Copperhead County


(Jason) #1

Copperhead County is my FitD game of organized crime, public corruption, politics, history, culture, and capital in the 201x-era American South. In it, you play a crew of outlaws who attempt to get rich, American-style, while surviving against the competition, the authorities, and their own hellbound ambitions. RIYL: The Wire, Better Call Saul, etc.

The game has been on Early Access on Itch.io for almost a year and is currently in its 5th EA update. Work on CC has gone in fits and starts since the Blades Kickstarter, been more serious lately, and over the years it’s been extensively developed, playtested, and polished. The current game contains: six new PC playbooks; three new crew playbooks; a full original setting and factions; player and GM guidance; a stand-alone, quick-start heist module; changes large and small to the FitD core (a revamped Claims, Turf, and Tier system, a revamped Injury system, a revamped Entanglements system, a revamped approach to planning, plus many other things to fit the genre, streamline the game, and support open-ended, campaign-oriented play).

What’s next: I want to move the game out of “Early Access” and into a slightly different “pre-release” period. The EA game docs have been in a Quickstart-type format which the game has outgrown in the last couple of updates. All of that content is being moved over into a semi-final book format layout, which will also include further systems text so the pre-release book is standalone and does not require the FitD SRD or previous systems knowledge. I’ve made some other small edits while working on this and might still push out one last EA update, just so everyone can enjoy a few quality-of-life changes while I slog through the grim labor of writing chapters about how dice work.

When that’s done, I want to do a recorded Hangouts game or two, or maybe a short campaign. Then finish editing and polishing for a putative final digital release. Afterwards, there are some supplements I’d like to do, but whether those happen, or whether the game makes it into print, etc, depend on the interest level in the PDF game.

I’ll update this thread as development continues, and in the meantime, this is the most official place to post about Copperhead County in general!


(John Harper) #2

It’s been great watching this develop. I’m glad it’s on track to become it’s own standalone game!


(Jason) #3

Thanks John! That’s very kind!


(Calum Grace) #4

Copperhead County is extremely good and I’m not just saying that because I’m playing in Jason’s game right now as a boisterous punk currently hiding from a potential murder charge.


(Jason) #5

Over at Copperhead County HQ, I’ve posted a general update for April, talking about some new GM technology I’m working on for the next version.


(Adam Schwaninger) #6

The campaign tracker idea is solid gold, and so simple. I like how the police and crew troubles aren’t mutually exclusive and also not on a set schedule either. That’s really clever.


(Jason) #7

Separate police and crew troubles is a problem I’ve been trying to solve for… a long time. And then once the campaign tracker idea happened it all came together. Development is weird!


(Logan Bright) #8

Just finished up a 10 session season one of Copperhead, and it was a blast. My players had mostly D&D, Pathfinder, and some Apocalypse World experience, and a lot went down across those jobs. Their Outfit rose in tier and is poised for more action in future.

Wish I’d had the campaign tracker the whole time! It helped in the finale, though, all the same; scanning the listed trouble types sparked an idea chain for me.

I’m curious about how often the actions are rolled in anyone else’s games. For instance, my group didn’t use Direct or Survey all that often – which is fine, of course, but I’d like to hear others’ experiences with the game, too.

All in all, it was great, and left my players wanting more. I hope v6 is released before June when we resume! Thanks for your efforts on the game.


(Jason) #9

Thanks! You are actually the first group I know of to play an Outfit campaign. I’ve run two Hellraisers campaigns and one Blood (anecdotally, people seem to be attracted to Blood). I think Outfits are very cool though!! I really want to run a very political, white-collar Outfit campaign.

I was hoping to get the campaign tracker update out this week, but I’m about to go out of town so it may not be until next weekend. Who knows what other exciting releases we will see before June.

I think actions will rely on what playbooks you have in use. When I’ve had Stringers in the crew, they Direct a lot. Direct is actually a pretty OP setup action, and it’s appropriate for a lot of downtime activities and project rolls. I do wonder if Direct is adequately described in the text, since its different from Command in key ways and is more of an organizational, downtime-y action. We tried to do a good job of explaining it in the action descriptions, but I’ll be revisiting those in the format update, anyway.

v6 is also redoing the Brick’s Direct-replacement ability to encourage Bricks to invest in Direct, since they’re kind of secondary leaders. I feel like I see a lot of Survey, but I always have a Cleaner in the crew. Outlaws gotta survey stuff.

Actually, the action I feel like I see the least is Tread; my games have a ton of car chases but not so much foot action (although my current campaign has seen some good Tread use recently). I think Tread would see more use in a more heist-focused campaign where the PCs are breaking and entering, but every game I run just goes full-on into the drug war. Also, every crew I’ve GMed buys a Garage upgrade immediately and loves to drive everywhere.


(Logan Bright) #10

My PCs never used Direct to set up a downtime action; perhaps I could have helped them in that direction. We never had a Stringer or Cleaner, though.

When you say Direct differs from Command, I assume you mean Growl?

I also didn’t see much Tread, but thinking back, there were instances I could have suggested a roll but didn’t. I typically cut to the action and say “okay, you’re on the roof.” Have you had Movers in your games and really leaned into Handle?

Conversely, with a Hazard and a Wheeler, I saw a tonne of Fix and Coax. To some degree I missed the hardware v software distinction of Scum & Villainy (rig v hack) but it was a lot of fun. In the final session, the Hazard took Blue Sky, and we used Blades’ crafting mechanics to determine the drug’s effects and costs. Worked really well! When the time came to craft it, there was a tonne of tension to that Fix roll.

One suggestion for future revisions: I’d love to see the Teamwork maneuvers hinted at on the character sheet. My group got into them with time, but I think a quick note would help.

Oh, and another question: does the crew get back the Bail they post? My players argued they should, when trial came around, and besides “shady criminal underworld stuff” I had no real argument. I feel the decision lacks heft if they just get the Cash back – why would you ever take the fall if bail is free? Thoughts?


#11

The campaign tracker and personal trouble look great. I’m working on something similar to personal trouble, but related to exposure / blown cover.


(Jason) #12

Sorry for the delay! I was out of town for a while and then got sick as hell.

Paying bail and taking the fall are separate acts. Paying bail is really only for if a character is arrested within the course of the game. In real life, a person would probably get their bail money back if they went to trial, but (this will be expanded upon in the future) Copperhead County is not interested in trials. I played around with various trial mechanics a long time ago and they were very fiddly and uninteresting. Paying bail in the game is just a contrivance to allow a character to return to business until the Raid failstate is reached. My position is, if you get to a point where the crew would be on trial (as a result of being Raided), they’re fucked. At that point, there is enough evidence against them to sew them up, unless they can weasel out of it somehow.

A character who is arrested can take the fall, separate from the Raid state (this could be clearer in the current text). But if you take the fall, you don’t go to trial. Going to trial isn’t taking the fall. Taking the fall entails “plead[ing] guilty to your crimes and accept[ing] a long prison term.” They have to ride the rap, not beat the rap.

Re: Blue Sky– there’s no need to craft anything with Blue Sky. If you buy the ability, you have the drug. CC doesn’t have crafting rules because crafting is just a downtime project. (It’s up to the group if a PC can unlock Blue Sky through projects!) But obv it won’t break the game and I’m glad it worked okay!


(Jason) #13

Copperhead County v6 has been updated. This isn’t the big standalone release yet, but I felt there was enough new content that I should update the Early Access game rather than continuing to sit on it. This will be the final EA update unless I screwed something up.

You can read the changelog and get the update on Itch.

Also, myself and Copperhead County contributing writer Michael C. will be at Go Play NW in Seattle in July. Play Copperhead County with us!