Cecil is a friend of one of the creators of True20 and Green Ronin, Chris Pramas. It was this connection and a bit of punk rock that lead to a new mini-setting for True20! Here's that story...
This past October I was in Seattle for Geek Girl Con and I went and stayed at my friend Chris Pramas house for a couple of nights. We met in college when I was the front desk person at our dorm and he and his friends would stay up all night in the lobby playing RPGs. He also liked punk rock and we’d run into each other at rock shows. A friendship was sealed. Chris grew up to become a game publisher – he owns and runs Green Ronin Publishing. They do games like Freeport Pirate, Dragon Age RPG, Game of Thrones RPG, DC Comics RPG to name a few. I love the video game Dragon Age and was curious about the table top game so when I was visiting, he ran a game of Dragon Age for me and his family. I was so excited to be playing in Ferelden! When I fall in love with a story, I fall in love with a world. And when I fall in love with a world, I want to live there, visit there, eat there, love there, dance there, swoon there, be there. That’s the great thing about playing a game that takes place in a world that you love. When I was writing Tin Star, I knew it was a galaxy that I wanted to explore more of. There are so many stories to be told there! Sitting in Chris’s kitchen I wondered if I could make a mini adventure within the Tin Star world. Chris said, “Of course you can!” And he even had an easy way for me to start: Green Ronin is the creator of the open license True 20 Game system. That means that anyone can use those rules to create their own game.
The idea was born and I was determined to do it! But I had never written a game before and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So I turned to my brother Laurent who I had played RPGs with all my life and who had been a first reader for Tin Star. He had always talked about creating his own RPG one day so I knew that when I told him of my plan, he’d jump on it. As a bonus, he knew the characters and the world as well as I did because I had worked out a lot of the Galactic Politics with him. Besides, it was a fun project for us to do together. It was kind of like being kids again.
Why write a game?
We live in an age where we digest stories in many different ways and on many different platforms. Books are made into movies, comic books, tv shows and games. Stories have become transmedia and people find them and engage with them in all ways or just one way. I am a big gamer. I always have been. I started playing D&D and other RPGs with my brother when I was a kid. This seemed like fun on so many levels.
Creating the Game
It was fun to try to figure out with Laurent what the adventure should be. I wanted the players to be able to interact with Tula and some of the other main characters of the book, but I also wanted it to be something that someone could play without knowing the book at all. The trick was to find that balance to let people who already love Tula hang with her and learn more about her and for those who don’t get to know her and the others. I wanted the game to be a short contained adventure that could be played in one or two sessions.
Laurent and I jammed out some ideas and we finally settled on the story of a group of aliens on a ship that hauls cargo to colony planets who dock at the Yertina Feray to stock up on some last minute supplies. Things go wrong and they have to get some stuff with help from Tula, Heckleck, Tournour and Thado. I set the story in the time just after the beginning of the book and before the other humans arrive on the station. It’s a chance to get to know Tula doing what she does best, bartering with aliens and surviving. We wrote a few versions of the game and then we playtested it a couple of times with a mix of friends who know and don’t know how to play RPGs. They gave us feedback and we simplified and streamlined the course of action. It was so much fun to run a game with them. Pretty thrilling to see people interacting with your characters and going through their own story in your world.
What do you need to play the game?
You need someone who is willing to run the game. It’s helpful if that person is a good story teller and can move a story along no matter what the players through at them! You need a group of friends who want to have an adventure! You need a twenty sided die. You need your imagination. The person who runs the game should read through the adventure module Tin Star: A Simple Favor and also the True 20 Quickstart Rules.
We created 6 pre-generated characters that you can choose to play and the game is run by a Game Master whose job is to take you through the story. You as the player can do whatever you want to try to accomplish the tasks given you and whether you succeed or not is determined by a roll of a 20 sided dice. My brother and I tailored the True 20 Quickstart Rules to go along with the Tin Star adventure. We also tried to make it easy for first time gamers.
I hope you have a great time hanging out on the Yertina Feray and working with Tula Bane on your adventure. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me @misscecil or @tinstargame and let me know how your adventure goes!
Here is a link to the Tin Star True20 Mini-setting
Here is a link to picking up a copy of the short story