Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kickstarter is 30% Funded!

The Psi-punk Kickstarter has been active for one week now, and look at the progress we've made! 30% of the funding has been raised and we still have a month to go.
According to, if we were to continue with our current momentum we'd hit a funding target of around $7,100: 
Though I know that Kickstarter trends toward a U-shaped curve (that is, the majority of backers pledge at the beginning and the end of a project, with a bit of a lull in the middle) I am super optimistic that we will reach our target goal of $4,500. That means we'll be able to pay Melissa for fabulous art, Chris for his editing talents, and we've even brought on board a local Portland layout artist to make sure that it all goes together in an awesome, professional manner.
I know that this couldn't have been done without your support, and I don't mean just the money you've pledge. Every time you fine folks post a link to our Kickstarter somewhere on the Internet, other people see and discover us and many people I have never even met before have become enthusiastic backers.
Word of mouth is a great and powerful thing, and the best part is that it takes so little time to help! Kickstarter already has Facebook and Twitter links built into each project, and for those of you who use Google+ it's as easy as copy-pasting the link into your feed.
Thanks again to everyone who has helped in any way to contribute to this great project. Our hopes are high and we look forward to being successfully funded on August 27th!
If you're just joining us, check out the Kickstarter at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Psi-punk: A Fudge Cyberpunk RPG Kickstarter Goes Live

The time has finally come -- the Psi-punk Kickstarter has gone live!

We have been teasing this for a long time, and after a few delays it's finally here. We have 39 days to raise $4,500 so we can pay for layout, editing, and art like this:

Whether you have been following along with us since the beginning or you are new to Psi-punk, please check out the Kickstarter and consider pledging what you can. Every dollar helps, and every dollar gets you some kind of special backer reward -- anything from a special "Thank You" with your name in the book all the way up to having your face featured as one of the characters on the book's cover.

We are also proud to announce that we are Kicking it Forward, which means 5% of net profits after the product is launched will be funneled back into Kickstarter. We want to say "thank you" in a big way by backing the amazing community that is going to help us reach our own goals and make this game a reality.

For more information and to make a pledge, visit the Psi-punk Kickstarter Page.

Also, please remember to pass along word of this project to all of your friends, family, cohorts, and minions!

Important Links
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Psi-punk Choose Your Own Adventure Story at

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vehicles as Character Equipment

Vehicles as Character Equipment

During a recent Psi-punk playtest session we realized that something rather important was missing from the game's set of sub-systems: vehicles. Vehicles are a key component of making modern and futuristic games feel, well, modern and futuristic. Plus, with character archetypes such as the Wheel Jockey, it only makes sense to have equipment for them to use.

With that in mind, I recently sat down to come up with some vehicle rules for Psi-punk. I started by looking at what the Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition had to say on the subject, then promptly threw all of it out.

Well, not all of it. I used some of the ideas they had for traits.

While I like the advice that the Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition had to offer, it was too complex to fit in well with the Psi-punk style. It offered a lot of great advice on how to include vehicles in games for any genre, from historic (with wagons and carts) to space opera (with galaxy-travelling mega-ships). If you're a Fudge Game Master and need some advice on how to insert vehicles into your Fudge game, I'd recommend giving it a look.

What make Psi-punk so special then?

Psi-punk is a character-focused role-playing game. It's about the stories that the players and the GM collectively tell, and as such I felt that vehicles -- when they become necessary to the story -- should likewise be extensions of the characters who use them.

Space ships and aircraft carriers are great vehicles, but in a character-centric game I felt they work better as backdrops or settings. They're locations for a scene to take place, not necessarily the focus of the scene. It takes a large crew of characters to man a battleship, and no individual could hope to ever own, much less use, such a vehicle on his or her own.

With that in mind, I went to work developing a sub-set of vehicle rules that still left the vehicle's owner, the player character, at the forefront. Vehicles will appear in the equipment section as an option for player characters to purchase and outfit as they choose. The rules are simple, straightforward, and include  as few additional sub-systems as possible to help them integrate seamlessly with the rest of the game's mechanics.

Vehicles as Character Equipment

Any player has the option to purchase a vehicle, whether it's as simple and low-tech as a pair of roller skates to as costly and complex as a super-car, and all of the rules for doing so will be outlined in the equipment chapter. Just because it's available doesn't mean it's going to be cheap, though; vehicles in Psi-punk have the potential to be incredibly powerful and, therefore, incredibly costly.

As with anything else in the game, vehicles can possess Gifts and Faults to improve their capabilities and off-set some of their costs. In addition to Gifts and Faults, all vehicles in Psi-punk possess the following features:

  • Size: the vehicle’s relative size.
  • Speed: the vehicle’s speed relative to other vehicles of its size.
  • Handling: a vehicle’s maneuverability rating relative to other vehicles of its size.
  • Weapons: some vehicles have built-in weapon systems; this value represents the vehicle’s Offensive Damage Factors.  Individual vehicles may have different types of weapons, from guns to bladed hubcaps, but the weapon’s Damage will be equal to its Weapons trait unless altered by a Gift or Fault.
  • Durability: how durable the vehicle is; in affect, the vehicle’s armor bonus, or its Defensive Damage Factors.
  • Gifts/Faults: as with anything, vehicles may possess both Gifts and Faults.
  • Cost: The total of all Wealth Modifiers determines a vehicle’s final Cost (in Wealth).
That's everything. Each of these traits comes in a level ranging from Abysmal (-3) to Astonishing (+7).

A vehicle's Size is probably its biggest factor; it acts as a modifier for all of the vehicle's other traits and dictates what type of vehicle is being modeled (anything from skates to motorcycles, passenger cars to helicopters, and so forth).

I chose not to include special rules for vehicle-specific weapons; it's up to the owner to give flavor to what the weapons are like, but the damage they deal is always based on the vehicle's Weapons rating. This keeps the vehicle mechanics simple and mitigates the need to purchase different types of guns for both the character and his vehicle. Any special features that the player wishes his vehicle's weapons to possess can be modeled using Gifts.

The same can be said for each of the vehicle's other traits; it's up to the player to decide whether or not his Good-sized sports car is super-fast and handles like a champ because of special high-tech enhancements or if it's just mechanically engineered to be that way.

By leaving all of the cinematic details up to the players and their GMs, the vehicle becomes more a part of the character and less a collection of additional statistics to keep track of.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have any questions or comments concerning the new Psi-punk vehicle rules? Let us know by leaving a comment below or following us on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook!