You're a bear. You steal honey. From then on, I have no idea…
April 8, 2018 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I found this two page RPG called Honey Heist and I want to play it with the kids. How exactly do I play it?

I spent an afternoon last week playing some of the entries to the 200 word RPG challenge with the kids. We had so much fun that we want to play some more.

Honey Heist looks good. The problem, is… how the hell do you play it? I can see that there's a character set up part and that the GM rolls to set up the scenario. But what happens after that? Who goes first? What do they do? How is the game won?

Can anyone explain the process of playing this game to me please (as if I'm an idiot)?
posted by popcassady to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
There's a playthrough here from some Voice Artists/D&D players. I haven't watched it but it might give an idea - it is four hours long though. Honey Heist
posted by Wysawyg at 8:15 AM on April 8, 2018

Best answer: So, as DM, I'd carefully map out my *rolls* Creepy... Wilderness Retreat... run by the trust fund kid. With angry bees, armed guards, and CCTV. Why is this place creepy? What features do retreats usually have? (caves, ropes courses, water events, cafeteria, bunks, trails, scenic vistas, etc)

How is the security set up? Where is the honey? Does the trust fund kid have a security chief that is competent, or does TFK do it himself? Is the honey in an obvious place, or is it hidden?

Also be prepared to be flexible with any ideas or questions your kids come up with... players will *ALWAYS* surprise you with something somewhere.

But describe your scenario, probably with a map with at least the basics drawn in. Then let them discuss their plan, do some scouting, talk with the guards if they want to/have that ability (though this obviously could be suspicious) and then just see what plan they come up with, and narrate reasonable storytelling results, as modified by the dice.

I imagine any plan will need some basic elements- distract the guards, shut down the cameras, breach the honey vault/cafeteria pantry/secret hidden cabin/TFK's office, etc. Escape with the loot!

So at this point they players will know what they want to do, and you can just handle events in sequential order, or as needed.

It's pretty rules light, so storytelling and fun seem like good guidelines to follow, without penalizing anyone who is less good at storytelling/making up stuff on the fly. Difficulty could also depend on your kids ages.
posted by Jacen at 8:29 AM on April 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I definitely recommend watching the first part of the Critical Role Honey Heist game (also available on YouTube here). At 13:45, the DM explains the rules.
posted by neushoorn at 8:32 AM on April 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Page 2 is 'your' page as a DM. Roll the dice to get an idea of what kind of honey heist they'll be running.

Then sit down and think about what that would look like, in your head. You don't have to get too fancy-pants about this; the lakeside camp can be rendered as a series of circles (big circle is the lake, small circles are the tents, and the big square is the Secure Honey Vault). The city and convention centre can be a grid of squares (rooms/blocks) and hallways/roads that you mainly fill in only when your players ask questions ("wait, I need water for this to work. Where's the nearest bathroom?" "Well it's right over here..."). Etc.

Think just enough detail that 1) you know where the honey is 2) you know the physical security in their way 3) you know what kind of person or bear-security they have (what are the patrols, are they lazy, etc.) 4) you know how non-security con goers will act (they're hippies! they're honey businessmen! etc.; this is just to make it easier to create NPCs at the drop of a hat) 5) think of at least one plausible way for them to overcome the security with the resources at their disposal. This will absolutely never be the way they choose, but good to know that it can be done.

Once you have that, you're ready. Sit them down, have them roll and introduce their characters; they may like talking about how they all met. Tell them what they know from their initial information gathering; this is the "this tape will self-destruct" briefing sequence. The "Gentlemen, the 3000 block of Las Vegas Boulevard--otherwise known as the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand" talk. This is where the honey is. These are the things stopping you from getting honey. Here is where you are.

Unless they are shy they will probably immediately take it from there. This is a rules-light game, so try the improv trick "yes, and" for reasonable requests. If they request a squad of ninjas, you can "no, but". "No, you don't have access to any ninjas, but you did store all-black clothing in a tree that will make you look like a ninja..."
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Or, I guess another way to phrase this:

This basically IS improv with dice. So think of things in terms of logical timing and spotlight.

Is one kid hogging all of your time? Ask another kid, "ok, while this is happening, what are you doing?"

If one bear has to wait 2 minutes of 'game time' for a guard patrol to move, switch focus to someone else because the rest of the game isn't pausing just because one character needs to wait. If one bear has been caught and another bear is close, tell the other bear "You hear someone yell 'put your hands up', but you're not sure what tent they're in. What do you do?" Why? because it's the logical timing of the scene (and helps bring bears together, which will make your life easier).

Because this is a heist game, your bears will probably split up, so when you may want to switch perspective when they've accomplished something but they're about to open the door and see what's next...

This game roughly works as players narrating their behaviour and then you check to see if this is a "bear stuff" moment (are they trying to frighten/destroy, run & climb, or sniff out honey) or a "criminal" moment (everything else).

Only make them roll when (a) where there's a chance they will fail and (b) the failure will be interesting. If the failure isn't interesting (you're trying to tie your shoes and you have all the time in the world to do so; they're trying to chat up an NPC about their mutual love of honey), don't make them roll. And when they roll, consider if it's a frightening bear-action or an anything-else criminal action.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also once you've decided your general heist type, make a list of ten situationally appropriate names and write down two random things about each of them ("fat/likes lacrosse", or "tattoos/talks like marlon brando in the godfather"). When you hit an NPC, pick the next one off the list.

This is less important for bears obv, but it is literally all you need for NPCs. Your players will decide which ones they're interested in and you can develop those further.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:36 PM on April 8, 2018

Incidentally all Grant Howitt's stuff is gold, try Havoc Brigade aka ORC HIJINKS YES
posted by Sebmojo at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Paging MeFite ursus comiter (who writes role playing scenarios on the side)...
posted by wenestvedt at 3:26 AM on April 9, 2018

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