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Button Kin Blog

Drama and Robots

Jan 20, 2023

Happy January, good people of the newsletter! How are we all feeling? I can hear the groans from here. I’m not joining you, though, as I just found out I’m iron deficient (apparently 30% of people are) and since I started taking my pills I’ve WOKEN UP. Turns out I wasn’t just getting old. I mean, I am also getting old, but by george there’s life in her yet! And what do I have in store for you with my new joie de vivre? Well, various updates, a Drama Llamas game preview, a FREE GAME about space robots, and the smallest smattering of discourse just because at this point in time it’d be weird to not have that, right? Right.

Drama Llamas! With over 380 followers we’re in good shape in the final prep stages before launch day, which is February 14th. Put it in your diary! There’s nothing else going on that day, I’m quite certain. I’m close to completing the first pass with my editor, which has been a delightfully collaborative process. I’ve got some postage number crunching to do, and some interviews planned with friendly journalists and podcasters. You know, promo promo promo. Speaking of which, here’s a game mechanic preview which will also take you to the Kickstarter page if you click it. Go on. Just for fun.

Show business is a cutthroat industry, and sometimes you get to be the one doing the cutting. Once per episode, during the Preparation phase of a challenge, you can try to sabotage another llama, giving them a penalty on their challenge roll. This strategy isn’t without risk, though. To Sabotage, name your target and describe how you try to mess up their work, then roll 1d6:  1-2 the Sabotage doesn’t work, and the target knows what you tried and you gain 2 Drama 3-4 the Sabotage doesn’t work, and the target doesn’t notice what you tried 5-6 the Sabotage works, and the target has no idea who did it If the Sabotage works, the targeted llama marks Sabotaged on their character sheet and has a negative modifier to their next challenge roll. Sabotage doesn’t stack and doesn’t carry over between challenges either. A single llama is either Sabotaged or not: they can’t have double or triple Sabotage. After the challenge, the target llama clears Sabotaged from their character sheet.

Drama Llamas stream casting! Do you want to be a human on a reality competition show about being a llama on a reality competition show? If you can handle the mindfluff, check out Girls Run These Worlds’ Twitter for details on how to apply. Casting should be open all this weekend at the very least.

To the discourse! Folks, I don’t know about you, but I’m disc-hausted. By which I of course mean I’m exhausted by discourse. And yet I know I will faithfully read many more takes before this OGL 1.1 storm passes. It just keeps coming, doesn’t it? I’ve heard variously that WotC are trying to kill third party content producers, that they’re threatening the entire open source software movement with their superseding license claims, that they’re going to charge $30 for DnD Beyond subs, and that they’re not even reading the One DnD survey answers. Much of this is likely to be more panic than truth. WotC themselves seem to be quite anxious, issuing two long apology posts, followed by a twitter thread to debunk a lot of the above, then announcing that they’re adding their mechanics to the creative commons license in a move some say said doesn’t mean much, but which might be a genuine enough gesture. Certainly it seems that a lot of trust has been lost since the OGL 1.1 leak only 2 weeks ago. Which, by the way, is a good thing. This is a corporate entity we’re talking about. Hasbro are definitely not your #TTRPGFamily, though I do feel for the creatives on their staff who are catching flack on twitter while likely being just as concerned about this mess as those dishing out said vitriol.

Meanwhile I’m heartened by the take I’ve seen circulating that says we could end up with something reminiscent of the 70s TTRPG scene: a thriving ecosystem of small, innovative games; a beautiful wilderness of weirdness. I’ve no idea how accurate that take is, not having been alive at the time. I’m also painfully aware of the many things from the 70s we don’t want to revive. But I do think we should all have more confidence in our ability to thrive outside of a D&D monoculture.

Free game! Okay, now you’ve eaten all your discourse you can have a treat. I got inspired this week and wrote a one page game. It’s called Alien Car-Bots From Space and it’s definitely not a rip off of any corporate IP, or any totally badass movies about robots who are also cars fighting other robots in space to a sick 80s hair metal sound track which came out when I was 4 and helped form the basis of my entire world view. You can download it for free here or get it as a .png below. Till all are one!

Alient Car-Bots From Space full game

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