[Kickstarter] Era: Lyres - £1 Rulebook

I wanted to tell you all about a game I currently have on Kickstarter for £1 (~$1.50).
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-lyres-pocket-edition
It's a full-colour rulebook that contains everything you need to play.

This game is about not being an adventurer - in fact, you would never make it as one! Instead, you see adventurers come back and just claim they killed a dragon, get showered with gold, glory, everything you ever wanted.

So you go out, buy a sword, barge into a tavern and tell everyone you just slew a pesky Manticore out in the wild lands!

It's a little like Munchausen, but a team game - the players work together to tell a story!

If you're interested, you can get the game from the Kickstarter at the top.

Not enough to convince you?
We're adding content to the website for every Stretch Goal we meet! at http://eralyres.shadesofvengeance.com, we're putting up a Bestiary and Locations page for every £100 we bring in for the project!

If we run out of our ideas, we're taking suggestions from backers for what they'd like to see officially in the game!

If that didn't convince you, I'm out of things...

Feel free to ask any questions you have, I love creating games and I love talking about them even more!

- Ed

P.S. I'm new here, so I hope everyone will yell at me if I'm breaking any rules! (or is that hope everyone won't yell...

Comments

  • I love the concept.

    Can you tell us any more about the actual gameplay?
  • Sure, there's actually a big section on this in the Kickstarter but I'll try to summarise it for you...

    Whenever you want to describe doing something that the GM feels is slightly unbelievable, there's a roll (multiple d10 dice system, variable success threshold).

    The player rolls against the best person in the audience. As the players are often not very skilled (as they are not adventurers), this can be very challenging.

    The roll represents the two people stepping outside and having an archery contest, an arm wrestle or whatever. That way, rather than breaking the flow of the story, you can establish what worked and what didn't quickly.

    If the player wins, the person is convinced for now. If they lose, the audience member may become uninterested, accusatory, may heckle or even walk out!

    This is a video of a few rolls to give you an idea - it's got some similarities to the (Old) World of Darkness System, but it's quite a lot simpler as you'd expect from a game focused on storytelling: https://ksr-video.imgix.net/assets/005/264/797/a271add43f52014574b5f425845ce351_h264_high.mp4

    This is a video of actual gameplay, (it's quite long, though!): https://ksr-video.imgix.net/assets/005/264/796/d292eb2fb876e46ee6b0c01176bab938_h264_high.mp4

    You can also find loads more on the actual Kickstarter if you scroll down to GAMEPLAY (or Ctrl+F it, you'll find it as the first result
  • I hope that answers the question!
  • I'd like to thank whoever it was that came from here and backed the Kickstarter!

    We're only a tiny bit away from the next Stretch Goal now - don't forget it's only £1 ($1.50) to get a copy of this game... if I say so myself, that's not a bad opportunity for a full colour rulebook...
  • edited February 2016
    Nice. I love the idea of a false story told by characters who pass the telling off to each other to maximize applicable expertise. I also love the idea that we're resolving whether the audience buys it, moment by moment.

    I don't see much system description in the KS, but from checking out the video, my impression is that the storytellers get Confidence from success in audience challenges, and Confidence translates into good things at the end of the story, like money from the audience. Is that correct?

    I also get the sense that something in there -- from audience challenges? from the fights they can lead to? -- can shrink or grow the audience itself. Right?

    What wasn't covered (camera cut!) is how the storytellers' story ends. I am guessing that the characters want to talk until they've amassed enough Confidence to likely translate into enough gold to pay for whatever they're up to. Yeah?

    If I'm correct on the above, then it seems to me that the GM controls the pacing of how quickly the story is completed, via the frequency of audience interjections. Is there any system or particular principles behind this?

    I'm also curious about whether the NPC stat profiles are created before the storytelling begins, and whether the players have access to these.
    • If so, then I imagine that, as a player, I could strategically narrate away from my opponents' areas of strength, to better my odds of besting them in challenges. I'd enjoy that strategizing.
    • Alternatively, having a pool of pre-statted audience members whose stats are kept secret could also be fun in a "random luck" way (though some risky or costly way of investigating NPCs' strengths could be fun too).
    • Or, I could see saving the GM some work by assigning NPC stats on an as-needed basis.
    • In either of these latter two cases, I'd be curious if there's any system behind the stats, like a GM budget or something, as opposed to pure GM whim.

    So what's the scoop there?

    My expectation before watching the video was that losing audience challenges and having to deal with an escalating confrontation -- such as a fight -- would always be bad news for the player characters. After all, these characters don't have what it takes to actually be adventurers, right? They should get their butts kicked when things actually come to blows. But, in watching the video, it seems that a fight can actually be a good thing, as you can earn more Confidence from onlookers, and maybe even steal your opponent's gold! I like this as a sort of subroutine in the game. It does lead me to wonder what the counter-incentives are -- presumably, losing a fight would have to be pretty bad news, otherwise the player characters might start them on purpose! (Or maybe it's fun to start them on purpose, so all is well?) I'm wondering if losing a fight can force you to abort your story and try again from scratch in a new inn? Or if it's the only thing in the game that can decrease Confidence? (If lots of things can decrease Confidence, then I'm not sure how we get to the end of the characters' story in a reasonable timeframe.)

    There was an interesting moment at the end with the GM saying, "Your tale included murdering 30 people who didn't 100% deserve it, so you lost some audience members." This strikes me as a great dynamic to include, and I'm wondering how this element is communicated to the players. Does the game tell them, "making yourselves look bad -- vicious, stupid, untrustworthy, cowardly, etc. -- will win you less gold" and then challenge them to orate accordingly? With intuitive procedures for GM evaluation? Or is the audience reaction after story's end a GM surprise?

    Sorry to pepper you with a million questions, but this is the kind of stuff I like to know before I buy a game! (Well, that and shipping details, but I asked about those on the KS.) Thanks!
  • Hi,

    Yeah, no problem at all! Let me answer those in the order you asked them:
    I don't see much system description in the KS, but from checking out the video, my impression is that the storytellers get Confidence from success in audience challenges, and Confidence translates into good things at the end of the story, like money from the audience. Is that correct?
    Money comes from Engagement of the audience. The Confidence can be boosted by the story itself, but you also get Confidence at the end based on how engaged the audience are.
    I also get the sense that something in there -- from audience challenges? from the fights they can lead to? -- can shrink or grow the audience itself. Right?
    Correct - if the audience don't like what they hear or people start to believe that they are lying, people will ignore them, walk out, even start heckling (which can then affect other audience members).
    What wasn't covered (camera cut!) is how the storytellers' story ends. I am guessing that the characters want to talk until they've amassed enough Confidence to likely translate into enough gold to pay for whatever they're up to. Yeah?
    As the GM (and the one in the video, coincidentally!), I usually give them a time limit. I think I gave them about 30 minutes on that occasion, if I recall correctly. That way, they just have to stop and if the players don't pace well, they'll miss out. I do give them a 5 minute warning, though, I'm not too harsh!
    If I'm correct on the above, then it seems to me that the GM controls the pacing of how quickly the story is completed, via the frequency of audience interjections. Is there any system or particular principles behind this?
    The GM has to make the story not too difficult to tell but not too easy, either. Its a tough balance and it's not really mechanically describable without losing the freeform feel. It's the GM's discretion and it is reliant on the GM to be sensible.
    I'm also curious about whether the NPC stat profiles are created before the storytelling begins, and whether the players have access to these.
    • If so, then I imagine that, as a player, I could strategically narrate away from my opponents' areas of strength, to better my odds of besting them in challenges. I'd enjoy that strategizing.
    • Alternatively, having a pool of pre-statted audience members whose stats are kept secret could also be fun in a "random luck" way (though some risky or costly way of investigating NPCs' strengths could be fun too).
    • Or, I could see saving the GM some work by assigning NPC stats on an as-needed basis. In either case, I'd be curious if there's any system behind the stats, like a GM budget or something, as opposed to pure GM whim.
    The actual creation... I always give the players 5 minutes to discuss and agree their story. I use that time to create the audience, based on where they are going (there are rolling charts in the back of the book), though not specific stats - descriptions of the people is usually enough - a Mayor has a lot of dice for Persuasion but probably not a lot in Blacksmithing, a Minor Merchant might have a lot of Archery because he sells bows and some Commercial and so on.

    It would not be hard to make characters in 5 minutes, either, as the character creation system is very simple, but I don't usually bother with that, personally, because I know the system pretty well. That's why you don't see me referring to stats all that often.

    I do not show the audience members or their stats to the players. I usually give them a chance to find out some information from Passive Search, but that is all.
    My expectation before watching the video was that losing audience challenges and having to deal with an escalating confrontation -- such as a fight -- would always be bad news for the player characters. After all, these characters don't have what it takes to actually be adventurers, right? They should get their butts kicked when things actually come to blows. But, in watching the video, it seems that a fight can actually be a good thing, as you can earn more Confidence from onlookers, and maybe even steal your opponent's gold! I like this as a sort of subroutine in the game. It does lead me to wonder what the counter-incentives are -- presumably, losing a fight would have to be pretty bad news, otherwise the player characters might start them on purpose! (Or maybe it's fun to start them on purpose, so all is well?) I'm wondering if losing a fight can force you to abort your story and try again from scratch in a new inn? Or if it's the only thing in the game that can decrease Confidence? (If lots of things can decrease Confidence, then I'm not sure how we get to the end of the characters' story in a reasonable timeframe.)
    Downsides of losing:
    1) Losing a fight means you are automatically kicked out of the bar and have to sleep on the street that night. Have that happen 5 nights, and you are arrested for Vagrancy.
    2) Losing a fight lowers your confidence - you're an adventurer, how could you lose? - and if your confidence reaches 0, you are arrested for defrauding the public!

    The only other way to lose confidence is to tell a story people don't want to hear. Each tavern has a certain kind of people in, and you touched on that later in your post, about the 30 killed unnecessarily. People in Upmarket taverns want to hear about princess saving, not murder. People in a Seedy Tavern might want to hear that story.

    Most Confidence changes happen at the end of the story, not many happen in the middle, except when people actually walk out or you say something really controversial.
    There was an interesting moment at the end with the GM saying, "Your tale included murdering 30 people who didn't 100% deserve it, so you lost some audience members." This strikes me as a great dynamic to include, and I'm wondering how this element is communicated to the players. Does the game tell them, "making yourselves look bad -- vicious, stupid, untrustworthy, cowardly, etc. -- will win you less gold" and then challenge them to orate accordingly? With intuitive procedures for GM evaluation? Or is the audience reaction after story's end a GM surprise?
    It depends who your audience is. You're supposed to tailor the story to the audience and there are one-liners in there about what they are expecting.

    I felt the audience they were addressing expected them to be "goodly" heroes. And they weren't, so I penalised that. I think I gave them hints the way I reacted to the 30 people during the actual game, but they didn't try to backpedal or anything, so I thought about how the audience would react!

    I hope that answers everything for you! I'm happy to answer any further questions you have, if any!
  • Oops! I mixed up Confidence with Engagement. Do you get Engagement when you win audience challenges? If not, how do you get it (or how else do you get it)?

    I didn't know that about the time limit! Very interesting.

    Gotcha on relying on GM judgment for who's in the audience and how good they are at stuff and how often they challenge things.

    Those downsides are fantastic! Indignity and arrest. Nice. Gives some teeth to the endeavor.

    I also like "tailor it to the audience". Good variety as we move from inn to inn.

    Thanks!
  • Oops! I mixed up Confidence with Engagement. Do you get Engagement when you win audience challenges? If not, how do you get it (or how else do you get it)?
    Mostly you engage people when you "prove" you're telling the truth, so yeah, audience challenges, and also from things like the fight you mentioned. Also from telling a story they want to hear, that way they come over and listen!

    I tried to add variety, yeah, I don't want this to be the same game... even if you tell the same story, the reaction could be totally different.
  • The GM role isn't my personal taste, but I will try to mention Era: Lyres to some folks who are more into that. If I could find the right GM, I would love to be a player!

    Hey, random question: what does the name mean? Is Lyres a game within the rules-defined games umbrella of Era, or is Lyres a thing that characters do within the world of Era or what?
  • I'd like to know the answer to that, too!

    As a minor point, I was initially quite interested in this concept of a game, but didn't want to watch a long demo video. I ended up watching the shorter "rolls" video, and it didn't seem to have anything to do with the premise of the game (storytelling, bluffing, impressing the audience), so I turned it off.

    I don't know if that's helpful or not, but sometimes people like knowing how their presentation comes across, and that was my impression. I'm following this conversation with interest, though!

    The design and quality of the book and materials looks very impressive, however. Nice work!
  • For both: Era d10 is the name of the Rule Set. The Era universes are all linked also, but I've not released how yet! That's something for a bit down the line.

    Paul_T:
    The shorter "rolls" video was supposed to show "rolls", so that's why it didn't have anything to do with the premise, it was designed to be a short video to show the mechanics.

    I'm sorry that there isn't a short video that shows gameplay, but when I tried it really didn't convey the spirit of the game - it's hard to do in 3 minutes.
  • Paul_T - a thought - you could try the Dice and Stuff podcast, the third one is the first time they really get into Gameplay... here: http://www.diceandstuff.com/era-lyres-003-the-flying-griffons/
  • Update: We just broke the £600 Stretch Goal, so the map of the Kingdom of Yarnolth (which has been revealed to Backers in a low-res form) is going to be shared on the Locations page on the website!

    We're heading into Dragon territory for the next few Stretch Goals... join us if you're brave enough!
  • Update - with the £800 Stretch Goal not far away and just a few days left, I wanted to remind everyone about this Kickstarter one last time!

    £800 will give everyone Dragons! I mean... come on... what could be cooler?

    (Apart from hang-gliding goblins: two arms, one wing, no brain!)
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