Welcome to a special bonus episode of Character Creation Spotlight, everyone. In this bonus series we are thrilled to welcome Jess Levine and satah, designers of I Have the High Ground, a two-player game about banter, posturing and capes! This episode we learn about the game and create our scenarios together. Stay tuned for the next episode where we finish our characters and learn more about the design behind the game!
Welcome to a special bonus episode of Character Creation Spotlight, everyone. In this bonus series we are thrilled to welcome Jess Levine and satah, designers of I Have the High Ground, a two-player game about banter, posturing and capes! This episode we learn about the game and create our scenarios together. Stay tuned for the next episode where we finish our characters and learn more about the design behind the game!
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Jess Levine @jessfromonline
I Have the High Ground:
Character Creation Cast:
Amelia Antrim 0:22
Welcome to a special bonus episode of character creation spotlight everyone in this bonus segment will be shining a light on some current or upcoming games to keep an eye out for. I'm one of your hosts Amelia. And today my co host Ryan and I are welcoming Jesse Levine and Seta to talk about I have the high ground, a collaborative two player, dueling, RPG of banter, posturing and capes.
Ryan Boelter 0:47
Yes. Welcome to character creation spotlight. Both you it is really great to have you here with us.
Jess Levine 0:53
Thank you. It's so nice to be here. Very exciting. Yeah. I was listening recently to your Alchemist vs episode. It was so good. Like, so cute. Yeah, absolutely. And it is just like, wonderful to get to be here with I have the high ground. Thanks for having us on.
Amelia Antrim 1:12
This. I'm so excited about this.
Ryan Boelter 1:15
All right, Jess, can you start us off by telling us a bit about yourself I and what sort of projects you have going on? Aside from I have the high ground?
Jess Levine 1:23
Absolutely. So as you said, I'm Jess Levine, sometimes better known as Jess from online. And I'm an author, musician and Game Designer. i Right now I'm sort of juggling the very middle of a lot of things. So I have the high ground is the big thing that is coming out next. But I'm prototyping a board game, we'll see if that goes anywhere about like, starship carrier combat. And then sort of in the process of starting to write up another TTRPG inspired by I have the high ground about like, ship giving a distress call and another one trying to rescue it. So hey, did you just
Amelia Antrim 2:01
make say you're gonna make a game inspired by another game that you made? Amazing. No. That's like, like creative confidence. And I just I'm really here for that.
Jess Levine 2:15
There are a lot of other inspirations I could have named as I explain it in the car to everyone who will listen. We're just like, I want to take some like structural parallels. This is the style of game I.
Amelia Antrim 2:26
Like I really aspire to that like, wow.
Jess Levine 2:31
But yeah, I'm doing that. I'm also working on two EPs, because like I said, I make music as liquid crystal and Quine. And yeah, a lot of projects, juggling in the air. But this is the big one. Oh, and you can find me on Twitter as at just from online, as I said, and everything else you can find through there.
Amelia Antrim 2:51
Very cool. And Seta, how about yourself?
Hi, I'm Seda. I do some of those things. Also, that just mentioned, I have some games that are very lovingly slowly limping their way towards playtesting. And I put out a lot of music and stuff as people you meet outside of bars and piloting the animal. The easiest way to find my stuff would also be probably on Twitter, where I'm nudity with EA instead of a y or at my website gay goth vibes dot online
Unknown Speaker 3:21
Amelia Antrim 3:22
I was really jealous when people come on here with like really good websites too.
It was gifted to me actually the URL I somebody approached me after a show and said was sort of gesturing to me holding a pipe a pipe in one hand and moving their hand just generally at my aura, I guess in a bar. I love your like, gay golf vibes. And I posted about this and one of my friends DM me within a week saying hi, you now have the URL gay golf vibes dot online Do with it as you will.
Amelia Antrim 3:56
Jess Levine 3:59
I'm only just now realizing that I have just from not online and we both had these before we knew each other. So we both have dot online addresses.
Amelia Antrim 4:09
Good. Quality branding is what that is
great. Cyborgs have logged on.
Ryan Boelter 4:21
Thank you both for being here. Since this is an abridged version of our normal format, we will be sticking to the highlights of this system with a special focus on character creation. So without further ado, how about we find out what this game is all about? What's in a game? All right. So could you start off by telling us a bit about the core concept for I have the high ground?
Jess Levine 4:45
Absolutely. So Amelia already gave us a little bit of an introduction with that. It's a collaborative two player, dueling, RPG of banter, posturing and capes, which is always mine, my one liner because there's there's two important things that you have to know about. have the high ground one, it is not about combat, it is not the primary verb is not beating up on each other. It is about banter. It is about like appearing better and more intimidating or more stylish or anything like that than your opponent. And the second thing that you have to know is that capes are very, very important. And we will loop back to why that is. But yeah, it uses in mechanics inspired by competitive fencing. So like you're going to pick moves in a rock, paper, scissors triangle in play, which we won't do today, you would pick moves, like thrust, faint or parry. But those don't represent actual sword thrusts. In fact, you can play this in any genre that you want. Instead, those represent what sort of approach do you take to this duel of posture? Are you being like direct and insulting and aggressive? Or are you trying to like bait your opponent into an overly emotional reaction by bringing up something juicy from their past? Or are you trying to just like sit back and let them blunder and then come up with your like, witty? counter counter attack isn't the word I'm looking for? Come back, there we go. That's the that's the dialogue word. I'm so used to translating, like combat words into like dialogue words, that's sort of the general conceit of this game's mechanics. So that's the main way play works. And then character creation, which is what we'll be focusing on here is just about setting up for that duel. Because this is usually played in a one shot format, it is sit down, get some characters made in like 60 to 90 minutes, if that and like established the world of your game, play out this one, like you two are about to fight about to have combat, but before it to have those moments of like monologuing of each other and all of that. And then the game ends when the first blow is struck against the other person. In fact, the loser must get frustrated or done or just like run out of patience and strike that first blow.
Amelia Antrim 7:06
Oh, that's so good.
Ryan Boelter 7:09
I love everything about that. Yeah,
Amelia Antrim 7:11
that's i i want more event and games. I want more games to have things that are like we're almost at combat, but first. So we're gonna end up slotting this into a lot of my games, it sounds like it's just saying like, okay, but like before we actually fight.
Jess Levine 7:28
It's actually in the rulebook that, like, if you want to take characters from a campaign you're already playing, skip the skip the character creation section, just do the background, and then have your like, Duel of posture. And then as soon as the end happens, go back to whatever system you're using,
Amelia Antrim 7:43
or whatever. And yeah, very cool. Very cool.
Ryan Boelter 7:46
I love the thought of like having just whatever two characters that you want to set up in this scenario that don't have capes normally. But then you like play this game, and you've got these like amazing capes. And it's as if like, a different artist is drawing that comic line or something. Oh, yeah.
Amelia Antrim 8:07
Like a Free Comic Book Day version. Yeah, like, special or an anime.
Jess Levine 8:12
Yeah. Like suddenly they have capes on like, they didn't like the camera changes and the color hair is way bigger than
it was before. Just like slapstick style fall through somebody's laundry that's hanging and have a sheath wrapped around them.
Amelia Antrim 8:25
Yeah. Love it. Love it.
Jess Levine 8:28
Amazing. And yes, as you'll see, and Cape can be interpretive. We've had games where someone's Cape was a leather jacket that they had, like, thrown over their shoulders. The one of the actual players from the crowd funder. It was the zip up hoodie of the opponent's favorite ex girlfriend.
Amelia Antrim 8:45
Oh my god. That's so good. Amazing. I
Amelia Antrim 8:50
love the stuff people do in games. I love when people have those moments. It's like, you know, what would be the meanest thing that I could do that like, but like in a nice, fun way. You know? Yeah, I'm for that. Yeah. Okay, I'm here for this. I'm so.
Jess Levine 9:08
And it actually on that note, I say in the tagline that it's collaborative, right. But it's also a dueling game. What do you mean collaborative dueling. And I think that's worth from a philosophical perspective going to really quick, which is that like, in this game, you're not really trying to win, right? I encourage you to like choose moves based on what your characters like mood and thought process and emotions are in that moment, because it is about telling a satisfying narrative. It is about a victory of like, who looks better, but also like moments where you lose rounds that you lose or an opportunity to show your character's vulnerability and what they care about and what gets them activated. And that's just as rich and satisfying and important. And so when I say collaborative, it is because you're going back and forth and saying, Well, what if your character did this because then my character would react This way would you like that, like it is about working together to tell the story that you want to tell them it is about competing with each other. Yeah, win the duel.
Amelia Antrim 10:09
I also think that that's a really good example of the ways that we can we can play characters that hate each other, and still have a good collaborative play experience. And those are some of my favorite characters to play. It's like people I play with my best friends that like we'll sit down and our characters hate each other they do not get along and we as friends are like on the outside playing this having just the best time, you know, because sometimes it's fun to play out those kinds of like little like petty squabbles in this like way mellow, dramatic. And it seems like this game is like primed for that.
There's something so like satisfying about playing a scene where the two of you are being so in character vicious enough that like the discord chat is lighting up with like, oh, just like people in chat going like, Oh, could you
Ryan Boelter 11:04
write, I love that it's collaborative, that you work together on this because like, I, I personally have a hard time with like player versus player conflict, or having this sort of antagonism between two characters and working together to resolve that conflict is is feels to me, like very satisfying, instead of like, role playing the antagonism as your characters, right. So I am so here for learning more about this and seeing how that works. And, and everything. This is so fascinating.
Amelia Antrim 11:42
I know. So let's start by looking at the setting. You've mentioned a couple of times that you can kind of slot this in anywhere. So is the setting something that you bring to the game? Does the game offer like some steps for creating a setting if you don't have one already? Absolutely. So
Jess Levine 11:59
the like books zine made for a zine month, and it has art by Ezra rose, who's incredibly talented. And it's like a sci fi fantasy thing. So like swords and space stations is usually where I describe it. But that is not the setting that it has to be played in. Nor does it have to be Star Wars. Despite the quote that you might recognize for the title, the very first thing you do is to choose your genre, like just out of anything that you can think of. We have I have seen I have the high ground games that scale up from like, huge, like space fantasy, the fate of the galaxy depends on this, to having lesbian ex drama at a party and like one of them has like canceled the other and post apocalyptic Bake Off. And a fistfight between fighting game cosplayers outside a in a Denny's parking lot. So it's literally. And so yeah, you just start out by establishing a genre together, and stakes. And we'll get into what that means in a second. And then you start saying, Who are our characters within this big box that we've set up? And so there's a series of choices, they're referred to as the background and character sections. I don't say setting, because the Background section also involves like, who are your characters to each other? What is their history together, and then you flesh out the individual details later. So it's the backgrounds not that setting. But once you have that background, you happen, figure out who your characters are. And then you can play so it walks you through those steps, including a lot of the mechanics are built to establish tension between the characters, like it is a game about dueling. And so you work together to figure out what factors add tension between our characters.
Amelia Antrim 14:02
Very cool. I'm so excited for
Ryan Boelter 14:03
this. All right, so what sort of materials do we need to actually play a game of I have high ground,
Jess Levine 14:10
it's actually it's fairly low in material, you can have character sheets that are available, or use a Google doc if you're online. But you can also just write down some of these details on a sheet you don't have a ton of like stats and calculations to do. So you don't have to worry about that quite as much to six sided die. There use very rarely, there's a special type of move you can do called a penalty move, which is like the ultimate disrespect you're either like intentionally disarming yourself of your weapon whenever that means or you are turning your back on your opponent with the attempt to leave and in competitive fencing, that's a penalty. And in I have the high ground, you roll 2d Six instead of the normal thing and depending on whether you roll equal to above or below your score, something very, very dramatic happens. Cool. Alright. And then sort of the main thing that you need is some way to show each other what moves that you've chosen. Because like you said, there's fate parry thrust, and penalty move. If you back to the Crowdfunder. There are sets of nine wooden tokens that have those like hidden on one side and you can put those in your fist and then like pop you 321 and pop up. This is the move that I chose because it's simultaneously revealed like Rock Paper, scissors, and it goes in a circle right thrust beats faint, faint beats Perry, Perry beats thrust, Oh, very nice. At but if you don't have those nine wooden tokens, you can do what was done for most of playtesting, which is you take a sheet of paper, you write down the move names on them, rip them into little sheets, and then hold those in your fists. Or if you're playing online, which was done pretty much just as often. You can just like, have a chat program open and both of you type your move and then you do three to one, Enter. And then you have your like, gasps I like that one. Yeah,
Amelia Antrim 16:04
I just like a slow reveal. Good all sudden, like, Oh, no.
Jess Levine 16:09
Op. Yeah, that's really all that you need. If you have those. You can play a game if I have background.
Amelia Antrim 16:13
Very cool. We've touched on it a few times. But I want to specifically get into it. What kinds of characters do you make for this
Jess Levine 16:22
game? Absolutely anything. I've seen wizards I've seen fighter pilots. I think Satan is first game we were like part of a space mercenary company but then we like split off into two different companies. And then there was like a bunch of drama with like a betrayal and stuff like that. Like I said, we've I've seen just lesbian exes at a party, one of whom was in a harrow, the Knights cosplay. In fact, we've had to play tests have had cosplayers. One of which was Putin and one of which was Harold the ninth which says what sort of people i i had a frequently asked question for the Crowdfunder, quote, unquote, frequently asked, which was, Does my character have to be a lesbian? To which I said, No, you are perfectly welcome to also have homosexual men or non non binary people lesbian or not, you can technically play a straight character I just haven't played tested it and can't guarantee your
Amelia Antrim 17:27
sounds very much like the conversation we had when we did thirsty sort of lesbians to where April was like, people are like, what if not thirsty? What if not lesbians? What if not towards? And it was like, Well, sure, I guess, but like, why?
Jess Levine 17:43
So yeah, really anything. So like I said, there's some things I've played tested more than others. Yeah,
Amelia Antrim 17:48
it's a lot more about the relationship with the characters between each other rather than to a specific world or having to be a specific type of character. So really, it's like anything, as long as the two of you have some kind of rivalry or something to argue over?
Jess Levine 18:03
Exactly, it is far more about the character dynamic than where each of your characters is coming from. And one of the first things that you do in creation is establish a history between your characters and I'll, I'll read those options when we get there. But that helps lay out like you'll see a pattern between them of like, what makes it interesting, the way your characters relate to each other. It is about a particular part of part of I have the high ground is about looking at role playing games that like a meta narrative level, right? My big experience like that really got me into designing games was a actually the tabletop RPG where I met Seta was this big game of galactic which is a belonging outside belonging system. So that's blowing outside belonging is a free elder and Benjamin Rosenbaum's dream askew dream apart. And then Riley raffle made galactic which was a Star Wars like Star Wars, serial numbers filed. And then we played that campaign. So have the four of us me say to re and Bri wrote over
Jess Levine 19:09
Words of micro fiction on top of our roleplay Oh,
Ryan Boelter 19:12
Jess Levine 19:14
How long was the play doc by the time like by now?
So I actually unfortunately can't answer that because it got so long that it wasn't opening properly. And I had to separate it into separate like, different play docks.
Jess Levine 19:29
My experience of doing that that's a GM lists game as well. And my experience of doing that was like, the four of us really sat there and we're like, oh, we're writing a story. What if we talk together like, especially once we started actually writing like short fiction? It was like, what if we talk together about what it means to write this story? What story is satisfying to us? What are we trying to have happen? And like, that's the thing that happens at the table naturally anyway, but it really got me to start thinking about like, story archetypes. and like just fictional tropes and story structures as a part of tabletop RPGs. And because I have the high ground is just one scene, basically, it allows you to zoom in on this as an archetypal fiction scene. This is like how these scenes are structured. And so any sort of, like setting and character that can be filled into this scene structure works for this.
Amelia Antrim 20:25
Yeah, it sounds like it law is going to be a lot more intentional about those kinds of things happening in your game, by by putting in mechanics for something like that, which I really like, because I think you right, these are scenes that are happening and lots of different kinds of stories and settings and ways. You know, like everything from weird, awkward party after a breakup to Denny's parking lot to you know, epic space battle. Yeah, I really, really like that. I wanted to ask, too, there's, you know, what are their sorts of, like, levels of conflict that seemed to work better here? Like, is there like a certain amount of like, you know, like Ryan and I are having a petty argument about something versus like, this is a big life or death situation? Or is it does it? Does it scale all the way through those kinds of things, too.
Jess Levine 21:20
I love so much that you ask that. Because we've talked about how the first question that you answer in background is genre. And the third is history between characters that's like sort of naturally followed from your questions. The second thing that you settle is stakes. Gotcha. And that is, is this a low stakes, like just like matter of between two, you know, who saves the world we're like, exactly. And in fact, the stakes come from weights of fencing weapons, but we'll get into my gosh, this is so cool process. The game is designed to be learned in play, especially character and setting creation. Like it's helpful if one person has read through the book first, but I've had people sit down and just not even have read to the next page. They just do each character creation step. And it has a set of instructions along with that step. And that's how you learn how to make characters. And so I'll go into detail about these as we do it, because that's part of the process is just read a little bit and pick.
Ryan Boelter 22:17
Awesome, very cool, but I'm really excited. I think we're at the point where we can start creating characters. So you want to walk us through a session zero? Yeah, sounds perfect. Well, we've got four people here, and we create pairs of people. Oh, look at that. What good man. So do we want to do we want to split off and create two pairs of people? With ourselves?
Jess Levine 22:41
Yeah, I think that sounds great. Did to you and Amelia want to do one? And then say to and I'll do one? Yeah.
Amelia Antrim 22:47
I love that. All right.
Ryan Boelter 22:48
Very cool. Let's make some people.
Jess Levine 22:50
Let's make some people. Awesome. I'm excited. So the very first thing you pick and if you're following along at home on the on the PDF, by any chance this would be starting off on page five is just genre this can be as we've very well established, anything that you want. Anything that really calls to you. Say it and I often up for podcast format, like start talking a little bit about genre beforehand. Say it and I had talked to sort of about like, small time space criminals. If you're still feeling not at all say to absolutely cool, we do lots of space sci fi stuff.
Amelia Antrim 23:31
I don't know that we have a name for our genre, Ryan and I always just end up doing magical girls and necromancers Oh, it's just that I'm always a necromancer. And Ryan is always a magical girl. And this is just what we do. Like sometimes when we mean to sometimes when we don't, it's just where we always end up. I don't think there's a name for that genre. But I would like to just be magical girls and necromancers again, yeah,
I subscribe to that genre. I think I would like to name
Amelia Antrim 23:56
Character Creation Cast.
Jess Levine 24:01
Love. I love that contrast, like the magic of life and death. Right? Yes. I
Amelia Antrim 24:05
like to call it the undying magic of love and friendship. Yeah. Okay, so Okay, cool. We'll call our genre. I'll just put Character Creation Cast
Amelia Antrim 24:22
and Ryan, but metal answers.
Amelia Antrim 24:25
Yeah. Uh huh.
Jess Levine 24:26
Cool. So now that we've picked our genre, we go on to stakes. There are three stakes available foil saver, and a PE. Foil is low stakes. Kind of this is like an actual fencing match or boxing, or a bar fight or an argument or drama. Assuming it's nonviolent. This is mostly probably a matter of pride and no one's going to die as a like outcome of the battle that follows your duel. But make no mistake prides projects and feeling good Yeah, intense and dramatic and intimate, like lean into the over drama when you pick foil, then saber this is what you would more classically think of as a quote unquote duel. In saber, the battle that follows your like posturing and banter your game if I have the high ground is probably going to be fatal for at least one of you. And this is like knights dueling for their lords or a quest for mortal vengeance, something like that. And finally, a pay. This is towering stakes. This is like generals or a Jedi and the Sith or like two hackers trying to take control of a life support system for like their entire other ships. It is going to be lethal, at least for them and might be for like entire armies or planets or worlds. This is everything rides on this. And so this just helps you in the rest of the process like know how big of the drum? Are we talking about that exact question that you had Amelia, it helps you like get that scope front. So say to for our space criminals. Are you feeling any like level of stakes in particular? I've got a few options. I'm thinking but I want to ask.
I'm a huge fan of getting as petty as possible but really hard. So I think I love I love to have the steaks be foil, but treat them as though they are a pay. Yes,
Ryan Boelter 26:23
yes, yes, yes. Yes. Yes. I love that. I don't know, Amelia. I
Amelia Antrim 26:27
think it's kind of torn between I'm like, is this super petty? Or is this like super important?
Ryan Boelter 26:33
If we're talking like magical girls versus necromancer is the anime. Yeah, this is probably like world ending stuff. This would be this would be a pay, like hands down.
Amelia Antrim 26:44
Yeah. Yeah, I'm
Jess Levine 26:45
thinking do it. But DOCA. Yeah,
Ryan Boelter 26:47
the fate of the universe is literally in our hands.
Amelia Antrim 26:52
Okay, let's do it.
Jess Levine 26:54
I really love the energy of like, we're playing like space criminals. And the stakes are so like, quote unquote, low and you're playing like a magical girl. And the fate of the universe depends on it, which is totally genre, I just really like the best.
Amelia Antrim 27:09
I really like playing man, me. I'm
Jess Levine 27:14
cool. So now that we've got our stakes set out, we go into history, this is who your characters are to each other. And this is the first time you'll probably be establishing a more concrete backstory, a lot of like big ideas, spaghetti at the wall comes up here. And it's important to say that I sort of say up front rules are inspiration, not limitation, in general, but especially when I have the high ground. And so if you decide like, I'm starting to settle the history, but actually this, I want to know about what the place we're dueling is, or I need to know what my character looks like, in order to be able to answer this question, you can jump ahead and come back, if you just start talking about like, Oh, what if our characters do this? And they did this. And remember, when they did this thing? It is totally fine if creation takes the form of conversation, and then you come back and say, How does this map on to the mechanics. And so the mechanics are there as guide rails, and most of the games that I witnessed, like, generally follow this flow. And if you're getting out of the flow, you're not doing something wrong, as long as you pick your cape before your weapon. And so yeah, this is where you really do big dreaming. And the things here are to give you prompts for that big dreaming. And because these are so important and pretty short, I am going to read the list for history because you are supposed to choose one to two things from this list. And actually really commonly speaking of out of order, I'll pick one and then we'll go on and then come back and pick a second when we want to open things up. Okay, not always but free cooling. So your options for history are betrayal, rivals, arch, nemeses. Revenge, mutual respect or unrequited respect. Ex lovers, former allies, unrequited love strangers on the battlefield, or mentor and mentee.
Ryan Boelter 29:10
Okay, so I got four in mind
Amelia Antrim 29:16
these are the ones that I'm thinking all right.
Ryan Boelter 29:17
Betrayal. Okay, love it former allies. Ex lovers. And
Amelia Antrim 29:28
yeah, I think that's probably I was gonna say maybe unrequited love would be fun.
Ryan Boelter 29:32
Or okay. So either x lumbers or unrequited love.
Amelia Antrim 29:36
So I mean, I feel like a trail for Morales I feel like those kind of go together, right like if
Jess Levine 29:42
you don't mind the game designer butting in Yeah. You're always welcome to like break my rules, especially by picking more options than I asked you to. And also to offer a possibility. You can be exes and unrequited love. That's totally happens between human beings. Oh,
Amelia Antrim 30:00
I'm sorry. People are complicated. I don't understand.
That doesn't sound right to me
Jess Levine 30:08
not to mandate what your game has to be just want to offer because I'm so excited about these ideas.
Amelia Antrim 30:12
You couldn't be accessed and one person could not want to be accessed.
Unknown Speaker 30:16
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Amelia Antrim 30:20
That's really messy. And we do love messy. Messy. Messy.
Ryan Boelter 30:25
All right. All right.
Amelia Antrim 30:26
Tell me more. Yeah, let's do betrayal. Ex lovers, and
Ryan Boelter 30:36
former allies and unrequited love.
Amelia Antrim 30:38
Yeah. Okay, so we were on a team together. Yeah, yeah.
So you're in like season three of the enemy. Like this is not a first season battle. No, for sure.
Ryan Boelter 30:50
This is a we were on a team and then I it has to be your character. Obviously the Necromancer betrayed.
Amelia Antrim 31:00
Oh, for sure, obviously.
Ryan Boelter 31:03
I mean, because you're, you're all about betrayal.
Amelia Antrim 31:08
I guess. Maybe you think it's a betrayal, but maybe I did it save you.
Ryan Boelter 31:13
Oh, you don't know. Maybe?
Amelia Antrim 31:16
I don't know either.
Jess Levine 31:17
I'm so excited to find out more about your
Ryan Boelter 31:22
I guess. We'll find
Amelia Antrim 31:23
out I guess so.
Jess Levine 31:26
So okay, so for our space criminals. There's one I'm tossing around. Also throw it to you if you have some like strong figs immediately.
My first thing is that as I was looking at these options, my brain mushed two together to come up with mutually unrequited love. The idea that either we were in love with each other and both thought the other wasn't, or I guess not quite as interestingly, we both assumed the other one was in love with us. And we were like, I don't want that. But I think it's like mutually unrequited. doesn't technically make any sense as a phrase. But I think it does
Jess Levine 32:09
credible love this. This is why I play games with you. As we'll talk about say that Cena is one of the like, game design consultant listen to the game design consultant on this game. Because the process of playing games with Sega including the very first game of I have the high ground was played with data added so much to the game because they do things like what if they match these two options together and you have mutually unrequited and yes, I love I love the first one that you define to like our characters are in love with each other. But like don't think the other one does and are probably like pretty insecure about that. Right? So peacocking so that like, you don't love me, but I'm going to show you how good I am.
Ryan Boelter 32:50
Just makes you love them more.
Jess Levine 32:54
Which really makes me want, it makes me want the one I wanted before anyway, if you're down for rivals, the idea that like this attempt to like, cope with their emotion has led to them constantly trying to like one up one another to like to like prove
Amelia Antrim 33:11
yourself and like
the downfall of being somebody who tries to flirt by being very competent in front of you. Be like, Hey, look how good I am at this. The other person's like, Oh, stop trying to be good at stuff. I'm also good at stuff. You'd be in love with me if you knew how good describing all of my relationships.
Amelia Antrim 33:34
Yeah, I think that will show you that I don't need you.
Jess Levine 33:41
Perfect, okay, I'm already so invested in. Like, I don't even know who these people are. And I love their dynamics. Oh, good. Cool. So next up, we do descriptors. And speaking of things that happened in the process of playtesting. This wasn't in the first draft of I have the high ground. This comes out of the game that Satan and I played the very first play test. And we'll talk I think like after we do creation a little bit more of like how that happened. This is the mechanic that like developed in play. So for descriptors, we have a table full of sets of words like cruel versus empathetic, and young versus wizard. And together, each of our sets will pick one pair of opposites that describe our characters. One thing that is the same for both characters, and then two to three individual words that describe your character. And so you pick for opposites you just pick one like little versus set. For the same you just pick one word and for individuals pull from anywhere you want on the table. Okay? And if you need to take a little bit of time, this is often where you like really dig in and spend a little time looking at what's available to you and that's totally fine. Okay, but when you have ideas, toss them out.
Amelia Antrim 34:58
I'm gonna say that this like flamboyant versus subtle is definitely a no, because neither of us is going to be subtle.
Unknown Speaker 35:03
No, that's not
Jess Levine 35:07
the same could be flamboyant. That's very fun saying
Amelia Antrim 35:09
I think I think it should be. What do you think?
Ryan Boelter 35:14
Maybe? Yeah. Yeah, I was the cruel versus empathetic was kind of my brain. Like, what if we were going against type a bit? And I liked that what you said before, like, you betrayed the team. To save the team are their own good. Yeah. And and like, what if, like, this, swapped my way of thinking, and I became the cruel 100.
Amelia Antrim 35:45
All right, like, like,
Ryan Boelter 35:49
I'm trying to stop you because I think you are doing something that's going to destroy the universe. Yeah. And, in fact, I'm going against my, like, previous two seasons worth of character development. And now I'm doing these really heinous things. Okay, to try to stop you at all cost. Wow.
Jess Levine 36:13
Late, say aka character arc.
Amelia Antrim 36:17
Okay, all right. So yeah, cruel versus empathetic can be our, our opposites, right.
Jess Levine 36:24
And then we can go in any order of like you all doing the rest of yours versus, say, doing ours. But I do have an idea actually, for same just to prove more that you can do this out of order. St. I was wondering if you'd be interested in koi as our same. Like the idea of like, both of us are playing it a little bit distant and a little bit like we're trying to appear like the like, like, that makes a lot of sense, like, like very internal sense to make the other person want them. Except all that's doing is making it very unclear that either of them actually have this crush.
I see where you're coming from with that. And I think we want to be in that area. To me, Koi is a little cuter than I was expecting, like, Oh, I think it's definitely possible. But when we were talking about them before, they they assumed a little bit brusque. And to me, Koi would be a little bit Oh, don't chase me. You know, which is? Yeah, a little, a little bit different. And like, I think it could still be fun, but it does mean the tension is closer to misunderstanding than it is us being like, why don't you love me?
Jess Levine 37:38
That was actually my big concern.
Amelia Antrim 37:39
It feels like almost a little bit.
Jess Levine 37:42
Close, orderly. I was also honestly also considering borrowing flamboyant, like the opposite of Koi, but it's it's still this like, very distant thing for them. But I think what you were saying about like we're trying to show off in these big ways, flamboyant, does feel appropriate. And I also just want to say that, like, I hear that concern, my first thought was like, Oh, this does contradict what I was saying about rivals. So it wasn't like perfect, but is anything jumping out for you for opposites or for same?
I mean, there's so many options here because it can be about our relationship, but it can also be about the way that we are performing whatever this argument is, for instance, if we are both famous or both infamous as we are you know, space scoundrels. That means that there there is a more performative aspect to less like in the bar having this argument you know, this this space station bar. So I think that could be interesting to define as well.
Jess Levine 38:42
I love the idea of like, we are famous in a very specific context, which is not necessarily the context we are in waitressing we might be famous among a particular network of criminals but we are showing off in this bar as if we are galactic most wanted because we're trying to like perform right to each other. Like really out of step with our surroundings in our own like of grandiose visions of ourselves that are purely entrance.
And I think in like the genre convention of it, what we are is we are a side story that was written 30 years after this movie came out they're like what was happening in the cantina? Well, this battle was going on on the other side of the planet. And we're like, where are the main characters?
Jess Levine 39:33
I'm putting famous in quotes as our same. That's wonderful. Cool. Oh, so good. Ryan and Amelia, anything
Amelia Antrim 39:39
y'all are feeling I see Ryan has picked passionate for himself.
Ryan Boelter 39:44
Yeah, I pick passionate for my own character. I do like flamboyant for a same because that just over the top for both of us sounds like a lot of fun
Amelia Antrim 39:59
sense for like We are to Yeah, I don't think anybody has been like, yes. necromancers magical girls very subtle. Very low key. Like nobody becomes a necromancer because they're chill.
Jess Levine 40:16
Please, I want that quote on something.
Ryan Boelter 40:22
Yeah, I think flamboyant works. Yeah.
Jess Levine 40:26
And I think next state and I would do really good to like, figure out how our characters like opposites and like how what, just because like part of the point here is to like set up these characters as as foils to each other. And things that I was there sort of a list that I was feeling vengeful versus forgiving is interesting to me. debonair versus utilitarian, is interesting to me. Vulgar versus tax, tactful, quick versus measured and careful versus reckless. I just hit you with a lot, but those are the like, five that are all standing out to me.
Yeah, I am. Well, if we're both famous, that's interesting. Okay. I I didn't fully absorb all the options you tossed at me. Sorry.
Jess Levine 41:12
Totally. I can narrow it down also. Sure. Yeah. Cool. I think debonair versus utilitarian is really interesting, because it means that we're going to perform so differently. Like one of our performances is extravagance and one of the performances is, look, I'm just good I am at this. Like, I get the job done.
debonair is also so interesting to me put in this sort of space of scoundrels sort of sounding very bounty hunter II type thing it makes me think of somebody who went into the you know, Sims career paths of rather than they're not out finding objects. They're like infiltrating the royalty, bounties and that kind of thing. I think that's interesting. I am curious what your vision of utilitarian in this would be.
Jess Levine 42:06
I would be totally comfortable like taking the utilitarian if you wanted to do the debonair because my vision of it is something along the lines of like, my work isn't flashy, but it is productive, like I have stolen at crates of heavy machinery. And no one cares that I've stolen 80 crates of heavy machinery. But do you understand how much that goes for on the black market? Like, I guess that kind of contradicts with the famous but I think I am famous for just like, like, I am a scourge of the local businesses, but like, no one's like, Oh, she's so cool. It's you don't want her around because she will steal all of your heavy machinery.
One other thing my my concern there, I think is that utilitarian. I don't know how it interacts with what we've set up for. Like if you're utilitarian, why didn't you just say something? You know what I mean? About your love, I would like to suggest wordy versus concise. And the way that this has partially played into is that the wordy person says so much that you can actually understand what they're trying to say because they just just getting their point as a concise person doesn't say enough doesn't get to the point actually.
Amelia Antrim 43:26
I love that that's so good. That's
Jess Levine 43:29
beautiful and really ties directly to our character dynamic and like the love dynamic so I really like that choice to find like a really important part of this. Do you have a desire to be the wordy one or the concise one?
I can banter but I can monologue is one thing I can say about myself so I could go with wordy
Jess Levine 43:47
Okay, cool. Absolutely. All take concise all aimed for those those pithy one liners. Awesome writing, Amelia, are you feeling any individual descriptors? I'm
Amelia Antrim 44:00
really struggling here. I am having a hard time figuring out like, what, what I want. So I assume like if we used to work together like I used to be a magical girl.
Ryan Boelter 44:11
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking like,
Amelia Antrim 44:14
but like no, I'm I'm necromancer.
Ryan Boelter 44:17
So while you might have been the Necromancer magical girl, right that
Amelia Antrim 44:20
the Magical Girl of death, everyone's favorite. Exactly
Ryan Boelter 44:23
what I was, I was playing through this and my brain. As Justin Seta, we're talking. What if it's like, we found this, your dark orb of power or whatever, you know, some sort of MacGuffin. And you know that to use it for ourselves, we'll be fine. Or you'll have to use it to save the world or the universe basically. Right. Right. And I'm of the mind it has to be destroyed. And if you destroy it That's what triggers the collapse of the universe.
Amelia Antrim 45:02
I see. But I know that you can't do that.
Ryan Boelter 45:06
Yeah, but I just won't listen to reason. God because I know it's like it's it's pure evil energy, but like,
Amelia Antrim 45:13
Okay, so in that case, it feels like that's sort of like a Yeah, I mean, you You did passionate is one of yours. I feel like, Yeah, I mean, I feel like the stoic side of that sort of matches for mine, then is not so much so like, but like, practical.
Jess Levine 45:34
Amelia Antrim 45:35
yes. There we go. That is exactly. Um, like, I know, there's one here that is like what I'm looking for here. Yes, utilitarian. Perfect.
Ryan Boelter 45:43
Yeah, that sounds great.
Jess Levine 45:44
And for what it's worth design thing here, you can totally pick more opposites. Pick more that are the same. It's just whatever you want. That like flushes out who your character is.
Amelia Antrim 45:53
Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I think utilitarian makes a lot of sense is like, Look, maybe this isn't the most like, cool and fun option for what to do with this, but like, it's gonna work.
Ryan Boelter 46:04
Jess Levine 46:05
Let's see. For mine, I think I'm gonna take cutting. Like if I'm gonna go concise. I think I'm also going to be like, a little like plotter. It's like very much aiming for those like Pacey word plays and all of that sort of stuff. Now, cutting has its limits. I'm not necessarily empathetically aware of other people's emotions, but I'm very good at like manipulating a situation.
I'm trying to decide between impulsive and reckless.
Jess Levine 46:39
I love both of them being because he wants to think about,
yeah, just they they are very, they're they are close, but they are colored in differently. And I think I'm leaning towards impulsive. Because I think that the the character that I'm starting to see here is somebody who throws himself into things because they are very sure that they are going to be able to talk long enough to turn it around. Which actually, maybe that is reckless. Yeah, I think it's very much like they sort of believe there's no situation I can get myself into that I cannot make noise for long enough that I can get myself out of it. I
Amelia Antrim 47:20
love that. That's so good.
So I think I'm gonna go with reckless.
Amelia Antrim 47:28
I love it. So good. What about you? Right? Have you thought of another another word for yourself here besides passionate? Hmm, why I'm having such a hard time with us. Like, I feel like, we like we had a really good concept of the bat. We're like, okay, look where people are on a team, we've got this thing. So like, I feel like we need to, like, do we need to maybe talk about together a little more to like, you know, rather than trying to like sit quietly and stare at each other and come up with words we need to talk about a little bit.
Ryan Boelter 47:55
Yeah, I mean, and that's a that there's there's different options. I like the the concept of like, this, this betrayal kind of broke my character. Yeah. And and I've been like single minded. Yeah, since then. Trying to stop you and you're just trying to do what you need to do. defending yourself. Yeah, against my. I mean, it feels kind of reckless. I
Amelia Antrim 48:26
was gonna say reckless feels like it kind of fits what you're talking about. It's like, yeah, I've got this, like, I know what I want. And I'm gonna do whatever I need to do.
Ryan Boelter 48:34
Yeah, yeah, I was, I was literally just talking about like, it feels reckless.
Jess Levine 48:44
I'll also say, in the process of play, I have added to this list during playtesting. And if you have a word that like calls to you, that's not on this list. It's not breaking something like this is a description of my character. In fact, I was considering taking it. In fact, I think I am going to take a word not on my own list, which is that I think it's overconfident. So like, I'm cunning and I like see myself as cunning. Yeah, more than I am like I am sometimes, but I have a little bit more confidence. It's not that I'm reckless. It's not that I go into a situation without planning. It's that I am so confident My plan is going to succeed and nothing could go wrong.
It's starting to sound to me like the way we probably met and became rivals is that some people were like, the two of you, I think, have some similar workflows. That I bet you'd work really well together, but it was actually I work disaster when I work alone.
Jess Levine 49:44
Just because we both get into massive screw ups and then find our way out of them by just sheer charisma and effort does not mean that the way that we get ourselves into those situations works for each other.
Someone tried to match make their two terrible friends so that They could be elsewhere, not around that person anymore.
Jess Levine 50:04
Absolutely, our characters are kind of annoying, and in an enchanting way. Any other descriptor that you want, say it, and then we could probably move on.
I think that I think I'm struggling between the concept of sort of like expanding on my character versus narrowing in what I've already said, like going in saying, saying something like quick, which very much fits in with what I've already set up versus trying to find something a little bit left from left field that would add something different.
Jess Levine 50:39
You can pick two to three. So I think putting down quick and then like looking and seeing if there's something else that expands in a way that you like, is a great idea.
I think I'm going to put vengeful, I like the idea that part of the reason we are here is because I couldn't let it go.
Amelia Antrim 50:56
Oh, I love that.
Unknown Speaker 50:59
I mean, that sounds like
Amelia Antrim 51:00
I was also thinking about that for you, Ryan. Yeah, I'm
Ryan Boelter 51:03
gonna put that on there too.
crossover episode, our characters make a mess.
Jess Levine 51:11
I've never gotten to make two sets of I have the high ground characters at once. And like watching the narrative parallels and development and inspiration pass back and forth is actually really fun for this. Fascinating. Cool. So unless anyone wants to toss any more on I think we're ready to move to the next thing.
Amelia Antrim 51:28
Yeah, I think so. Ryan's got three, I've got two. So that seems good. Cool. And
Jess Levine 51:32
status. Got three and I've got two. Now we really blow things open. All right, excellent exposition. What brings the two of you to this particular battlefield today for whatever battlefield means. And that means the battlefield itself, the next thing that we'll do is environment. And we'll fill out like, a little bit more detail and description. But like, where are you? What are you doing? Why is what we start to spit? How
Amelia Antrim 52:00
did it come to this?
Jess Levine 52:03
What a great question. I if I had not printed a physical book already. Because that's exactly right. And I'm actually gonna hop right into this because everything we've said so far, stata has really given me some ideas. Love
Amelia Antrim 52:22
what you have going here. I'm really excited. Yes.
Unknown Speaker 52:24
Jess Levine 52:26
Just this idea of they what you were saying also, especially about like, can't let it go. I think they both came here knowing the other one would be here. But pretending they didn't know the other one would be here. Does that make sense? Like, oh, why are you seeing you here?
Right. I dressed up to come to this party for me because I wanted to look good for me for my own reasons, personally. Nothing, nothing to do with anyone else. Oh, are you? Oh, I was posing in this doorway for the past 15 minutes because it's where I wanted to stand not because I knew you'd be coming in the back. Hi.
Jess Levine 53:13
And which immediately leads to the idea that we are slightly overdressed for our surroundings because we did it for each other like no one else in the bar is quite as stressed as we are.
The idea that this is like a Wednesday, you know, like this. It's just that we both know that we're on this planet, or space station or whatever it is. And it's like, some Wednesday and everyone's like, alright, grabbing a beer after my shift. And we're like, showing up really a night out close.
Amelia Antrim 53:43
Like this like really kind of crappy karaoke bar but you're like in the full like night out like bachelorette party look like
Jess Levine 53:54
this is so fun. So yeah, I think that really answers much of this, which is just that, like, we have had this relationship of like wanting the other to fall in love and never having to say it ourselves and being convinced that the other just wants to, like, make us like a little less with their accomplishments. And so this is another sort of cycle in that we can't let that go. And we both know where but dramatic and that's the important part. And so we both show up on this Wednesday, because we know that when each other visits this place, they usually go to this bar and we're both there. And it's Yeah, Fancy meeting you here really seems to answer Yeah. The exposition. Great.
Ryan Boelter 54:48
So for ours Yeah, I
Amelia Antrim 54:50
mean it's it's at the end of the world time, right.
Ryan Boelter 54:52
It's us season three finale.
Amelia Antrim 54:55
Yeah. Position it is season three. You hear me? season three finale. Yeah. Okay, so who has I want to know who has this orb right now?
Ryan Boelter 55:08
You have the orb.
Amelia Antrim 55:09
I have the orb. Okay. Yeah. Oh, cuz you would have destroyed it already. You had?
Ryan Boelter 55:13
Uh huh. Yeah. And part of what I was thinking is what if I like? The orb has a hold on me? Because the orb wants to be destroyed. Because it knows. Yeah, so that's what that's why I've like completely flipped. Oh, gosh.
Amelia Antrim 55:31
So you're the evil one now? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay.
Ryan Boelter 55:37
Cool. I like that so much.
Amelia Antrim 55:38
Yeah. All right. I think and I think I feel like that's a good enough reason, honestly, is like, I think there's probably some kind of like prophecy for like time in place where it needs to be destroyed or something like that. So like, we're here, you know, yeah, we've spent four episodes building to get here.
Ryan Boelter 55:56
It has to be like, like some ridiculous like, Portal, or a volcano or something. Inside a volcano,
Amelia Antrim 56:06
Jess Levine 56:08
a volcano. Why not? Yeah, it's
hot enough to heat the molecules up to the right temperature. For the portal.
Amelia Antrim 56:19
Yeah. Yeah. because heat is a lot of energy.
Jess Levine 56:24
Yeah, geothermal portal.
Amelia Antrim 56:26
Purple cap purple lava.
Ryan Boelter 56:29
Amelia Antrim 56:30
obviously. It's a bluish purple, because I feel like I mean, I know that you're like a blue teal like is kind of your your color. necromancer. I'm very purple. Right? Yeah.
Ryan Boelter 56:42
What if it's like, if it's like blending were
Amelia Antrim 56:48
whirling like teal Purple's great.
Ryan Boelter 56:52
Like, facts are all terrain as we move through this terrain?
Amelia Antrim 56:57
Oh, yeah. Yeah,
Jess Levine 56:58
please understand that these are the important facts. Once we get into characters it's going to be asked.
Amelia Antrim 57:07
US just only say the things that we normally say anyway, but they're actually important. Yes, yeah.
Ryan Boelter 57:13
And like every description I'm hearing like our caves are gonna look funny.
Amelia Antrim 57:18
Oh my gosh, they're gonna look so cool. Like in my head a little bit. No. Okay.
Jess Levine 57:24
Yeah. So now we do with the environment. Oh, like a volcano it was coming up in Congress. Isn't it convenient that it's next. So you have a variety of or statements and you choose one adjective from three different or statements like dangerous or secure or dilapidated or pristine. And my advice here is to always try and use these to expand like if you have already established something you don't need to say, well, obviously it's boiling. You can there's nothing wrong with doing that. But like always look at this as an opportunity to ask well, is it surrounded or isolated? We haven't really considered that. So yes, just pick one from the three one option from three of these sets.
Amelia Antrim 58:09
Hmm All right, so I went ahead and did pick precarious right away Ryan if that's cool with you. Yeah, that seems like it was important to me
Ryan Boelter 58:18
precarious sounds perfect for the inside of a volcano that can open portals Yeah.
Jess Levine 58:24
I'm imagining you all like floating on pieces of like cracked like rock Yeah,
Amelia Antrim 58:29
like like black glass kind of like yeah
Ryan Boelter 58:36
oh that's so good. I also see boiling was was highlighted in there yeah,
Amelia Antrim 58:41
I mean, I highlighted boiling I guess it could technically be freezing too but we did talk about you know the heat and the energy and yeah, I just really like freezing lava I don't know there's something about it that kind of like isn't as cool to me.
Ryan Boelter 58:54
Right? Was to make rain that's the problem right?
Amelia Antrim 58:57
You're right. Right right. So I think boiling makes sense it's true. Whether we want to use that as one of our words or not it's you know if we want to call that a given or if we want to just like you know actually use that is fine.
Ryan Boelter 59:13
Um, I do like possibly ancient I do like that too. So it's like the ancient boiling precarious volcano
Jess Levine 59:24
oh yeah ancient immediately makes me think that like this was like a temple or something at some Bray like you are you have to do the ritual here because this has always been a site of magical power. Yeah,
Amelia Antrim 59:35
because the ancient or windy but I think ancient has more like happening with it. Yeah.
Jess Levine 59:39
We would be great too. I ended up blowing please.
Amelia Antrim 59:46
All right. So we have precarious boiling ancient and windy.
Ryan Boelter 59:51
I am so stuck on the karaoke bar idea. I'm imagining a game like This game but you solo stakes the idea that you could have a move that is I get up and sing a song that was very meaningful in our relationship like that is like a hard aggressive move that is our song
Amelia Antrim 1:00:20
or or you're looking somebody else in the eyes as you sing your song
Jess Levine 1:00:27
every game I play the high ground brings up like five other games that I have fantastic
Amelia Antrim 1:00:34
but I love the idea of like that as the mechanic of this battle is like karaoke sing off like
Jess Levine 1:00:43
it's so accurate your weapon
down to you I think does really mean Taylor Swift song but I say you instead of he
Jess Levine 1:00:56
your weapon is like a really good voice. Yeah, like, it's like saying your time
Amelia Antrim 1:01:00
sounds like a weapon is an arsenal of Taylor Swift song
that is in my toolkit.
Jess Levine 1:01:10
Okay, so for ours. Maybe unconventionally, the thing that first calls to me is bright, because it's a Wednesday. I love the idea that like this is not science, dimly lit. This, like dressed early on a Wednesday we are in a spaceship. Yeah, we got there early to case the joint. But both of us got there early to case the joint. And so we just had to do our I was just here at 2pm The full fluorescence on and everything.
I love that because I was going to suggest DEM. And so having that totally turned on its head is like very exciting to me. I love. I love it.
Jess Levine 1:02:03
Any else anything else here calling out to use data,
I want to say cramped and I want to lean on. It's literally some of the chairs are still up on the tables like oh, you know, there's a whole section that hasn't been opened yet because their nighttime server doesn't come in for another two hours.
Jess Levine 1:02:24
And finally, on that note, I think serene until we get there. The staff and there's like one or two really regulars who have decided like they hang out in here in the afternoon with the staff or something lately, and they are having a call normal Wednesday until these two absolute weirdos show up.
Oh yeah, that's great. I love that. I love this entire step because it just like it just changed so many of the images that I had going in where I was going in with much more of a genre standard idea. And so defining it further made it totally different in a way that is so exciting. Especially because it makes it so much more humiliating for our characters. Now it's happening. I love that you
Amelia Antrim 1:03:14
leaned into like it is Wednesday it is 2pm chairs on the tables. And then Ryan and I are like it's a volcano. The tropes were like every single trope you can put from this animate like it is in there now. And you were like, what are those?
Jess Levine 1:03:31
Is their escape? Is there a scale that this game is best for and we are really proving is literally
Amelia Antrim 1:03:37
much. And I love that Ryan and I can just do our thing.
Jess Levine 1:03:43
Whatever, yeah, setting vibes for you. Like I played lots and lots of science fiction, but I love that people can do whatever they want with it.
Amelia Antrim 1:03:50
We've We've finished our environments. We've we've done our exposition in our environment. Now. I see the next thing on my list is cape.
Amelia Antrim 1:03:59
Is that accurate? It
Jess Levine 1:04:00
is yes, it is. So we are moving into the character section. So background really focused on like, what's the story behind you? What's the genre? What is your story with each other? And now we really move into like you as individuals. And the very first most important thing to define about you as an individual is what is your cape like? And as you can tell from this game, I love capes. I think they're so cool and good in me. And I think every game designer should be as self indulgent as possible. This is your opportunity to make a person playing your game, do whatever it is that you want. Video, Vidya valetti I think is the name of the person who made off the system is escaping me right now. But in that game, there's space whales, and the rules, textures basically just like I like space oil. So you have to define why white space whales exist in your space setting. Do they have to like come up mechanically in any way? No, but I need you to define us As Wales, you're going to tell you, and that is me with capes here. That said, it is not just a decorative, okay capes have a mechanical effect in this game. So it says in the rules text that you reserve the right to decide your cape in secret. And then like write it down and the two of you reveal it together. Almost no player I have ever played with has done this. It also says you are welcome to like collaborate, which is what most people who play a game like this want to do. But you have the right if you want to do it in secret. And the reason that that might be something that you want is because there is a cape rubric, and whoever wins the cape rubric is going to get to pick something. And so
Amelia Antrim 1:05:44
So you tell the other person to be better than you. I see. I see.
Jess Levine 1:05:47
Yes. And so I'll first say what you win by winning the cape Rubik then share the cape rubric, then we'll work on our capes. So what you win is either to pick the first advantage, which is the next thing on our characters. Basically, advantages are purely narrative, but they're like do you have? Is the territory familiar for you? Or do you have superior fashion? It's what can you like gloat over the other person about in this tool. And if you have to better cape, based on my rubric, you can choose to be the first person to pick an advantage from the list. Gotcha. If you don't pick it, if you don't pick that the other option is you receive priority on the first turn of play. So priority is a tiebreaker. This is a rock paper scissors, right? What happens if you both thrust, whoever has priority wins and priorities just exchanged back and forth each turn in competitive fencing priority is incredibly complicated and also used to settle ties when you like hate each other at the same time. But I have massively simplified because it has to do with like momentum and like judges call and it's like a whole thing. Thank you. I like watched a bunch of I'd never fenced or
Amelia Antrim 1:07:03
I'm talking to a friend like while we're recording this who did competitive fencing for years and like also as a huge Star Wars fan and fan of like these kinds of games in general. And I was like, please go find this right now.
Jess Levine 1:07:14
I have run into so many people who I didn't know, Ezra is just I've worked with before. And then as I was like, actually, I was in a sword troop in high school. Yeah. So this is
a fun, yes. Like, reveal of backstory from people that just keeps happening. Like, it's something that Oh, I said to be like, I feel as though I should have known that about you. Yeah, I wonder where it would have come up.
Amelia Antrim 1:07:38
But dude, he did it competitively. And like went to college on scholarship for fencing. Yeah.
Ryan Boelter 1:07:45
My mind for years and
Amelia Antrim 1:07:47
Jess Levine 1:07:49
One of the people I'm getting to laser engrave the tokens, I'm getting quotes from a bunch of different places. And one of them was just like, yeah, I sense. So that's super nice to me to work on these tokens. I was like,
Amelia Antrim 1:08:00
because it feels like it is not that like, like, I like I know lots of adults who do but like I don't, you know, like I have kids who are currently doing you know, activities. And I don't know anybody who would like does fencing and like maybe a place
Amelia Antrim 1:08:16
called Good call.
Jess Levine 1:08:21
But yeah, while I was designing this, I watched a bunch of videos on competitive fencing rules and like read competitive fencing rule books in order to take inspiration from that for the mechanical design of my game about banter. And love it. But anyway, thank you, you pass priority back and forth each turn. And that makes sure that the guy keeps the game dynamic to by making sure that like, there's a 66% chance of winning for the person with priority if you assume like random choices, and rock paper, scissors. So that chance of winning goes back and forth to keep the game close most of the time. Random is random. But basically, if you have the better Cape you choose either I pick the first advantage and then my opponent has priority on the first turn, or I get priority on the first turn. And my opponent picks the first advantage. So it settles what order these things go in. And you get to be the person who picks that order.
The two of you have picked such a perfect genre for Cape shenanigans. I know. Yeah.
Ryan Boelter 1:09:20
I've got my minority I do
Jess Levine 1:09:22
too. And here's the cape rubric. If you had like first one of these that you beat the other person on, you win. So the first one is whoever opted to wear a cape. So if one of you wears one, the other one doesn't. That person wins, too, who would have
Amelia Antrim 1:09:37
to not wear a cape, right?
I know. That was the very first play test. I didn't because I ended up playing a very stoic, like, reserved character and I was like, Listen, this breaks my heart, but I cannot come up with why this person would wear a cape. And it's one of those things where it's like, Should we start from the beginning again, like I've made somebody who doesn't
Amelia Antrim 1:09:59
say clearly made a wrong choice somewhere.
That isn't even true about me as a person.
Jess Levine 1:10:07
You will literally own capes
high Sure do.
Jess Levine 1:10:13
But hey, good playtesting pushes the boundaries of the game, that the game can be played with dedicated, which is why I have to include the first one. Whoever opted to wear a cape to if you both wear capes, which characters cape is the closest to floor length without going over? Oh, and this is often where this rubric has settled. Interest however, if you both have and why is that the better Cape because I like floor length capes and that's about it.
Amelia Antrim 1:10:42
And this is my space. This is your space whale. So that's fine.
Jess Levine 1:10:45
This is my space whales, then three, whichever player owns a cape in real life, so if you both got equal length capes, it is whoever owns
Amelia Antrim 1:10:55
it. Yeah, I don't know that. I mean, no, I guess we're not technically capes.
Jess Levine 1:11:01
Probably. No. And then for if you both own capes, whichever player last wore a cape. Oh, and then finally five then and only then you each roll to the sixth highest roll wins. Reroll sighs I have to go through all of those other steps before I let you read the dice.
Amelia Antrim 1:11:22
I have been informed by said fencing friends that this is a very good mechanic that getting priority based on capes is a good mechanic
Ryan Boelter 1:11:36
thank you for joining us for part one of this character creation series. We'll be back in part two pick it up right where we left off.
Amelia Antrim 1:11:43
Character Creation Cast is a production of the One Shot Podcast Network and can be found online at www dot character creation cast.com. Head to the website to get more information on our hosts this show and even our press kit. Character Creation Cast can be found on twitter at creation cast or ON OUR DISCORD SERVER at discord dot character creation cast.com And one of your hosts Amelia Antrim and I can be found on twitter, at ginger reckoning or on my other podcast garbage of the five rings. Our other host Ryan boelter can be found on twitter at Lord Neptune or online at Lord neptune.com music for this episode is used with a Creative Commons license or with permission from the podcast it originated from. Further information can be found within the show notes. Our main theme music is hero remix by Steve combs, and is used with a Creative Commons license. This podcast is owned by us under Creative Commons. This episode was edited by the absolutely fantastic Ryan boelter. Further information for the game system used in today's guests can also be found in the show notes. If you'd like to support our show, find us on Patreon. Get access to bonus episodes, extra outtakes and much much more at patreon.com/character creation cast. Thanks for joining us. And remember, we find the best part of any role playing game is character creation. So go out there and create some amazing people. We'll see you next time.
Amelia Antrim 1:13:29
Now we got to read some show blurbs show blurbs show show show blurbs. Character Character Creation Cast is hosted by the One Shot Podcast Network. If you enjoyed our show, visit one shot podcast.com where you'll find other great shows like iron edit a reforged Puppet Strings
Ryan Boelter 1:13:51
Ragnarok is coming and it's you. Join creator Tracy Burnett and performers Alex Flanagan be Zelda and Jeff Stormer as they navigate a Norse cyberpunk city to accomplish their ultimate goal. The fall of the gods are actual play and part play test of strains gives you a look behind the scenes of the development of iron ala reforged and into the minds of four amazing designers.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai