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Showing posts from February, 2015

More New Ideas from 20 Years Ago

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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').

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  "eve…

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&…

Adding more depth

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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.
http://www.rpgnow.com/product/144766/Dungeon-Font-Expansion-2

New Ideas from 20 Years Ago

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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 …

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, an…

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…

A few more images for the work in progress

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

A pair of works in progress

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Just some images for a future project...




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 …

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 t…

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…

Next project

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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 so…

Dungeon Font Now Available

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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.

LARP Weaponry Development

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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…