Having thrown together an old school style of play for running the Combat Toolkit play tests, and having 15 players regularly continuing with open table play, it seems like time to make the game structures for this type of open table into a product.
For those interested in some detailed philosophy of open table play I recommend the Open Table Manifesto.
Just as an aside, the Stealth and Investigation Toolkits are also being worked on. As with the Combat Toolkit they will be a mix of mechanics and ruling guides. We are using the Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition) RPG as a framework for play test, obviously with the AUG mechanics swapped in for the Basic Role Play mechanics.
The Open Table Chassis is a set of rules structures to allow groups of multiple players, with multiple characters to casually play with multiple game masters, potentially each with multiple home regions in a single game setting.
For this to work each play session has a single GM, using one of her home regions, and whoever is available to play, each using only one of their player characters. A fairly “board game like” rules structure is used to break an adventure down into a cycle of 3 parts.
The players have episodes in their home location where they do things covered by fairly mechanical rules: go shopping, do training, spend growth points to grow a skill, hire people to guard treasures or accompany the group on an adventure, socialize, build reputations, acquire companions and gain quests.
The players go off to role play in a world slightly artificially structured into areas of increasing risk, and with treasures to be gained, hazards to be faced, and factions to be dealt with.
The players return home, gain growth points for the adventure based on treasure gained, risks and difficulties, and for quests completed based on commitment of time, risks overall and encounters braved.
In a given session of play there will be one or more complete adventure cycles. Any adventure in progress when a session runs out of time comes to an abrupt end and the wind down is flicked through.
The chassis comes with some simple book keeping, tracking which characters are the primary quest bearers for which home town, and what the character reputations are there, and tracking things that may be transferred between GM home regions, like magic items, pieces of technology, or global rank.
The first Chassis will have a baked in fantasy genre. Its treasures will be coins, gems, jewels and works of art. There will be some generic sorcery and mysticism rules (aimed at eventually being used for Mists of the Carpathians) and a collection of play structures for dungeon, wilderness, ocean and city adventuring.
A second Chassis under development will have a baked in space opera genre, with aliens, high and low tech worlds, space ships, interstellar corporations and nations and super tech artifacts left behind by “the ancients”. This will be used to lay some ground work for the Shadow Over The Galaxy setting.