Upwind: The Three Beasts – Strife

rppr-banner-2Sponsor: Biohazard Games is running a Kickstarter for Upwind right now! Check it out to see the rewards and stretch goals, including one for The Three Beasts as a campaign book.

Synopsis: The last of the Three Beasts is different than the others. It is not a massive entity able to destroy fleets and kingdoms by itself. Rather, it looks like one of the Kin and it can mind control nearly anyone it encounters. Strife wishes to control all of the Kin so it has built a fleet to launch a war of conquest. In order to stop the beast, the heroes must risk everything in order to defeat it, including their own souls. The fate of the Kingdoms of the Kin lies in the balance!

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  1. Great story guys! I really liked the opportunities for characters to sacrifice themselves to overcome great challenges – but they were able to influence the story later (when Kellen [?] removed the shields from the flag ship).

    A couple of questions –

    Ross, you seem to cave every time someone tries to crown a face card that is a stretch to justify. Looking back, where you happy with those decisions or do you wish you’d be harder on the players? The players also seem to win a lot (the usual win % I see most RPGs aim for is 60-70%, this game seemed much higher). Would you have liked to see them fail more for story reasons?

    Also, some of the rules have changed since this recording. Teamwork in the quickstart rules requires a 2 or 3, higher cards can no longer be downgraded to a 2 (at least as I read it). Jeff, if you’re out there, can you comment on this change? Were people abusing the mechanic to discard their middle cards? Also, I see that the tie mechanic is different, now you add another card of the same suit after bidding up the stakes instead of making a whole new play. What brought about that change?

    Anyways, I backed the game on kickstarter and I’m going to run it for the local RPG meetup tomorrow. I’ll be sure to point anyone who enjoys it towards backerkit to get themselves a copy!

  2. Author

    I admit I was pretty generous, but that’s obviously left to the GM’s discretion. If you wanted to run a harder game, you could make it harder to crown plays. Upwind isn’t so much about success or failure as in other RPGs. I was more interested in seeing how they framed their plays and what kind of choices they wanted to make. It was also our first multi-session game of Upwind so I wanted to make sure everyone understood not just the rules but the concepts behind the rules. In future games, I will change things around probably.

    This adventure was run several months ago before the quickstart rules were finalized.

  3. Hey Benji,

    Yep – I’m out here!

    Regarding teamwork – I was never satisfied with how any previous teamwork rules played out – in fact this single rule had more interactions than any other. Most often it was either too easy to help and the players always won – which is no fun for anyone – or it was too restrictive and players were left wanting to help but unable to do so.

    I really like the latest version – the one in the quickstart – and I think it’s here to stay. It does several things well – it potentially involves all the players in a given play, it makes 2s and 3s actually useful for something other than clogging up a hand with statistics, and its mechanical influence is frequently helpful without being overpowering.

    Regarding the tie breaker mechanics – It’s actually been a few iterations since whole new plays were used to resolve ties. The newest version reflects a desire to offer the possibility of planning and gamesmanship to break ties – hence the option to reserve a tie breaking card in your hand rather than pull only a random draw. This removes the absolute randomness of tie resolution by allowing at least the possibility of player agency.

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