Broken Rooms is a roleplaying game of parallel worlds, and has an interesting premise. On August 13th, 2002, the world that we know fractured and split up into thirteen (13) parallel worlds, including our own world that is known as Earth1. These thirteen worlds, known as the Nearside, are traversible by means of broken rooms, places where two or more worlds come to an intersection (more like the touching of two mirrors at certain edges (as near as I can describe it). There are individuals who can traverse these broken rooms, and travel between the worlds of the Nearside. These people are known as Nearsiders, and all player characters in the game are Nearsiders, who work for an agency known as the Regency Group. Simple enough, right? :)
Anyway, on Friday night I went through the basics of the Broken Rooms game and rules with the players, and then we got down to character creation. The players came up with some interesting characters, I thought, and I'm rather looking forward to running the game with these guys. Kathy created her character, Hayden Blake1, an ex-thief and cat burglar who experienced the trauma of the death of her entire family and children, and who now travels the Nearside to find out who was responsible for their deaths. Nick's character is also an interesting fellow, Richard Martinez1, a construction site foreman who was dismissed after being wrongfully accused of embezzling funds from the construction crew injuries fund. Tom is playing Andrew Travers1, a fiction writer capable of opening broken rooms, whose works of fiction have gotten darker over the last few years. Joanne created her character, Michelle Helstrom1, a record-setting Avon saleswoman, who had a strange experience while travelling the road one night, and who now has some psychological trauma from whatever experience she had that fateful evening. Angela is playing Kate Matthews1, a forensics specialist working for the local police force, and mother. One of her two children drowned during a summer vacation, and she's not been the same since. David created the character of Max Roberts1, a former hockey player who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was struck during an on-ice collision, and who nows works as a high school hockey coach. Finally, my goddaughter Ellie created Samantha Whitmore1, an 11-year-old student with a fondness for computer and science fiction, who hasn't come into her own yet as a Nearsider. Definitely an interesting group of characters, I think.
Once the players finished the basics of character creation, I introduced them to the game system mechanics. The game mechanics used for the Broken Rooms RPG is the Momentum game system. This game system uses multiple d12s to resolve tasks and actions. Simply put, characters have three Attributes - Body, Mind, and Soul - along with a fourth Attribute, Depth, that is used for a specific purpose, and one has a number of dice (d12s) in each Attribute. Skills are purchased and ranked by Skill Level, with the Target Number set by the Skill Level at which the character has the skill. Thus, a character could have the Mind Attribute at 4 dice, with the Science Skill at Familiar (9+), which means the character needs to roll 9 or better on the dice. For each die on which a 9+ is rolled, the character gets one success. So, to use this example, if I roll my 4 dice and get a 9, 10, 4, 1, I have two successes - the 9 and the 10. However, the game adds another neat mechanic called Momentum (hence the name of the game). For all Nearsider characters, if two of the dice rolled sum to a total of 13, the player character gains a point of Momentum (a type of energy that results from travelling the Nearside), with which the player an do remarkable feats, called Meridians in the game. To continue our example with the roll above, since the dice results gave me a 9 and 4, which sum to 13, the character gains a point of Momentum, which can either be banked or spent to roll two more dice, and if either of them come up as a success (9 or more), I add one more success. And if the two extra dice total 13 again, I gain another point of Momentum, and can repeat the process. The rules for using the Meridian abilities and Momentum work slightly differently, but the basic principle is similar. That's the basics of the mechanics. Very simple.
The players found the game system relatively easy to get a handle on, and even Ellie liked the use of the d12s to resolve actions, and the players got into things pretty quickly. They were a bit confused about the use of Momentum at first, but glommed onto how it worked quite easily after making a few dice rolls. The Meridians, on the other hand, gave the players a few problems at first, since all Nearsiders have Meridian abilities, but the players gradually understood what they were all about, Kathy commenting that the set-up in the game for them was similar to the freeform magic system found in Desolation, not surprising given that the two games are produced by the same company.
An interesting group of player characters, with an interesting mix of skills and abilities. The Broken Rooms game offers an interesting world with easy to learn and use game mechanics, so I'm hoping the players will enjoy this game system. I know I'm looking forward to running it, starting with some sample combats and the start of the intro adventure for the game.
So, can you count to 13? :)