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Tablenauts Info & FAQ

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This game concept has been created and will be managed by @Feddlefew, who is inviting interested community members to help develop, test and refine her fan-made Psychonauts tabletop RPG Tablenauts!



Enjoy Psychonauts? Enjoy tabletop RPGs, or just want to try one and see what they’re like? Ever wanted to play a paranormal espionage and/or summer camp game? With Tablenauts, the fan-made, unofficial Psychonauts tabletop RPG, you can!


… Or at least you can eventually, once it escapes the development laboratory and goes on a rampage across the countryside, as all good games should.


  • Play as Campers, Psycadets, or full-fledged Psychonauts.

  • Run the game as Mission Control with a selection of pre-made scenarios for your players to explore, or create your own!

  • Classless, levelless system allows for diverse characters.

  • Core mechanics encourage careful risk assessment as you wager limited resources to complete tasks.

  • Play-by-post friendly system means that finding a group is slightly easier!


The Tablenauts RPG will be a character driven game about moderately dysfunctional psychics getting things done with limited time and resources, with a dice-wagering system built from the ground up to support this. The goal is to create a game that plays like a classic spy or mystery movie, while still retaining that good psychonauts feel. At the same time, the system will by play-by-post friendly, and intuitive enough that new players and Game Masters can pick it up quickly.


The system will be able to support a wide range of characters, both in abilities and relative power, from whispering rock campers and mildly psychic adults to psycadets and full-fledged psychonauts. A few short, pre-made scenarios will be included, along with a quick guide for Game Masters to Create their own. Planned scenarios include one based in whispering rock’s east-coast sister camp, where the annual snipe hunt has taken a strange turn, and another based in an understaffed arctic research facility, which has been taken over by a group hyper intelligent, clairvoyant penguins for unknown, nefarious purposes.

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Hello there!


The core mechanic- the "game engine", if you will- more or less done, and I’ve started working on the specifics of how characters and missions work mechanically. Most importantly, how psychic powers are handled and several other key mechanics haven't been worked out. If community members would like to contribute to Tablenauts, I’m always looking for playtesters, and I’d also deeply appreciate art, flavor text, scenarios, and mechanic ideas.


The goals for the Tablenauts system are as follows, in rough order of importance:

  1. Make a good Psychonauts fangame with a strong focus on role playing and collaborative storytelling.

  2. Provide a good tabletop gaming experience regardless of both level of Tabletop RPG experience, or if you’re playing in person or over the internet via a forum or chat system.

  3. Create a system where experts at a given skill are more consistent and use fewer resources than novices.

  4. Give players good control over their odds of success, but still maintain tension.

  5. The system should scale well- e.i. Both Camper and Psychonaut level characters should be playable without breaking the game.

  6. All the information needed to run a character should fit on a single sheet of A1 paper.

The general philosophy here can best be described as “Failure should introduce complications, not end games.” The relationship between Game Master (who runs the game) and Player should be cooperative, not antagonistic.


To do:

  • Figure out how psychic powers and mental worlds are handled.
  • Decided how characters work.
    • What attributes do characters have besides skills?
    • Is there a health system? A sanity system?
    • How do you make a character? How does character advancement work?
    • Is designing a mental world a part of character creation?
  • Build and refine the basic game mechanics.
    • How do we handle two or more characters helping each other?
    • How do we handle two or more characters fighting each other?
    • How much resources do characters start missions with?
    • How are resources refreshed?
      • Define different levels of complications that can be introduced into play.
      • Other methods (ex: resting, completing missions)
    • Are items a thing?
  • Write two or three short scenarios.
    • Scenarios should be short enough to complete in one or two sittings, depending on the group.
    • Scenario 1: The Snipe Hunt
    • Scenario 2: When Clairvoyant Penguins attack
    • Scenario 3: ???
  • If there's time:
    • Make a nice-looking character sheet template.
    • Organize things into a nice little booklet.



Who should I talk to if I have questions?

I'm running a one-human show at the moment, so for now questions about Tablenauts should be directed at me (@Feddlefew). If you have any general questions about Tablenauts, or what the heck a Tabletop RPG is and how you play one, feel free to post them in this thread and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Once a thread is made for a particular topic I'd prefer if you posted questions there.


Do I need any special materials to play?

We are using a d10 (that's a 10-sided die) based system. There's a number of reasons for this, but if you don't have a pile of d10s lying around you can always use the roll20 dice roller. You'll need a character sheet, which can be just an organized list of character information on a piece paper, some scrap paper, and something to write with, preferably a pencil. If you're using physical dice it helps to have a large box or shallow bowl to roll them in, and if you're playing in person the Game Master might want a screen (it's the thing in front of Vernon) to keep rolls and notes hidden from players.


How can I help?

I'll be needing people to do playtesting, offer suggestions, write flavor text, and help me write scenarios. Illustrations would also be very nice.


Is there a Github for this project?

There isn't one now, and, due to the nature of this project, I don't think there will need to be one. It'll probably live and grow in google docs and this subforum.


What kind of license will Tablenauts using?

I'm still thinking about it, but probably a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license.


Can I play as an official Psychonauts character?

A difficult question. This is a Psychonauts fangame, but I won't be putting stats for official characters or scenarios based directly on the plot of Psychonauts into the game's premade adventures and characters section.


Will there be a print version?



How will playtesting work?

You can start playing around with the subsystems whenever you want- I'll be making threads for each of the major subsystem, starting with the core mechanic and moving on from there. Once there's enough material to run the game with, I'll make an announcement with additional information. I plan on running at least one short game, so keep your eyes peeled!




A big thanks to @fragmental for coming up with the game's name!

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