Evangelists Of Mars and Ruins Of Atlanta are now “pay what you want”

To celebrate the second anniversary of the completion of our Kickstarter, we have made the two “stretch goal” supplements that our Kickstarter paid for into “pay what you want” items on DriveThruRPG. If you have never read the remarkable “Ruins Of Atlanta” by Jason Tondro or the extraordinary “Evangelists Of Mars” by Steven S. Long, this is your chance to do it without spending a dime.

And remember: the art and text from both sourcebooks are released under a Creative Commons Attribute-ShareAlike license, so as long as you use the same license and abide by the terms, you can re-use anything in these supplements in your own game sourcebook.

Ruins Of Atlanta by Jason Tondro Evangelists Of Mars by Steven S. Long

Pay What You Want for Bulletproof Blues

During the “Super Sale” on DriveThruRPG (which just ended a few minutes ago), no one bought any copies Bulletproof Blues, nor of any of our supplements. While this isn’t great news, it’s not all bad. It means that the useful period of monetization of the game has ended.

For this reason, we have set Bulletproof Blues to “Pay What You Want“. If new folks want to try out the game, they can, at no cost. If they like it, and decide to help support future sourcebooks with their hard-earned money, they can. Everyone wins.

Happy gaming. 🙂

Bulletproof Blues Second Edition print cover

Bulletproof Blues Second Edition print cover

Black Orchid

This is a commission by artist John Zeleznik: “Black Orchid”. Black Orchid guards the Kalos Universe from threats some consider to be… unnatural. Folks who supported our Bulletproof Blues Second Edition Kickstarter will get a high-resolution copy of Black Orchid along with her write-up (look in your Backer Rewards vault!). This was not a stretch goal: it’s a bonus, to thank our supporters for their patience and generosity. Black Orchid is also available on DriveThruRPG as a special “One-Shot” Character Art Pack, with her character write-up using the Bulletproof Blues Character Sheet Helper.

Bulletproof Blues Character Pack 004.02.jpg

Thinking about BB3

We are contemplating possible simplifications in Bulletproof Blues. Here is one of the ideas we are playing with:

Rather than powers having individual ranks (e.g., Blast 7, Flight 4, Force Field 10), the character would simply have a list of powers (e.g., Blast, Flight, Force Field). The strength of these powers would be based on the character’s attributes, with different powers being based on different attributes:

  • Intelligence – sensory powers, many skills
  • Willpower – mental powers, social skills
  • Strength – “brute force” powers, some physical skills
  • Speed – travel powers, “speedster” powers, some physical skills, ability to avoid being hit at range
  • Power – non-mental powers
  • Defense – defensive powers
  • Combat – ability to hit opponents, ability to avoid being hit hand-to-hand

Here’s part of our thinking behind this:

On the one hand, most characters who have more than one attack power, or more than one mental power, etc., tend to have them at the same (or nearly the same) rank. So having to buy ranks in Telepathy separately from ranks in Mind Hold (for example) seems a needless complication. Why not have a base value for the character’s power level, and then have a list of their powers?

On the other hand, the current method, in which ranks in Flight, Super-swimming, and Super-jumping (for example) are all bought separately, makes a character with all three powers way more expensive than a character with just Flight (for example). But the character who has all three movement powers isn’t actually all that more powerful. So why make that character so much more expensive?

What do you think?

P.S.

Here’s a possible drawback of this model: it makes the strength of a power implicit rather than explicit. In most cases, this shouldn’t be a problem — Blast is obviously based on Power, Mind Control is obviously based on Willpower, and so on.

But what about something less obvious, like Stretching? Would that be based on Strength, or Power? Perhaps the attribute should be placed after the power name: “Stretching (POW)”? Or perhaps we should just default to powers always being based on Power unless it is really, really obviously something else (i.e., when in doubt, use Power).

P.P.S.

A second drawback is that this model would make it difficult or impossible to have a team of characters who have similar sets of powers, but at varying power levels. For example, a team of psychics, all of whom have Telekinesis, Telepathy, and Mind Control, with each being most powerful with a different power (one character has strong Telekinesis but weak Telepathy and Mind Control, another character has strong Mind Control but weak Telepathy and Telekinesis, etc.).

Evangelists Of Mars

It’s been a long time since our last update, and I apologize. I am supremely grateful for the patience and good will of our Kickstarter backers.

Evangelists Of Mars by Steven S. Long

Everyone who supported our Bulletproof Blues Second Edition Kickstarter at the City Defender level or above ($25) has been sent a free DriveThruRPG coupon for the PDF of Evangelists Of Mars, by Steven S. Long.

In the next few days, we will package up high-resolution versions of the character art from Ruins Of Atlanta and Evangelists Of Mars and release those as Character Art Packs on DriveThruRPG.

Speaking of Ruins Of Atlanta, if you haven’t checked that out, you really should. It’s an amazing combination of setting material, character write-ups, and plot hooks for games. It features some great art by James Shields, and of course the supplement itself is by Doc Comics himself, Jason Tondro!

Ruins Of Atlanta by Jason Tondro

Thank you for supporting the Bulletproof Blues Second Edition Kickstarter. We appreciate your patience while we work toward fulfilling your stretch goal rewards. Have a safe and happy new year!

Revised block/dodge rules for ZeroSpace

Here is a peek at a work in progress: revised block/dodge rules for ZeroSpace and Rough Magic. These are not final, but it’s a good bet that the final rules will look a lot like this.

Blocking

During their turn, or as a forced action, a character may use a task action to attempt to block a hand-to-hand attack against them. A block might entail using brute force to withstand the attack, or it might involve using finesse to harmlessly divert an attack away: the choice is up to the player. Blocking gives the defender a +2 defense bonus against the attack. If the defender has expertise with blocking, they gain an additional +3 defense bonus when blocking. A character who is using their action to block continues to receive the +2 defense bonus against hand-to-hand attacks until they take their next turn.

Normally, only hand-to-hand attacks which inflict endurance damage may be blocked. However, if the defender has the same power as the attacker, they may use that power to attempt to block. For example, a defender with Telepathy may attempt to block the Telepathy of an attacker, giving them a +2 defense bonus against the attacker’s Telepathy. With the GM’s permission, a character may attempt to block with a power that has a similar theme or power source. For example, a GM might permit a character with Telepathy to block an attacker’s Torment power, giving them a +2 defense bonus against the attacker’s Torment.

A character may choose to block after the attacker has determined that the attack will successfully hit: there is no need to block an attack that misses.

Dodging

During their turn, or as a forced action, a character may use a task action to attempt to dodge a ranged attack against them. Dodging gives the defender a +2 defense bonus against the attack. If the defender has expertise with dodging, they gain an additional +3 defense bonus when dodging. A character who is using their action to dodge continues to receive the +2 defense bonus against ranged attacks until they take their next turn.

A character may choose to dodge after the attacker has determined that the attack will successfully hit: there is no need to dodge an attack that misses.

Adding injury to insults

Speaking of ZeroSpace, we are working on a different method of tracking character injury for our heroic games (of which ZeroSpace will be the first one). Rather than counting down Endurance as an expendable point total, “Endurance” will be used more literally: characters aren’t usually injured at all during a fight, until a hit finally takes them down. We this more closely reflects the source material for games like ZeroSpace, where characters fire off blaster shots (and duck incoming fire), or circle each other while they parry and thrust with laser swords, until the character gets hit and taken down. This also more accurately depicts a setting where a single blaster hit or slash from a laser sword would take a character out of a fight.

The exact game mechanics are still in flux, but it will probably involve the target making a task roll to mitigate a successful attack against them. If they succeed, they have successfully parried, avoided, or just gritted their teeth and taken the hit, with no negative consequences. If they fail the task roll, the same thing happens, but it wears out the target a little bit, and makes them less able to avoid or withstand future attacks.

We are currently experimenting with four levels of impairment: weakened, impaired, exhausted, and incapacitated. Weakened and impaired impose task roll penalties on anything the character does. At exhausted, the character is unable to move or take actions, but they can speak. At incapacitated, the character is genuinely injured: they are unable to move or take actions, and they can respond (slowly) only if another character engages them in conversation. Furthermore, they might have suffered some debilitating injury, such as a getting nasty scar on their face or losing a limb.

What do you think?