Planet of Hats

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Player info

Intro

Endless adventure among the stars. A crew and their ship, zipping from planet to planet, exploring, pillaging, or just plain surviving. We have endless examples of this format in action: Star Trek, Firefly, Farscape, Red Dwarf, Lexx, Blake's 7, Galaxy Express 999, the list is virtually endless.

What could be more fun?

Why, making a TV Show about that very thing, of course!

You and your fellow 'actors' are going to be putting on a show. You'll pitch your series to the Network,create your universe, ship, and crew members, create a pilot episode, and then churn out a season of 8 episodes of the best sci-fi spaceship series humanity has seen to date! And if that goes well, another season, and another, and another.

Each episode is an entirely self-contained adventure. There will be a new problem posed by your Producer ("DM") each week that you'll need to solve before the end of the episode. Fail, and well... the network can't air a show without a satisfying conclusion. Fail and we'll be forced to instantly cancel your series. Ship, crew, everything, right down the drain.

So, uhh... don't fail.

Oh, and did I mention that you're going to be rated on all this? Our broad and entirely objective audience (Which might be some strangers, some friends of yours, or even just your Producer, depending on what's available) will be judging your every move! Isn't that exciting?

Each week, your audience will give your show a score from 1 to 5 stars, which will get averaged out to form your show's 'ratings'. The higher your ratings, the more fun bonuses you get! Buuut if your ratings happen to dip, the Network may just have to cancel your show. Sorry, did I say 'may'? I meant will. The Network will definitely cancel you. And/or your show.

In addition, viewers will vote on the best and worst crewmates each week. The best crewmate gets a fun bonus! The worst crewmate... Well, I think the polite term is "placed on an improvement plan".

Thankfully, the Network is both benevolent and extremely understanding. Shows are hard, and sometimes you just need a little extra help! Each season, you get to use numerous useful powers to help! And some powers are so impressive that they can only be used once in your show's entire history!

I'm sure we'll have a grand time together. Break a leg*!

* This sentence should in no way be interpreted as a literal instruction to break legs, yours or otherwise. The Network takes no responsibility for any legs broken for any reason. Don't break legs.

About the game

This guide (and game!) is intended for people with a basic understanding of tabletop RPGs, and at least some exposure playing them. I don't think this would be a good game for very new players.

The game is very heavy on roleplay, and light on mechanics. Mostly you'll be chatting and creating a fun world with your friends, only dipping down into dice rolls for combat and really difficult actions. And every single die roll requires you to come up with a roleplay rationale!

The game mechanics are intended to be very simple. Creating and running a character should take a lot less math and rules than similar games like Pathfinder or D&D. Creating the world is a step that you don't have to do in many other games, but it should be a fairly smooth process consisting mostly of a bunch of questions your producer asks.

The math is likewise trying to be simple. If any math results in a decimal place, you always round towards 0, effectively chopping off the decimal places. Some of the math the producer has to do 'behind the scenes' is a little more complicated, but everything that happens during a game should be quick and easy to do in your head.

If I've failed in any of this, let me know!

Cheers,

Dirkson

Version

TODO

Who's who?


Pitching and Piloting

The Pitch

In order to make a show, you've got to pitch it to your Producer. They'll ask you a bunch of questions to learn about your show. Good news - They're contractually obligated to buy your show!

They'll ask about the universe your show is set in, about the spacecraft you're piloting, the general tone and feel of the series, and questions about each of your characters.

By the end of your pitch session, you should have a fantastic show to produce. Your Producer will probably need a little time before the next session, as they have to actually, y'know, write an episode for you guys to act out. Thankfully, you're all master ad-libbers, right? "Yes-and"!

The Pilot

Once you've pitched your episode, you'll need to produce a single episode. This will be a bog-standard episode - No 'to be continued' or 'deus-ex-machina' endings here. Just good, solid acting!

You'll get a full 3 'starpower' for the pilot. Use it wisely!

Use the pilot as an opportunity to see how well your show idea hangs together. Do the crew get along? No? Good! Drama drives fiction! But maybe they get along too well, always agreeing with each other, or maybe they're so different that you can't imagine why they're on the same side.

Now is when you figure out what's broken about the series you just pitched, because the next step is fixing it.

Oh, and if your pilot scores below a 2 star rating with the audience, the Network will cancel it immediately. So no pressure.

The Aftermath

Did your pilot turn out a little rocky? Was your rageaholic captain who didn't speak english not quite the belly-buster you hoped he'd be? No worries friends, that was just the pilot, after all!

After the pilot, you're going to get the opportunity to change your show. It's just like a mini-pitch session, where you get to ignore continuity and any other concerns and just re-make the show as you see fit. Use this opportunity to correct anything about your setting that didn't make sense, or make any changes to crew members.

Just make sure you get it right this time, because this is the last time the Network will allow such wanton changes.

Anyway, have fun, OK?


Episodes, Seasons, and Series

Each season is composed of 10 episodes.

Continuity is important. Crew members can have arcs, but shouldn't have large, unexplained shifts. The universe and ship likewise should be logically consistent. If you want to change your character or the setting, you've got to work with your Producer to create a logical way to do so!

Both episode-powers and series-powers are available to the crew as a whole. They affect everyone, so they're something the entire crew has to agree on! The Network suggests a simple 'majority rule' for invoking one of these powers. But you're free to use other methods if you prefer, such as "Person who yells the loudest". Actually that's a good one. The Network picks that one instead.

Episode Powers

Oh, by the way - The Network requires you to create a bottle episode for each season, as a cost-cutting measure. So you have to use that one! Haha, isn't showbiz fun?

Cancellation

A show gets cancelled if:

After a show is cancelled, the crew has an opportunity to produce a Series Finale, if they'd like to. A score of 4.0 or higher for the Series Finale can be used as justification to pitch a reboot, spinoff, or simple continuation of the show in your next pitch meeting. In addition, you'll be able to start your next show with an additional 2 starpower for its pilot!

Importantly, producing a bad episode doesn't instantly doom your show. No, it's producing two bad episodes in a row that does that. So just don't do that and you'll be fine!

Continuations, Reboots, Spinoffs

Sometimes you're just not quite ready to let go of a show, even though the Network is. That's OK! We understand. You're free to use one of three allowed methods to trick us!

After a show is cancelled, you have the opportunity to produce a series finale. A resoundingly successful finale can be used to pitch the producer the exact same show you're running right now!

The only trick? The producer can say 'no'. But the higher the ratings your finale got, the more likely they are to agree and just put your show back on the air.

If they say yes, your show instantly starts a new season. No pilot, no partial season. Best of luck!

Was your show excellent, but not quite perfect? Well, my friend, that's reboot territory.

You pitch nearly the exact same show, but with subtle tweaks. Maybe some of the characters are different, or maybe different actors play different characters. Maybe something major about the world or its technology changed. Whatever it is, makes sure it's interesting, because the producer can say 'no' to a reboot pitch.

OK, soooo the show sucked. But there was this one super cool character...

You can pitch a show in the same cinematic universe, but from someone else's perspective. Maybe you had a run-in with an 'evil' version of your crew from an alternative dimension - Become them! Or maybe you want to see what life is like as a different sect in your current universe. Maybe you're literally on the same ship, but you want to show what's happening down in the engineering section rather than the bridge. Creativity is the name of the game here, since obviously you didn't waste any creativity on the setting.

Oh, and your producer can totally say 'no' to this too, by the way. They're cool like that.

Season finale (Or sweeps week)

At the end of each season is a season finale. No episode powers work during a season finale except for "To be continued...". The challenge of the season finale will be greater than the typical challenge of a more typical episode, so bring your A game.

If you're playing without 'seasons', this get called "sweeps week" instead. Otherwise it works identically.

Oh, and you'll also get to 'flanderize' (See the 'flanderization' topic under crew) at some point during the episode, so plan for that.

Series powers

Once per series, you can use these powers to create some truly unique episodes.

Season-less variant

You might want to play this game without referencing 'seasons'. For example, perhaps you're making a podcast and you want to map each of your individual series to Itunes' "season" modifier. Outlandish, I know, but still.

The "Season Finale" is replaced by "Sweeps week", which occurs every 8 episodes. Sweeps week refreshed all the episode powers.

Otherwise it's much the same! Just avoid the word 'season'.


Crew

The 'Rule of Cool'

This is a TV show, we've got to keep it entertaining. The cooler your action is, the more likely it is to work... to a point. You've also got to balance the 'rule of cool' with believability. Your producer will help you find the right balance by secretly adjusting your likelihood of success based on both how cool your action is and how believable it is. Isn't television fun?

The rule of cool may also be used by your producer to adjust combat statistics on the fly - If you come up with a really compelling reason why you should be able to use your skills in acrobatics to defend against being electrocuted, your producer is allowed to give your roll up to a +5 bonus! Although they can also just tell you 'no', so make sure your cool thing is actually cool, OK?

Starpower

Starpower is a measure of your character's popularity - It's also a way to cheat and do things that you couldn't do otherwise.

You gain starpower via both ratings and audience character polling. If people think your show and your character are amazing, you get more starpower! If they're more lukewarm about things... Well, let's just say that you won't have to worry about spending starpower, shall we?

Starpower can be spent to re-roll any roll you want. One starpower is one reroll, and must be declared before the Producer states the outcome of your roll.

At the beginning of each episode, you'll get 1 starpower for every 'star' your show's ratings have, rounded towards 0. Additionally, you'll get +1 starpower if your the viewer's favorite crew member... or -1 if you're their least favorite. Starpower drops back down to 0 at the end of every episode, so make sure to use it!

Oh, and by the by - If your character gets three 'least favorite' bonuses in a row, they'll be deemed too unpopular for television and be written out of the show. (Don't worry, I'm sure your producer will write you a new character if you ask nicely. Maybe.) So just, y'know - Be entertaining!

Health

Health is the in-show measure of your character's physical and mental well-being. Your maximum health is 10 plus your 'beef' stat, which will be discussed later.

An enemy attack, whether physical, psychic, emotional, or whatever, takes away points from your health. Reach 0 and your character becomes incapacitated. Work with your producer to create a satisfying reason for their incapacitation - Are they unconscious? A victim of a space plague? Are they having a mental breakdown? Are they too depressed? Are they out of mental energy 'spoons'? Are they actually just dead?

Whatever the cause, being incapacitated means that your character can't use any of their skills. Quite a tricky situation indeed!

The method of bringing your character back to a healthy place will depend on how they were incapacitated. Rest, medical attention, therapy, and quasi-divine intervention by a sentient shade of the color magenta are all valid solutions. Though for that last one you may need to invoke the Deus-Ex-Machina season power.

In time-limited situations, such as combat, any health repair action can only ever add 2 hit points at a time. In addition, the maximum health that can be healed during such tense situations is limited to a maximum of your roll result.

Oh, and your ship will have health too! 10 points for an average ship - I guess they think they're people?

Remember, this is a show, not real life! Your character can't just 'die' because they lose some arbitrary number of health points. Your character's death is always voluntary... And besides, it's a Sci-Fi TV show. Death itself is a problem that absolutely can be solved in 30 minutes or less!

Shields

Your setting might have shields! If it does, here's how they work.

Shields have their own health, set by someone 'repairing' the shield by using their shield skill. Shields are too expensive to keep running all the time, and will shut off after a few minutes of non-use.

When repairing a shield under a time crunch, such as during battle, each action can only add 2 hit points at once, up to a maximum of your shield roll result.

Damage targets shields first, and does not 'overflow' into the rest of your health pool. If your 5 health shield gets hit for 20 points of damage, it just breaks and you yourself take no damage from that attack.

Any skill that represents a non-physical attack (e.g. psyonics) can bypass shields, though the exact skills are up to your setting and Producer.

Stats

Stats (statistics) help describe a crew member. Each skill is connected to a stat, giving it bonuses.

There are two types of people in the world, at least according to fiction. To reflect this delightfully binary existence, every stat has a paired opposite. When you choose to increase a stat, your character's rating in its "opposite" goes down the same amount.

It's noteworthy that 'beef' is added to your maximum health.

Charm/Smarm

Beef/Speed

Sneaky/Orderly

Determined/Distracted

Nerdy/Lucky

Skills

For most actions in a game, you simply say what you want to do and the Producer (or other players) acknowledges it and moves the plot along accordingly. "I walk towards the man eating plant." "Great. It engulfs you. Take 2 points of health damage from the acid it's dripping on you." But sometimes there are challenges that you can't simply assume you can do. Your set of skills are how you do challenging things!

Each skill will be given a rating, represented by a die. You start at a four sided die, a d4. When creating your character or 'flanderizing' ("Leveling up" in other games), you'll gain points to spend on skills. Each point you spend on a skill improves the die used one level in the following chart:

Oh, and it costs two points to go from d12 to d20. Don't worry, though - It's worth it.

To use a skill, you state what you'd like to do. The Producer will tell you when you need to do a skill check, and what combination of skill and stat you'll need to use. For example, maybe you want to punch this week's monster in the face. Your producer suggests that the 'punching' skill combined with your 'beefiness' stat would be a reasonable combination for that, so you roll your 'punching' die and add your 'beefiness' bonus to it. If you don't think your Producer's choice makes sense, it's perfectly reasonable to suggest an alternative and discuss it with your Producer! But, as per Network rules, they have the final say.

As you get a feel for the game and your Producer, you'll probably be able to guess when a skill challenge is needed, and suggest it to your Producer. This is also a perfectly fine way to play. Just remember that you're not allowed to just pick your highest stat and skill every time - You've got to come up with an action that would logically require that stat and that skill. You can't use Beef and Punching to eloquently talk through a diplomatic issue, for example.

Each of your skills has a 'primary' stat, one that it's best used with. For 'punching', it's 'beefiness', so in our first example we got to apply our entire 'beefiness' bonus to our roll. But what if we wanted to run away from the monster? That seems more like a job for athletics combined with speed... And speed isn't the primary stat for athletics! In this case, we can only use half our normal quickness bonus, rounded towards 0. This isn't always a bad thing! Since your stat bonus can be negative, halving the negative actually helps you.

You may notice that the no skill lists 'luck' as its primary stat. That's because it benefits all skills! ... Well, if you're lucky, anyway. When you use a skill with your 'luck' stat, roll a 1d4. If you roll a 3 or 4, add your full luck bonus to your skill roll! Otherwise, well... I guess you weren't so lucky, were you? Add a 0 instead.

If flipping a coin is easier, feel free to use that instead.

In addition, you're allowed to pick a 'focus' for any one of your skills. For example, for 'aim', perhaps you want to focus on learning to aim your ship's weapons, rather than handheld weapons. Any time you use this skill for your ship's weapons, you gain a +1 to your roll. In all other circumstances, you gain a -1. Work with your producer to come up with good focuses for your character. Remember - You are not required to pick a focus for any skill!

There's one more catch to using skills - In order to create an interesting and varied show, the Network has mandated that you cannot make a roll using the same skill/stat combination twice in a row.

There are 27 skills in total:

Sometimes you might want to be completely incapable of some skill, whether for story reasons or because your Producer is having a bad day and made you walk through some sort of awful memory wipe cloud. In that case, simply assume the correct die is a 'd0', or 0 sided die. It rolls 0, and cannot be affected by bonuses of any sort.

These are just the default skills! Your game might include fewer skills, striking some off this list. Or it might include more! Your choices during the pitch meeting will affect this list.

Character and Crew sheets

A basic character sheet is available in 'Google sheets', here. Duplicate from this sheet for each character. Any cell with a white background is intended to be editable by a player.

Given the sheer number of skill and stat combinations, arranging them in a grid seems like the most reasonable course of action. Stats along the top, skills along the left. The provided sheet does this.

There should also be a crew sheet to keep track of things like episode powers and similar. That is not yet done.

There's also a mod for the Foundry VTT system in the works. I'll link to it here when it's done. It will automate slightly more than the google sheets option.

Character creation

Creating a character is complicated, and involves a lot of backstory and relationships. Your producer will help with this during your pitch session, but you should also feel free to think about your character's past on your own. What drives them, what are they good at, what are their weaknesses?

Thankfully, your character's vital statistics are somewhat easier to create.

Each new character gets 8 stat points to distribute as you see fit, though no individual stat can be higher than a +4. Remember when you increase one stat, its paired stat goes down by the same amount.

In addition, you get 12 skill upgrade points that you can distribute as you see fit, though no individual skill can start above a d10.

Your Producer might allow you to exceed some of these limits for very unusual character types, alien races, etc.

That's it for the math! Pretty simple. You'll probably also want a few supporting details. These details don't affect any math you have to do, but they do help flavor your character. Here's a list of suggestions:

Your character sheet will also have some other information - Starpower, health, and personal money.

Combat

Let's face it - Punching people is just good TV! So do it often, and do it dramatically.

Each combat is separated into rounds and has at least two distinct sides. Each side takes its turn simultaneously, with all actions happening in the same 'instant'. All other things being equal, the 'bad guys' get to go first, sorry!

Each round you get a single 'offensive' action and a single 'defensive' action. You can use the offensive action to 'attack' an enemy, or 'help' a fellow crewmate with whatever they're doing. Your defensive action can be used to 'defend' yourself or any one of your crew against attack, or can be used to 'help' another crewman with their defense.

Actions each round, for each character:

One critical difference between Planet of Hats combat and many other systems is the system of active defense. You only get ONE defensive action per turn, and you have to choose when and where you apply it. Do you defend yourself, at the cost of your other crewmates? Do you selflessly stuff your body between your crew and harm? Your defensive action is always a reaction to some offensive action taken on an enemy turn, and you can use it to defend yourself OR any other crewmate. Or, if the situation calls for it, you can spend it to 'help' another crewmate who's already defended, adding half your roll to their result.

When it's your team's turn, each one of you will have to come up with a way of attacking your foe based on one of your skills. Frequently, you'll get items that will help you with the more 'standard' ways of attacking - Handheld lasers, clubs, etc. But you don't need to limit yourself to these! Your brainy computer nerd can whip out a computer in the middle of combat and hack the evil overlord's laser turrets!

Once you've picked your offensive skill and described your attack, you'll roll that skill's die and add any stat or item bonuses. Then, your opponent has to come up with some plausible way of defending themself from your onslaught. Maybe one of the evil overlord's henchmen is actually really good at physically fixing stuff, and runs forward to rip the network cables right out of the turret! He'd roll his 'repair' skill against your 'hacking' skill, adding all his bonuses.

Whichever skill is higher, wins. If the defense skill is higher, no damage occurs. If the offensive skill is higher, or ties, then the difference between the rolls, divided by 2 and rounded towards 0, becomes the damage. Oh, and no pulling any punches - If an attack hits, the minimum damage is 1.

You can also choose to spend your round's action helping one of your teammates, rather than attacking yourself. When you do this, you choose and roll a skill, then add half your total result to your teammate's action. Perhaps your ship's captain sees you hacking and yells over to you, "You're doing a fine job, ensign! I'm going to give you a raise once we're back on board!". He then rolls his command die, a d10. He only gets a 2, but his 'charm' bonus of +2 and the "Stylish pomade" he keeps in his pocket gives him another +2, bringing his total to 6. 6/2 = 3, so you get a +3 bonus for his words of encouragement.

Let's imagine you rolled a d12 on your hacking attempt and got a 6. Your Nerd factor is +3, and you have an item called a "Pocket Quantum Computer" which gives you a +2 with computers. Plus those three points the captain gave you. Your end result is 6 + 3 + 2 + 3 = 14 total. The henchman, however, has a D8 for his repair skill, and rolled a 6. With his +2 Nerd factor bonus, that comes out to a 8. Your attack lands, and deals (14-8) / 2 = 3 damage to the turret! Since the turret was already previously damaged by your teammates, this takes it to 0 health and it drops offline!

Oh, and your producer informs you that since it was your hacking attempt that brought it offline, you've actually managed to get full control of the turret. It whirrs back to life, it's deadly gattling laser cannons now pointing directly at your enemies - Even if it only has 3 hit points left.

It pays to remember the 'rule of cool', you see.

If at any point you are attacked and cannot defend yourself, AND no one one comes to your aid, you are forced to bear the full brunt of your enemy's attack. You effectively roll a 0. Thankfully this will never happen because your teammates will always rush to your defense, right? Right?

You can even choose to 'help' other teammates with their defense, rather than directly defend them. Though just like offensive 'help', defensive help only adds half your result. This can be extremely important when your team is outclassed - A team of players rolling d10's defensively can never block a natural 20 without some wicked bonuses. But two d10 players helping a third d10 player could theoretically bring their total up to 20.

Ship to ship combat

Ship to ship combat works much the same way, though it actually forces you to be even more creative. Not all players are likely to have direct access to ship's weapons, so most crew members will need to focus on supporting those rolls that can make a difference in combat. Your ship's coms officer can't shoot a torpedo at the enemy, but they can 'help' the person shooting a torpedo by blasting dubstep across the airwaves right as the torpedo nears the enemy ship, confusing them just enough to let that torpedo slam into its target.

Fleeing

Either side may choose to flee combat. To do this is just like combat - Someone comes up with an action that will result in escaping the combat, and rolls dice. Players can help that player or escape themselves with all the normal rules. The enemy is free to come up with an action to stop them and rolls dice accordingly. The higher roll wins!

Oh, and if the rolls are exactly equal? The fleeing party makes it out by the skin of their teeth.

Mooks

All enemies are not created equal. Some will be common henchmen, lackeys, or similar. In our system we call such enemies 'mooks', and they are incredibly weak. As all TV aficionados know, they exist to allow our main characters to show off how badass they are by taking out several people in a row.

Designing a mook is much like designing an enemy, but they'll have massively reduced hitpoints. In most cases 2 or 3 will do it - Just enough that 1 or 2 hits will take them out.

Use mooks as a seasoning, rather than the main course. They're there to up the challenge level, help the main characters show off, etc. rather than be standalone content. Most of the time.

Losing, heroic actions, and self-sacrifice

The heroes should not always win every round of combat. Sometimes it is quite reasonable that they lose against a powerful foe. When this happens, their enemy should begin to gloat, and they will each get one last Heroic Action to take:

The first two are already covered by the combat section, but 'self-sacrifice' is new.

If the players choose self-sacrifice, they pitch their action and what they want it to accomplish. The can try to escape, try to take down the villain, buy time for the rest of the party to escape, etc. The producer states what they'd have to sacrifice to do this. This can be the loss of an item, the creation of a scar or loss of a limb, or even the outright death of the character. Once producer and player agree, the action happens, no rolling required.

If, at the end of all the gloating and heroic actions, the team still hasn't resolved the combat, we get a fade to black and the series ends. A bit of a downer, really.

However, if the combat involves ONLY mooks, none of the heroic action rules apply. Losing there is just losing.

Flanderization

In the TV show "The Simpsons", the character of Ned Flanders gradually became more and more like himself over the course of the show, until his modern day incarnation is an almost unrecognizable parody of itself. In a similar manner, your crew will get to be more and more 'themselves' over time!

In many other contexts, this might be called 'leveling up'.

The Network, in its infinite wisdom, has determined that the end of each season will be the point at which all crew members are flanderized. This event happens during the season finale - It's sweeps week, you see, and we need the extra eyeballs.

At any point during the season finale, ideally during a critical moment for your character, simply declare that you've made some sort of breakthrough (or breakdown. Or power spike. Use your imagination!) and go through the flanderization process, right there in front of everyone! Then use your newfound powers to help solve the extra-special problem your Producer created for that episode!

Every positive stat you have increases by one. Every negative stat decreases by one. In addition, you can add or subtract one from a single stat that was previously at 0.

If you change your 'beef' (or speed) stat, your maximum health adjusts accordingly. If your health is over your maximum, set it to your maximum.

You gain 10 points to distribute amongst your skills. For continuity reasons, no single skill can go up more than two levels as a result of this process. Oh, and advancing any skill from 'd4' to 'd6' costs 2 points. This is flanderization, after all, not actually 'levelling up'!

Notably, your max health doesn't go up simply as a result of you leveling. We're aiming for more drama, not less.


Items

Items can be used to add a bonus to a stat, a skill, or some particular combination of stat and skill. In addition, like skills, items can have a 'focus', which means they only apply to specific situations. Unlike skills, an item cannot be used outside of any focus listed. An item's focus can be different that your character's focus for some particular skill.

For example, consider the following "Green Lasergun".

The laser lists the "Aim" skill and the "Speed" stat, meaning that it only applies to rolls that use that particular combination. In addition, it lists a focus of "Handheld Weapon Combat", indicating that its bonus would only apply when you were in a combat where handheld weapons made sense. When it does apply, though, that +2 bonus kicks into effect, boosting your rolls.

Normally, you can choose whether or not to use an item on a roll. If an item is listed as "Permanent", however, you must apply its bonus (even if it's negative) to any roll the item allows.

Items can leave their skill, stat, or focus empty. This means that there are no skill, stat, or focus restriction for that item. Powerful indeed!

Some items will have limited numbers of uses, and will state how many uses.

Most items, for most games, should have their mechanics fully explained by the skill, stat, focus, permanent, and bonus attributes. However, some producers may make more complicated items - Any further effects will be listed as part of the weapon's description. Possible effects might include area of effect weapons, unusual restrictions, upgrades to skill die levels, etc.


Producer info

All information from here on will be Producer-only information. None of it is secret, but none of it is needed to play the game.

How to calculate ratings

You'll need an audience - That can be a group of friends who wants to listen and not play, some random strangers on the internet, or just the Producer themself. The number of audience members does not matter.

Ask each audience member to rate the episode from 1-5 stars. Add up all the scores, then divide this number by the number of audience members who voted. That's your show's weekly rating.

Additionally, ask each audience member to rate each character. This might be which the character they thought 'stole the show', and which they thought kinda blew it. You might choose other fun things to pole, like 'most dashing', or 'smartest', or similar. Switch it up often, so that one character doesn't constantly sit in last. The characters with the most positive votes gets +2 starpower. The one with the most negative votes gets -2 starpower. This can be the same character.

To work out the show's overall ratings, add up all the episode ratings for this season, then add up all the full season ratings for any past seasons of the show. Divide this number by the number of episodes produced in the current season, plus the number of any past seasons of the show.

Conducting a pitch meeting

You'll need to ask some questions about your crew's show! You'll also have to very carefully not ask some questions, more than likely.

Your goal is to help them craft a unique and interesting universe that is very much theirs, reflecting their interests. Most of the questions use a lot of suggestions, but try to do so in a way that they're just a jumping off point - If your crew has something that isn't in the list, all the better!

We try to go from really broad ideas to really specific ideas. You will need to adjust these questions on the fly to deal with whatever amazing and wonderful insanity your actors cook up for you.

General info

Races

Technology

The crew as a whole

The spaceship

The crew specifically

These questions should be asked in a round robin fashion. Don't just drill one person into the ground asking about their character - Ask one person one question about their character, then ask the next person the same question, etc. Switch the order up if you can.

Doing it this way prevents people from getting bored and gets them listening to other people's ideas, hopefully giving them their own ideas.

"Oh, I forgot..."

The answers to some questions should be informed by previous answers. Ask these general questions last to get your actors to take this into account.

Aaaaand done!

Now break and start working on everything they told you. Let everyone make their characters, so they get good and excited about it. You should be ready for the pilot by the next time you meet!

Questions not to ask

Just as important as figuring out the setting is making sure that the basic idea of PoH can apply. The following are some suggestions for questions you might want to avoid, instead making some quick assumptions about.

Dearest party. I know you'll want to shoehorn these questions into the pitch. Don't do it. You're lovely. Don't make it be like this.


License

This game system is released under a Creative Commons 0. Do what you like with it!

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