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.