Intrepid: A Storytelling Adventure - sale!

edited January 2014 in Directed Promotion
It has been brought to my attention that one shouldn't announce a new game as a footnote in an existing thread, so without further ado...

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… Desperate to maintain his immortality, a captain in the imperial army ventures deep into the uncharted jungle searching for the fabled Amulet of Blood!

Intrepid is a GM-less, prep-less, structured freeform game of fantasy adventure and world building for 3-5 players.

You and your friends will tell the epic stories of characters braving quests filled with glory and adventure in a collaboratively created world. Take control of characters within that world and create it around them as you experience their loves and losses, failures and triumphs.

… An old woman, wise but frail, struggles through the blizzards of Eversnow Peak to find a power stolen from her!

The game contains complete instructions for exploring a fantasy world drawn from your collective imaginations, as you play; both in one-shot sessions that last a few hours and longer campaign games that take multiple sessions.

… A young water spirit looks on in horror at the smoking ruins that used to be her home, her mind filled with thoughts of death and vengeance!

Also includes Showdown at the Falling Blossoms, a short form roleplaying game that lets 2 players fight a kung fu duel in just 10 minutes.

You can buy the book via the pay pal links here.
You can buy the PDF direct from RPGNow.

Currently on 1/2 price till the January the 13th.

Comments

  • Dear readers,

    John is being modest.

    Intrepid has been the best game in playtest at London Indie RPG for the last 18 months.

    It has a wondrous oracle system for generating setting. It involves creating a map of the world your characters play in, updating it as the characters' adventures progress. There is a collaborative democratic way of progressing the stories via a super-fast secret ballot.

    This is the UK's Indie RPG of the year. Two years ago we gave you Witch. This game is easily on a par with that.

    (Apologies to nearly all other UKRP designers)
  • Curse you, Magus.

    But seriously, Intrepid is awesome and easily on a par with Archipelago.
  • I like Intrepid. It feels, to me, like Lady Blackbird: every game is reliably fun. One of my favourite multi-session games - the one with the anthropomorphic animal pirates - came from Intrepid.

    It's basically structured storytelling, with a map, story themes written on index cards and YOUR IMAGINATION.
  • Congratulations, John. I too am a big fan of the game - it's visual and tactile, and helps you create and explore an interesting fantasy world.
  • Curse you, Magus.

    But seriously, Intrepid is awesome and easily on a par with Archipelago.
    But you churn out more RPGs than most countries.

  • Quality vs. Quantity ;-)
  • It provided an excellent experience for me amongst a wide variety of different players, with very different tastes. Get it.
  • I played the game on Saturday at IndieCon and I bought the book following that.

    I went in thinking it'd be like The Quiet Year and once we'd done the set up I didn't get it until after the first few rounds. The role of the director was what was throwing me, what hat are we wearing here? But I attuned to it and had a great game.
  • I'm on it.
    Thanks for the heads up!
  • Great, you've all made me go out and buy this PDF now, you do realize. When my wife asks where that $ went, I'm sending her here.
  • edited November 2013
    OK, I've bought Intrepid and read it and I'm not sure what it does that Archipelago doesn't do. Can somebody who has played both fill me in?

    The big differences I see are resolution (which feels less fun, in that 50% of creative input is going to be thrown out every time) and quests, but I haven't played - what's the secret sauce here I'm missing?

    I recognize that I'm not very objective, since I really love Archipelago and Intrepid is operating in a similar space, but my question is sincere.
  • Obviously I'm not very objective either but...

    Personally I find the Crossroad mechanic creates some very interesting choices for the players. It also gives each contributor dedicated time/permission to say 'now is when I'm going to narrate something big', the dedicated solo-narration time avoids 'design by committee' diluting the story.

    Quests add a definite structure that keeps the stories consistent, encouraged characters to meet up/clash and keeps the pace up (which is good if you like fast pacing). Also, because you don't pick your own quest it encourages goals that the player may not have thought of.

    So yes, those are the two main differences, and the thing they add is a bit more structure that shapes the game to ensure it is both dramatic and focused (which you may/may not need and may/may not like).
  • In the final scene of the game I played I was in the position of narrating on the final crossroad of the game. I described the worst possible ending I could think of, the mentor killed, the evil spirit all consuming, the protagonists joined together as feral wraiths. The other player narrated a happy ending. During the vote I backed my own dark vision along with at least one other player.

    I lost the draw. My contributions weren't followed.

    But it certainly didn't feel like my input was thrown away. It felt like there was legitimate threat and the characters were risking it all for their happy ending. I think the losing description adds context to the winning one.

    I have never played or read Archipelago though...
  • I've read through the PDF, and it sounds pretty neat. My group really enjoyed the world-building of In A Wicked Age, so I hope they'll go for this too.

    One minor question about direction: On page 22 it says "The other duty of the director is to ask the other players questions about the scene and the characters in it. These questions are asked outside the context of the scene and must be answered by the player being asked." Makes sense. But the immediately following example says “Why do you no longer revere the spirits?”, which is a question aimed at the character, not player. Maybe that should be revised to something like "Why does the tribe no longer revere the spirits?"

    At a higher level, I'm curious how the quests affect the structure of the story. Does the game tend to become a mostly-independent set of parallel quests, or do the quests get drawn together into a larger story? Multiple storylines can be great (viz. any William Gibson novel) but I can imagine that if it isn't done well it might make the game feel fragmented.
  • Thanks John K, that's helpful.
  • One minor question about direction: On page 22 it says "The other duty of the director is to ask the other players questions about the scene and the characters in it. These questions are asked outside the context of the scene and must be answered by the player being asked." Makes sense. But the immediately following example says “Why do you no longer revere the spirits?”, which is a question aimed at the character, not player. Maybe that should be revised to something like "Why does the tribe no longer revere the spirits?"
    You're right, at least in the spirit of providing a good example it should be directed at the player, maybe “Why does Bob no longer revere the spirits?” would be better (although a question about a whole tribe is fine, as is asking that question of someone who isn't playing Bob at the time).
    At a higher level, I'm curious how the quests affect the structure of the story. Does the game tend to become a mostly-independent set of parallel quests, or do the quests get drawn together into a larger story? Multiple storylines can be great (viz. any William Gibson novel) but I can imagine that if it isn't done well it might make the game feel fragmented.
    Gibson is a very appropriate author to mention.

    The quests are often separate, but the fact that they are tied together by shared world building (and the fact it's all recorded on the map) tends to stop the story feeling fragmented... a detail from one quest can become very important on another. Stories colliding and then separating also help weave things together even though the characters are on different quests.

    Because of how you pick a character for each scene you actually have quite a bit of control over the pacing of the game which helps enormously in getting a satisfying ending for the session. Most games I've played at conventions manage to engineer a satisfying climax where the results of previous quests are reincorporated into the final scene.
  • The big differences I see are resolution (which feels less fun, in that 50% of creative input is going to be thrown out every time) and quests, but I haven't played - what's the secret sauce here I'm missing?
    I've only played Intrepid once but in practice that isn't how it played out at all, because what tends to happen is that the second suggestion tends to riff off the first - either by making it bigger or by pulling in a different direction.

    I like that mechanic in a game (Penny and our home brew MC-less Monsterhearts does something similar) because it's collaborative without being effectively zero-sum. That said, I like the cards in Archipelago as well and will have to play a lot more of both before I decide which suits me better.
  • I'm sure my disparaging remark about resolution in Intrepid is hasty. I can see how you could end up with two completely different resolutions, but I can also see how unlikely that must be in play.
  • Oh, that definitely can happen, but then that's interesting as well. I can see how it would be a problem if it happened every time as the story would end up pulling in different directions, but if that does happen then I think you have more fundamental issues than the system.
  • OK, I've bought Intrepid and read it and I'm not sure what it does that Archipelago doesn't do. Can somebody who has played both fill me in?

    The big differences I see are resolution (which feels less fun, in that 50% of creative input is going to be thrown out every time) and quests, but I haven't played - what's the secret sauce here I'm missing?

    I recognize that I'm not very objective, since I really love Archipelago and Intrepid is operating in a similar space, but my question is sincere.
    The game was originally called Quest, and quests are absolutely central to the game. They are excellent in driving the game forward.

    I certainly don't want every bit of creative input incorporated in my games, but the joy of the mechanic is that it's more likely, but not certain that the consensus choice will go forward, and that the mechanics hide players' choices. The competitive aspect improves the second suggestion no end.
  • Just resurrecting this thread for a quick plug (hope that's OK)...

    Intrepid (and a lot of other games) are on sale for 1/2 price over at RPGNow.

    To align with this I've put the physical book on sale for half price as well, here, which will last for the same duration.
  • Just discovering this game. Interesting! John, would you mind describing Quests a little bit here?
  • Sure thing.

    A Quest starts life as a fairly vague situation (i.e. "A princess locked in a tower" or "A kings ransom in sunken gold"), it doesn't say anything about how the quest will be completed or who's side the participants are on. Importantly you can't put a character on a Quest you created, but when you assign a character to a Quest you define a little about what there intentions are (i.e. "I am that princess" or "I need the gold to ransom my father, the King").

    They have 3 progress markers on them, which are crossed off as Crossroads are reached (basically conflicts, although they don't have to be). If more people join the quest (not necessarily with the same agenda), one extra progress marker is added per character. Once they are all crossed off that Crossroads must give the Quest some kind of ending.

    So essentially they ensure there is interesting stuff in the world, you interact with other people's stuff, the limited number encourages characters to have their stories intersect and they keep the pace of the game going (not too quick, not too slow).

    Hope that helps.
  • Ahh man! I just bought this the other week!
    I've yet to play it though.
  • John, cool. There's a game I really love called Land of Nodd which uses a similar path toward a fictional goal (breaking it up into Progress steps), but that sometimes gets hitchy, so I'm wondering how (if?) Intrepid differs.

    In Nodd, a Nexus (similar to your Crossroads) is called whenever a player character gets to the point in a scene where things either go their way or don't. At that point, a resolution mechanic kicks in, and on a positive outcome, the character makes one step of progress toward their Goal. The hitch I ran into is that it was not always clear what sort of fiction might count as relevant progress, so we sometimes ticked off a game marker without producing a satisfying fictional arc. "How is my character now closer to ransoming the King? I'm not sure, but I have one fewer Progress marker." The real issue here may be scene framing -- simply establishing a clear opportunity for progress in the first place. All I can say is that, absent guidance on that front, we sometimes found it easier said than done.

    It didn't ruin the game or anything, it just wasn't ideal.

    What's your experience with this dynamic in Intrepid? Thanks!
  • @John K: have you seen Simon Rogers of Pelgrane giving Intrepid an endorsement hear?
  • Dave summoned me to this thread because Land of Nodd is my game, and it sounds like there are a few similarities!

    I'll be curious to read more about this, and/or to play it.

    @semajmaharg,

    Have you written about your MC-less Monsterhearts somewhere before? I'd love to read more about that!
  • edited January 2014
    OK, so a crossroad differs in that it isn't about a character succeeding or failing, it's about choosing from two possible endings to a scene. It doesn't matter if the scene ends well for the character or badly, 'progress' is made either way. When you do your crossroad narration you can ensure something happens you would consider progress.

    The game encourages movement around the map (and to invent new locations on the map) so progress is often as easy as finding out where to go next.

    Basically it's not been a problem.

    I have had problems with people framing scenes that ignore their Quest, which causes the structure of the game to break down and then progress markers are weird. That's a case of people ignoring the rules though, but it's easy for some people to do when they think about what there character would do next, rather than what would make sense for the Quest.
    @John K: have you seen Simon Rogers of Pelgrane giving Intrepid an endorsement hear?
    I hadn't seen that, thanks for pointing it out, Simon is always very generous with his praise of the game :)
    Dave summoned me to this thread because Land of Nodd is my game, and it sounds like there are a few similarities!

    I'll be curious to read more about this, and/or to play it.
    I've not come across Land of Nodd, where can I read more about it? I feel like I've been living under a rock for the last year or so, my attention has been unusually focused on Intrepid (which I guess is good because it meant it got finished).

    I'll happily talk about Intrepid all day long :) It's interesting actually, as I was writing it I didn't really know why it worked, just that certain rules changes made the games better. Talking about it after it's done is starting to reveal why those particular rules worked, it's nice to be surprised by something I've written myself.
  • John,

    I've never officially published Land of Nodd, just played with a bunch of Story Games folks. So it's quite natural that you don't know about it! It's a very old game by now (original playtests took place in 2006!). I'd be happy to send you a copy if you like - just PM me. The text needs a couple of updates at the moment!

    Can you describe a situation where a player might have failed to provide progress during a Crossroads, but then the narration of this possible outcomes of the scene fixed that, as you write above? If you can remember something from an actual game, that would be fantastic!

    In Land of Nodd, there is a mechanical incentive to framing scenes related to a character's goals, but, as Dave points out, it's not reinforced all that strongly.
  • There is no 'during a crossroad' that isn't narrating the end of a scene.

    How it works is someone says "We have reached a crossroad" and the then 2 players (the framer and director, don't worry about what that means) each give a version of the end of the scene, then the group (kind of) votes on which ending should happen, the other is discarded.

    There is no back and forth between players in the narration, no stake setting, no agendas either player needs to champion. Just 2 complete scene endings.

    I can never remember specific examples from games but to invent something: If you spend all your scene chasing a pickpocket through a city when your quest is about retrieving sunken treasure a crossroads can easily crowbar in something relevant - you catch the thief and they promise you a map in exchange for their freedom, or maybe they get away but it turns out they were distracting you so a rival could leave port first.
  • So you're saying that during the narration of the possible endings, each player makes sure to include something which is relevant to the character pursuing their goals? Is that right?
  • Yes, or at least relevant to moving the Quest towards some kind of conclusion (even if it's not what the character wanted).
  • Gotcha! Makes a lot of sense.
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