a hangover, all of which was inspired by my players characters and their choices while in The Downs.

I have had a few projects hanging over my head that have prevented me from really digging in and finishing up the vehicle rules as well as "Bubb's Diner", but I am working through them as fast as I can. It was all I could do to get "Guard Duty" wrapped up, and that's largely because I did most of th work on it over a year ago and it was gathering dust on my hard drive.

Things to do/ have done

Son's 4th grade yearbook for school- finished two days ago!
One Page Dungeon Contest- Tons of emailing to sort prizes, so still ongoing.
2018 One Page Dungeon Compendium PDF- completed
2018 One Page Dungeon Compendium Print on Demand. 80% done.
Logo for local farmers market- maybe 50% done with this project
Design related projects for my job (which sadly does not involve this sort of thing normally) - should be wrapped up by the end of the weekend.

All of these projects represent a "Scrap-ton" of work, and they are all done on a volunteer bonus, meaning I still have to drag myself into work everyday but just know that I really do want to finish up Bubb's and the Vehicle rules as soon as I can.  I appreciate your patience as I work through that list above.