Category Archives: PbtA

World of Dungeons: Turbo–Breakers

Wow. That’s a mouthful. The long name is especially funny when you realize that the rules of the roleplaying game with that name is just 4 pages long. And the last page consists mainly of the names of Patreon patrons who helped fund the project.

So what is WoD: Turbo – Breakers (I’ll call it just Breakers from here on out) all about? It’s a roleplaying game written by John Harper based on World of Dungeons also written by John Harper which was a streamlined version of the popular game Dungeon World which itself is based on both D&D and Apocalypse World. Breakers is also pretty awesome. The setting can be summed up in a few sentences: our world and a fantasy world are colliding at various places all over the world and the so-called Breakers are sent into these zones to destroy the crystal which binds the alien reality to ours and while doing so they try to find valuable artifacts and kill monsters.

Like in Dungeon World (and other games with similar mechanics) Breakers makes use of Moves, or rather in this case of one Move. Whenever you try something risky, you roll 2d6 and add the relevant attribute. Results of 6 and below are failures, 7 – 9 means, you were partially successful and 10 or higher is a success. Bam!

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend you download Breakers right now (I did mention that it’s free, right?) and check it out. I could write countless words on how much I love the game, but since it’s just four pages long, I guess it makes more sense to just point it out to you. You should also have a look at John Harper’s other work. He has created quite a few exciting roleplaying games, some of them are also available for free.

Breakers is probably not for everyone, but I just love it because of its awesome concept, the simple rules, and its hackability (is this a word?). I am pretty sure we’ll see quite a few Breakers hacks in the future, and I already have a couple of ideas myself.

P.S.: Thanks to my friend Marcus for telling me about this game in the first place!

#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?

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.

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!