Tokyo:Otherscape In Action - Making Moves
Welcome to Tokyo:Otherscape In Action, where we explain the rules of our mythic cyberpunk RPG through showing them off in-game. Keep in mind that Tokyo:Otherscape is still in development, and so some rules and phrases may change in the final release. You can also back Tokyo:Otherscape on Kickstarter right now and get it at the best bundles and prices.
For those who are new to the channel, Tokyo:Otherscape is a tag-based cinematic roleplaying game that runs off a more streamlined version of the rules engine for City of Mist. However, you don’t have to know how to play City of Mist in order to play Tokyo:Otherscape. The rules are easy to learn, so let’s get started!
We’ll be following Wilson, the oni gunlugger, and Unagi, the urban scavenger, for today’s demo. Wilson is a pretty simple guy with guns and super strength for abilities. For Unagi’s power tags, she comes equipped with deep-delve scanning cyberware, water-breathing superpowers, and the gear and instincts for urban exploration. For more information on Unagi and her abilities, check out our character sheet preview.
After searching through some ruins within the Megacity, Unagi and Willson have come across an abandoned apartment complex that has quickly turned into slums. Something about this place is calling out to Unagi. But before she moves any further, she wants to look around for anything interesting.
The basic rhythm of Tokyo:Otherscape is players describing what their characters do cinematically until the MC decides they need to roll for a Move. There are 5 Moves in Tokyo:Otherscape: Conflict, Stunt, Resist, Discover, and Buff or Debuff. You can hear more about the moves in Amit’s Dev Diary video. In this case, to find out more information, Unagi will need to roll to Discover.
Checking over her power tags, Unagi decides to use her Deep-Delve Scanner to scan the area. She also uses her background as a Scavenger and her Good Instincts to know what to look for. Each power tag gives +1 Power to her roll, for a total of +3. To succeed, Unagi needs to roll 10 or higher. A 7, 8, or 9 will give her a mixed success with a complication, and a 6 or lower will mean failure followed by the MC making a hard move of their own against Unagi. These outcome categories are called success bands and they are the same for all moves.
Rolling two d6, Unagi rolls 7 for a total of 10. A complete success! Unagi can ask one question per point of Power, so since she rolled with +3 Power, she gets 3 questions. As she asks questions, she finds out from the MC the building is not as abandoned as it seems. Not only does she get magical energy readings coming from across the room, but she also detects two Toad-Yokai Corporate Security Guards standing watch further ahead. What could they be guarding out here? Whatever it is, it’s worth a lot of money.
This is a bad situation for Unagi. While she has great power tags for exploration, she’s not that adept at combat. In fact, one of her weakness tags is Direct Confrontation. A weakness tag gives -1 Power to a roll, so a direct fight is not what Unagi wants.
But it IS what Wilson wants! He could roll to surprise the guards, using Buff or Debuff before his attack to give his enemies a surprised status. Instead he jumps into the fray, horned-head first. After a quick and foul-mouthed exchange with the guards, Wilson says he’s going to take cover and then rain hell on the Toad-Yokai guards.
The MC can create story tags at any time based on the scene. In this case, because of the terrain, the MC grants Wilson the story tag cover. As he rolls for the Conflict move, Wilson says he’s going to use his power tags Gun Expert, Crack Shot, and Heavy Railgun, because there’s no kill like overkill! With a +3 Power, Wilson rolls…
…and gets snake-eyes, for a total of 5. Oof, bad luck Wilson! That means this roll is a failure, and the MC gets to make a hard move.
As Wilson’s shots go wide, the Toad-Yokai security guards notice him and return fire. The Toads are pulling no punches, so they’ve switched out their rubber bullets with real rounds! If Wilson doesn’t get out of the way, he’ll take a status of shot-3. To avoid the status, it’s time to roll to Resist!
Wilson has the power tag Demonic Durability and the story tag cover, but +2 Power isn’t enough for him. Looking outside his regular themes, Wilson checks out the tags in his bonus Loadout theme. The Loadout theme can change between missions and is used for all the specific equipment a character may need on the job. However, the tags there are often crispy, meaning once they’re used, they can’t be used again until they’re recharged. Knowing the risks, Wilson decides to use a Ballistic Shield to stop the bullets.
With +3 Power, Wilson rolls a 7, for a total of 10. A complete success! Wilson can reduce the damage by one box per point of Power, so shot-3 loses 3 boxes (not tiers for our City of Mist aficionados) and becomes grazed-1 as he stays behind cover and blocks as many bullets as he can.
While Wilson is pinned down, Unagi sees an opportunity. She can sneak past the Toads while they’re dealing with Wilson and find out what they’re guarding. To do something this dangerous, she’s going to roll the Stunt move.
Unagi uses her Scavenger power tag along with a Camouflage Cape from her loadout theme. Rolling with +2 Power, she rolls a 6, for a total of 8. A mixed success with a complication.
Here is where the MC sees a dramatic opportunity. As the Toad-Yokai move closer to get a better shot on Wilson, Unagi seizes the opportunity to sneak past them. But right as she gets to the threshold, the MC gives her a hard choice. She can either sneak past undetected and leave Wilson to fight them alone, or she can bump against something and draw the attention of one of the guards.
Will Unagi put the mission at risk for her comrade? Or will she leave Wilson to fight off the guards alone? On that hard choice, we exit the scene.
It’s important to note this is only a simple demo of the basic rules. Conflict in :Otherscape, whether physical or otherwise, can be made as heavily-tactical or as narrative as your group would like it to be. Adding tactical modifiers on the fly is as easy as saying surprised-3, out-of-ammo-5, cornered-2, prone-2, aiming-1 and so on, allowing you to simulate an incredible range of tactical situations with the same simple ruleset.
At its core, Tokyo:Otherscape is a game full of quick action and meaningful choices, all through a cinematic tag-based system.There’s so much more to be revealed in this game, so we hope you’ll join us in making it a reality! Be sure to back the Kickstarter, subscribe to our Youtube channel, and join our Discord for more updates and videos like these. And be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!
Until next time…have fun!