Over on Google+, I asked for people to give me their questions about Break!! and boy, did they. Here's hoping my answers are adequate.
When's it going to be released?
When are you running online games of Break!
It's hard to say when there will be an actual release, but hopefully not too long. Grey and I plan on releasing bits periodically (starting with character creation) so that people can not only gauge our progress, but comment on what we already have out. I'd like to have a full game ready by this time next year, if not much sooner.
- As for running games online, I want to start doing that as soon as we have enough out for people to make their own characters. I'll be running a play test at a local con as well, so I'll probably be hitting people up on G+ in less than a few months. Please let me know if you are interested!
Sell me on it in < 5 sentences.
- Character creation is fun, gives you plenty to work with and takes less then twenty minutes or so if you're rolling. The game has very little buy in and data to keep track of, but what you have is intuitive enough that it stretches to fit whatever you need. GM prep is quick, easy and allows for a lot of personal input if desired. You can play robots, fairies and shopkeepers along with all that other stuff you're likely used to.
Are there any touchy-feely mechanics that, say, let players define scene elements, reward them for playing in character (possibly to their disadvantage), or etc.?
- The Battle/Murder Princess Calling has a good deal of rules centering on emotions, bad and good. The War Mechanoid also has some, though that one it's about choosing between mechanical systems and human like feelings as you advance, with what you select ultimately directing what happens when you hit Rank 10. There aren't really scenes in Break!! mechanically, but I encourage people to let players run wild with their origin stories, even holding off in till they think of something cool mid game.
(Contested Inquiry about playing a fat(?) guy who can break things with his crotch)
Make a Warrior with the "Girthsome" quirk, there are elective abilities that allow you to attack things unarmed without penalty as well as one that makes smashing things easier. Then you have to convince your GM that this is all going to turn out well.
How much will the tone/atmosphere of Break!! mirror your Barovania/Akenia games?
If not at all, what will it be like instead?- Many things about both Barovania and Akenia were just things characteristic of me, so certainly. Most prevalent is a mix of whimsy and horror, high adventure and lots of genre meshing. That said there are significant differences. Akenia is actually a reflection of Break!!'s Outer World, just prior to it's third Cataclysm. It's a place that was on the verge of a big fall and the players were set to stave off its doom or try and ride the resulting wave. Break!!'s world is already shattered, with those within it suffering - but also trying to rebuild. It's grimmer in some ways, but more hopeful in others. (Context for those unaware of Akenia or Barovania)
What mechanics are you most pleased with so far? How do you feel they reinforce the 'themes' of your game?
Character creation. It's a combination of the processes from Stormbringer, R. Talsorian's games and Maid. I personally think it's super fun and gets the wheels turning in under 20 minutes or so. I also like how Stunts work - the gist is that you get more out of your action by risking more from a failure.
How much have you playtested it? Any fun or goofy stories?
I've been play testing version of Break!! (It was at one point "The Wounded Sky" and "Rey D&D") for years now, but this version I gave a nice spin for about half a dozen sessions that went fairly well. My favorite bits were when a semi-deranged holy knight managed to trick a Doomblade into falling off a precipice and skipping a dangerous fight, as well as an Obake Specialist (in Avian form) convincing an enlightened Albatross to abandon it's post and assist them, on the account that his boss was a skeleton and therefore unlikely to pay him.
If I tell you that I used to sit and watch the "opening scene" of Ninja Gaiden over and over and that I played Double Dragon 2 and Battle Toads endlessly even though I could never beat any of the three...what would you say is in Break that is for me?
Well, for one you'd likely be able to actually get through an area on a jet bike, as opposed to perpetually flying into randomly placed concrete barricades.
How are you feeling about the game now that you went to con, and everyone loved your cards?
I am pretty excited for it. It just cemented things for me: no matter what happens, I just really want to make a game within my lifetime. Anything after that is just gravy. I do worry Grey's art will be far superior to anything I can create, but that just makes me want to work harder.
Will there be a book of monsters?
Will there be guidelines for creating new content (monsters, items, etc.)?
There will be a book of Monsters, as well as specific and template NPCs. There will be guidelines GMs to make all that stuff - the best thing about RPGs is user input, after all! Also, I'll probably release lots of stuff via the blog whenever I can.
How does spell casting work?What made you decide on a Light/Dark aligned magic? Where did you get the basis for it? How does it work/impact the world?
Spell Casters have access to 1-3 magical paths out of a dozen or so outlined in the main rules (with more to come in future, again via the blog and later other books) each with 3 levels of power and about 15 spells per. They may Attune a certain number of spells a day; these allow them to access a Spell's Flare ability, which is a power they can use over and over again without cost. They may also invoke it's Burst ability, which is much stronger but expends the spell in till the caster can prepare them again. There are different sorts of Casters, Focus Casters need an item or icon to use their spells, but fire them off faster. Grimiore Mages can use unattuned spell's Burst abilities, but are slower on the draw and risk a chance of spell failure. Blooded Mages can use prepared spells without any extra frills or drawbacks.
I went with Light and Dark magic because I wanted the duality theme to permeate into a lot of the game, and it gives you the feeling that your messing with stuff you shouldn't be when using it. As far as world impact goes, they can change the allegiance of the caster's using them, which spreads that sides influence. Casters who are moderately minded try to mix up their choices a bit as a result.
How fast is combat?
At a Break!!-neck pace. HA!
Seriously though, it's fast. Hearts on either end only last so long, every attack counts. The longest rounds happen when the party tries to coordinate an elaborate combo stunt, and even then it's the planning itself rather than the execution that takes time.
How do they measure time in the outer world? Seeing as night and day are geographical not temporal. Do the species have different 'clocks'?
Each region does so differently, but generally they use old world clockwork timepieces and hourglasses to tell the time. Tenebrate, Goblins and Bruun tend to go without, depending on instinct and fatigue to keep them on track.
Are there other stars in the sky? Or is it only the sun machine and fallen star shards?
The Outer World is surrounded by Primal Space, so it lacks stars or any other cosmic bodies at all. So it's just the Sun Machine and Star Shards at the moment. Killing a certain God-Monarch potentially dispels the Primal Space, which would than shunt the game world into a more normalized universe - likely to the other universe's detriment.
What makes your game stand out from the thousand and one fantasy-heartbreaker D&D knockoffs in the world, aside from the spectacular art?
Looking at the site and having minimal background in NES, I don't recognise a central conceit that sets it apart from other monster-fighting tactical games. Is there one big thing that makes it not-DnD? What's in the game for people who have not grown up on the same games and series that make up the bulk of inspiration for Break! ?
That really, really depends on what you describe as D&D. To be honest, I think doing so is a bit like grabbing water. It's clearly something, but it's always changing (depending on edition, participants) and kind of elusive. If I were hard pressed, I'd say that D&D is very focused on acquisition and advancement. The major keystones of the game, the things that make it fun and easy to understand all generally fall under those two categories.
Conversely, Break!!'s focus is more about you and your allies finding a place in a broken world. This is intentionally nebulous - it may very well be bashing in doors and taking treasure. But starting an Item shop, helping build up a town, capturing and rearing monsters and trying to make people's lives better are all things you can be doing as well. The goal is to provide a structure that's intuitive and kinetic enough that people can go and run with it.
I should have mentioned this on the web page, but there are rules for recruiting allies, building relationships and reputations and setting up economic ventures - none of which are terribly complicated, but still retain a lot of potential depth.
- The NES stuff is more about applying an aesthetic I like, as well as intentionally utilizing what was inadvertent in the source; a sense of freedom, tenseness and brilliant absurdity. You don't need to know any of it, really - but it does make some stuff more fun.
How does play change as characters advance?
That sort of ties into the above; nothing is mandated in the first 10 ranks. You certainly get better, but you can rule a domain whenever you manage to get one, start a business if you have the money, or crawl around in tombs when you don't. Generally you get abilities that broaden your character quite a bit, so I suppose some things that aren't possible initially become far more likely as you gain abilities.
There are going to be rules for epic paths and stuff; one that lets you start learning a new Calling, one that lets you become a Master of one you're already in, and a third that allows you to become an Asura or a Deva. Any of these would likely seriously change gameplay.
How modular are races/classes? (I see, a race has these three components, I can mix n match for a custom race, or fill in those blanks for a new one...)
I made pieces pretty obvious so that people can snap things together on their own without much problem. You could likely make a whole different game by throwing all the Species Traits in a pile and let people pick from them. Species can be of any Calling, with a few exceptions (Fairies and War Mechanoids for example, encompass a species AND a calling, and are exempt)
Are there demon-possessed revolvers?
Well sure, there is even a ritual for turning Asura or Devas into various sorts of items.
Is play adjustable to different genres? (Horror?)
To an extent. Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy and so forth are always present, and you could likely tone down any and all of them by restricting callings or adjusting the Injury/Death table. That said, some elements of certain genres just aren't present - the helpless feeling that benefits horror stuff just doesn't exist in a game where you can kill a rampaging God if you and your (very powerful) friends work together.
Is multiclassing allowed? If so, how does it work? Do you have a red mage equivalent?
Sort of. As mentioned before, you can enter a new Calling once you reach Rank 10 in your starting one. The Battle Caster is a combination Cleric/Red Mage/Eldritch Knight, depending on the path of magic you pick and your method of casting it.
How hard do you think it's gonna be to FLAILSNAILS?
Easy for me. For someone else, it really would depend on how willing they were to roll with some stuff. That said, some stuff lines up well - Break Character's stats (Aptitudes) line up OK with D&D saving throws, and you could likely convert Hearts into HP and vice versa without too much work. It's gonna be a bit clunky one way or another.
What are the magic items like? Are they tactics-changing, or world-breaking, or straight-up useful?
All of the above. You've got a Dagger that's always there when you need it, flying battle ships that can fly through primal space with the right magitech engine and a sword that can slice right through a god.
- Most of them are picky though, only usable by people with certain Allegiances, experience totals or tolerance for five hour story parties.