26 April, 2015

How much can you say without words?

"I am Groot"

It's not a lot but context is important and can turn a simple phrase into something funny, deep, confusing, or serious.

Between studying Pragmatics (the use of language in context), and the current 200 word RPG design contest, I'm really thinking about ways to maximise the use of language by providing a quick context, then minimising the remaining word count. 

I'm wondering if it would be too much of a cheat to use images and iconography to get meanings across, it would certainly do the job effectively...but are the images just a proxy for words?

Hmm... This could get dangerous.

25 April, 2015

Reliquary - A second 200 word RPG


This one's more of a storytelling game than an RPG, with players taking the roles of Spirit-imbued Relics trying to convince a thief that they need to get away from the treasure hoard and back into circulation in the world.

Reliquary

24 April, 2015

Redacted - a 200 word RPG

OK, here it is.



200 Word RPGs

There's this thing going around at the moment where people try to write a game or a supplement for an existing game with a maximum of 200 words.

With all the pocketmod work I've done over recent years, this might be an interesting challenge (rather than a simple exercise in futility).

I might give it a go.

Maybe write the whole thing up as a pocketmod with two or three sentences per page.

23 April, 2015

Web Meanderings

I just dropped by Story Games for a peek this morning. Mostly the same people, talking about mostly the same stuff, telling everyone how much they "ARE NOT THE FORGE", being faux inviting as long as your talking about the inner clique's indie hotness, and offering the cold shoulder if you want to talk about something else (except for a few regular fanatics when it comes to specific topics)...

...it's been almost a year since my last post there, and I opened my last post with a comment like "Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since I posted here".

I used to visit regularly, maybe daily. I'd post things at least twice a week, and respond to plenty of comments. Now I get most of my gaming fix from discussions on dedicated Facebook groups (such as "Roleplaying Opinions" and "Australian Game Designers"), or through numerous circles and pages on G+. The only forum where the people I like are discussing things of relevance to me seems to be 1km1kt, but even that's gone a bit dead lately (and after posting my 314th post on the 3/14/15, it feels wrong to break the pi sanctity by making new posts over there). Most of the designers from 1km1kt are in my Facebook and G+ associates anyway, a few are regular commenters here.

I guess things change, and we change along with them.

22 April, 2015

It's pretty messy at this stage, but here is...

Character Generation
Other strangeness uses two methods to define characters. The first method is static, it defines the flat unchanging physical capacities of the character, such as their mutations and inherent aptitudes. The second method is dynamic, it defines the progress and advancement of a character as they are exposed to new lessons and integrate new knowledge into their understanding of the world.  

Start with 6 points in the general progress path.

Origin
Choose One or Roll
1
Accidental Mutation
6 Mutagen
4 pts in an Ecological Niche path
Unstable, +2 points to Psy or Sanctum
2
Alien Race
6 Mutagen
6 pts in a Vocation path
Stable, Alone, Exotic
3
Cryptozooid
0 Mutagen
4pts in an Ecological Niche path
Stable, Allied
4
Dimensional Variant
6 Mutagen
4 pts in a Vocation path
Alone, Exotic
5
Experimentation
2 Mutagen
2 pts in an Ecological Niche path
Allied
6
Magical Transformation
4 Mutagen
4pts in an Education path
Unstable, Allied
7
Temporal Evolution
6 Mutagen
4 pts in a Vocation path
Alone, Exotic
8
Variant Evolution
4 Mutagen
6 pts in a Vocation path
Stable, Alone
Stable: mutagenic effects suffer -1 success when targeted the character
Unstable: mutagenic effects gain a bonus success when targeting the character)
Alone: may not start with allies, contacts, influence or status, gain sanctum or equipment instead
Exotic: may not have “Appearance: Full”, gains no bonus mutagen points for the first appearance devolution.  

Mutation Effects
Choose (or Randomly Determine) a Type of Animal
(The actual process for this is currently being determined)

Animal Type (All animals have a common and uncommon element, a common and pair of uncommon ecological niches, and a common and pair of uncommon starting adverbs). 
6 pts to spend...(common = 1pt, uncommon = 2pts, rare = 3pts)...

First...
Choose the animal's commonly associated bonus attribute (1pt)
Choose the animal's uncommonly associated bonus attribute (2pts)
Choose a bonus attribute not typically associated with the animal (3pts)

Second...
Choose the animal's commonly associated ecological niche (1pt)
Choose one of the animal's uncommonly associated ecological niches (2pts)
Choose an ecological niche not typically associated with the animal (3pts)

Third...
Choose the animal's commonly associated adverb (1pt)
Choose one of the animal's uncommonly associated adverbs (2pts)
Choose an adverb not typically associated with the animal (3pts)

...any unspent points are added to the general progress path.

Start with a number of Mutagen points according to the character’s origin.

Stability: If the character’s origin granted them the “stable” trait, this may be sacrificed to gain +4 Mutagen points. If the character has no stability traits, they may gain the “unstable” trait to gain +4 Mutagen points.
Appearance: Gain +2 Mutagen points per level of devolution. Up to a maximum indicated by the animal type.
Hands/Biped/Speech: Gain +2 Mutagen points per level of devolution. Up to a maximum indicated by the animal type, or the appearance devolution (whichever is lower)
Size: If the chosen animal type is smaller than size class 7, you may reduce size class by 1 to gain +2 Mutagen points. This may be done a number of times until the animal’s natural size class is reached.

Once Mutagen has been accumulated, it may be spent on benefits from the chosen animal.
Stability: If the character’s origin granted them the “unstable” trait, they may buy this off with 4 Mutagen points. If the character has no stability traits, they may buy the “stable” trait with 4 Mutagen points.
Adverbs: The character may purchase one of the adverbs associated with the animal by spending 4 Mutagen points.
Animal Physiology: Animals have a range of natural physiological abilities that may be purchased by a mutant, all physiological abilities from the character’s “animal type” have a cost from 1 to 6 Mutagen points. A character may choose a physiological abilities from another animal, but such abilities have their cost doubled (characters with the “Stable” trait may not do this). Every time a character does this, they earn a Strange point.
Psy Powers: As unnatural beings all mutants have the potential to develop a connection to the Strange. This connection often manifests in the form of Psy Powers, a character gains a number of Strange points equal to the number of Mutagen points spent on Psy Powers.

Education 
Choose One or Roll
1
Instinctive
Ecological Niche (+6 pts)
Sanctum or Reputation (+2 pts)
2
Indoctrinated
Ecological Niche (+2 pt), Education (+4 pts)
Sanctum or Mentor (+2pts) 
3
Mentored
Education (+2 pt), Vocation (+4 pts)
Allies or Mentor (+2 pts)
4
Schooled
General (+4pts), Vocation (+2 pts)
Contacts or Mentor (+2 pts)
5
Enlightened
General (+4 pts), Enlightenment (+2 pts)
Status or Psy (+2pts)
6
Programmed
Education (+4 pts), Vocation (+2pts)
Allies or Equipment (+2 pts)
7
Taught
Education (+4 pts), General (+2pts)
Influence or Contacts (+2pts)
8
Apprenticed
Vocation (+6pts)
Contacts or Allies (+2 pts)

Personal Touches (6pts)

Spend points to boost General or Specific paths
Each point spent increases a path by one dot.

Spend points for Backgrounds/Relations
Each point spent increases a background/relation by one dot.

Note Strange Points

Specify equipment and other backgrounds/relations.
For every level of allies, specify an ally (choose an NPC option) and indicate where they live in the city.
For every level of contacts, specify a field of knowledge for a group of contacts and indicate a part of the city where these contacts may be found.
For every level of equipment, specify a piece of equipment, and explain where it was scavenged or bought in the city.
For every level of influence, specify a field of influence and a part of the city where this influence is focused
If the character has any levels of mentor, describe the mentor, explain who they are, how they were met, and where they can be found in the city.
If the character has any levels of psy, explain how they became enlightened and what they think of their connection to the deeper powers of the universe.
For every level of reputation, specify a location where this reputation is known.
For every level of sanctum, specify a feature of the sanctum that makes it a valuable hiding place, then indicate where the sanctum is located in the city.

If the character has any levels of status, explain who this status is linked to, and where in the city this group may be found.

21 April, 2015

Inspiration Dies

For those who saw my little game about ferrets named "Tooth and Claw" there is some sad news.

One of the constantly troublemaking ferrets who inspired the game has been struggling with respiratory problems, and generally losing the race against the eternal predator of time. Yesterday, we took her to the vet and we were offered a choice between a few more days of increasing agony for her, or injection that would painlessly put her to sleep and slow her heartbeat to nothing, before allowing her to pass on. It was a tough decision, but she had a good life with us, and we didn't want her to continue suffering.

In ferret circles we say that Slinkabell crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and now wardances and creates mischief forever with her friends on the other side.