Hubris Box: A draft

Hubris Box is a diceless roleplaying game that I wrote based on a core mechanic created by Paul Richardson.1 In a game of Hubris Box, players collaboratively tell the story of a protagonist whose ambition spurs them to greatness before they are destroyed by their own flaws.

I posted about Hubris Box before, in a three-part series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) that presented the rules I developed for the game and an example of play that depicted the musical Hamilton as a session of Hubris Box with three players. Hamilton made sense to me as an example because it fit the narrative structure I was aiming for, but it turns out that a lot of people avoided reading those blog posts because they hadn’t listened to Hamilton yet.

Therefore, here are the rules for my version of Hubris Box with the play example removed. If anyone gives it a try, please please please let me know how it goes and what you think. This is a first draft and will almost certainly need tweaking, and I’d appreciate any feedback I get. Thanks!

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TinyFate rules: Rob Donoghue stole my thunder, and it’s wonderful

After my last blog post, when I talked about using Rob Donoghue’s TinyFate and expanding it into a fully functioning game, I had a whole series of blog posts planned. My next post was going to be a write-up of the rules of TinyFate as a full game.

Before I could do that, though, I was ninja’d by Rob Donoghue himself. Rob saw my last post (awesome) and shared it on Google Plus (awesome!) and now he’s decided to write up TinyFate himself (super awesome!). He’s done two drafts so far (here’s the first and here’s the second), and it looks like a cool game even if it isn’t exactly the way that I ran it. (Rob even credits me at the end! Sooo awesome.)

As a result, I’ve decided not to write up a document for the rules that I used in my version. However, I am still going to post my rules reference that I used for the Monster Mash Meets the Martians one-shot. This is the document that I gave to my players, so it’s not a complete game. It leaves out a lot of the set up and GM’s responsibilities, which the players didn’t need to know, and some conventions were established during play that haven’t been added (e.g. the default difficulty is +2).

I think it could be interesting as a compare-and-contrast with Rob Donoghue’s version, so I’ve added some of the major differences and my review of them at the end of this post.

Without further ado, here is the rules reference for Monster Mash Meets the Martians!

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The complete Smallville Plot Points reference list

Smallville Roleplaying Game Corebook coverI’ve mentioned Smallville before. Several times now, I think. Despite being a licensed property, it’s essentially a setting-free game using the Cortex Plus engine, which is designed to model the genre of soap operas, specifically super-powered teenage soap operas.

I love the game, but having run three campaigns and played in a fourth, I know that it’s not perfect. I can see the cracks. Someday I’ll discuss my issues with the mechanics, but for now I want to talk about the core book itself.

The problem

Put bluntly, the book is laid out terribly. There is no index and it is almost impossible to cross-reference. Some rules are mentioned in only one place, which can be hidden in the middle of paragraphs or even in sidebar examples. In some places it even contradicts itself. For example, the number of Plot Points given out to players at the start of a session is explained in exactly two places, and they give different answers.

A lot of these little annoyances are fixed in online errata (the number of Plot Points given out at the start of a session depends on how many players in the group, for example), and in subsequent material (The Watchtower Report, and more especially the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide), but the core book itself remains unwieldy.

Plot Points, by the way, are the game’s currency. They flow between players and the GM throughout the game. In a perfect example of how badly the core book is structured, there is no list of all the things that Plot Points do. There is a list on page 9 of the core book, but it’s not complete.

Therefore, I present here a full list of everything you can do with Plot Points during a game of Smallville. How you can Spend them, Earn them, and other ways you might receive them.

To players of Smallville, I hope this is useful. I always give this list to my players in every session (and keep one for myself, of course). For everyone else, it is not intended to tell you how the game works, but it may give you a flavour of it. If you’ve never played Smallville before, I do recommend giving it a try.

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