Saturday, 22 October 2016

Example Allies & Antagonist Entry

Still working on various entries for the "Allies & Antagonist" section of the book. This is one of my personal favorites.


The hero of another story


  • Occasionally, youths are given great powers and a quest by the whims of fate. Old legends are filled with tales of how these enterprising figures blossom to greatness - but the reality is much more messy.
  • Thanks to various cataclysms and arcane meddling, fate has long been out of sync with the Outer World. Chosen ones often meet inglorious ends pursuing poorly timed or misaimed quests that will do as much harm (if not more) than do good.

Menace Level

  • Boss


  • 6


  • (No Allegiance)

Home Region/Habitat

  • Chosen Ones are almost always from small rural villages, most commonly located in relatively peaceful places like the Kingdom of Shard, The Galvanus Archipelago or the Pride Coast. Their adventures mean they might be found wandering just about anywhere in the world.  

Aptitudes (Trait: Surprisingly Strong, Spirited, Silent Type (+1 Might, +1 Grit, -1 Aura)

Primary Aptitudes: Might, Grit, Aura
Secondary Aptitudes: Deftness, Insight
  • Might [11]
  • Deftness [9]
  • Grit [11]
  • Insight [9]
  • Aura [9]

Combat Values

  • Hearts [4]
  • Attack [+4]
  • Speed [Normal]
  • Defense Rating [14] (Medium Armor, 15 with a Standard or Cleary Shield]


In addition to any items they might have from their Legendary Gear Ability, Chosen Ones are assumed to be wearing Medium Armor and carrying a Quick Melee Weapon, Drawn Missile Weapon or Standard Shield.

Legendary Gear
Chosen Ones generally find themselves in the possession of a handful of useful Imbued Items thanks to contrivance, questing, and older relatives with a habit of hoarding.
  • Chosen Ones have two or three of the following Imbued Items.
  • Red Edge - This empowered sword is crafted from Flame Brass. It is a Master Weapon that does an additional Heart of Fire Damage upon a successful Attack.
  • Cleary Shield - A lovely Standard Shield made of Sun Gold. The bearer may also use the Parry granted by this item to nullify a Magical Ability targeted at them.
  • Spring Heel Boots - These Sky-Steel Toe Boots are made of magical beast leather. They grant anyone wearing them Supernatural Leaping.
  • Mighty Mitten - A single right Mitten created from the paw of an extremely strong creature. Anyone wearing it is granted Supernatural Might.
  • Wooly Warm Tunic - This endearing Extreme Weather Outfit is said to have been weaved with the fluffy wool of the legendary Wisdom Bumpo, and ensures the wearer will always be comfortably warm. In addition, Attacks that deal Fire and Frost damage do one less Heart of damage to the bearer.

Favored by Fate
While destiny ain’t what it used to be, it can still help out it’s agents in a pinch.
  • Fate can struggle against circumstances and actions that would work against the Chosen One.
  • Once a session the Game Master can reroll (or force a player to reroll) once finding the result of any Roll that directly affects the Chosen One.
  • Please note that the Chosen One might not even be present when this reroll occurs. The result just has to be important to them.
  • For example, the Game Master might call for a reroll if the party might manage to discover and claim a key item before the Chosen One does.

Courageous Determination
It is easy for many adventurers to scoff at Chosen Ones, who wield a lot of borrowed power in lieu of actual experience or training. However, they are chosen for a reason: their indomitable spirit.
  • If a Chosen One is reduced to 0 Hearts or would be slain by another circumstance or effect, they may make a Grit Check.
  • Success means they manage to bear through it somehow and regain a single Heart.
  • This Ability cannot save a Chosen One from a situation where death is certain (such as being crushed by an immense, solid stone block) or inescapable (such as drowning at the bottom of an extremely deep body of water).

Communication Methods

  • Chosen Ones are able to speak Low Speech and another language based on their homeland.


  • Chosen Ones are very bold combatants - they tend towards strategies that depend on Stunts and aiming for key points or an enemy leader. They often bet on their determination and spirit to carry them through obstacles, given that it’s their most outstanding quality.


  • Besides any items they might have on their person or from their Legendary Gear Ability, Chosen Ones always have a 2 Roll’s worth of coins on their person: usually collected from fallen foes or due to rewards from various smaller quests they’ve undertaken.


  • Indicators -  The sounding of a valorous battle cry, villages filled with people who have had small requests recently fulfilled, the slain bodies of dangerous beasts.
  • Roleplaying Notes - Most Chosen Ones earnestly believe they are doing the right thing, and will be friendly with the party as long as they aren’t actively in their way.
  • They are dangerously stubborn however, thanks to their innate attachment to their ultimate quest. Even calmly explaining that something they are doing might be dangerous or misguided will quickly put them on the defensive and may convince them that whoever is doing so is a true villain.
  • Customization  - The Chosen One here is assumed to a Native Outer World Human. If you wish to make a Chosen One of another Species, simply remove one of the Abilities here and switch it with the proper Species Ability.
  • Chosen Ones might also have Abilities from the Champion or Battle Princess Elective Ability lists. Some may travel with other adventuring types, especially Fairies.
  • Feel free to create your own Imbued Items and have the Chosen One have one of those instead of the options included with Legendary Gear.

Random Encounter Reaction

  • Friendly/Benign (1-5) - The Chosen One encountered is actually on a venture that parallels the one the party is on - they won’t be shy about it and explain it to them, jumping at the chance to work together whether the party shows interest or not.
  • Indifferent/Wary (6-13)  - The party stumbles on the Chosen One in the middle of an important quest that involves trading bizarre and innocuous items. They will eagerly engage the party in an attempt to trade a strange object (examples include a wooden ball, rare local fruit, or a terrifying looking mask) for something actually useful, and might actually get angry if they are refused outright.
  • Hostile/Bloodthirsty (14-20) - The Chosen One has identified one of the party members as a true villain (or someone destined to become one) and declares the party as their enemy. Whether this is a tragic case of mistaken identity or actually true depends on the party itself, but it will difficult convincing the Chosen One otherwise.

Variants and Related Entries

Swapping out some of the Chosen One’s Legendary Gear for more sinister Imbued Items or even Relics can be done to create a clearly villainous entity, rather than a sadly misguided heroic one.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Further Perusal (A.K.A Appendix NES)

I think it's often helpful to wear your influences on your sleeve when writing for tabletop RPGs. Not only does it allow someone skimming through your work to get a good idea of what they are getting into, it also means they have a place to draw ideas from while playing and running your game.

A friend posted something for an up and coming game that had an impressive list of influences and I had to laugh, since BREAK!!'s mostly consists of video games and animated programs!

Still, I clearly think those things still have a lot of worth - I am writing a whole game thanks to them after all! So since Grey and I are hammering out the finer points at the moment, my "we aren't dead" post for the fortnight will be BREAK!!'s "Further Perusal" list.

(As always, forgive me for any roughness/typos. Still in draft and all that.)

Video Games

While those listed are some of the primary influences on BREAK!!, any game with a focus on exploration, wistful stories, bombastic characters and fantastic places could provide you with workable ideas.
  • Godslayer/Crystalis
This game presents a world recovering from the mistakes of the past, where magic and technology clash and combine. Greedy, short-sighted ambition threatens to awaken a great, slumbering danger and salvation lies with a youth on a perilous journey. Sound familiar?
  • Seiken Densetsu/Mana Series
While this game series varies in quality and style, there is a consistent story of corruption, hope and rebirth that cycles throughout. The colorful cast of characters, charming locales and grand battles would feel right at home in the Outer World.
  • NieR
NieR’s influence on BREAK!! seems obvious at first, with its misfit heroes, shambling remains of a former world and gloriously strange antagonists. But it’s the heart of its narrative, where no conflict is as black and white as it seems, that seeped the most into the game you are reading right now.

Anime and Manga

Often visually dynamic and exciting, action and fantasy anime set a basis for how the active sequences in BREAK!! might look in the mind’s eye, and the impressive visual world-building in many works can help with understanding the mysterious Outer World.
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
The general look and feel of this classic are natural inspirations for BREAK!!, but it’s fantastic cast of characters could easily make for a great party of adventurers. The heroine the film is named for inspired the spirit behind the Battle Princess Calling.
  • Berserk
While considerably darker than BREAK!! normally leans, Berserk has some fantastic battle scenes that should provide some good inspiration for Combat Stunts! Careful though, the terrible creatures that show up in the Black Swordsman arc and onwards may give the Game Master some ideas...
  • Morabito
This beautifully animated show also provides some wonderful battle sequences, but also a distinctly asian setting and a good idea of how Social Bonds between adventurers look like in play.
  • The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk/Sword of Uruk
While not terribly original, this anime provides a very good visual basis for the sort of  dungeon crawling and various character types that may show up in a campaign. There are also hidden depths to its otherwise light hearted story, which lends itself well to BREAK!!.

Other Animation

While Anime provides BREAK!! with its primary visual basis, there is plenty of other animated features that present complementary images or even alternative ones.
  • The Last Unicorn
BREAK!!’s immortal characters and creatures were directly informed by this beautifully melancholic story. Also; Molly Grue is perhaps the perfect Factotum character, even if she is missing an oversized backpack.
  • Wizards
The darker parts of this film should give you a pretty good idea of how the Shadowed Lands look. Without giving too much away, it’s also the main reason Sages are able to use small mechanical missile weapons.


Books will always be a good source of ideas of any kind, but the ones presented here contain settings or themes that resonate very closely with BREAK!!’s.
  • The Earthsea Series
A beautifully written set of books that provide good examples of how magic, social bonds and even travel might work in play.
  • The Once and Future King
The Outer World’s many beautifully flawed attempts at being an overall better place and the hope that it may all work out someday we’re mostly informed by this version of the story of King Arthur. Merlin and the other magic users in this collection were also the primary inspiration for the Sage Calling.
  • The Swords Trilogy
While nearly all of the stories of the Eternal Champion would be good reading for BREAK!!, Corum’s first set of adventures are especially so with its put upon hero, pushy gods and colorful, fractured setting.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

More on Monsters

Grey talked about monsters about a year ago - we got all worked up about them but quickly decided too cool our jets a bit until the bulk of the game was done.

Well howdy hey, the bulk of the game is done and now I'm working on the Game Master stuff, including - Monsters! (Well, if we want to be specific, "Entities" since that includes things like dungeon merchants and destined heroes along with your typical monster opponents)

Since then I've streamlined some things and expanded others. The goal is to have the entries in the book serve three purposes:

  • Be evocative and easy to use right out of the box.
  • Allow for easy tweaking for various needs
  • Provide examples for those Game Masters who want to make up their own stuff

That shouldn't be too hard, right?
Below is my working template for creatures thus far.


Purpose (A brief tagline or pitch for the Entity)


  • A bit on this Entry’s background

Menace Level

  • The Menace Level (Mook, Boss, Mega Boss or Colossus) of the Entity.


  • The Rank (0-15) of the Entity.


  • How many Allegiance Points the Entity has, if any.

Home Region/Habitat

  • The sort of places this Entity lives in and might be found.


As denoted by Rank, Equipment and certain Abilities.
  • Might [ ]
  • Deftness [ ]
  • Grit [ ]
  • Insight [ ]
  • Aura [ ]

Combat Stats

As denoted by Rank, Equipment and certain Abilities.
  • Hearts [ ]
  • Attack [ ]
  • Speed [ ]
  • Defense Rating [ ]


  • Abilities the Entity may employ.

Communication Methods

  • Languages that this Entity can speak and read, as well as any special means of communication (such as telepathy).


  • Some suggestions of how this Entity can effectively engage in conflict.


  • Gear that can be taken from this creature or Materials/Additives that can be extracted from them if slain. The latter requires a relevant Ability.


  • Indicators - Signs that this character or creature may be in an area, if any.
  • Role-Playing Notes - Notes on the personality, mannerisms and motivations of this Entity.
  • Customization - A few ways to easily tweak this Entity to fit a particular campaign or adventure.

Variants and Related Entries

  • Any existing variants of the entity featured in the entry.

Creature Map (If Applicable)

  • Colossal Creatures are so large that they are made up of Battlefield Areas. Entries describing them will also include a map of the creature, providing information on:
  • Any special considerations on moving between these Areas.
  • Various Strike and Core Points on the Creatures, and the effects of destroying or disabling the former.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

TridentCon 2016

First things first!
While I still have some lists to fill (oh boy monsters!) and a good chunk of under-the-hood type stuff to write, I can say now that all the core rules of BREAK!! are drafted. Patting myself on the back for a moment. Now then, on to that other stuff!

I'll be running a session of BREAK!! at TridentCon again this year. The summary for the adventure is as follows:

Written by Reynaldo Madrinan
Consigning a bundle of Ever-Fresh Fish to the village of Amado is a annual tradition for Portia's Paw Post, but a tragic bakery incident has put all the local couriers out of commission! Now a group of temporary Post-Persons must brave land, sea and sky to make sure a temperamental lake God doesn't miss his yearly lunch.
Characters will be generated at the table.
Some new stuff that will be tested by this Adventure:
  • Character Generation
  • Overland Travel
  • Adventure Site Travel
I'm pretty excited! I'll even be playing in a few games there to, so if you live in the USA and near the state of Maryland you should definitely check it out.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Party Position

While BREAK!! isn't super rigid about it, there is a bit of a procedure while moving through Dungeons and other Adventure Sites. Part of it is how you're moving through the place (Carefully, Quietly, or Quickly, naturally) the other is how your party is set up. Both have a small set of rules, but the latter is what's being talked about here.

So far this has worked out well - it's part of my ongoing effort to avoid "dump stats" by making the whole party benefit from haveing more than one character having a high Insight Aptitude and it also means when important stuff happens people already know where they were probably standing.

I've been writing my players most common formation on a little index card (with the scouts off to the corner) - I think actually having a seperate little party sheet with symbols for each position would be cool, but I'm working poor Grey hard enough as it is.

Party Position

While not quite as drilled or rigid as a military formation, you and your fellow adventurers likely have a sense of where you all should be while travelling somewhere dangerous. Even if you are not in the exact place suggested by your position, you are still concentrating on the task that comes with it.
  • If there are not enough party members to have a Point, Examiner and Vanguard, one person may opt to take multiple positions. Doing so means that Character has a Snag on all Insight Rolls related to their position(s).
  • Multiple party members may take up the same position once there is at least one person in the Point, Examiner and Vanguard positions.

You are at the front of the party, keeping an eye out for approaching enemies and protecting the other members from sudden danger.
  • The party may use your Insight Aptitude to detect any unknown dangers, such as an approaching ambush or hidden trap if there is no one in the Scout Position.
  • If the party sets off a trap or is faced with some similar danger (a wave of magic energy, rolling boulder, or an arrow launched from a device connected to a trip wire, to name some examples) you may forgo any chance to dodge the effect to shield the rest of the group from it.

You are in the center of the party, looking for noteworthy features or any other interesting things one might miss on a cursory glance.
  • The party uses your Insight to notice important room features such as hidden doors, gems in the eyes of a statue or magical sigils on a dungeon wall.
  • This only comes into effect if the party moves quickly through a room rather than take the time to stop and search through it.

You are in the back of the party, acting in a way similar to the Point but in reverse: You watch for ambushes and can protect the party against attacks from behind. You also have the best chance to retreat - not that you were thinking of doing that or anything.
  • The party uses your Insight to detect any dangers from behind - such as pursuing enemies or oddly oriented traps.
  • You may retreat at the start of combat or other perilous situations (assuming it originates at in the front part of the party) and avoid it entirely if you can find a place to run or hide.

You are actually a bit ahead of the rest of the party, moving quietly while looking for potential foes, traps and other perils.

  • You may opt to make your Deftness Check for stealthy movement (x.x.x) separately from the rest of the party, or even if the rest of the party is not attempting to do so.
  • The flip side is that if you are caught, you are on your own for at least one Turn ( it may be longer if the rest of the party is very far away or otherwise held back!)
  • Assuming you communicate with them via hand signals or otherwise, the party uses your Insight to detect hidden dangers, such as approaching ambushes or traps.