We’ve been playtesting One by One, our upcoming story rpg, and the results have been uniformly positive. One by One is looking good!
Specifically, players are saying the love the resolution tables. Huh? What are those? They’re ways to add complications to characters–and even kill them off.
When a scene ends, players roll dice and compare the results to a table in their particular script (aka setting). For flashback scenes, this adds complications to the game. In the “Arkham County” script, one result is that your character has secretly been a cultist all this time! In the “A Cold, Dark Space” script, you might break the navigation controls so the ship–and the alien monster aboard it–cannot be turned away from Earth.
For continuing scenes, you can get similar complications. More importantly, the roll decides which character will die! Either the lead character dies, the supporting character dies, or the two players need to roll off with the highest roll surviving the scene.
Another bright spot are the central questions. Before starting a scene, you need to create a question that will be answered by the scene, such as, “Why is the serial killer going after everyone” or, “What clues to the monster’s origin can be gained from the library?” A common complaint about story rpgs in general is that players are sometimes lost as to what to do next. These central questions remove that problem.
What isn’t working? Not much, to be honest. The same tables mentioned above as a positive can sometimes be too random for players’ tastes, but that could be an issue of taste rather than anything being broken. That said, we will be adding rules that clearly state how to make things less random if it makes for a better story.
Special thanks to Stephen Whitehead and his group for running independent playtests. The data from those are always good, and we appreciate their time and effort. You guys rock!