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Varsity Final Development Update and Announcement

Last time I posted about Varsity was over two months ago, when I discussed the game's Break Moves and discussed the game's then-soon Kickstarter release date. At the time, I had lofty goals for the game's art design, direction, and release. I was in talks with a publisher, and was feeling over the moon about the game's release. In the time since that post, a lot has happened in my life—good and bad—which has made me realize that this sort of grandiose planning is better saved for projects in the future. I'm a young adult, a fresh college graduate who's just started a new job, and I don't have the expendable capital or connections to do everything with Varsity that I would like to do at the moment. In particular, I worry that a failed Kickstarter for the game would discourage me from trying something like this again in the future.  That said, I am still very passionate about Varsity  and its mechanics. Besides, the game is finished! It's been heavily p
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Exploring Downtime in Varsity — Sports Anime RPG

 Last time, I talked about the playable classes in Varsity, including the popular tropes I emulated when designing them. This week, I'm talking about downtime in the game. While the sports games themselves are obviously the crux of a sports anime game, making up the biggest climaxes and driving most of the narrative arcs in the story. Break time, however, can be just as important—exploring the characters outside of their roles in their team, giving them the space they need to breathe, introducing and interacting with outside characters like family and friends, and showing the ramifications of what happened in a match. I'll first go over the general definition of "Break Time," mechanically and in universe. Then I'll break down each of the moves that you can use during a Break! A Break is considered any time that you aren't in a sports match in-universe. In other words, any time the sports clock isn't counting down is Break time. This includes the smallest

Sports Anime Tropes as Player Characters — Exploring the Playbooks in "Varsity"

  Last week I introduced Varsity , a Powered by the Apocalypse tabletop game that I'm developing that seeks to capture the feeling of the sports anime genre. I talked about the game's basic moves, which are split up between Game Moves and Break Moves, as well as the concept of "key moments" which you fight over during in-game matches. This week I'm going to talk about the 'playbooks,' the classes that you can choose from when making your own "Ace" player character. Each playbook covers a different common trope, and ties into the game mechanics in a different way. I'll go over the trope I was imitating with each playbook, and then discuss a little of how my mechanics reflect those tropes.  If you want to skip around, I'll put the names and descriptions for each playbook first so you can find and read the ones you're most interested in first.  “The Ally”: While you may not be the best player on the team, your connection to your teamma

Baseball in Dungeons and Dragons? — Trying Something Weird in D&D

(Naoni, our cursed wood elf ranger, donning his baseball uniform for the first time. Art by his player, lycanthroopy on twitter ) A while ago I posted a handout on twitter for a new 5th edition campaign I was starting called Dungeons x Dragons . The campaign's premise follows a group of novice adventurers as they enter the dangerous Adventurer's Exam alongside nearly 600 other applicants. At the end of the exam, less than ten applicants will pass and get their "Adventurer's License," a document which certifies them as an elite Pro Adventurer. The whole concept is heavily inspired by Hunter x Hunter, a manga that is a big favorite among myself and most of the players.  Having just survived a grueling week on Bumbo Island, an Australasian remote island where every living organism on the island is at least a Challenge Rating 3, the party of player characters earned their way into the Third Phase of the Adventurer's Exam. It was time for a big change of pace... I

Announcing "Trying Something Weird in D&D 5e"

 I've been playing Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition since it came out, minus a few months. It was one of my gateways into rpgs, and I DMed a lot of it in the "D&D Club" in college. Since I first played 5e, I've branched out and found a lot of ttrpgs, especially indie games, that fit my interests and mechanical desires a lot better than 5e. Even so, I keep finding myself running 5e—probably thanks to its massive popularity, especially in the modern day.  I'm not someone who is easily satisfied, so I end up hacking or homebrewing parts basically any game I play after I've played around in it for a few sessions. D&D 5e is definitely the biggest example of this. I've made probably a hundred or so homebrew monsters for my campaigns over the past 6 years, as well as three or four in depth rule hacks to help capture the vibe of different campaigns I've run. Since I started Tabletop Atelier , a blog which is going to focus a lot on my own tabletop ga

Capturing the Sports Anime Feeling - Introducing "Varsity," a Sports Anime PbtA

 Early this year I announced Varsity, my sports anime inspired Powered by the Apocalypse game.  Outside of a teaser image for the game beautifully created by @IdleCharles on Twitter, I haven't actually teased too much about what makes the game unique. In this article, I want to go a little into what makes Varsity tick, and what I have done to capture everything I love about the sports anime genre. Core Mechanics Varisty is a Powered by the Apocalypse game, and follows a lot of the most fundamental traditions of the system. It's a "story game," and prioritizes the collaborative storytelling element of tabletop games. It uses two d6s as its only dice and considers a roll of 6 or lower as a failure, 7-9 as a partial success, and 10+ as a success. Also, the GM (or "Referee") doesn't roll any dice.  Every moment in the life of your player character—known in Varsity as your "Ace"—revolves around the big Game. Whether you are a modern day high scho