New year, new blog post!

So first of all, we hope that everyone had a lovely holiday season and a Happy New Year! Welcome, 2016!

We apologize for not having been posting a lot of blog updates as of late. Between work, the holidays, sicknesses, and preparing for the arrival of our first baby this February, we’ve been super busy!

That being said, we’ve also been busy working on some changes to the Genesis System as well. While everything “worked” just fine as we had it running previously, we felt that we could make it better than it was, so we have been working on changing up the way that player turns function and how turn rotations go.

We’ve only been able to playtest our changes a couple of times since we fleshed out the ideas but so far it seems that our changes have been functional and well-received by our playtesters, so we are hopeful that the changes will be for the better in the end once we can get some more testing done and get the changes into text in our game books.

We hope to be able to squeeze in some more playtesting before our baby is born, but we will see! Game on!


(Image from



2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

On the Core

So things have been going slowly but steadily for us as far as our playtesting has been concerned. We’ve been having weekly (for the most part!) playtest sessions, but the changes we’ve been making take time to try out and see how they are working. So far the feedback has been good, though!

One of our biggest changes recently has been us revamping the character sheets. We used to have separate sheets for all 3 of our current games- “Dead House: Watchers of the Night”, “Darkstar”, and “Project: Utopia”. Now there is one Genesis System character sheet that can be used with any of our games! We also redid the Character Core section of the character sheet, changing some of the verbage and adding in some more Core attributes:


Character Core attributes are gained by using your Skills. Each Character Core attribute can correlate to a specific “type” of Skill: melee, magic, ranged, etc. For example, Willpower can be added to your to-hit die roll for magical spells, whereas Focus can be added to your damage die roll for magical spells.

So far the expanded Core set has been giving players more freedom to use their Core points in a wider variety of applications, thus making player characters more varied and causing them to have different “feels” than other characters of similar builds. We will keep on playtesting to see how the Cores work for player characters that have been played more frequently, though we are happy that it seems to be working well for new characters thus far!

Game on ­čÖé

Technology: great when it works!

So this Sunday was a day for a complete rearranging of our computers and other such tech devices. The reason why I feel the need to tell you about this, is because we got rid of our old desktop and we’re now only using the newer desktop and the laptop…. but the character sheets were made on the old desktop, can’t be properly loaded on the other computers, and now need to be completely redone.


Well it’s a good thing we were planning on reworking them a little bit anyways, right? Right!

We are finally to the point where we think we’ve reworked the Character Core skills enough to warrant trying them out in-game in the near future, which means NEW CHARACTER SHEETS! Wohoo!

While we’re ideally not going to be changing too much about the Character Sheets in general, we will have to rework them to fit the extrapolated Character Core skills, so we’ll see what happens and if technology will let us do the idea we have in our head onto the computer ­čÖé

In playtesting news, the current “Darkstar” campaign is getting really interesting! Not that it wasn’t before, but our team is definitely delving headfirst into the sociopolitical party aspect of the game universe. As I’ve said previously, no other team has done so to quite this degree, so it’s very intriguing to see the social and political parties that we as gamedevs always knew existed in full being interacted with by the players to more of an extent than, “We have a quest, we’ll pay you, want to do the quest?”

We also have been talking with our playtesters about making this current campaign into something of a story, just to keep tabs on all of the fun stuff we’ve been doing in game for future reference, which I personally think would be fun to look back upon and reference down the line!

And, in closing, have some RPG MacB for your Thursday afternoon! Game on ­čÖé


Politics and raising an army.

This past Saturday Ian ran a playtest of ‘Darkstar’. We had been running more ‘Dead House: Watchers of the Night’ lately, but decided to switch it up and bring out some previous characters as well. It was fun to switch up the game world from paranormal sci-fi in Earth’s┬ánear future to a low fantasy world with medieval technologies and politics.

The player party of 4 ended up killing a corrupt Imperial official & his lackeys who were trading slaves, taking a garrison, and building the start of their own company. This is the first time in the history of us playtesting ‘Darkstar’ that the player party has┬átaken a base of operations for┬átheir own usage, and had other NPC units under their employ. What also was pretty cool was having the player party conversing with some of the NPCs regarding their plans for the future, such as making political alliances with certain factions, talking about rules for trade routes and tithes, creating fortifications, and so on.

A lot of our playtesters have stated in the past that they enjoy ‘Darkstar’ for its diverse political world. The main sociopolitical/ racial groups of ‘Darkstar’ include the Imperials, the Tal (Tal’Kresh and Tal’Qirar), the Northmen, the Serpentmen, and the Tza’Karin. Each group has their own social and political stances, while sharing the┬álarge ‘free cities’ and coexisting on the same continent. The free cities are divided into quarters, with each group having their own quarter, as well as having common areas for shopping, trade, food, fun.

Our current 4 player party is made up of a Tza’Karin, a Tal’Qirar, and 2 Northmen, thus making them the first company┬áto hold a garrison that is a mix of the racial groups of the ‘Darkstar’ world so allllll of the NPC groups are interested to know what this means for them!

We are really excited to see what future choices the team makes, and how everything happens! We’re also excited to see what our playtesters think of playing politics in the┬á‘Darkstar’ universe! Something tells me they’re not going to let their garrison go without a fight ­čÖé Game on!


Is change good?

One of the biggest questions we constantly ask ourselves about our games and game system is: is it “good” or “right” the way it is, or do we change “x”? Our current questions are regarding armor, the Character Core, and skills.

We feel like we have some ideas to make all of the above better, so we’ve been hard at work trying to iron out the details and bouncing some ideas off of our playtesters regarding our concepts, and any ideas they may also have.

The only thing about fiddling with game mechanics is┬áthat it takes time, so while we may have been a bit quiet on the blog-front, it’s due to family priorities and the fact that we’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming!

As far as armor is concerned, currently we have 3 separate┬átypes of source mitigation: physical, piercing, and magic. We’re working on coming up with armor sets and armor pieces, so┬áthe armor isn’t just a percentage, but it’s more of a three-dimensional thing your character is wearing that has a mental image associated with it. We feel like this will also help the other players as well as the GM be able to picture the characters they’re playing in game with, as well as giving the armor more cohesiveness and a more realistic feel.

Our Character Core right now consists of 7 different Core Skills, but we’re currently debating on adding in or changing some┬áof the Core Skills, and expanding the uses for the Core Skills.

As far as skills in general are concerned, we’re working on making the skills section of the game book more cohesive and succinct for similar skills, and possibly adding in starter skill set options for players looking to try something new.

We’re ideally having a small group playtest tomorrow to try out some of the aforementioned ideas, so we’ll see what everyone does and thinks!



So first off, we’d like to apologize for our lack of posts! The one thing about being indie is that our progress is directly proportional to our amount of free time, which we’ve not had much of lately!

That being said, even though we’ve not been much of an online presence, we have been doing some work on the game system itself over the past few weeks. We’ve been really looking at some of the┬ágame system mechanics for our Genesis System, and making sure they are working as well as we would like them to be.

We also have had the opportunity to have one of our playtesters, Allen, run a version of a game using the Darkstar universe, but with some of his own ideas added in from his own extensive gaming background. This was really a double win, as we got to be players AND we got to see what our system and game world would be like with some GM-made additions!

What really made our day today, though, was a message from one of our younger playtesters who tried out Dead House: Watchers of the Night about a year ago:

“…you, Ian and Dead House have inspired me to make my own game and I was wondering if I could run it by you guys to see what you think.”

So not only are we flattered, but his concept sounds really engaging and we’re excited to check out what he’s created!


Inspiration can come in many forms from many places, so stay creative and game on! ­čÖé