It was a big day today at Bloomingnerd Studios! We finished final edits on the text, and started initial layout. Plus! We got our first concept sketch from Leah!
We’re far enough in this project that I feel confident announcing it. Bloomingnerd Studios is working on it’s first publication. Super Fun TV Hour! is a sourcebook for adapting Fate Core to play super sentai groups like Power Rangers, Sailor Moon, and Voltron!
Witness our first teaser!
The Team Makes you Special
Super sentai as a genre is imported from Japan, where the ideals of teamwork, and team harmony are held in deep regard. This is represented well in sentai fiction. The thing that makes an individual special is not that they can transform into a super hero, but that they do it as a team. Unlike American super groups like the X-Men or League of Justice, there is homogeny in design and powers of a sentai group. Often the uniforms are identical, or have small design adjustments, but bold color distinctions. Their powers are usually less identical, but still follow a theme. For instance, the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all use distinct martial arts weaponry. The Sailor Scouts have different elemental attacks. The color distinctions tend to guide the differences in powers. Later, we’ll discuss how these small differences can be used to craft excellent aspects and stunts.
The emphasis of the sentai genre on teamwork is again a magnificent tool for a tabletop RPG. When the team is more important than the individual, there is less inter-party conflict and splitting the group. Mechanically, this is especially important if your sentai game involves coming together to create a megamech. A party can’t fight the mega monster if one of their party is off doing their own thing!
It’s looking like Super Fun TV Hour! will be about 40-50 pages packed with suggestions and examples of playing sentai using Fate! The text is in final revision now, and art is being commissioned from the indomitable LeaLeeLu!
Expect piles of teasers in the coming weeks. Our goal is to have the PDF ready for sale on DriveThruRPG by August 4th and in print by December.
I love Shadowrun, but damn if I can’t keep the sequence of actions for… well pretty much anything in my head, which is why I’ve started working on these buggers. Also started experimenting with colors and boarders a bit.
My first One Card Adventure is ready to go!
If you’d prefer just the Text:
Name: The Mad Castle
Change: Civil war breaks out in the Barony. The party will need to choose sides.
Background: The mad Baron is impoverishing his realm to build the castle of his dreams. His sister has a hired a mysterious foreign man that summons monsters to attack the construction effort.
Hook: The Baron’s agents approach the party, asking them to deal with the monsters at the site.
1) The monsters are clearly not from this area, and show signs of being summoned.
2) The Baron’s sister sends her own agents in to hamper the party from discovering her treachery.
3) The mysterious foreign man is not terribly loyal, and happily lets the party know about the sister in exchange for his life.
Climax: Party needs to decide who to confront and how to deal with the truth of a mad Baron and his traitor sister.
Intended for use with the 13th Age Basic Stats Card, this card is designed to collect permanent character details. It’s a nice card to consult during the more role-playing/storytelling parts of your 13th Age game. PDF link at the bottom of the post!
I’m planning to put together more of these character decks as I move forward. Maybe I’ll even try to tackle Shadowrun next!
Recently, I gave a GM friend advice that she should be able to fit her entire scenario/session notes on a single note card. I’ve been playing this way for years, trying to boil my preparation down to the bare essentials. To help enforce my one card game prep methodology, I built a template!
The idea behind this template is that there are five key point that a GM (in my opinion) must have to be prepared for a scenario. Note that these key points are specific to the Game Master’s perspective. To the players, as the games is being played, the story unfolds in the typical Introduction, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, and Resolution format.
Name: Just a place for the name of your Scenario. Not critical by any means, but very helpful to have a pithy name to show what can be done.
Change: From a game prep perspective, I feel this is the most important element. This should be 1-2 short sentences stating what change will happen to the game world due to the events of this scenario. Some examples:
- The Ooka-ooka tribe will finally be able to harvest their fields now that those pesky kobolds are gone.
- NeoNET will be exposed for creating the CFD virus to the world, causing tremendous hits to their profits.
- Middleton High School will return to normal after the dopplegangers that have eaten and replaced the varsity cheerleading squad have been defeated.
- Azazoth the Horrid will be called from the Dungeon Dimensions and consume all human minds as a delicious snack.
Background: A place for GM seekrits! This is where you put what’s really going on. The big things the PCs don’t know at the beginning of the scenario. I keep this field small because it is super easy to overdo. Essentially, if it’s more than three sentences, it is overdone. A couple I’ve used:
- The kobolds pestering the Ooka-ooka tribe have been enslaved by the vengeful pineapple tree spirit. Dealing with the spirit directly, while sparing the kobolds will lead to a future alliance.
- NeoNET, in concert with Celyder, developed the CFD nanovirus as a means to healing a great dragon. But the virus got out of control! Now the nanovirus is taking over people in the NeoNET network and turning them into zombies.
- Dopplegangers have taken over the Varsity Cheerleading Squad! Their cheers consume the psychic energy from the crowd, most of which they eat, but some of which they feed to the team! What’s worse, the Coach knows all about it!
Hook: Much has been written about hooks. This should be a one sentence summary of what will get the players started towards your Change. Examples:
- The PC Nina Tinselbottom, of the Ooka-ooka tribe, had her grandfather kidnapped by local kobolds.
- The Shadowrunners are approached by a man named Mr. Johnson, who wants to pay them to break into a local NeoNET research facility
- The General Student Club notices that the Middleton basketball team is terrible during practice, but supernaturally good during actual games. Perhaps it’s dopplegangers!
Clues: This does not necessarily mean literal clues like a Scooby Doo mystery, though it could if you are running a mystery solving game. Clues in this context are things you have prepared to help players get from the Hook to the Climax while participating in your Change. They should be general reminders of where the PCs can get guidance about their next step. You could alternatively call these complications, as also enrich the story. I prefer the word Clues though, as it better delineates the intention of helping the PCs move the story.
Rather than isolating specific scenes, have a list of 2-3 clues. Here are examples of three clues from a recent Fate game:
- Pastor Mario knows that Gabriel has been using occult rituals. He has pictures of two pages of a book in Arabic. Translated, the pages make little sense, but seem to combine astrology with early brain surgery. Mario never turned Gabriel in because he knew about the Pastor’s secret…
- The local Autoduel gang, the Worgs, are currently being paid by Gabriel for protection of his survivalist compound. PCs can find this out by either investigating Gabriel’s finances, or stumbling into an ambush.
- Azazhoth’s hunger for flesh is witnessed when the party approaches the survivalist camp to find one or two cultists eating a live possum.
In the scenario, the Change is that Azazoth is called into the world. The Climax is a confrontation with Gabriel at his compound during the summoning ritual. You can see how each of the clues is designed to entice the players to move towards this climax.
Climax: Keep this pithy. The bulk of your writing should be in the Clues. Nearly all stories have a climax. In RPGs, this happens during a confrontation. Just one sentence is enough to remind you. Something like these:
- Invade the kobold’s lair, discover that they are enthralled by an evil forest spirit, and decide to battle the kobolds, the spirit driving them, or both.
- Come face to face with the great dragon Celyder, and try to get out of the meeting alive.
- Fight the doppleganger/cheerleaders during the Big Game against Central High.
My goal over the coming weeks to to create a number of these one-card scenarios and post them here for people to use. I particularly like the constraint of keeping these elements on one card. It helps me keep things from getting too complex, and thus unwieldy at the table. My experience has taught me that in role playing games a concise plot, executed well, far outperforms a deeply crafted plot that your players will inevitably throw to the winds.
If you’re interested, here is a PDF form of the above card you can fill out and print!
Just a quick experiment with reducing gaming materials down to card size. This is a 13th Age card mostly for quick reference during combat and tracking hit points.
13th Age Basic Stats (Printable PDF)
I must not email.
Email is the mind-killer.
Email is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my email.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past me I will turn to see emal’s path.
Where the email has gone there will be nothing……Only I will remain.
Alex and Kelly both ready the 1985 run of Longshot. Then they talked about it for a while.