Playkit & public playtest
We've just wrapped up a big update to Ryne and we wanted to share a little about it. Firstly, we have a new shiny playkit, that you can access from the itch.io page. It has everything you need to play a session or two of Ryne.
Secondly, we're opening up public playtesting. Our aim is to develop Ryne to release it sometime in 2021. We're looking for groups of players to help us to test our rules. In exchange for a little bit of feedback about the game, we'll give you access to the full development rules for Ryne. We'll keep you updated as we make changes and add new rolebooks for you to try out.
The Ryne playkit contains 30 pages of rules, sheets and setting info - everything you need to learn how the game works and play for a session or two. We've been working on it for a little while, we wanted to create something that'd serve as the perfect introduction to Ryne's world and rules.
The Playkit comes with four rolebooks - the Binder, the Fledgling, the Guardian and the Heart. They've been updated quite a lot since the 0.1 rules, with new look and gear options, changes to their moves and a new bond system that is tied to the emotion stats.
It also features a range of tools for the Fates. A short story framework guides them through running the game. It focuses on a group travelling to the top of a mountain to discover what has happened to their territory's remnant. Its written to be collaborative, to give you the skeleton of a story that the Fates and the players can use to shape their game. There's no set territory or remnant, just a set of prompts that your group can build off.
There are also new Territory Sheets. These are used in the full version of Ryne too. They are sheets for the Fates to use to record information about different territories and their remnants. Territories are the new GM-side structure that we're using to help them to prep and run the game. When you create them, you tie them to specific emotions, create moves for the remnant and its envoys and tie in different factions, fronts and threats.
If you check out the playkit, we'd love to hear what you think! If you play it, let us know how it goes.
There are a whole load of changes between version 0.1 and 0.2. We've spent most of the last year overhauling different rules and rolebooks.
Version 0.1 was quickly cobbled together as something that would work for These Flimsy Rituals. It was functional but required a bit of imagination to run it. There were gaps, pieces didn't quite fit together. For version 0.2 we've been spending lots of time really looking at each bit of the system, making lots of changes - small and big - to make things fit together. Its been a bit like taking a machine apart, putting back the parts that we feel are essential. We're pretty happy with where we've got to, the system is starting to feel like its own, purposeful thing.
That's not to say everything is there yet; that's why we'd love for people to help us to playtest the game. We're in fairly active development at the minute, making changes to the rules and testing how things work. We've got some hunches about what works, we've got some areas that we know we'd like to redevelop. For now though, we thought we'd give the run down on what we've changed:
- How to play sections. This is the big one! 0.1 was the skeleton of the rules, it required knowledge of PbtA games to run. There are now guides to how to run the game, how different mechanics work and an introduction to running the game as the Fates.
- Territory creation rules. These are a set of tools that help the Fates structure the game. Whether you're playing in one remnant's territory or travelling through several, the rules help the Fates create interesting story hooks to make the player's lives interesting.
- Spiking has now been replaced with strain. There are more options to choose from when you fill all of an emotions marks, allowing players to decide how their characters react. Do they lash out? Does the emotion linger? Do they push it down?
- Bonds are tied to emotions. When we were playing the game for Flimsy Rituals we got pretty sick of tracking numerical bonds. Now characters have a set number of bonds with other characters. These bonds are tied to the six emotion stats with a specific statement describing what it means, such as "I can always rely on Bris." When characters draw on these bonds in play, they become exhausted. Players can choose to wait to refresh them or test them, potentially changing the nature of their bond (or worse).
- Swapped +1 forward with advantage. Similar to the above, it's a simple change to reduce the amount of tracking you're doing.
- Harm and wear have effects. When you take either now, there are knock-on effects to your moves, emotions and rolls.
- Rolebooks are revised and updated. We've reduced the number of rolebooks, to make sure that the ones we had felt right. We've been really focusing on the purpose of each one and what story they're meant to help tell. We're currently pretty happy with the binder, fledgling, guide and guardian, and we also have the heart, homesteader and spirit in testing.
- Rolebooks now have looks and gear. We've added more options to help players shape their characters. For looks, players pick 3 things from a rolebook specific set of options, giving a brief glimpse at their character's style. Each rolebook also has some bespoke gear including pets, lacquered wagons and long-ignored letters. They're designed to be a mix of useful items and story seeds.
- Advancement has been overhauled. We've changed how both experience and advancement works. Experience is now gained by meeting specific xp triggers tied to each rolebook, which are checked off at the end of the session. Advancement choices have been greatly expanded and are tied to story beats. When a character does specific things during play, they unlock new advancement options. Those beats might be something like falling in love for the first time as the fledgling, or defending your community as the guardian. The options are focused on change as much as growth, letting players slowly evolve their character over time.
- Story moves have been added. These are a set of moves that help you tell specific kinds of stories. Moments peace works like a downtime move, letting characters relax, recover and set scenes. Change something lets you start long-term projects, whether that's starting a ritual, crafting an item or building a mill. Journey helps structure a long segment of travel, with waypoints giving players interesting beats on the road.
We'll be continuing to make changes as we playtest. If you want to help us and get updates, do sign up to our playtest mailing list. You'll automatically get sent the current playtest rules too.
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