View Full Version : So I'm tempted to run a homestuck game themed game...

2011-10-26, 01:07 AM
for those of you who don't know Homestuck (http://www.mspaintadventures.com/), it's a comic about a bunch of kids who play a video game not knowing the problems it'll cause.

plot details
4 kids start playing a game that is made to design universes (think of it as a universes reproductive organs). However the kids are hounded by 12 other kids from another universe who say that they unleashed an unbeatable boss on them. the 4 kids find out that the session that they are playing in is cancerous and infertile, effectively doomed from the start. and through time shenanigans and careful planning seek to reset the game (which would destroy them) without being wiped from existence.

anyway I want to run a d&d (maybe mage the ascension game) around the basic idea of homestuck. how would you go about it?

2011-10-26, 06:00 AM
Did you have this idea after watching Cascade?

Someone put together a 4E variant based on Homestuck. You should be able to find it floating around on the MSPA Forums. It's really quality stuff, if a little restrictive (but for reference, the whole point of it was to demonstrate that a mechanically restrictive Homestuck TRPG could work).

Thematically, I feel like a Homestuck-esque game would be a relatively standard D&D game, because incredible loot and extraordinary power and heavy RPG elements are already such a big part of both. But you would have to be willing to be silly, and capable of playing out extraordinarily complicated shenanigans involving an increasingly godlike set of superpowers.

Also, power themes are a huge part of Homestuck, so you'd need to find a way of emphasizing that. On the other hand, game balance is not a part of Homestuck, so de-emphasize that.

4 kids start playing a game that is made to design universes (think of it as a universes reproductive organs). However the kids are hounded by 12 other kids from another universe who say that they unleashed an unbeatable boss on them. the 4 kids find out that the session that they are playing in is cancerous and infertile, effectively doomed from the start. and through time shenanigans and careful planning seek to reset the game (which would destroy them) without being wiped from existence.

That wasn't the "premise," that was a set of crucial plot details, many of which are revealed thousands of pages in. I know you spoilered it, but c'mon.

2011-10-26, 08:25 AM
I seem to remember another set of fanmade Homestuck rules other than the 4e one, but if you want something that's specifically Homestuck, go with that. If you really want to imitate the sort of shenanigans represented, though, you'll have to use a point buy system like GURPS or Mutants & Masterminds. That would give the players the sort of open-endedness needed to alchemize whatever they felt like and would allow the different "classes" to have entirely unique abilities, rather than simply different spell selections or what have you.

2011-10-26, 05:59 PM
Of course, a real RPG based on Homestuck would involve a lot of making the rules up as you go along.

2011-10-26, 10:49 PM
Of course, a real RPG based on Homestuck would involve a lot of making the rules up as you go along.

I once wrote a game like that for Problem Sleuth. The GM only tells the players how to perform an action; not any of the other rules, which explain roughly what each action does. I could probably find the rules again if someone wants them.

2011-10-26, 11:04 PM
that'd be cool, got any tips on how to run the story?

2011-10-27, 01:22 AM
I'm going to go on a VERY long tangent here. It turns out the idea of a Homestuck DnD campaign is really interesting to me, so I have a lot to say about it.

Spoiler #1 for story/plot stuff:
First off, I don't think the whole "entering the Medium" thing really has a place in a standard DnD campaign. The party is too split, the action is too silly, and the whole server/client player thing really wouldn't work well in the frame of DnD rules. Also, Sburb players are generally supposed to work their way to upper gates in order to reach the other player's planets, and that means even more time with a split party.

That leaves you with the problem of how to introduce the basic background information without having a gaming cluster****. If I were going for an "authentic" Homestuck experience (ideally with players who are completely ignorant on the subject), I might start with a series of four separate two-PC sessions to introduce things. Have one be the client player, one be the server player, and introduce things from there. Let them start from the installation of the Sburb, and make sure they complete certain tasks before before the end of the session. Ideally, they should prototype their kernelsprite, get a basic grasp of alchemy, enter the medium, and finally climb up to their first gate. Maybe they also have to go through hoops to get the server CD for Sburb?

Next session, bring in the first client player (now acting as server player) and a third PC for the new client player, and repeat the process. Maybe this time around, the impending meteor strikes make things more difficult, but this is offset by actually having a knowledgeable server player. Ideally, there should be enough similarities that the server player feels useful, but enough differences to highlight the uniqueness of each player.

Repeat twice more for the other players, and you're set to start the game proper. Instead of giving everyone massive background stories to read, each players has actively learned the game lingo, personalized their characters (make them set their strife specibus?), and made a permanent impact on the game. Also, their sprites can give them basic information about the Sburb, and their individual quests on their planet. Furthermore, you can diverge a bit from the comic and say that all the 1st gates lead to the same planet, and therefore all characters have ended up in the same place, which makes life a lot easier.

From there, the game really "starts," and four players can work through the actual game of Sburb. Because Sburb itself is pretty much set up like DnD, complete with levels, loot, dungeons, and weird puzzle ****. While the basic plot of Sburb is simplistic and kinda railroady, there are a lot of different player choices to be made as for what to pursue. They could systematically go from planet to planet completing player quests and unlocking cool abilities, or track down the dungeons/weird puzzle **** to learn more about the true nature of Sburb. They could do the whole Denizen thing. They could breed frogs. There's even a whole bunch of different ways approach the main Prospit vs. Derse conflict. To top it all off, the fact that they're on a tight schedule (gotta finish up before the Black King wins and destroys Skaia), gives a lot of weight to their decisions. This alone could be the basis of an interesting sandbox style DnD campaign.

And then, of course, you get to the really interesting iconic Homestuck stuff. At any point during the whole Sburb thing you can introduce the Exiles, alternate sessions/universes (trolls?), the Gods of the Outer Ring, Doc Scratch, Lord English, or any other session-spanning factor. The introduction of these things (ideally over time through cryptic hints) could totally shift the players focus, and could lead to great plot/tone shifts as the players start getting powerful enough to wipe the floor with anything Sburb throws at them.

Check Spoiler#2 for me babbling at length about specifics and mechanics.
-GP=boondollars seems like a logical choice. However, Homestuck doesn't really specify much use for boondollars besides buying fraymotifs, so you may need to make sure that there are shops and so on for players to buy useful consumable objects at lower levels.
-If you want to keep alchemy in the game, that would also require a lot of homebrewing. It seems to make most sense in the context of magic item creation. Maybe let players spend grist instead of XP, and let the DM decide the properties and price of alchemized items. Sounds like a lot of work, but it could be fun?
-PC classes should be limited at the start. There's not a lot of room in the universe for wizards, clerics, or sorcerers at the start, so maybe they should all start as the more mundane classes: fighter, ranger, monk, barbarian, rogue, swashbuckler, etc.. From there, they can gain fun abilities by going up their echeladders and buying/earning fraymotifs. Echeladder stuff might allow access to new classes or prestige classes, while fraymotifs seem more like spell-like abilities or martial maneuvers.
-For the introduction, the idea of a server player doesn't really mesh well with DnD rules. It'd need a lot of work to strike a balance between the server player being super bored, and completely overshadowing the client player. The idea of the server players actions not providing XP for the client player could be a useful tool here.
-Going by Homestuck lore, each prototyping should make the enemies more difficult. For the sake of balanced encounters, it might be interesting to stagger when the prototypings start affecting enemies. Start out with weaker single-prototyped imps, then once the PCs level a bit and/or complete key objectives, the second prototyping hits and all the enemies get more difficult. Later on the third, and then fourth prototypings hit to keep things challenging.
-There could be some real late-game issues when it comes to hero and god-tier powers. Sburb as presented isn't really a balanced game, so power discrepancies are likely to occur. The Hero of Time can time travel freely. The Hero of Void pretty much just can't be scryed on. Someone here is getting the short end of the stick.
-Speaking of which, I might even diverge from Homestuck and not have a Hero of Time, just to keep things simple enough for everyone to follow. Time traveling may be a key part of Homestuck, but as a PC power it's a recipe for disaster. If you really wanted to include it, forcing the creation of stable time loops, and stressing the risk of creating doomed timelines might help this?
-All of the above really works if you want to strictly follow the comic. I'd be wary of just copying the general idea, though, because most of the cool ideas revolve around the idea of Sburb as a video game construct, and don't really make sense outside of that context. Maybe there are ways of making that work?
-I'm out of ideas, so now I'll have to stop this lovely procrastination and actually start studying. Blah. Anyways, that's how I'd do a Homestuck game. It actually sounds like it could be a lot of fun, especially with people who are new to Homestuck (or even DnD itself). Good luck with that.

2011-10-27, 11:47 AM
Here are the rules for Wands:

I wrote one that was a horrible mish-mash of Homestuck, Problem Sleuth, and Persona. The object duality nonsense even extended into the real world, with different rules depending on if you played with playing cards or tarot cards and 1d20 or 3d6.

Long story short, each player has a hand of five cards and a totem slot (usually a major arcanum but could also be a coin or something). You also need a bunch of slips of paper to write words down on. Whenever you want to take an item, you write it down on one of the slips and place it on a card in your hand. You can then also place that card on your totem. Whenever you want to use an item, you discard the card it's attached to (unless it's on your totem), and the item (if not destroyed) can then be picked up by anyone. The number of the card you play is a bonus to the di(c)e roll (page/jack are 11, knight/ace are either 1 or 11, queen 12, king 13).

Additionally, the rolls don't represent success, but the magnitude of the effect of the action (e.g. rolling 1 on using a match would just break the match while 13 would ignite an arbitrary vein of pure oxygen in the air, causing an explosion). Furthermore, the effect of the action is determined in part by the suit of card, with spades/swords being tools, diamonds/pentacles being valuables, hearts/cups being biological, and clubs/wands being energy. There were also rules for the specific totems, but since I'd have to find them, just know that item/card combinations placed on the totem are removed from the hand and are not discarded unless replaced. Also, cards can be played on other cards, combining the effects, so the logical outcome of that should be determined by the GM.

Alsoalso, don't tell the players the rules. It's more interesting if they accidentally blow things up by using inappropriate items with wands cards. :smallbiggrin:

Then again, it would also probably stop them from weaponizing a flaming nun...:smallsigh:

Let's see, the other rules were:

Aces (in a regular deck) count as either a 1 or a Knight
If you roll a nat 1 (or a nat 3 with 3d6) when playing a Knight, another player can confiscate it
A player holds five cards in their hand at all times, plus a card on their totem
Turns pass clockwise, starting with the lowest major arcanum (or the lowest value coin or whatnot)
Any player can act at any time
The player whose turn it is can shout "hey it's my turn" in order to interrupt another player's action, get a +3 bonus to one roll, or discard two cards. The turn then passes to the next player.
When a joker is drawn, it automatically equips itself with a duplicate of the item equipped on the third card in the player's hand. If no item is equipped, equip the joker with the card itself.
Once an item has been equipped to a card, it must be played to remove it from inventory

As for the major arcana (effects only apply when using the item on the totem slot):
N. Roll at the beginning of each session. Your totem effect for the session is from the arcana of the number rolled.
I. +1 bonus to all rolls
II. Any action performed is invisible
III. Item equipped doubles in size
IV. Item is electrically charged. Does not affect user
V. When equipping an item, you may change the suit of the card
VI. When equipping an item, you may ask the GM for a hint as to how it advances the plot
VII. Extend your crit success and crit fail range by two numbers
VIII. Once per realtime hour, you may declare that it's your turn when it really isn't
IX. +3 bonus whenever you act solely in a supporting role
X. No crit fails
XI. You may choose to count the card as any other card in another player's hand (but not your own and not on a totem)
XII. Once per hour, you may declare to have rolled low (2=19, etc) instead of rolled high. This may be done after the roll and can change a crit fail into a crit success.
XIII. Any unbroken item used is instantly broken. Any broken item used is considered to have full functionality.
XIV. The character is able to possess (as a ghost) the equipped item at will
XV. Item is on fire. Character is not immune to fire.
XVI. You may choose to double any one card's bonus at any time. After playing the card is played, you immediately crit fail your next roll.
XVII. Effects come from a random direction
XVIII. Effect covers a 15ft. radius
XIX. Once per realtime hour, you get a reroll
XX. Once per realtime hour, you may contradict the GM
XXI. At the beginning of each session, you may choose any other totem power. Any card played from your totem is counted as being half its true value (rounded up).

2011-10-27, 12:51 PM
Fraymotifs= Martial Maneuvers.

2011-10-27, 12:52 PM
That you buy with money?