You may or may not have heard about the Kickstarter for a new RPG called Technoir. It gathered a funding of over 14.ooo$ from supporters quicker than anyone had anticipated and it is still growing. I really recommend checking it out! It is an interesting game in itself and worth your money. However I am a Savage at heart. I am honest here, I never connected to RPG engines that where Storyteller focused. I love my dice so I prefer systems with more dice types than D6. And my group and I have a strong dislike for dice pool mechanics. But I still pledged money to it. Why? The presentation is great, the mechanics well thought out and it contains more than a simple game engine. I am really excited for it simply because it inspires me. It is the first game of this type that somehow managed to click. And I am sure I will be able to borrow liberally for my Savage Worlds games!
Do you want to know more?
What really grabs my attention though are the so-called Transmissions. These are so useful and well thought out every GM should be at least vaguely familiar with the concept as it is a such a great tool. Jeremy is considering to release the Transmissions under the Creative Commons License, so they and their format will not be bound to Technoir exclusively if I understand it correctly. That would be brilliant! But what are these “Transmissions” I keep blabbing about?
They are 16 Pages short “settings + adventure” booklets based around a specific location, in case of Technoir usually Cities. You can already check out two in their current Beta version on the Technoir homepage. Transmissions not only convey the specifics of a certain City with three short paragraphs on Technology, Environment and Society, but also contain plot nodes: connections for the characters to use, leads the contacts can give, events that can happen, factions of power, locations to visit, objects to use find or steal, threats to fight. That is a lot of Information for such a small page count! The core however is the randomizer. All plot nodes are placed in various random tables that function as a dynamic plot generator.
Every time you roll again due to players investigations you put the result of a roll on the plot map and connect it to something else, like a flowchart. This is a rather rough description as I do not want to copy material from his book. If you want further details have a look at the beta documents to really understand how they work. His explanation is really thorough. He also describes the process of writing a Transmission on his blog.
A Transmission on it’ s own is not a fully fleshed out campaign or city guide but rather an inspirational tool to create a somewhat focused but still random adventures. They are frameworks you can use to play a sandbox type game, where the players actions dictate the flow of the adventure with some added randomness thrown in for good measure. You can easily expand your adventures by linking the plot map with another Transmission. The web of plot nodes can be as big as you want it to be. If you want you can create endless strands and an infinite web of plot nodes. I imagine Transmission are a great asset in GM less role playing too.
I really like the Transmission approach to plot building. Most source books for settings or locations are too detailed for me. I like to make things up on my own but some guidance gives me a base to work from. And Transmissions work wonderfully for that. They are not dependent on setting, system or genre either. This fantastic tool will definitely find its place in my GM toolbox right next to the fantastic adventure generator from Thrilling Tales. I will definitely think about possible future Transmissions.
If this sounded at least a bit interesting check out Technoir and show Jeremy Keller some love and support his Kickstarter! What about you? Are you already a backer? Have a plan for a Transmission? Let me know!
Read you soon.