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Friday, September 9, 2022

My RPG work



My name is Gerrit and I'm an TTRPG and LAOG designer. Are you interested in the games I have designed? Have a look into this post. If you are interested in an exchange with me about your or my design? Join the Gauntlet community, engage with me on Twitter or join the Facebook group on Remote, Digital Larps and Live-Action Online Games. 

My TTRPG game design is influenced by the great Indie RPG designers like Avery Alder, the Bakers, and Jason Morningstar. My larps and LAOGs are influenced again by Jason Morningstar and designs in the Golden Cobra Challenge. My focus is on interesting mechanics. That is where I usually start my design: setting comes second. Exception to that rule are Atitlan Riders, Ghost Drums, Happy Birthday Mr President and Drachenreise. 

But all other games of mine start with a mechanical idea or concept. Then I aim to find a setting which best reflects that mechanic. 

My current life, with an intense job in business sustainability consultancy for financial services, a family, local political engagement and founding a community housing project, is keeping me away from more design. But I'm still very interested in game design itself. 

My main interest is on LAOG design. Live-Action Online Games is an exciting new frontier of design for me which I think is still under-explored in its potential. LAOG design becomes interesting to me, when online communication channels are subverted into something different. 

Games I designed from scratch:

Atitlan Riders is a PbtA game, a coming of age story in a predominantly indigenous Guatemalan town. It is the place where I lived from 2016-2019. Read about it in this article on my blog. There you can find the play material, the character keeper link and also Actual Play links to YouTube. Play time: 1 to 6 sessions, 3-5 players. 

Tuk Fast Tuk Furious is a short story game about tuk tuks racing through exciting cities for the big win. Yes, there will be an actual winner in that game. The online adaption is using Google Street View as a random mechanic, translations to German and Spanish are available. In German, I also have a blog article about my design approach to the game. On my YouTube channel, I have a playlist with all actual plays from the game. Play time: 60 minutes, 3-6 players.  

Ghost Drums is a short story game, using improvised drums to tell each other an original ancient Tz'utujil Mayan ghost fable. It was published in Gauntlet Codex Dark II where it received some wonderful layout and the most amazing illustration by Tz'utujil artist Ismael Sosof. The game is published in German and Spanish, the fable itself is also available in Tz'utujil. Here I wrote about the origin of the game. Play time: 1 hour, 3-6 players. 

Makeup Moments is a LAOG, a Live-Action Online Game, in which you put makeup on together and celebrate each other. Yes, you put actual makeup on while using your video camera as a mirror. No skills required. The game was published in Gauntlet Codex Glamour II with a beautiful layout and illustrations - currently Pay What You Want. Play time: 2 hours, 1-5 players. 

Watch an actual play here:
Makeup Moments - Raging Swans (Gauntlet community)
Makeup Moments - Captain and Alien (Gauntlet community)

The Batcave is a LAOG where you play a family of bats looking for a new home. Players are upside down in the video-call. The game received a Golden Cobra Honorable Mention in 2020. Here is an actual play video. Play time 1.5 hours, 2-6 players.  

Last Words is a LAOG for 3 players in an asymmetrical communication setup. An unfortunate death separates two people who still have unresolved business. An angel tries to bring peace to the deceased by entering the living‘s dreams. Last Words got published in Gauntlet Codex Melancholy with full editing, layout and illustrations. Play time: 2 hours, 3 players. 

Auszug aus dem Feenwald is a German language LAOG which I wrote for the Roll Inclusive crowdfunding as a stretch goal. Four magical entities, the Forest, the Winds, the Faerie and the Animals, need to come to a conclusion although they speak very different languages. Play time: 2 hours, 4 players. 

Outscored is a LAOG set in a dystopian social scoring society. Friends with a shared passion want to go to university. But a high social credit score is obligatory. Players can influence the illumination of the other players' faces. It was a Golden Cobra winner in 2019. The Google Sheet play aid which is required to play the game can be found here. Play time: 2 hours, 3-5 players. 

Bad Jokes is a pico-RPG about telling each other bad jokes and finding them hilarious. The game ends when a joke is considered actually funny. Play time: 5-15 minutes, 2-5 players. 

Bird songs is a larp in nature where you play birds flirting with each others. All types of birds welcome. This is published with two other larps: God visits their creation and Choose your Walk which you can find in the same document. Play time 15 minutes, 5-20 players. 

Dream-Up-Personality- GOOGLETRANSLATE - The Game - This is a game using the Google Sheet function GOOGLETRANSLATE to let your character description be re-written by back-and-forth-translations. 30 min, 1-5 players. This is purposefully open, so it can be thrown into other games or you quickly make up the context on your own.

The Amazing Sex Scene Rewrite is a larp / LAOG in which writers of a show are not satisfied with the end of last episode sex scene of the two will-they-won't-they protagonists and do a rewrite together. This game is about sex positivity and testing to express your sexual desires (in a role) and was co-designed with Beatrix Livesey-Stephens, Andrea Rick and Susanne Vejdemo. It was designed on a sex education game jam organised by Planned Parenthood. 


Adaptions, hacks, settings and modules

Happy Birthday Mr President is a short story game based on Evil Hat's "Happy Birthday, Mr Robot" and a parody on ridiculous and dangerous US American Presidents.

Election of the Wine Queen is a LAOG based on a larp by Björn Butzen & Silvia Ochlast. A German village celebrates its annual wine queen election tradition and reveals some uncanny truths about the villagers. It is a psycho drama and got published in Gauntlet Codex Sunlight with beautiful art and proper layout. A Play Aid and the obligatory drinking song can be found in the Gauntlet's Play Aids folder.

Schummelabenteuer is the German edition of Cheat Your Own Adventure. We as the editors of Erzählspiel-Zine published it in German after a successful micro-crowdfunding. It is more of a second edition, containing some variants of the game for solo play, play with children, play without dice and more. I also made a German / English / Spanish play aid for the game. The variants I wrote can also be found in English. Play time: 20-60 minutes, 2-6 players.

For Beau Sheldon's shapeshifters in small towns RPG Turn I made a setting based in my own home town, Halver im Sauerland. This was a stretch goal for the game's crowdfunding and can be purchased on itch.io as a supplement. Play time: 2-10 sessions, 3-5 players.

Too Furious in Space is a German language hack of Tuk Fast Tuk Furious which puts the action into space. It was a crowdfunding stretch goal for Aces in Space, Judith & Christian Vogt and Harald Heckmüller's space action dramedy Fate RPG. It uses Fudge dice and is accompanied by a large number of random tables for space race fun. The playmat for the game is available here. The game itself is currently only available for backers of the crowdfunding if I see that correctly. Play time: 60 minutes, 3-6 players.

Trophy Gold is a dark fantasy TTRPG by Jesse Ross for campaign play. As a stretch goal for the crowdfunding, I wrote a dungeon level (a so-called Set) for the megadungeon Roots of Old Kalduhr which stretches under the ruins of the city Kalduhr. My dungeon level is called Last People of Old Kalduhr and its mood is based on Nick Cave's album Ghosteen. It is currently only available to backers of the crowdfunding.  Play time 3-4 hours, 3-5 players. 

Ein Ruhiges Jahr im Hambacher Wald is a German language hack of Avery Alder's A Quiet Year. In this hack, you play a group of activists protecting a forest from destruction by a big corporation by moving there and founding an alternative society for themselves. This is based on real events close to where I live. The most amazing part is that in real life, the story went well, the forest was rescued thanks to the protests (and some court decisions). Play time 2-4 hours, 3-5 players. 

Drachenreise is a German language hack of Route Clearance by Andrew Millar in wich the military patrol in Iraq scenario of the original game is transformed into a heart-warming journey of young dragons to find a new home and learn about friendship. It was co-designed between my son (then 6) Milan Koepke, Tina Trillitzsch and me. Play time 1 hour, 2-4 players. 

World of Aventurien is a German language hack of World of Dungeons by John Harper. While WoD design concept is "what if Dungeon World had been published in 1979", WoA is "what if Dungeon World had been published in Germany in 1983". To say it differently, it is WoD goes Dark Eye. I designed this to play classic Dark Eye modules. I believe that each module carries a different concept and goal for the game and hence there are three different versions of WoA out there: the Wald ohne Wiederkehr edition emulates dungeon crawls, the Liska's Fänge edition emulates treasure hunting and campfire warmth, the Schatten im Zwielicht edition is designed for play with only magic users on heist and spy action. Play time 1-10 sessions, 3-5 players. 

Powered by Aventurien is a German language Dungeon World hack, which can be played with The Dark Eye 5e character sheets and the infamous 3d20 skill check system. Play time 3-20 sessions, 3-5 players. 

Fate Aventurien is a German languae Fate Core Atomic Robo hack for The Dark Eye. It needs to be downloaded and opened in Excel to properly function. Fate Aventurien is having a fully automated character generation and that super quickly as it uses the Modes approach from Atomic Robo. You pick three modes and they define your skill levels. This game has many skills but they are sorted into distinct categories making such a large list manageable. Play time 1-5 sessions, 3-5 players. 

End Game is a LAOG in wich a professional eSport-team is letting sink in that they lost their position in the commercial league. It is based on a larp by David Hertz. It is played in two separate video call rooms between the players switch back and forth every 10 minutes, hence creating new group dynamics constantly. The game has a GM role in the sense that the facilitator is portraying a series of NPCs. I also made an actual play of the game (be reminded that this was run in two video rooms. Find the link to the second room in the shownotes and watch it in parallel to get the full blast). Play time 2-3 hours, 4-6 players.  


Translations:

Bestienficker is my German language translation of Wendy Gorman's game Beastfucker. It is a larp about a family dynasty worshipping a demon in exchange for power. Play time: 2 hours, 3-5 players. 

Legacy Weapon (Dungeon World supplement, proofreading only)

Perfection is a larp by Jason Morningstar which I have translated to German. It is not publicly available but feel free to ask me. Play time: 2 hours, 3-7 players. 


Games still in development or unfinished drafts:

 Sun and Moon (LAOG, global, pervasive game about love between sun and moon, co-designed with Johanna Kleinen)

Chaos Agenda (PbtA meta game)

Fairy Birthday Crash (party larp)

The Flush (LAOG about masculine identities on a public toilet)

The Voice (LAOG, based on automated subtitles)

Jealousy (LAOG, based on face expressions in monogamous romantic relationships)


Other work

Beyond the character sheet is a research paper I wrote with Prof. Dr. Adrian Hermann for the Japanese Journal of Analog Role-Playing Game Studies.

Here is a short video where we explain the main insights from the paper which explains what makes digital character keepers special and important for the development of the Indie RPG scene

I wrote a manifesto on live-action online game, LAOGs, on the NordicLarp.org

At Konline 2021 I talked about Actual Play of LAOGs

At Gauntlet Community Open Gaming 2021, I organised a panel on making character keepers.  

At GenCon's GENaration Analogue Roleplaying Game Design conference I spoke with Adrian Hermann about character keepers for design. 

At the Vienna based 3W6 convention online edition 2020,  I organised a panel on LAOGs and digital larps with international guests to discuss their experiences. 

On the Gauntlet Podcast I talked about the history of LAOGs and one of my favourite games, Radio Silence. 

In a blog article on NordicLarp.org, I write about Three Forms of LAOGs.