Archive for the 'Super Suit' Category

[Simon’s Quest] Super Suit: The Landing Site

June 6, 2011

Hey Simon! Here’s the landing site map that I whipped up. I may end up drawing most of the maps digitally, but I wanted to at least sketch out the first one by hand.

Off to the bottom left, off of the map, is the dusty landing strip where your ship touched and you rolled forward to rest at the base of this mesa that shelters the Camp II dig site. We didn’t talk about your ship yet, so I didn’t draw it on the map. You wanna tell me about that first and then we’ll get to exploring the landing site?

[Simon’s Quest] Super Suit: Post-Daydreaming

June 5, 2011

Hi Simon! So this isn’t in the rules yet, but this is what I’m going to suggest we do now.

All that stuff you rolled up? It doesn’t matter now. That stuff served to get us on the same page and inspire our daydreams about the game. From here on out, we don’t look at it anymore, okay? That was just the initial brainstorming, not anything that’s set in stone in the fiction. If some of it caught our imagination, we remember it (without looking back!), and we want to preserve it, that’s great. But the stuff that we don’t remember anymore obviously wasn’t that critical in the first place. And we’re free to invent whatever new details we like to paper over any holes that exist.

BUT! From now on, everything (well, most everything) we say happens in the game, just like that.

Now, having generated some material and daydreamed about it, let’s nail down the premise (in the normal English sense) of the game by doing this:

1. First, you tell me about Joney: who she is and what’s her deal. We don’t need a lot of detail, just the kind of stuff that would show up as scrolling text in the beginning of one of these games.

2. Then, I tell you about this alien world and illustrate a map of Joney’s landing site.

3. Next, you tell me why you’re on this planet (your mission) and what your super suit looks like when you step out of your ship.

4. Finally, you walk me through Joney’s initial recon of her landing site and I tell you what signs (clues) she finds there, before she heads deeper in.

How’s that?

[Simon’s Quest] Super Suit: Press Start

June 3, 2011

Simon Carryer and I are going to try out playing a 2-player version of Super Suit right here on this blog. He’s going to play the protagonist and I’m going to be the alien world plagued by the deep horrors.

Hi Simon! Here’s the first few pages of rules as they currently stand. They ask you to randomly roll or pick options off various lists, filling in the details about your character, her background, her mission, the planet she’s on, and the deep horrors. Here’s my thoughts on rolling vs. choosing, which haven’t yet been included in the rules yet (but probably will). When one of the options calls out to you or especially excites you, pick it. When you like a number of different options, have questions about them, or aren’t sure, roll the dice. These basic suggestions will apply throughout the game, I think.

So follow these instructions, maybe one 2-page spread at a time, and let me know what you’re thinking in the comments, plus whether you’ve rolled your options or picked them. Even though I’m playing the planet full of horrors, I’m going to be opinionated and offer suggestions, especially on the stuff that I’m going to be responsible for (like the planet and horrors, but also your mission), because I feel like there should be some give-and-take in this stuff when playing 2-player (even though, yeah, that isn’t suggested by the current rules either). So also let me know where you’re unsure or flexible with your choices and where you’re more certain.

There’s a working example of the intro stuff at the end of this batch of pages, in case that helps.

Super Suit: More Fun Tables

May 11, 2011

Brave New World: Roll or pick what strange type of planet you’ve landed on. If you end up going to another planet, come back and roll or pick again.

  1. a world left abandoned due to an accident, plague, or other mysterious disaster
  2. a strangely undiscovered planetoid, not on any maps, perhaps cloaked, obscured, or kept secret
  3. a cluster of rocks, asteroids, space debris, wreckage, strewn all about in a planet-sized area
  4. a comet, meteor, rogue moon, or other thing drifting or hurtling through space
  5. a gaseous or liquid planet, with some more solid elements for landing ships on
  6. a binary pairs of worlds, orbiting each other, each markedly different

Hostile Terrain: Roll or pick the terrain at your initial landing site. When you enter a new area, feel free to roll or pick another type of terrain, either replacing your original type or intermixing with it.

  1. caverns (natural or alien/horror/human-made)
  2. facility (military, research, industrial, science)
  3. ruins (temples, tombs, monuments, lost cities)
  4. vessel (ship, space station, in space, landed, or crashed, inhabited or apparently empty)
  5. landscape (jungle, desert, fungal forest, underwater, lava tubes, icy crags, utter darkness)
  6. urban (make-shift colony, factory complex, megacorp spacescraper, the sprawl)

Initial Clues: Roll or pick any number of initial clues about your mission that you stumble upon in your landing site. When you acquire additional clues, come back and roll or pick from these.

  1. traces of someone or something you’re looking for, whether it’s a person, object, enemy, way off the planet, etc.
  2. signs of the deep horrors and their origin (what got broken, how it got broke, who’s responsible)
  3. a distress signal or cry for help
  4. something from your own past, triggering memories which you may or may not fully understand
  5. hints at a larger mystery (what’s this doing here? what was being done here? how was this accomplished? who did this?)
  6. you are sent (or your ship or suit automatically displays) secrets orders or additional information from a higher authority

Super Suit: The Deep Horrors

May 10, 2011

Human existence is full of horrors, large and small. The deep horrors are different. They come from out of space to devour and corrupt because there is something fundamentally broken, something that gives rise to their abomination.

Roll twice or pick what’s broken:

  1. Death: The gates holding back the souls of the departed have been smashed. Where the deep horrors hold fast, the graves give up their dead, ghosts and ghouls roam free, and the dead feed on the living.
  2. Science: Mankind’s ambitions have transgressed beyond the boundaries of their ability. Their vat-grown experiments rebel against them, their monsters and mutants, their cyborgs and robots, their plague-ridden test subjects stretch out their cold fingers for human throats.
  3. Nature: The deep horrors are a mockery of the natural world, but of those aspects most alien to humanity: insects, plants, deep ocean dwellers, or simple organisms. They grow unchecked and fertile, like algae, like coral, like a nest of eggs about to hatch. They are full of legs and teeth, but have only blind sightless eyes.
  4. The Dark Mirror: On the other side there is a world like ours but twisted and cloaked in shadow. But the mirror is now broken and its nightmares have broken through into ours, taking our places, carrying out a carefully orchestrated plan, leading us all to ruin.
  5. History: The deep horrors hail from the distant past or far future, way beyond human reckoning. They dwell in ancient ruins where technology is advanced beyond magic. They seize this broken history and turn it inward upon itself until everything is predestined to spiral towards doom.
  6. Love: The normal bonds of kindness, nurturing, and loyalty have been broken, most likely by mankind. Mothers and children abandon each other. Creators betray their creations or leave them alone to face a cruel world.

When you beat a terror lord and enter a new region of the planet, you can choose to cross out one of the things you’ve rolled here and roll or pick another one. The brokenness has taken on new forms.

Super Suit: Another Cover Attempt

May 8, 2011

Super Suit: Fixing XP and Difficulty

February 8, 2011

While walking the dog this morning, I figured out how to fix the part of Super Suit that still vex me.

First, there’s no XP to spend or list of different “events” (upgrades, bosses, etc.) that you have to trigger in order. Instead, there’s just a list of things that can happen, like the MC moves in Apocalypse World.

Stuff like:
– You find a missile upgrade.
– You reach the boss chamber.
– You find an elevator, taking you deeper.

After all, the whole point of the game, really, is to use your creativity to create a really badass Metroid-style map and explore it, with the game providing enough structure to help you do that. So, basically, when you create the next room, you should just pick (or randomly roll) options off a list that make sense based on the pacing you have in mind. If you want things to get harder, then make them harder. If you think the boss should come up soon, then decide to have it come up soon.

The other thing is that the player should stop and generate the horrors’ stats by using her “foe tracker” or “xenographic analyzer” or something. So when you generate a horror, you add it to the database of enemies that you gradually build up over the course of the game. You can then choose to add another copy of a previously encountered horror to the map, rather that generating new ones each time. And it gives some logic to the idea that you stop and think about the horror before fighting it, since you’re recording its data in your log. And when you stop to generate the enemy, you can decide how difficult you want to make it, based on pacing decisions.

Perhaps, over time, it’ll become clear what the best pacing and difficulty practices are, but it’s really hard to know what they’ll be without me and some other players playing the game extensively, just based on our own “internal clocks” about what should come next. Then, perhaps we can distill those best practices into rules or XP or whatever, but that’s not really necessary for the alpha draft.

Super Suit: Suit Upgrade!

January 31, 2011

A while back I contacted 8-bit artist extraordinaire Francisco “Metaru” Cifuentes about doing a cover image for Super Suit, so I wouldn’t have any copyright trouble due to the pixelated Samus image that I’m currently using. He had a few other projects going on and couldn’t get to it right away, but he just sent me this badass suit illustration. I’m going to have to readjust the title bar and cover layout slightly, but, man, I really dig Francisco’s super suit. Nice!

Super Suit: Spreads 6-10

January 16, 2011

Man, this game and its layout keeps pouring out of me. It’s really too bad I have other things to do on this three-day weekend, or I could have a completely finished alpha draft done by Tuesday. As it is, it’s going to be very functional pretty soon, just without fully developed examples.

Super Suit: Spreads 1-5

January 16, 2011

I’m having so much fun doing layout for this game that I had to share, and will try to keep updating this as I go. Hopefully, I’ll have a revised and mostly finished PDF (aside from the colored-and-lettered example pages) by the end of this 3-day weekend.

Super Suit: Pretty Version Cover 2

January 14, 2011

As the game shapes up, I’ve started working on the pretty layout some more, since I told Graham I’d have simple Kinkos copies ready for Conception on Jan 26th. Here’s the cover, based on the custom 5×7″ chipboard-covered booklets that I want to eventually get Pinball Publishing to print:

Super Suit: Actual Play 1

January 14, 2011

I know Jamie’s already starting to play Super Suit and both John and Sage indicated some interest, so here’s a step-by-step example of play for the first 4 cards of the campaign I’m currently playing. I’m writing and learning how to play the game as I go, so hopefully folks can use this example to avoid some of the mistakes that I made early on. But on to the actual play:


I begin, as the rules say, by imagining Joney exploring the landing site and surrounding “safe” area: getting out of her skimmer, checking out the mysterious shuttle tracks, being surprised and somewhat unnerved by the frozen faces on the cavern wall, and using her climbing gear to scale down the ice wall and cut better handholds for future use. I decide that Joney sets up her first pylon at the base of the ice wall because she was about to crawl through the tunnel to the left and wasn’t sure what might be in there. Better to be safe than sorry. And I imagine her puzzlement at finding the boot, examining it in vain for frozen blood or other signs. In the end, I decide she pulls out a bungee chord and straps the boot across the back of her suit, so she can carry it with her.

And with that, time to begin exploring.

With nowhere to go in this cavern, I decide that Joney is going to use her climbing gear to scale down the outside of the frozen spire, so I place a card as such:

I roll two dice to determine the contents of this card and get 4,6: a lesser horror and a hatch. So I draw some weird skull-bat thing and a portal deeper into the spire.

Joney fires off 2 shots from her arm cannon at the skull-bat, lowering her energy reserves to 97% (from 99%). I roll two hits (only needing one hit to kill a lesser horror), so the bat is toasted.

I roll to see if I get any energy recharged from the haze left by the vaporized bat. Nope! I do however get a total of 3 XP from 1) killing the bat, 2) clearing a card, and 3) going through a hatch. Nice!

So I place my next card, as Joney makes her way through the hatch…

…and I roll the same thing, a lesser horror and a hatch. Hmm, that’s not as cool. I draw them anyway and try to make them interesting.

Joney comes out of the hatch and tries to blow away this tentacled beastie, but totally misses with both shots!

The beastie lashes back with a standard hit (one die) and Joney rolls her one die of maneuvering to avoid it, but unfortunately doesn’t get out of the way very well and takes 2 more damage to her energy reserves. Down to 93% now. Embarrassing, but no real danger.

Miffed, Joney lights up the beastie with a full blast (3 shots, not the five I originally wrote into the rules, which is probably a suit upgrade) and vaporizes it, though she’s now down to 90% energy.

I mark 3 more XP, for 1) the beastie, 2) the card, and 3) the hatch, and manage to roll a slight energy refresh from the horror, bouncing back up to 93%.

On to the third card, I place it to show I’m moving deeper into the caverns of this ice spire…

…but then I roll a 1,1 for the contents, and a 1 means that I dramatically reorient the card I just placed. How do I reorient the card in a fashion that is doubly dramatic? I decide to rip the card in half.

I figure there’s some sort of crazy space-bending effect going on here that Joney falls into, sending her to some unknown destination — maybe not even on this planet! — through a strange energy portal. I attempt to draw the portal but kinda do a crappy job of it. I’m much better with pencil than with these markers I bought specifically for playing this game.

I make a judgment call and decide to roll again for the contents of the second half of this card, on the other side of the portal. I get a 3,5: another lesser horror and the beginning of a stretch of hazardous terrain. I decide that the energy of the portal is unstable and crackling all over the place, so I draw that and roll a 2 on my one die, setting the difficulty of the hazard. I also draw some crazy energy snake or eel, swimming through the air around the portal. I figure Joney is just totally freaked by all this portal business and will try to avoid both the hazard and the snake while she falls. Luckily I roll two 6s and evade both the 2 hazard and another 2 rolled for the snake’s hit, dropping off this card and on to the next one.

I roll a 4,4 for the next room: two hatches becoming a super hatch that I don’t have the right energy signature to open yet. I color it yellow. Since I want to know what’s making the portal, I decide it’s time to spend some of the 8 XP I have accumulated so far. I spend 6 XP on an interesting clue or piece of information (3 XP at the time, raised to 5 XP after this playtest) and on a harder enemy than the minor horrors I’d faced thus far (3 XP at the time, also raised to 5 XP afterward). I decided to combine both of these to create a field generating cannon that was bending space and making the portal. Also, because of the piece of information I bought, the cannon had the same skull symbol on it as the tail fin of Joney’s skimmer, a symbol that I now decided once belonged to the pirate queen Lady Tyrene from Joney’s backstory. What was she doing with space-bending cannons??? Plus, since I hadn’t rolled to stop the hazardous terrain yet, the previous hazard 2 from the sparks and unstable portal crackling filled this room as well, hovering about the field generator.

Now Joney is totally freaked. This is not what she expected at all and her first instinct is to try to blow up this machine and stop these crazy energy arcs from damaging her suit and dropping her through portals to Lady Ty’ knows where. Then, once things settle down, she can figure out what’s going on.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to run the fight with the field generator, not being a horror. But I decided to go ahead and stat it up real quick, so I knew what it did, and I got something like: [dark machine, immobile, 2 hits, 1 die of active defenses, 2 hazard from arcs of energy emanating from it, destroying it also destroys the teleportation portal it generates]. Cool. Now Joney could deal with it.

The first round only went okay for Joney. She successfully avoided the energy arcs, but only got in one solid hit on the machine, so everything was still live and cooking.

The active defenses of the machine struck back, popping Joney’s suit with some light damage.

But then, Joney avoided the energy sparks long enough to total the machine, causing an explosion that reverberated through the room and destroyed the space-bending portal.

So, to wrap up the fourth card, I covered up some of my previous illustrations and redrew the field generating cannon as a twisted wreck. But the portal was also gone, so Joney had no way of getting back to her skimmer, since she had no idea where she was or if she was close enough for the emergency evac system on her suit to transport her back to her pylon. If she was on another planet, in some other system, that definitely wouldn’t work. I ultimately decided this was a good place to stop and assess, with Joney now embarking on her explorations with a different and somewhat more desperate perspective. At least I got a 10% energy recharge off the dead cannon, putting Joney’s suit back up to 98% capacity. That’ll be useful!

The two main things I learned in these four cards was to slow things down even more. There was a lot happening here! Very dense. Too dense, really. There needed to be a lot more cards where I maybe only rolled 1 die for their contents. Also, I really didn’t care at all about the skull-bat, the beastie, and the energy snake. They weren’t very provocative enemies and had nothing to do with why Joney was here or the tone I wanted the game to have. So I retroactively declared that, instead of random monsters, they were all wraith-like entities, either the horrors themselves or the tormented spirits of all those who’d died when they razed the Absalom system. That connected them to the frozen faces that Joney had found on the walls and would make for much creepier foes, especially as I went deeper and encountered more powerful wraiths.

In any event, I’m excited to play more with the new revisions I just made to the rules! Woohoo!