Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

Hero image

Alliterated Games

Gattaibushido:FUSION! RPG: State of the Game April 2018

I wanted to take some time to publicly follow up on details I’d only until recently given in a Kickstarter update. I sometimes forget about this website, but I’d like to get more things happening here again going forward.

Public Github Repo Coming Soon!

I have a lengthy vacation coming up very soon, the purpose of which is to finally finish the beta pre-RC version of the core rules that I want to send to layout. I’m dumping the current docs into a new GitHub repo for public viewing, which I plan to have launched by May 2nd at the latest. Kickstarter backers will get first notice of this repo, and after that I’ll be posting the links here as well.

For those of you unfamiliar with GitHub, I talk about it a bit in my previous post on moving to Markdown for game writing. I’ve improved my process a lot since then, too, and I’m considering putting together a new post on adapting programming best practices on Git commits to the tabletop RPG design process.

Convention Plans

I’ll be running at least two sessions of Gattaibushido at Wagoncon coming up next month. I’ll be there gaming all weekend, and doing more than one podcast on-site as well. This will be the first debut of my semi-final rules draft for the game, and the brand new playbooks for it. So stop on by, say hi, and play some games with us.

Wagoncon is my favorite new convention, taking place May 4th-6th in The Dalles, OR. Check out the schedule of events here.

I’m looking for Giant Robot-Themed Card Decks (Playing and Uno)

One of the things I love about playing cards as a core mechanic is that they are a lot more visibly theme-able than dice. Sure you can get all kinds of crazy-looking dice in thousands of different patterns, but in the end their sizes and shapes still limit qhat can be done with them as visual tools. As a long-time player of Savage Worlds, I have always loved hunting down the perfect decks of playing cards to fit the themes of whatever new game campaign I run in that system, adding to the visual feel and immersion of the players at the table. And when I made the decision during the early design stages of each of my current games to use playing cards as the core randomizer tool, that ability to customize the visual feel was something I was really excited about.

With both Cannibal Contagion and Motobusido, finding themed cards was never a problem. There are dozens of zombie-themed decks out there these days, and possibly even more samurai and “classic Japan” themed decks as well. There’s probably even a zombie samurai deck out there somewhere that I could use if I ever wanted to cross the games. But as for Gattaibushido, finding Giant Robot themed decks has been a surprisingly difficult task. I’m mind-blown that there don’t seem to exist any Voltron-themed decks. I can’t even find any for Pacific Rim or any of the big giant robo franchises (and that “shuffling-deck” card game doesn’t count). If you’re reading this and want to help out, keep your eyes open for suitable decks, and send links my way.

I know there are themed Uno decks, as well. I’ve got a couple (Ninja Turtles and One Piece) and I’m really hoping to find more. If you see any that fit the themes, let me know!

About Gattaibushido:FUSION!:

If you’re new here and you somehow made it this far, awesome! Here’s the rundown:

This game is my personal RPG love letter to Gunbuster, Majestic Prince, Vandread, and of course, Voltron. It’s a story of awesome mecha pilots who must learn to get along with each other long enough to combine their robots together and defeat Big Giant Monsters from Space (or wherever else your group decides they’re from).

The root of the game is an open-ended collaborative story experience, with each player acting as both the guide to a single character and an architect in the creation of the world. There is a Game Master player as well (we call him “Coach”), but in Gattaibushido the players have a good deal more creative authority than you might expect. Every new game world is built fresh by the group playing it, and the particulars vary so wildly that no two groups will ever likely be playing the same world.

The mechanics of this game are heavily inspired by my prior game, Motobushido, changed so the core rules more closely fit the new theme. The core tools are a couple of decks of playing cards (instead of dice) and a number of helpful (but not absolutely necessary) tokens of any kind. The cards create a constant awareness of continually-escalating scenario stakes; the more the team acts and causes trouble, the closer the inevitable Big Giant Monster gets to totally wrecking their day!

Read More on the Product Page

Site Redesign (again)

I finally stepped up to using commercial themes across my WordPress installations, and I already see a marked improvement in appearance and performance of my various sites. I’m hoping to add more things here as time permits. Expect more changes to come!

Read More »

Ride the SAVAGE Motorcycle-Samurai Highway!

Hello fellow Savages! A number of you have been routed this way from the Pinnacle Website, and I want to introduce myself and the new game. I’m N. Phillip Cole, creator of Motobushido, the Motorcycle-Samurai Roleplaying game. Back in 2014 I had the pleasure of sitting with Shane Hensley on a design panel at a local convention here in Portland, OR, where he was attending as one of our guests of honor. I managed to fanboyishly slip a copy of my original Motobushido game book into his hands, and shortly after he approached me about the possibility of writing a brand new Savage Worlds version of that game. Cue my head exploding of awesome!

Thus was born Motobushido: Crimson Blossoms, a 100% Savaged reimagining of those motorcycle-riding samurai adventures, now with a fully-detailed setting. The Crimson Isles are lands steeped in ancestral conquest and inner turmoil, inspired by history and folktalkes of Japan and the nearby mainlands. Following the honorable Old Ways of a fallen empire, the samurai-biker motobushi have been pushed into the far Fringes of the Isles by the new Dominion that rules over all with an oppressive steel gauntlet. It’s Seven Samurai meets Sons of Anarchy with an entirely new take on samurai heroics.

Motobushido: Crimson Blossoms currently exists as three fully-written books that now need a final round of end-stage playtesting. Initially conceived as an official Pinnacle product, we’ve decided to skip ahead of the release cycle by returning it to my own domain as an officially-licensed Savage Worlds setting. Over 100k+ words have been written, including a Player’s Guide, a Companion book and Plot Point Campaign, and a new illustrated GM screen and accompanying adventure.

The best part is that the books are 100% written. The cover art is complete, the internal art mostly done, and the layout templates are nearing finalization. The fabulous team at Pinnacle has gone above and beyond so far, and now it’s time to bring in the community. I’ve been playtesting this setting for three years now, and I’m hoping to bring other groups into the mix for your valuable input – and some sweet playtester credits in print!

If you’re interested and want to know more about the setting and its current draft, drop a comment here, and we’ll get you in on that playtesting action. You can also join the official Alliterated Game Discord server and chat me and others up at any time. And my deepest thanks for your interest and support!


“MotoBushido struck me as something clever and original right from the start. After meeting Nathanael I knew he and the game itself would make a great addition to our family and we quickly struck a deal. The problem is Pinnacle’s growing pains. We’ve got too many projects on the plate now and I couldn’t in good conscience make Nathanael wait for a slot in our packed production schedule any longer. And to be honest, I just want to play it. The best way to do right by Nathanael and get the game out there is to put it back in his capable hands with the full support of our staff to get it done and out in the world… where I can play it!”

Shane Hensley, 2017

Read More »

Savage Worlds Motobushido is Officially Seeking Playtesters!

(I posted this earlier today directly to the original Kickstarter page, but with an official announcement pending I am putting this post up as an official rally point.)

Hello folks! So a while back, I got contracted to write a Savage Worlds version of Motobushido for Pinnacle. To make a long story short, that version (three books!) is now completely written, back under my domain and direction as a licensed Savage Worlds release, and is being geared up for an actual public release.

This is a completely new campaign setting and extended rules set for Savage Worlds, inspired by but not tired to the original Motobushido game. The new books feature all new layout and art. The original Motobushido artist Rick Marcks is back with a huge heap of brand new artwork, bringing back that faux ukiyo-e style that made the original game so visually astounding. And this edition brings two new covers and a full Savage Worlds GM Screen, all illustrated by Jeremy Wilson.

As we near completion of the final product, I am in desperate need of external playtesters. I need people that are not me to read the books, run them, and give me feedback on the setting, the writing style, and most of all: the mechanics.

Is your gaming group well-versed in Savage Worlds? Do you have a strong interest in playtesting the Completely Written and Ready for Layout books? Do you want to provide feedback on them, and get recognized playtester credit in the final print? If so, comment here, or message me directly! I’ll get back to you one on one, and hook you up with the details of our playtest distribution and discussion forum (I’m currently using a private Google Plus Community for playtest discussion and feedback).

And to provide some teaser inspiration, here’s a sample of the cover art for the new book!

cb cover

And here’s some of the new art from Rick, too!



Read More »

Divorcing Word: Embracing Markdown and Git for Game Writing

Over the course of 2016 I have traveled a long but (surprisingly!) easy journey to simplify my writing practices by eliminating distractions from as much of my design tools as possible. Most definitely the biggest and most drastic change in this process was moving away from my go-to standard of Microsoft Word, and instead adopting the Markdown language as my new main writing format. I’ve mentioned this a bit over the past few months on my Google Plus stream, and have had numerous folks ask me to do a longer write-up on my experiences with this dev process transition. To that end I’ve written this feature to lay down the basics of my process shift, and encourage others to do similarly to simplify their own methods. Even this post is written in Markdown!

markdown logo

My Life as a Former MS Word Fanboy

Until this point I have been a pretty die-hard seemingly-life-long MS Word fanboy. I was at one point a notorious MS Word blow-hard in my circles, in fact. I was trained to use Word in a pretty intense legal environment, and through that training learned pretty much every trick that software had. I was a mouse-free keyboard whiz with docx files, and quite proud of it. Word was my Jam, and I will probably be mentally cycling through my most-used shortcuts until the day I lay on my death bed. Read More »

Read More »

Gattaibushido Preorders are Now Live

I’ve had a few people ask if they could still get in on the funding drive for Gattaibushido, but they missed the KS. I have now made the basic game option available for anyone who missed the Kickstarter but still wants to preorder. Just head on over to the store page and you’ll have two different methods – one paying here via Paypal, and another on my Square storefront. As it happens, you can also now order my physical books from that latter link, too. The two storefronts are pretty barebones at the moment, but I’m hoping to add more of the other merch to them soon, such as the buttons, patches, prints, and others.

Once I get more image work settled on the Gattai patches, I’ll definitely be adding them as well. And if anyone is interested in the pricier KS reward tiers as options, let me know. If I get interest, I’ll add them up as well, but for now it’s just the basic PDF + at-cost print option.

Read More »

Gattaibushido:FUSION Kickstarter Success! And a New Storefront!

Here’s the official announcement. Thanks for all your support everyone!

In other news, I’ve been experimenting with setting up a digital storefront right here on my blog. I’ve upgraded the site to use SSL and implemented a simple storefront. Currently only the most basic selection and a limit of using only Paypal, but if this ends up working out I’ll expand to also sell the physical goodies too (like patches, clothes, etc). Sign up, check it out, and let me know if anything goofs?

Thanks again everyone!

Read More »