As I approach putting out my first public game to the world – even in the free, alpha form it currently stands in – I’d like to take a moment to explain its origins a little. This will be the first of two posts do so.
A couple months back, I was discussing D&D niche protection with my close friend Casey (@thedanddaddy). I am a huge fan of “wizard supremacy;” he is not. The conversation had turned to rogues and the Knock spell. How do you balance a rogue who can pick locks with a wizard who can just cast a spell to open them without removing either’s abilities? My point was “Look, it comes down to cost. The rogue can do this pretty well all day, every day with no resource consumption. The wizard can do it perfectly a limited number of times and with some cost for spell components. You can have it good, fast or cheap – pick two.”
That’s where it hit me. “You can have it good, fast or cheap – pick two.” That’s a game mechanic right there. Heck, it’s not just a mechanic. That’s a whole fricking game! This is the game I had to publish somehow. I knew pretty much what it looked like and how to play it. All I had to do was write it down.
Folks, we’re here to “crash cars” – a phrase I blatantly stole from Quinn to describe the style of play I’m aiming for with this game.
Maybe it’s a figure of speech, maybe it’s for real (and by ‘real’ I of course mean ‘imaginary’), but really deep down, that’s what this whole “Good, Fast, Cheap” thing is about – setting events in motion and watching what happens when they collide. As a wise and more than slightly demented man once said, “Some (people) just want to watch the world burn.”
That’s not all though. Don’t get me wrong, crashing cars is fun but there’s another level. See, you’re going to get whatever you want. You ever stop and think about that? What is it you really want? Are you sure? Alright, we’re going to give it to you, but it’s going to cost you. It’s going to cost you more than you expect, maybe more than you’re ready for. Do you still want to be the crime boss? How about the Archmage? Even the very right hand of God him/her/itself? It’s there. You can have it. You just have to pay for it.
Now while you think about that, let me explain a couple more things to you. First, this isn’t a pass-the-stick kind of story game. There’s nothing wrong with that style of game but it’s not what we’re doing here. Everyone at the table, including the GM, is beholden to the dice to some extent because the dice tell you how much it’s going to cost. This means no one’s ever exactly going to know what happens next ahead of time – not even the GM. Everyone gets to be surprised. Don’t worry though – you have a hand in it as well. “Good, Fast, Cheap” is all about making decisions that matter. Second, don’t expect to be the invincible epic hero because you won’t. It can always go wrong, no matter how powerful you are.
In this first scenario, players take on the role of up to four wizard grad students who have broken one of the most important laws of magic and are on the run from the authorities. Since drastic times call for drastic measures, they decide to summon an otherworldly creature and request its assistance. The creature will help, but what can the PCs offer in return??
“Good, Fast, Cheap” is influenced by other games including but not limited to Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, FATE (particularly the Dresden Files), Cortex+ (particularly MARVEL) and TechNoir. If you like those games, see if you like this one.
Everyone has a price.
Let’s see if we can’t find yours.