Artwork edited into banner image:
- Cyberpunk World Map by Klaus Pillon
- Sightseeing by Klaus Pillon
- Unexpected Meeting by Klaus Pillon
- A Walk on S16-293 by Klaus Pillon
“No, that’s not really working. Besides, it’s been done before. But this game…it’s retro and cool with a sly little reference or two for those older video game players out there. Hmm, I wonder if that has any significance to the game I’m making now…?”
So, what I’m trying to say is: I’m iterating my game project to the point where I’m ditching the Rapidpitch idea. One, because I kinda got bored with it and struggled with defining the game mechanically and two, because it already exists in the form of Pitchstorm, pretty much as I imagined it.
I should know.
‘Cause I played it.
And in fact, you can see it in the banner picture of the Rapidpitch blog post.
No, I must do something else.
It’s time for something a bit more…punky. Or is that funky?
Maybe, it’s both.
Oscilfunk is a game I’ve been devising for a few months now, even prior to starting this subject. It’s a barebones role-playing adventure sandbox whose strengths are in its simplicity and ‘homebrewibility’.
‘Homebrewibility’ isn’t really a word, but Cyberpunk stories have plenty of words that weren’t originally words, but now are a part of our regular lexicon. Like ‘Cyberpunk’!
Oscilfunk / OSCILFUNK (because capital letters are cool) is named as such because it’s oscillating between the world of Cyberpunk technology and the world of fantastical magic, supernatural abilities, blessings and curses.
Cyberpunk + Fantasy + Oscillation = this thing
Oscilfunk Opening Monologue:
The year is…well, actually we don’t know what the year is. People lost track of the exact number a long time ago. Besides, it’s become more useful to go back to the Ancient Roman system of naming each year after whoever is in power. After all, the turnover of governments in Oscilion is tremendous, much higher than the rest of the Continent in fact. Not that that’s much of a surprise. Walled off by high reaching pillars of mixed concrete and heavy metals, the city of Oscilion is cut off from everywhere else.
No one in, no one out.
Spanning several hundred kilometers in any direction, it was once a Nation City of prosperity and progress. However, since the sudden and disarming arrival of magic into the world, it has fallen into an era of depravity, hostility and constant upheaval. On the densely packed city streets, narrow alleyways and ludicrously bright neon lights, people of all races and creeds do their best to get by and not draw too much attention to themselves.
Humans use their strength and intelligence to get what they want. Dwarves forge powerful cybernetic implants, laser weapons and high-powered guns. Elves flirt and cavort with magic more than most, discovering impressive abilities beyond what was once thought possible. Halflings, well…you get the point. Pretty much every species and creature imaginable that can walk, talk or at the very least do manual labour, has found their way into Oscilion.
Now, as you might expect, the city is divided into factions. Not in terms of races, mind you. Extraordinarily the city has, for better or worse, accepted multiculturalism. No, these factions are more political and occupational in nature. You have the typical type that don’t need explaining: Mafiosos, Assassins, Vigilantes, Cannibals, Scavengers…you know, the usual suspects.
But then you have the Runners & Couriers, a group that will transport any object they can carry in exchange for coin. These guys love the adrenaline of sprinting across rooftops and through excessively disjointed and complicated infrastructure. Most of them have no qualms in blasting a perforating laser through some poor bastard’s head either. Unless you’re one of them, watch your back or, more importantly, the sky. It’s rare to see a runner on the streets. They prefer the darkened recesses of the roofs to the well-lit clutter of the roads and walkways below.
And then there are so-called ‘Wishmakers’ – the unholy offspring of mortals, the gods and divine magic. They are people who can wish for anything they want…in exchange for an ill-defined curse that could bring unruly and unnecessary havoc upon themselves and, perhaps, everyone else.
You are one of these rare Wishmakers, given the burden of wishes, blessings and curses…
(I’ll get onto what those Wishmakers means for the game in just a bit…)
Mechanically, the game relies mainly on emergent role-playing and, when RNG needs to rear its ugly head, like when hacking some dude’s brain or successfully catching a hover-taxi midair as you’re plummeting towards your death (you know, the usual kind of commute), a single d20 dice roll will suffice!
Depending on the encounter, you either succeed or you don’t. No faffing about with grappling or whatever else D&D players like to complain about.
Character sheets can also be as complex or as simple as you like. They can be stuffed to the brim with backstory or just have the basic stats:
- Intelligence: How quick are you on your feet? How much do you know of the world?
- Charisma: How smooth of a talker are you? Are you able to charm even the most humourless individuals?
- Wisdom: How perceptive are you? Are you wise beyond your years and demonstrate restraint and common sense regularly?
- Strength: How’s your raw physical power? Your ability to carry what you need (or perhaps other people) to where you need to go?
- Constitution: How fast and how long can you run? How hardy are you…and can you hold down your liquor?
- Dexterity: How’s your balancing ability? Are concepts like extreme coordination, agility and reflexes second nature to you?
Before moving onto the part where I discuss the playtesting I’ve done so far, it’s time to discuss the ‘Wishmaker’ thing. This was a mechanic I shamelessly borrowed and remixed from a YouTube channel series called Guest Quest by Door Monster.
In it, the players are entitled to three wishes throughout the campaign. However, once they consume one of these wishes, a curse will befall them. As you might expect, these curses get worse the more wishes you use. In addition, you also have a blessing you choose at the start of the game (out of three possible options) which can take any form the game leader decides upon. I’ve attempted to redefine this mechanic by integrating it into the game’s lore, although I plan to try and adjust this further.
So, quickly moving on to the play-testing portion of the post as this post is already incredibly long.
I’ve gotten very caught up in fleshing out this game’s world and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve created so far…which was why I was so pleased by my friends’ reaction to our first Oscilfunk session.
For each of them, I made specific blessings and curses tailored to what I think they’d like.
For Friend 1, I made:
- You have the ability to read people’s minds, but only for 10 seconds. You can read them for longer, but you risk significant psychological and physical damage.
- You have a limited amount of access to an alternate plain of reality that allows you to potentially summon small, fragile but decently powerful weapons.
- You have a cute tiny half-cybernetic creature that sits on your shoulder that can temporarily increase your charisma and speech success with others. However, the downside is that the creature is made of an extraordinarily heavy medal and is clamped down tightly on your shoulder. It was placed there by someone who wanted to make you suffer as the creature would constantly screech in your ear and be a general nuisance and burden.
For Friend 2, I made:
- With your impressive hacking abilities and knowledge, you can perform hacks on individuals with cybernetic components, but you need to be in physical contact with them at all times.
- Your strange, mysterious heritage allows for communication with the dead, which may prove useful in certain situations. However, you can see and hear them at all times, which can prove distracting.
- You can, for a short period of time, transform into a dog / wolf-like creature that can potentially grant you access to areas you wouldn’t otherwise be able to enter.
Both their reactions to these blessings was extremely gratifying as both were saying things like, “OH, that’s so cool” and “Oh that one is cool, but this one has that-ARGH, which one should I pick?!” Note that these blessings have their own stats (+ / – for attribution roles e.g. +2 Charisma, -3 Strength etc.). Those reactions are some of the most satisfying ones you can receive when you make any game, but especially true for a role-playing game like this.
But this post is already quite long and I sadly need to wrap this up.
Which is actually a good way to describe the session.
Including setting up their characters and giving them the initial “The year is…” setting-the-stage monologue, we played for a good two or three hours and uncovered the first major bit of plot intrigue which I dare not reveal here. After that, we all begrudgingly went to bed, desperately wanting to play again real soon. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to set up a new session yet, though I plan to for the final project.
If the excessive length of this post wasn’t enough, it should be clear now that I’m very much obsessed with developing the world of Oscilfunk and I hope to innovate on its gameplay and story further (perhaps by adding one more layer of complexity on the ‘Wishmaker’ mechanic, making it truly and authentically my own).
Until then, watch the skies.
The City of Oscilion never sleeps.