Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Story Realms Preview: Adventuring Kits Part 3

All this week, we are previewing Adventuring Kits from our upcoming storytelling adventure game, Story Realms.  In Part 1 and Part 2 of our preview, we revealed the Wanderer Kit, the Wizard Kit, and the Healer Kit.  Today, we bring you the Mischief Kit!

As you can see, this kit allows you to get yourself into a wide range of trouble.  Whether it’s playing games, playing tricks, or just breaking and entering, this Adventuring Kit has got you covered.  Now to be clear, Story Realms is not a game of moral ambiguity.  The players are always the heroes and their goal is always to save the day.  The Mischief Kit isn’t really meant to facilitate felonious skullduggery.  Instead, it’s the gear for the heroes that like to avoid charging into battle and would rather overcome a challenge with a little deception or playful trickery.

How This Stuff Works

Seeing these Adventuring Kits and their eclectic assortment of items might make a person wonder what the specific rules are about how these items work.  The short answer is: they just do.  Outside of the images and the names of the items on these cards, the game does not provide any detailed rules about what you are supposed to do with them.  For an experience gamer, this may seem shocking and a bit uncomfortable.  All I can say is that we’ve been playtesting and it simply just works.  Story Realms provides the players with challenges that encourage the player to come up with creative solutions.  The items in an Adventuring Kit are kind of idea starters.  They help shape the type of actions the player will decide to take.  Think about it, do you really need lengthy rules to tell you what happens when you throw a smoke bomb?  I’m guessing you probably know that it lands and makes a lot of smoke.  This probably makes it hard to see.  Maybe it could even cause someone to cough and hack a bit.  The Storyteller and the players are free to interpret the use of an item as they see fit and describe its effects in whatever way best suits the story.

I must, however, admit that in our last preview I told a little white lie.  I said that every rule you needed to know about the items in an Adventuring Kit was right there on the card.  That’s not actually true.  There are no detailed rules to describe the function of each individual item.  However, there is one rule, not written on the cards, you need to know about how all of these items work.

The Right Tool for the Job

The reason that the game doesn’t worry too much about specific rules for an item is that any heroic use of an item in your Adventuring Kit is tied to a Skill Roll.  Which Skill you use depends on what exactly you are trying to do.  We’ll talk more about skills on a later preview, but for now just know that there are only six skills and each skill has a certain number of dice you get to roll (1, 2, or 3 specifically) to try to accomplish your goal.  If you use an item from your Adventuring Kit that is appropriate to the task you are trying to do, that’s called having “The Right Tool for the Job” and you get to roll 1 extra die. 

Trying to escape a horde of monsters?  Smoke Bombs make for a good getaway!  That’s +1 die to your Move Roll.  Have to pry open a locked door?  Crowbars are good for prying open things.   That’s +1 die to your Might Roll.  In this way, the game gives a simple but effective way that items in an Adventuring Kit can have a real impact.  Remember that Story Realms also gives players access to powerful magical artifacts that DO have unique rules and strange powers (printed on the item card), but that’s not the purpose of Adventuring Kits.  Adventuring Kits are simply the fun and creative tools players can use to aid any task they might try.

Why not have more swords and armor and traditional stuff?

You may notice that while our Adventuring Kits are filled with fun and interesting items, they don’t have as much of the mundane, traditional adventuring gear that you might see in other games.  If you're curious about exactly what went in to choosing these types of items, you should check back in later this week where we will talk about the philosophy behind the Adventuring Kits and reveal a few design goals you can see at work across the entire game.

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