Sunday, 8 August 2021

Little peek at the setting section

Another "We're still at it!" post - I'm currently reviewing/revising the text and layout for the setting section and you know, I think it's looking pretty good:

Of course, these images are showing a WIP, so expect placeholders to be swapped out and edits to be made, so on and so forth...

Monday, 31 May 2021

Small Update

 Once again a few months pass and while we continue to work on things, a lot of them don't make for very good blog updates. Still, I can share some of the cool layout/art stuff Grey has sent me in the meantime.

We're making steady progress and I can't wait to post some more substantial updates!

Also in case you missed it, I was on a podcast!

Well worth listening to if you can stand my rambling.

Monday, 22 March 2021


The Unshaped are a dangerous threat, primordial beings with no defined body, they instead manifest as clusters of ideas that can take on a variety of forms at will. Their disregard for anything but their own personal goals and amusements make them very hard to reason with, to boot!

A little side bonus that comes with showing these off is that BREAK!!'s status ailments can be silly or quite scary, depending on the entity that's inflicting them!

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Murder Princess Art!

We're still working hard on the game, but hey, while' you're waiting here's some cool Murder Princess art!


Sunday, 6 December 2020

On Villains (and more art)

Monsters and baddies are some of my favorite things to come up with when writing for BREAK!! or anything, really. Thinking about how they confront the players or affect the setting itself is always fun to dream up, even if detailing it can get finicky or tedious at times. I just finished an Unshaped themed around insects and even though it's hard to know what that means outside the context of the rules, trust me when I say that I tried very hard to make it interesting and fun.

That said, I always end up thinking a lot about the assumed adversaries that seem to come hand in hand with adventure themed role-playing. For a lot of reasons I dislike when players can see a particular creature and just assume they can attack it without thought or guilt, so with the exception with a few true monsters, living spells, or what have you I do my best to avoid it.

Last entry I mentioned Adversaries and Allies, but I think really, in BREAK!! almost anything written in can be used as either, depending on the circumstances.

If an entity shows up in a BREAK!! book and isn't meant to be an easy to use archetype or single example of a much larger population or creature, expect it to have some kind of silly, sappy or maudlin nonsense on the why's and how's of its existence in the Outer World, and a way for them to end up on either side of the player's activities. Heck, it often shows up in those former examples as well!

Excluding that Unshaped I just wrote. He's just kind of a jerk.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Art, Allies & Adversaries

While there isn't much to report (we're still at it folks!) I can share some art Grey has done for two of the game's Game Master Entities; The Chosen One and the War Gruun!

Chosen Ones are individuals that have been chosen by Fate to undertake some great challenge or quest, usually claiming powerful treasures in the process. The issue here is that Fate has been twisted and bent thanks to various events in the Outer World's history, and Chosen One's quests have become mistimed or misapplied in the meantime! As a result, they can be anything from unlikely allies to dangerous enemies of the player characers!

War Gruun were created in the 2nd Aeon by the Bio-Sorcerers of Calian, meant to be unstoppable weapons employed against a massive number of ordinary soldiers. While they retain a certain gentleness that is common in all Gruun, they were made to fly into an unstoppable rage during certain conditions, whether they like it or not. 

A big hope with these - and many of the Game Master controlled entities included with BREAK!! is that there isn't a simple way to to deal with them. They aren't automatically your allies or adversaries; but they can be either. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Premature Print Test

Still with a way to go before completion, I thought I'd treat myself to test print of the progress to date.

Physical Prototype
  • Used Lulu: A5 (5.83 x 8.27 in / 148 x 210 mm), Premium Color, 80# White, Linen Wrap, Matte Cover.
  • Colors are vivid! Construction is good (though smyth sewn not an option)
  • Content is about complete (70%)
  • There are typos (no quality control yet!)

  • Feels very different looking the physical book to onscreen or individual print outs, has given me clarity on certain typographic decisions.
  • Some background greys are too light (they disappear somewhat and ruin the page structure).
  • Not sure about the super white paper, colors look great but makes ink very reflective. 
  • I didn't allow enough room for trimming, the book is very fat and more was lost than expected
  • Small light grey text doesn't print well. I knew this, but still I try!
  • Some tints lose too much saturation (will add some color tests to next proto)

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Brief Update

Just posting to let everyone follow us know that we're still at it. It's been a rough couple of months for...well, the whole world, but everyone is doing their best. A few family emergencies came up on my end but they all turned out well so I am still working on making a mini-game out of a slice of BREAK!!'s full game - exciting screen-cap below:

More proof we should all be grateful Grey is working on the main project
Hopefully we'll be able to show off more soon. Until then, stay safe everyone.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

The Battle Princesses of Beacon!

So I started working on a thing a few weeks ago:
The basic idea is it would be a little mini-game to introduce people to BREAK!! and give them a small taste of the full game. I figure having something out there is pretty good? So far I like it a lot better than the solo adventure I tried to write a bit ago.

Regardless, I'll keep everyone posted!

Friday, 10 January 2020

Wireframing page layouts

When considering a page layout I have been applying some UX (Users Experience) rigor to help reduce potential usability issues.

I ask myself a few questions to work out user stories (usage scenarios) which inform the page layout:

Who is looking at the page and why?
E.g. The GM... because the group have just stumbled on a Skelemaster! They need to know how to run that encounter?

What information is the user (GM) looking for?
1. What is a Skelemaster in a nut-shell?
2. How does the Skelemaster react to the group?
3. How do you 'roleplay' them?

4. How do you they interact with the combat/negotiation/game mechanics?
5. How does this or that ability work?

6. What do they find on the body?

What is the best way to communicate this information quickly?
What is the best way to arrange the content to address the above needs?
What do they need to know first?
What is the best visualisation of the data?

Once I'm confident about with how players will interact with the page I've been using wireframes!
A quick way to iterate layout ideas and validate if the information structure is practical/efficient.

The end result will produce a template, which can occasional result in some structural editing (chopping and changing) for a smoother experience at the table.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Reviewing the Basics - Checks and Contests

We have a lot of new followers popping up as of late, and while I feel a bit bad retreading old information I think it's probably been long enough that I can get away with it!

Lets start foundations of BREAK!!'s main mechanics.

Every character and other entity in BREAK!! has a list of values called Aptitudes. These are used to show how competent a particular entity is on one of five broad areas of expertise. The five Aptitudes are:
  • Might
  • Deftness
  • Insight
  • Grit
  • Aura
The exact values will vary greatly depending on Rank and the type of character or entity and are modified by Abilities and other factors, like Purviews and Traits. But that stuff comes up in character creation and advancement, so we don't need to discuss them much right now.

The most rudimentary system of resolution in BREAK!! are Checks and Contests.
  • Checks come up whenever an individual is attempting to do something challenging with a significant chance of failure. An appropriate Aptitude (as well as any appropriate bonuses or penalties) is selected and the challenged rolls a d20 in hopes of getting as close as possible to their Aptitude's value without going over.
  • Contests are like Checks, save for rather than testing one entity's skill, there are two or more challenging each other. Each involved Rolls as if they were making a Check, and whoever is able to roll the highest without going over is the winner. Now, this outcome can be changed by a multitude of things (who has the higher bonus, or pertinent Ability, or whose getting helped) - but again, we are just covering the basics here.
These are the foundations for a lot of other systems in the game. Most of them reference this in some capacity, while adding in new levels, steps, or strategies as appropriate.

One of the things I'd really wanted when planning BREAK!! was for resolutions that didn't need a lot of math and for players to be able to reference their character sheets (rather than needing to go back to the book a lot) during play - so starting with something simple like this and building onto it seemed like the way to go for me.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

An update and a hello!

First and foremost, I want to say Grey and I are still hard at work at this thing. We just recently re-worked a whole section to try and make the book more manageable for you all and shorter to produce - so here's hoping. We'll do our best to keep you updated on all major milestones.

Secondly, I noticed we've got a lot of new followers over our various social media accounts so wanted to put up a refresher on what BREAK!! is and what our hopes are for it.

  • BREAK!! is a tabletop RPG focused on teamwork and adventure. While it's themes are classic the game itself is built from the ground up in hopes of giving a new spin on them, as well as draw from popular influences (that the creators also happen to like)
  • BREAK!!'s standard setting is a place known as "The Outer World", a colorful land that has endured 3 Cataclysms and has settled into a strange 4th Aeon of wonder and strife. There is plenty of adventure to be had, unearthing and exploring what was lost or helping build and protect a new world.
  • We are hoping to release a rule-book that has everything you need to play and create your own campaigns and adventures with BREAK!! - so that everything that comes next is entirely optional.
If you are at all interested in the game I highly recommend skimming the blog! It's got a lot of really cool artwork (past and present) and hopefully can tide you over until the game is ready for everyone. 

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Why I wrote this thing (Also Art)

I got a random message from a friend of mine who had been looking through BREAK!! stuff that basically amounted to: "This is actually pretty cool, I've been reading this and my eyes didn't immediately glaze over". I laughed and sent a message back thanking them, saying that made me inordinately happy.

My friend has often joked about how the Ye olde aspect of most fantasy bores them (a jokey term that actually would take a lot of time to unpack and really says a great deal about tabletop rpgs and perhaps the entire genre in general) and while I know for a fact some of that's in BREAK!! enough different things are there that they had something to hold onto. That's good.

It's why I wrote the thing.

Well, one reason at least - I'm not going to say I think wrote a game that can bring all those left behind by the numerous mainstream and indie efforts that have come out over the years. First off, it's not true, secondly it would be absurd and unfair for anyone (let alone myself) to say. But I did want to write a game that I liked, that did the things I wanted, and in my heart of hearts believe that there are enough people that will enjoy it to justify the effort.

Also Grey has been posting a lot of cool art, come take a look!

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Magia the Arcane

Noodling on for setting expansion/splatbook when we shouldn't be...

  • Part of Kingdom of Shard, a loose confederacy of city-states technically loyal to impotent monarch. Each of these cities has been built around an enormous Star Shard, a fragment of the Sun Machine that provides light and warmth. 

  • Magia’s Star Shard is particularly potent, saturating the city with copious amounts of Mana. Spells and other magics are particularly effective here, though it's rumored to have some odd effects on those that live there.

  • The innermost parts of the city are cut off from the rest by a powerful magical barrier. Only those with the Magia Sigil can move freely through it. Wealthy residents have it branded on their body via ritual, but temporary amulets can be purchased for those who have brief business there.
  • Magia’s biggest draws are its college of magic and the innermost city itself, which functions as something of a haven for powerful spellcasters both noble and nefarious.
  • Pros: Sanctuary for casters in need, a vast and well staffed college, numerous repositories of information and ample opportunity for the magic and mundane alike.

  • Cons: Squabbling magicians and the various issues their struggles cause. Other issues include Arcane Pollution, Dwelling Dweomers, rather crowded with school of magic drop-outs.

Potential adventures:
    • Patrons from Magia contact the party (wherever they might be) and ask them to retrieve something and bring it back to them for a reward

    • Entanglement in the feuds and romances of prominent mages

    • Acting as substitute teachers or chaperones for the college of magic

    • Attempting to help mitigate the damage caused by a wayward arcane experiment

    • Wizard generators (includes both distinguished and disaster wizards)

    • Sanctum generator (including magical security systems)

    • New Abilities for Sages and Heretics. 
    • Immortal Calling
    • Ritual Rules

    • Magical weather / pollution (e.g mana storm) / environmental anomalies
    • New Magical diseases

      1) Splotch Thummy
      Splotch is a jealous and paranoid caster, whose more or less convinced nearly everyone is out to steal away his accumulated treasures. The thing is he’s not entirely wrong: someone is definitely gunning for his stuff.
      • Signature spell: Tricky Trapper.
      • Wants: To protect the various treasures hidden away in his sanctum.
      • Fears: That a trusted individual will betray him and catch him unawares.

      2) Platti Spellshaper
      A fearsome wizard who wishes nothing more than to assert her dominance, Platti seeks to unseat Magia’s current Overmistress and take the title for herself. Part of that plan requires the support of other powerful mages - and the disposal of ones who refuse her.
      • Signature spell: Overpowering Incantation.
      • Wants: Absolute authority over Magia.
      • Fears: Being bested by another before she can achieve her dream.

      3) Grunk
      Hailing from the Murk, Grunk is an eccentric and unpleasant mage whose manners and hygiene leave something to be desired. Conversely, he his good natured and kind, genuinely willing to extend his hand to those in need.
      • Signature spell: Gristle Berry.
      • Wants: To continue to study and teach Bloom Magic.
      • Fears: His teachings being used for wicked purposes.

      4) Pebblebeard Muddleore
      A mage who sold his body to an Unshaped for a tome of ancient knowledge. Such a deal was only possible thanks to the Cranial Preservation device he himself had devised. Unfortunately, reading a book in his current state has proven to be rather difficult.
      • Signature spell: Telekinetics.
      • Wants: An apprentice to assist him in reading his ancient tome.
      • Fears: That said apprentice will simply run off with said ancient tome.

      5) Nazen Windrunner
      This handsome wizard claims to be a refugee from ancient Akenia, having somehow preserved themselves magically during its destruction and re-emerged in this modern era. While this might be an elaborate lie, their powerful magic and knowledge of long forgotten techniques suggest they might be telling the truth.
      • Signature spell: Breeze Walk.
      • Wants: To restore the traditions of the Akenian Magic Knights.
      • Fears: Being publicly accused of being a fraud.

      6) Grammy Hexen
      A fearsome woman with a sing-songy voice, Grammy Hexen was once a story that parents would use to frighten their kids into behaving. But apparently enough believed in her that she became truly real. Now she terrorises the adults of Magia as much as the children!
      • Signature spell: Transmortify.
      • Wants: To delight herself in sadistic mischief.
      • Fears: That one day no one will fear her.

      7) Grimp Stachen
      You wouldn’t think being permanently petrified would the best thing to happen to you, but that’s how it worked out for Grimp. After being turned to stone he had all the time in the world to contemplate his many ideas and philosophies. He communicates with his assistants via his Grand Grimoire.
      • Signature spell: Grandest Grimoire.
      • Wants: Time to decipher all the mysteries of the universe.
      • Fears: Coming across a conundrum he cannot fathom or solve.

      8) Obaba
      This wise old sage traveled from a far off isle in the Twilight Meridian to conduct some grand experiment in Magia. She toils endlessly to grow and preserve a massive magical flower for purposes known only to her. No one questions it though, as she is helpful and kindly as long as one does not cross her.
      • Signature spell: Benevolent Blossom.
      • Wants: To see her plans bear fruit and make the world more prosperous.
      • Fears: That her life and actions will amount to naught.

      9) Tula Grandis
      A cosmopolitan caster of the highest order, Tula is well known for her grand galas and vibrant parties, the finest in all Magia. While many are quick to pin her as superlous, there are rumours these celebrations are for gathering mana for some forbidden ritual.
      • Signature spell: Shared Ectasy.
      • Wants: Restoring a mighty Divine Ruler to prominence.
      • Fears: Hosting a dull party.

      10) “Master”
      This self-declared grandmaster is certainly powerful, but has a very dubious list of accomplishments. The most infamous being conscripting a group of Otherworlders to try and kill his estranged son. Even now, he plans on dragging more adventurers into some cockamaime scheme...
      • Signature spell: Master’s Fiat.
      • Wants: Honestly, no one has figured that out yet.
      • Fears: The wrath of his son.

      11) Eidolon
      Once an assistant to an ancient mage, Eidolon became a grand practitioner in their own right. Now they seek to find a way to create more of their kind, knowing that otherwise the bio-mechanoids will dwindle away into nothing.
      • Signature spell: Machina Commune.
      • Wants: To secure a future for all synthetic life.
      • Fears: That those like them will vanish from the face of the Outer World forever.

      12) Goya
      This immortal was recently returned to existence via ritual. He had been aged and wise, but a hiccup returned him to this world as a child, and he’s been having a great time of it. While he still retains much of his power, he’d much rather use it for mischief than anything else.
      • Signature spell: Perfect Mimicry.
      • Wants: To spend the rest of his existence having uninterrupted fun.
      • Fears: Maturing back into his original form.

      Sunday, 21 April 2019

      Brief Update

      Hey everyone, the writer has a twitter now!

      I hope to chat more about BREAK!! there as well as interact more actively with RPG folks!

      Sunday, 31 March 2019

      Outer World AMA - Answers

      Original Post

      I'd like to know more about the tabletop rpg that Arnaldo Porras is working on

      • Arnaldo: I mean...I was working on this thing called BREACH!! but it was just a bunch of notes. Though after all this if I managed to get it anywhere with it the one thing I wouldn't do is let whatever artist worked with me on it draw a version of me in the book, that's for dang sure.
      I'd like to know which animals are the most common pets or companions and why.
      • Darla: Most people keep Purrs and Growls as pets - they are pretty common and occasionally useful around the house. Pudge Grubs are sort of popular too, though they are more commonly eaten so I wouldn't count that.
      • Challa: Rokko-Do's and Mokko-Do's are common mounts and often trusted companions. I guess Bumpo's are pretty ubiquitous too, as far as beasts of burden go. Though I'm used to the Bald Bumpo variant, being from the Blazing Garden and all.

      I'd also like to know know what trail rations ate usually comprised of, what they hunt, fish, and gather in the wild, and what common meals they most look forward to returning to after a long, hard adventure/For all: What's your favorite food?

      • Darla: As far as trail rations really depends on where you come from! Like Stahlfeld mostly has dried Figgies and Slime Jerky but various cereals and fungus are big in the Wistful Dark. I heard people in the underland eat moss sometimes.
      • Darla: My favorite meal after a long trip is actually Skitter Tail Kabob! Ol' Riggs back in my hometown of Sprocket still makes the very best ones, too.
      • Mariah: I like sweets the best! Probably Charisma Crunchies the most, but after a long trip I won't be picky.
      • Challa: Nothing beats charred Pudge Grub. That first crispy bite? Heaven!
      • Arnaldo: I haven't gotten used to the food yet. Like imagine if food had a volume button, everything here tastes like someone turned everything all the way up.

      What would Arnaldo's biggest example of 'culture shock' be after arriving from Otherworld?
      Also, what's the biggest difference between a Champion and a Battle Princess?
      • Arnaldo: A...a lot of things. So many things talk here that don't in my home world, for one.
      • Challa: As for your second question, Champions (like me) rely on their might and valor to do...well, just about everything really. I can best anyone this side of the Twilight Meridian with a sword, but I can hold my own in a public debate as well.
      • Mariah: Battle Princesses are able to use Heart Magic! I can summon my sword, or hear someone's feelings, or - well, a lot of things. I do know how to fight too, just not quite as well as someone like Challa.

      For all but Mariah (I guess Churly could answer if they want): "Would you kiss a robot?"

      • Churly Paws: Hey look, you scratch my ears, I'll do you a solid, thems the rules.
      • Darla: I mean, if the right robot came along, certainly...
      • Challa: Would I? I have already!
      • Arnaldo: I'm married so no - but apparently relationships with robots (well, bio-mechanoids at least) isn't that odd a thing here.

      For all: Why do you adventure?

      • Challa: It was either that or help run my family's backwater province in No-Folk's Land. At least this way I get some excitement.
      • Darla: Gosh, I'd love to own a shop one day! But I need the money to do that. So I guess I'm hoping for a big break.
      • Mariah: I just want to see the world and help people! That and it seems like a waste to know magic like this and not use it.
      • Arnaldo: You're not gonna believe this, but my mastery of excel spreadsheets and e-mail doesn't really wow anyone here so I don't have a lot of options.

      This one is for Challa: What was the most dangerous monster you had to fight, and what was the outcome of the battle?

      • Challa: I did battle with a terrible flying creature called a "Grim Wing" once. Some byproduct of ancient Calian Bio-Sorcery, from what I understand. My companions and I managed to trick it into crashing into a small area, where we swarmed it and were able to take it down, but not before it broke Wumble's arm and mauled one of our Mokko-Dos.

      For Arnaldo: What is your favorite part of the Outer World? Does it make all the danger and weirdness worthwhile?

      • Arnaldo: It's pretty here. Like I can't explain it, but the colors are more vibrant, the oceans and sky are the bluest blue I've ever seen. Most of the people are actually pretty nice - I guess it's something I'll value no matter what happens. That said, I really do prefer not risking my life 90% of days, thanks.

      Mariah: What are the top three things that you'd want a visitor to the Wistful Dark to be aware of?
      For anybody: what’s money like in the outer world? Is there banking or notes, or do you have to haul treasure around?

      • Mariah: Really it depends on what part of the Wistful Dark they are in, but I guess the most important thing is to bring a light if you can't see in darkness. Other than that; most brigands are still more trustworthy than the "noble" patricians and definitely don't eat any mushrooms before checking them first.
      • Darla: As for money, some towns have banks and such but it's mainly for locals. We have three levels of currency though and most trade cities can exchange them so that does make life a little easier.

      Two part question:
      1) Just because you're her Heart's Companion, does that mean you automatically like/respect Mariah? Or is it a thing where sometimes individuals like yourself have a Jafar/Iago relationship?
      2) *OOOS* *A* *WIDDLE* *COOTIE* *PIE*?

      • Churly Paws: So a Heart's Companion is made when a Battle Princess first learns Heart Magic. We are meant to be guides of sorts, so we are sort of a reflection of them, which does mean we are pretty fond of the idiots. However, our disposition and personality are based on what our Battle Princess lacks; dame sunshine here is good and trusting, so I'm kind of a suspicious jerk to balance it out. Also I'm obviously the cootie pie here, gimme a tummy scratch you mook.

      Darla, what's your favorite recipe?

      • Darla: While it's not my favorite food, I really love making reedy noodles in red-fruit sauce! It's a great way to feed lots of people and it's easy on the tummy, so you can really pack it away after a long trip and not make yourself sick.

      Arnaldo, what do goblins smell like? and did you leave anyone special behind in other world? have you got plans to go back?

      • Arnaldo: I mean...the goblins smell like everyone else here I guess? One was wearing a lot of perfume but I don't think that really counts. And my wife is probably pretty worried. Supposedly there is an old compass that can get me home but finding it has been...eventful.

      If so, is there anything in this world you would be willing to stay for?

      • Arnaldo: I guess if someone really needed me? But like, I'm just an office worker whose got some Merlin powers, I can't imagine that happening.

      Sunday, 24 March 2019

      Outer World AMA

      Grey remains hard at work on layout but I want to keep you all informed and entertained, so with at the suggestion of the BREAK!! discord server I've come up with a fun way to disperse setting lore:

      Welcome to the first Annual Outer World AMA (As Me Anything)! The below adventurers are happy to field any and all questions you may have about them, the Outer World, or anything else you can think of! 

      (Though obviously inappropriate questions will be ignored. Play mostly nice kids)

      Mariah Doeheart, Battle Princess from the Wistful Dark (And her Heart's Companion, Churly Paws)

      Darla Cookpan, Factotum from The Twilight Meridian

      Challa Goodboots, Champion from the Blazing Garden

      Arnaldo Porras, Sage(?) from the Otherworld

      Just comment below with a question and who it's directed too. Answers will be collected and posted in later journal entries!

      Saturday, 2 March 2019

      On Setting

      Since we are in one of those periods where Grey is at the layout millstone, I thought it was time for a good old fluff entry:

      A friend of mine asked me about how I wanted BREAK!!'s setting to presented. His concern was that thin line between presenting too much that it bogs down the game, and too little for it to be of much use. I'm pretty well familiar with that line admittedly, as it's one I've crossed back and forth a lot in my many, many years of running (and more recently) writing game-stuff.

      One thing to say right off the bat is that a lot of the heavy lifting for this sort of thing comes a game's art, and I've been gifted with a talented and imaginative co-creator whose not only excellent in conveying the ideas I have, but also contributes a lot of his own into the mix. I feel like if there wasn't a single word on the Outer World in the main book, it would still be a pretty tangible concept thanks to Grey's art alone.

      But there are words in the book about the Outer World. A short atlas of sorts, but also a lot that's baked into the gameable bits. The setting is revealed through character options, gear, monsters and such as much as it is explicitly stated. Part of this is because I really don't want to be boring and linger on one thing for too long (it's already a pretty big book) but also part of an overarching idea of mine.

      I say it a lot but I'm a fan of a sort of "Toy Set" style approach. Your handed the pieces of something, and a guide on how it is intended to be used. You have everything you need to run with it and make it your own - even if the direction you go in isn't something we would have ever thought of. Additional materials will try to stick to the same method. Ultimately, our goal is for BREAK!! to not to have one setting, but lots, all reflected differently by the (hopefully) many people who enjoy it.