The Book of Threes

This is the page for my first roleplaying game, with the working title “The Book of Threes”. It is a game about loyalty, duty, friendship, and glory within a clan that is loosely modeled on a blend of Bronze and Iron Age societies – mostly Celtic, Germanic, and a bit of Mycenaean Greek thrown in.
The playtest rules are available for download, and updated versions will be posted here. Any comments and feedback on the game should go to this page. Also, this page will link to any blog entries regarding the game. In the meantime, enjoy!

The Rules

The Book of Threes


The Book of Threes Category

5 Responses to “The Book of Threes”

  1. Good stuff; here are my 2 cents.

    1. Have you heard of google wave? It might be easier to track notes as well as other applications vs. hodgepodge of feedback on this wall. But, then everyone would need to sign up for google wave.

    2. IMO, the 1 thing that is essential to any multiplayer game is balance. Why have 16 characters to choose from when everyone chooses Ryu?
    With 3 traits, each should ideally represent 1/3 of the possible set of skills.
    From what I gather (I read at a 3rd grade level so I could be easily mistaken), this game focuses on social aspect accentuated by the man vs self/man/fate (fate being what the clan expects). In a sense, there should be an atmosphere that harbors internal clan struggles as well as external struggles against another clan or beast.

    That being said, I guess I am trying to find the balance of the 3 traits in all aspects.
    From a traditional point of view, conflict resolution is a major part of rpgs (granted most rpgs I have played lately have been computer games that focus on kicking ass and taking names (if your character can write)) [and yes, I just () inside my ()].

    So, if Flesh is for hand to hand and Heart is for magic, what’s the point of Cunning?
    On the flipside, if I can use heart (from my dead, cold hands / berserk rage) or Cunning (find chink in armor / sneak attack) to fight, what’s the purpose of Flesh?

    Although, you might not want to pigeon hole each Trait to a certain aspect, a lack of structure potentially could make Traits overlap in unwanted manners.

    Just an idea, for each trait you can have 2 or more dice associated with it.
    For example, Jon could have Heart at d8/d8 and Flesh at d12/d4 and Robb could have a Heart at d4/d8 and Flesh at d12/d8.

    If Jon challenges Robb to a sprint, then Jon would have d12/d4 vs. Robb’s d12/d8.
    However, if Jon challenges Robb to a marathon, both Heart and Flesh would factor.
    One day Jon could have a d8/d12 and the next day he could have a d8/d4; since Jon is hardly ever healthy (explaining a huge gap in Flesh) while Robb would have a d4/d12 or a d8/d8 (or if you want to get insanely complicated, d8/1d12 or d4/d8).
    Just a thought, don’t mean to throw a wrench in your gears.

    Ill comment more once I digest the rest.

  2. I have not heard of google wave. Right now, this is about as technomological as my game design gets. I’ve thought about setting up a wiki, but right now I’m pretty fond of the blog format. I’ll look into it, though.

    Okay, now, to answer your second point, about the game, is going to take a touch more doing, and I’ll try to be as clear as possible.

    First off, I agree that ‘balance’ is an important concept, but in this game, it’s not really the D&D flavor of “everyone has something equal to do in a fight”. The main balancing mechanism I tried to design is the fact that you get glory points for using a trait that’s not your best. And glory points give you a major advantage later if you spend them (more dice in the die pool) but also must be hoarded if you want to keep playing this particular character. So yeah, you can go around smacking people around with your D12 trait, but that character will be a ‘guest star’ for that chapter, not an ongoing protagonist. If that’s how you want to play, cool.

    Also, you’ll notice that I’ve made it so that you have to be pretty freaking committed to something to get killed for it. You can back out easy if you’re losing, but then you don’t get what you want. I want the game to be more focused on *why* you’ll fight to the death for something rather than on how well you do it.

    Which also leads me to what you said about the traits. The notion right now is that you can theoretically use any trait for any action. Which seems kind of lame, but like I said before, depending on the circumstance, there’s reasons to use your weak, medium, or strong one. And whichever one you pick encourages a different approach to creating the fiction of the game. My main worry right now is that there’s nothing really forcing you to describe *how* the trait you picked connects to the actions you’re taking, beyond your own sense of fair play and the other players going “that’s not cunning at all!”

    Also, I think you might be overlooking how very very powerful group conflict resolution is (I think, I haven’t played it out yet!) That’s on purpose. I wanted to make the game so that you *can* go mano a mano, but that it strongly, strongly encourages you to work with other characters (player characters or NPCs, but mostly PCs) so that you get those nice, complicated loyalties going. In the end, I want a larger pool of smaller dice to be more effective on average, but for it to be difficult.

    I think your idea with the two tier traits is interesting, but not really where I want to go with this design. I’ll think about its implications, though.

    Thanks for the feedback, I look forward to more!

  3. Hey Joon,

    Well, above, to be honest, I didn’t really check out the link you sent me very carefully, and I feel like that deserves a more detailed response, because now I’m excited.

    I think that for the actual game development, I still want to keep the blog format. I want the game to be something that I can easily link to and people can wander in and check out, and I want discussion about its development to be a public debate that people can follow and jump in on (you know, once more than two or three of my real-life friends find their way here).

    However, Google Wave *does* excite me for the prospect of playing games (maybe even this one for the playtesting!). I doubt very much that it’s going to beat out the enjoyment of in-person interaction (body language, tone of voice, waving your arms around and making sound effects and what not) but considering it puts together the things that are currently kind of mish mashed from different sources in the online game I’m playing, it sounds pretty great. We currently alternate between posting to a forum, having back and forth private message threads for play, reading the rules and posting character sheets/biographies on a wiki, and having live chat play sessions. It sounds like Wave does all of this stuff in a one stop shop. Soooo, I think I am going to aggressively pursue this as a venue for gaming when I can’t meet with my friends to do it. Thank you!

    Also, have you joined?

    • I am on wave and added you as a friend. I created a test wave; I am still a bit new to wave and not sure of all its features, but I will look into more closely.

      Another thing at our disposal is ventrillo/skype.
      I believe skype to skype is free and you can have multiple people on a call at once. The downside to skype is that there is one person at the head of a call and when that one person leaves, the call drops.

      Ventrillo is kinda like a message board for voice. Where there are several chat channels per “room”. However, this costs money and has a limited amount of people that can be in the room at one time. I am unsure of the details on this. I will look into this.

      • Got your message! I’m still working out what all it can do myself, but I’m pretty excited about the possibilities.

        I’ve thought about the skype thing too. I think that’ll work better once I’m home than over here, but it’s better than text for the whole ‘interaction’ thing.

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