Power Outage is a simplified Table Top RPG designed with the intent of being played between Adults (As Game Masters) and young children (As the Players). Players take on the roles of superheroes they create in an alternate Earth world where the mysterious country-sized island of Outage, Alaska is a hotbed of adventure and intrigue. The island is broken up into several districts, each with their own set of supervillains. The game consists of a Core Rules Book (with included quick play guide), a website as a resource, and Adventure Blocks, which are optional adventures based on the world of Power Outage. The adventure blocks use a gaming system called CEPA paths, which is short for Combat, Exploration, Puzzles and Alternative. By predetermining these path guidelines adults can structure gameplay for varying ages allowing for greater or less difficulty and greater or less fantasy violence. But even “violence” in the game is minimized to make this game as family friendly as possible. Of course the final option, of course, is to utilize the mechanics and world to create a game that adults can play.
The motto follows the motif of the game. Kids get to be heroes in the game, and parents get to be heroes to their kids when they interact with them in fun and imaginative ways.
Required for gameplay
Sets of polyhedral dice (or an app that can virtualize them)
Maps, and Markers (a utility app for mapping is actually in development as well)
Anything that helps kids – Printed cards, miniatures, character sheets, pencils
The Core Rules Book
An Adventure Block
If using quick play instructions you might use premade characters
Power outage allows you to create a table RPG session similar to Dungeons and Dragons but with simplified mechanics that kids can either understand or easily be guided through. The first step is for kids to come up with their own superhero ideas, including powers, costume, name, and a single weakness. From there Adults can build those heroes using power mechanics provided in the Core Rules book. There are no classes or races. You just pick up a mechanic like “1d4 damage + push an enemy back 1 space” and apply it to something flavored with the child’s power like “Butterfly Breath”. After that building the hero is simple.
There are 4 major attributes to each character
IMPACT – Which is the character strength and force of will
POWER – Which controls how likely they are for one of their powers to land successfully
ARMOR – Which determines how tough the character is
YIELD POINTS – Which is a variation of your typical Hit Points
In Power Outage, there is no death. Villains are either defeated and captured or incapacitated. Heroes eventually lose enough Yield Points where they must fall back to regroup.
The Core Rules Book (currently version 1.2) explains all of this in much greater detail.
The continent is broken up into different regions
Shorai City – A Japenese inspired Future Metropolis
Atomnyy Zavod – A Russian Gothic Atomic Punk city shrouded in perpetual darkness
Seward’s Refuge – A US Military and Scientific base protecting the world’s only Space Elevator
The Sink – A city full of thugs and scoundrels that are constantly sinking into the ocean and being recreated
The Overgrowth – A scientific experiment gone wrong with Sentient Jungles and Monstrous Fauna
Along with the Core Rules Book, you get Adventure Blocks. These are Campaigns broken up into 4-5 play sessions. Each Adventure Block features a specific villain or set of villains specific to the region they’re playing in.
In each session, you’ll be presented with a CEPA path, which basically allows you to tailor gameplay to your audience. For instance, I played with a 4 and 6-year-old so I minimized combat violence to only once per campaign.
Combat is simply combat of your players versus a number of mobs per battle. Mobs statistics are defined within session blocks. Typically combat is turn based and is either
roll d20 + IMP >= enemy armor – Do 2 points of damage to YP
roll d20 + POW >= enemy armor – Follow the effect of the power you used
Exploration is a mixture of roleplay, and scene description, typically in search of clues or assets
Puzzles are designed with kids in mind. Things like mazes, and easy logic problems/pattern recognition.
Alternative is an alternative option to any combat resolution.
And that’s about it.
Here are some resources to start playing
What I’m doing now
- I’m still working constantly on improving this, which means revising and rerevising all the parts, as well as generating more content.
- I have to update the website so that it’s a bit better
- I need to try and get an artist on board because my attempts are moderately pitiful
- I’m working with an App Developer who is volunteering to help create a Mapping Utility
- I need to have people Beta Test the game because I’d like to know if the mechanics are sound, or if I’m missing information necessary to successfully play
Where I want this to go
- I want to encourage Parents and Kids to game together. To that extent, I want to maintain the Core Rules Book and any 1 to 4 Level Adventure Blocks Free for digital download.
- If I were to eventually print these books, then I would probably sell them, but I would need an artist on hand before that so that I can swap out any Creative Commons art that restricts sale.
- The adventure blocks for levels 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, and 17-20 will probably eventually be on sale for about 5 bucks a pop, with 2-3 dollars going towards Child’s Play. (The prices is variable simply because I may have to pay an artist to make them worth anything)
- Additionally, on the site I’d be connecting some of my friends from PAAC and elsewhere directly with players, to offer their services in rendering kids Super Heroes, or their Symbols. This would be direct client to artist connections with no earning on my end.
- And finally, someone reached out to me about designing custom minis for heroes. Same deal, I wouldn’t collect anything on those transactions.