Player’s Guide

In my previous post about hack points, I mentioned a Player’s Guide for Technoir. The Player’s Guide is a 16-page booklet that contains barebones rules for protagonist generation, inflicting Adjectives on other characters, and recovering from those Adjectives. It also has a list of Training Programs, descriptions of the nine Verbs, many Adjective examples, an overview of the favors that Connections can perform, and an Object catalog with a glossary of all the Object tags.

You can likely glean most of how to play the game from this document alone. What it is lacking is information for how everything flows together: how the protagonists, through their Connections, link to the node map and the plot; how the plot nodes relate to each other and how the node map is generated; how inflicting Adjectives can be sequenced into the conflict resolution system; how the Push economy plays. These will all be dealt with in the core book (which is essentially the GM’s guide).

I have made the current draft of the Player’s Guide available to download, below. You can also find it, along with a protagonist sheet, at

playersguide0.2.2.pdf – 114KB

As it is, it serves as a sneak peak to the rules to the game. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, when the playtest draft of the game is completed, it will be one of the documents used to beta test the game—though it may see some revision by then. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

  1. Man, it immediately grabbed me how easy to understand it all was. The use of the basic grammar structures meant I knew how it all fit together even if I didn’t know the technical details behind. I love that Adjectives are basically Aspects with a name that leaves little to confusion!

    Very much looking forward to the completed release.

  2. That’s good to hear, Daniel. Yeah, my strategy in writing this game has been to try and use the clearest language I can think of. I want it to be as intuitive and accessible as possible.

  3. I love the way the player’s guide reads! It’s simple and straightforward, with lots of flexibility. I just have a couple of questions.

    First: In the advancement part, do “Red” dice mean Hurt dice?
    Second: Is there any way to win a conflict without killing the target by spending 3 Push dice?
    Third: Is there any way to get more than 3 Push dice? What about dice that are spent?

  4. Hi David,

    1) Yes. They were originally called Red dice until I was able to come up with a better name. I need to go back through the guide and make sure I’m using Hurt dice consistently.
    2) Yes. When the opponent ‘gives in’ (meaning they give up to avoid further damage), when they are ‘forced out’ (their Hurt dice cancel out all of their positive results and they go unconscious), or if you achieve what you wanted simply by the narrative outcomes of the dice rolls and the Adjectives they inflict. Spending 3 Push only kills. It doesn’t get you the password or get you laid or whatever else you might have been in the contention for.
    3) Yes. Players get more Push dice when the GM increases the severity of the Adjectives she inflicts on them. If I’m GMing and one of the antagonists inflicts a sticky Adjective on you, I would have to give you one of my Push dice for that. Or 2 Push dice for a locked Adjective. Push dice are zero-sum, so they are constantly moving between the GM and the various players.

    Thanks for the questions. Ask away if you have any more.

  5. I was wondering as I read the Player’s Guide, if the GM also begins with Push dice, or if all begins in the Players hands? Perhaps the GM starting with a certain amount of Push dice could represent the difficulty of a certain mission?

  6. The GM does not, as I’ve written it, begin with any Push dice. The primary reason is to let the players control the escalation of Adjective severity. It’s a perfectly legitimate way to play the game to never spend a Push die and only ever inflict fleeting Adjectives. That can be fun for a session or two actually, though you won’t ever get better at your Verbs if you play that way. The more the players increase the severity of the Adjectives they inflict, they more they risk getting severe Adjectives back.

    A secondary reason, is because having too many Push dice on the table starts making game play a bit more sloppy. They work best when they are a scarce resourse. So I would say, if you’re going to house rule that the GM starts with some Push dice, that you take that amount out of what the players start with. So if you have the GM start with 1 Push per player, have the players start with 2 Push each.

  7. That makes perfect sense. Now to see if I can get a spoiler out of you :grin:

    Are there going to be lower grade antagonists, such as thugs, with a simple rating, or are all antagonists statted out as the protagonists are?

  8. There are Hechmen, which have all the Verbs that other characters do but only one Adjective. There are also Obstacles, which aren’t necessarily characters per se (though they could be) which are a simple rating (generally 4, 5, or 6) and can be bypassed with a single successful roll.

  9. Excellent. Now I have enough to run a playtest this weekend.

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