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.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Materials and Additives

I'm nose deep in GM stuff so I thought I'd post something fun here.

One of my goals with BREAK!! was to make it so that actual pre-made magical and technological items (Relics) would actually be rare and powerful. Something that a Game Master could introduce into the game because they wanted that extra panache, but also something they could omit and not have the game suffer too much for it.

This is why Crafting was made to be as simple as possible. It should be easy for players to interact with so; 

  1. All the odd stuff they find can be put to good use and have some sort of tangible value.
  2. Make it so that lesser, "+1 Sword" style magic items were still kind of fun because players would be the ones putting them together.
Crafting entails taking a Magical Material, crafting into an item of your choice, and using Additives to give it special Abilities. Also some rolls and such are involved but you can wait until you have your hands on the rules for that.

Materials are just that. As is true of most of BREAK!!, common sense rules apply when it comes to the [type] - You can certainly make a weapon out of metal, and maybe even timber, but not usually out of a consumable. 

A solid consumable can be used to make an enchanted pastry, but not a fizzy potion.

Oh yeah, all materials have a small special effect attached to them because I think it's fun.

Shade Iron [metal]
An inky-black metal created when crude iron is left to rust in an Asura’s blood. Its malevolent origin grants it an oppressive aura.
  • Items made from Shade Iron will howl and groan in an unearthly manner while in motion. These sounds are as quiet as a whisper or loud as a shout depending on the desires of the bearer

Shadough [solid consumable]
A hearty and buttery dough crafted from cereals that grow in the Deep Shadowlands. The fact that it does not spoil makes it invaluable among Shadowland nomads.

  • Items made from Shadough do not need to be carefully packed. They remain at room temperature and will not accumulate filth regardless of how they are stored.

Additives don't follow the same rules.
Each one can grant certain types of Abilities if used during crafting - not every kind of item can have every type of Ability attached. For example, using a Gale Element Gem to make a Sword will give you a sword that can do Gale damage, whereas a suit of armor would instead gain protection from the same sort of damage.

Trapped Song

These small glass baubles are actually the crystallized voices of the merpeople lost in the Shadowed Sea. While usually in the possession of the fearsome Sea Witches, sometimes these treasures bob to the surface for lucky sailors and fishermen to discover.

  • Glamour: The bearer of the Item gains an appropriately lovely and melodious voice that compliments their attempts at discourse and performance, and has an edge on all Checks during the Negotiation procedure that allow for speaking.
Element Gem
Small, precious stones that form in areas of high elemental activity or affinity. These jewels course with a powerful energy, and can transfer this power to items they are incorporated into during Crafting.
  • Attack Ability: The item may do damage of the associated element (Flame, Shock, Frost or Gale) instead of normal damage.
  • Defense Ability: The bearer of the item takes one Heart less damage from any attack or offensive ability of the associated element (Flame, Shock, Frost or Gale).

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Setting Material

I've been plugging away at setting info for the Outer World for a few days now. Fluffy flavor stuff is a good way for me to sort of stretch mentally, so I thought it would be a good thing to do right before diving headlong in the the GM section of the game.

So I recently posted on G+ concerning ideas for a setting timeline - and response was less positive than I'd hoped for. Most people simply do not want to take a lot of time to pour through extensive info of any kind. Not that I'm bitter: I am really glad that I can use the input now instead of pouring anymore time into it.

So I've gone a different route with it. Instead of longer timeline with specific dates, each of the four Aeons is covered thusly;

3rd Aeon: The Age of Three Empires

With the monarchs of antiquity vanquished and driven away, mortals rise to unopposed prominence. Many nations are born, but a clear triumvirate emerges; a bright and shining kingdom, a realm bathed in shadow, and a country of iron and gears. These empires become both the hope and terror of the age, inventing, warring and ever-growing.

The Hero of the 1st Aeon captures the sun and declares war on the triumvirate. The empires join forces and the resulting conflict wounds the Hero, breaks the sun and slays the world's oldest dragon. The empires save their people, but are ruined in the process.

Hopefully enough to stimulate the imagination and grant tangibility to the Outer World's history, but not enough to strangle interest and creativity. I am taking the same route with write-ups on locations in the current, 4th Aeon.

The Shadowed Lands

There is no law or order in this haunting landscape of tundra and fungal forests. The nomads of the Shadowed Lands must unceasingly contend with the restless dead, raiders and overzealous crusaders from Shard that work to shatter what little piece they can build.

Adventures in the Shadowed Lands might include protecting nomad caravans, battling powerful undead creatures, and scouring forgotten places for anything of value.

Notable Sites

  • Lekia, The City of Old Sins
  • Phantom Frost Fortress
  • The White Moth Opera House

The idea is to give a brief summary of an area, as well as a few tidbits to give some ideas to an eager GM.

Of course, these will likely be more fleshed out in modules down the road, but I like for the main book to give possibilities as opposed to definitive - these sorts of things should be adaptable to a multitude of tones and styles, after all.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Actually, about Gencon....

Thanks to some recent car troubles (and the expenses that have come from them) my wife and I won't be able to make it to Gencon this year, meaning the BREAK!! game there is cancelled.

While disappointing, I'll try to use this to redouble my efforts in completing BREAK!!, rather than moping. Also it should get me to post here too - I don't want this downer entry to be the top one for too long, after all.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Take a BREAK!! with Contessa

I have been bad at keeping up, but here is a small update - my dear wife Annah will be running a BREAK!! adventure at GenCon. She'll be doing so at the Contessa event there.

I feel bad for not mentioning it before (they already sold all the tickets for game!) but I hadn't realized the events had popped up. I'll admit I'm a little nervous about the whole thing but I am also very, very proud to say that the very first BREAK!! game not run by me will be held in such a manner.

If you are there this year, and you can't catch Annah running the game, you'll probably find me nearby pacing around and feeling too anxious to peak in myself.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Experience Points

(An Excerpt from the Character Advancement Section.)

Experience Points

  • There are two categories of Experience Points that may be awarded;
  • Effort Experience is granted the end of each session. The type earned is dependent on how you approached the trials and perils you came across.
  • Everyone in the party receives the same amount of Effort Experience, though they may not all earn the same type!
  • Objective Experience is earned when your party accomplishes a specific goal or acquires something extraordinarily valuable.
  • All experience points are valued equally for advancing in Rank.

GM TIP: The methods for rewarding Experience Points are discussed more thoroughly in the Game Master’s section.

Effort Experience Points

  • You gain a single point of Effort Experience for each hour you spend playing a session of BREAK!!.
  • You may earn more than one type of Effort Experience based on how varied your role-playing and problem solving was during the adventure.


These points are awarded for sessions that you confronted obstacles with force, combat, or intimidation.


These points are awarded for sessions that you avoided trouble via trickery, stealth or deceit.


These points are awarded for sessions where you demonstrated sound reason, skill or cleverness.


These points are awarded for sessions where you solved problems through diplomacy or demonstrated great courage or empathy.

Objective Experience Points

  • Every member of your party will be awarded an Objective Experience point at the end of sessions where the requirements for one of the Objective Experience types is fulfilled.
  • Multiple Objective Experience Points may be awarded for particularly successful sessions.
  • Always remember that these things must be gained through effort, not luck! Stumbling on a great hoard of treasure won’t earn you a Crystal Point, but slaying or tricking a dangerous monster to claim that same treasure would.


Points in this category are received when the party manages to acquire something of significant value through deliberate action or planning on their part. This doesn’t have to be material wealth; a well guarded secret, rights to a choice piece of land or a deal with a powerful Guild Leader are a few examples of things that could net a point of Crystal Experience.


Star Experience is earned through great deeds that affect something larger than the party itself. These are feats that make people talk and find their way into ballads: finding a safe haven for a group of Shadowed Land Nomads, overthrowing the ruler of a kingdom, or publically thwarting the efforts of some terrible enemy could earn a point of Star Experience.


Shadow Points are earned when the party accomplishes something personally significant or secretive. Returning a lost child to their worried caretakers, getting revenge on the person that killed a character’s parents or following a secretive scheme to fruition are all things that might net a point of Shadow Experience.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Honest Descriptions of the Outer World, Part Three: The Twilight Meridian

Part Two, The Blazing Garden

Part Three: The Twilight Meridian
Sail from the land of the rising sun to the land of the setting sun without missing a beat.

The Seven Sacred Isles
Chanbara Film Japan and Ninja Anime Japan fight to a Lotus Juice soundtrack.

Galvanus Archipelago
Crazy competitive trade empires in the Pacific with a lot of JRPG and Pirates of Dark Water stuff happening too. 

Night Haven 
Dark Stalkers and Revolutionary Girl Utena brainstorming a Castlevania map.

The Sunken Isles
An excuse for crazy high-tech underwater dungeons.

A lot like NieR, but with a lot of debris from 80's Sci-Fi Anime and Megaman games.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Honest Descriptions of the Outer World, Part Two: The Blazing Garden

Part One, The Wistful Dark

Part Two: The Blazing Garden
It's always sunny in the Blazing Garden (no, seriously).

Breath of Fire 4 with a little Jack Kirby and African mythology land.

The Alliance of Sol
Mesoamerican Hyrule: "What if Link got really tired of everyone's nonsense and was getting bad advice from Lady Mum-Ra?"

Thunda Sands
Thundaar the Barbarian and Wild Arms shenanigans with the occasional Kaijuu.

No-Folk Lands
Harvest Moon in an absurdly dangerous wilderness.

The Pride Coast
The Thunder Cats crash landed on Muskehound territory, displaced them a bit and everyone is still a bit sore about it.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Honest Descriptions of the Outer World, Part One: The Wistful Dark

So in the book proper, the areas of the Outer World are first touched upon (during character creation) and later expanded in a dedicated section on setting.

Grey posted the map WIP and I was tempted to post snippets of that here, but I decided that the blog needed something unique to itself.

So I give you something a bit more blunt, more visceral: Honest Descriptions of The Outer World
(AKA Perpetual JRPG Plotonia)

Part One: The Wistful Dark
Literally stuck in the Dark Ages

Secret of Mana stretched over the Holy Roman Empire built on top of the ruins of Final Fantasy Camelot

The Murk
Zelda Fairies and weird monsters from Ghibli Movies in one spot with a lot of trees

The Shadowed Lands
Everyone here is stuck in the scary parts of Berserk and Wizards

Disturbing parts from children's animated films, the island

Proudly fighting awful monsters with quietly bad ideas and black spiky armor)

The Hollow Queen's Kingdom
Yoshitako Amano draws Cannibal Corpse Album Covers and probably weeps a bit land

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Map of Outer World

So Rey provided a sketch of Outer World.
I thought it would be fun to base the land masses on a broken up supercontinent (like Pangea)
Used a hexagon, fractured and jigged so details didn't fall on the page fold.
Still lots to finesse on the last stage (make more naturalist, add cartographic details, etc)