Facing the Titan

http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/01/02/facing-the-titan-the-first-draft/

Hi all !

I'm a french game-creator, and I'm putting in the public my first draft in english of the game I'm working on : Facing the Titan.

It's a story-game about Companions who will face a Titan, and possibly slay it. It's not about finding a way to kill it, it's about discovering who are the Companions, who is the Titan, why do the world need saving and how it will end.

Godzilla and Shadow of the Colossus are the main sources of inspiration.

The mechanics are based on Swords Without Master / Sorceress Bloody Sorceress, with dice rolls setting the Tone for the scene.

It's GM-Less, with zero-prep, for 2-3 hours of play.

Thanks !
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Comments

  • It seems perfectly clear and I really like the examples. Balancing is not an issue. You could add cheat sheets for the phases (2 to 4 per A4) and illustrations for the example Titans.
  • DeReel said:

    It seems perfectly clear and I really like the examples. Balancing is not an issue. You could add cheat sheets for the phases (2 to 4 per A4) and illustrations for the example Titans.

    Thanks.
    Right now, it's text only. But I'm working with an illustrator to have the six Titans (maybe more ...) illustrated. I plan to make a clean / layout PDF and PoD book.
    For the cheat sheets, it's on its way too. I plan to have diagrams of each Phase to explain the flow of the game.
  • Always happy to read Games Without Master! I will try to test it!
  • Thanks to some feedback, I've made some revisions to my draft of "Facing the Titan". It can be found here : http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/01/16/facing-the-titan-first-revisions/

    And here's a first overview of the illustrations, by Roger Heal :

    image
  • I was contemplating building a GMless hack of Swords Without Master. So I'm wondering about how you handle the lack of an Overplayer. It seems like the game avoids needing a GMlike figure by having the phases more structured and by using Motifs to move from phase to phase, right? What challenges have you had to deal with, if any, by removing that role, in design or in playtest?

    I am also curious about the decision to have the tones switch every phase. Why did you make that choice? I worry that the shifting of tones would be confusing for players during the game, and that it would muddy the waters, diluting the tones so that they are less consistent and clear. I also wonder if you couldn't broaden the tones to combine multiple tones from different phases into the same tones (the Noble and Barbarian tones from the Companion phase could be paired directly to the Wonder and Ruins tones from the World phase, for example).

    I like the idea of the Titans having their own tones, though, that intrude into the regular course of play. That feels very appropriate and thematic and dramatic. (I'm more uncertain about specific tones that particular titans have. I don't know how to describe the titan or other aspects of the game as Mineral or Chivalrous. Some guidance or rewording would be helpful.)
  • NickWedig said:

    I was contemplating building a GMless hack of Swords Without Master. So I'm wondering about how you handle the lack of an Overplayer. It seems like the game avoids needing a GMlike figure by having the phases more structured and by using Motifs to move from phase to phase, right? What challenges have you had to deal with, if any, by removing that role, in design or in playtest?

    My main source of Inspiration has been Sorceress Bloody Sorceress, to be honest. I play intensively SWM (and hacks), but for this game, the design has taken a lot from SBS. Removing the Overplayer was not difficult for the first four Phases. Its role is less important in Rogues & Discovery Phases, and those first Phases are based on those. The Phases are closed by getting to a milestone set by Motifs, and players move on to the next one. The structure of the game is more rigid than with SWM. It's always the same path. The lack of Overplayer can be felt by playing multiple games with the same people : the same patterns come back.

    The last scene, which is a Perilous Phase, was the one who felt difficult at first but got cleared easily. As in SBS, one the players has his role reversed. In SBS, one player will play as the Sorceress, randomly. It's the same here. The Titan will be portrayed by a player for the Fight. It's the Phase I need to be the more precise and explicit in the rules / flow / intent, because the player who will play as the Titan may not have the experience of such a role. A big example is on its way.
    NickWedig said:


    I am also curious about the decision to have the tones switch every phase. Why did you make that choice? I worry that the shifting of tones would be confusing for players during the game, and that it would muddy the waters, diluting the tones so that they are less consistent and clear. I also wonder if you couldn't broaden the tones to combine multiple tones from different phases into the same tones (the Noble and Barbarian tones from the Companion phase could be paired directly to the Wonder and Ruins tones from the World phase, for example).

    I plan to have gaming aids with prompts for the various Tones. One by Phase, in ordre not to pollute the mind during one Phase. It was my first intent to have each Phase with a different couples of Tones. The goal is for each Phase to convey different stories, styles, themes. It's something I grab from With Great Power, who have Red / Blue Tones, which are linked to a specific Tone in each Phase.

    It's also a Tool I intend to use to "hack" the base game. Having a Titan change one Tone for a specific Phase, or a character Power doing the same. In order to help players grab each Phase Tones, I'm currently expanding the Tones section for each, with examples and guides.
    NickWedig said:


    I like the idea of the Titans having their own tones, though, that intrude into the regular course of play. That feels very appropriate and thematic and dramatic. (I'm more uncertain about specific tones that particular titans have. I don't know how to describe the titan or other aspects of the game as Mineral or Chivalrous. Some guidance or rewording would be helpful.)

    That's something I need to work on. Each Titan having 5 Tones is something I got on with the idea that the Dice indicates the Tones to use. Idea that became a Variant, the basic rules will let the player choose. But for some Titans, extra Tones were somehow difficult to express. Also, I primarily write in french, and sometimes it's difficult to find the one-word that convey the same idea.

    My playtests have not used all the Titans, and it's something I plan to do : test the Titans and their Tones. However, I want to keep the Titans Sheet light on information. It needs to stay a fast reminder of the Titan, not something you read for minutes. Adding guidances for each of the 5 Tones will go against that goal. But it could be added in the ruleset ?

    Also, maybe I did not write that down, but I think the Tones here are set to color a scene, not only to guide the behaviour of the character. Mineral could be used to explore a mine, to center a scene around a piece of quartz. Chivalrous could portray a knight tournament, somebody helping a damsel in distress.

    Thanks for your feedback !
  • Also the fantasy superhero version of Sw/oM, Gamma Thrones uses different Overplayer in every Motif!
  • hamnacb said:

    Also the fantasy superhero version of Sw/oM, Gamma Thrones uses different Overplayer in every Motif!

    Where can I learn more about this game?
  • I think it is free for download on Epidiah's Google Plus page or maybe in the Sw/oM Google Plus community!
  • After some play tests, proofreading and thinking, I'm starting to see several areas of revision appear : http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/01/22/thoughts-on-the-titan/


    Roughly for those who want to avoid clicking or to have a summary:

    -> The multiplication of tones seems to be a problem. I will see to it that their interest is better explained, and that the Titans' ones are less.

    -> The phases must be unified, and propose similar mechanisms. There's going to be a review, and work on the play aids.

    -> The Titan will no longer hide. His absence at the beginning of the game is a mistake. Its importance as a setting for the world must make it visible from the start, and it will be a choice of the players at the beginning of the game, as for a Fiasco setting.

    -> Speaking of settings. By wanting to play it too open / too free, I risk blocking players, especially beginners in these exercises of universe building. A thorough review will be undertaken on this point.
  • Why not make the players pick a Titan and a whole setting come with that choice ? Setting building is an extension. First session is key.
  • Facing the layout/

    On this blog post, you will find some cover tests, and some layout tests I'm currently working on. Text is in french, as I'm currently working in this language (french conventions coming soon), but rest assured the english version will come soon (a demo is in the works).

    By the way, my illustrator, Roger Heal, has done some tremendous work :

    image

    Thanks for your interest, and feel free to spread the word. The text of the game is coming well, and Kickstarter is on its way.

    @DeReel : that's what I'm going with right now. 6 Titans, 6 Mini-Settings embodying the aspects of the Titan.
  • Clearly the best cover. Highly readable, mystery and adventure. What can they do against an iceberg. Be overwhelmed.
  • Thanks ! Roger Heal did a great job with it !
  • http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/03/14/the-titans-transformatio...

    Since the last appearance of the Titan here, there have been some playtests, and some things have changed. The above link explained in details what worked, what didn't and what has changed or is changing.

    Here's a list of what is under those transformations :

    -> The Setting Creation
    -> The First Phase organization
    -> The Company Name
    -> The Number of Players
    -> The Distribution of Speech
    -> The Titan Vignettes
    -> Transition between the Phases
    -> Echoes

    I'm going under heavy writing period right now, and will come back soon with more news about the final game.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask !
  • I am quite interested in your game from designers' perspective - your blog also sparked an idea that I could write something like this as well - thanks for that. Overall, I like the idea of dividing the game into separate phases - each of them unveils certain aspects of the story and after some playtests I see you modify them to bring the most coheseve experience.

    Few questions:
    - Did you provide full 36 Company names list? Did you consider this?
    - What certain mechanics instead of putting dice into the midle do you intend to use to make players more involved during everyone's turn?
    - Did you already try the game in two? Do you think the game would work well in six with updated speech rules?
    - I like the Vignettes mechanics and pushing to the meta side of the lore.
    - Aren't you affraid that those transitions, despite being quite cool during first play, will worn-off after a time and feel a bit samey?
    - How many playtests did you do until now?

    It's a really good job you did there and will keep an eye on this game.
  • edited March 14
    Jocho said:

    I am quite interested in your game from designers' perspective - your blog also sparked an idea that I could write something like this as well - thanks for that. Overall, I like the idea of dividing the game into separate phases - each of them unveils certain aspects of the story and after some playtests I see you modify them to bring the most coheseve experience.

    Thanks !

    Few questions:
    - Did you provide full 36 Company names list? Did you consider this?
    Well ... the list is not complete yet and there will not be 36 Companies. I'm kind of a trickster here, and I use a 21 list with 2d6 (lower dice / higher dice).
    During play, the roll is matched against this list and the player who rolls read the Company name. No numbered one (except a few special ones).

    - What certain mechanics instead of putting dice into the midle do you intend to use to make players more involved during everyone's turn?
    The dice will serve as an interruption tool. As when in a discussion someone wants to shift the topic of discussion. Also, any player will be able to grab them, allowing people that have been "out of the discussion" to step in.

    - Did you already try the game in two? Do you think the game would work well in six with updated speech rules?"
    No for two. Didn't find the time / people to try them yet. I'm focusing on the 3-5 area. I'll look into it later.
    For six players, I think it will work. It works already. But it leads to some players being out of the discussion for too long, especially with a convention group in which we don't know the others. So, as the experience is not that good, I will not endorse it. But it's playable (even at more !)

    - Aren't you affraid that those transitions, despite being quite cool during first play, will worn-off after a time and feel a bit samey?
    I'm not. Since I've introduced them, they have been very different. And they're short. And they rely on the setting, on the story told. Maybe after a bit I will see it different though.

    - How many playtests did you do until now?
    Five full games, and a dozens tests of just some bits of the game.

    It's a really good job you did there and will keep an eye on this game.
    Thanks, that's really appreciated !
  • http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/03/22/warming-up-the-titans/

    Some news about how the writing is progressing : good so far.

    Also, in order to help teach the game, I'm creating "Warm-up exercises", mini games that will help understand the mechanics of the game. To play before a game. It will help understand the Tones / Dice relationship, the Motifs, the Echoes, and the Clash Phase.
  • edited March 22
    These mini games could also be warm ups for the characters ? Like the Dogs ceremony in Dogs in the Vineyard.
  • DeReel said:

    These mini games could also be warm ups for the characters ? Like the Dogs ceremony in Dogs in the Vineyard.

    In the current state of the game, no. It's kinda like in a Pixar movie : a short movie before the long one. It features kinda of a Titan : a knight going against a dragon.

    The creation of the characters is deeply integrated in the main game first phase. And those warm-ups are optional (a group who knows the game well don't need to go through it).
  • Wow, what a great cover!
  • Demiurge said:

    Wow, what a great cover!

    Thanks ! Roger Heal made a great work on the Titans (and agreed to do more !)
  • I've put up a "home page" for the game : http://www.gulix.fr/blog/facing-the-titan/

    It will follow the project to give informations and will be my "entry point".

    The writing (and re-writing) is going forward. Next week, I'll make available a full Titan with its Setting, as well as the rules for using that setting. You have your word to say in order to choose which one :

    Which Titan do you want to see in a preview ?

    I've been working on the upcoming KS campaign, and been thinking about possible Stretch Goals.
    In addition to more Titans, here what I come up with :

    * Playing with the Settings (other rules to generate a game setting, advices to create one, to use something already existing).
    * How to create your own Titan ?
    * How to hack the game in order to propose another experience (with a full modern example).
    * How to add an additional "cooperative" level to the game.
    * Solo Rules
    * What if we don't slay the Titan ? Alternatives for other issues.

    Which one do you think are the most interesting ? Any other ideas ?

    Launch in nearly a month !


  • Well, the votes are closed and it's Vamakaskan who won it !

    The Beast of Origins ! The Trampler ! is now available in a free preview : http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/04/02/vamakaskan-the-beast-of-origins/

    With it comes a full setting : "New World" and the rules on how to use that setting (list of Locations, Factions and Events) to generate the setting of a one-shot game.

    Feel free to share / comment / criticize !

    And here's Vamakaskan by Roger Heal :

    image
  • Bonjour,
    Pas mal ! The Titan is cool. I wouldn't use all the material, I like that it's a self service of ideas. There's very little on technology outside of mushroom magic. I would like more on transportation.
    Err : Impassible (sans E)
  • Beatiful art! I really like it.
  • edited April 4
    What if we don't slay the Titan ? Alternatives for other issues.
    I didn't even realize you didn't include the option of failing the task of defeating the Titan in the core rules. Don't you think this option should be mentioned in the core rules, alongside with leads how to manage this situation when it occurs?

    Just saying that with my luck/drama approach to such games my character would either go mad during preparation, or turn agains other heroes right after they meet the Titan.

    Also, mentioning this, did you consider having characters being able to turn against each other?
  • edited April 4
    DeReel said:

    Bonjour,
    Pas mal ! The Titan is cool. I wouldn't use all the material, I like that it's a self service of ideas. There's very little on technology outside of mushroom magic. I would like more on transportation.
    Err : Impassible (sans E)

    Transportation could be told about in some Setting, yeah. Will look into it. For the double E, well, I checked more my english translation thant my original french ^^.
    Paul_T said:


    Beatiful art! I really like it.

    Thanks ! Roger has done a great work ! I hope I can commission some more from him !
    Jocho said:

    What if we don't slay the Titan ? Alternatives for other issues.
    I didn't even realize you didn't include the option of failing the task of defeating the Titan in the core rules. Don't you think this option should be mentioned in the core rules, alongside with leads how to manage this situation when it occurs?

    Just saying that with my luck/drama approach to such games my character would either go mad during preparation, or turn agains other heroes right after they meet the Titan.

    Also, mentioning this, did you consider having characters being able to turn against each other?

    Well. The failure of the characters is covered in the rules. It could happen, but it's very unlikely (statistically).

    I've seen characters having doubts, going (even starting) mad, but not turning against each others. It's not on the table with the basic rules.
    When the characters start the Clash (last of the 5 phases), one of them has the possibility to turn down the Clash : betrayal, cowardice or other. One only.

    The idea behind that stretch goals (What if you don't slay the Titan) is to provide another framework for the players : putting the Titan to sleep, redirecting it elsewhere, communicating with it in order to live together and other ideas. Not going to fight for death.

    But I keep your idea of getting some struggle inside the group.
  • In order to get a little ahead of the curve, I tested the printing process at DriveThruRPG. It allowed me to check that my software was compatible, and that I could generate the expected files.

    So I have the first physical version of Facing the Titan in my hands, incomplete, with duplicates, layout tests, blank pages, and a cover that is far from complete.

    image

    Yes, this test proof was in french.
    More photos on the blog : http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/04/13/first-physical-proofs/
  • Beautiful. How come Maitre Sinh doesn't advertise the game on 500nuancesdegeek ?
  • DeReel said:

    Beautiful. How come Maitre Sinh doesn't advertise the game on 500nuancesdegeek ?

    Well, I didn't ask him. He asked me early on if I was willing to get on board via "La Caravelle" (a patreon for french / translated indie games), but our visions for the game were not compatible.
  • Oh, too bad he missed it.
  • @DeReel : there may be other projects around SWM ...

    Some news about the game : writing is going good ! And the cover is nearly finished !

    image

    Launch of the Kickstarter is planned in a few weeks. Hopefully before the start of May.
  • Do you need playtest in the following two weeks?
  • hamnacb said:

    Do you need playtest in the following two weeks?

    I always need playtest ^^.

    But right now, the english version available is not what will be released for the campaign. Game has evolved and changed, and the text is mainly in french (I'm finishing it, and then translating it).

    But you can still try the first draft of the game. It doesn't change much.

    Just make sure to choose the Titan at the start of the game (rather than at the first double), and introduce the Reunion Site right away. Then make an entrance for each character (describe of who the character is, and how he arrives at the reunion site). Then it's roughly all the same.

    Thanks for the interest, and feel free to ask any questions you might have.
  • The Kickstarter campaign is getting closer, and will launch monday or tuesday (still some things to clear up).

    You can find the draft on KS.
  • Okay, it's live on Kickstarter : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gulix/facing-the-titan

    Pressing the button was not easy, but now it's in the air. Just have to spread the word !
  • Gladly backed! :-)
  • zircher said:

    Gladly backed! :-)

    Thank you ! I'm happy with the start. It's kind of stressful to launch a campaign.
  • https://kickstarter.com/projects/gulix/facing-the-titan/posts/2496730

    The first updates are up, as well as the first Stretch Goals. We've got some articles (alternate endings, creating your Titan) and also more Titans !
    Epidiah Ravachol (Dread, Swords Without Master ...) will write one. Manuel Bedouet, a french game designer, will also make one.
    Next up is @Rafu in a few pledges !
  • Gulix said:

    Next up is @Rafu in a few pledges !

    Yay me!
  • yay you! You've been unlocked Rafu!

    181% and still going up !

    And the last Update unlocked the new Titan by Rafu but also revealed the next one! Which will be inspired by a song from Diablo Swing Orchestra!

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gulix/facing-the-titan/posts/2503036


    Also, a french news site asked me some questions about the game : http://lefix.di6dent.fr/archives/8391





  • edited May 9
    Super nouvelle ! I am specially glad for the illustrator who did great.
  • That last weekend got the funding up! I'm still surprised by the success, which is very encouraging!

    In the last update, I talk about the Motifs, a mechanism at the hear of the game system. And I reveal a surprise for the €2000.

    I've got some more to reveal, and I'll demo the game in Nantes, France at the Nautilude festival next weekend.
  • edited May 14
    Facing the Titan reached 250% of funding, and we're just in the middle of the campaign. All the Stretch Goals I've prepared are almost gone ... More Titans should come ...

    Speaking of Titans, the Update 9 introduces you to the 6 original Titans. Meet them! And tell me which one you prefer!

    Regarding Stretch Goals, the last one unlocked will add a new article to the game. There will be rules variants in order to share the discussion between multiple players when dice are rolled, instead of having the focus on one only.

    A surprise SG at €2000€ unlocked the possibility of a Hardcover.

    Next Stretch Goal is at €2500 and will add another Titan. Details about it later.
    Then, at €2700, another way to play RPG will be explored. Facing the Titan will get a solo variant!

    Here is Gureintinku, the Bronze Wing :

    image
  • edited May 17
    In update 10 of the campaign, I give you the rules of the game. Yep.

    It's the almost final rule, but it lacks revision, examples, layout and so on. But if you're curious about the game, the rules are there.

    Grab them, read them, comment them, test them, share them.
  • The Final Week !

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gulix/facing-the-titan/posts/2512190

    So this is the final week of the campaign for Facing the Titan. The final week means the final Stretch Goals. We just unlocked a new Titan by Manuel Bedouet! 6 basic Titans, plus 4 guest Titans, plus one Titan from me, that makes 11 Titans! To which we can add the two Titans who will arrive with the "Titan Slayer" rewards, that already gives 13 Titans!

    And two others are announced in Stretch Goals. One by @Rafu, the other by @Khelren .

    But before these new Titans, there's a Solo Mode to unlock.

    image

    Also, a Preview is coming up. Which Titan do you want to see in it?
  • Gulix said:

    And two others are announced in Stretch Goals. One by @Rafu, the other by @Khelren .

    And it's one I really want to write... I mean, that's also true of the first one I'm already writing, but I really, really hope to write both. So, make me.
  • Me I like the she-boar a lot.
  • edited May 22
    Thanks to both of you. @Rafu, your second Titan is coming soon, and I will soon give instructions about both of them to the illustrator. Can't wait to see all these new Titans take life in pictures!

    @DeReel : if by She-Boar you mean Vamakaskan, her/its preview is already in the air : http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2019/04/02/vamakaskan-the-beast-of-origins/

    And another one will join soon.

    Also, the Solo Mode has been unlocked. We are now a few pledges away from the second Titan by Rafu (told you it was soon), and then we will get to another Titan by Khelren, a french author and translator. He published The Sprawl in french, created Dominion, and also worked on other campaigns like Godsend, his World of Legacy.

    And if you look closely to the campaign homepage, you might find something else.

    By the way, in the last update, I talk about Fulfillment : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gulix/facing-the-titan/posts/2513955
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