Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Tricube Tales: Merging concepts from Swift d12 to increase granularity

I recently had an interview on the Dieku Podcast, where I talked about my introduction to gaming, how I got into Savage Worlds and self-publishing, and about my Tricube Tales system. You can watch the interview here:

While talking about the origins of Tricube Tales, I also mentioned Swift d12, and this got me thinking about the two systems. Although I did run several successful playtests with Swift d12, I was never entirely happy with it -- but it does include a lot of options for character advancement, which is good for longer campaigns (one of the weaknesses of Tricube Tales). So this got me wondering if it might be viable to merge some of the concepts.

The first thing I did was look at the dice. Tricube Tales uses 1-3d6 vs a target number (TN) of 4/5/6, which is statistically identical to 1-3d12 vs TN 7/9/11:

Tricube Tales allows you to lower the difficulty by 1 using a perk, and by a further 1 when fighting lower-ranked foes using the Hack-and-Slash genre rules, but that means even in the most extreme case (using a perk against a lower-ranked foe) the difficulty is 2/3/4 for an easy, standard, or hard challenge respectively. Thus rolling 1 is still a failure, and easy/standard/hard challenges each have a different TN. You can't lower the difficulty by more than 2 without breaking the resolution mechanic.

But replacing the d6s with d12s gives you more wiggle room, allowing you to lower the difficulty by 5. This would allow the return of separate traits (something I had to drop from Tricube Tales), so instead of rolling an extra d12 for challenges related to your trait (agile/brawny/crafty) you'd have different ratings in each, and add your trait to the roll.

You could then increase the easy/standard/hard TNs from 7/9/11 to 8/10/12 and make "1" the baseline for each trait so that characters can be below average at some things (i.e., have a trait of 0). That would allow you to apply a modifier of up to +6 without breaking the resolution mechanic (i.e., if the TN is 8/10/12, then a bonus of +6 still allows failure on a natural 1).

I would give players 5 points to distribute among their traits (agile, brawny, and crafty), with each trait having a range of 0-3. Challenges would require rolling 2d12 and adding the appropriate trait against TN 8/10/12 for easy, standard, and hard difficulty respectively (as usual, the two dice would be compared separately, not added together). For challenges that fall entirely outside the scope of the character concept, the player would roll a single d12.

Perks could then work more like the Swift d12 feats, which provide a variety of predefined abilities and bonuses (rather than being freeform). Many of the feats are classified as "stackable", meaning they can be taken up to three times. So you might have an Alertness perk which gives a +1 bonus to perception, and you could take up it to three times -- you'd then add it to your crafty trait when making perception checks so (for example) a character with crafty 3 and alertness 3 would apply a +6 bonus to their roll, against a difficulty of 8 (easy), 10 (standard) or 12 (hard).


These changes would obviously add complexity. In particular, they would require the introduction of a long laundry list of perks, which is something I intentionally avoided in Tricube Tales (mostly because I didn't want people looking things up during play). But they would also add granularity and varied character options for long-term campaigns, and could be expanded with other Swift d12 features (such as the combat rules, allowing a similar style of tactical combat to Savage Worlds for those who want it).

Furthermore, it would be very easy to convert a Tricube Tales character across to these new hybrid rules, simply giving a character 3 points in their primary trait and 1 point in each of the others. Tricube Tales-style perks could still be used (they'd just give a +2 bonus, but wouldn't stack with fixed-bonus perks), and Swift d12 already has rules for karma and quirks (called "flaws", that's actually where I got the original idea for quirks in Tricube Tales).

I don't want to change Tricube Tales, but perhaps this would be a good direction to take Swift d12 when I finally get around to revisiting it -- have it work more like Tricube Tales, except with more granularity and character options.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

Tricube Tales hits Gold Best Seller: Here's a look at the sales figures

Six months ago I reported that Tricube Tales had hit Electrum Best Seller, and two of the 12 micro-settings had hit Silver. But I've continued churning out more micro-settings, as well as solo rules, and this week Tricube Tales hit Gold Best Seller!

While this is a small achievement compared to many publishers, it's still a personal milestone. I already have Gold and Platinum products on the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild, but promoting my own system has proven far more challenging.

However, each new micro-setting draws interest in the rest of the product line, and the recent Deal of the Day proved shockingly successful, so I thought the sales figures might be of interest to other publishers.

Total Sales per Month

Here are the total sales for the entire product line since the first release:

  • Nov 2019: 54
  • Dec 2019: 11
  • Jan 2020: 3
  • Feb 2020: 12
  • Mar 2020: 20
  • Apr 2020: 6
  • May 2020: 6
  • Jun 2020: 2
  • Jul 2020: 3
  • Aug 2020: 14
  • Sep 2020: 7
  • Oct 2020: 28
  • Nov 2020: 13
  • Dec 2020: 19
  • Jan 2021: 12
  • Feb 2021: 6
  • Mar 2021: 50 (includes a DriveThruCards Deal of the Day)
  • Apr 2021: 58
  • May 2021: 256
  • Jun 2021: 110
  • Jul 2021: 80
  • Aug 2021: 238 (includes a DriveThruCards Deal of the Day)
  • Sep 2021: 79
  • Oct 2021: 256 (includes a DriveThruCards Deal of the Day)
  • Nov 2021: 1210 (670 during the DriveThruRPG Deal of the Day!)
  • Dec 2021: 207 so far (as of 4th December)

Breakdown by Product

And here is a breakdown of sales figures for the main products:

  • Tricube Tales (core rules): 523 sales since 2019-11-08
  • Solo Rules & Deck: 482 sales since 2021-05-14

These are the "payment optional" products on DTRPG (in order of publication) -- people can download them for free, but I'm only tracking actual sales where people paid for them:

  • Goblin Gangsters: 191 sales since 2020-08-27
  • Samhain Slaughter: 219 sales since 2020-10-08
  • Chrome Shells & Neon Streets: 261 sales since 2020-11-21
  • Metahuman Uprising: 203 sales since 2020-12-28
  • Rotten Odds: 159 sales since 2021-01-31
  • Tales of the Goblin Horde: 172 sales since 2021-04-01
  • Wardens of the Weird West: 182 sales since 2021-06-12
  • Firefighters: 144 sales since 2021-07-06
  • Horrible Henchmen: 142 sales since 2021-08-13
  • Pirates of the Bone Blade: 145 sales since 2021-09-15
  • Eldritch Detectives: 157 sales since 2021-10-30
  • Wiseguys: Gangster Tales: 91 sales since 2021-11-20
  • Interstellar Mech War: 38 sales since 2021-11-30

These are the DTRPG freebies (in order of publication) -- I like to have a few free products to build up my mailing list:

  • Interstellar Bounty Hunters: 1728 downloads since 2020-09-29
  • Welcome to Drakonheim: 809 downloads since 2021-03-10
  • Interstellar Troopers: 1023 downloads since 2021-04-26
  • Interstellar Laser Knights: 1000 downloads since 2021-05-04

I also have a few freebies on Itch, which I entered into Jams. Here they are, once again in order of publication:

  • The Fools Who Follow: 511 downloads since 2020-07-29
  • Deep Trouble in Oldport Bay: 325 downloads since 2021-02-20
  • Halfling Hustlers: 116 downloads since 2021-07-03
  • Guardians of the Shadow Frontier: 251 downloads since 2021-07-31

The high download numbers for Interstellar Bounty Hunters are due to a Discord community that built up around it. But in general, I have far more downloads on DriveThruRPG than Itch.