Game Designer Workshop: Slingstone and Night Clerk Zine

Caleb has restarted work on Slingstone, his superhero-slaying RPG. We have some playtests of the first version of Slingstone on RPPR B-Sides volume 5 if you want to hear that. I have an idea for a zine system-free version of Night Clerk, one of our more popular AP episodes. We also talk about creativity in the age of Covid-19.

Music: Private Caller by Saint Pepsi

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  1. (Looks back at the 60s-70s era of Godzilla films where he was portrayed as a sort of superhero for children.) What about combining Slingstone and Ross’s Kaiju Profit game?

    This was a good catch-up episode on the projects and lift-up for my recent stint of superhero horror ideas. Thanks!

  2. So Slingstone sounds fantastic. I’m super happy to hear that you’re working on it again, and especially excited to see that you’re using the Profit System (which I love, mechanically, and want to see applied outside of Red Markets).

    If I’m understanding it right, is it sort of like two games? Profit System to represent the actions you take to gather your resources and build your deck, and then a card game system to represent the final showdown with the Goliath? Does the Profit System mechanically still come into play during the card game mode?

    For playtesting, I recommend pre-generating as much as possible at first, to concentrate on testing the core mechanics. Having too much player-created input on setting and character design runs the risk of you incorrectly feeling like a mechanic isn’t working due to an inherent flaw in your design, when actually it’s just not fitting whatever the player’s creative concept is. I feel like when we were playtesting Red Markets, we already had a really good fix on what the game was supposed to be like in setting and tone, so we could focus on whether the mechanics were achieving that objective. Though that was later in the process than the alpha tests, I guess.

    Personally, I also tend to be dubious of very loose toolkit-style “create your own setting” approaches, as I’ve had some experiences with PbtA games which try for that approach and seem to just end up lacking clarity. That might just be me, though.

    The big upside, though, is that it can result in an extremely “hackable” system, so people can write their own specific implementations of it as follow-up products. And people can more easily take the system into a variety of story themes and narrative tones beyond whatever you as a designer had in mind (my first thought for a hack is playing in a Terminator-style story, with tiny pockets of human resistance against a vast inhuman systematic intelligence — or you could also go with the obligatory Cthulhu reskin, where the Goliath is a eldritch monstrosity that is seemingly beyond humanity’s power to resist).

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