23 February, 2015

More New Ideas from 20 Years Ago

Since a few people commented on the scans from the old notebook I found, I've decided to take a few more picture of the pages from this tome of forgotten mystery.

These comprise elements of the sci-fantasy heartbreaker that I've only ever explored in fragmentary pieces. i think the reason why I never completely finished this project is because it was getting a bit too "kitchen sink" (and a bit too close to 'Synnibarr').

22 February, 2015

Design by Exception

I've posted about this before, I think it was a few years ago, but the thoughts are still bubbling away in the back of my mind, and they've come back to the fore.

When you look at a core set of rules for a generic game, you get blanket ideas that can typically be applied to any situation. To make things more flavoured and interesting for diffent characters within the setting, there are often a series of exceptions. As examples, D&D 3/3.5 saw the introduction of feats, where different Characters could purchase different specific abilities that would modify the rules in some way that would be advantageous for them, Vampire: the Masquerade offered different disciplines to different character clans, Apocalypse World (and its ilk) provides "moves" that become available to certain characters at certain times as defined by the narrative.

I'm categorising this entire design mentality as "exception based design", you've got the core rules that  "everyone" follows, but everyone has a few specific areas where they are allowed to work outside those rules.

In a core set of rules tightly focused on a specific premise, these exceptions become like chocolate chips or sour jelly pieces in your ice cream. You might get one or two in your spoonful, you might get none...the fun comes in the sporadic nature of their manifestation. They become interesting because they aren't always present.

Then people decide that they want to deviate from the original premise (here's where I get annoyed about lazy the game hacks I see time and time again). D&D 3/3.5 saw a proliferation of expansions and supplements, offering new exceptions to fill the gaps where previously there were none (new feats, new classes which altered the rules in new ways, new tables for new situations), exceptions to the existing exceptions (new ways that other classes could take feats old or new, transferal of the old feats to new attributes under different names)...Vampire saw the same thing, with new sub-clan bloodlines capable of taking other clans disciplines (for example, blood magic began as the domain of a single clan, and by the end of 3rd edition, it seemed that virtually every clan had somee form of mystical ritual that could be unlocked through immortal vitae), level 5 disciplines all absically end up having the same effect even if they do manifest differently from a storytelling perspective (they work as a 'get out of jail free' card in a certain range of situations), merits and flaws designed to make character's interesting by circumventing rules with regard to specific attributes suddenly found analogues for every other attribute, and the interesting twists pretty much became the norm...Apocalypse World's specific moves that ask a narrative to be twisted in a certain direction suddenly become overwhelmed by numerous possible options regardless of where the narrative, no longer do the GM or players have to think before they can activate a move because the writer's of these spin-off hacks and expansions have just decided to throw in new moves that can be used anywhere (or have even suggested that GMs and players can just write their own moves on the fly...

...the exception becomes the norm. The chocolate chips become evenly spread through the ice-cream, and now it's just chocolate ice-cream with every mouthful homogeneous and the same as the last. I'm not going to say that this is better or worse, some people like the endless possibilities that these games reach at this level of "game maturity" (My personal opinion says worse but that's me). If your exceptions are going to become the norm, why not just include them as the norm from the beginning? It will save a lot of writing in the long run if you just write a basic procedure that covers a wide variety of possible exceptions. Or simply allow no exceptions.

In "System 4" I was thinking about the idea of warrior mages and assassins...and various other character types that combine skill sets from two different ability categories (where "warrior mages" combine combat and magic, while "assassins" combine combat and trickery/thievery). if I'm forcing characters to select a specific action stance at the start of a round (determined by their mind-set, and defining which dice to roll), maybe it would make sense to create a special exception where these dual-focused characters can gain the best of both worlds when it comes to their specialties. A warrior mage can stand in "combat stance", and gains no penalty for casting spells, or they can stand in "magic stance" and have no problems fighting...similarly, the assassin can use their successes equally effectively when engaging in fighting or trickery/thievery, regardless of which stance they are currently in. 

As soon as I thought of it for these two character types, I instantly thought of it for theurgists (who might combine magic and prayer), tacticians (who might combine knowledge and combat), even politicians (who might combine diplomacy and thievery/trickery)...and where does it stop. It make more sense in my mind to create a general ability that anyone can purchase, then allow them to combine two ability categories of their choice. Instead of writing up 15 different exceptions, I'm writing a single subrule that beecomes available to everyone.

Instead of writing a specific high level ability for each class of character which has the same basic function to instantly escape a combat that's going bad (offering a magical version that teleports the caster a way, a diplomatic version that forces opponents away through foul words and cursing, a trickery/thievery option of blending into the shadows, etc...), why not just offer a general ability that be omes available once a character reaches a certain point at any one of the ability categories? Let the player define how this particular ability manifests in play for their character, but offer a few suggestions for how it might work specifically in regard to a couple of the categories (because I've found most players have trouble with a completely blank slate).

I know that doesn't sustain the "supplement treadmill" style of publishing, but it allows players to customise their characters quickly and uniformly because there's a common rule in place. A player chooses the exceptions that fit their character, rather than forcing a specific small range of exceptions that might not fit the core character concept.

I'm not advocating that everything be reduced to a single all-purpose set of rules. If there aren't going to be differences between the way combat work and magic works, why bother having two seperate categories at all. You could go ridiculously down that path and have a game where everything comes down to a single number defining the character's overall importance to the story. I still want combat to be different to thievery, magic to be different to prayer, knowledge to be different to diplomacy, everything to have it's own specific way of manipulating story that cannot be replicated by the others. These fundamental differences will be in the core rules, plain and simple, unfettered by the exceptions to come later.

21 February, 2015

Refinement and Inspirations

(I had written up a post here that's been lost to the aether, now I'll try to reconstruct it from memory)

Nothing is created from a void, there is inspiration everywhere. There have been plenty of examples on the internet where game designers have failed to acknowledge the sources inspiring their work. I'd rather look at those inspirations, show people where ideas came from, perhaps to learn from other people's insight, maybe to show other game designers how they can draw similar inspiration, or maybe just because it's polite and the right thing to do.

I can think of four distinct sources of inspiration that have blended together, there are probably a whole heap more, but these are the main ones.

Firstly, I'm thinking of the combat system in Warhammer Fantasy Battle (or more specifically "Mordheim"). In this system, a combatant rolls a number of dice equal to their "attack" score, if fighting an opponent with equal skill ("Weapon Score"), a roll of 4 scores a "hit". Each successful hit sees an aggressor compare their "Strength" to the defender's "Toughness" then roll another die, if the strength and toughness are roughly equal, a roll of 4 will translate that hit into damage. One damage is all it takes to neutralise most characters (and take them out of the game), some more powerful characters and heroes will have extra hit points.

It's a bit convoluted, but it lays the groundwork for where I'm headed with the conflict system...and it certainly uses the "4" as a benchmark for success. This system makes things easier or more difficult by cross referencing numbers for the attacker and defender, thus giving a target number for a d6 to match. I'm looking at changing die sizes, and modifying the number of successes required to achieve tasks, but there are certain elements that remain intact. 

Secondly, the free RPG "Warrior, Rogue and Mage" by Michael Wolf (which can be found at http://www.stargazergames.eu/games/warrior-rogue-mage/). One of the interesting things about this game is that it doesn't give the characters attributes in the traditional sense, instead it allows players to assign levels in the occupations of Warrior, Rogue, or Mage, then the player determines their chances of success in various actions by rolling a die and adding the appropriate occupation level. It strips back so many of the stereotypes in gaming to the essentials, even more than many of the "microlite" games I've read over the years. In WR&M, a single die is rolled, and the occupation level is added, it's a simple pass/fail system...in "System 4" a number of dice will be rolled, each capable of gaining successes (as well as "advantages" and "disadvantages"), thus giving a more dynamic range of outcomes. But there is certainly a link of inspiration between the two systems.

"System 4" won't be reducing things quite to this level, I'm looking at 6 basic actions (rather than WR&M's 3 types)... i'll be working with Combat, Diplomacy, Faith, Knowledge, Magic, and Trickery. Each with it's own specialist occupation, and a variety of occupations that straddle two attributes/categories. 

Thirdly, Cadwallon, the short lived RPG from Rackham (before it imploded). I've talked about Cadwallon before on the blog, because it had a few really interesting ideas in it. One of the ones that really caught my imagination was the idea that a character's frame of mind might change the range of things they are able to do. When a character is angry, they can't think straight and do delicate things. Each frame of mind forms a "stance" (and these stances correspond to the attributes), and each stance/attribute has a certain range of skills that may only be attempted when the character has a relevant frame of mind. 

Since "System 4" uses types of action as the attributes, characters will basically declare their intended turn motivation at the start of the round (rather than Cadwallon's declaration of emotion). For example, a character going for damage will declare that they are using "combat" for the round, while a character trying to decrypt ancient runes would declare "knowledge". The corresponding dice for the attribute are rolled, and any 4s count as successes. Characters would also have abilities that might grant automatic successes or have other effects on the round's outcome. I'm considering allowing characters to perform actions not covered by their declared stance, but this might require the expenditure of extra successes to get lesser things done (if in combat stance, it might cost two successes to do something normally requiring knowledge).

Fourthly, the die mechanism in Star Wars: Edge of Empire, where multiple dice are rolled, and each is able to add successes, failures, advantages and disadvantages to the final resolution. I've gone into a bit of detail on this previously, and it's basically where the whole thing started.

Finally, I remember reading about the origins of hit dice in D&D. Going back to the original "Chainmail" rule set, where a character's hit dice were basically a measure of their power, resilience against negative effects, and even their combat skill...all in one number. In D&D there is still a remnant of this in a cleric's ability to turn undead of different hit die levels, but in most other parts of the game it has faded into insignificance. 

"System 4" is pulling this idea back into prominence, but the various dice come into play for different types of action. Dice in "Diplomacy" count for a characters ability to persuade others, but also show a character's resistance to the diplomatic manoeuvring of others.

Lots of ideas, pulled together into a coherent system (hopefully).

Now I'm just thinking of the specific mechanisms that will make the game work in the ways I've envisioned. More thoughts to come.

20 February, 2015

Adding more depth

It might be time to start shading these, and maybe adding in the characters (but all that will be done digitally). Looking at these photos, they seem to have come out pretty blurred. Luckily I can use the scanner to get crisp images to digitally work with.

At least I can console myself with the fact that these aren't post apocalyptic like almost everything else I seem to be doing lately.

Dungeon Font Part 3

The second expansion (and the third part) of the Dungeon Font has been put up for sale over on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. 

As a bonus, I've added the font usage guides to each of the available fonts and expansions. 

If you're interested, head over and take a look.

19 February, 2015

New Ideas from 20 Years Ago

Back before their was a revolution in independent gaming...back before "The Forge" told us everything we were doing in gaming was wrong, and launched a new generation of gaming...before FATE was a thing, and well and truly before Apocalypse World... I was writing ideas in notebooks.

I've got a few notebooks dating back to the late 80s, when I was trying to come up with a fun simple system that worked with the game play I usually saw around the table. Others from the early to mid 90's where I tried to identify the rules we actually used, when White Wolf's hot new "Storyteller System" seemed to have gaps, or seemed too complicated and we just made things up on the fly.

Digging through my shelves in the last couple of hours, I found a few of those notebooks.

Here's a couple of scans from pages in one of those books. A setting I was developing, and have loosely used in a couple of campaigns.

...and some notes for a proto-symbolism, that was intended to form the structure for a language.

There's a few other gems in those books that might be worth resurrecting at some point, or might be worth combining with current unfinished ideas to create new/old hybrid ideas to progress with.

18 February, 2015

Adding different components for different jobs

I've changed my mind a bit on a certain subject within the realm of game design.

I've always liked the idea of a single coherent system that can be applied across everything in a game. But in a lot of game designs I've admired for this streamlining, the single system at the core is good, but it isn't necessarily great for everything. Trying to shoehorn the same system into all aspects of a game may work for a lot of the situations encountered, but might be a very bad fot in other parts of the game.

I'm not saying that you need a seperate subsystem for every element of play, and I know many games that have taken this approach... i'm just saying that I've come to the conclusion that two or three complementary systems that cover a wider range of situations effectively might be more user friendly than a single system that once one thing brilliantly and a bunch of other things adequately.

A combat system doesn't need to look like a lock picking mechanism, and neither of these have to resemble a method for social interaction.

If you're telling a specific type of story, where each of these elements of play contribute to the story in the same way, then it might work to use the same mechanisms for everything. But if you want a change of pace, or a varying narrative, then maybe it makes sense to resolve different things in different ways.

Similarly, if a specific element of the game is meant to be the signature point, then it might make sense to use a different system for that element of play. Some games seem to do this inadvertently, perhaps making combat a seperate system to everything else without realising that this produces a disconnect in the experience of the players.

As long as different subsystems are capable of communicating with one another, perhaps providing feedback loops that modify one another, so that they don't stand too independently of each other.

These thoughts have come from trying to integrate a combat resolution system into the same parameters bordering all other elements of a game, juggling the two extremes of a simple narrative system and a clever combat mechanic where hit locations, strategy, and different combat tools play a role.

Again...more to think about.

17 February, 2015

When things from different sources seem to mesh.

I often have ideas that come from different sources, these are ideas that I just have to write somewhere to get them out of my head. Such ideas might involve dice mechanisms or other conventions that form the basis if a system, or they might be ideas for an environment ir setting. Sometimes I write these ideas down in notepads (that might get lost, only to resurface week/months/years later), sometimes I write the ideas here on the blog.

On other occasions, I have creative roadblocks. Luckily, I tend to have more ideas than roadblocks, and there is always something to work on, or refine. 

On rare occasions, one of my new ideas roughly matches up with one of my roadblocks, and it doesn't take a lot of work to pull the two together...thus allowing me to continue a project that has been a thorn in my side. 

While I've been drawing over the last couple of days, I've had my new "System 4" lingering in the back of my mind. 

The basic system says that you roll a bunch of dice, and anythingv that comes up with a 4 or better earns a success, while even numbers add advantages, and odd numbers add disadvantages to the final action attempt. I've looked at ways to limit the dice (such as maybe restricting dice of one level to be less than or equal to lower levels...less d8s than d6s, less d6s than d4s), ways to make the whole thing more interesting (players can buy feats for their characters that change the dice depending on the circumstances and the specific actions attempted). I've come up with 36 different character types, and various ways to handle combat/conflict. But all of these thoughts just seemed to be adding mecchanisms and parts to the system that were convoluting it rather than improving it.

That when the idea hit me, upon waking up this morning, I don't know if it's residual influence from a dream (and if that dream thought was simply my subconscious mind trying to push me in a given direction), but I do know that There is now a connection that makes sense to me.

"Voidstone Chronicles" is in a state of flux because I don't like the direction taken by the system when it's actually played...System 4 is a set of mechanisms looking for a wider system to plug into. 

There are certain irreconcilable differences between the two as they now stand, and it will take some serious decision making for me to determine which aspects of which element are the stronger points for forward progress. But there is enough flexibility in both, that the whole things could easily mesh together and form a more robust whole.

Then again, the whole thing might not work at all.

Let's see where this heads, and let's hope it doesn't cause too many distractions from the other goals I hope to achieve in the near future.

15 February, 2015

A few more images for the work in progress

We're starting to get a bit grungier and dirtier with our exploration of the city, now to start adding some strangeness.

14 February, 2015

A pair of works in progress

Just some images for a future project...

12 February, 2015

Design a Module

The Australian Tabletop Gaming Network has launched a contest to design a fantasy module.

Here's the link (only Aussies can enter).

I'l done reasonably well in contests in the past so I'm thinking that I'll send an entry their way.

For this entry, I'm going to pick up some of the old pieces from one of my dusty works-in-progress...the fantasy take on FUBAR, "Faeries and FUBAR". Therefore, it's going to be a heist game, where the story starts with the characters at the mouth of a dungeon, and throughout the unfolding story we see flashbacks of preparations and encounters faced on the way to the dungeon mouth. I'd like to think the concept is fairly sound, and could be applied as a cap onto any standard RPG.

But to keep things simple, I'm thinking of throwing together a stripped back, bare-bones, microlite RPG that might be suited to telling these tales (or at least gets out of the way once the story takes over).

Let's for the moment call it "System 4". Rolling a 4 counts as a success, easy tasks require 1 success, harder tasks require more. Everyone starts with a d6, and then all characters gain an extra d4 in a racial aptitude.When a character buys an occupation level, they gain an extra d6 in an area where that character types tends to excel (for example, fighters get the bonus for "Fighting", Rogues get it for "Being Sneaky"), they also get an extra d4 in an area that isn't quite as focused for this occupation type (for example, clerics might get the d6 in healing, but only a d4 in spellcasting...they can do it, just not as well as a mage who gets the full d6). Then we throw in a couple of prestige classes which are very specialised in what they do; instead of a d6 and a d4, they get a single d8 (rolling a 4 counts as a success, but rolling an 8 counts as a double success). A poor piece of equipment might add another d4, good equipment a d6, and masterwork or enchanted items might add a d8 (or higher). If the situation has been set up, you might get a bonus d4 situational bonus.

When players attempt tasks, or engage combat, they roll a handful of d4s, d6s and possibly d8s. Every die rolling a 4 or better counts as a success (and 8s count as double successes). 1s count as failures and allow an opponent to gain a temporary d4 situational bonus. When in combat, a success renders an opponent injured (or blocks an incoming injury) and a success directed at an injured victim kills them.

Note that this isn't the system I've been talking about over the last couple of days. Consider it something I'm exorcising from my mind, so that I can focus on the other game more specifically. Ideas I'm generating here might end up filtering across to 'Other Strangeness', but for the moment I'm thinking of the two as separate entities. 

For this system to work, we generally need half a dozen (no more than that) key task areas that chracters can engage. For the moment I'm thinking  'Fighting', 'Magic', 'Thievery', 'Prayer', and 'Diplomacy'. I think that covers most of the fantasy stereotypes for actions.

Fighters - d6 fighting, d4 diplomacy (I'm thinking of a knight, or town guard)
Thieves - d6 thieving, d4 magic (I'm thinking of ninjas at one with the shadows)
Mages - d6 magic, d4 diplomacy (I'm thinking of traditional school trained wizards)
Clerics - d6 prayer, d4 magic (I'm thinking of mystics who channel the power of the gods)
Barbarians - d6 fighting, d4 thievery (I'm thinking of Conan, who was quite adept as a sneak/thief too)
Rangers - d6 fighting, d4 magic (I'm thinking that the magic here is obviously nature/herbal based)
Bards - d6 diplomacy, d4 magic (I'm thinking of typical D&D stereotypes here)
Priest - d6 diplomacy, d4 prayer (I'm thinking these characters are more concerned with mundane church affairs than spiritual)
Relic Hunter - d6 thieving, d4 prayer (I'm thinking of holy scouts who reclaim relics for the church)

So many possible options among the basic character types...Without even touching on racial prerequisites, or d8s.

Beyond this basic system, Characters might be able to buy a bunch of moves, perhaps requiring a minimum number of dice of different types (eg... Sneak Attack, requires 2 fighting dice and 2 thieving dice. Converts any 'Hidden' d4 situational bonus into a d8... Taunt, requires 1 fighting die and 2 diplomacy dice. Character may use Diplomacy dice in combat, where successes demoralise opponents or cause them to flee).

But the aim is to keep it simple. I'll leave it there for now.

Playing with Dice

My current thoughts are with the 'Other Strangeness' game about mutant animals in a subdued cyberpunk dystopia (ie, a place only slightly different to our world).

That's what I was thinking about with my last post about the dice and outcome mechanisms used in Star Wars: Edge of Empire (and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 3rd Ed). I'd like to see a result mechanism that gives far more than just a success/failure result, and more than the other common mechanism output form with multiple degrees of success or failure.

I'd also like to see this game offer the player a bit more control of their character's destiny when they roll the dice...accepting sacrifices in order to push things a little bit further.

I could do this with two colours of fudge dice (marked -,0,+), where the main dice determine success, neutral results or failure, while secondary dice determine advantages, neutral results or disadvantages. I could also use the same mechanism that drives FUBAR (and that was the original intention behind this game), but now I'm contemplating a slightly modified system.

There's a school of thought that states no die roll should result in a non-event. If there is no result from an action, then what was the point of undertaking the action? I don;t particularly subscribe to this school of thought, because there is always a chance that something good could happen (or something bad), every time those dice are rolled. The neutral results aren't a bad thing, as long as they still contribute to the story in some way.

In the time since I last posted, I've even considered a way to use a hybrid system that could be easily resolved on normal dice, or could be tailored to a custom die.

Here's what I'm thinking at the moment.

'Other Strangeness' will still use the grammatical mechanism I described for it last year. A player states what they want their character to do in terms of a verb (a skill action they have practiced/mastered), an adverb modifier (an inherent trait), a noun (a tool they may be using for the task), and an adjective (about the situation they are in). They roll a base of 2 dice, and as long as the character performing the action has the designated words associated with their character, they gain bonus dice to the action.

In a system closer to FUBAR, we might take the best two dice and allocate one to determine how well the action succeeded, while the second die is used to determine what is sacrificed in the process. But FUBAR has always had an issue with multiple degrees of success. I've rearranged the system in numerous subtle ways, but every issue fixed brings up a new problem. So I'm thinking of pulling things a bit further away from that model.

Still using 6-sided dice, let's generally keep the FUBAR / Fudge system.

1-2 = fail
3-4 = neutral
5-6 = success

But, I've already stated a desire to move away from neutral results. If players pick up dice, I want something to happen.

So let's add advantages and disadvantages to the die.

Odd = disadvantage
Even = advantage

That gives us a final set of die results equal to...

1 = fail with disadvantage
2 = fail with advantage
3 = neutral with disadvantage
4 = neutral with advantage
5 = success with disadvantage
6 = success with advantage

With even chances of positive or negative results, having more dice isn't really an advantage, This needs to be addressed.

I'm thinking of using exhaustable traits. If a player uses one of their character's trait words in an action, they may choose to exhaust the trait word for the remainder of the scene in exchange for discarding a die they don't like. A player may still use that word to describe their character's actions in future, but if they exhaust an already exhausted trait word, the word is discarded from play for the rest of the game.

There's more to it, but that's where I'm starting.

10 February, 2015

Non-Standard Dice

I love the dice in Star Wars: Edge of Empire, but they're a very specific beast for a very specific game. It's possible to hack them into other systems and settings, but that can be a lot of work, and sometimes that feels like a bit of a betrayal to the game that being over-written with this die mechanism. I've never been a big fan of hacking games for the sake of hacking them, I figure that if you're going to do something properly, rebuild it from the ground up rather than just kludging one set of rules into another situation.

The thing I like about the Star Wars dice is the fact that they provide so much data with a single roll. There are positive dice, capable of giving you...neutral results, advantage results or success results (and sometimes an advantage and a success). Then there are negative dice, capable of giving you...neutral results, disadvantage results or failure results (and sometimes a disadvantage and a failure). Positive dice are typically detemined by your abilities, and negative dice are typically determined by your opposition (either their abilities, or the situation at hand). You tally up the total advantages and disadvantages, camcelling them out until one type remains, then do the same for successes vs failures.

In the end you get a few potential outcomes...
Neutral (everything cancels): The attempted action makes no difference to tthe situation.
Advantage(s) (but everything else cancels): The action didn't directly make things better, but it might help the next person who rolls (or might give a better chance on the next roll), or might make the next roll more difficult for an opponent.
Disadvantage(s) (but everything else cancels): The action didn't specifically make things worse, but it will either make things easier for an opponent's next action, or will make a follow-on roll harder for an ally.
Success(es) (but everything else cancels): The action basically succeeds in the expected manner. Maybe it just succeeded, and maybe it did so convincingly, that all depends on the number of successes.
Failure(s) (but everything else cancels): The action fails, and the character attempting the action suffers some kind of penalty from the attempt. Maybe a little backlash, maybe a lot, it depends on the number of failures.
Success(es) with Advantage(s): Not only did the action succeed, but it ended up with some kind of benefit that assists someone else. In the case of an attack action, the success might be a hit, while the advantages might activate a critical.
Success(es) with Disadvantage(s): The action may have succeeded, but it did so at a price and now opponents find their next rolls easier (or it becomes harder for allies to succeed in their rolls).
Failure(s) with Advantage(s): The action failed, but it got some of the way there, and even though the person acting has suffered some kind of repercussions their allies might now find things easier (perhaps they caused a distractionwhich takes the heat off everyone else).
Failure(s) with Disadvantage(s): the actions failed, and not only did it fail, but now the opponents gain advantages in their next actions (or the action failed in such a way that any follow up actions by allies are harder). 

So many options that link straight back into the storytelling, from a single roll of the dice.

I've basically got the same range of options as potential dice outcomes in FUBAR, but the die rolling works a bit differently and I don't need specialised dice to do it. FUBAR also has the benefit of allowing the player to control the destiny of the outcome a bit more by allocating dice in different ways once they've been rolled, but some players don't get this concept (so it's certainly not for everyone).

In my attempts to enhance the "Tooth and Claw/Voidstone Chronicles" game mechanism, I've been looking back to this type of resolution mechanism. Here, the players roll a variable number of dice, choosing a level of risk they want to accept, vesus the potential desired outcome. More dice means more chance of a better success, but more chance of a more spectacular failure also. 

This in turn led me back to Bug Hunt, where players can choose the low risk path to collect bugs where they have a low chance of success, and a low chance of failure...or they can venture into more dangerous areas of the board for the potential to gain more lucrative bugs. 

But Bug Hunt uses specific dice...and there lies the dilemma.

I could use a modified version of this game's mechanism in an RPG, but...

Do people want another game where there are specific dice that aren't really usable outside this game system?

Is it going to be too unwieldy to use a chart or some other method to covert die numbers to result symbols? (for example...on a white die, a 1 is a fail, and a 6 is a success...on a green die, a 1 is a fail, a 2 is a disadvantage, a 5 is an advantage, and a 6 is a success...on a yellow die, a 1-2 is a fail, and a 5-6 is a success...on a red die, a 1 is a pair of fails, a 2 is a fail, a 3 is a disadvantage, a 4 is an advantage, a 5 is a success, and a 6 is a pair of successes...on a black die, a 1-2 is pair of fails, a 3 is a fail, a 4 is a success, and a 5-6 is a pair of successes). 

More thought necessary on this one.

08 February, 2015

Next project

The font has started selling already, and that makes me happy.

So now it's time to start moving on to some of the other unfinished projects which litter my hard drive.

'Other Strangeness', the mutant game based on FUBAR.

My Rentpunk computer RPG, which is generally getting refined and coming along nicely. I'm happy with the dark, gritty, drug hazed simulation which forms the basis of the program, now it just needs a bit more story to make it more interesting than just a bleak tale of trying to survive for as long as you can before disease and neurosis hits. It also needs a few more pictures.

Here's one of the new background city images for the project (the city during the morning). It's more in keeping with my typical illustration style...and arguably very similar to the style I was aiming towards with my 'Other Strangeness' project.

I'm stuck at a certain point in my moulded foam LARP weaponry, more components needed...just waiting on pay day to source them. Then I might get stuck into that tutorial series I've been promising.

I can't work out how to make my deck of cards live on DrivethruCards for Ghost City Raiders, so that's a bit frustrating too...and when things don't work, I get a bit nihilistic, and I'm actually thinking of stripping that whole game back to it's basic concepts and rebuilding it from the ground up.

Anyway...that's enough rant for the moment...back to the grindstone.

06 February, 2015

Dungeon Font Now Available

Just letting everyone know that I've managed to get down to the local library (where there is a decent internet connection), and have finally managed to upload the dungeon creation font that I've been working on.

You can find it here

Not only that, but I've also managed to upload the first expansion font as well.

Thanks for your patience.

01 February, 2015

LARP Weaponry Development

Over the past few months I've been working on a system for making "limited run" custom foam weaponry for LARPs. You may have seen a few posts from me in various places, indicating my progress, both successes and exercises in learning how not to do things. For the past two days I've been getting very close to my final production system. The moulded weapons are getting close to what I want to produce, not quite there, but good enough to start combat testing with.

This particularly piece is a throwing dagger with a leaf pattern running up the side. 

Now I just hope that next pay day will allow me to budget in some liquid latex, this will be mixed with paint to produce flexible but detailed colouring.

In related news, I've just finished watching the web series "LARPs". It's not like any LARP I've been involved in. Most of the LARPs I've played have involved dozens of players and often multiple GMs, not just a small group of players and a single GM dressed up. Still, I re ognise a lot of the character archetypes and traits among many of the players I've encountered over the years.

Closer to what I currently do with the Clans of Elgardt LARP, can be seen in the documentary "The Mordavian Truth" (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5BXKIv-1Dc4). Again, I can see a lot of the character archetypes aming the players that I've come to expect from various roleplayers over the years.