Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Songs In High Strung

This is for my upcoming roleplaying game High Strung, where you play the part of musicians in a wannabe band in the Seventies. In High Strung, Hope is your Hit Points, and daily life slowly erodes your Hope. Songs cost Hope to write, but they are the only way out of the slow draining loss of Hope.

When a band writes an Important Song - filler songs can be written with no investment, and give no return - each band member has to secretly invest in with Hope. The Hope invested is then revealed all at once by the band members, and cannot be changed.
For example:

The band decides to write a song called "Some Girls Are Like That."

Joey Sinatra, the singer, puts in two Hope in for the vocals. He writes it down and turns the paper face down.

Carolann Cannon, the guitarist, writes down three Hope for Hot licks and riffs and turns the paper over. She iis young and can afford it.

Bison, the bassist, writes down 1 Hope for the Bottom, then covers his note.

Jonny Lumber, the drummer, writes down 0 Hope for the rhythm and quickly turns the paper over. Jonny is older, and on a losing skid, and decides not to risk it.

The band reveals the numbers, and notes the result - Some Girls Are Like That:  2 Vocal, 3 Riff, 1 Bottom, 0 Rhythm. The other three are pissed at Jonny Lumber for being a parasite, and talk about finding a new drummer.

The Song can be used twice.

The first time is when it is played for the first time at a gig. Each musician makes a performance check, and each success is added up to form a total. This total becomes the TN for the Song's roll. Each band member rolls one d20 + one d20 per Hope invested by that member - so for Some Girls Are Like That , Joey Sinatra rolls 3 dice, Carolann Cannon rolls 4 dice, Bison rolls 2 dice, and Jonny Lumber rolls 1 die. Each roll at or under the TN is a success, and the total successes is the amount of Hope each member gains, in addition to the Hope gained from the gig itself.

The second time is if the band decide to record and release the song as a Demo. The process is the same as the debut procedure, but this time, the total is compared to the chart, which may boost gig interest, gain a bonus for a future demo, or interest a local or national record company. In other words, the bands' Songs are the only way up and out.

If the membership of the band changes - say Jonny Lumber is dumped, and the new drummer is Lauren Styx - the new musician can change the hope invested in each song in the gig list ONCE. This can be done over time, as the new musician becomes used to the band's music.

Comments? Does this look workable?


  1. I like how they have to be invested in the songs and you can have one person who just doesn't contribute. Is the above example only if they don't have an agent or somebody helping them that would also give hope etc? Also in the second time the band plays it does the quality of the studio influence it?

  2. Hi Bon bon!

    I'm not yet sure how agents will operate, but they would not give Hope. An S.O. can give hope to a PC, but not to the band. It would be up to the PC whether or not that Hope goes into a song or not. As for the quality of the studio, it may help, but If I decide to go that way, it won't be much. I'm more inclined to give a bonus to the TN for the studio. Now an agent could have an in at a studio, for example, maybe getting them into a better studio.

  3. I can see them getting a bonus to the TN for the studio. It will be interesting to see how you work it out. Let me know when test play goes in if you need more testers. It will be interesting to see how one group handles the studios against another group. For instance all studios have those who are already "in" and would get prime studio time. It could be fun to see how the second or third best band tries to oust the first band. oh dear...there goes my thinking on plots again.

  4. Yep! I like that thinking! I'll let you know when it's ready for testing, Bonnie! :D

  5. Reminds me of every damn drummer I've tried to be in a band with. Therefore it's spot on. Game sounds like loads of fun.

  6. Life experiences, Matt! Sounds like you've got a few too! :D