Jason's Game Thread

Started by Jason Morningstar, September 12, 2010, 07:38:04 PM

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Jason Morningstar

My game's coming along. Here's the introduction:

A rag-tag group of would-be heroes are thrown together on a harrowing journey of survival - and self-discovery!

Danger Mountain! is a game that emulates disaster films from the 1970s. These films, like Earthquake (1974), Flood! (1976), Fire! (1977), The Swarm (1978) and When Time Ran Out (1980), capitalized on a growing environmental malaise and blended it with age-old B-movie melodrama. The results were roundly terrible in retrospect, but terrible in a really fun way.

The general plot of these films is very simple. In some peaceful village on the edge of the wilderness (usually, for the convenience of the film-makers, a desert community in southern California), an outsider arrives with nefarious plans that will despoil the pristine environment. As efforts among the good-hearted local populace to stop them ramp up, we see troubling signs of an impending disaster. It may be man-made or natural, but the signs are all there, and the few unhappy Cassandras who have the data, experience, or wisdom to see it coming are roundly ignored. Before the evil outsiders can follow through on their rapacious plan, disaster strikes! The best and luckiest then lead a seat-of-the-pants effort to save lives and cope with the destruction, racing against time to prevent some greater calamity along the way.

In Danger Mountain! you will be playing the iconoclastic residents of a little town nestled high in the mountains, on the edge of civilization. Urban sprawl from Los Angeles beckons from one direction and the vast southern California desert from the other - and in between, a bulwark between the City of Angels and untracked wilderness, is the majestic and dangerous peak of Danger Mountain.

So a dozen pre-set characters, all pointed at each other, an uncertain countdown clock to get to the disaster, then a bunch of freeform rescuing using scarce resources after it hits. There isn't mojo enough to save everybody, so hope the people you care about don't show up early, when it is hardest. It is all avocado and burnt orange.

Bryan Hansel

I'm digging this, and I love the cover you did for it.

Jason Morningstar

Kevin Allen Jr

I don't know how you get so much out so quickly.

The bit at the end there, the optional more supernatural rules, totally cool.

Also, the swarm, how was that never a movie.

Jason Morningstar

The Swarm was a movie. About killer bees. Swarming all over Michael Caine in 1978. See also: Kingdom of the Spiders (1977, With a transcendent William Shatner), etc. It was definitely a thing.

I worked on this all weekend! Other than cleaning my gutters, non-stop. Cleaning my gutters was sweet respite.

Jason Morningstar



Eco-horror from the seventies:

Rattler! Willard and Ben, The Food of the Gods, The Pack, Grizzly, The Swarm's box office doppelganger The Bees, It Happened At Lakewood Manor (yes!), Empire of the Ants, The Giant Spider Invasion, and my favorite, FROGS.

Maybe I should sharpen my focus...

Jason Morningstar

Just thinking out loud. Here is my system right now:

So you have n coins (usually 6) to divide between 2-6 players, and a stack of n+4 people you want to rescue. If you flip a coin and it comes up heads, you rescue them and keep the coin. Tails is a failed attempt and you lose the coin.

If nobody wants to flip a coin, the person dies. Go around the table until everyone demurs or the person is rescued.

If you flip your last or only coin and it comes up tails, the person you are trying to rescue dies and you are in peril in their place. The person rescuing you gives you his successful coin. If this means he has none, his character sacrificed himself to save you.

If you flip two coins at once and they both come up heads, you rescue the person heroically and gain a free coin to give to another player, whose character is inspired. If they both come up tails you lose them, and unless you have one left see the previous paragraph.

The first half of the game is all about establishing relationships that will make you want to take risks to help people, but the scarcity of available resources means it is pretty much impossible to save everyone. I need more ways to connect the fiction to the mechanics, but this is so dirt simple exception-based ideas (gain a free coin if you rescue someone you introduced; ignore a failure if you introduced the NPC) are too powerful and unbalancing. Hmm.