The Roleplayer's Guide To Heists
  • The Roleplayer's Guide To Heists


    Heists are always fun to play. Heck, ex-D&D designer Rodney Thompson built a whole game around them. Now, the San Jenaro Co-Op is bringing 25 heists in a hardcover book to Kickstarter!


    The book is system-neutral, and includes different genres -- sci-fi, fantasy, and so on. You get a detailed map, information on guards and traps, and so on. Here's the fluff text:

    "Heists are some of the most fun you can have during an RPG session - the indepth planning, the nail biting execution, the thrilling escape and the glorious payoff! What's not to love?

    But heists can be hard to write and even harder to pull off properly. They take almost as much work as the real thing to plan, and that can bring your campaign to a grinding halt. Lucky for you, The San Jenaro Co-Op is here to help.

    The Roleplayer’s Guide To Heists is a system agnostic collection of around 25 heists ranging from your standard bank jobs, to space-based sci-fi capers, to fantasy smash-jobs into a wizard’s mind-realm. If you like stealing stuff (in games) and getting away with it (again, in the game), this book will have everything you could want!
    Each heist comes complete with a detailed map of the joint for you to properly case; oodles of scene hooks, enemies and traps, ideas for the getaway and of course the loot itself. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also look forward to essays on the finer points of thieving, heists and their narrative function."


    Best of all, you can already download three of the heists! One involves stealing a space shuttle, another is in an interdimensional wizard's tower, and the third is a retro robbery during Hollywood's golden age.





    The Kickstarter launches on June 15th (that's Saturday -- a weekend launch, which is unusual!)
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Blue's Avatar
      Blue -
      Heists in RPGs are often better if you break some of the traditional RPG rules in order to prevent hours of planning that breaks as soon as something unexpected happens. That's realistic - but a waste of gaming time. Years of Shadowrun but also a number of other non-heist specific RPGs have given me that experience.

      So now when running heists I'm a big fan of flashbacks, and of "undetailed" previous planning that gets made concrete during play. For example, a flashback when encountering a passcode door how they knew these were here and scammed a valid code. Or having a set amount of unspecified equipment, so you can pull out the climbing harness that you "planned" you'd need for the next step.

      Luckily there are a number of systems that have mechanics that specifically support heists and the like to make the play experience streamlined and fun. Blades in the Dark is a more recent one that leaps to mind, and the older Cortex Leverage game as well.
    1. Francita Soto's Avatar
      Francita Soto -
      Thanks so much for the feature! We're working very hard to make this as cool as possible, and stay tuned to #SanJenaroCoOp on twitter! We have surprises to come!
    1. mockman1890's Avatar
      mockman1890 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
      Heists in RPGs are often better if you break some of the traditional RPG rules in order to prevent hours of planning that breaks as soon as something unexpected happens. That's realistic - but a waste of gaming time. Years of Shadowrun but also a number of other non-heist specific RPGs have given me that experience.
      idk; some of my favorite memories of playing Shadowrun have been when we’d plan a heist and TOTALLY f’ it up. Once our plan hinges on “stealing a truck for a getaway vehicle” and we totally failed at this, got in a fight with truckers, someone died and the whole evening was spent on the blowback from something that wasn’t even part of the site we were supposed to be breaking into. And it was super fun and hilarious.

      I’ve heard good things about Blades in the Dark, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with traditional pure-strategy ways to run a RPG heist. You just have to lean into the possibility of failure and be ready to find the fun in failure. Heck, that’s why Fiasco works!
    1. Blue's Avatar
      Blue -
      Quote Originally Posted by mockman1890 View Post
      idk; some of my favorite memories of playing Shadowrun have been when we’d plan a heist and TOTALLY f’ it up. Once our plan hinges on “stealing a truck for a getaway vehicle” and we totally failed at this, got in a fight with truckers, someone died and the whole evening was spent on the blowback from something that wasn’t even part of the site we were supposed to be breaking into. And it was super fun and hilarious.
      This is a bit orthogonal to my point. Of course the wild improv parts are fun - and you still get them. The part that wasn't fun was the two hour long RL planning session that in the end meant nothing.
    1. Wraith Form's Avatar
      Wraith Form -
      Starting an RPG Kickstarter on FreeRPG Day seems.....not an outstanding choice.
    1. mockman1890's Avatar
      mockman1890 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
      This is a bit orthogonal to my point. Of course the wild improv parts are fun - and you still get them. The part that wasn't fun was the two hour long RL planning session that in the end meant nothing.]
      I didn’t mind the planning time that turned out to be wasted by a few bad die rolls; that’s IC roleplaying time being engaged in coming up with cool plans. But YMMV
    1. Blue's Avatar
      Blue -
      Quote Originally Posted by mockman1890 View Post
      I didn’t mind the planning time that turned out to be wasted by a few bad die rolls; that’s IC roleplaying time being engaged in coming up with cool plans. But YMMV
      I loathe 2 hours of game time spent arguing over the best way to accomplish something with the fires of a thousand suns.

      Good inter-character drama? I'm for it. This isn't it - it's usually from a player perspective. Interesting puzzles for the players? I'm for it. but with the twists that the characters don't know the answer will be wrong. I'm not sure what you can get out of it.

      Let's try it this way. if your entire session was 2 hours of planning heists that you knew you didn't have all the information for and nothing else, do you feel you would regularly have a good time?
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