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Showing posts from February, 2013

The Conflict Wheel

I've never read the specific details of the system, but I've heard it mentioned, described and critiqued by a range of people. I understand the system is found in the game 'Exalted' by White Wolf (or whatever it is they're calling themselves these days). There may be precedent for it before this point, but I'm not sure.

It basically works like this.

Instead of initiative with alternating actions, everyone is assigned a place on a circular track based on a combination of their reaction speed and a randomiser. Like a clock-face, there is a counting mechanism that moves around the track...when it comes to you, your character gets to act. If you perform a quick task you move a little bit around the circular track with your action and it doesn't take long for the counter to reach you again. If you perform a complex task you move around the circular track a larger distance and it takes longer until it reaches your turn again. The most complicated of tasks might h…

Thoughts for Voidstone Chronicles

I've had a few more thoughts about where to head for an interesting game environment in Voidstone Chronicles. The key to this setting is that it exists on a series of floating discs.

Naturally, the movement between discs would be a significant factor.

I'm generally viewing the setting as a giant clockwork device, developed 'in the grand fantasy tradition' by an ancient and mysterious magical race who have been long  forgotten (or who have disappeared for some arcane reason). The rate of disc spin and disc movement through the world is goverened by percieved laws, some rotate like orbital gears, others  linkto one another and might spininsuch a way that is governed by the position of other nearby discs.

If I wanted this to be a high crunch game, I could provide engineering tables and elaborate details on how these gears interact, but most people just don't bother to read that stuff. This is going to be another simple game, and it's rules are basically derived fr…

All Quiet on the Observation Front

It's been a while since I last posted anything here... a week maybe more. It's hard to tell because I'm using a new toy to write this post.

I've started university this week, going back into study after a break of over ten years in the 'real world'. My new toy is a free iPad 4 with Retina Display, all off the new students were given one. I might review a couple of RPG related apps if I get the chance.

For the moment, I'll try to get to a few more 'game mechanisms' since I think I'm running behind by a week or two (maybe three). There are a few more maps and images to display as well.

So, I haven't quite dropped off the face of the Earth...I just figured I'd keep you all informed.


Cold City Map Work

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Because I like giving my players some decent props, I've drawn up a few maps for our Cold City campaign in progress.

There will only be one more week of this mini campaign, but that doesn't mean we can't have nice things.

 A warehouse raided in episode 1. The Nazi bunker that has been requisitioned as an underground base of operations by the heroes (with convenient entrances via the subway and sewer system of course). The Cathedral overtaken by cultists in episode 2.

Font Work

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For those who were interested in seeing the rough workings for the fonts I'm currently developing, these are basically the proof sheets. Three different fonts that could be used for a variety of purposes...





A Peek at Voidstone Chronicles

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Work in Progress

Voidstone Thoughts

A world of spinning discs floating in the eye of a storm; perhaps a storm the size of Jupiter's roving maelstrom. All around, the clouds sweep with mists and gaseous vapours, gradually approaching deadly speeds as you travel further from the civilised discs of the core. But for those willing to risk the discs on the edge there can be riches to uncover, fragments of civilisations lost to antiquity. For those willing to go further into the mists there are dreams and nightmares beyond imagining.

Who wants to come exploring?

Evocative Character Imagery

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I like character portraits that are done well.

Portraits that hint at a character's past and their environment through the clothes they wear and their assorted  adornments.






These were shared on G+ yesterday, but due to an erratic internet connection and a few things that needed to be done, it wasn't until today that I finally managed to get the links open. As a result of that, I can't remember who shared them. Sorry, I'd give credit where it's due if I could remember or open the page from which they were shared.


The artists who produced these works...
noiprox.deviantart.com
depingo.deviantart.com

...I'm sure they have other great stuff but I'm having trouble opening anything at the moment.

For a range of other cool images have a look at Digitaldraco's collection over on Pinterest.

3 Ladies for Valentines Day

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I've just uploaded February's three new character types for Ghost City Raiders...and in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I've created 3 women who belong to a secretive order known only as "The Sisterhood".



Hopefully next week, I'll have uploaded a trio of interconnected storylines for these characters to participate in.

They aren't necessarily designed to work as a team, but when they are together, their abilities should produce a few twists in the play experience.

Have a look over at RPGNow.

Daughter of Bastet
Daughter of Isis
Daughter of Maat

Game Mechanism of the Week [Neo-Redux] 6: Critical Hits

It may seem to go against the other things I've posted in this series, but I like critical hits. Even though they may slow a game down, they inject an extra degree of flavour into the narrative.

Critical hits don't happen all the time, and that's one of the things that makes them interesting. Worked carefully into a system the open up a range of possibilities, but when ad-hoc shoved into an otherwise elegant system they can simply seem like an annoying diversion from the real action.

Description:
Different games handle the mechanism of the "Critical Hit" in different ways. The classic old-school version said that if you roll a natural 20 (that's a roll of 20 on the 20-sided die, before any modifiers are applied) then a critical hit occurred. A critical hit might do maximum damage, it might do double the damage rolled, or it might have an effect based off a table.

3rd Edition D&D started messing around with this formula by creating threat ranges; where if y…

Game Mechanism of the Week [Neo Redux] 5: Closed Games

Today it could be argued that I'm looking at a game convention or restraint rather than a mechanism. But, if you follow the "Big Model" of game design theory, then the social contract and human expectation of a game environment are just as intrinsic to the experience as the rules inked into the books defining setting and system. In this way, the concept of today's topic is a valid mechanism within the play experience.

I was also reading through "Hot War" last night (the award winning follow-up to Cold City), and it mentioned the notion of today's discussion within the text of the rules. So that makes it an even more legitimate point of mechanism discussion.

The idea is the Closed Game.

Description:
When I was in high school I remember there being two or three groups of students in higher years than me, they were running D&D campaigns that seemed to draw a regularly weekly crowd...week after week for months on end. I'd overhear tales of the player…

Cold City (Nazi Eugenics 101)

I don't know the specific definition of Eugenics, but it is basically the science of optimising the human race through selective breeding. Cold City is a game about picking up the pieces in a variant Berlin after World War Two, the key variant in the Cold City Berlin is that the Nazi's were very close to unleashing a supernatural catastrophe or weapon that would have changed he course of history. There may be a single supernatural revelation, or there may have been many secretive laboratories all working on different forms of paranormal research...it's all up the the GM and the way the campaign unfolds. You can play it noir, pulp, thriller, slapstick, or you can go really dark. I like to tread the line between slapstick and dark when I do the GM duties, but I'm hoping to go a bit more noir this time around.

When it comes to quasi-scientific Nazi research, it's only a matter of time before you run into eugenics as a concept. The whole idea of a master race is mired …

Cold City (Prep Work)

The game Cold City has sat on my gaming shelf for over 3 years now. Leah played it at GenCon Oz in 2009 and liked it so much that she immediately bought a copy. I've wanted to play or run it, but just haven't had the chance...until now.

I like the concept behind the game, it sits like a blend of Hellboy, Indiana Jones and the recent Captain America movie (although it predates Captain America by a couple of years).

The premise of the game involves supernatural troubleshooters picking up the pieces in a war ravaged Berlin after World War 2. The characters conflict with one another over personal and national agendas while trying to work with one another to solve supernatural mysteries left behind by the Nazis. I can see it being a lot of fun.

Prep work for this mini campaign will involve a bunch of maps and documentation for characters to find. I'll also be trying the orbital method of plot development, which is something I looked at previously. I was ure I mentioned it here …

Sorting out some miniatures

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Leah decided that it was time we sorted through our collection of miniatures, finished detailing a few figures that had started the painting process a few years ago (before we moved house), and generally worked out what's what...




January's Experiment Basically a Success

Towards the end of December 2012, I indicated that I'd be playing with the promotional tools on RPGNow.  The aim was to release a game (or two), then spend some of my accumulated "publisher promotion points" to highlight these games on the websites where they were available for sale. I also intended to get a bit of promotion out of Google plus, various Facebook groups and the assorted web forums I belong to.

I'm not going to get into specific statistical details, but I'll provide a general overview of the results.

First a baseline.

For the last year or two I've been sitting in the long tail end of publishers on the OneBookShelf websites, typically in the bottom 80% percentile. It probably doesn't help that I haven't really released a new product for quite some time (nor does it help that I've only been charging small amounts for the products that I have released). In the past, every time I have released a new product, I've climbed above this r…

Playing with Genre Conventions

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If you don't know that the Resident Evil movies are based (loosely) on a series of video games, then then are some points in the later movies where the origins are made abundantly clear. I don;t care whether you like the movies or don't, some say they deviate too far from the games to truly be considered a part of the franchise except for a few general character names and the same evil corporation...despite this, there are some nods to the origins at a few points.



[SPOILER ALERT] For example, there is a scene where the protagonist Alice finds a mass grave, where every body in the grave is a clone of herself. It's like a tongue-in-cheek reference to the way a game player might die over and over, simply respawning to attempt a level again. The most recent movie makes this idea clearer still.



It's a clever way of playing with the genre conventions of a computer game and transferring them into a new linear medium.

Since I'm drawing on the conventions of 8-bit console g…

Vector Graphics

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If I'm embracing the 8-bit side-scrolling feel for Voidstone Chronicles, it makes sense that I should use images that fit the style.
With a few vector art dolls to build off (I'll have to make sure these are either public domain, or get the suitable permissions), I'm thinking of building up some armour style components and hair styles to make modular character portraits.
Yes, I know they aren't realistic, but neither is the game.
I haven't decided whether it will be a parody of 8-bit PC/console gaming, or an honest homage to the game style. I can see the merits in both.
The biggest two problems I'm having with the idea are...
1. I'm trying to make this another pocketmod game, but I keep coming up with too many core rule ideas to fit into 8 tiny pages. I'm just going to have to strip my more elaborate thoughts away.
2. A lot of the cool ideas I've thought about including didn't really appear until later generations of gaming. For example, I though…

Another Game Design Contest

I like game design contests, they help me focus my thoughts, they give a deadline, and they provide an immediate audience of other designers who'll look at my stuff.

With this in mind, I'm happy that I've found out about the...

Shortest Month, Longest Game – Design Challenge

I'm not sure if I'll be participating at this time, but it's good to keep in mind.

None of the projects I've currently got in mind are currently a match for the ingredients offered in the contest, but if I stew on some concepts for a while, I might come up with something.

Go over, take a look.