April 1, 2012

A Brief Intermission.

While the densest bits of the new GGG edition get hammered out, I figured I would flex out my design muscles by doing something entirely on the opposite end of the spectrum as far as roleplaying is concerned. Rest assured I am not going to use this as an excuse to slack off on GGG (If I were to do that, it would have been Dota 2 back in February) and I am continuing to work on it as I also toy around with this thingie.

I do not expect this side project to take more than a month. 
He said, the week right after delaying the Print Version yet another time. 

A game about slacking off, making money, and avoiding Responsibility. Inspired by Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Beavis and Butt-Head, Regular Show, and a number of other slacker-centric movies, shows, and stories. Original idea and barely recognizable mechanics stolen borrowed from Jason Quintanilla.

Some games are about valiant acts of heroism whose characters always aspire to rise towards greater heights, other games are about overcoming your worst flaws and the evil that men do, and then there's the games about incompetent jerks who can barely scrape by in spite of all common sense saying they shouldn't. Brofessionals is one of those last games.
You're all horrible people and it is a wonder you get along as roommates at all, maybe you have remarkable teamplay when you need to stick together, maybe you actually really get along in spite of being at each other's throats so often, or maybe you're just so awful that no one else can tolerate you for long but each other.
Whichever it is, you don't have time to find out, because the Landlord wants the rent and they want it now. You must concoct filthy get rich quick schemes and somehow get around your own laziness to put them into action, but can you actually play nice with each other long enough to meet your goal while avoiding the landlord's terrible wrath?

Character Creation
Each PC has 3 Vices. These are things that are both descriptive of your particular brand of ineptitude but can also somehow help you during your quest for shinies. Examples of Vices are Really Into Videogames, Check Out My Abs, and I Only Listen to Underground Bands. You are assumed to be comically inept at anything outside the range of these three Vices.
The GM is the Landlord and will be in charge of narrating the game and keeping track of things as normal, every Landlord has one Authority Power that strikes terror into your very heart and compels you to get your ass moving. An example Authority Power would be Trained Dobermanns. The Authority Power is how the Landlord's Wrath comes into play when he's had enough of your crap.
Tables of randomly generated Vices and Authority Powers are provided for maximum wacky hijinx potential. Said tables may or may not actually exist as of yet.

You need a deck of cards, the Landlord should deal 3 cards to each other Player face down. Then they note down a Panic Meter value that will measure how long the game will last, using the number of players and their own sadism as guidelines. 2-3 Panic for a group of 3-4 PCs will do.

The PC's win condition is to be the one with the most Satisfaction by the end of the game, and they gain Satisfaction points by fulfilling various criteria throughout the course of the game.
The GM's win condition is for the folks with the most Satisfaction to be tied so that there is no clear winner because they, too, are horrible vindictive people and are fed up with the PCs shenanigans.

Play begins as normal with any roleplaying game but with less adventuring in dungeons and more being useless goons in your apartment watching animal planet or being stoned, until the Landlord barges in and tells everyone that they better have their money ready soon, or [i]else[/i]. At that point everyone must come up with one or more plans to raise money feeding off their own Vices while at it, because otherwise work would take effort and that just won't do.
PCs can work together as a group or go off on their own at their own discretion, then they must attempt to Work in clockwise order from the Landlord's seat.

Conflict Resolution
The Landlord sets the difficulty of Working by placing one or more face up cards from the deck on the table depending on the craziness of what the PC is trying to do, and the player(s) involved try to match the number in the face up card to succeed. You can add, substract, multiply or even divide the cards you have in your hand to match the face up number. If you cannot match the number you may draw a card or shirk Work altogether. Non-number cards cannot be matched and are sent to the discard pile.
When you draw a card or shirk, you gain 1 Responsibility as you become attached to your effort (or lack thereof) willingly or not. If you Match all the face up numbers successfully you gain Money equal to the number of face up cards and lose Responsibility equal to the number of cards you have left in your hand.
The standard difficulty is 1 faceup card for Work involving a single PC, 3 for Work involving 2 PCs, and up to 10 if everyone is cooperating in one of those bizarre alliance thingies that never work.

Players may announce that they're working together before the Landlord calls out either one of them, or may offer their help when the Landlord calls out another. Either way when playing as a team everyone takes turns to display at least one face up card, once everyone has done so they take their turns and may attempt to combo each other's cards as well as their own to match the face up ones. You may display more than one card if you're feeling cooperative at that point or can do so later if people don't have anything to combo with you. If people can't or don't want to combo, everyone gains 1 Responsibility and draws 1. Money earned from matching numbers goes to everyone, but Responsibility loss is tallied individually.
Afterwards the cards go into the discard pile, if the deck runs out of cards, shuffle the discard pile back into the deck.

After everyone has attempted to Work once the Panic Meter increases by 1 and now comes the Landlord's Wrath, the Landlord should slam his fist on the table and announce so loudly for emphasis' sake. The Landlord will pick whoever has the most Responsibility as his target, if two or more PCs are tied with Responsibility, they may both bid a card from their hands and the one with the highest value is discarded, saving its owner from utter despair.
During the Landlord's Wrath the GM sets only one card face up but the victim loses access to their hand and must Match the number by revealing cards from the top of the deck one by one. If successful they lose Responsibility equal to the number of cards revealed. If they reveal a single non-number card (including the joker) they have failed, losing Money equal to the number of cards revealed and the Landlord's Wrath ends. They may shirk from the Landlord's Wrath after the first reveal at their own choice, gaining further Responsibility equal to the cards revealed.
After the Landlord's Wrath is over, the PCs with the most Money and the least Responsibility gain a point of Satisfaction and everyone resets both values back to 0. Ties will give all corresponding PCs Satisfaction.
After the Panic Meter tops off everyone must face the Landlord's Wrath individually in reverse clockwise order. This replaces the usual single victim Landlord's Wrath, and Satisfaction is only awarded after everyone has gone through it, with the winner of the game being who had the most fun whosoever has met their goal as stated in the rules.

Other Rules
Some cards have special rules. You can play them at any time you would play another card. Jacks let you shirk at no Responsibility cost. Queens let you give another PC two cards at no Responsibility cost. Kings let you flip over a new card on top of the target to replace it, and choose whether to keep it or not. A Joker is worth any number card of any suit. You may at any time replace any of these special cards by discarding it and drawing another at no Responsibility.
You can also do special combos with numbered cards. If you find yourself with three 7s or straights of the same suit (of at least three cards) you can declare a jackpot, this will pass attempts at Work and grant bonus Money equal to the number of cards paired.
If you get three 6s or can combo up a number 13, then you may have another PC be the target of terrible misfortune as destruction rains from the heavens, automatically summoning the Landlord's Wrath on them and increasing Panic by 1.

Things I Need To Think About
I have only the faintest idea how the math works out here, however it pans out I expect the 2-4 range of cards will be at a premium.
There's little roleplaying opportunities beyond narrating attempts at Work via the use of Vices and attempting to parley with the Landlord.
TABLES AND CHARTS, LEAVE NOTHING TO THE IMAGINATION. Would probably help with finding spots for Issue #2 above.
Face up non-numbered cards being shuffled back into the deck when the Landlord already doesn't have much to do bothers me.
Allowing division as an option with cards without forced rounding in one direction is probably a terrible idea.

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