Monkey progress

Despite having to take time were I can, due to birth of first child two weeks ago (which is chronicled in my personal blog

  ), I’ve managed a fair bit towards the Coaster edition of Monkey.

Admiting that a releasing a full version of the game (egged on by folks over at the Collective Endeavour) by Furnace in October was folly was the best thing I could do at this point. It takes the pressure off and has cleared my mind, in a way that is most productive.

I’ve cleaned up the current rules set considerably with ideas from the playtest. Character Gen is now nearly sorted, with one last session of writing to clean up loose ends. The Action chapter is next, with clean up on how the Fortune mechanic works within the main conflict rules, and an example of a non-combat dramatic contest. Then finally a quick setting chapter (no more than 3 pages; This is going to be the meat of the final version amoungst other things) and write up the demo adventure. So I reckon I’m around 50% of the way there.

So this means that dependent on how much writing time I get when I go back to work (I’ve just had two weeks paternity leave) I hope to have the first draft of the Coaster Edition done by the end of this month!

Games for Furnace

Well the cat is out of the bag and I’ve thrown my hat into the ring about what games I’m going to run at this years Furnace. Two of the games, Bullet Cop and Blood & Sand, I’ve not mentioned before and I’ll post about them individually later to expand upon the quick explaination I’ve given in these player pitches.

D101 Games presents…

Monkey: A storytelling game of the Journey to the West

“The Bag of Wind” by Newt Newport for six players

The Jade Emperor wants you to escort one of the Queen Mother’s handmaidens to a party on Ki Yin’s Western Island.

The only problem is that some one has stolen the Fung Po The Windlord’s magic Bag of Wind, while Demons run amok and heavy rains flood the lands of the Tang Emperor.

As disgraced immortals of the Western Heaven you see more than a few opportunities to make up for your previous crimes and return home.

Monkey is a new storytelling game based upon the Chinese classic The Journey to the West. A blend of action and humour, Monkey uses a card based mechanic that models the mythological world the novel is set in, with its mix of Immortals, Buddhism, Taoism and martial arts.

The full version of the game will be released in Summer 2008, but fully playable version of game will be available at the Convention.

Blood and Sand: Enter the Arena

A Sword and Sandals game for Six Players By Newt Newport

Far above the floor of the theatre of death amidst the baying crowd sits the Tyrant of the city. Since the day that you gained your freedom, you have sought the power that the Tyrant wields by controlling the whole city through a web of priests, guildmasters, sorcerers, warriors and demons. Either through the gangs that control the streets, the merchants that control the bread that feeds the masses, or the mercenaries that fight the city’s wars, you have sought to usurp the Tyrants Power, by stealing a piece at a time. But it is here on the day of games to celebrate the Tyrant’s rule that the biggest gains are to be made. Whole blocks of the population can be swayed your way if the team of charioteers that you sponsor wins. Important officials can be bought by the winnings they make off your Gladiators. Perhaps even the Tyrant, will feel threatened enough by the power that you amass to let down his guard.

As the philosopher Thanopoclus says

“Here in the Arena, amongst the Blood and Sand, lies the beating heart of the power that fuels the very being of the city.”

Blood and Sand is a new swords and sandals game, influenced by the Ancient period, old style Runequest and Robert E Howard’s Conan stories. A game where the player characters fight their way out slavery to power in a world dominated by massive City states ruled by evil Tyrants. It uses a modified and extended version of the rules published in the SRD of the the new Mongoose Runequest released under OGL. Currently in development it is due to be published in 2008.

Bullet Cop : Against the Mob

A storytelling game of 70s hardboiled cop action for four players by Newt Newport

The mafia dominates the whole of the West side of Kill City. Two thirds of all the city’s business goes through the coffers of the Family. Their enforcers walk the streets openly, eliminating any one who opposes the Don’s will. The police , the Judges and the Press are on their payroll. They own city hall.

Except you. You’ve decided to get clean of all the corruption that riddles the city and make a stand.

You and your gun, against the Mob.

Monkey, the Coaster Edition

The more I mull over the playtest in my mind, realising it was very protective in many regards and that there’s elements that need further development, the more I question getting it done by October. Add to this that I’ve yet to commission artwork, finish off the Narrator/background chapters and last not least have just become a father for the first time (I type this as the little tyke sleeps). I’m also in the process of reading Antony Yu’s four volume translation (‘Journey to the West vol 1-4, Antony Yu, published by University of Chicago), which adds a ton of detail compared with the Arthur Waley abridged version (Monkey, translated by Arthur Waley, published by Penguin). Not mention watching all 52 episodes of the Monkey TV series that was shown on BBC2 during the 80s !

So instead I plan to clean up the rules I’ve written so far, add the adventure I ran the other day with a minimal background section (important Immortals from the book and quick background to the Tang Empire and various Immortal locations), and put it all together as a PDF version – which I’m going to hand out on as a Free CD at Furnace as the ‘Coaster’ edition (because if you don’t like it you can always use it as a coaster for your Beer/Tea). I’ll also probably put it up on the D101games website (another thing I need to put together). This means I will get a playable version out for my original deadline without releasing a rushed sub par version.

I also think that this will get it to a wider audience who will then be able to comment and play test the game. Monkey in the far east has the same impact as Robin Hood, and from people’s enthusiasm that I’ve talked about the game over here its seeped into their imagination in the same way. I started this off as a self satisfactory exercise, and the playtest in many ways satisfied that urge. It will be interesting to see what other people think and how it develops from there.

I plan to have the ‘coaster’ edition done by October. Anyone who is interested on seeing the work in progress and help shaping it please contact me at mrnewt AT gmail DOT com.