Saturday 29 June 2024

Our very first supplement, and thoughts on playing in the moment

First things first, since the book is shipping and even in some people's hands at this very moment, we're able to announce our very first supplement - START!

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As noted it will include a tutorial/beginner style scenario with lots of ways to take it apart and customize if you're a more experienced GM who wants to give it a spin, as well as a bunch of fun new rules a brand new playable species!

For the main entry though, I wanted to talk about one of the goals I had with BREAK!!'s rules: playing in the moment.

What I mean buy this is that I wanted BREAK!! to draw players into the fiction of the world and reward that investment in it somehow. This pops up in a lot of different ways. One is how many Abilities are framed in a relatively open-ended way. While the result and fiction around these are straightforward, there is a bit of legroom in how they can be used and applied in a variety of situations. I'm a big fan of characters getting a lot of tools in their metaphorical toolbelt, rather than just growing in one specific way, so the hope here is that players pick the Abilities that appeal to them the most and then try to use them as often as possible by approaching situations from a variety of different angles.

Similarly, the risk/reward nature of Stunts is meant to encourage players to go big and flashy, but it also works best when players are paying attention to the small details of the combat they are in. 

However, I want to focus on the Contests procedure here, as it's one of the more utilized facets of BREAK!!'s system.

To put things as simply as possible (as I assume most readers of the blog have looked over the rules, and know this already) Contests are used to figure out which individuals come out on top in an exchange that isn't one trying to attack the other. These call for both sides to make a Check, and then has a list of ways to decide who won. This list seems pretty long at first, with several parts to it, but the truth is each of these are often mutually exclusive. If one side passes their check, and the other fails, that first side wins and you don't need to consult it any further. The same goes if both succeed, but one had a special success and the other didn't. Once you've got that in your head, these contests will progress pretty quickly.

What I want to point out is one of the main ways I think players will win contests: having a Bonus on the roll. While some Abilities grant these in specific situations, they are most often given when a player levies one of their Purviews or tries to use the situation at hand to their advantage. In this way, being invested in what's going on will really reward players - while bonuses seem small, they are always significant and just that bit of extra attention can mean the difference between victory or defeat.

These kind of things are why so many aspects of play are framed as a conversation between the group. Not only will the players and GM help each other with concrete things like rules and procedures, but they can also feed each other ideas, remind each other of the little background details that might help, or even make helpful suggestions. This back and forth is one of the places I have the most fun when it comes to tabletop RPGs, so it was naturally something I really wanted to focus on with BREAK!!'s rules. There is always risks here of these conversations stalling out or falling into the same patterns (BREAK!!'s Diminishing Returns rule is one way I tried to prevent that) but ultimately I believe in the fun, friendly people in our hobby enough to trust in it.


  1. I can confirm that the book has arrived yesterday and it's amazing!!! (and it was a wonderful surprise because I completely forgot about it lol)

  2. The book is amazing and I can't wait to play it! I am already looking forward to the next book from you!
    Will you be containing the freebies from the blog in here?

    1. Not *all* of the freebies, but we'll be cleaning up, expanding, and putting select ones in appropriate supplements!