Carrion Birds Update #3 and the May Microgame Collection
I’ve been making progress on Carrion Birds, but I underestimated how much remained to do. The editing process goes more smoothly when the rules are written intelligibly, and a lot of them need a little elbow grease.
Fortunately, I think I’ll be done with it all tomorrow, though the layout process may mean that I don’t get the book out until Thursday.
I’ve also started work on microgames, which I’m making a challenge for myself. Since I keep bottoming out in my progress on my main projects, having little games will help keep my skills sharp and my time usage optimal. since I enjoy it and it’s more productive than playing video games.
You can find the collection here. It’s free for now, that might change later.
Let’s discuss some of the stuff that’s going on.
The big progress blocker has just been getting some stuff written out in a way that’s ready for the world. I converted most of Carrion Birds’ content from velotha’s flock directly, just rewriting it. That was easy enough, but it led to some issues when the new mechanics came in since I rewrote combat. There are advantages to this and downsides.
One advantage of the new combat system is that there are going to be several distinctive weapons, which will allow players to have some options.
Combine this with gear rules that handle finding things for your characters as they travel through the world (korakthropes rarely have long-term possessions), and you’ve got systems to handle both combat and gear in detail where it was three or four lines of “just figure it out” in velotha’s flock.
The downside of this is that there are more moving parts, and some of them have gone through a couple more revisions than others.
None of the rules are broken in the sense that they’re road-blockers as I have to go and figure out what to do, but I’ve had to sanity-check a few things. It needs lubricant, not replacement parts.
Likewise, I probably went a little overkill on the setting work I was doing.
Microgame 1: Around the Water-Wheel
The goal of “Around the Water-Wheel” was to make a simple collaborative storytelling game. It’s inspired by “The Quiet Year.”
It’s more game-adjacent than truly a game, though I guess you could argue that it’s played by a bunch of people who follow the rules.
My goal was to have something that you could do in a couple hours to come up with a bunch of characters and give personality to a place.
You can argue that it’s probably a product of my love of Kazuo Ishiguro novels, given that it’s a good way to tell sort of quaint stories with a lot of smaller conflicts and development as the main underlying element.
All it requires is a couple players and a d6.
Microgame 2: Long Live Stalin
Long Live Stalin is a game of cut-throat intrigue.
Half RPG, half social game, it mixes things up by having a player take on the role of Stalin’s Ghost, representing the massive regime of the USSR carrying on after Stalin’s death.
Players compete to snatch up Stalin’s agents before their opponents. There’s only one deck of cards for each player, and once a card’s gone, it’s gone.
Backstabbing mechanics and interpersonal meta-game negotations draw inspiration from titles such as Munchkin and Paranoia.
Will you come out on top? Will you even survive?
Who knows? Long live Stalin!
Microgame 3: Microdragons
To be fair, it’s probably not entirely correct to call this a microgame, since it clocks in at a relatively massive 15 pages.
Still, Microdragons was an attempt to “demake” The Classic Roleplaying Game while making an effort to give as much of the same feel and style as possible.
Of course, I had a lot of my own design principles, so concepts like levels and classes gave way to a buffet-style process of buying attributes, skills, and spells.
The core gameplay, however, will feel familiar to players with a simplified and streamlined Theater of the Mind style of play.
Microdragons includes dozens of spells and abilities, a classless mechanic that lets players customize characters as much as multi-classing in other games while also developing along familiar pathways, and a streamlined ruleset that you can get started with in minutes.
And, like the other games in the May Microgames Collection, you can get it free right now!
I’ll probably put up a paywall eventually, though, so act quick while it’s still out there.