Help SAVE in it's fight against the Unknown. Just click on the clink below and you too can wear the Indalo with pride!
Yes it's been forever and a day since the last update. With all of the action taking place on the Yahoo Group, this blog has been sorely neglected.
News wise, we're nearing the end of the mechanics phase of playtesting, and things are shaping up nicely. If you're still interested in playtesting, we're no longer requiring NDA's so go ahead and send me an email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Cross posted from the chillrog.com site)
Manodog, one of the playtesters on the Yahoo Group (http://games.groups.yahoo.com/subscribe/owcchillrpg) will be running playtest sessions at Shadowcon (http://www.shadowcon.org/) January 7 & 8, 2005. If you're interested, keep Saturday night free. There's room for 10 players, with 2 alternates.
For more information, email me at email@example.com
Today's teaser includes a little information on what The Art is, as well as the new writeup for Sphere of Protection.:
Foremost among the Disciplines practiced by SAVE envoys is "the Art," a form of communion with and control over the energies of the Unknown. Just as the power of the Unknown seeps into our world and takes hold of imagination to form horrors that terrorize humanity, so too can sufficiently strong-willed humans pit their consciousness against those energies and mold them into desired ends.
The Art is sometimes considered "magical," though in truth it is merely another tool, like any form of science. The Unknown does not obey the physical laws of the mundane world, but it can sometimes be forced to obey other laws. By learning these rules and practicing their exercise, an envoy learns to exert powers of the Art.
Disciplines of the Art are, for the sake of categorization, broken into four schools: Communicative, Incorporeal, Protective, and Restorative. Each school covers a set of invocations and characters may draw upon the energies of these disciplines. There is another side to the Art however, other disciplines that are collectively know as the “Evil Way”. These comprise a series of powers that only those who have given themselves to the Unknown may use.
The Art may sometimes bring a person closer to understanding the mysterious Unknown and its workings. However, the Art is neither magic nor magical in nature. It is as bound to its own physical laws as any natural or physical science, harnessing various forms of energy from the Unknown and making the user a sort of conductor for transmitting these energies into the Known world.
Sphere of Protection
Cost: 2d10 WPR/use
Roll Required: G
Area: 10’, 15’ or 20’ radius
This Discipline allows a character to raise an invisible sphere of power, which protects all characters and animals within it from all creatures and any form of attack. The sphere deflects all missile weapons. Opponents can’t shoot in, but protected characters can shoot out. On the other hand, characters must step outside the protected area in order to make melee attacks against any being outside the sphere.
The sphere has a 10-, 15-, or 20-foot radius and extends in all directions from a character’s midriff, including down into the ground. Not only does the sphere keep out any Horror’s attack, no Horror can enter the sphere. Any Horror within range is caught inside, and must try to leave at once during its next action. Creatures unable to leave the sphere move as far away as possible from the character and are unable to defend themselves as long as the Discipline is in effect. In that time, every attack upon such creatures gets an automatic Critical result, so characters can beat, stab, and hack as they please, with no dice rolls required.
In addition to protecting those within it from all forms of attack, the sphere will even cancel the effects of any Disciplines already operating within its radius.
For example: If a room has been darkened by a Horror using the Evil Way Discipline called Darken, characters within a Sphere of Protection still enjoy normal illumination within the sphere for as long as the sphere lasts. When the sphere expires, they again suffer the effects of the Darken Discipline.
The sphere halts the effects of some Disciplines on a temporary basis only, especially Disciplines with ongoing effects. When the sphere expires, the effects of such Disciplines continue.
For example: Characters who are affected by the Influence Discipline enjoy a few seconds of lucid thought while within the sphere, but the sphere doesn’t break the Influence, it just puts it “on hold” for awhile. Similarly, victims of the Evil Way Discipline Fleshcrawl won’t change in appearance as long as they are within a sphere. However, as soon as the sphere is lifted, the Fleshcrawl effects continue, resuming where they left off.
Player characters should be aware that that this Discipline only lasts for a couple of rounds. Sustaining it longer than that requires a new roll for success.
At the base level, a character’s Sphere has a 10-foot radius and lasts for 1 round.
At the Student level, a character’s sphere has a 15-foot radius and lasts for 1 round.
At the Teacher level, a character’s sphere has a 20-foot radius and lasts for 2 rounds.
At the Master level, a character’s sphere has a 20-foot radius and lasts for 5 rounds.
One of the changes we're contemplating for CHILL:Into the Unknown is an update to the basic die mechanic. Currently we're testing a Higher is Better (HIB) percentile (d100%) method. The playtest document explains it thusly:
Higher is Better: In nearly every instance, a higher roll means more success or stronger results. Be careful, though, because rolling too high can "bust," just like in blackjack: Roll too high and you'll go over. You want a trade-off between rolling low enough to succeed, and high enough to succeed well. When you're counting up your envoy's traits, higher is also better: a high Strength score is more effective than a low Strength score.As can be expected, this has generated a lot of discussions.
Taking Action: Once your envoy enters a mystery, he'll use his skills and edges to take the fight to the Unknown. Using skills isn't a certain process, though, and fighting Horrors is especially risky. It's all too possible to suffer some failure or setback in the course of the mystery.
When your envoy takes action, you roll percentile dice. Check this against the trait + skill total for the skill you're using. You want to roll high; the higher you roll, the better you do. But, if you roll over your trait + skill, you go bust—you fail in your task. For example, if your envoy has a trait + skill total of 85%, you want to roll as high as possible up to 85%. If you roll low, you succeed in the task, but a roll of 80% succeeds better than a roll of 5%. If you roll over 85%, then your envoy “busts,” and fails in the task. If you roll doubles, like 44% (good) or 88% (bad), you gain a dramatic result, and your envoy may gain some special benefit (or problem!) in addition to succeeding (or failing).
Since not everyone reading this is in the playtest (and why aren't you? :> more info at http://www.chillrpg.com) I've decided to post it here ito give people a taste of where we're going. Please understand that we're not 100% settled on a die mechanic.
Share any and all thoughts you have.
Yeah, it's been forever since this has been updated. We need to change that.
Playtesting continues and we're slowly getting to where we want the rules to be. Right now we have basic character creation, the dice mechanic, combat, and part of the Art. I'm hoping to get the rest of the Art posted, and more of character creation by this weekend.
If you're still interested in playtesting, visit http://www.chillrpg.com for instructions on how.
We finished up some more playtesting last night and afterwards decided to scrap the basic system we'd been playing with. The math involved was getting too crazy and everyone decided that the less math the better.
We threw around some ideas about what we want the system to do and should have something new by early next week. We'll start playtesting than and if all goes well we'll move to a more open playtesting.
However, we're pretty happy with character creation and everyone loves the lack of hitpoints. Slowly but surely we're getting to where we want to be.
Happy New Year,
We'll be running Chill playtest games in the Open Gaming area at GenCon SoCal this coming weekend. We don't have exact times yet, but we will be doing games at least Friday and Saturday.
We'll be showing off the new system with pregenerated characters and an adventure written by award winning industry veteran John Wick.
Stay tuned for more information tomorrow and Thursday.
A Little Four-Letter Word
by John Wick
Just recently, a new friend of mine acquired an old friend of mine. Someone I haven’t seen in a very long time. What’s more, this new friend invited my old friend and me to hook up, have some dinner, spend some time together. The fruits of this meeting will be dark as wine, just as sweet, and – I hope – just as intoxicating.
See, this new friend of mine is Hyrum Savage, and the old friend is CHILL.
For me, helping to develop this third edition of CHILL is coming full circle. Way back in my college days, I ran two games: CTHULHU and CHAMPIONS. I didn’t like all the hack fantasy games spinning around, wasn’t really interested in the spy games, and I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm in my friends for TRAVELLER – and they are all poorer for it, let me assure you.
So, there I was, walking through my little game store in Dinkytown (that’s in the center of the University of Minnesota – a great and mighty game store called “The Source”), seeing that yellow box with the Victorian gentleman on the cover, standing in front of the mausoleum, looking over his shoulder while a huge shadow moved across his back.
There were words on the cover, but the biggest and boldest was a little word that caught my imagination.
“CHILL,” it said.
I shelled out my hard-earned cash and took that box home, ripping open the plastic, throwing off the cover, reading through the pages, checking out the game system… but something caught me off guard. Something… hit me. Something… I wasn’t expecting. And I was changed forever. Scarred. Marked. Nothing would ever be the same for me. Again, it was a little four-letter word that caught me, held me by the collar, and kept my attention.
“SAVE,” it said.
See, in CHILL, players take on the roles of envoys from a secret society devoted to thwarting “the Unknown,” the source of all supernatural evil in the world. SAVE envoys battle with intelligence, daring, and more than a little luck, for the Horrors of the Unknown are awful and terrible. When I read what they were capable of, I gasped. My players begged me to fight a vampire. I quietly shook my head, looking at the stats. There was no way they’d survive an encounter with a vampire. So, instead, I hit them with a ghoul.
It nearly killed them. A frickin’ ghoul!
But they had a blast and we continued playing. See, unlike CTHULHU, there’s a reason for the group to stick together after the adventure. There’s a reason for them to go on, to keep fighting the good fight, to maintain their strength and sanity against the awfulness that awaits them. A little four-lettered word.
SAVE provided me with a reason to keep the party together, and if someone did get mauled, maimed, or driven insane, SAVE provided me an excuse to allow another character back into the game. The party takes a hit, and SAVE sends a replacement. It was beautiful. In essence, it showed me there was a way – an in-game, in-character way – to give the characters a reason to be together. They didn’t need the invisible, awkward and sometimes infuriating “PC umbilical cord” to keep them together. I didn’t need to find unwieldy and spurious justifications to introduce a new character to the group. SAVE did it for me.
But SAVE did something else, too. It showed me something no other RPG ever showed me. Gave me a powerful clue for my future as a game designer, something I’ve used in all my games.
SAVE gave the players something to believe in.
The players weren’t killing ghouls and goblins for treasure and glory. They were doing it to protect the unwary from the claws and talons of the Unknown. There was no other reward. The vampire didn’t have treasure in its coffin, the werewolf didn’t have magic items in its cave, the golem didn’t have a gem stuck in its stomach. No. It was doing right for the purpose of doing right. That’s all.
And they loved it. They played like they had never played before. All because of a little four-letter word.
CHILL taught me a lot about being a game master. Ahem – CHILL MASTER. It taught me that players can be motivated by something other than the lure of riches. It taught me that bending and breaking the rules can make the game more scary (and thus, fun). It taught me that players really only become attached to their characters when their characters become attached to something. My players believed in SAVE. Believed in its cause, believed in its followers.
All because of a little four-letter word, my players and I learned the meaning of another one. Perhaps the most important word in the English language. In any language.
* * *
For the next few weeks and months, we'll be talking about our adventures in the world of CHILL and SAVE, talking about the choices we make, how we convert the old editions into a brand new rule set, and what we do with SAVE.
I'm more excited about this project than any project I've worked on in a while -- both inside and outside the game industry. Like I said, this is like coming full circle. Back to the beginning.
So, next Episode, we'll start at the beginning, with Charles O'Boylan, Sir Henry Boulton, and Richard Arthur (Lord Strange). After all, those three men are the reason we're all here.
Looks like we're just about ready to kick this place off. Your resident bloggers will be Dave and myself (Hyrum), plus some guest bloggers from time to time. Feel free to comment on whatever you want, that's part of the reason we're doing this.
Test, test, test.