Gigacrawler draft playtest, part 2

I have a new computer now, so I can continue testing what I’ve done of Gigacrawler.

My character is a vampire, with the following (above average) stats:

Agility 11
Charisma 15
Willpower 13
Physique 6
Intelligence 14

Technology 7
Magic 7

keywords: KW2.

10 shells.

I start in a hex with the location code M14 (a relatively tolerant town) and a movement number of 3 (which is unlikely to have much effect at this stage).

I start by trying to get more money. I think I’ll beg. Given several options, I choose to just sit looking downtrodden. An entire month of begging gains me only 3 shells.

I now have to choose how much to spend on food and shelter. I can only afford a hovel, which costs me 5 shells (it would have been 15 shells, but it’s cheaper for vampires, since animal blood is cheaper than human food).

This leaves me with 8 shells. Poverty also reduces my Willpower by 4 points.

As the second month starts, I realize I’m going to need more money. I decide to resort to burglary. This succeeds, gaining me 150 shells. However I lose another 2 points of Willpower, either from guilt or the temptation to become a full-time burglar rather than a wandering adventurer (Willpower is specifically your character’s will to continue wandering).

I decide to look for companions. I spend 2 shells (down to 156 shells), and meet an otherworldly child named Alice Liddell, who claims to be able to teach me magic.

I decide to spend the rest of the month recovering, and to live as well as a prosperous citizen, which costs me 45 shells (leaving 111) including paying for Alice, and brings my Willpower back to its full value.

In the third month, I decide to look for somewhere better. Three months’ rations for Alice and myself costs a total of 54 shells (leaving 57). As it turns out, the journey only takes 2 months, but the destination is disappointing: a village (at least one which is tolerant of wandering adventurers).

That, I decide, is enough testing for today. The systems I’ve done seem to work well enough. However I think getting companions is far too cheap and easy, and I would prefer begging to get you more money, but also carry more risks (getting kidnapped for example).

Gigacrawler draft playtest

I’ve written a bit over 10,000 words of Gigacrawler. This covers the basics of character creation, and stuff that you can do in settlements. However I want to start playtesting it as early in the process as possible. So this is a self-playtest, which I’ll be blogging as I do it.

First of all I roll my character’s attributes. This is done with the familiar 3d6.

Agility 11
Charisma 15
Willpower 13
Physique 6
Intelligence 14

Since I have at least one high (13+) and one low (8-) attribute, I don’t have to alter my attributes.

My highest attribute is Charisma, so my character is a vampire. This means that my Technology score is 2d6 (capped at my Intelligence-1). My Magic score is my Intelligence minus my Technology. I roll 7, so my scores are

Technology 7
Magic 7

I have the keyword KW2 (which just indicates that I’m a vampire).

Like all characters, I start with 10 shells (cowrie shells are the currency of the setting).

Now I roll for the starting hex, and get M14–a relatively tolerant town–with a movement number of 3 (this is relevant to moving around the board, and probably won’t matter much at this stage).

That’s character creation. I was going to go on to the main game, but my computer stopped working and I ran out of time. So I’ll continue this in another post.

Coils of Hate

CoilsofHate

The original cover.

Stuart Lloyd has created and published an edited version of the fondly-remembered, but famously badly-structured, Steve Bannon biography gamebook Coils of Hate. Get it for free here (possibly quickly, lest it get taken down). EDIT: No, the author has given permission.

Gigacrawler map

As always, looking for feedback.

This is an explanation of how movement works in Gigacrawler.

The player doesn’t have to learn this information before the game starts: it’s presented step by step in the paragraphs as they play.

hexexampleThe Gigastructure can’t be represented in two (or even three) dimensions. Distances may be different depending on the direction traveled. This is represented by movement numbers.

Each hex has three numbers. The top number, pre-printed, is unique to each hex. This allows you to make notes on what you find.

The middle number is the paragraph number. When you come to a hex which already has number you either turn to the paragraph corresponding to that number. When you come to a hex without a paragraph number you roll on a table, fill in the result, and then turn to the corresponding number.

The bottom network is the movement number. When you come to a new hex you roll a dice. 5s count as 2, and 6s as 3. 1-4 are counted as rolled.

When you leave a hex you move a number of hexes equal to the hex’s movement number, in any of the six cardinal directions.

There are three entities who may be entreated when moving:

Yafir, the Lady of the Spaces Between, allows you to move ‘diagonally’, as per the diagram below.
Yiraf, The Exalted Crone of the Far Places, allows you to add 1 to the movement number of the hex.
Yirah, the Infant Lord of the Near Places, allows you to subtract 1 from the movement number (therefore he can’t be entreated in hexes whose movement number is 1).

yafiregExample of entreating Yafir. If the movement number of hex A were 1, the player could move from A to any of the hexes marked B. If the movement number of hex A were 2, they could move from hex A to either of the hexes marked C.

Gigacrawler character creation v2

[Step 1 and 2 are the same as in the original version]

Determine background

Your character’s background depends on which attribute is the highest.

If your character has a tie for highest, randomly choose between the tied attributes.

Highest attribute Background
Agility Citizen of the repeating city of Black Creek, Wyoming
Charisma Vampire
Intelligence Citizen of the repeating city of Atlantis
Willpower Robot
Physique Neanderthal

[in the real game, each background will send you to its own paragraph.]

Citizen of Black Creek, Wyoming

If your Intelligence is less than 6, increase it to 6, and decrease your Agility by the same amount). This is done so that your character can safely use a pistol.

You are good at riding, and start with 6 bullets. In a world mostly made of metal, anyone could make a pistol. However gunpowder and cordite–and hence bullets–are rare. [Needs a disadvantage]

Your Tech Level is 6. Your Magic Level is your Intelligence minus 6.

Vampire

You appear to be merely an attractive and/or persuasive human. However, where a human being would normally be liked or respected, you can completely dominate the weak-minded.

You are harmed by sunlight, although this will normally not be a problem in the Gigacrawler setting.

You require blood (not necessarily human blood) to live. Going without blood does not just make you weaker, but also makes you less in control of yourself. You usually look like a normal human, but your vampirism becomes more obvious if you go without blood. Particular kinds of magic or technology might also reveal your condition.

If you have fed recently, you can perform feats which are impossible for humans–for example climbing up the side of a building–at the cost of great fatigue.

Roll two dice. Your Tech Level is the total of the two dice, or your Intelligence, whichever is lower. Your Magic Level is your Intelligence minus your Tech Level.

Citizen of Atlantis

You are bad at fighting and bargaining, since neither of these things happen in Atlantis. For the same reason, you find eating meat repellent. Unlike all other characters other than robots, you don’t lose Willpower in the stultifying city of Atlantis.

Your Tech Level is equal to your Intelligence. However, if your Intelligence is over 15, your Tech Level is only 15.

Your Magic Level is also equal to your Intelligence, and also has a maximum level of 15. This is a significant advantage: most characters have a Tech Level and Magic Level which add up to their Intelligence.

Robot

You are immune to disease, less likely to have a soul, damaged by water and sandstorms, and don’t heal naturally but can get repaired. Unlike all other characters other than citizens of Atlantis, you don’t lose Willpower in the stultifying city of Atlantis.

Your Tech Level is your Intelligence minus 1. Your Magic Level is 1.

Neanderthal

You gain Willpower in wilderness, but lose it in all cities. You are bad at bargaining, but good at hunting and gathering.

Your Tech Level is 3. Your Magic Level is your Intelligence minus 3.

Gigacrawler – character creation.

Please let me know what you think. Especially interested in suggestions for more backgrounds.

There are three steps to creating a character:

  1. Roll for attributes.
  2. Adjust attributes.
  3. Determine background.

Roll for attributes

Roll the three dice, and total them. This is your Agility score. It’s best to write softly and use a pencil, because you might adjust one or two scores in the next step.

Roll again for your Charisma score. Then do the same for Intelligence, Willpower and Physique.

Note that there are two boxes for Physique: ‘Starting Physique’ and ‘Current Physique’. Write your Physique score in both boxes. Do the same for Willpower.

Note that you don’t roll for your Tech Level or Magic Level. These scores are generated when you roll for background.

Adjust attributes

Look at your highest score. If this score is 12 or less, raise it to 13. If you have two or more scores that are tied for highest and they’re 12 or less, randomly pick one and raise that to 13.

Now look at your lowest score. If this score is 9 or more, lower it to 8. Again, in case of a tie randomly choose one score.

Your character will therefore have at least one score of 13 or more, and at least one score of 8 or less.

Roll for background

At this stage you must roll a ‘d66’. This means that you nominate one die to indicate tens, and the other two indicate ones, then roll them. For example, if the ‘tens’ die shows 3 and the ‘ones’ die shows 4, the result will be 34.

Every background has attribute requirements. If your character’s attributes don’t meet the requirements of the background you rolled, roll again until you get one your character does meet.

Note that these requirements aren’t realistic. People from futuristic societies, for example, are unlikely to be any more intelligent than people from the Old West. These levels are set mainly so that all player-characters will be familiar with the technology of their background.

Result Attribute requirements Background
11-21 Intelligence must be at least 13 Citizen of the repeating city of Atlantis
22-32 Intelligence must be at least 4 Citizen of the repeating city of Black Creek, Wyoming
33-44 Charisma must be 14 or less Robot
45-55 Strength must be higher than both Charisma and Intelligence Neanderthal
56-66 Intelligence must be at least 13 From a technologically advanced society

[in the real game, each background will send you to its own paragraph.]

Citizen of Atlantis

You are bad at fighting and bargaining, since neither of these things happen in Atlantis. For the same reason, you find eating meat repellent. Unlike all other characters other than robots, you don’t lose Willpower in the stultifying city of Atlantis.

Your Tech Level is equal to your Intelligence. However, if your Intelligence is over 15, your Tech Level is only 15.

Your Magic Level is also equal to your Intelligence, and also has a maximum level of 15. This is a significant advantage: most characters have a Tech Level and Magic Level which add up to their Intelligence.

Citizen of Black Creek, Wyoming

Your are good at riding, and start with 6 bullets. In a world mostly made of metal, anyone could make a pistol. However gunpowder and cordite–and hence bullets–are rare. [Needs a disadvantage]

Your Tech Level is 6. Your Magic Level is your Intelligence minus 6.

Robot

You are immune to disease, less likely to have a soul, damaged by water and sandstorms, and don’t heal naturally but can get repaired. Unlike all other characters other than citizens of Atlantis, you don’t lose Willpower in the stultifying city of Atlantis.

Your Tech Level is your Intelligence minus 1. Your Magic Level is 1.

Neanderthal

You gain Willpower in wilderness, but lose it in all cities. You are bad at bargaining, but good at hunting and gathering.

Your Tech Level is 3.

From a futuristic society

You lose Willpower in the wilderness. [Needs an advantage]

Gigacrawler intro – new versions.

Two versions. Please let me know what you think.

It is the last age of the universe. There is no such thing as a planet, a star, or space. The universe is filled with tunnels of stone, glass, metal, and stranger materials. This may be because of hyper-urbanization and eons of alchemical warfare. It may be that our ancestors uploaded themselves into software, and what we call the universe is produced by a now-corrupted computer. It may be that God is senile.

To some, the repeated cities are the surest sign of the madness of the world. These are identical copies of settlements from Earth’s past, which appeared apparently all at once and throughout the entire universe: the 19th century frontier town of Black Creek Wyoming; the first city, Ur, with its alien ‘gods’; Atlantis at the height of its power; and the greatest city of the Age of Three Suns, Telelee.

Gigacrawler is a single-player adventure game. It works in a similar way to the Choose Your Own Adventure series and other gamebooks: players will choose from a number of decisions, which direct them to different paragraphs in the game. Unlike most gamebooks, the universe is different every time, and the best decision will be different depending on the player’s character. This means that the game doesn’t lose its interest after a player has won. The players will explore the setting, winning the game if they find true love for themselves and their companions, gather enough wealth, or uncover the true origin of the state of the universe (which may be different in each game). They might bargain with the Devil, become their own lover or their own arch-enemy, or freeze themselves for a thousand years and hope things get better.

Gigacrawler is a setting by multiple Ennie award winner Zak Smith, of the D&D With Porn Stars blog and the video series I Hit It With My Axe. It is written by James Hutchings, the creator of the online game Age of Fable.


It is the last age of the universe. There is no such thing as a planet, a star, or space. The universe is filled with tunnels of stone, glass, metal, and stranger materials. This may be because of hyper-urbanization and eons of alchemical warfare. It may be that our ancestors uploaded themselves into software, and what we call the universe is produced by a now-corrupted computer. It may be that God is senile.

Gigacrawler is a single-player adventure game. It works in a similar way to the Choose Your Own Adventure series and other gamebooks: players will choose from a number of decisions, which direct them to different paragraphs in the game. Unlike most gamebooks, the universe is different every time, and the best decision will be different depending on the player’s character. This means that the game doesn’t lose its interest after a player has won. The players will explore the setting, winning the game if they find true love for themselves and their companions, gather enough wealth, or uncover the true origin of the state of the universe (which may be different in each game). They might bargain with the Devil, become their own lover or their own arch-enemy, or freeze themselves for a thousand years and hope things get better.

Gigacrawler is a setting by multiple Ennie award winner Zak Smith, of the D&D With Porn Stars blog and the video series I Hit It With My Axe. It is written by James Hutchings, the creator of the online game Age of Fable.