March Mini-Update: Ouch
Here's a belated small update for March. I was hoping to have a larger preview done by now, but it hasn't been happening in this quarantine. (If you've been able to get creative work done this month, I'm jealous of you, bud. I've mostly just felt like shit.) I've been plugging away at finalizing the Factions chapter, so when that is done, I'll upload it for everyone to enjoy. I'm kicking around the idea of doing another big update to the current EA doc, but we'll see—at this point, updating that thing is a huge pain because there's a lot of stuff to move over from another doc that's in a completely different layout.
Luckily, the quarantine has not stopped us from playing more of the misadventures of Platinum Ventures, or me from typing them up into another text AP episode you can enjoy at the Copperhead County forum. This episode, "We Want the Airwaves", sees our anti-heroes enter the music business and engineer a viral hit rap video. Give it a read.
One other thing I've done lately is, now that Affinity Publisher supports IDML imports, I have completely scrapped working in InDesign in favor of Publisher. Previously, I was in a weird limbo state where I was doing book work in Publisher, but maintaining the playsheets and the EA document in InDesign since I wasn't able to easily convert them. Well, now I can, and I did. This makes things a little smoother going forward. As part of that effort, I had to spend a lot of time this past week QAing the playsheets file and making sure nothing got fucked up in the conversion. There were a couple of things to fix, and while I was in there, I also made a couple of updates.
One was to Injuries. Longtime Copperhead County readers will know that Injuries (aka "Harm") have gone through a few permutations but been pretty stable for a while. I didn't want to make any big changes to how the system works, but I did want to eliminate the Recovery clock. It's been my experience in my games that the clock just makes Recovery too long, and its easy to just forget about an Injury that hangs around rather than investing multiple downtime activities and/or Cash dollars into it.
My fix came from adapting a bit of Injury tech from my pal and player (and graphic design contributor) Calum Grace. Now, you may know about the great games Calum has on Itch, but he also has even more great games hidden away on his Patreon. One of them, Deep in a Matrix of Flesh and Metal, is an urban cyber-horror game that's kind of like the Euro-cyberpunk version of Copperhead County. Calum has been in my long-running CC game for well over a year now (in fact, his PC is now the only original crew member to survive death or retirement through the late game) and our games have exerted influence on each other throughout.
Deep in a Matrix of Flesh and Metal's playbook sheets include nifty icons for the level of Injury you've taken, which I've adapted here. What they also allow us to do is change the level of an Injury right there on your playbook without a Recovery clock or other cumbersome mechanic.
Under this approach, Injuries themselves work the same way. When you take an Injury from a consequence, it's either Minor, Major, or Critical depending on your fictional situation. If you take a Critical Injury, the Critical Countdown clock begins, and if you aren't stabilized or to safety before it ends, the Critical Injury becomes Permanent (it becomes a forever version) or Fatal (you die).
Minor Injuries go away at the beginning of Downtime. Major and Critical Injuries need to be treated during Downtime. But now, when you treat one, instead of ticking the clock, it either gets better or it doesn't. In fact, it can even get worse (yes, this means a Critical Injury taken into Downtime might still become Permanent or Fatal), but since this is Downtime, you can spend Cash to avoid such a sorry situation.
I think this will make Injuries much smoother and more interesting in play. Good change.
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As always, if you have any thoughts on the AP, Injuries, or whatever, sound off here or drop on by the forum. Indie game dev that doesn't involve Kickstarters or zines or megadungeons is a lonely business, and it's always nice to hear from you.
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