Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year, New Game

The fine folks over at Gnome Stew have issued a challenge to every GM out there. Rather than try to paraphrase it, I thought that I'd quote them:

New Year, New Game (NYNG for short) is a new Gnome Stew venture — an annual challenge to GMs all over the world: Run a new game this year.
New Year, New Game is an idea that we hope will catch on with gamers all over the world, much like GM’s Day did (it’s celebrated on March 4th every year). It has a simple mission:

To inspire game masters to run at least one new game each year, because trying new games broadens your horizons, challenges your skills as a GM, and can deepen your enjoyment of gaming as a hobby.

There's a website set up, called appropriately enough New Year, New Game.  I've decided to take them up on this challenge.

I'd like to add a secondary challenge to the New Year, New Game challenge. If you've never run a game before, why not make this the year that you take the plunge?

Here's my entry on why I'm going to run Jeremy Keller's Technoir.

There's nothing angelic about life in the City of Angels. If you're wealthy or powerful (and really, aren't the two the same?), you have access to all the good things in life. If you're part of the rest of the 99%, life is a daily grind as you try to avoid the people that you owe favors or money too, while collecting the money and favors owed to you.

There are huge technological advancements and for a few Kreds you can have just about any kind of tech implanted into your body. It's getting those Kreds that's the problem. You have to borrow money to finance the jobs you take to get more money. You end up giving promises to nasty people and one day they'll be called in. That "one day" is not today, and thankfully you're owed a few favors of your own, and if you can call them in at the right time you might just be able to break even or pull ahead with this next job.

Only now you're in way over your head. The job turned out to be not nearly as straight forward as you thought it would be. You don't know where to turn, and you can't trust your contacts. The only way to get any information is to start shaking the tree and see what falls out.

+Jeremy Keller's Technoir is a cyberpunk game that's designed around the noir genre. The singular characteristic about a noir hero is that she's not afraid to get beaten up, if it will get her the information she needs. She's may not be the smartest, or the richest, or the most well-connected, or the prettiest, but what she has in spades is grit and determination. Once on the trail she'll never give up until she's figured out what's going on.

There are several things that excite me about Technoir. First is that it's cyberpunk. I love the cyberpunk genre . Some of my fondest gaming memories are of playing Shadowrun. Secondly I love that it's noir. The noir style of film and book is awesome. I love the whole concept of noir, which is that a person is in way over their head, whether of their own doing or because of forces beyond their control who are trying to set them up. I love that noir heroes aren't the brightest, or smartest, prettiest, or richest, but what they've got is an intractable will and no fear of bodily harm. The primary strategy of a noir detective is to go shake a tree and see what happens. No Sherlock Holmesian investigations here.

I also love the system that Jeremy Keller came up with, which is designed to reward players who get their characters hurt. I also love that the system is built around describing things.

Challenges in running this? There are more than a few. First, it's a new game. That means most people will not have even heard of the game, much less played it. Second is my work schedule, which makes it difficult for me to participate in games via G+. Currently I have no meatspace gaming group, and even if I manage to get my group back together I'll probably be running something like Earthdawn or 7th Sea with them, because they're not the most adventurous of gamers.


  1. I hope you get this going I read thru the playtest rules and was very intrigued. CP2020 was a big oart of my gaming life for several years.

  2. @dicecipher. I never played CP2020. I don't think I've even read through the rules. The two things that excited me the most about Technoir were the relationship charts, and the dice economy system. In reading the rules it seems like the dice economy system really does a good job of promoting the noir style of play. Of course only an actual playing of the game will be able to say so for sure, but I suspect that it will.