Meguey Baker Tells Us About the Psi*Run Pre-Order
Psi*Run is a new roleplaying game being published in January by Night Sky Games, Meguey Baker’s small-press label.
Forthwith, the full pitch:
Whoever’s after you, you know one thing:
they will stop at nothing to capture you
and you’ll stop at nothing to stay free.
The holes in your memory vie for
attention with your startling abilities -
stay one step ahead of the Chasers long
enough to answer your questions, and
hope your psychic powers don’t go wild.
They took your life.
You got away.
They want you back.
I’m happy to say that I got to speak with Meguey about the game a little bit. I started with the first thing anyone wants to know about a new roleplaying game:
Giant Fire Breathing Robot: What do characters do in the game?
Meguey Baker: Players create Runners, people with psychic powers and gaps in their memory. Part of character creation is highlighting those gaps, by writing down questions the Runners have. Runners do whatever they need to do to stay ahead of the Chasers, find the answers to the holes in their memories, and maybe even figure out what’s going on. Also, because of having psychic powers, the Runners can do all kinds of cool stuff, like fly or crush things or read minds or whatever the players can think of and play.
GFBR: If there’s a GM role, what does the GM do?
MB: Yes, there is a GM, who keeps track of the big picture and plays the Chasers, who are trying to catch the Runners. The GM also has other responsibilities, but they are mostly recognizable if you are familiar with the idea of a GM. When there’s something important or interesting a Runner wants to do, the player rolls dice and then decides which die to assign to which aspect of the task, sometimes with terrible consequences. Occasionally characters have flashbacks that answer questions and fill in the holes in their memory.
GFBR: Is the game built to play in one session or is it an ongoing thing?
MB: Eventually, the end-game mechanic kicks in and the game ends. The game can be a single session, or go for a couple-three sessions, depending on the player’s time and decisions.
I also asked her to tell me a little bit of the development history of the game, since I knew it had been worked on for a while and changed hands during the design process:
GFBR: Did you take over design at some point, or are Michael Lingner and Christopher Moore still involved?
MB: Back in 2005, Vincent posted on his blog (anyway) about a dice mechanic we’d been calling Otherkind dice. Chris saw it and thought it might work for a game about people with super powers. He wrote the first design ideas for Psi*Run, and Vincent, Emily (Care Boss, of Black & Green Games), and I play-tested the heck out of them. We encouraged him to publish! Chris Moore and Michael Lingner put out an ashcan version (essentially a playtest version) of Psi*Run at GenCon 2007. I took that ashcan and ran Psi*Run all over the place, for school groups and library teen activity clubs and groups of friends. I came up with solutions to issues in the ashcan—the expected holes in the rules and places where the text didn’t support what happened at the table.
In June of 2010, I wrote to Chris and asked him what his plans were for publication. Chris said he wasn’t planning on publishing, and he said “If you wanted to actually take the game and fix it and finish it and publish it, well…that would be wonderful!!” So I did! I rewrote the game from the ground up, keeping the seeds Chris had at the beginning: you play someone with psychic powers, who has amnesia, on the run from dangerous forces that want you back. Chris and I agree that I’m the person to talk to regarding this game, but I feel strongly that giving credit to Chris and Michael (who was a key support person while Chris was writing the ashcan) is the ethical thing to do.
I’m excited for this just based on Meguey’s previous work. I can say from personal experience that her game 1001 Nights delivers a delicious evening of atmospheric story telling. I’m excited to see what she does with psychic amnesiacs on the run.
For those interested in the pre-order, the facts:
- Psi*Run will be a perfect bound, 60-page paperback as well as a PDF.
- PDF: $10 U.S. Book: $20 U.S. + S&H.
- The pre-order includes the preliminary PDF when you order and the final PDF in January. The book will deliver in January, too.