Game design: Lasers and Feeligns
I have been brewing an idea for a TTRPG for about a couple years now, but I knew it was nowhere near being publishable any time soon (I'm still deciding and changing stuff regarding the setting and the mechanics all the time and haven't made many final decisions). Creating a brand new TTRPG from scratch instead was also not really an option, as I was still working during the time of the Jam and I knew that a) I probably wouldn't have enough time to write 5000 words in that period of time; b) even if I made something with less than the minimum word requirement but that wasn't finished, I'd probably never finish that project.
So, instead, I decided to cheat on this Jam. Yeah, you heard me: C-H-E-A-T. What do I mean by this? The RPGenesis Jam can be broken down into a few different smaller goals that you should accomplish during the 7 days of the event: 1) create a brand new TTRPG or hack; 2) create a TTRPG that is actually playable (aka with a full mechanics system); 3) create a TTRPG with at least 5000 words. Looking at these objectives, I knew that, if I joined this year's challenge, it would be impossible for me to start a project with 5000 words or more that I could either complete from start to finish or want to continue working on after the Jam was over. However, if I disregarded the word count and focused on the other goals instead, maybe I could do it. Since the Jam allows submissions not only of original systems but also hacks of existing games, it wouldn't be impossible to find a small rules-light TTRPG to hack. That would remove the burden of coming up with a rules system of my own, thus allowing me to instead focus on other contents of the game, such as the setting.
I've always admired minimalist systems, especially those that fit in two pages or less, so I decided to hack Lasers & Feelings, since I already had in my possession not only the original game but also several hacks made by other people. However, I have never actually played Lasers & Feelings so, in order to get a feel for how the system actually plays, I researched feedback from people who had actually played the game. This gave me some insight on thing that most people seemed to agree they would somehow tweak or change in the original game. Other than addressing these potential issues, I also had two more goals for my hack: 1) expand on the original game but keep it at a maximum of two pages, so that it could still be printed in a single sheet of paper; 2) use it as a teaser of the game I'm still working on. As a result, the final draft of the game included changes to the original rules of Lasers & Feelings (base roll of 2d6 instead of 1d6), additional rules that the original game didn't have (e.g.: Harm system) and a bit of information regarding the lore of the setting I'm working on (info about the Calamity, Blaskend's Academy, the Keepers and their mentors, etc).
Due to the page limit I gave myself, I created some content for this hack that isn't featured on the final version, since it had to be cut off. However, nothing will go to waste - all the ideas I had for this hack that I couldn't fit in these couple pages will be polished and eventually used on the final version of the game that I'm still working on.
Overall, even though this entry didn't meet the Jam's 5000 words requirement, I'm glad I decided to do it. Even though I gave myself a maximum number of pages, I still managed to somehow fit over 2500 words in there, which I'm quite proud of (I hope people can read font size 8 haha). Also, I got nothing but great feedback and reviews from the community, and (unlike last year's entry) I'm actually really pleased with the final result. 10/10 would do it again.
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