[PDF] Psi*Run Hack... X-Men: Days of Future Past!

edited January 2012 in Story Games
Like Psi*Run?

Like X-Men: Days of Future Past?

Download the PDF here.

What is this?



  • The PDF also includes advice on how to run games at conventions.

    After running this for 10 people at a local con, several people asked "can I run it" and "how did you run it."

    So this PDF is both the What and the How.

    I wish I could spend more time on this. I added a few features I was excited about, including QR codes, but there's a lot more I wanted to do. Unfortunately I have a few other projects that need attending. Maybe one day!

    Also, there's a chance I may need to eventually take this file down so if it's something you're interested in, download it sooner than later.

  • Kick ass!
    Thanks for doing this!
  • This is wonderful. I love the way you've presented this, John. Can't wait to use it!
  • You rock, man !
  • edited January 2012
    Jenskot doesn't always hack games, but when he does, he prefers Story Games. Stay nerdy, my friends!
  • edited January 2012
    I don't know where that's from... but I love it!

    And thanks everyone for the feedback, it's much appreciated!

    Edit: Although I know where that art is from because I played that video game last night!

    For my friend's pre-party party, we hooked up various video game systems including Xbox but also classics like Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and genesis to multiple televisions. It was very retro; one of the TVs was 20 years old and discarded. I should have taken picture! Maybe tonight at the actual party. But that picture is from the 1994 Super Nintendo X-Men Mutant Apocalypse game I believe. That or the earlier Genesis X-Men game (which we also played):
  • I've never had creators sign my comics before but last Comic Con Jason Aaron, current scribe of Wolverine & The X-Men signed:


    I only asked him to sign it but after I told him how awesome he is, he wrote SNIKT next to Wolverine's claws!
  • edited January 2012
    Posted By: John HarperThis is wonderful. I love the way you've presented this, John. Can't wait to use it!
    Thanks John!

    Unfortunately I didn't have much time to spend on this but I tried to use it as an example of how I personally want gaming text presented. My preference for no prep light games (and especially games with no single GM) is to have text we can mostly read out loud at the gaming table together.

    If I had more time there would be embedded video examples, actual play photos, cross linking (all special terms link to their definitions), the option to have the document read the "read out loud" boxes for you, as well as different layout formats to support mobile devices. I would probably experiment with creating everything as HTML or XML that can be repackaged into PDFs, apps, or other file formats.

    I'm happy I implemented the QR codes, especially on the character sheet. Last night we played a quick demo and a friend asked, "where can I get this" and she pointed her phone at the code and then suddenly she was browsing the files on her computer!
  • John, this is really awesome!

    I particularly love the GM advice. So much good stuff on so little space!

    One question: what's the "first say" business? Is that a Psi*Run thing?
  • edited January 2012
    Posted By: Paul T.I particularly love the GM advice. So much good stuff on so little space!
    Thanks Paul! I'm very proud of the GM tips section. I made it into a little game for myself. How much can I fit into this small space while still saying what I think would be most useful to a new GM.
    Posted By: Paul T.One question: what's the "first say" business? Is that a Psi*Run thing?
    "First say" is indeed Psi*Run specific. Someone asked about this on G+. I'll paste my answer below...
    In my opinion, it builds on the idea of what a roleplaying game is in Apocalypse World...

    "Roleplaying is a conversation. You and the other players go back and forth, talking about these fictional characters in their fictional circumstances doing whatever it is that they do. Like any conversation, you take turns, but it’s not like taking turns, right? Sometimes you talk over each other, interrupt, build on each others’ ideas, monopolize. All fine."

    Strangely, the last part above is one of the few things I don't like about Apocalypse World in play. All of the games I've been in (with a wide assortment of groups and people) have had uneven spotlight where less outspoken players get less of a turn.

    In Psi*Run, roleplaying is like a conversation except there is an explicit structure to who says what and when. When you describe something that might go wrong, is dangerous, or might trigger a memory, you roll dice. You split up your roll among multiple categories but you have a choice of which dice go in which category. Do you put your low dice in the Goal category thus losing your Goal, do you put your high dice in the Reveal category, thus ensuring you remember who you are?

    But it's not all about winning and losing. It's also about who gets to say how you win or lose.

    "First Say" tells us who gets first say in describing or defining how you win or lose in a specific category. The reason it is "First Say" and not "Only Say" is because it's all a conversation and other people can offer details but the rules are explicit on who gets to drive the conversation in that particular topic at that specific time. But it's also a choice, you choose which dice go in which category. So if you want "First Say" allocate your dice according to your hearts desire!
  • The pre-order is up!

    You can buy the Psi*Run PDF for just $10!

    Or buy the Psi*Run book for $20 and get the PDF free.

    International shipping to anywhere in the world only adds $2 to the shipping costs... it's too good I almost think it's a mistake.

    To play my X-Men hack, you need the Psi*Run rules. A lot of the basic rules are on the Risk sheet but there is a lot of info only in the book. Things I missed the first time I ran that I wish I went back and read more thoroughly. Like how do you pick which question to answer on a 4-5 result in the Reveal category? Or what happens when you reveal a question when the player has empty questions slots?

    Also the book contains lots of great advice on running the game. I especially love the examples. The book includes little drawings of the players talking back and forth as they play to illustrate what actually happens at the table to quickly get an idea of how to run everything smoothly. Love the examples.
  • This document is wonderfully accessible. The one change I would make in the instructions is to clarify who's being addressed. For example, use "you" only to refer to the GM, who's the one reading it, and refer to everyone else in some other fashion ("the players"?).

    How similar is this procedural sequence to what you actually did at Recess?

    Did anyone have any trouble with recognizing and rolling for "whenever you do something that can go wrong, trigger a memory, help avoid the Chasers, or show off how awesome you are"?
  • edited January 2012
    This is similar to what I did at Recess but not the same. I looked at the problems I encountered at Recess and rewrote my "how to run this at cons" script to hopefully stop the problems before they start. For example, I made the setting information clearer for those unfamiliar with the material, made the fist scene text shorter, emphasized to keep your character concept loose, not to answer your questions, that your questions aren't answered till you roll them (even if it feels like they've been answered in the story), as well as including a tracker for the GM to help manage the spotlight.

    I totally agree about being clear who the text is referring to. In this case, I believe this text primarily refers to the person running the game and is written from that perspective. Most (if not all) of the text that the players need to pay attention to is included inside special boxes the GM reads out loud. If I had time, and this was a commercial product, I would have an editor look it all over to make sure any potential rough spots were smoothed over. But looking at it quickly, it seems ok in this regard.

    No one seemed to have any problems knowing when to roll but... we did run into problems where someone's goal was to remember something or to run away. Rules wise, those aren't valid goals (I think) because other categories cover those details. We had a single instance where we didn't have a goal, but it still made sense to roll, so we had to come up with a goal of some sort. The "roll to show off how awesome you are" never came up.
  • John,

    Are there any rules that you added for the hack, rules not in regular Psi*Run? Or is it just a re-skin?
  • edited January 2012
    2 small changes. Detailed under "What's Different from Psi*Run?" on Page 9. One regarding Harm (which may actually have been included in the final rules so then it wouldn't be a change :-) ) and one regarding the Endgame choices.

    Edit: The players wanted some sort of helping rule but I didn't feel comfortable messing with the design to that extent yet. Maybe after I've played a dozen or so times and become more intimate with the subtle underpinnings.
  • Thanks, John!

    Helping rules can be tricky in a Otherkind dice-like system!
  • Two ideas we had:

    - adding +1 to your single highest die (keeping help fairly minor as opposed to adding +1 to your lowest die)
    - allowing those who help to suffer consequences (like Harm) instead of the person rolling

    But I need more practice with the game as is.
  • Posted By: jenskotThe "roll to show off how awesome you are" never came up.
    Huh! Did no one show off how awesome they were? Or did they only show off in situations where another roll applied?
  • Posted By: David BergPosted By: jenskotThe "roll to show off how awesome you are" never came up.
    Huh! Did no one show off how awesome they were? Or did they only show off in situations where another roll applied?
    This. Showing off being awesome didn't have a chance to be the trigger of a roll because all the other triggers happened first.
  • File has been updated!

    I made a few small text changes, minor layout adjustments, and fixed 2 typos to increase clarity and ease of use.

    Thank you David Berg and Chris S for your input!

  • Excellent! Those 8 pages of instruction are extremely readable, even for my lazy eyes. I can actually imagine myself using this at a con table with some confidence, not really needing to prep much at all. No small feat! (I felt that way about your Point Hollow package too.)
  • Dave, that's high praise and very much appreciated!

    My goal is to make text that requires minimal reading before the actual game. Secondary goals is to have as much of the text as possible read out loud, have parts you can pass off to the players to read, and make it easy to reference in play. In this case there isn't much to reference as these aren't the actual Psi*Run rules. But if there were rules to reference, I would try to make it as easy as possible.

    That said, I did most of this in my free time and in a hurry. If I dedicated more time to it, it could be greatly improved. I would likely draw comic book illustration ala Understanding Comics walking you through each step. Probably also include audio and video files explaining any tricky concepts.
  • Ok, I boughten'd it.
    Now... to make time to read it.
  • Cool! It's a fast read. Check out Brand's public post here:
    I got the book this morning, read it in 30 minutes, and was running the game an hour later. Which really is hard to beat, speed to table wise.
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