Category Archives: PbtA

#RPGaDay2017 Day 22: Familiarity breeds ease of use!

We’re going into the final stretch of #RPGaDay2017. Only 9 days to go this year. The question for today is:

 August 22: Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?

Not to sound like a broken record (or damaged MP3 would be a better analogy?) but… Well it’s D&D. My take on the common phrase that gives this post its title summarizes how I feel. D&D, the D20 system, in all different variations, is so familiar, that I can run it easily. But… (and you knew there was a but coming!) Continue reading #RPGaDay2017 Day 22: Familiarity breeds ease of use!

Powered By The Apocalypse

During the last months I have repeatedly played with the idea to run a game “powered by the apocalypse”. These games are mechanically based on D. Vincent Baker’s Apocalypse World. So what makes these games so special that I am interested to give them a try?

Playbooks
Most PbtA games use playbooks for character creation and play. Each playbook describes a certain role and also list this role’s moves. But the playbooks also contain examples for a character’s looks, demeanor, attributes, etc. Instead of going through a long-winded character creation process, you usually just pick a playbook, pick from the available options for name, looks, etc. and you’re good to go. This is great for pickup-and-play style of games.

Player-facing
PbtA games use player-facing mechanics, which means all the dice rolls are done by the players. It’s also the players who move the action forward, the GM is relegated to a more reactive role than in most other games. The story is driven by what the characters do, not what the GM planned beforehand.

No prep
PbtA games are the perfect games to just pick up and run. There’s no need to prepare anything. Sure, this means that the players need to be pro-active. It also means that the GM has always keep on their toes, improvising everything. Luckily the GM moves help the GM to keep focus. At least that’s how I understood it. I wasn’t able to try it myself.

A few cons
Unfortunately PbtA games have a couple of issues as well. Some games suffer from a very pretentious writing style that sometimes goes out of its way to make it very hard for traditional gamers to grok. Talk about gate-keeping…

The other related issue is that I often get the impression that some PbtA games don’t explain everything properly. Instead of making sure the reader gets all the information needed to run a particular game, the games more often than not seem to imply a deeper knowledge of PbtA concepts.

What are your experiences with PbtA games? Do you love them or hate them? Please share your thoughts below!

[Kickstarter] The Veil: Cascade

Cyberpunk is definitely one of my favorite genres. So I am always quite excited when a new cyberpunk game gets released or is being kickstarted. For some reason I totally missed “The Veil” though.

The Veil is a cyberpunk roleplaying game powered by the Apocalypse. I have to admit, while I still have some issues to grok the GM-side of things in PbtA games, I was always (and still am) very intrigued by them. Their novel approach to roleplaying makes it very easy to focus on the roleplaying. One of my best roleplaying experiences was with tremulus which definitely can’t hide its PbtA roots.

Samjoko Publishing is currently raising funds for a supplement to The Veil called Cascade, which will feature not only new playbooks but also a complete setting inspired by the novel Altered Carbon. You can also check out an art-free version of “The Veil” here.

More information about “The Veil: Cascade” can be found on the kickstarter page. The kickstarter ends in about 19 days and has already surpassed its goal of 5500 CA$.