In this post we’ll talk about EVENT, a Role-Playing Game (RPG) System with the ambitious goal of combining simplicity, efficiency and speed to offer Gamemasters and Players a unique and engaging gaming experience.
Anyone with some RPG experience knows that the above aspects can play a decisive role for a successful session: complex ruleset, slow mechanics and slow system of resolution of actions and interactions are often cause of frustration, thus resulting in a disappointing gaming experience for gamemaster and players.
To address these issues, EVENT authors came out with the following:
- A skinny manual (less than 30 pages);
- A limited amount of core rules, easy to learn & remember;
- A distinctive Character creation System, based upon a sharp Questions & Answers mechanics;
- A strong narrative premise (the Event) that will motivate the players to act as a group, providing their characters a common goal.
- A brand-new character creation system (The Three Questions) that will allow players and gamemasters to build PCs and NPCs in few minutes using a narrative-based approach.
- An efficient Actions & Interaction outcome resolution ruleset, featuring a hybrid approach containing a mix of narrative choices, auctions and dice rolls;
- Innovative showdown mechanics that will force players to choose between winning a contest or narrating its outcome (or try to do both things), similar to those featured in most auction-based Board Games.
The last two points are especially important, as they both empower the players with the chance to partially take control of the story, thus becoming the gamemaster for a short while to conceive and narrate what happens. This “collective management” of the game’s story is definitely the most interesting aspect of the game: such innovative approach is also well highlighted within the manual, starting from the first sentence:
EVENT is a game system designed to collectively manage the actions and interactions of a variable number of characters played by players and / or the gamemaster from a given event. The combination of these factors will lead to the natural definition of a story within the context of reference, which is called the setting.
In order to play Event you’re going to need: a group of friends, a handful of 6-sided dice, some paper sheets and at least one pencil. As in most RPGs, one of the players, known as the gamemaster, will take care of the core elements of the story, while the others, to whom the manual simply refers as players, will play the role of a single character apiece.
The full manual, containing everything required to play, is available for free download in italian and english language through the following links:
EVENT has been released on Creative Commons license CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0.
In order to support the project’s development the EVENT authors recently started a crowfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform, which is expected to undergo until September 30, 2018. Among the many rewards reserved for the backers, there is the chance to: insert your name or nickname on the thank you page within the game manual; give a custom name to a sample character or player in the many Actual Play examples contained in the manual; write your very own Actual Play example; pre-purchase a copy of the Event Paperback Edition, which will also contains original artwork and pictures, and more.
If you want to support the crowfunding, you can do that from this link.
This is the EVENT presentation & tutorial video, which illustrates some of the most original and innovative aspects of the game system.
After reading the manual we can definitely say that EVENT is an extremely interesting project, which could easily score a turning point in the Narrative Games and Role-Playing Games genres and achieve good results in both the indie and mainstream RPG communities: the fact that it has been released on Creative Commons is definitely a great added value, as it will ensure that the core project will always be free-to-play.
Below there’s a long interview with the EVENT author, in which he talks about the project’s origin, current expectations and further goals.
Have a good read… and good game!
When did you start playing role-playing games?
I started playing since I was nine years old, and never stopped since: now that I’m 40 I’m still playing at least once a week with a wonderful group of experienced players, mostly being the gamemaster. We started playing together in 1997 using our very own tabletop RPG system which we spent years in developing, designing and playtesting (actually, we’re still doing all that). In 2001 we released it as Myst under GNU license (you can get it from www.myst.it), which received positive reviews within our country, with more than 50.000 views & downloads and thousands of unique website visitors each day.
What does it have to do with EVENT?
Well, the answer is simple: Myst is a wonderful system, yet it comes with two major flaws. The first of them is the complexity: despite being a story-driven RPG, it’s built upon a simulationist ruleset which makes it a rather complex game. The latter has everything to do with the language. Myst is extremely language-dependent… And it’s written in Italian, hence no one outside our contry would likely be able to enjoy it. Translating it is also out of the question, at least for the time being – considering the insane amount of content we wrote within the past 20 years, it would require a dedicated fundraising. Though still enjoying Myst an awful lot, as time went by I started to think about how to fix the aforementioned flaws. Slowly but surely, I began focusing on what I really wanted.
Which is… ?
Something simple, which – for example – I would be able to play with my kids, who couldn’t withstand complex systems (yet!); something smart, which could be easily translated in any language; something swift, which could be played on a single evening. I wrote EVENT having these three goals in mind, which I called The Three S(or 3S). Being an avid reader of the indie-rpgs.com forums during the 1999-2005 era and a huge fan of story-driven games, I wanted to give birth to something good from the ashes left by the flames of The Forge and the GNS Theory: something brilliant, just like The Pool by James V. West, yet also simple, such as Zak Arntson’s Shadows…
Did it work?
Well, I surely hope I’ve managed to do that. You can read the overall result in the Creative Commons edition of the manual, which I wrote in English and in Italian and released in PDF format so that everyone would be able to download it for free.
You said you wanted it slim: did you succeed?
I said I wanted it smart! However, the Creative Commons release is 27-pages long, therefore it’s also slim. Now that I think about it, such word also starts with the S letter, hence I could’ve even used it instead of smart.
Is the Creative Commons edition playable enough?
Absolutely. That’s the official EVENT manual, i.e. the full game. There’s nothing more than that, at least for the time being… That’s what the Kickstarter is for.
So the game is already there and it’s also available for free: what about the Crowd-Funding, then?
Your assumption is correct. The fundraising is not about helping me writing the game: I already did that. Those who want to play it or try it out don’t need to support me or anything… They can just download the Creative Common edition and they’re good to go. The crow-funding is to empower the already-existing EVENT with additional content and perks.
A decent english translation, to begin with. I did the best I could do my 108/120 TOEFL score, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to understand the rules: however, I would still like to hand it over to a professional asking it to make it sharper, more fluent and 100% error free; right after that, I would like to author a paperback edition with a proper layout, possibly with some original artwork made by a decent artist. Then, I would like to work on some additional content, such as some Event examples, more Actual Play examples and so on. I wouldn’t also mind having EVENT translated in additional languages, other than EN and IT, which isn’t something I could ever do. Last but not least, I would like to give birth to a strong online community, hopefully including all the playtesters and the backers, built upon a solid website and a strong social identity, to further develop EVENT and/or other similar story-driven RPGs.
Which of these goals is the most important for you?
The community, by all means: I want the book to be published, hit the shelves and reach a wider audience, that’s for sure, but more than anything I would like to build an EVENT-based community to increase the player base and to launch a series of related projects in the near future… Like, for example, an EVENT Web and / or Mobile App with a gaming room hosting system for playing online or online+offline simultaneously.
You’re a software developer, right?
Yes sir, and I’m 100% sure I’ll be able to do all that. However, software development alone is not enough. In order to get any decent achievement in the gaming industry or hobby, you’ll always need the people: friends, fellow players & gamemasters, playtesters, and so on. And that’s a great thing indeed, as it’s precisely the reasong we’re doing all this: to play togheter, to get a bunch of people to play with.
Can you summarize the most innovative aspects of EVENT?
… I assume you didn’t bother reading the manual, am I right? (j/k)
Well, these are EVENT‘s most distinctive features, other than the 3S pillars I mentioned above, which you’ll hardly find in other RPGs.
A narrative premise – I’ ve called it THE EVENT – that will motivate the players to act as a group, providing their characters a common goal: as a matter of fact, this concept is so important to me that I used it for the title; if you’re going to host a RPG session for a single evening, you’d want the gamemaster and players to actually play together, not running errands, right? Well, THE EVENT serves precisely this purpose: if the players need a good & quick reason to make their characters stick together, all they have to do is to come up with something that needs to be taken care of, such like an earthquake, a building of fire they were all sleeping in, and so on.
A brand-new character creation system, based upon Three Questions: Who am I? What do I look like? What can I do? The answer to these questions will allow players and gamemasters to build PCs and NPCs in few minutes using a narrative-based approach.
Solid action’s and interaction’s outcome ruleset that can be used by the players to partially take control of the story, thus becoming the gamemaster for a short while to conceive and narrate what happens. This is among the most innovative aspects of EVENT, however I strongly suggest to read the manual in order to get a better grasp on it: it’s all there, with a bunch of Actual Play examples that will greatly help to understand what I’m talking about right now.
Innovative showdown mechanics that will force players to choose between winning a contest or narrating its outcome – or try to do both things. If you know how auction Board-Game works, you’re halfway done: I wanted to find a way to introduce a betting system in the outcome resolution aspects, and I think I might have nailed it. Again, read the manual for furhter details: I couldn’t possibly explain it better than that.
Then there’s the veto rule, which is a simple yet effective way to keep the balance and to prevent abuses throughout the game, occasionally acting as a tie-breaker… Did I already tell you to read the manual?
Last question: when the crow-funded goodies will be ready?
If the fund raising will succeed, I’ll start working (and hiring the required amount of piple) in October 2018. Although it’s a bit hard to tell, I’m fairly sure I’ll be able to release most of the stuff around 2019 Q1, possibly January or February.