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Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:19 pm
by Nephilim
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Big Hearts in Big Country is a cowboy-themed RPG which centers on what cowboys do best, at least in the movies: staring down the villain in the black hat, waiting for him to twitch, and then being fast on the draw. You’re the guys (or gals) who clean up bad towns.

Featuring six pages of simple rules, a starter setting for gameplay, a simple core mechanic for telling dramatic, character-based stories, a tense, edge-of-your-seat system for high-drama shootouts, and theme-appropriate game materials like poker cards and chips instead of character sheets, "Big Hearts in Big Country" is quick to pick up and play, and focuses on telling stories that would make Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah proud.

...

Okay, so that's the elevator pitch. Big Hearts in Big Country is my entry for the competition using the theme "Cowboys with big hearts." It represents about 7 hours of work (there's no way I'd get 24 hours straight to work on a game!), and there are a few things I didn't manage to get in that I wanted to, but at least I think someone could pick it up and play it as-is.

Some things I'd like to have added:

* Examples of advantages, disadvantages, and cover in the context of the sample setting. More details on rewards and penalties for interacting with the people in the town.
* Example of play that includes a gunfight.
* More personalities for the town, and a map.
* A sample adventure, but I figured the sandbox thing was safer given the time constraints.
* More source material for coming up with characters, since this is a character-centric game.
* More artwork. I found 3 nice CC-licensed photos on Flickr and went with them.
* Better, more attractive page layout. The current layout is okay, but it's nothing too special, either.

Anyway, hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think!

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:24 am
by Rob Lang
Congratulations, Nephilim, it looks really cool. And thank you for the tips. I'll jot those down for when I do mine. I can't say much more just now as the judges are keeping quiet until we do the judging.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:24 am
by Starglim
Great description of the town. I like the way the game follows your chosen topic by a number of rules elements that involve, literally, manipulating hearts (the suit).

Re: Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:32 pm
by Nephilim
Okay, I've been working on fleshing out the rules from Big Hearts in Big Country a little more over the last week or so. It's starting to look really good, and the more I work with it, the happier I am with the original rules I wrote.

I'm finding that I have less cleanup than I originally thought. It's funny - I went back in to add a lot of detail and complexity, and found myself, after much typing, deciding that I liked the simpler, original mechanics better, and deleting everything I'd typed and instead just doing an editing pass on the original content, clarifying what was in my mind as I wrote the thing. I think the 24 hour limitation actually made the game better, because it kept me from going in a direction that would have weakened the game.

Out of my wish list above, I've got just about everything but a map for Sangre de Dios, the sample setting for the game. I'm also a lot happier with the layout:

ImageImage

I'm toying with the idea of commissioning some original artwork to be created for the game, such as portraits of the various characters in Sangre de Dios and some more scenic set piece type illustrations. I know better than to try to illustrate the game myself; I'm not "Mr. Stick Figure," but for a game that's all about mood, drama, and character, I know my drawings wouldn't be able to set the tone I want to set.

I don't have a whole lot of disposable income, so I'm not sure I can justify the cost, though. I've been toying with the idea of trying to make a "deluxe" version of the game I can sell as PDF's or on lulu, but I don't know if there's a market for this stuff at all. Or whether I could expect to recoup even a fraction of the cost of commissioning artwork if I put a PayPal donations button on a web site for it, or sold web ad space, or whatever. Maybe it would be worth the effort to just have a physical book of the game in my hands - I don't know.

Anyway, has anyone else taken what they came up with in a 24 hour RPG competition and gone this route with it?

Re: Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:27 am
by Starglim
Holy moley.

Peril Planet has a version of Verge up on RPGNow free of charge. Personally, I wouldn't see a problem with a cost-only Lulu hard copy version, especially with graphics like this to justify a really nice print.

Re: Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:46 am
by Rob Lang
Loving it. LOVING IT.

Cost only Lulu hardcopy is definitely a good thing. For those that cannot be bothered (or do not have the facility) to print it. Leave the PDF free and the freeness of the internet is ensured!

Re: Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:02 pm
by Nephilim
Here's an excerpt from some of the new content for the game - an example gunfight.
(Excerpt removed to keep the thread shorter, since it is now available in the rules.)

Re: Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:35 am
by Nephilim
I've uploaded a new version of the rules for people to try out:

Big Hearts in Big Country version 2

In this new set of rules, you will find:

  • Rule tweaks and clarifications, including an example of a gunfight.
  • More good guys to befriend and more bad guys to stand against.
  • More detail and story hooks for the sample setting, Sangre De Dios.
  • More detail in the character archetype generator.
  • Spiffier, more western-themed layout.
  • More artwork.
Buen provecho!

Re: Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:41 am
by Rob Lang
Right, Neph. This is annoying. Because of judging I can't plough through this book just yet. However, I am going to add version 2 onto my list of things to review for the Free RPG Blog. Regardless of where it comes in the competition, I'm going to review it.

Re: Entry - Big Hearts in Big Country

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:02 am
by Nephilim
Rob Lang wrote:Right, Neph. This is annoying. Because of judging I can't plough through this book just yet. However, I am going to add version 2 onto my list of things to review for the Free RPG Blog. Regardless of where it comes in the competition, I'm going to review it.


Cool. Looking forward to the review. :)