Debate Night in America Is Updated

In 2016, I released Debate Night in America based off of a Halloween game night of Cthulhu-inspired fun, mixing horror and election season tension. Because it’s been four years and we are back in the midst of a contentious election, why not revise it a bit? While the adventure still has great bones, I spent the day fixing some grammatical errors and adding some tidbits here and there to fill plot holes and round out possibilities for the adventure. Ultimately, you get about 5 more pages of goodness in all.

Elections really do matter, and while this little adventure is fun and a bit hectic, let’s not pretend that your vote won’t make a difference. It will! We can stop fascism! We can stop hate! We can make the world lurch one more step toward equality and care for all people.

Get it now: Pay What You Want over at DriveThruRPG

What do you do with old projects?

Hi, readers.

I’ve been combing through some of my old bits of writing, trying to find things to work on. I do have a couple of games I’m going to try to figure out in the coming weeks and have either a playtest or release before late December. That’s probably wishful thinking, but it’s good to have goals, right?

In my pile of old stuff, I have many scraps or somewhat sketched out game systems.

Some of these have elements that made it into games like Foreign Element or 2D10 or the Mark System.

Some have formatting and example text and clipart as placeholders. Do I release this stuff, put it on my website for a random passerby to consume and find something inspiring? Do I let it lie fallow in the archives?

Below I’ve attached one example. I was working on the Adventure Pit Game System to do a lot of things. The copyright notice is 2008, so I had just moved to a new city and was likely hoping to build off of Eldritch Ass Kicking. I wanted a game system that was simple and action-oriented but gave players more power to describe the after results of an action. Are you satisfied with basic success? Do you want to find good loot or set yourself up for future actions?

It’s kind of a mess, but it is an example of me toying around with things. I do believe it influenced Foreign Element in some ways, and I might even have borrowed some text here and there. Anyway, enjoy an example of a half-finished but mostly playable product.

Actual Play: 2D10 at Camp

Last week, I worked at a youth camp with an amazing group of middle school kids who were excited to play Dungeons & Dragons. One of them had received the Stranger Things box set and was eager to play. It was fun to help them learn basic rules, encourage them to try out stuff, and join in the excitement. About halfway through, I told them I’d run my own game – a quick round of 2D10.

Notes from the Session

Character creation was fast and easy. The players mastered the process quickly and went a little wild with their heroes. When playing a free form game, it is always a challenge to develop boundaries on special abilities (feats) as well as occupations. One player wanted to play a Necromancer, so we had to fine tune it. What can a Necromancer do and not do? Some of them wanted to be able to summon a giant eagle as their hero’s power. While I was resistant, I went for it. Would summoning a giant eagle work in the sewers? Does it take time for the eagle to arrive? This highlighted both the speed and flexibility of 2D10 but also some challenges. Can a less experienced GM know how to sort out boundaries?

With heroes in hand, I drafted a quick but messy adventure that challenged the players with moral choices over and over. The Golden King in his Golden City was besieged, so the King’s captain summoned the heroes from across time and space to aid or rescue their liege. Obviously, it was a one shot, so I didn’t have time for a deep origin story. The catch was that the heroes had 30 minutes before the castle’s defenses would be obliterated by winged demons. The heroes had to figure out how to enter the city to reach the castle, whether to save time by rescuing an abandoned child and her mother, barter with old colleagues and mysterious strangers, and then make an ultimate choice once they met the King and learned what was actually going on.

I’m being vague because I may write it up as a short 2D10 download.

While the adventure didn’t completely work since we ran out of time, the players did gain extra time throughout by promising to do things for their colleagues or for rescuing certain people. This allowed them to stretch their options for making choices. Battle wasn’t the only route to get to the interior castle and confront the King, but the lack of time also hampered the ability a bit to make the final moral choice really hit home. One of the players noted that the story didn’t completely fit. I’ll definitely tweak this when I write it up for others to have fun with.

Mechanical Stuff

I was really pleased by the dice rolling. Success was possible, but the players also rolled low enough to add some natural tension. It made things challenging. I am going to think about a passive type option, like 5E’s passive perception, since I don’t really like heroes rolling to find secret doors and stuff too often. Tedious rolling is lame!

We utilized the optional Magic Points rule, since most of their characters wanted to cast spells. We didn’t use it religiously. I’d really prefer for players to spend the magic points to add to rolls for success, making those resources finite. For this game, I asked them to subtract one for each spell they cast. It was simple, but magic points have potential for other uses.

However, if I plan to modify 2D10, I will change the Occupations modifier. The players forgot about the +5 modifier. Was it confusing? I can improve that with a simple character sheet or make it easier like doubling your attribute if you use the Occupation for a relevant action. Stay tuned.

My Conclusion?

All in all, though, it was fun to game with some youngsters! 2D10 was a blast to play!

We are on itch.io

I’m pretty happy with DriveThruRPG’s setup. At one point, they charged for free products, but I’m sure they realize that driving traffic to the site for free stuff increases the chance of people buying stuff. That’s good.

But I’ve noticed itch.io recently, and so I will be setting up another site there.

Right now, the basic 2D10 RPG is the only item available, but I’ll be adding more in the coming days.