High Stakes – One-Page Vampire Western TTRPG Adventure with Blackjack

Hey everyone!

As a passionate TTRPG enthusiast, I often find myself wanting to share the excitement of tabletop gaming with friends and newcomers. However, I’ve always felt that the steep learning curve of complex rulebooks, „The Teach,“ and lengthy Session 0s can be a real barrier to entry. That’s why I decided to create my own one-page TTRPG, High Stakes. I’ve made games like this for friends before, but this is my first attempt at putting it all down on paper.

The One-Page TTRPG
I’ve been following the rise of one-page TTRPGs, which offer a more streamlined and accessible gaming experience compared to traditional, rule-heavy systems. They’re perfect for spontaneous game nights or easing new players into the wonderful world of tabletop roleplaying. Some great examples include Honey Heist, Lasers & Feelings, and The Witch is Dead.

Stepping Away from Funky Dice
As I began designing High Stakes, I wanted to create a system that didn’t rely on the iconic, yet sometimes intimidating, polyhedral dice. Instead, I opted for a blackjack-inspired mechanic using a standard deck of playing cards. This makes the game more approachable for those who might not have dabbled in TTRPGs before.

High Stakes
In High Stakes, players take on the roles of vampires from different clans, each with unique abilities tied to a specific card suit. I wanted to create an immersive atmosphere, so I dubbed the game master the „Grim Dealer“ and incorporated a card-based conflict and task resolution system. Basically, you play a toned down round of Blackjack whenever you would roll a die in any other system.Lessons Learned from My First Layout Attempt
I took on the challenge of learning Adobe InDesign to create the document layout. I have to admit, it wasn’t perfect. I struggled with organizing the content and making the design visually appealing. But hey, it’s all part of the learning process!

My Vision for High Stakes Version 0.2

  1. Improved layout: With the help of some friendly Redditors and my own ideas, I’m working on a more visually engaging and user-friendly design.
  2. Expanding the Grim Dealer’s role: I want to make the game even more welcoming for new game masters, so I’ll be adding more guidance, examples, and tips for creating captivating scenarios.
  3. Playtesting and feedback: There’s no substitute for real-world experience, so I’m eager to gather feedback from playtests to ensure a balanced and enjoyable game.

If you want to follow this process, I will post further versions on my Itch.Io page.

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