Skip to main content

KatsuCon 2019

Two players from a demo of Alter Arms at KatsuCon
I had a great time at KatsuCon this past Saturday in their tabletop room where I was able to run multiple demos of Alter Arms for eager players!

I had one return player who played a demo last year, who also expressed enjoyment at how the game is turning out.

One takeaway I found was that the Defender archetype needed to be tempered to make it so that it didn't make it too easy for players to earn experience compared to the others.

Archetypes are classes that characters have that represent their role on the team, kind of like how sentai teams have "the supportive one," or "the tough one." These classes give players special move they can perform that allow them to A) Heal a characters, and B) Earn experience that can be used to advance their characters, earning them higher stats and new forms.

As it stood during the demo, when an ally was attacked, the Defender character could jump in to try to prevent them from taking damage. The player could mechanically make an attack against their ally to neutralize a portion or all of that damage (thematically this was them jumping in the way of the attack). Any damage they didn't neutralize instead was transferred to the Defender character. In the instance of success, they earned experience.

What happened was they were aiding an ally who was very weak in the vector they were being attacked in, allowing both the opponent and the Defender character to easily rack up successes. Working with the players, we decided that this made it much to easy for the player to gain experience, and had no real drawbacks. Other archetypes required the player to at least spend their turn using their move to earn experience. The Defender could instead earn experience on the opponent's turn.

The player suggested a possible solution was to switch the experience trigger around: instead of earning experience for the damage neutralized, they instead earned experience for damage taken. This gave consequence to the earning of experience, as if they took too much damage, the Defender would lose the experience they earned.

I am going to use this mechanic going forward, and intend to apply it to the blind playtest rules I'm writing.

Another takeaway was that players like the idea of creating advantages they can use during the game. One example from the convention was creating a distraction to make a follow up attack more effective. I've decided to implement this into the blind playtest rules as well.

At this point, I have written the core mechanics, and have begun a game master's guide to help players run games. I have a move coming up and hope to be able to finish the rules afterwards.

Stay tuned for more updates, and follow the @AlterArms account on twitter for the most up-to-date info.


  1. Hey there. Stumbled upon your toku RPG, and it seems like you've got more of it built up than most people who've taken a shake at it. AFAICT you've gotten the farthest out of all the ones I know.

    Just wanted to ask if I could get a copy of the playtest rules? If you're not giving them out yet for more focused tests or whatnot, it's fine; just interested in seeing how the system works in-play.

    In any case, as a toku fan, I hope this gets... published? Printed? I don't know the term, but I hope it's successful. I know more than a few people who'd like to see a toku RPG that isn't via FATE.


    1. And because apparently, this doesn't leave the e-mail attached in case of any replies:

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Metatopia 2018

During the first week of November, I was lucky enough to attend Metatopia , a gathering of tabletop gaming professionals from around the country and beyond, who come together to talk about the industry and gather feedback on their games. I want to give a brief overview of how my games were received, and what I thought of the games I played. MY GAMES Alter Arms is a tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) that I am designing themed around Japanese super heroes . Players are able to take on different forms with a variety of powers in order to solve problems and defeat enemies. It got the most exposure at the convention, with one hi-test (where only other developers played with the intention of dissecting mechanics) and one lo-test (where casual players and other developers can try out games). Both went well, with the hi-test giving me feedback on how mechanics can be abused and some of the character Powers need clarification in their rules.  One mechanic that was noticed to have a l

Awesome Con 2018 Playtest Feedback

(Photo by Duffy Austin) This past Saturday I was lucky enough to run some playtests at Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. in the dedicated tabletop room, and wanted to go over how the playtests went and the feedback I received. There were two playtests in the afternoon, each with two players. The first participants were a young man and an older gentleman, and the second group was an adult man and woman. everyone had prior experience with RPGs and were familiar with tokusatsu on a basic level. I recruited them by walking up to them as they were looking around and asking if they were interested in testing out my game. Each session took about two hours. WHAT'S NEW? Not much difference between this playtest and the last at the  Big Frederick Gaming Convention , other than adding more detailed explanations of the rules associated with Powers. WHAT HAPPENED? Saw-Tooth, one of the pregenerated player characters for this playtest. They're a werebeaver (Art by Duffy Au

Post-MAGFest 2022 Playtest Report

  MAGFest 2022 was a great experience! I learned more about encounter balance for both Alter Arms and Skrap Packs, and met a number of wonderful people with some great stories to tell through the games and feedback to provide. With Alter Arms , the main feedback I got was in terms of learning the system and encounter balance: Coming into the game with characters with at least one advancement can be fun when multiple special abilities are applied to actions, but it can be overwhelming for new players learning the new system. The different kinds of actions a character can take, the bonuses they can create for themselves and their allies, and managing the pressure their characters are under can be a lot to take in all at once. What I've found by comparing the MAGFest 2022 playtests to other playtests is that the game is easiest taught in steps: at PAX Unplugged I brought characters in before they had any transformations or special abilities. They were left to solve problems with just