Happy Bishop Games

If the bishop's happy, we're happy

Happy Bishop Games - If the bishop's happy, we're happy

Same Quickstarter, New Look

Allen Varney is an official Friend of the Happy Bishop, and not just because we used to work together. He took a look at the new Triune Quickstarter and had pity on its sad, MS Word produced look. So he downloaded it, copied it into InDesign, and produced a much prettier version.

Sure, the images are gone, but the text looks clean and professional. We are stunned by how nice it looks. Thanks, Allen!

Cyborg bugs and ant cameras

This interesting article from the EE Times describes how DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Agency) is working on creating cyborg bugs. They’re implanting tiny electric/mechanical devices to use insects for reconnaissance in places too dangerous or hard to reach for soldiers.

Some of the gear in Triune is similar. In fact, we coined a term to describe technology in our game: 3tech. It’s the combination of digital, biological, and nanotechnological forms. One of our examples is the ant camera. It’s an ant with a tiny camera built into its head. You control the ant with your thoughts, and it feeds the video either into a computer or directly into your head. Enforcement officers use these to spy on suspects; who would notice an ant?

The funny thing is how Triune is set in the 22nd century. DARPA is trying to roll out these cyborg bugs in a few years. So much for predicting the future.

Bishop Long Scandal = Multiclassing

We are not weighing in on the scandal involving allegations of homosexuality with Bishop Eddie Long. We don’t know if he’s innocent, guilty, or somewhere in between. However, we are not above using this scandal to talk about our upcoming roleplaying game, Triune.

In the game, characters use religions, sins, and careers as character classes. For example, the setting’s president of the USA, Oscar Ramirez, has Christian / Pride / Politics as this classes. In early D&D terms, he multiclasses.

We set this up primarily because it helps describe how complex people truly are. Nobody is one-dimensional: Even saints like Mother Theresa or unrepentant sinners like Adolph Hitler have more than one side to them. By giving three classes to each character, they become more real and enjoyable.

Plus, it gives the players more control over their character. As they play sessions of Triune, they gain faith points to spend on unlocking new prayers. If you start out as Islam / Anger / Media, how should your character evolve? Besides unlocking new prayers, your character will grow and change over time.

So are Bishop Long’ s three classes  Christian / Pleasure / Politics? Is he a politically savvy preacher with a penchant for lust? We don’t know. But it wouldn’t surprise us either. Not because of who Bishop Long is, but because people are complex and even contradictory.

New Quickstarter for Triune

After being thoroughly edited for even more gaming goodness, the latest version of the Triune Quickstarter is available for free!

The quickstarter has all the information necessary to play Triune: A brief intro to the setting, character generation, and the barebones rules. This is and will always be free to download. Help yourself!

The upcoming Triune Corebook will have all of the information contained in the quickstarter but much, much more. The quickstarter is for those players who are joining a game of Triune but can’t afford the corebook. (Or just don’t want to.) It’s also a great introduction to the game–if you like what’s in the quickstarter, then you’ll love what’s in the upcoming corebooks!

So go ahead! Give it a download and let us know what you think!

Druids outside of D&D?

As this article explains, Britain is now officially recognizing druids as a faith with the same legitimacy as Christians, Jews, and Muslims. (Which begs the question: Should we capitalize the ‘d’ in ‘druids’ now?) Good for you, neo-pagan hippies of the UK! (I kid! I kid because I don’t understand.)

Triune uses six religions as character classes: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Shenism (Chinese folk). We chose these six for two reasons: 1) These are some of the biggest religions on the planet; and 2) We have to draw the line somewhere. At least for the core book, we cannot include everyone’s favorite religion.

Once the book is published, we will likely have a contest about creating a new religion, complete with powers, for use in an upcoming Triune supplement. Until then, think about what other world religion needs to be included in the game. Jainism? Wicca? Atheism?

Goodbye, Digitali

Early on in the process of writing Triune, we had a neat idea: sub-sentient software called digitali that acted like capable pets. For example, the Domo breed would run your home: Regulate temperature, order food, record your shows, announce visitors, that sort of thing. Everyone would have several digitali, like Ebenezers to control your finances or Scoops to run cameras and recording devices.

After much debate, we have decided to cut digitali from the core book.

Triune is science fiction, so we have to think about what gadgets and devices would be present in the future. That said, this is a game and good design cuts away things not necessary for the player’s experience. Triune focuses on the conflict between religion and society, not anything involving digital life. Therefore, when we looked objectively at digitali, there was no reason to include them in the game. It’s a good idea but simply not necessary.

If Triune sells well enough to warrant an expansion, perhaps we’ll include them with some mechanical effects, such as granting an extra successful Effort Die if you use a digitali. Until then, however, our little digital pets shall have to wait.

128 Pages so far!

We just took a look at the length of the Triune Players’ Rulebook in MS Word. It’s at 128 pages! Not sure how that will translate when we publish in PDF and physical formats, but it’s still impressive to us.

Oh, and that’s without artwork. We’re putting together a nice-sized value for customers!

Effort System revised

Our upcoming rpg Triune uses a new mechanic called the Effort System. Thanks to a very kind and smart gentleman in the UK, the system just got better.

Here’s how it works. At the core, it’s very simple: Roll 1d10 against a target number; equal or lower is success; and higher is failure. This is called the Tell Die roll, because that d10 tells you whether you succeeded or failed. However, things get more strategic with the introduction of Effort Dice.

Effort Dice are 1, 2, or 3d6 used to represent how much effort you are putting into the task at hand. They don’t affect your chances–that’s solely the purview of the Tell Die–but they affect the level of success or failure. Players decide whether to roll 1, 2, or 3 Effort Dice, and for each Effort Die rolled, 1-3 means a success and 4-6 means a failure.

  • If your Tell Die was a success, one successful Effort Die means a Basic Win; two successful Effort Dice mean a Major Win; and three successful Effort Dice mean a Critical Win. Any failed Effort Dice are ignored.
  • If your Tell Die was a failure, one failed Effort Die means a Basic Loss; two failed Effort Dice mean a Major Loss; and three failed Effort Dice mean a Critical Loss. Any successful Effort Dice are ignored.

The Effort System gives players have some control over the degree of success or failure. If a player really needs a big success on a roll, they can use all three Effort Dice. However … if you fail, you risk a big failure. You cannot get a chance at a Critical Win without a chance at at Critical Failure. Players manage risk in the Effort System–it’s their choice how much to reach for.

What Enforcers enforce

In Triune, players take roles as enforcement officers, a.k.a. enforcers. But what do they enforce? Why, the Treaty of Pavonis Station of course!

In the Triune universe, humanity went to war with Heaven and Hell. In the end, there was a stalemate and all three signed a peace treaty at Pavonis Station, a large space station in orbit above Pavonis III. To get an idea of what enforcers do, here are some excerpts from the treaty:

From the various authorities of man in its universe, collectively engaged in union as the Economic Hegemony of Authorities, the various authorities of angel in its universe, collectively engaged in union as the Armies of Heaven, and the various authorities of devil in its universe, collectively engaged in union as the Armies of Hell;

Whereas the Armies of Heaven and the Armies of Hell, engaged in war against each other and, upon access to the universe of man, having engaged in war against the Hegemony to secure man’s allegiance against the other;

Whereas, both the Armies of Heaven and the Armies of Hell having having ceased military operations against the Economic Hegemony of Authorities and against each other within the universe of man;

Having agreed therefore to a cessation of the state of war between the Economic Hegemony of Authorities and themselves, who have appointed dignitaries who, after representation of their full authority, found in good and due form, have agreed to the following:

Article one: The Economic Hegemony of Authorities shall have sole authority within the universe of man and the Armies of Heaven and the Armies of Hell will respect that authority. The Economic Hegemony of Authorities will respect the authority of Heaven and Hell in their respective universes.

….

Article three: The Armies of Heaven and the Armies of Hell shall take the necessary steps to remove members of their universes currently within the universe of man; and the Economic Hegemony of Authorities shall take the necessary steps to remove members of its universe currently within the universes of angel and devil. Angel, devil, and human shall not travel, reside, or otherwise appear in a universe other than their original universe without express consent of the powers recognized in Article One of this Treaty.

….

Article nine: The Economic Hegemony of Authorities shall have the right to enforce the provisions and articles of this Treaty in a manner consistent with its laws, traditions, and regulations so long as it does not violate any of the provisions and articles of this Treaty in the course of enforcement.

In other words, the PCs enforce the Treaty. They run around the Hegemony, arresting angels, devils, and their human sympathizers. What other game expects you to arrest an angel?

Is Continued African Corruption Racist?

We’ve been writing setting material for Triune, including descriptions of nations in the future. Since the game focuses on enforcing the Anti-Church Act that makes all religions illegal, and since players take roles as police, we need to describe how nations deal with all of this.

When describing central and west African nations, we tried to think 1) what would they be line in the future, and 2) what would make for interesting gameplay. We settled on a continuation of the corruption and internecine warfare that plagues the continent today. There doesn’t seem to be an end to the corruption in sight, and it would make for good conflicts in the game.

Now, we’re wondering if that’s racist. Are we predicting the same kind of instability in other regions? No–Asian and White nations are stable. Are we assuming nations like Chad and Burundi will never get their act together? For the purposes of a game, yes. Are we predicting and assuming just because these nations are mostly black?

Our answer is no, not at all. First, we’re not making predictions–we’re writing a science fiction roleplaying game setting. Science fiction doesn’t try to predict the future; it tries to entertain by creating a possible future.

Second, the reality is that many African nations are incredibly corrupt. This isn’t news nor a contested, unproven idea. It’s a fact. We are simply using that fact in creating our game setting.

To answer the question we posed in the title, we believe that having African nations still struggle with tribalism and corruption in our futuristic setting is not racist. We aren’t making any judgment calls on the people of Africa. Besides the fact that this is just a game, the currently corrupt African nations don’t seem to be on the road to improvement. It makes sense to depict them this way.