Devlog: SPORTS HORSE
not to feed a fed horse but
not to feed a fed horse but
At first, I just wanted some tables to make funny race horse names. This was probably over a year ago. So I made them and the names were funny and I was content.
Then, I decided that I wanted some kind of game world for my horses to live in. And some way to interact and play with them. Something for them to do.
Version 1 of this game included a currency mechanic so you could buy stables for horses, and you had to win competitions to win currency and then spend currency to feed them and upkeep your horses.
It was not fun because too much capitalism. Your horses were your capital. And you had to squeeze them for as much currency as you could. It definitely felt like a currency management game and not a sports horse game so I scrapped it after playing it only once.
Version 2 of this game was born of frustration because I wanted to just get it out there already. It was basically just the tables and sports shoved into Electric Zine Maker with a d20 roll under mechanic.
I posted it to mastodon just to get it out of my head and forgot about it for months.
Edit: I forgot, I also submitted this fever version of SPORTS HORSE to issue #6 of the tilde.town zine.
Now, this is version 3 of SPORTS HORSE.
I realized that The Pool might be a really fun system for this game because of the gambling aspect. And there is a long and established tradition of betting on horse games. Synergy! I quite like how it came out.
The most astute readers will notice that there is a general purpose roleplaying system embedded in SPORTS HORSE.
Your horse need not even compete in sports if you don’t want it to!
Given any precarious or uncertain situation all you must do is decide your approach in your attempt to resolve the conflict: moxie, razzledazzle, or gumption.
Then assemble your pool as usual: 1 + Quality Bonus + Spirit Wagers
Yippie Ki Yi Yay! Fling those dice and let them lay!
This makes SPORTS HORSE flexible enough to handle just about any situation your horses may find themselves in. Maybe they need to solve the mystery of who stole all the sugar cubes, or maybe they must confront the corrupt horse sports judge.
I’m playing this meandering game of ironsworn in which my character Cassie is trying redeem herself and clear her besmirched family name. Thing is, she has a horse with whom she has a very strong bond because when she was a kid she watched her dead uncle rise as a zombie and kill her favorite mule right in front of her and she’s not going to ever let anything happen to her steed ever again, not on her watch! You know, just your typical average fantasy horror ttrpg stuff.
The Import/Export section of SPORTS HORSE is secretly the most important part. I wrote it so I can have some horse adventures with Cassie’s horse outside the extremely high stakes context of my very serious fantasy role play game. So that the horse can have some spotlight and some Main Character time outside of Cassie’s shadow. Who is (rolls for horse name) Perfect Thunder really?
Import/Export is the crossover episode of your favorite childhood sitcom where the main characters are on vacation in Hawaii instead of in the halls of their high school or something.
The Big Secret here is that once you start to use Character Import/Export in one game you begin to realize that it’s actually secretly available in every game and the barriers between worlds become more permeable, the boundaries more fuzzy and more theoretical. And why not? Why shouldn’t your characters be more multiversal? Your character may not be exactly the same person if you export them from Pathfinder and import them into Horse Simulator 9k00. But they remain an approximate version of themselves. Remember in one of the very first issues of Swamp Thing when Swamp Thing went to Gotham City and teamed up with Batman to punch some bad guys? That was kind of weird. AND AWESOME. And nobody ever really talked about it ever again, which is really too bad if you ask me.
Anyway what I really mean to say here is that game worlds, your private realms of fantasy and make believe, are not nearly as discreet and isolated as you might think they are. Any character from any game can show up in any of your other games if you want them to. And once you start working on breaking down these walls, sometimes they show even if/when you don’t expect them to.
It recollects the way you used to play with your toys as a kid. Of course Swamp Thing, She-Ra, and Darth Vader can all be on the same team. Why the heck not? Of course they all know each other. Don’t they all exist together in the expansive borderless realm of your imagination?