Secrets and Shadows

image from ArtBreeder

filed under game design on 16 Jan 2017
tagged lady blackbird, narrative, d6, theory, secrets and shadows, starfarer, pbta, apocalypse world, and rpglet

Edit 1/25: I made a science fiction version loosely inspired by the SF of the 70s and 80s, Starfarer.

So here’s the refined and prettified version of my Apocalypse World/Lady Blackbird inspired (powered?) game.

Secrets and Shadows

I went back to the drawing board a little, using the concept I posted a few days ago. I stumbled over a post on concentric game design in Apocalypse World, and it seemed only right to rebuild things following the principles so generously and awesomely laid out.

To quote from the post, all you really need is:

  • Vivid color
  • A few stats and a simple die roll
  • On a 10+, the best happens. On a 7-9, it’s good but complicated. On a miss, it’s never nothing, it’s always something worse.
  • The MC’s agenda, principles, and what to always say.

I had the second and third elements, pretty much, but not the first – since it was a generic idea – and not the last, since how important could those be to a solo gamer?

It only took about ten seconds of jotting down ideas for Agenda and Principles to realize just how valuable they are, especially solo, to provide structure and direction.

I picked “paranormal romance”, pretty much on a whim, as the basis for the “vivid color” but you could easily change that by using different character building options (The Blackbird Companion is a great resource for this) and different Principles. And maybe changing up the Dramatic moves.

The core should be a pretty solid solo experience, with plenty of guidelines for what to do next at each juncture and how to push the story forward. And I heavily refined how Currency works, to make it more solo friendly.

I also included a simple Oracle for those without Mythic or solo experience. Using this Oracle is not required, of course.

Now all that’s left is to run a playtest and tweak anything that needs tweaking, which I should get to pretty soon.