Release and First Goals

So here we go. The third Silent Ferrets release on itch and we've gone really dark. Let's start with some of the features and concepts behind the game and then talk about things that are currently planned for later.

Before we begin, I want to mention that No Crime But Living is inspired by real news stories about people suffering from Society's cruelty or Authority's overreach. I so far have not successfully included all the content warnings that this should entail but if you might find watching the News traumatic, you will probably find this game triggering. While I encourage you to play, elements such as violence against the innocent, indefinite institutionalization, racism, sexism, and fascism can appear. Play safely and kindly. Even if the characters are hurting, don't hurt the players.

No Crime But Living was initially a visceral response to police overreach. The first line written was "The Authority is allowed to kill you at their whim with no consequences." Gradually this transitioned into the game's background system, which allows you to pick a number of magical backgrounds that give you new ways to use magic but also new ways the society views you and the Authority can easily get away with hurting you. Each background is based on a real life experience that I have either had or been close to, plus supplemental research. They are intended to allow someone to either roleplay their own experience and be seen or experience some of the troubles that come with a different background than their own. 

One decision I made as a designer with Backgrounds was to divorce the background from the real world appearance. So you can still play a male or female or nonbinary who has the experience of Geode or Physic or Nonbinary backgrounds without it matching up. This is a metaphor, not a research paper. I'm open to feedback on this as the game is still a prototype. 

Second, the game is based on Psi*Run, a favorite game of mine in which you are psychics with amnesia on the run from a secret police state. The difference between magic and psychic powers interested me and the basic format of moving from place to place on the run while also leaving behind marks of your passage really spoke to the same themes as the game I wanted to make. They had overlap but weren't a perfect match, which I like to imagine is the ideal reason to make a hack.

One big switch I made to Psi*Run is enabling gmless and solo play. I am not opposed to having GMs but I am also a firm believer in the importance of having them only when necessary as opposed to by default. Also since it can be hard to get a group together, for any game I make I am going to attempt to have built in solo options at the core so that it can be played or at least sampled in solo mode.

Since there is no longer a GM but Psi*Run uses a mechanic describing who starts off describing outcomes, I  created a rule about the Stance with which whoever is speaking should describe the current scene. If you roll well, perhaps you or the other players describe your success with a Positive or even Victorious stance, which lets you cheat a bit to push in extra positives. Or maybe you roll poorly and things aren't just Negative, they are Brutal stance meaning people are injured left and right, everything costs much more than it is worth, and you are barely keeping it together. This was to help frame the tone at any given time since the game isn't all darkness but often will be. 

Finally the game exists in the same world as an earlier release, Cast a Queer Spell. Cast a Queer spell is a journaling game that documents the life of a mage in a repressive magical society from birth to early adulthood and can be played solo or with other people. Though the play of the games differ, I had the intention that you could take a character from Cast a Queer Spell and have them be a protagonist in No Crime But Living, journaling the character's young life then playing out how they react to the Authority cracking down and turning the repressive society into a police state. You can also go backwards, taking the character from No Crime But Living and exploring their youth through Cast a Queer Spell.

I hope you enjoy the game. It is still a prototype and I look forward to improving it. Below you'll find some of the ideas I have for the future roadmap of the game. There is no current

Future goals and ideas: 

Refine the question system to better reflect the goals of the game or replace it with something more appropriate (unless it turns out it works great as it is)

More backgrounds, more detail for the backgrounds, increased fidelity to the human experience

More ways the backgrounds interact with the game experience to create a sense that people are reacting to your character specifically

More tools to support creative magic use

A more polished document explaining the rules and game systems

more games set in the same world, hopefully doing something positive to change the situation


nocrimebutliving.pdf 50 kB
Apr 01, 2019

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