At PAX Unplugged 2019, Gameology News was delighted to have the opportunity to sit down with Kyle Kinkade, founder of Monocle Society, the developer of Weave, for a demonstration and interview of their great creation.
“Weave is a story telling platform. Meaning if you’ve never played a role playing game before you can choose any one of our roles – we have Cyberpunk, 1950s Solar Age Buck Rogers, our 80’s kids adventures, Goblins R Jerks fantasy adventure – you can take any one of those and in about three to five minutes create a character sheet. And as a story teller, never have played a story telling game before, you can in 10 minutes create a story and be playing. Most of the time it takes about three to ten minutes how the character creation process will go for the next couple of hours. We have been able to boil that down into a under ten or fifteen minute experience, so you are just up and playing a game.”
“I really wanted a rule system that was streamlined, still had really good depth to it, but the depth was behind the player. That way you could still see a lot of the experience, you can still play the game. It feels very simple and streamlined, but the complexity is hidden. You can really go deep into it if you want to, but if you want to just pick up and play a role playing game and show people how to do it, you’re just good to go.”
For the demo, we created a character to join an already made story campaign created by Kyle called “Fungus Among Us” that is part of the Goblins R Jerks set.
He fanned out the cards and after picking just one, the card is flipped over and scanned by the phone’s camera. Different options appear on the screen that the player can choose from, making it simple to create a character that is in part randomly generated but also based on your preference. To add to the depth of the character, the player will even choose a flaw to create a challenge they may need to overcome. For example, during the demonstration, we picked Animal Magnetism for our goblin, which means that animals naturally flock to him. We also chose an item, and at random we chose the owl card. We were able to choose between a lute and an all seeing eye. Finally, we named the character. Quick, easy, fun, yet detailed and immersive. Just like that we had a character ready to play a campaign. This was simple enough that my five-year-old son was able to participate in the demo as long as I read the descriptions to him.
After the character is created the player is able to view the mechanics if they choose.
There are also dice involved with symbols, and rolling them determines the character’s action, just like a d20 or multiple other dice in other role playing games. We were given the challenge of kicking down a door because our main attribute was strength. In order to see if we succeed in kicking down that door, we needed to roll more than two stone symbols to accomplish that. We had an epic success and were able to tell the DM the epic manner in which the goblin kicked down that stubborn door.
“That’s how this works. Now what you noticed was we were just rolling symbols, and it looks like that’s a really simplistic gimmick act because honestly it is. But with the addition of the multiple dice and with the Weave symbol allowing you to re-roll, that exploding die scenario, that’s nonlinear math, which turns into a dice curve. And that dice curve is almost the exactly same as traditional d20 games. So instead of having a huge amount of plus 2 and negative 1s, advantage and disadavtanges. This system gives us almost the exact same style as challenge and dice leveling as traditional role playing games without any numbers. That’s a great example of how we took a game system and then we put it in ourselves to understand how we could make it more complex internally and not make you do more homework. That’s the idea of Weave.
Someone has already done all the work for us? I’m game. Weave was released in 2017 and the second addition arrived in 2019. There is still more to come! Backed by a fantastic Discord community providing feedback, and being patient, Monocle Society continues to grow and develop.
“In 2020 this is where it’s gonna get a lot of fun. All that feedback they’ve been giving us, we’ve been saving it to a much larger update. In 2020 we’re doing a couple things that are very special. The physical cards and the dice are actually going digital. Not just digital, but free to play. But there’s other things that we can do with this. The physical cards give you more control because you can choose which cards to scan. Thus as a story teller you have a better opportunity to really generate a path for that scenario.”
And it gets even better…
“We have a subscription service coming out called Weave+ because we’re very creative. We’re working with a lot of content creators. Content creators who have fantastic ideas that we’re working with, stuff that we’re making on our own, an we’re working with IPs and licenses, that we’re all very familiar with, to bring their content into Wave+. So instead of just having four playsets, we are talking about way more than that and we are years out in terms of a timeline.”