As a part of the miniatures/live action game based in my goblin world, I've got four ways of inflicting penalties on a target:
Injury (Based on Bones) - A physical form of penalty Dishonour (Based on Bugs) - A social form of penalty Scourge (Based on Cogs) - A spiritual/psychic form of penalty Panic (Based on Tools) - A mental form of penalty
If a goblin suffers a point of penalty, all actions within that spehere suffer a minor impairment.
If a goblin suffers a second point in the same form of penalty, all actions within that sphere suffer a major impairment.
If a goblin suffers a third point in the same form of penalty, they are removed from play for the remainder of the turn.
At the end of the turn there is a chance that a goblin will reduce their current penalties, but the more penalzed they become, the harder it is for them to shake off the issues that afflict them.
The whole point here is that a goblin can drive off their foes by doing various types of harm, whether physically injurin…
I don't like it when an author or artist simply uses a different font to represent another culture's language. To make the goblins distinct, I've been working on a numbering system and a complete language from scratch.
The language won't be ready for a few more months (maybe even a year or two), so it won't be a part of the tarot release, but the numbers are ready and will be used to mark the cards.
For those of you who are unaware, I've started an IndieGoGo project to fund the first part of my Goblin game. This project is called the Goblin Tarot and begins by providing a tarot deck derived from the mythology of my goblin world. Those who contribute a little more will receive a booklet containing some games to play with the card deck, some further insight into the goblin world and some goblinesque methods of divination. For information about this project, visit the IndieGoGo site. (P.S. If you've got any available funds and you'd love a fun present for this years festive season, I'd appreciate a few new backers)
There could be a break in transmission as I transfer files from an old laptop to a new one. Especially when it comes to transferring those frequently used programs such as the Office Suite, Photoshop, and the various other programs I use for 3D rendering and game design. Hopefully this should take no longer than a day or two.
Goblins are a race of huge genetic diversity; there are big ones, small ones, scaly, furry, green skinned, brown. Trying to catalogue them all would be a nigh impossible task. Trying to create a roleplaying game or a miniatures game capable of capturing the diversity is surely a fool's errand. But that's the task I've set for myself. So how do I do it? At this stage I'm treating goblin desriptions fairly simply, with two modular parts. Firstly a racial heritage that defines a series of baselines, then a series of occupations that boost those baselines. It seems to be fairly ordinary stuff, many games have a similar structure. But I get the feeling that a genetically diverse and decadent race that has evolved into hundreds of niches requires a carefully structured society to avoid devolving into complete anarchy. Goblins are traditionally treated as anarchists, so this might be their tendency when far from the central authorites of their race. The "powers that be" wo…
A bit more information regarding my thought processes on the Goblin Labyrinth.
First a few key design points for the project.
The game uses a combination of live play and miniatures.The game needs to be scalable for a variety of play group sizes. Ideally, anything from 2 players to 200. But it's more likely we'll be looking at the 6 to 30 range.All players need to be connected to at least 3 other players through some kind of relationship (whether that comes in the form of an alliance or a rivalry).The game needs to be fairly self-sufficient in terms of ecosystem and economy within the game world and narrative potential. (Any GMs need only be present to help resolve rule disputes between players, a small game between experienced players shouldn't need GMs at all).The game needs to generate story through meaningful player decisions.The game needs to be fun and easy to learn. It's a tough set of criteria, but I'm gradually finding my way towards a rule set that fulfils e…
For the last couple of nights I've been crossing and meandering between two projects.
Number 1: Finishing off "The Great Bard", my game chef entry which seems to have drawn a bit of interest (Thanks for the review Steve).
Number 2: Getting the goblin mob combat rules to sit right in my head.
I've revised and refined the concept a bit.
We now follow a standard pattern for all different types of actions, whether combative, mystical or otherwise.
It works off a few simple notions.
a) Goblin characters are surrounded by mobs of lackeys, the mob can be any size as long as you've got the money to keep paying them. Lackeys are expendible and work like a combination of special abilities and hit points...once you lose a particular lackey, you lose access to the ability provided by that lackey and your mob size gets smaller. b) When a goblin engages a task or enters conflict with another mob, they select a team from their mob. This team size is based on the leadership of the gobl…
As an avid miniatures painter, and a fan of small press and indie games, I'm always interested in the new products available from the smaller miniatures manufacturers.
Those who appreciate fine figures will probably be familiar with the work of Freebooter miniatures already, with beautifully sculpted and delicate miniatures that are a joy to paint.
But in the last few months, Freebooter has released their own game system, Freebooter's Fate.
It's a card based system, rather than dice (so that gets my seal of approval). But the use of cards is really clever. So much so, that I'm thinking of using a similar system in a game of my own.
Characters have attack scores and defence scores, they also have areas of the body where they can be hit. The areas of the body are identified by cards (Head, Torso, Abdomen, Right Arm, Left Arm, Legs), and an attacking character plays a number of these cards equal to their attack score, while a defender plays a number of these cards equal to th…
Lots of potential in it, but I just wasn't able to realise that potential in time.
So it's back to my pet project of the Goblin Labyrinth.
The Goblin City (Status Report) I've sculpted up the first two of my blank hex templates for the labyrinthine Goblin city, these blanks are made from plaster and I'll be carving them and adding to them until I get the desired result. I'll probably be sculpting a few dozen more of these blank templates before I'm done. If I get the chance I'll update the vulpinoid studios website with a few works in progress.
Goblin Tarot (Status Report) I've started generating a few more images for the minor arcana. Just assorted goblins displaying a wide range of cultural heritage, and posed in a variety of comical, macabre or slightly odd manners. I'll be compositing these images into cards shortly for uploading onto deviantart.
The Miniatures Game (Status Report) Last night I sta…
I've finished my Game Chef Entry, it's not as good as I'd hoped, there are a few issues with it. I've just uploaded it onto 1km1kt, it's called "The Great Bard". Have a look, I'll be critiquing my own work shortly.
I don't know how many people are already aware of this movie, but as a LARPer myself it instantly grabbed my attention. The fact that it has Summer Glau, Ryan Kwanten and Peter Dinklage in it is just an added bonus. Knights of Badassdom
I've come to the conclusion that what I'm trying to write for this contest is basically "Primetime Adventures" for an Elizabethan/Jacobean play instead of a TV show. It's mostly all about relationships between characters, and fitting that into a 5 act structure. ...the problem is that I keep trying to add "Realism" into the mix. I want characters to have relations to one another, but I also want them to have relationships to areas ("This is my home ground", "This is somewhere I'm not liked"), and I want these relationships to evolve in play. In fact, that's one of the important parts to this game and to the plays of the era. Characters grow, relationships change. But I don't want the final product to become a convoluted mess of systems and subsystems. Maybe I need to sleep on it again.
At the moment I'm painting up a series of figures from the Malifaux and Freebooter's Fate ranges. Some of these are absolutely beautiful miniatures, and they deserve to be painted with the utmost care and attention. Otherwise the paintwork just doesn't do justice to the raw metal. So I decided to do some research, and looked into a few websites focused on miniature painters. Cool Mini or Not came up, and there is always some great work on that site, but a lot of that is hidden amongst the mediocre...I was looking for something with a bit more information. A bit more looking and I found the Paintrix.
The point that prompted this post was over on one of my regular haunts, 1km1kt... So the question is, how can we be proactive about this situation. Could we implement a 1km1kt rating system based on either reader votes of a shadowy cabal like the MPAA? If we haven't already, a "your top five free games" might help to ensure a person's first contact with free is something good and not yet another attempt to re-write D&D. ...so the question is whether this would be feasible, who would be involved and how would we ensure that the feedback is meaningful. Perhaps there is already something that could be used as a basic model for the concept, a site like Cool Mini or Not), or maybe I could generate up a computer database system allowing people to assign a value from 1-10 for specific categories (innovation of rules, readability, layout, etc.), then applying weighting component to someone's votes based on the number of products they've voted on, reviews they may ha…
Chain World An amazing story of a game as art and religion. I'm not going to write any more on this except to say that a similar type of thing was attempted within the indie rpg design community last year with a set of components passed from one designer to the next in a chain of creativity. Read the article, tell me what you think.
I've had a few ideas for Game Chef this year. But I'm not sure which one to run with. I've also had a few ideas for mechanisms. The soft 3000 word limit is the killer for me. That's about 3-4 pages of text. Far less than I'd normally write. But that's all part of the challenge I guess.
I love "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", and I've long toyed with the idea of writing a novel in this vein, where the plot of my narrative intertwines with the narrative of a classic, key points in both crossing over at twists and junctions.
I can even justify some of these ideas within the context of my vector theory of RPG design.
The players choose minor characters from a Shakespearean play, characters who don't die in the traditional text (or if they do, maybe it only seems that way...and they'll have to make deliberate efforts to avoid appearing in future crossover scenes). If such characters die in the new story, perhaps someone can masquerade as their role when the next crossover occurs.
Spontaneous thought: In the last run of David Tennant as the Doctor (in Dr Who), there is a notion that some events in spacetime are fixed, while o…
One Theme, Four Secret Ingredients (from which you must choose two), then 10 days to produce a fine-tuned gaming hot rod to compete among the dozens of of entrants.
I've done Game Chef a few times, I usually just make up the numbers. Maybe my games a bit too pedestrian in some respects, maybe they're just a bit too long winded (my entries are usually twice the page count of the average entry). Or it could be that I'm still not a "recognized" name in the independent gaming crowd.
In fact, at many conventions I've been known as the "GM with the props". Oversized water pistols given to commando characters and space marines.Elaborate little trinkets to evoke a specific feeling for a character.Diaries filled with hastily scrawled diagrams and barely legible handwriting.Show jewellery.First aid kits to designate the party's medic.Bottles of wine to depict an alcohol (or wine connoisseur).Toy coins to depict the use of actual currency in a game. I've used all of these and many more.
It's not that I don't trust the imaginations of the other players involved in a session, it's more that I find people's tactile response engages at a quicker pace and a more instinctive level. If you don't have to imagine the boring bits, you can focus on the drama and the action.
This might also stem from my background in Live Action roleplaying; costume and props certainly play a more prominent role in games of this type. But I've …
I don't know if it's the first Doctor Who RPG, or if it's just an early one, but the fact that it's now freely downloadable for personal use makes it a great starting point for exploring systems and settings within the universe of our favourite Gallefreyan.
I haven't thoroughly delved into it yet (or the free expansion), but I plan to shortly.
Perhaps there will be a time travelling FUBAR expansion on its way.
Looking through my old posts, I see a few ideas that really need re-addressing.
One of those is the "Unexploited Resource" series.
So to resume the concept, here's an idea I've been thinking about for a while. Music in games.
I remember a few years ago, actually it was the mid to late 1990s. It was the traditional "end of convention" trip to the pub...a common occurrence that still happens at Australian RPG conventions. A friend of mine was sharing an idea over a drink. He had recently placed a computer game in a regular CD player on a whim,and he found that the background tracks and theme music for the game were readable as music files on the CD player.
This game him a few key music loops that might have proven useful as introductory fanfares for specific NPCs, but more interestingly, the game included a heartbeat.
In the computer game, the heartbeat soundtrack sped up as the character became nervous, excited or stressed, and it slowed down when the character a…
I've been posting away at this blog for a while now (since early 2008) and have had a variety of jobs. The blog actually started off early with a string of posts about my dissatisfaction regarding the corporate world.
In the time since I've been writing this blog, I've been an IT specialist, a printer, a bookseller, a freelance game writer, a layout artist, a student and a web designer...Most of those roles I've been paid for.
For the last few months I've been struggling to make roleplaying books my primary source of income. It's not been easy, especially when other issues keep cropping up. I'm probably earning enough money through RPGNow that I can adequately sustain myself on packet noodles and a few cheap cans of food...certainly not comfortable, and not even enough to pay the rent, but it's a start.
So that's meant I've had to look for more substantial work (the job-hunting has cut into my game design time immeasurably).
According to a number of people within the Facebook group Wenman Family Reunion, it appears that I could be related to gypsies.
I find this hugely ironic, when a number of people told me not to pursue my ideas for the game Brigaki Djili. My most vocal opponents decried my work as an act of "cultural appropriation", but now it seems I can counter their arguments by saying that I am actually exploring my ancestry and cultural roots through my work on this game.
I realise that if anyone traces their family tree far enough, they can justify almost anything, but this gypsy/traveller connection only stretches back a couple of generations, and it seems that there are still a high proportion of travellers who bear the Wenman name.
In fact, one of the origins of the surname "Wenman" is said to be "Wain-man" or "Wagon-man".
Maybe it's time to start working on that project again.
Another one of those common topics of discussion on independent gaming forums involves the concept of shared imagination space, or shared imagined space, or simply SIS. I’ve heard a dozen interpretation of what this actually is, but the concept I like the best is like a communal daydream where everyone adds something into it, and everyone else reacts to the addition. Three types of contributors add to the communal daydream, the GM who sets the stage, the players who act through their players within the setting and the game mechanisms which often impose a level of coherency or apply genre specific physics to the situation.All of these forces are pulling at the SIS, the GM is often trying to pull the story toward a predetermined goal, the players are typically pulling the SIS in a way to highlight the advantages and strengths of their characters, the system often works to stop players or GM from gaining absolute control over events, thus turning the story into a game experience.With the…
(I apologize to the people who've been following the development of this game, those helpful people who've provided insight and encouragement as I've been plugging away at this project...but I've provided a deeper background for those people who aren't up to speed, or who just want to see where my current thoughts lie in context)I’m stuck.I’m trying to write a skirmish level wargame that plays out in real time.Each player takes on the role of a goblin in an ancient civilization that long ago conquered its entire world, laying a grand labyrinth across entire continents before opening chasms in time-space and spreading their labyrinth to new worlds. The goblins have such a huge empire that they have fractured as a people, fighting among themselves more often than they fight outsiders, they have mutated into dozens of subraces. The subraces commonly fight each other through political intrigue and occasionally by brawling in the streets. The great goblin empire has lit…
I’m one of those GMs who runs a reactionary game. I ask every player to devise some kind of goal before trying to determine a story outline. I’ll develop a game plan for a session once the first scene has played out and I’ve got an idea of where the group would like to take things. Don’t get me wrong, I like to organise things. I’ll prepare a setting, with an assortment of locations ready action, a rogues gallery of NPCs ready to throw into scenes and a few potential treasures or maguffins. In some circles, I think my GMing style is called “playing unsafe” but I prefer to think of it as allowing players to actually make decisions for their characters, providing the opportunity to explore the setting and explore the characters within that setting.As a player, I’ve participated in sessions run by similar GMs and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve also played in sessions run by GMs who prefer to simply run things according to a set scenario with no allowance for player decisions to really …
In the independent game design crowd, there are plenty of discussions and arguments about what makes a next generation roleplaying game and how this compares to the old generation of games (and their legacy). One of the common things brought up is the ability for players to take more control into their own hands. Taking risks for added chances to achieve important goals, being able to accept responsibility for your actions by deliberately imposing complications to your own character. Instead of accepting the railroading or deprotagonising effects from the GM, you step up and become a true protagonist again. Destiny is back in the hands of the players and the story becomes a collaborative effort once again.It sounds a bit over the top. A lot of us got into roleplaying because that’s the kind of thing that our game books promised us, quite a few people never experience this and they either become jaded and leave the hobby, or they change their expectations of the hobby and become conten…
I've had an idea for a series of posts about ways to spice up your roleplaying games. Just some simple things that can be applied to just about any system or genre. A lot of these things are probably ideas that you already incorporate into your games (especially if you are a story-gamer or a "non-traditional" gamer), but I know that there are quite a few groups who will find these ideas new. The first idea was something that I picked up in a forum a few weeks ago, I don't remember which forum it was in, or what game it was suggested for, but I was really tempted to throw it into my rewrite of FUBAR. I didn't, and instead I'll be incorporating it into one of the genre expansions for the game (maybe one focused around action movies)... ...anyway, enough with the background for this post...on to the meat... A few of the old games I remember playing had a distinct problem with characters, it might have been something to do with the players (we were teenagers with few …
Here is one of those many backburner projects that I've been working on for quite some time.
I've just been waiting for the right moment of inspiration to hit, and over the last few days it has.
Over the course of two days, I've drawn up a dozen or so images for a deck of cards based on Goblins; the kind of goblins you see in the movie "Labyrinth", also known as Froud Goblins. But these goblins are my own variation on them.
The suits for the deck are "Bugs", "Bones", "Cogs" and "Tools". I'm not sure if these preliminary suit images will act as the background for the numbered cards or if they will simply end up as atmospheric pieces to inspire creativity for the deck.
I have also generated the "Ladies" for each deck (roughly equivalent to the Queens in a standard deck of playing cards).
Over 1000 downloads from the various sites where it is available, and most of the feedback I've had from it has been pretty positive.
The game has appeared on a Russian game related database, as well as appearing on a few English speaking databases (where I wasn't the one to add the game)...it seems that people are taking notice of it, and I've got to be happy about that.
With this in mind, I've taken on board some of the feedback I've received and have expanded the game from 30 pages to 50...thus making the FUBAR Director's Cut.
To make this version of the game even more open, I've specifically released it under a Creative Commons license. I'd love to see a few people pick up the mechanisms, and run with them in entirely new directions
Daniel Solis is releasing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple via Kickstarter.
And the success of this project has basically gone viral for the purposes of indie games. It even got a shout out on Wired.
It looks like it's going to be a great game, and Kickstarter looks like an awesome way to fund a project.
...but it can't be used to fund projects outside the USA.
I've been looking for similar funding forums that do work outside the US. My searches probably haven't been as thorough as they could have been, since I've always come away with a generally negative response.
But now I've found IndieGoGo, and I might be able to put together a project of my own.
I'm thinking about putting together a physical copy of FUBAR, now that I've written up a second edition of the game...maybe putting out a proper version of Walkabout...or something new.
I haven't decided, but they'll probably all get a run at some stage. mjnh
For the past 12 months I've been working on a number of projects, some of which I've publicised, others of which I've kept very quiet about.
There have been stints in hospital, moving of house, looking for work...but on the more creative side, I've probably been generating more artwork than I have in over a decade. Some of this can be found on my deviantart profile, a great deal more is found on scraps of paper, cardboard and scattered computer files.
A lot of this work has been an attempt to get my head straight about future projects, I've built up a catalogue of inspiration images, atmospheric photography, sketches and diagrams.
...which means I've basically put the Game Mechanism of the week project on sabbatical. At this stage I'd have fifteen weeks or so to catch up on, and I'd rather be designing than theorising about design.
Over the next few weeks I'd like to reveal some of the design ideas I've been working on, to see if there is any inter…
I'm so relieved, after years of working on it, my graphic novel is finally coming together. I've now completed a beta draft of the first issue...and here are the first few pages. If you're interested in reading it (before I send it off for submission to various pubishers), I'll try to send across a pdf of the first issue. Anyway, here's the first few pages...
My internet situation still hasn't improved much...still living the life of a Wi-Fi nomad. As a result of that, I'll still be writing the series of Game Mechanisms of the Week, but they'll probably be uploaded sporadically in bursts...a few weeks at a time after they've been written (or even a couple of weeks in advance if I get the chance). Hopefully this won't put you off from reading them and offering some kind of feedback. I've still got the spam filter activated on the blog, so if you are making comments and you don't see them for a few days (or even weeks), don't send them through multiple times...it probably just means I haven't had the chance to authorise them yet. I'd ike to think the internet issue will be resolved soon, but it's really not a high priority at the moment....finishing up the writing of my comic and a few other personal projects are actually getting completed without the distraction of the web. Thanks for the perseverance…
The version of L5R that I’m most familiar with is 2nd Edition. I’ve played a bit of 3rd Edition, so I know that a lot of the fundamentals are very similar….as for other versions I’m not as sure.The basic system for the core mechanism is fairly similar to the structure I described for the percentile system, but there are enough differences to make it worthwhile examining…especially the fact that it allows players to take a bit more control for themselves when the GM is using the system correctly. It should also be noted that a GM can use the system incorrectly, and when they do this it is barely any different to the basic percentile system. I’ll describe this later.The basic system follows 4 steps:1.Scene is set for the action. Target number is determined, along with a pool of dice to roll based on the attribute and skill to be used in the task.2.You may choose to raise the difficulty to gain an added effect from the action.3.Dice are rolled, the best are kept (the number kept depends …
I’m going to start this analysis with one of the old chestnuts of roleplaying, the percentile skill system. This is found in earlier versions of D&D, as well as the range of Palladium roleplaying games, Call of Cthulhu, and plenty of the Old-School Renaissance games. It’s a simple game mechanism following three basic steps.1. You have a target number; the target number is typically based on your character’s skill level plus or minus a difficulty factor. The reason for the difficulty factor is typically described in the fiction. 2. You roll a percentile die and compare it to the target number.3. One of two results occursa.You beat the target number and you either gain an advantage or avoid a penalty.b.You fail to beat the target number and you either suffer a penalty or don’t gain the advantage. This mechanism can be applied in a few ways in a game.In many “railroaded” linear games, the percentile roll is simply used to determine whether advantages are gained while on the inevitabl…
Converging Story – A story with a fixed end point. The GM has a specific idea of where they would like the story to go, and even though the path may be twisted and erratic, the story will end up there regardless of the actions undertaken along the way. Real Play Example: A story has a tyrannical despot as the core antagonist, he is gradually gaining power and there is no way out of the land except to face him. Regardless of what the characters do the despot will gain power and eventually he will have to be confronted (either on his terms or the character’s terms).Diverging Story – A story with a fixed starting point. The GM specifically sets the opening scene to put events into motion. The events that occur later within the story are commonly derived from this particular opening moment, or from a fixed series of events that lead to that moment.Real Play Example: A story begins with the characters stranded somewhere, they don’t know why, they don’t know how. Events leading up to the str…