Version 0.5: Revolution and Retaliation
A new version of Voidheart Symphony is here - and this is a big one! At this point the game's mechanics are pretty close to complete. If you've played the game, please let me know what you thought so I can note your contribution down as a playtester.
Here's what's left to work on:
- Campaign guidance - how you show the city and the rebels changing over time, and how to close out a campaign.
- Two final playbooks: The Penitent and the Resident.
- A chapter on hacking the game, including four non-traditional Major Covenant arcana.
- Examples of play, and playbook advice.
And here's a changelog:
Game Setup Changes
- Opening questions about the Vassal are now playbook-specific.
- You do not trigger Rivers in the Desert when you defeat your first Vassal; instead, you gain your first rank of Void, and a hideout - with each Rebel specifying one detail about the hideout.
- Added a clearer time structure. Every day, the group picks one:
- Dive into Darkness
- Act in the Mundane World
- Act in the Mundane world: Each Rebel gets one free action a day, and can mark a gauge for each one after that. For their action, they can continue the investigation; care for another rebel; let their hair down; check in with a contact; or work on a project. If other rebels help with your action, it doesn’t take their action.
- Lift the Mask is now a one-off; you use the tokens you’ve reclaimed from the castle to undermine the Vassal’s certainty in their Drive. The more tokens you hold when you do this, the easier your fight will be (or, the greater the rewards when you win).
- Added By and By – an end of session move to give you a chance to take stock and shift some stats around, mark an affinity, work on a project etc.
Covenant Mechanics Changes
- Major Covenant arcana names have been adjusted to better fit my intended tone and goals for the text (see Voidheart and the Tarot near the end of the book to see what corresponds to what).
- Risk the Covenant no longer exists.
- Evoke the Covenant is simpler – spend a point of Crew Covenant to give their roll Advantage and share in all consequences.
- Added Betray the Covenant – after rolling, act in a way that hurts a friend to reduce your Covenant with them and roll an additional dice (taking the highest 2, stacks with Advantage).
- Each Rebel can, once per investigation, add an NPC they’ve encountered as a Minor Covenant. When a Minor Covenant is added, draw a Minor Arcana card and extrapolate from that how the rebel can make a difference to their lives (and add them as a Major Covenant).
- World and Void no longer provide specific powers according to the rank; instead, they give you playbook advancements..
Playbook Development Changes
- Castle Stats now start at +1, +1, 0, -1.
- Castle Moves no longer exist, though Shadow Moves still do. If there’s a Castle Move you really miss, let me know!
- When you gain a rank of World or Void, you now pick an advance from that affinity’s specific list on your playbook.
Mundane World Mechanics Changes
- Rebel Eyes has been rewritten - now you ask a question, and the Architect tells you what it’ll take to get an answer.
- Check In has been greatly simplified; if you Check In with someone who you have a Major Covenant with, you trigger that Hangout Move. If you Check In with a Minor Covenant, they reveal what you need to do to make them into a Major Covenant; if you do it, you do it.
Castle Mechanics Changes
- Wounds now have a simpler effect, that applies so long as they aren’t bound.
- Wounds are much harder to remove in the castle; mainly, the best you can do is to bind them so they’re not causing active problems.
- Dive into Darkness options changed; now you always appear together and safe on a hit, and strong hits augment your armoury.
- Travel the Labyrinth reoriented so that good hits give you more information, and you must ‘solve’ the area you move into to get a Trace.
- Strike +Cups trigger changed to “When you take advantage of an Opening with arguments and emotional appeals”. Also cleared up wording with when a Quality’s break move triggers.
- Dodge no longer offers an opportunity to create an Opening, but any hit lets you avoid the attack you were dodging.
- The Avatar is in the shard from the jump, but it’s impossible to Strike them until the rebels use Lift the Mask. If you run into them, best use those Openings to Flee.
- Enforcers now do all 3 of: strengthen the Avatar, hunt the rebels, and breach into the mundane world. They also more explicitly represent an insecurity in the Vassal, and yield a Token when defeated.
- Added two new Perk tags (Shifting and Defensive), and changed Ranged into Long-Range to allow for more weapon variation.
- Rivers in the Desert: Now each rebel picks one option, but the options change in scale according to the Vassal’s tier.
- Retaliation: The check is now against the status of the Vassal’s clock; the closer they are to hunting you down, the worse this goes. But also, the higher their tier, the worse this goes.
- Peace and Quiet: There’s more guidance about what your scene in Peace and Quiet can include, and slightly shifted target setup questions.
- Added Questions About the City and Questions for Rebels, an optional step to help groups think through what they want to tell a story about.
- Added a sidebar of Example Issues per gauge, next to The Grind.
- Added a table of Minor Covenants, showing what each card could mean about an NPC’s desires and needs.
- Added Example Enforcers (though many of these are still needing Reactions for their Qualities).
- Added an appendix, Voidheart and the Tarot, talking through the way this game uses the tarot and presenting a way of using a tarot draw to generate an investigation from scratch.
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