[Danger Patrol] Alpha Playtest Available

edited July 2009 in Game Design Help
The time has come. The time... for DANGER.

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Danger Patrol is a retro sci-fi action/adventure game designed for fast play with no prep. Grab the alpha playtest PDF and have a go at making your own 50s-style TV adventure serial in the style of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and Indiana Jones (if Indy regularly went to Venus).

This alpha draft needs testing! It got a good workout recently at Go Play NW 2009, but more is always better. If you have a chance to give it a read and especially if you play it, I'd love to hear your feedback.

Thanks!
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Comments

  • It looks awesome. A couple of questions about injury:

    If you at any given injury level, and get hit enough times to fill all the boxes at that level, do further hits wrap upwards?
    If you get KO'd, how long do you stay out?
  • Wrap upwards, yes.

    For knockouts, until dramatically appropriate. I left it vague on purpose. If I was GM... probably for the rest of the fight, unless a teammate did something about it.
  • Sounds good.
    Less important questions :)
    Was it my imagination, or did the rule - ruined for habitation, but still exists as a ruin (rather than a new asteroid belt or whatever). text refer to the 10 planets in one place, and the 11 planets in another. And if Earth has been destroyed, should that be one planet less? (No, that wasn't a serious question.) Or is it destroyed as in a ruined planet, but not destroyed to the point of being a new asteroid belt or space dust?

    Yeah, I predict, "it's your universe, you tell me," but assuming that wasn't the answer... :)
  • Yeah, there are two different references. The Alien can be from one of 10 worlds (not counting Earth... since then they wouldn't be an alien :-). The Explorer knows about all 11 worlds (the usual 10, plus Planet X).

    The Earth still exists as a burned wasteland. Or it could be a yawning void in spacetime. Or maybe it got blasted backwards in time and is full of dinosaurs. It's your universe, you tell me! :-)
  • DOWNLOADED
  • So very happy.
  • Nice work, John. I'll post some AP in a few days.
  • Awesome, will try to give you some feedback once I've ran it.
  • I can't wait to try this!
  • I am so happily ready to gorge on Danger...! DOWNLOADED.
  • looking forward to giving this a read and the inevitable tshirt sales. nice logo.
  • edited July 2009
    Speaking of Danger Patrol t-shirts, the silver flex print on the logo turned out really well. :-)

    The photo doesn't do it justice. It's all shiny.
  • SCOOOOORE.

    -B
  • Posted By: John HarperSpeaking ofDanger Patrol t-shirts, the silver flex print on the logo turned out really well. :-)
    I just spent $500 ordering one in each color. Because as we know, "Danger comes in all colors."

    OK, I didn't really buy one of each. But I'm tempted! Sorely tempted!
  • It's a shame that the t-shirts are single-color. If they were two-tone, you could get your character's uniform colors...
  • John, you are officially on fuckin fire! This is amazing.
    That's all.
    /Peter
  • edited July 2009
    [I whispered this to John, and he said I should totally unwhisper it.]
    So, I'm reading this and I'm totally jazzed, except for one point. The bit where you pick your uniform colors leaves me pretty cold -- there's a prominent place on the character sheet for that, but unless I'm missing something, it's just "look at how shiny I am," and I feel like it's a boring choice. Like, one that doesn't inform character at all -- and I don't mean mechanically, I mean personality-wise as well. I think you have a fruitful place here to help inject some personality into the character beyond their archetypes, and to put some "lore" (for lack of a better word) into the Danger Patrol by giving meaning to each color.

    A totally off-the-top-of-my-head example:

    Red - Those who wear the crimson color have lost a friend in the line of service, wearing the color as a reminder.
    Blue - Those who wear the color of old Earth's sky are the dreamers of the Danger Patrol, fighting not just to keep the world safe but to make it grander.
    Yellow - Those who wear the color of the blazing sun have completed the Danger Patrol's most grueling training, and wear the color with honor.

    Something like that, or not. I dunno. But if you look at two Daredevil Flyboys, one wearing Red/Blue and another Yellow/Green, it would be cool to think "those aren't different uniforms. Those are different *people*."

    It would also make something interesting happen, where people with the same color didn't just have "we like the same color" in common.

    My last thought is that since you have a two-color scheme, each color could mean something else -- personality & background, or something like that. If it seems weird that a character would pick their own colors, maybe the Danger Patrol presents them with their colors upon joining or somesuch.

    In any case, I suppose it's something to say "Damnit, John, your game has inspired me, and it's just this one thing I feel could be turned up to 11" -- I never talk about games that don't make me want to play them anyway in spite of anything I might say negative against it.
  • edited July 2009
    Read it last night. Very concise. I like that.

    Threat #5 appears to be missing from the list of threats for the Red Ape scene.

    I'm a bit shaken too. Kingston mentioned in an AP that this design strongly supports the Right to Dream. When I think about my experience playing at GPNW and the reward cycle of the danger track, I think he may be right. It shakes my belief about myself. I thought I hated sim play.
  • I've now read and digested the rules, and I am filled with a crushing wave of disappointment.

    My game session got cancelled, and I'm not going to get to run this awesome-looking game tonight! Waaaa!!!
  • I composed some Danger Patrol music, in an equivalent "alpha" state, here.

    It's more like music for the hollywood blockbuster remake of Danger Patrol than for the 1957 tv series.
  • Great stuff, John! And I *really* like Ryan's suggestion regarding the colors having meaning. I'm going to run this by a couple of players and see if they'll give it a go. I'll probably change a few items in the background material . . . as a resident of Huntsville, AL, nicknamed "The Rocket City", playing characters based in a Martian "Rocket City" is a bit anti-climactic ;) Also, before we play I'm thinking about getting an email convo started wherein the potential players flesh out the remaining planets in the Solar System; some shared world-building . . .

    I'll be sure to let you know if we can give this a session or three!

    Best,

    Scott
  • There's something odd about the PDF - everything after page 13 is blank or has an error.

    Firefox 3.0.11, Adobe Reader 8, Vista, if that helps.
  • Downloaded! I really hope I get a chance to play soon!
  • Posted By: MikeRMThere's something odd about the PDF - everything after page 13 is blank or has an error.

    Firefox 3.0.11, Adobe Reader 8, Vista, if that helps.
    I have a very similar setup to Mike and I was able to view okay. I opened it up directly in a Firefox tab from the link and then saved it later if that helps.
  • Posted By: MikeRMThere's something odd about the PDF - everything after page 13 is blank or has an error.

    Firefox 3.0.11, Adobe Reader 8, Vista, if that helps.
    Come on, Mike! It's a game about using your imagination!

    Seriously, I had no troubles viewing it. Maybe you had a download error?
  • So why can't I buy a t-shirt that says "Danger Patrol" on it, like the screenshot above?

    Do want!!
  • edited July 2009
    I dunno, Mike. Try "save as", I guess.

    Chris: I can make that happen.
  • If you make that happen, can I cancel my current order and wait for Danger Patrol shirt 2.0??
  • I just want to quickly weigh in and say "this thing is way groovy" - more later.
  • Posted By: moleculoIf you make that happen, can I cancel my current order and wait for Danger Patrol shirt 2.0??
    Matt, you can't be me. Stop trying.
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: AlanRead it last night. Very concise. I like that.

    Threat #5 appears to be missing from the list of threats for the Red Ape scene.

    I'm a bit shaken too. Kingston mentioned in an AP that this design strongly supports the Right to Dream. When I think about my experience playing at GPNW and the reward cycle of the danger track, I think he may be right. It shakes my belief about myself. I thought I hated sim play.
    Simulationist play that focuses on exploration of setting is always a blast for the person creating the setting.

    In Danger Patrol, that person is everybody.
  • Posted By: Caesar_XMatt, you can't be me. Stop trying.
    That would require quitting. And the Danger Patrol won't quit... until Danger does.
  • thanks, john.

    you always deliver.
  • I just fell in love with Ryan Macklin's concept of meaningful uniform colors! Since I'm up at 3:30 in the morning with a 102 fever, I couldn't help finishing out the spectrum: Here are his originals and my additions: (Remember the 102 fever part, and read charitably. :) )

    Red - Those who wear the crimson color have lost a friend in the line of service, wearing the color as a reminder.

    Orange - The color of fire, and therefore vitality and energy. A Patrol member wearing orange is advertising his personal exuberance and joie-de-vivre in an already exuberant organization.

    Yellow - Those who wear the color of the blazing sun have completed the Danger Patrol's most grueling training, and wear the color with honor.

    Green - The color of the 'green hills of Earth'; a color that some have vowed to see come to Mars. Those who wear green are the terraformers, the world-shapers, the visionaries of a new home for mankind.

    Blue - Those who wear the color of old Earth's sky are the dreamers of the Danger Patrol, fighting not just to keep the world safe but to make it grander.

    Violet - In the tradition of the 'Purple Heart' once given to wounded soldiers, Danger Patrol members are given the right to wear Violet in honor of their own personal sacrifice or injury in the line of duty.

    White - Long a symbol of purity, white is worn by those members of the Danger Patrol who have dedicated themselves wholly to the cause of humanity, forsaking everything in their lives except their duty to the Patrol.

    Black - The color of night, and space. It is a relentless color, as uncompromising as vacuum. Patrolmen who wear black do so as a reminder that justice should be equally uncompromising.

    Nothing restrictive here; obviously. If someone wants to wear Brown/Gray for example, just have the player come up with what those colors mean to their character. The Danger Patrol is a young organization, they haven't had time to develop a huge body of tradition yet.

    Also, (feverish, remember) if you are a Robot or an Alien, colors might mean something different to you than they do to someone else... The potential for people to miss-read your personality or background because they don't know that to Neptunians, Purple is the color of mourning; or that Robots wear Silver instead of Red to honor fallen robot comrades is just good fun.
  • I like the notion of uniform colors having meaning but I think it's a bad idea to try and nail them all down with some artificial glossary that specifies "Yellow stands for madness", etc. - why not just keep it simple like the cloaks in MouseGuard? Players pick their own colors and define them by their own standards/history... or to prevent a crazy color clash of zany combos, why not keep the uniforms standard and maybe only use the DP logo as the color accent?

    Or go Trek-TNG-like and keep things simple black and a color type tied into a role/style (with a personal accent) - that will prevent the squad from looking like Power Rangers rejects.

    Anyhow... it's a fun idea, regardless.
  • edited July 2009
    Great stuff on uniform colors. Neil, I think your thoughts are good, too, and sound like something the group will decide when they play.

    A few people have told me that the PC hits/danger details are somewhat unclear in the text. So I made this visual example PDF to help sort it out. I'll add this page to the alpha kit later tonight, but here it is as its own sheet for now.

    image
  • Posted By: John Harper
    A few people have told me that the PC hits/danger details are somewhat unclear in the text. So I made thisvisual example PDFto help sort it out. I'll add this page to the alpha kit later tonight, but here it is as its own sheet for now.

    image
    In the first example, you say:

    "Matt also earns a Free Action chip and a Power token
    when his danger level hits the triangle icon and the DP
    lightning bolt, respectively"

    If he just received the Action chip and Power token it might be more clear to say "Matt also earned a Free Action chip and a Power token since his danger level hit the triangle icon and the DP lighting bolt, respectively". The first time I read it I wasn't sure if you meant that this would happen in the future or just then.
  • Good catch! I'll tweak that.
  • If someone only has 1-5 danger, and takes a Reduced Hit, what happens?

    Another question that occurred to me: some characters have powers like, "spend a power token and inflict 3 hits on an enemy, no roll." Is this their action? or is it a free thing they can do anytime just by spending the power token (and narrating the details obviously).
  • edited July 2009
    1 danger, reduced hit: By a strict reading of the rules, you take no harm (there are no boxes to the left of your paperclip). I don't think it's possible for this to happen, though, since you have to take at least two danger levels in order to take harm.

    2-5 danger, reduced hit: Mark a Bashed box.

    Powers that cost a power token don't cost an action chip, and vice versa.
  • oh wait - it's boxes to the left of the paper clip?
    I thought it meant boxes to the left of the section your paper clip is in.

    So Danger 1-5 is the bashed Section, danger 6-10 is the Stunned section. So if you where at 6 or 10 Danger, you're in the Stunned section, and a Full Hit does a Stun, and a Reduced Hit does a Bash.
    But if you're at 5 Danger, you're in the Bash Zone, so a Reduced hit must be something less than a Bash.

    So that's wrong, then?
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: demiurgeastarothI thought it meant boxes to the left of the section your paper clip is in.
    Ah, there's the problem. The rule just says "mark any hit box on their danger meter to the left of their danger level." There's nothing about it being in the same section. Just "to the left," is all.

    Reduced hit: Mark a Bashed box. If they're all marked, move up to Stunned. If those are all marked, move up to Injured, and so on.

    Maybe that's clearer?
  • Would there ever be a reason to voluntarily NOT marked a Bashed Box? I don't immediately see any unless there are fun effects in addition to bad effects that trigger off the conditions.

    If there isn't then perhaps just rename "Reduced Hit" to "Bash 'em". The "move up if full" part being inherent in what you do if the section is full.
  • Posted By: ValamirWould there ever be a reason to voluntarily NOT marked a Bashed Box?
    Let's say you were in a conflict that was almost wrapped up, were way up the danger meter, and took a reduced hit. You /might/ consider taking a stunned, leaving a bashed box opened for a future conflict, especially since basheds are hard to get rid of during a session.

    -wilhelm
  • I just was just about to say 'Reduced Hit: Mark your lowest unchecked box," but Wil has a point. Hmmm.
  • Wil does have a point, which is a shame, because I really like the suggestion of changing Reduced Hit's name to "Bash 'em"

    Maybe small print like: "If you like, you can always take a higher level box than the hit requires."

    Or maybe the fact that taking the lowest box forces you to take Bashed instead of a Stunned is a feature not a bug, since it makes later fights inherently more DANGERous.
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: demiurgeastarothsince it makes later fights inherently more DANGERous
    Ah ha. That's the deciding factor, I think. Sold.

    HOWEVER (here I reverse myself), I'm thinking the refresh rule might be this: Lower your danger level by 5 and heal the hit boxes in any section of your danger meter.

    This way, you can actually restore Bashed during a game (otherwise it will probably never happen). This will keep the latter action scenes from becoming stun-stun-ko-dead fests.
  • Incidentally, this looks like a great game for action-filled superhero games.
    Which I guess it already is, but with characters like Wonder Woman or Spiderman or whoever each having their special power moves, as well as leaping into danger to excel in their battles.
  • Posted By: John HarperLower your danger level by 5 and heal the hit boxes in any section of your danger meter.
    You may end up coming out of most fights without any damage, then, since you can always clear off the Bashed boxes, and higher hits are rare with enough danger dice.
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