...we're back. As you may have already guessed, other work and family requirements have kept High Rock Press on something of hiatus since the publication of Champions Character Creation Cards last year. Though it had some flaws (I noticed a glaring math error after the decks were printed), I was really happy with that project, and incredibly gratified it received an ENnie nomination for Best Aid/Accessory - Non-Digital. That meant a lot to me. I've contributed to a bunch of projects that have been nominated for awards over the years; and a few even won. But that was the first time a project that was largely mine has been nominated (with props to Ruben, Greg, and our Kickstarter backers).
But now it's time to move onto new projects, and High Rock Press currently has two. The first is a new roleplaying game book called Breakdown by Wilson Zorn, author of the ENnie-nominated RPG At The Hand of an Angry God. Breakdown is a roleplaying game for at least three and ideally four or so mature players. Each of the players but one plays the role of a highly-stressed protagonist (“Pro,” as we call these characters) trying to do some fundamental good amid a tide of inhumanity. The other player will help them tell the story of these characters by presenting dramatic, engaging challenges; this player has the unique role of representing that tide of inhumanity, and so we call this player “Darkness” (if you’re experienced in other roleplaying/storytelling games, this is the same role commonly referred to as “Game Master”).
Similar to what Buried Without Ceremony did with Dream Askew/Dream Apart, Wilson applies their concepts in two setting chapters: The World of Life in the Shadows and The World of the Breaking Point. Life in the Shadows places players in the role of subversive revolutionaries in a dystopian society. (Think of the movie Brazil or the novel Fahrenheit 451.) Breaking Point on the other hand puts players in the role of pressured first-responders with complicated lives. (Think of the television shows House, Law & Order: SVU, and Rescue Me.)
I'll be posting each of the six chapters of Breakdown on the High Rock Press website so you can review and comment on them, starting next week. Then we will then launch a Kickstarter project to fund a quality book in both electronic and physical form.
The second project is a Descended From The Queen storytelling card game created by myself, inspired by the work of Alex Roberts, and published by Evil Hat Productions. It's called Symposium, and simulates the experience of being a guest at the fictional dinner party Plato outlined in his famous work of the same name. However, unlike in Plato's 4th Century BCE text, players get to do more than sing the praises of Love! There are 46 different Question Cards, each of which poses a different philosophical question such as "What does it mean to be virtuous?" and "Why is politics an art form?"
Players each take a Philosophy Card, which gives them a classical perspective to argue from for that round. There are eight of these: Cynicism, Epicureanism, Fabulousness (Alcibiadesism), Hedonism, Platonism, Skepticism, Sophistry, and Stoicism. Symposium then relies on an Apples-To-Apples mechanic which allows a rotating position known as the Host to judge each answer, awarding the Question Card to the player whose answer they like best. Play continues until the Question Card marked "You are too drunk to continue. More Wine! Play Flute-Players Play!" is drawn, as which point a winner is determined.
I'd like to make my crude (alas very, very crude) version of the deck available to you to look at and, if you're willing, play so that I can get your input. You can download it HERE. After I get some feedback, High Rock Press will launch another Kickstarter project to fund a quality deck in both electronic and physical form. I'm hoping to work with a graphic designer that can really capture the feel of ancient Greek ceramics in the card medium, and to print them all on tarot deck sized cards if at all possible. I'd also like to get a quality box manufactured of the sort For The Queen came in.
Thank you again for your patience, and keep an eye on this blog for more updates as we put put Breakdown up for your reading pleasure chapter by chapter over the next month.
Jason Walters, Publisher
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- Tags: Breakdown, crowdfunding, Jason Walters, Kickstarter, Roleplaying Games, RPG, storytelling, Symposium, Wilson Zorn