T is for TrueNews

A Madness Talent for Don’t Rest Your Head

T is for TrueNews
the media, you know
has printed the story
there’s nowhere to go.

Some people call it Fake News. Sure. Most of it is… but not when you report it.

Publish a piece of News, spread the Word… the thing you made-up will happen. Hell, if you spend enough Madness it has happened already!

1-2 Madness: something unlikely, but of small entity, will happen. Eventually, probably in the next day or two (the news cycle is unrelenting, after all).

3-4 Madness: something very unlikely, or absurd, will happen very soon after you hit “Publish”. Or something of smaller entity will happen right away.

5-6 Madness: something YUGE will happen, no matter how absurd or covfefe. Or maybe it has already happened? One can never tell how deep the conspiracy goes, right?

As you use and abuse of this Talent, the meaning of the world starts to fray. The cause-effect relations strain. The plausibility gets thinner and thinner. Your link with factual reality becomes absent, even worse than what happens to most people in the Mad City. One day, before you realize it, you become a roving, screaming mass of contradictory conspiracy, constantly generating short lived edicts that the Paper Boys must deliver. You have become the Infowarrior.

Non Cedere al Sonno is a Best of Show 08 Nominee!

Non Cedere Al Sonno, the Italian edition of Evil Hat’s Don’t Rest Your Head was nominated for the Best of Show award from Lucca Comics and Games 2008 (Italy’s GenCon, so to speak) as best Role Playing Game!

We are in very honorable company:

– Dungeons&Dragons 4 ed. (25 Edition)

– Sanctum Imperium Anno XIII (Asterion Press)

We are happy and doumbfounded… Yeaaah!

(and if someone does not know it, I’m one of the tranlators/authors/editors from Janus Design!)

Lucca Games Best of Show 08: Nominati!!!

Non Cedere Al Sonno nominato al Best of Show di Lucca Comics and Games 2008 come miglior Gioco di Ruolo!

E siamo in assai onorevole compagnia! Ecco gli altri nominati:

– Dungeons&Dragons 4 ed. (25 Edition)

– Sanctum Imperium Anno XIII (Asterion Press)

Che dire, siamo felici e onorati! Yeaaah!

(per chi non lo sapesse, io sono uno dei traduttori/autori/editori con Janus Design!)

Don’t Rest Your Head at Play Modena

Whew! It looks like I survived Play last weekend in Modena. The new incarnation of ModCon, in the new location of the fair (which for us staying at the Holiday Inn was ridiculosly handy…), has seen me as “the Don’t Rest Your Head demo man” for two days straight with me GM-ing games of our italian edition (Non Cedere Al Sonno) to a good number of very interested players.

Some of them came to the demo with the game already in their bags, having bought it before even trying it, and I personally count that as a small win: our reputation is at the very least good 🙂

I seated some 20+ people for games of two and a half hours (roughly) where I would explain the whole system and game, and then go ’round using our pregen characters (plus the odd fifth one created on the spot, in case of 5 persons groups). I think I can safely say that all of them had a good time. Heck, I had a good time GM-ing the game.

I’ll post here some small actual play vignettes to demonstrate the level of gonzo/rockstar action a player completely new to the game can pull out in a couple of hours:

Diesel (the rocker from the book, Fred’s character) stopping a train with the power of ROCK! Ok, more or less. He was stuck in a dark tunnel, suddenly having railroad tracks in it. Diesel’s (player’s) comment: “Oh crap.” A light approaches. A thundering noise comes growing. The earth starts trembling. Diesel’s (player’s) comment: “OH CRAP!”. Instead of running away he turns, slings forward his guitar, activates the Rythm Nation Madness Talent and ‘gets’ the hidden rithm in the trains noise. Then he starts performing that same rithm riffing on the guitar, doing a quick “Rallentando”. The player tosses some 5 or 6 madness in the roll, gets a whopping 8 successes, AND NO SIXES! Guess what, Pain dominated! The train stopped touching Diesel, knocking on his back on the tracks. Diesel’s (player’s): “Oh my god. I stopped a fucking train!

Good times 🙂

Another vignette: Luk, the kinda depressed clown character a player had created on the spot, had the hidden desire to be an acrobat (but was overweight). His Madness Talent, guess what, was practically “matrix/wuxia acrobatics”. Being chased by a fanged White Clown and a fire whip cracking lion tamer he activates his power for the first time, jumps on the branches of the nearest trees and proceeds (again with an incredible number of successes rolled) to jump from branch to branch like a fricking ninja with oversized shoes. Our instinctive comment was: “Holy cow! That’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Clown right there!”

Last thing: my “Vandemar” lookalike tries to punch Alia the tough female cop in the face. The player does not even hesitate: “I turn to stone and headbutt his fucking hand!“. She/he won, obviously 🙂

Heh, players can surprise you like that.

Later, photos, and a post in italian.

DRYH Italian Edition at the Italian AmberCON

Last weekend we presented the italian edition of EvilHat’s Don’t Rest Your Head at the Italian AmberCON in Modena: Non Cedere Al Sonno (NCAS)

I can say it was a success: we had 3 demo tables planned (at maximum), and thought they would be enough… on saturday afternoon we had 5 demo tables running at full speed, and if we had another GM available we would have made 6, probably. Outstanding! AmberCON for some hours had practically become NCASCon 🙂

We were sharing the table with the nice guy and gal of Narrattiva, the publishers of the italian editons of PTA and Dogs.

Here are some photos, all nicely tagged (more or less):

AmberCon 2008 Photos: Non Cedere Al Sonno

Post ModCon 2007

Saturday I went to Modena, to attend ModCon, a board and roleplaying con. Not huge (not even big, probably), but very centered around the idea of “go play”. That is, there were some booths selling stuff, but the center of the con were the tables.

You only pay a ticket if you intend to play at a table in the main room, and there are lots of tables. If it’s not booked (it’s written on a strip of paper on the table) you simply go there with your buddies, sit down and play. Easy peasy 🙂

The result was a crazy mishmash of tables with people playing literally any kind of tabletop game: when I arrived my friends were playing Infernal Contraption, a non collectible card game, and next to them was a table with a HUGE Risk (or risk-variant) board. Next to them was a table with people playing with biplane minis 🙂

Nice. Loud, but nice.

My loot was small, but not at all bad:

Me and my friends (one of whom I met that day for the first time) went and played Tsuro right away. The rules are not really that well written, but they are very short, and playing a game or two clarifies the gameplay. We enjoyed it greatly! People was laughing their asses off, when the paths triggered mad wanderings of the player tokens. Four or five games went on, one after the other.

And I’ve lost all of the time! 😀

Then, I proposed an improvised session of Don’t Rest Your Head. There were five players, and I consider that maybe a number a bit too high for my tastes (and for DRYH), but I guided them through character creation (which is very easy, with no crunch at all, and they “got” pretty much right away). We ended with a mixed group of misfits (including an urban parkour-ninja, a greedy finance tycoon, a porn superstar guy, a violent wifebeater and a mafia killer).

I decided to do the intro scenes individually, and unfortunately being short on time I got to do only three out of five. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have gone round the table action by action… but that risks to be confusing, for starting players.

Anyway, they had some weird and disturbing experiences, each of them got to experiment with the dice rolls and use his talents, and they experienced the various effects of Dice Dominance, got some Responses and Exhaustion, and even used the Despair/Hope Coins.

And… they had a blast!

They are all pretty “trad” gamers, in the sense that I am the one known for “introducing these weird new games” 🙂 but coming to the game with no preconception they simply enjoyed it. I did not make long theory speeches, I simply said “this game works a bit differently from what you are used, but just bear with me and try it”. They even enjoyed narrating their results when Pain did not dominate (a tweak we agreed upon at the beginning).

And what’s best, Germano, the one that seemed the most “traditional gamer” of the group said he would buy the game right away if it was translated in italian! Woot! 🙂

Now I’m looking forward to MOAR Don’t Rest Your Head!!! 😀

Don’t Rest Your Head

I’m still waiting for my copy to come from lulu, but I’ve also bought the pdf of Don’t Rest Your Head by EvilHat, and I am really really looking forward to try it.

My players are practically all Gaiman fans, so I think they will fit right in the Mat City setting.

Plus, I’ve been reading Actual Play reports, and the game really seems to hum: of all things, for such a light game, one of the spotlights is in the dice rolling mechanic. A single dice roll will tell you who succeded, but also what “colour” the action will have. A player can succed, but Pain (the dice rolled by the GM as opposition) could still dominate. The character would get to do what he/she intended, but it will be painful, in some way or another.

If you want to know more, check out the reviews on rpg.net, like this: they are thorough and clear. Also, read at least an Actual Play report like this, or even listen to it (there are two or three podcast recording of game sessions).

Plus… it’s cheap! 😀