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Showing posts from July, 2012

Mecha in the Real World

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Got a spare 1.35 million dollars? Want to buy a prototype mecha?

It may soon be possible.

There still seems to be  lot of work to go on this mechanical war machine, but it's loaded with a deadly arsenal and looks like it will only get more complex and closer to the machines we've seen in manga and anime.

I guess this means that it won't be a far stretch to fit mecha into my cyberpunk and post apocalyptic projects.

For more info..visit these links.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/30/3201328/kuratas-suidobashi-mech-robot-japan


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2180628/Dial-carefully-Meet-Kuratas-million-dollar-robot-weighs-tons-shoots-smile-controlled-iPhone.html#ixzz222famAPV

The Joys of LARP

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I used to LARP quite a bit. 
The culture of Live Action Role Playing used to be pretty big in Australia, but I haven't seen much of it in recent years. A few freeform games at conventions,a couple of groups clinging on to the heyday of White Wolf's "World of Darkness", a couple of weapon re-enactment groups...bit nothing that really made e want to get thoroughly into the immersive world of live action play like I used to. 
Leah (my wife) and I met during a LARP, and recently we've spoken about starting up something new. We've enticed the entire class at college with our stories of drama, action and dressing up. We've found a few table top gamers who are a bit intimidated by the idea of live play (but who are willing to check it out to see what it's all about). I've even spoken to cosplayers at comic and pop-culture conventions who would be willing to push their costuming antics to a new level.
Thanks to Joel Shempert, I've been alerted to an

Further Discussion on Equipment

There has been some great feedback regarding equipment in RPGs, thanks everyone.

It makes me think that I've been generally on the right track for equipment in Walkabout.

Walkabout is an evolutionary descendent of FUBAR, and FUBAR has never really had an organised equipment system because it's all about freeform chaos, loosely reigned by the choices of the players, the GM and the random draw of objective/location/conspiracy cards. My attempts to apply equipment into the FUBAR system have tempered the chaos, but that's not what FUBAR is about...so every attempt to quantify things has felt wrong. FUBAR has a propensity for gonzo...I want Walkabout to be a bit more low key.

But back to equipment...

A few key ideas spring to mind from my thoughts about roleplaying Vector Theory, these have been informed by various comments in response to my last post.

Equipment as Standard Possessions - This was always going to be the default position for the game; after all, it's the defau…

Equipment in Game Systems

Technology is one of the biggest advantages that humanity has had in its conquest of the world. It's a real thing...it does't require religious faith to work, it can't be argued that a tool is simply a morale boosting exercise...it is quantifiably an advantage. It isn't magic that requires ritual, arcane times and places or obscure componentry. Anyone can pick up a screwdriver and they become far more proficient at turning screws into their appropriately threaded holes, it might take a little instruction but you don't need psychic manifestation, noble birthright or wads of cash to make it happen.

But something seems to go awry when we translate items and equipment into roleplaying games.

The advantages provided by magic, religion, psychic powers and social status have been integrated into gaming mechanisms in many different ways across many different systems. In D&D, and many OSR products, magic gets a list of spells completely different in function and feel to…

Secure, Contain and Protect

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Sometimes you encounter something that just blows your mind on a metaphysical level...a thing that hints at a strange world lying just beyond our own...perhaps a work of creative genius...perhaps a doorway to strangeness that should never have been opened.

I remember back in the mid 1990s when the schwa corporation became an underground phenomenon.


I bought the manual, I saw the stickers and symbols all over the place and could feel that there was something at work in the world that most people couldn't see. It was like a conspiracy crossed with an in-joke.

But the whole thing vanished...as mysteriously as it came.

(See Here for some more information on the Schwa)

It existed when we were discovering the Technocracy through White Wolf's Mage: the Ascension, and the shadowy conspiracies of SLA Industries. It was grounded in our world, but existing beyond it...a dark twisted reflection of what we saw around us. If you can track down anything about the Schwa these days, it's a…

Walkabout (A Poll)

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This has been posted to Google Plus and the Australian Game Designers group on Facebook, but I thought I'd throw it out anyone who reads this blog. 
I've been playing with some logotypes for my game titles...anyone have any preferences among these??


For those who aren't aware, Walkabout is my post apocalyptic science-fantasy shamanpunk game where players take on the role of spiritual troubleshooters seeking to restore the balance in a spiritually wasted world.

Vulpinoid Studios is down

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I just decided to do some work to update the Vulpinoid Studios website...only to find that it isn't there.

I don't know how long this has been an issue, but I might be holding off on game design work for a while until I get the new and improved website up and running (with new a Vulpinoid Studios web store where Goblin Tarot decks, physical books and downloadable pdfs will be available).

What's happening in the rest of the gaming world?

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My last post on the ENnies highlights the fact hat there is a lot happening in the roleplaying world beyond the products pushed by the big companies.

I've been independently producing games for years, some for free, others as paid products. I've been active on forums where people are doing likewise.


Most of the forums I frequent have a lot of participants from North America, the UK and Scandinavia...so I know that there is some great design innovation happening in these parts of the world, but every now and then I hear inklings of game development in other corners of the world. 


Things like this... 

...but I'd love to find out what else is happening in the world of game development.
My analytics indicate a decent number of readers in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, so there's obviously some interest in games and game development in these parts of the world.
If you're from these parts of the world, let me know some of the stuff that you're doing. Let me kno…

When is a free game not a free game.

Simple answer, when it's nominated for the ENnies.

It's been pointed out by Rob over on 1km1kt that there are no truly free products nominated for the ENnies this year. Everything nominated in the category is simply a stripped back version of a rule-set being used as an advertisement for a paid system.

As someone who produces free games, I naturally think this is disgusting. There are dozens of truly free games produced every year, and some of them have some great production values. An award ceremony shouldn't have to resort to advertisements by major publishers to fill out their "FREE" category.

I could rant for pages on this, but I'll leave it here.

Fiasco on Tabletop

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I haven't had the chance to see it, but the first part of Tabletop's Fiasco run has hit the web.

You can see it here.



I like what Tabletop is doing, by exposing some great games that deserve some more exposure. If you get the chance, look through some of the episodes.

Despite not yet seeing the episode (my internet is really slow tonight), I'm fascinated by some of the reactions I've seen so far.

Over on Story Games, the usual fawning over a game that already considered a darling of the community. As a forum, this was one of the first pages to load up for me with news about the web broadcast.

Then my G+ opens up (slower because there's more graphics), and I see a wider spread of opinions with some game designers saying..."oh,that was nice. Now I know that I don't need to bother with Fiasco, it's not the game for me."

I'll add my 2 cents once I've actually watched the episode (probably Monday), but the show has certainly generated more talk…

Stories and Investigation

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There is something that drives all stories, whether the dramatic tension of a inter-character relationships, the adrenaline pumping of an action adventure or the shrouded enigma of a mystery.

In every story, there is something that stands in the way of one party achieving their goals...if the goals had no obstacles, they wouldn't be goals...and if they were easily achieved, then there wouldn't be much of a story.

Every type of story has obstacles, the genre of the story simply defines the type of obstacles expected.

For decades roleplaying has done action-adventure, where the obstacles are monsters, traps and magical curses.

For years, recent games have started to master the notion of interpersonal drama, where the obstacles are rivalries, love triangles, and situational triggers that prompt a characters primal drives in a given direction.

But recently, I've been hearing questions about ways to run a good investigation or mystery. These have been popping up in a few forums…

Campaign Play for FUBAR

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Those who read this blog probably know about my game FUBAR. If not, go and download yourself a copy (it's free).

It has proven itself to be a robust system for one-shots. It facilitates quick understanding of the rules, and mechanisms that blend into the background to focus on storytelling.I've had a few reports of other groups playing the game without me, and it seems to work on it's own.

The one thing I haven't had the chance to play with it is a sequence of multiple stories, with characters developing over the course of a series.

This will be remedied when I run my first FUBAR mini-campaign over the next couple of weeks. I'm thinking something vaguely steampunk at this stage, probably using the gunslinging rules I developed for "High Plains FUBAR", maybe starting with the protagonists as resurrected anti-heroes here to complete one last series of missions in a hope of redemption before hell claims their souls (a la "Dead and FUBARd").

With i…

The state of RPGs and Survival Games

Due to a lack of participants last night, the new "regular" game I've joined didn't run.

Instead I got to know the guys a bit better, and we had a good long chat about the state of roleplaying and computer games and general popular culture.

My wife and I about 10 years older than the other guys in the group; we've done a lot of roleplaying, both tabletop and LARP. As a result we've had heaps of exposure to plenty of different games, while the other players haven't really explored beyond their two standard games "Warhammer" and "Deadlands". The Warhammer GM mostly knows 3rd Edition (while I grew up on 1st/2nd Editions many years ago), and he's never played a game of D&D...he even commented that he doesn't understand how a d20 game would work. It didn't take long to remedy this, giving a quick explanation of the D&D rules. But it struck me as odd that there were gamers who had never played "the 800 pound gorilla&…

Hell on Eight Wheels: Eighteen - New Board Layout

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I've modified the game board to match more closely with the official track layout under the WFTDA. I'm thinking of adding some quick rule tips around the outside (or in the middle), such as the turn sequence for play, the movement details and the blocking sequence.

Just enough to make play a bit easier without cluttering up the design too much.

Hell on Eight Wheels: Seventeen - Advanced Rookie Rules

Stage 1.5: Advanced Rookie Rules
Additions to the 1.0 rules: -Skater stress when a skater plays a card higher than their relevant attribute. -Designation of the Lead Jammer and what this entails. -Refined Blocking Rules -Track Markings and the effects these have on movement
Play Requirements 1 x Track Board 10 x Skater Markers (5 per player) 20 x Speed Tokens (10 per player) 1 x Activation Marker 10 x Stress Markers 10 x Practice Skater Profile Cards (5 per player) A Standard Deck of Cards
Practice Skater Profiles 1. 1 x Jammer Soul: 8, Speed: 8, Strategy: 6, Strength: 6 (Ignore Abilities and Traits) 2. 3 x Blocker Soul: 6, Speed: 6, Strategy: 8, Strength: 8 (Ignore Abilities and Traits)
3. 1 x Pivot Soul: 8, Speed: 6, Strategy: 8, Strength: 6 (Ignore Abilities and Traits)
Set Up: Team and Board Set Up: As per Basic Rookie Rules.
Action Sequence: Activation: Any skaters highlighted by the activation marker activate. Any players with an active skater flip the skater’s face down card and play a car…

Zero Sum and Closed Environments

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For a long time I’ve been toying with zero sum concepts in games. By this, I mean a limited pool of resources shared among the players, perhaps even extending the concept to a limited pool of resources shared between players and antagonists.
There are a few ways you can play with a zero sum environment. Some of which I’ve touched on with “The Eighth Sea”, others with “FUBAR”, some have been scattered through my unfinished works, and a few ideas I’ve kept in mind for future projects. Many “euro” style board games incorporate the design methodology, and I’ve been looking at them as a source of inspiration lately.
A zero sum environment may be a known quantifiable figure at the beginning of play, or it may be an unknown ecosystem. It may manifest through play in a number of ways.
Consider a deck of cards used as a central mechanism for play. If those cards are not shuffled during the course of play, then there are a distinctly finite number of cards that can be played. Once a card is p…

Hell on Eight Wheels: Sixteen - Basic Rookie Rules

Stage 1.0: Basic Rookie Rules
Play Requirements 1 x Track Board 10 x Skater Markers (5 per player) 20 x Speed Tokens (10 per player) 1 x Activation Marker 10 x Practice Skater Profile Cards (5 per player) A Standard Deck of Cards
Practice Skater Profiles 1. 1 x Jammer Soul: 8, Speed: 8, Strategy: 6, Strength: 6 (Ignore Abilities and Traits) 2. 3 x Blocker Soul: 6, Speed: 6, Strategy: 8, Strength: 8 (Ignore Abilities and Traits)
3. 1 x Pivot Soul: 8, Speed: 6, Strategy: 8, Strength: 6 (Ignore Abilities and Traits)
Set Up: Team Set Up: Place the five rookie team cards on the team board. Shuffle the card deck, and deal ten cards to each player, then deal a face down card to each team member.  Once all cards have been dealt out, thirty will be on the table or in player’s hands, with twenty-four remaining in the deck.
Board Set Up: Each player places their skaters on the designated starting grid markers. A team’s three blockers and pivot may be placed interchangeably on any of the forward markers…

Females in a game campaign

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I guess this is sort of a follow on from my last post...not exactly, but it shares a few themes.

I roleplay because I like imagining situations that I could never get into in real life whether due to legal ramifications (letting out my aggression beating up on people/stuff or killing things), moral implications (screwing over other people remorselessly), physical reality (casting spells) or just generally getting into situations that make me think in different ways.

Roleplaying to me is not about the experience, and the rules of the game combine with the interactions of the people involved to create that experience.

With that in mind, Leah and I have joined a new group of players to start an old school Warhammer Fantasy campaign. This is a group that has been playing together for years, so we're the new couple. They haven't had a female gamer in their midst, and to looks like they haven't been sure how to take a female player. Apparently one of the players has played femal…

On Women...

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The topic of women in "geek culture" has been rattling around in my brain for a couple of weeks...whether gaming, cinema, comics, toys, or anything else.

I'll offer a few specific examples across a variety of elements from "geek culture".

- The "Wonder Woman" TV pilot episode which never made it past the producers, because it basically turned the Wonder Woman story into every other genre-formula adolescent drama story...and the sheer number of times we've heard about a Wonder Woman movie in the works, only to hear that it has suffered some kind of set back.  
- The outrage that many fans had about the reboot of the DC universe...with female characters reduced to sex objects (Catwoman) or having their costumes stripped back to skimpy strips of fabric (just about everyone else). This could be attributed to the general lack of female within the staff of DC, but that's probably just another symptom of the deeper problem.

- Recent outrage about a c…