Elaborating on Environments! (And more!)
As mentioned in yesterday’s brief update, we blew past that $200k mark and are still moving right along! But before we can talk about the recently unlocked adventure book and the current state of stretch goals, let’s get to the promised coverage of Environments and more! Starting with the “and more!”!
More from The Bullpen
I talked a bit about Chapter 5: The Bullpen in Wednesday’s update. Today, since we’re talking about environments, I want to dig into how the tools in that chapter help you build your own exciting settings!
When you’re building an environment, you start with a name and a concept (which of course can change over the course of creation if you get a different idea as you go). Based on those, you establish its three traits and assign dice to them based on their severity (for more info on those, check out any of the environments we’ve already released as part of the SCRPG Starter Kit or the Stolen Legacy or Urban Infestation one-shots).
Then, using the tools in this chapter, you create specific GYRO-based twists and threats for the environment, giving it a life of its own. The twists and threats in an environment are what make it react to the actions of the heroes and make it feel like an interesting place, not just a boring blank slate for superpowered fights to occur.
Now, combine your environment with some foes - minions, lieutenants, and possibly even a solo villain or a team of villains - throw in some challenges, and have some twists ready for when the heroes attempt the challenges. With all that, you’re ready to run entire scenes of your own!
Environments of Sentinel Comics
Of course, there are many canonical environments from the pages of Sentinel Comics, and we wanted to make sure you had a few juicy ones to pick from in the rulebook. That doesn’t stop you from creating any other environments using the Chapter 5 tools, but these at least are fully statted out in The Archives:
- Megalopolis, the city of the future, complete with a giant, power-generating tree!
- Freedom Plaza, the new home to the Sentinels of Freedom where they train the next generation of heroes!
- Wagner II Mars Base, still being rebuilt near the site of the original Wager Mars Base, including a portal to the Wagner Space Center in Megalopolis!
- Magmaria, deep under the surface of the earth, featuring magmen, their stalag-homes, the occasional crystalloid behemoth, and LOTS of magma!
- Ruins of Atlantis, now an active scientific research site. Something terrible happened recently here, and its effects are still under study...
- Mordengrad, the home of Baron Blade. The people of Mordengrad believe in their leader, even if he is currently incarcerated (after the events of the SCRPG Starter Kit).
The “Diamond Book of Monsters and xxtz’Hulissh” Adventure Book!
For hitting the $200k stretch goal yesterday, we unlocked the Diamond Book of Monsters and xxtz’Hulissh Adventure Book! Now, wait, is that the name of this book? No, that’s a ridiculous and misleading name. Let me break down what’s going on here.
This book is an adventure book. This means it has 12 issues of adventure in it - that’s a lot! There are some adventure books that we’d like to make some day in which all 12 issues in the book are one adventure, but more commonly, we’ll break up the book into two arcs that aren’t specifically related, but are at least thematically similar. (It might not surprise you that Adam and I have charted out a TON of potential content for this game - will it all get made? Seems unlikely! But anything’s possible…)
So, in this book, there is a 6-issue adventure all about the Diamond Book of Monsters. This is a book we revealed in an episode of The Letters Page a few months ago. It’s a book with info about monsters and worse that was handed down to NightMist from her grandfather. I don’t want to get into too many details - you’ll just have to play the adventure to find out more - but in this adventure, the book has been lost from Harpy’s library in the aviary… in the wrong hands, it could be quite dangerous!
The Diamond Book of Monsters adventure is being written by Tracy Barnett, who is a great storyteller that has done a lot of cool things in the industry! Tracy Barnett is a genderqueer (they/them) game designer with something like fifteen publishing credits. In addition to writing their own work (School Daze, Iron Edda Accelerated, One Shot), they have also done work for Evil Hat Productions, Paizo, and Galileo Games. They produce an actual play podcast called TheOtherCast, and spend most of their free time thinking about games. They're excited to be writing for Greater Than Games, and to have the chance to work with the design team to bring The Diamond Book of Monsters to life! (not literally... well, half-literally).
The other adventure in this book is a 6-issue adventure all about xxtz’Hulissh. That makes sense, right? You know everything you need to know now, correct? Oh, are you not familiar with xxtz’Hulissh? Fair. No one really is. It’s a new… thing. There’s not a great word to describe what it is. I really can’t say too much about it right now - it’s not so much that xxtz’Hulissh is unknowable, but that you don’t want to know xxtz’Hulissh. More accurately, you don’t want xxtz’Hulissh to know you. Ignorance is bliss, right?
The xxtz’Hulissh adventure is being written by Cory O’Brien, who is strangely and delightfully the absolute correct person to be writing it. Cory O'Brien has written many things, including a few websites (Myths RETOLD, Face a Week, Swear of the Month Club), a few video games (Monster Prom, Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business), and a dystopian robot board game (Inhuman Conditions). He is currently the proud owner of 28 of his own teeth, and absolutely does not stalk the night as an abyssal terror with a hunger for the nightmares of the very young.
Now, on both of those adventures, I’m also writing/consulting, mainly to keep the stories within the canon of Sentinel Comics. However, these two fantastic writers are doing all the heavy lifting - I’m just there to help out. One of the big things that we’re excited about in the world of Sentinel Comics going forward is starting to have the width and breadth of talent working on it that we’ve always pretended to have. It’s not just me doing the writing anymore. It’s not just Adam doing the art anymore. Get excited to see lots of new things!
This adventure book, full of bizarre monsters and otherworldly horror, is now on the add-on list for this campaign. This means that you can get the physical copy (that comes with the PDF of the book as well for free) by adding $29 to your pledge, or you can get just the PDF for $12. It will be a full color, hardbound book of the same quality and dimensions of the core rulebook (but not the same page count, thankfully). And even if you’re not the sort of GM to run adventures from a book, it’s still a great resource! Both adventures will have lots of cool environments, challenges, and so many foes and twists. Not to mention all the amazing art! As we continue work on it, we’ll update you folks here about how things are going (with this book and other books), as well as occasional sneak peeks at what we’ve completed so far.
Where are we now?
Looking good! The next stretch goal is a one-shot adventure (like Stolen Legacy or Urban Infestation) that leads up to the events of the Sentinels of Freedom video game by Underbite Studios. If we hit that stretch goal, we’ll create that adventure and send it to all backers, free of charge! (Same thing as other free stretch goals here where you get a physical copy and a PDF if you’re backing at any level with a physical product, but you get only the PDF if you’re backing this campaign just for PDFs.)
I hope we get there! We have some very cool plans for that adventure, and so much more!
Hero Character Creation Preview with Dave!
Before I sign off, I want to share a cool video that just got posted yesterday:
The fine folks at The RPG Academy recently had Dave Chalker - lead designer of the Sentinel Comics RPG - on their Show and Tell livestream, and they went through the hero creation process together! So, if you want more info on how that works, check out that video!
Have a great weekend, everyone! See you next week!