Gigacrawler draft – third playtest – part 3 and summary

As the third month begins, my robot character is close to losing the will to live and nearly crippled (current Willpower and Agility both 2).

I decide to look for a loan. Since I’ve got a high Charisma (thanks to the cuddlon bombardment) I try to negotiate rather than just taking the standard terms. It turns out that the roll is actually based on Willpower and Intelligence, but I’m still able to get a better deal. I borrow 200 shells, with 5% interest (ie 210 shells) due in a year.

Negotiating the loan took the rest of the month. I decide to “live as well as a prosperous citizen” this month, which costs 55 shells. Unluckily, this doesn’t do anything to raise me out of my near-despair.

I decide to try to find some adventuring companions. This time my high Charisma is useful, as I meet a sullen-eyed barbarian named Conan. I decide to take the rest of the month off, live as well as I can, and then leave the city in search of adventure.

This brings my Willpower up to 8.

I decide to go north, towards the temple of one of the groups of supposed angels. Before setting out on my journey I buy 3 months’ worth of human rations and 3 months’ worth of robot rations for myself. This uses up all of my loan except for 2 shells.

The journey actually takes only 2 months. We end up a new city, one far more hostile to wandering adventurers. I’d prefer to move on immediately, but I don’t have the money to buy more rations. I decide to turn to crime. Through sheer luck my burglary is successful, and we gain 150 shells.

This leaves us ready to set out again, and in the following condition:

Agility 3/7
Charisma 16
Willpower 8/16
Physique 14
Intelligence 11

Year 1 Month 7.

152 shells.

Loan: 210 shells due in Year 2 Month 3, at starting city.

Companion: Conan

Rations: 1 human, 1 robot.

KW4 [am a robot]
KW10 [have encountered cuddlon scientist]
KW17 [have met Conan]

The system seems to be working pretty well. I’ve found a few things that I reworded, but I haven’t changed any actual rules in the last playtest. This doesn’t mean that I’ve added everything to the game that I want to add–far from it. But I’m ready to have someone else play it and give feedback; first my girlfriend (with me able to clarify things if needed), and then ‘blind’ playtesting ie testing by strangers without me to explain anything.

I’d like to know what people think of these playtest posts. Does it sound like a game you’d be interested in playing? If not, why not?

My ultimate plan is to publish this as both a printed book, and possibly also as an ebook. In the ebook the paragraph numbers will be links–so if it says ‘turn to 20’ you can press the number and it takes you to paragraph 20.

Gigacrawler draft – third playtest – part 2

Having rolled up my robot, I’m ready to start adventuring.

(side note: I’ve gotten a different character type each time I’ve rolled one, but this is a happy coincidence–I haven’t fudged any of the rolls)

For the first month, I try to increase my mediocre Intelligence (which, if successful, will allow me to improve Magic or Technology). My studies lead me to a book, owned by a scientist who offers to let me read it, in return for being bombarded with cuddlons, the particles responsible for cuteness. I agree.

The cuddlons make me more attractive, increasing my Charisma to 16. Reading the book increases my Intelligence by 1.

At the end of the month, I have to decide how much to spend on food and board (in my character’s case it’s fuel rather than food, but the mechanics are the same). Since I’m so poor, I have to live on the street and eat waste. Luckily, as a robot, I’m able to roll against Intelligence to avoid any bad effects, and do so successfully.

In the second month, I decide to try and get some more money. I’m offered a job as a professional mourner, but turn out not to have the right build for the job. I’m fired after earning only 5 shells, which lowers my current Willpower. I decide to work as a laborer instead, which earns me 15 more shells but lowers my Agility and Willpower, to the point where I’m almost crippled and suicidal.

In the hope of keeping my Willpower up, I decide to live in a hovel and buy food, the best option I can afford. This costs 15 shells, and results in me losing 2 points of Willpower–still in the game, but obviously very low.

At the start of the third month of the game, the situation is as follows:

15 shells.

Month 3 Year 1.

Agility 2/7
Charisma 16
Willpower 2/16
Physique 14
Intelligence 11

KW4 [am a robot]
KW10 [have encountered cudlon scientist]

This is the map. M18 is my starting city (where I still am). M29, M30, M31 and M32 are the ‘angel’ cities.

Gigacrawler draft – third playtest – character creation

Having rewritten the ‘logic puzzle’ element of Gigacrawler, I’m going to test it further.

Rolling for abilities I get the following:

Agility 7
Charisma 10
Willpower 16
Physique 14
Intelligence 10

Once again I don’t have to raise or lower an attribute.

My highest attribute is Willpower. This means I’m a robot, with Magic 1 and Technology 9.

My starting hex is M18 (“A city which is tolerant of wandering adventurers such as yourself”), with movement number 3.

KW4 [robot]

Follow-up question about Gigacrawler

The ‘logic puzzle’ element of Gigacrawler seems to be too easy.

I had a couple of ideas of how to change it:

i) Have 5 cities instead of 3: 2 always lie, 2 might lie or tell the truth, and 1 always tells the truth and is the one you’re after.

ii) Don’t have set locations for the temples: instead you have to wander around and find them.

Obviously I could always abandon the logic puzzle idea altogether.

Please let me know what you think.

Gigacrawler question.

Looking again at the ‘logic puzzle’ element of Gigacrawler, I wanted to know if people found this too hard, too easy, or what.

The situation is essentially this:

There are three people, A, B or C. One always lies, one always tells the truth, and one might lie or might tell the truth.

Both A and B tell me that C is the one who might lie or tell the truth.

What, if anything, is it possible to work out from this? Answers in the comments.

None of this is a spoiler btw, because the angels are different each time.

Gigacrawler draft–second playtest–part 3.

I’ve changed the rules so that characters have to recover from a successful attempt at magical travel.

My Atlantean character has found themselves in the Navel of God, a rare area of wilderness in the Gigastructure–but home to no animal life larger than an insect.

Unable to travel by magic, and too feeble to risk traveling on foot, my character is forced to try to survive here. I spend a month living on what I can gather, and heal half the damage from landing badly.

I’m now able to travel by magic again, and choose to do so. This time I invoke Yafir, the Exalted Crone of the Far Places.

I find myself in another example of the repeating city of Telelee.

I could spend the last of my shells to catapult to the southwestern angels’ hex. However I’m going to need to get some money eventually, and I decide to do so here (a city) rather than there (a town). Thus I decide to beg. Rather than dance and sing, or pretend to be crippled, I just sit looking downtrodden. Several weeks of begging earn me 15 shells.

There are several options for how much money to spend on food and shelter. I decide to spend nothing, and live on the streets. This causes me to suffer in both mind and body (Willpower and Physique).

I decide to travel by catapult again, for the cost of 5 shells. This was a bad idea because, with my low Agility, I should have predicted what happens: I land badly, and almost kill myself.

However, I’m where I want to be. I visit the second group of self-proclaimed angels. These angels are said to look like human shapes made of fire, with six wings, which they must fold over themselves to avoid burning those to whom they appear. I visit their temple, and their priest tells me that “The false, beautiful angels of the southeast sometimes lie and sometimes tell the truth.”–exactly the same thing that the angels of the north told me.

My character, nearly broken physically and mentally, ponders what this could mean.

Agility 7
Charisma 11
Willpower 5 / 3
Physique 11 / 1
Intelligence 15

Year 1 Month 3

Technology: 15
Magic: 15

15 shells

KW3 [Atlantean]
KW90 [last temple I visited was the southwest one]
LOGE, LOGF [keywords from consulting temple priests]
KW28 [have generated the Navel of God]
KW88 [can’t travel by magic until rest]


The angels of the north, AND those of the southwest told me that “The false, beautiful angels of the southeast sometimes lie and sometimes tell the truth.”

The map looks like this:

M29, M30 and M31 are the locations of the beings claiming to be angels.
M14 is the town I started in.
M24 is Telelee. There are two instances of Telelee. I’m in the one to the south.
M20 is the Navel of God.

Gigacrawler draft–second playtest–part 2.

My character, an Atlantean, finds themselves in the repeating city of Telelee.

I decide to use Telelee’s system of long-distance transport catapults. This costs 5 shells, leaving me with 5.

Nothing happens on the way, and I was aimed at the correct hex. However, having a low Agility, I land badly, losing 4 points from my Physique (the equivalent of hit points).

The movement number of the new hex is 2.

In this hex there’s a town, built around the temple to a supposed group of angels. They’re said to look like a wheel within another wheel, both rimmed with eyes. Characters can do normal things like stealing, begging or looking for work in this town, but I decide to go to the temple and consult the priests. The priests tell me that “The false, beautiful angels of the southeast sometimes lie and sometimes tell the truth.”

I decide to travel on immediately, to the temple in the southwest. Once again I decide to travel by magic. The option that will get me closest to my desired destination is to evoke Yiraf, the Maiden of the Spaces Between, who will allow me to move ‘diagonally’.

Once again I’m successful, and end up in “a rare area of wilderness in the Gigastructure: a valley called the Navel of God”.

At this point I realize a flaw in the rules: with my Magic as high as it is, it’s possible to travel by magic using up little or no time. So I’m going to add a new rule which forces you to spend time recovering before you can travel by magic again.

At this point my character is as follows:

Agility 7
Charisma 11
Willpower 5
Physique 11 / 7
Intelligence 15

Technology: 15
Magic: 15

KW3 [Atlantean]
KW89 [Last temple I visited was the north one]
LOGE [keyword from consulting temple priests]
KW28 [have generated the Navel of God]


The angels of the north told me that “The false, beautiful angels of the southeast sometimes lie and sometimes tell the truth.”

The map looks like this:

M29, M30 and M31 are the locations of the beings claiming to be angels.
M14 is the town I started in.
M24 is Telelee.
M20 is my current location, the Navel of God.

Gigacrawler draft–second playtest–part 1.

I’ve written a lot more of Gigacrawler since I tested it, so I’m going to do so again.

Rolling for attributes I get the following:

Agility 7
Charisma 11
Willpower 5
Physique 11
Intelligence 15

Once again I have at least one high (13+) and one low (8-) attribute, so I don’t have to alter my attributes (I think it will be quite rare to have to adjust attributes).

Since the character’s highest attribute is Intelligence, they’re an Atlantean. This means that they have high Technology and Magic:

Technology: 15
Magic: 15

Being an Atlantean gives them various disadvantages, such as being bad at fighting and bargaining.

KW3 [Atlantean]

As with all characters, my character starts with 10 cowrie shells (the currency of the setting).

They start in settlement type M14–“A town which is relatively tolerant of wandering adventurers such as yourself.” The movement number of the hex is 2 (this affects moving to a new hex).

Since last time, I’ve added another way of winning to the game. There are three hexes, each of which contains a group of beings who claim to be angels. Choose one, and you’re taken to Heaven or Hell, instantly winning or losing the game. You work out which group is the true one using statements they make, which are in a similar format to ‘knights and knaves’ logic puzzles (the ones where some people always lie and others always tell the truth).

The starting hex isn’t very good. So, since my Magic is high, I think I’ll leave the settlement immediately, using Magic to travel instantly. I decide to travel north, invoking Yafir, the Exalted Crone of the Far Places, to move 1 more than the movement number.

I roll two dice, counting 1s as -5 and 6s as 12. The result is 7, which is a success since it’s under my Magic score.

The new hex turns out to have code M24–the repeating city of Telelee, and the best place in the game to find companions–and a movement number of 2.

I’ll leave it there for now, while I decide whether to look for companions, or travel on immediately.

The board currently looks like this:

M29, M30 and M31 are the locations of the beings claiming to be angels. M14 is the town I started in, and M24 is my current location of Telelee.

Someone’s been reading my unpublished novel


Actually I think there are two main kinds of cliche fantasy settings. The first, which this map is going for, is probably ultimately derived from Middle-earth. The main cultures are vaguely Dark Ages northern European (although this map has one ‘exotic city’, just as Middle-earth has Southrons).

The other main kind of setting is the ‘kitchen sink’ setting where each area is a different thing that the author thought was cool. The original of this is probably Robert E Howard’s Hyborian Age, where you have one country of chivalrous knights, one that’s ancient Egypt, one that’s vikings and so on. This is a science fiction version of the same idea:


Published role-playing settings seem to tend towards ‘kitchen sinks’, such as Rifts and D&D’s Mystara. I suppose this is partly a commercial decision, so they can keep putting out setting material.