Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

Archive for the ‘The Imp Of The Perverse’ Category

The Most Poetical Thing In The World

Posted by Nathan P. on February 6, 2007

“…the death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world; and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover.” – Edgar A. Poe, ‘The Philosophy Of Composition’

When you have a Jack in your resolution hand (all of the cards of the suit that your Trait uses, counted in both the Cross and your 4 Futures), it means a death must be involved. When you have Queen, it means the death of a beautiful woman. When you have a King, it means the death of that which you hold most dear. When you have an Ace, it means your own death.

The highest card among those is the one that you count; you can choose not to count it, and instead give it into your opponents futures.

You can probably also only use Malocchio’s and Lusus Naturae if you have a face card in your “hand”, but I’m still not sure how those work.


Posted in The Imp Of The Perverse | 3 Comments »

Dreamation AughtSeven, Part Deux

Posted by Nathan P. on February 1, 2007

Whew. I’ve actually been, like, working on games the last couple days (not to mention real life work), so my desire to get this post written has ebbed. But if I don’t get it down tonite, I’ll probably forget so many things that it won’t be worth writing.

Now, where was I?

Ah, yes…


So, with a solid 3 hours and 15 minutes of sleep under my belt, I dragged my ass out of bed and wended my way down to the game room for my 9am session of carry. Surprisingly enough, I had four players; Don, one of many Matt’s, Jeff (who has played the game before and in fact ran a session of it at a NC Gameday event(!)), and Greg.

Don played Daniel “Locker” Jones, with a Burden of having persistant shell shock and continually seeking releif in drink, drugs and faith; Matt played Efram “Chameleon” Osgood, with a Burden revolving about being scared to go home to his pregnant girlfriend who doesn’t answer his letters; Jeff played a trigger-happy and authority-hating Anaconda; and Greg played my favorite iteration of Cowboy so far, who saw the war as his ticket out of the pig farm, but now he was lost and adrift in a country he hated.

Our story ended up revolving around one of the Fodder characters, Elmo “Saint” Smith, and how his general irresponsibility and drug pushing contributed to the devestation and capture of the squad by the NVA. We had a lot of really solid Burden-addressing scenes and conflicts, and the first Action scene of the game saw I think the largest amount of fallout I’ve had yet – 31 points for poor Don to spend killing his own squad.

We had a really solid sequence in a Vietnamese village that started with Cowboy impaling a VC assassin on his bayonet (but he was justified in the eyes of the others!), and ended with I think all of the characters addressing part of their Burden’s and leaving the village peacefully.

Anyway, another solid game, and I was pleased that we managed to hold it together that early in the morning.

I grabbed lunch with Adam and Jeff (of the Sons of Kryos), who I kind of forcibly introduced, but we had a nice lunch talking game design, geek culture and all the wierdness that is the SCA.

I took a double booth shift that afternoon, and ended up talking a bunch with Shreyas and Bill White (Mr. Ganakagok). Sold some games, too, though I wasn’t pushing too hard. Dreamation isn’t a big sales con (or so we thought….), and I didn’t really feel comfortable trying to pitch people on stuff unless they obviously wanted to know more about a particular game. There was definitly a sale pattern, where sales would peak right before and right after the scheduled game sessions, as people either decided to pick something up before they forgot, or had gotten out of an awesome game and decided to grab it right away. During the game time, it was much more relaxed.

Oh, and did I mention that the first printing of carry sold out after my morning game? Which was unfortunate, because some people (Dave!) wanted to get it, but weren’t around until the afternoon, and it was gone gone gone. It’s the worse kind of good, and I should have more soon – but hey, I sold out! Hooray!

Anyhow, it was ticking down to my 8 pm slot, which I had scheduled to run Timestream. But, what with the no sleep and the sitting down all afternoon and the having two intense sessions under my belt already, I was really not feeling the good vibes, especially for a scenario that I haven’t run before and wasn’t sure was going to be fun. But I was all “well, only Adam and Shreyas are signed up to play it anyway, so I’ll cancel and we can playtest one of their games instead!”

Then I went up to my paper on the big board upstairs, and uh-oh…..4 other signups! The hell? After some waffling, I decided that it was actually more pressure to try and make a 6-person game work, and I just wasn’t up to it. So I tracked down those I knew, and made sure to talk to the other people when they showed up, and it was fine. Except one woman seemed really angry, but it didn’t feel like it was because of the game being cancelled, it was more that the game was cancelled. If you get me.

Oh, and the IGE party was in there as well! I ate Kat Millers With Great Chili… and chatted and was generally satisfied.

So, I cancelled Timestream, and played Shreyas’s game Snow From Korea with Shreyas and Adam and Russell Collins instead. The game is really fun, and once Shreyas makes it less broken it will be even funner. I really liked how once all the cards are on the table, you can look down and you feel like you’re in a Shogunate playing silly one-up-manship games until someone freaks out and kills someone else. It’s grand.

And then after that I took a couple minutes to regroup, and then sat down with Shreyas and Kevin Allen Jr to mock pretend playtest the skimpy beginnings I had for The Imp of the Perverse. I had character sheets (well, the idea for ones, at least), what more do you need to play a game? I mean, seriously.

Anyway, it turned into a cool mechanics jam where we played around with the Conflict Matrix until it turned into something that worked, and it really helped in unjamming my head for working on the game in general. I’ve been thinking about it and writing on it and chatting about it pretty much non-stop since then, and when it’s done it is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen so far.

Kevin is the little demon in my head that breaks down my inhibitions and shows me that I can go for it a million percent. Shreyas is the little angel on my shoulder that tells me I can actually do it. And they both lead by example.

Man, Saturday was long!

After Imping, we settled in with a big ol crowd of people and chatted, and we all eventually ended up playing Jared A. Sorensen’s Action Castle! (an implementation of his Parsley rules). It was….uh….”fun”

And then I went to sleep.


Woke up, went out to breakfast with Mayuran and Kevin and Terry, who I had seen around but not really met, and it was nice to kinda talk to her a bit. Then I had to get stuff together, and track down Mr. Keith Senkowski and practically force money down his throat in order to buy a great print of one of the images on this page (4th from the right on the top).

And then a long string of goodbyes and promises to get down to NYC to see people in the not-so-distant future.

One 3-hour car ride with Ben Lehman later, I was dropping him off and picking up my girlfriend from the airport in Providence, and that was the end of my Dreamation.


Posted in Actual Play, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Playtesting, The Imp Of The Perverse, Timestream | Leave a Comment »

[Imp] The Conflict Matrix

Posted by Nathan P. on December 13, 2006

So here’s what I’m thinking about how conflict-y kind of stuff gets resolved in Imp of the Perverse.

At the start of the game, the GM shuffles a standard deck of cards (no jokers) and lays out a 3×3 grid in the middle of the table. The proportion of red to black cards represents which aspect has default precedence, Human Nature (red) or the forces of the Perverse (black). In any situation where someone doesn’t want someone else to get what they want, if no-one does anything about it, the default wins.

Say black is dominant. This means that for any given character, if the GM or the player of that characters Imp doesn’t want them to do something that they’re doing, they won’t be able to do it unless they use the stuff on their character sheet.

Now, you have a number of trait-like things on your sheet (Essential, Important and Interesting Traits; Discipline, Nerve and Malocchios; and the stuff of Grim and Horrible Tales). Each of these things is linked to a card suit. Spades is reason and logic, clubs is physical action or violence, hearts is emotion and irrational passion, and diamonds is mental fortitude, quickness of the mind and strength of will. Your Traits have boxes.

When you want to change the matrix to be more favorable to you, you check off a Trait that is the same suit as one or more of the cards in the matrix. You then do something that I haven’t really decided on yet, as I still need to work out all the implications of the various options. Basically, you use the stuff on your sheet to change the composition of the matrix, and then people who don’t like it can spend their Traits to try and change it back, and so on. Doing stuff with face cards requires Malocchios (magical powers, essentially) or Lusus Naturae (creating monsters). The Grim and Horrible Tales stuff is resources that get awarded to you by other players, that you use to refresh or reinforce what you can do with your other stats.

The idea is that everything happens the the matrix. You never have a hand of cards, or anything like that, and you don’t need to track the matrix from one session to another. You just deal out a new one at the start of each session.

So, thats what I’m trying to do some work on right now.

Posted in The Imp Of The Perverse | Leave a Comment »

Gettin’ Shifty

Posted by Nathan P. on December 8, 2006

Blah. Haven’t had time to play anything since JiffyCon, pretty much. Maybe I’ll get a session of Burning Wheel in before christmas, but thats about it.

By the same token, having a hard time putting pen to paper for Imp Of The Perverse. I need to find some time and concentration to dedicate to it. Maybe I’ll go into the city one of these afternoons and find a coffeeshop and just write for a few hours.

Also, thinking more and more about production and less and less about procedures of play. This balance needs to tip back before too much longer, or I’m going to be trapped in this restless phase where I want it to be done but don’t want to do the work. Which is a totally lame place to be in.

Part of it is that I’m getting intimidated by the scope of the project, especially now that I generally have less free time than I have over the last couple of years. It’s going to take a huge amount of work to get it where I want it, and I have almost nothing done – it’s like staring at a mountain and realizing that you haven’t even put your shoes on yet.

The intarwebs are taking a lot of my attention, also. I feel like I need to shut myself up in a cave with a pen and some animal skins and just scratch out some product for days. Maybe the holidays will help with this – I’m pretty productive when I travel, and the change of scene will probably be good as well.

Too bad I’m not taking a train. I get a lot done on trains.


Posted in Personal, The Imp Of The Perverse | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Nathan P. on November 15, 2006

Sometimes you just have to start throwing shite at the wall and see what sticks.

I have a draft of a character sheet now. Characters have traits that have boxes, stuff about their Perversity (including Discipline and Nerve and Malocchio’s), stuff about the Imp they are playing (including Influence, Duplicity and Lusus Naturae), and a section called Grim and Horrible Tales that is stuff that other people get to give to your character (under the headings of Compassion, Desperation, Discovery, Tricks and Secrets) and is the means of character advancement.

Now I’m figuring out how this all hooks into the resolution matrix idea that I’m running with for resolution stuff.

The Reverse Engineer experience is totally helping here. I’m putting stuff on the sheet that I want to be there, and figuring out how it all works as I go.

I’m trying to keep the fiddly bits to a minimum – that is, there is going to be a deck of cards, and the resolution matrix of cards, but I think I want everything on the sheet to be about effecting the matrix. You never have a hand of cards, or anything. I dunno if this will be boring.

I think that this design process is going to be extremely iterative.

Posted in Artistry, The Imp Of The Perverse | 2 Comments »

Mmm, New Theme

Posted by Nathan P. on November 14, 2006

And I really like it. A couple tweaks to make, tho.

In other blog news, people apparently like pictures. I’ve had the most traffic of any day I’ve had this blog yesterday, and almost half of the views were for JiffyCon pics.

In other non-blog news, The Imp Of The Perverse is proceeding in dribs and drabs. Which is nice.

I dunno. Working a lot. Tired a lot. Hopefully I’ll have more free time in December.

Posted in The Imp Of The Perverse | Leave a Comment »

Ah Crap, He’s At It Again

Posted by Nathan P. on August 24, 2006

The Imp Of The Perverse just got promoted from my “Work In Progress” folder to having it’s own directory.

Oh jeez.

Posted in Publishing, The Imp Of The Perverse | Leave a Comment »