Ever since taking a class on tabletop RPGs as an undergrad, I’ve been on a long, arduous quest to design my ideal, narrative-driven system. The games and systems listed below were designed either for a class or as a side project–sometimes both. Some were interesting failures; others were passable, but still felt like they needed work. All of them taught me valuable lessons I’ve carried into my current projects.
- ASSIMILATE (Spring 2011) – Based on a story I was writing at the time, this system allowed players to give their characters abilities based on any of the video games, TV shows, movies, or books they had consumed since the previous play session. I may revisit the idea at some point, but this system was overly complicated, with many of the mechanics feeling disjointed.
- Eight Ten Twelve (Fall 2012 – Summer 2013) – A generic system encouraging meaningful character development. The mechanics were intentionally left open and loose, but in any action-heavy campaign, they became cumbersome and often redundant, relying too much on the GM to come up with subjective values on the fly. Still, the test campaigns I ran with it were fun overall. The rules I’ve linked to are fully playable and mostly complete, but still part of an early draft, so please pardon the mess.
- Broken (Spring 2013) – A storytelling game created in under six hours for a game jam. The players must roleplay as majorly flawed characters trying to fix something in their lives that is broken. Along the way, specially-designated players will do their best to help or hinder each other.
- Me In Three (Spring 2013) – A light, three-page variant of Eight Ten Twelve. I created it in a day or two to run short one-shot scenarios for middle-school students at the Sally Ride Festival. It was solid at what it was meant to do: provide a simple, quick-play system that can be run with little to no planning.
- Y/N (Summer 2013) – A one-page storytelling game, written in a few hours, in which players ask yes-or-no questions to determine the direction of the story.
- Start Again (Fall 2013) – A storytelling game I created in under six hours as part of a game jam. In it, the players role-play through one or several scenarios, dealing with developments they draw from a deck. Each player has the ability to reset the game once, erasing everyone’s memories but their own. When it seems appropriate to do this, if at all, is up to the players to decide.
- Untitled Eight Ten Twelve Revamp (Fall 2013) – A mechanically-confused new take on the earlier system based on the feedback I received during playtesting. While there were some interesting ideas in play, they never coalesced into the sort of focused system I was looking to create, so I abandoned the project in its early stages in favor of MYND and GOST.