LARISSA
HEARTBREAK
A Strategy RPG
premise

After a forest fire took everything away from her, Tara was content to remain a broken down, limping woman for the rest of her life, until one day, she discovers an international criminal causing mass heists and kidnappings… bearing the name “Larissa Heartbreak”, her long-gone wife. With bounty hunters now targeting her in the hopes of a lucrative reward, she sets out, cane in hand, to uncover an entire underground world of crime and learn about the things Larissa had done without her ever knowing, as she chases the thief representing her own failures…

  • A City of Questionability: Live in Stratta, The City That’s Always Familiar, and find ways to kill time with bowling alley bets in Little Italy, arcades in Chinatown and chess money-matches in Tempcona, while discovering an abundance of poor souls with problems to solve. With a badly funded transit system that feels real, right down to elevators that have a 50/50 chance to work and bus lines where nobody wants to leave the seats you need, getting around as a giant with a cane will be one of the most painfully realistic experiences in videogames.
  • A Strategy RPG at a Rapid-Fire Pace: Battle in short, five-turn-max bursts in the wild, going up against rowdy punks on the street or well-dressed assassins in the alleyways. Take on full-fledged multi-floor buildings, quickly clawing your way through waves of enemies as you look to reach the top.
  • Adaptable With Disability: Switch between Tara’s “stances” to make the most use out of her cleverness, using the mobility of a cane to help inflict status, or slowly approaching your prey with the surprisingly high level of fear a grappler with a bad leg can cause.
  • A Team Of Misfits: Build a squad of five with Tara and fifteen oddities willing to stick by her, from old men with shopping carts, to kitchen-sink-throwing cashiers, to skateboarding nihilists, all of whom can be customized to your benefit. Live with them, get into bar fights and cafe discussions alongside them, and make some of the best damn friends this dumb city can find.
stratta
the city that’s always familiar

Nicknamed because of its ability to look like dozens of different places all at once, Stratta is considered a safe haven to many of its inhabitants in an otherwise dangerous world… though thanks to police all but abandoning the city, the problems they encounter are unique, as their communities are expected to help each other instead.

Little Italy
the small time district

A very vertical neighborhood, and where Tara lives. Extremely cheap, revolving around a street that mostly contains thrift stores, cafes and sports bars, with the only relevant other shops being a drug mart, and a small supermarket that somehow stays open 24/7.

Held By - The Heartbreak Foundation: A non-profit of street punks turned into homeless shelter volunteers who double as community assistance. Founded by Larissa years ago, though since her death and Tara’s subsequent depressive episode, an old friend with the name Chris currently has the reins. They’re very straightforward, usually just beating the shit out of anyone trying to do anything and then letting them off scot-free from there, and due to Tara’s status, they’ll rarely ever start anything with her.

Locales:

  • HELLDRUG: A general department store that specializes in healing items. Based on the real-life London Drugs, complete with the real-life pharmacy wait times of ten billion years.
  • SUPER MART: A 24/7 supermarket, and thanks to a certain antagonist group, a surprisingly common location to be in in the beginning of the story. Good for if you need food, which, due to food giving a slight amount of HP and WP, unlike health items, is more useful than one might think.
  • CARMENTO’S BOWLING: Ah, yes, the bowling alley, home to such great pasttimes as… watching other people play, because Tara has a bum leg and thus can’t bowl anymore. At least she can bet on other people bowling?
  • BOOTSIE LIBRARY: A humble little library, not the biggest in Stratta, but quite nice all the same. It’s said that if you’re quiet enough, you can hear rumors of the area…
  • HEARTBREAK SHIELD: A shelter run by kind volunteers of the Heartbreak Foundation. If you donate food off for their dinner, the tougher babyfaced punks will help you, should any fights occur on Little Italy turf.
  • BAR O’ MAGIC: A clean hipster cafe by day, a beautiful little shithole of a booze zone at night. Tara and Adrian’s favorite place to hang out, it doesn’t necessarily contain good alcohol, but it sure contains all the fun ones.
  • FIVEBUX: Ew, gross, a coffee chain. Has good bakery foods in a pinch, but… don’t give any of the coffee to Tara. Just trust me on this one.
Tempcona
the parkland district

A neighborhood that’s very park-heavy, often being the destination for those down on their luck. While many ignorant people of the Golden Isles blame the high crime rate of the district on this fact, the truth is actually far more confusing–the people most likely to commit theft and vandalism isn’t the poor and homeless, but the condo-living recipients of the district, looking for the high that comes along with the act. Because of this, homeless camps are often built to be extremely temporary, as it’s assumed that a rich man will try to burn it down and loot the insides eventually.

Held By - The Family Of The Perverted Blade: A small, tight-knit squad of former members from mafia groups all over the world, following the ideals of a man only spoken in whispers. It’s said that the leader, known simply as “The Perverted Blade”, hides amongst the crowd of the rich in the daylight, so that he can more easily hunt those who wish to vandalize Tempcona’s homeless camps. While nobody knows who the leader’s true identity is, the simple fact that Tara happens to wield a blame in a similar way sure seems suspicious…

Locales:

  • PLAYTOWN: A humble little videogames store, the real reason anyone goes there anymore is to enter a tournament for the hit videogame from twenty years ago, Super Smashems, which is absolutely not an excuse for me to make a melee clone minigame what are you talking about
  • SUNRISE REBELLION: For some reason, a guy many decades ago decided to name a bakery after this. Has special baked goods that rotate hourly, in real time.
  • BIG BET REGRET PARK: Pretty sure this park had an actual name once upon a time, but who the fuck knows what that was. Chess tables and open surfaces for playing cards makes this area popular for those making bets.
  • ANOTHER FIVEBUX: There was a really nice cafe here, once upon a time, but now it’s just another Fivebux. Truly, we live in hell.
Chinatown
the entertainment district

Technically a mishmash of several neighborhoods, with Japantown, Chinatown and Whitetown, but everything from phone apps to the transit signage will refer to the entire area as Chinatown, as it by far eclipses the other two in size. The district where theaters, arcades and performance bars shine.

Held By - ?????????: It’s assumed that whoever runs the strange group of suited bodyguards likely owns enough real estate to have a financial stake in keeping the area quiet, but nobody actually knows anything about who these strangers even are, much less who they work for. If they see a fight, however, they’re often indiscriminate in their punishment, so it’s best to be careful not to attract their attention.

Locales:

  • REAL-TIME KEEPS: A quaint little antique store, selling mementos and other equipment. Run by an old man who seems to know Tara very well, though she never explains why that might be.
  • QNE ARCADE: Sounds like a fun place to go to… and then you find out that none of their arcade buttons have worked for seven years, which is much less fun. Maybe some of these games are playable, still?
  • L & L MARKET: A large supermarket with more emphasis on good produce and meats than anything else, though there’s sweets that can be difficult to find anywhere else. Strangely, the people who hover around that aisle never seem to be from the neighborhood…
  • YEP, IT’S ANOTHER FIVEBUX: Please stop showing me Fivebux.
Railtown
the london fog district

The shopping district of Stratta and the central hub of which the city had begun growing from, a fact most obvious in how horribly dated and clunky its environment is. Once a favorite locale of Tara’s, the abundance of stairs and poorly placed ramps make it an absolute hellzone for her, and that’s before you take into account all the gentrification over the years taking away all of her favorite shops.

Held By - The Cat-Eyes: An alliance of self-described “studs and hotties” with matching eyeglasses run by a woman managing dozens of stores in the district, the Cat-Eyes are interesting in that, rather than getting into situations while fights are happening, they often start the fights–against Tara in particular, who seems to be an active target of theirs…

Locales:

  • STRATTA PENULTIMATE LIBRARY: Or, as everyone tends to call it, the SPL. An utterly massive place, with local cafes and bakeries at the base, and large computer areas at the highest floor. If you need rumors about anything, you could probably find them here if you sit around long enough.
  • GOODER FOODS: Wow, this supermarket sucks. It’s like someone wanted a mom-and-pop local grocer, but in the form of something that takes up way too much space in this city, and also none of the fruit is actually taken care of at all. It’s unfortunately the only place you can get certain ingredients, so hope you’re ready to pony up five times what it costed for them to get.
  • GLORIANA JEWELERY: Oh Jesus Christ these mementos are expensive. Are any of these even useful? Who knows, not like you should buy anything from them.
  • POSTERINOS: Wait, wasn’t there a cafe here? That was a good cafe! Why does this place call itself an “adult child food zone”? What the hell is a non-spiced macaroni and cheese with porcelain, anyways? God, this sucks, I just wanted a coffee.
  • HEY HOW ABOUT A FIVEBUX COFFEE: I will eviscerate you
the golden isles
the rich-people district

…as Tara would refer to it, anyways. The Golden Isles are named as such due to the extreme hills and valleys, with the middle class living in the valleys and the richest of the rich living at the top of each hill. Tara intentionally makes sure to not visit this district on account of…

Held By - The Actual Cops: Of which these cops will respond to any “homeless-passing accusation” residents call for–which, when translated from rich-ese to english, means “if you don’t have expensive clothes, we will send violent men after you”. Tara has to be extremely careful, should she need to step into this neighborhood, and stay as deep into the valley as she can justify, because as durable against enemies as she thinks she is, she is not can-take-a-bullet-to-the-face levels of durable.

M.o.t.R.
“Managers of the Real”

While everyone kind of knew about how the police only exist to control capital, what isn’t as known in the city of Stratta is who owns the capital: exactly four people, each controlling one part of the city. All under the command of a mysterious boss from the Golden Isles, why they’re so desperate to catch the thief, “Larissa Heartbreak”, is unknown…

  • Jimmy Polo: The manager of Little Italy. A over-polite slimeball to his core, Jimmy isn’t a fan of direct or immediate violence the way other managers are, instead preferring to slowly suck dry as many resources as he can to turn a profit. Simultaneously the most spineless and the most brave, as while he’s terrified of ever getting into a real fight, he’s more than willing to exert just enough power and influence to sit face-to-face with the people who want him dead.
  • Copper Welsh: The manager of Tempcona, and a big, burly real estate mogul hailing from the UK, his hobbies include drinking, screaming at the women who work for him, and then drinking again to soothe his sore throat after all the screaming. It’s said that the influx of rich, bougie criminals in the district are his doing, as he seems to be financing a large number of their condos.
  • Summer Margarita: The manager of Chinatown, and an extremely caucasian woman, don’t let the name fool you. The landlord for all but one of the apartment buildings in Chinatown, her favorite activity involves going through tenants and finding the “funniest” ones she can justify evicting.
  • Queen Hyatta: The manager of Railtown, and the leader of the Cat-Eyes, thus the hostility. Described as a wreck of fake tanning spray, terf bangs and gaudy perfume, she owns an entire street’s worth of stores in the district, and likes to spend at least two hours of her daily schedule for screaming at an employee in each one.
MECHANICS
a quick rundown

Larissa Heartbreak is a Strategy RPG, picking mechanics off of games like Fire Emblem. However, unlike those Strategy RPGs, which are usually built on long, endurance focused battles, the average fight is extremely short, often to the point where even a short battle from Fire Emblem would be seen as a bit too long here. Though there are end-of-chapter encounters wherein you face multiple waves of enemies, non-HP resources always regenerate between waves–so resource management becomes less about keeping track of things over 10-30 minutes of play, and more about being given an extremely limited amount of those resources (the average healer’s equipment only has 2-3 uses, as an example), to be used in quick bursts.

The end goal here isn’t necessarily to make something wholly unique (though that wouldn’t hurt!!!), it’s to make something feasible, by simplifying as many things as possible, hopefully in a manner that can still be interesting for different reasons.

glossary
a quick rundown
  • WP: Willpower. An MP-adjacent that refills after each fight.
  • PRI: Primary Equipment Strength. Applies to both the attacking power offensive characters get from attacks, and the defensive power of support items used by healers.
  • SPC: Special Power. Every character gains unique special moves they can use, and barring a few select exceptions, they all use the SPC stat.
  • DEF & SPD: Defense and Special Defense, for showing how well characters take damage from primary and special attacks, respectively.
  • SL, SB + SI: Stairs-Limited, Stairs-Blocked and Stairs-Ignored. As this is a game starring some poor dipshit trying to fight with a walking cane, it’s important to keep in mind that stairs are now your mortal enemy, and many characters either cannot easily get past them, or simply can’t at all. Stairs-Ignored, naturally, is for situations where one can just float over it (like, say, a drone with a sword) (don’t worry about it).
  • SD: Self-Damaging, a “unique” trait of Tara’s. While moving in stances that don’t use her walking cane, she loses a % of her HP per-space based on how little WP she has left, from as little as 2% at full WP to as much as 15% with none.

There are five forms of primary equipment, of which each unit/stance gets access to one form:

  • Fist-based Weapons: Brass knuckles, MMA gloves, and anything else you can clench in your hands. Very high crit and hit rates, but unless your name rhymes with Para, has the lowest damage output.
  • Heavy Weapons: Bats, swords, and anything else requiring two hands to use. The best damage you can get, but often either inaccurate, slow or both.
  • Light Weapons: Knives, batons and anything else that can be held in one hand. Above average damage and hit rate, and not necessarily fast, but are all very likely to have useful secondary effects.
  • Throwing Assistance: Grip-friendly gloves for people willing to toss shit. The grippier the glove, the better the hit rate at longer distances, but the worse the crit rate and damage.
  • Support Items: Medkits, energy drinks and anything else consumable that a person in need might want. Has limited uses per-fight, but is the only consistent way to regain HP and WP.

Mementos are equippable items taking the form of sentimental keepsakes, and function as skills you can take on and off at will, to do the things traditional SRPG skills provide. With the exception of Tara, who gets to use one of each kind, every character will have two slots of some combination of the following memento types:

  • Attack: Damage ups, 2x advantages against certain weapons, etc.
  • Defense: HP ups, resistances to certain attacks, etc.
  • Speed: Speed ups, changing priorities of attacks, etc.

Example Item: Old Teddy Bear [D]
“A fuzzy, durable little animal that has seen many hardships. Gives a small chance to survive knock-out hits when held.”