This is a first take, and is intended to be a starting point for a conversation. See also VSCA’s wiki concerning this same topic (I stumbled upon the aforementioned wiki after having written this blog post).
I’ve been reading a few posts about pre-teens playing a referee-less game of Hollowpoint and got to thinking, what a great idea. But where kids have unfettered imaginations, adults imagination has clearly been crushed by spreadsheets and pie charts.
So we, the aging gamer population, need some rules and charts to help in this potentially scary world. Look at all those Fiasco playset charts telling you how to improvise.
Hollowpoint Player vs. Game Hack
These rules suggestions are to help facilitate a referee-less game. As such, the table authority trumps anything the charts have to say.
Define the agency, charge, and Mission
The players define the Agency, Charge, and Mission. Do it quickly, because the backstory isn’t nearly as interesting as the primary action. We’ve all seen the backstory for Star Wars: A New Hope; don’t dwell on that crap.
While you are at it, make sure that each player defines a Principal. You’ve gotta have some badasses to deal with.
I would recommend fleshing out something that is tangentially related to one of your long running campaigns. There is an existing narrative to tap into and you can further flesh out that world. In this case, you should probably as the referee/GM/DM of that game why they aren’t the Hollowpoint referee for this session. If the referee/GM/DM doesn’t step in as referee, consider the campaign world free-game for this session.
Everyone defines a complication
Every Agent should secretly write down a complication that is not related to the principal they created/selected. Nobody wants to see you make a badass and then weave a story of being that badasses piano teacher.
generating a scene
As you start negotiating a scene, unless the table comes to a consensus about what the scene is about, consult the following table by rolling a d6.
- Scene with Catch and Principal
- Scene with Catch
- Scene with Principal
If a scene would resolve a mission’s goal, and you have yet to deal with a Principal, make sure a Principal is involved in that scene, and while you’re at it, why not make it two!
If the scene is a retaliation, use your best judgement as to what would be involved. And nothing says you can’t use the chart above anyway.
defining the catch
My favorite component of the rules system is the catch. It adds pressure to the scene and puts pressure on the agents to dig deep to not fail miserably at the goal of the scene.
If the scene is going to have a catch, roll a d6 and consult the table below to determine what the catch is about:
Nice and simple and let the table define what the Catch ultimately means.
The opposition should first attempt to take out any dice that are likely going after the Catch. If there is no Catch, the opposition should target the most exposed agent (i.e. the Agent with the weakest rolls). No mercy for incompetence! It is possible that I need to re-read the rules on how the referee should attack dice. Does the referee get to choose which character to attack? Or do they have to target the player with the weakest hand?
Optional Rule: The player with the highest set controls the opposition for that round. In the case of a tie, the player with the lowest high set (or no set) controls the opposition. And remember the opposition should go for blood!