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Showing posts from March, 2015

LARP Shield

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In the quest to produce interesting LARP equipment, rather than the regular stuff that you can see everyone else possessing on the battlefield, I present my latest offering...



...after a day in the field, I'd like to report that the design was a success. The concept is a mystically enchanted, giant leaf.

To make it a bit more "LARP-safe", it needs some more padding around the edges, but otherwise it was good. The "gently serrated" edges also made good points to catch opponent's weapons on, to direct swords away from the body while opening up their defenses.

Hypothetical "Other Strangeness" Mutant Animal Derivation Listing

Here's the general listing of animals I'll be using for Other Strangeness... I know there are gaps in the list, I'm just trying to make sure I cover most of the interesting types. Are there any cool animals you'd like to see that I've left out? Note that some of these animals have been detailed far more than others, and some have outdated verb sets attached to them because they were added to the list earlier.

VERTEBRATES Mammals Aardvark – [claws], [burrowing], [good smell], [small x1] Agouti – [], [small x2] Ape – [] Armadillo – [hard armour], [], [small x1] Baboon – [], [small x1] Bat – Sn-Ch, Fly (Ch), Sense (Ch), Climb (Sn), Hunt (Sn), [wings], [sonar], [no hands], [small x2] Bear – Fi-Kn, Bite (Fi), Wrestle (Fi), Navigate (Kn), Survive (Kn), [claws], [padded armour], [large x1] Beaver – [teeth], [tail], [small x2] Bison – [padded armour], [skeletal reinforcement], [large x2] Boar – [tusks], [padded armour], [large x1] Buffalo – [padded armour], [skeletal reinforcement], [l…

Defining the "Other Strangeness" world

I've been thinking of something more than just the characters in this game, it's collaborative storytelling, so it makes sense to spread the load when it comes to making the environment at the start of the campaign.
I'm just spit alling at the moment, but here's my initial thoughts in this regard.
Every player gives a wide overview definition of 2 regions of the city
They get a total of 25 points to divide between these two regions, the points may be spent on the following categories. Safety 0-4 (0: Dangerous, 1: Unsafe, 2: Patrolled, 3: Relatively Safe, 4: Very Safe) Infrastructure 0-4 (0: Ruins, 1: Minimal, 2: Poor, 3: Adequate, 4: Good) Building Density 0-4 (0: Sparse, 1: Low, 2: Medium, 3: High, 4: Skyscrapers) Industry 0-4 (0: None, 1: Low, 2: Medium, 3: High, 4: Industrialised) Commerce 0-4 (0: None, 1: Low, 2: Medium, 3: High, 4: Business District) Residential 0-4 (0: None, 1: Low, 2: Medium, 3: High, 4: Condominiums)   [NOTE: Industry + Commerce + Residential …

Making sense of Character Integration

Here's where my mind has taken the concept of backgrounds...

Let’s work off a more linear pattern for background/relationships. In this way, the benefits of the relationships are flat bonuses. Every level of a background/relationship provides a simple flat bonus (one advantage granted at the beginning of each conflict for each level in the relevant background. If a character is able to draw on more than one background at the start of a conflict, they must choose which one is most relevant, and they may gain a single advantage point each from other relevant backgrounds, during subsequent turns they might gain an additional advantage point from these other backgrounds up to the point where each background has contributed it’s maximum number of advantage points). A character can easily get the first level in a relationship, but it gets harder to improve this relationship to higher levels.
The first level costs one point, the second level costs 2 points, the third level 3 points, etc.…

Old School Printing Methods (Part 2)

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It has taken a little longer to get further in this series because I've had some complications in the process.

The gel bed is fine, but I'll show you some of issues we've been facing.


First, we get a sheet of carbon paper, then a sheet of gloss paper (gloss photography paper for an inkjet printer is optimal for this, but there are plenty of other glossy papers around). The gloss side of the paper is face down, in contact with the "inked" side of the carbon paper. In this case I've got a sheet of tracing paper as well.


I'll use a map of a familiar country to work through this process. I've pencilled it onto the tracing paper, the. Then next step is to get the image onto the glossy side of the paper using the carbon paper. For this, I use a stylus (a ball-point pen that has run out of ink would work just as well). Tracing the map, I get an image on the glossy side of the paper where it has been compressed against the carbon paper.

This is wrong!
It was …

Individual and Communal Relationships

I’ve been thinking a bit about the backgrounds/relationships in System 4, and how they link a character to the outside world. A few people have commented on the idea of having a communal pool of relationships that the whole group contributes to, perhaps along the lines of a group headquarters (or secret lair), or a general link between the wider party and the outside world.
With this in mind, I’ve been considering the idea of splitting the backgrounds into 4 levels, and running the numbers comparing triangular or linear progression.
Allies (I or C) 1 An ally 2 A few allies 3 A small group of allies 4 A large group of allies                    Contacts (I or C) 1 Contacts in one field (or part of the city) 2 Contacts in a few fields (or parts of the city) 3 Contacts in most fields (or parts of the city) 4 Contacts everywhere                    Equipment (I or C) 1 A few useful tools 2 An assortment of special gadgets 3 All sorts of implements, doodads, and apparatuses 4 Anything …

Trying to add Depth Without Sacrificing too much Simplicity (again)

Some characters have natural advantages and disadvantages, regardless of the numbers they roll on dice during the course of a conflict. A character with hands that resemble animal paws is going to have trouble with feats that require fine manual dexterity (opposable thumbs were a pretty big advantage to early humanity), and a character with massive leg muscles (like maybe a mutant kangaroo) will have a huge benefit when trying to leap heights or distances. In keeping with the origins of the game (Palladium’s “TMNT and Other Strangeness”) there will be two levels of mutation away from the “human norm”, this gives us 3 general degrees for most things: “None”, “Partial”, and “Full”. To keep things simple, I’m going to state that those characters who have “None” for their relevant mutation (eg. “Hands” when dealing with fine dexterity) suffer a loss of 1 full success on their actions. Those characters who have “partial” mutations simply apply a –d2 to any roll where this are relevant.
O…

Old School Printing Methods (Part 1)

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When it comes to gaming, this is older than old school...but when it comes to printing, it's more recent.

It also counts as old school because it was used as a method of duplicating things in Australian schools in the very late 1800s and early 1900s. As someone interested in printing techniques, maps, and DIY, this really took my interest and became a household project. So, I thought I'd share.
(When there's an excuse to draw maps and experiment with new stuff, we rarely need to be asked twice around here)
The method is called Hectograph printing. It's not hard to do, but requires a few specialist tools and ingredients.
First you need to make a gel bed, then you need a sheet of old style carbon paper (this was actually the most difficult thing to source), some tracing paper, the thing to be printed, and a sharp pencil or stylus.
Step 1
Let's start with the gel bed.
This needs three ingredients and a glass or ceramic tray (don't use metal trays as the gel mix get…

Grammatical Conflict

First, here's the list of adverbs I'm thinking of using.


Conflict Resolution (This applies to violent combat, social intrigue, and pretty much anything where a two or more characters oppose one another)
One – Stance Every round, each player chooses a stance for their character. The stance determines the maximum number of actions the character can engage during a round.
Two – Initiative The player whose character has the highest number of actions goes first. If there is a tie, randomly determine who goes first.
Three A – Action Declaration The player declares their character’s action, in a single sentence using an available verb (if the character has specialised in this verb, they’ll get an advantage). If they have an adverb that makes sense as an advantage in this situation (and matches their current stance), they may also include this in the sentence. They may also include a noun representing a piece of equipment used in the task. Other things that might help in this statement …

Integrating Character and World

There's something I love about White Wolf's World of Darkness, this is something that had played a role in many games I participated in up to that point, but was something that had never been formally written into the rules. I'm talking about character backgrounds (not related to specific stereotypes of race) that provide some kind of mechanical interaction with the wider rules.

In a game like Vampire, you get backgrounds like "Status" (which define your position within your chosen society of the undead), "Generation" (which gives an indication of how pure the immortal blood is in your veins), "Wealth" (an indication of the money at your disposal), "Contacts" (assorted people who have knowledge and might be able to provide clues), "Allies" (the people you can call on when the excrement hits the fan), "Influence" (which reflects you ability to manipulate a particular industry to gain benefits), or "Mentor"…

Skill List

When you come up with a skill list, you really define what your game is about. Even when you tell players "here's a basic starting list, feel free to come up with new ideas of your own", you've already set their minds down specific paths and their future choices will reflect the initial direction in which you sent them.

A game with dozens of described combat options, and no obvious ways for players to investigate the world around them doesn't lend itself to any style of play beyond hitting things (and maybe taking their stuff). This paints a very different picture to a game with pages of detail about political machinations and the various ways players may interact with the world socially.

White Wolf's Classic World of Darkness gave each of its races a slightly different set of abilities on the character sheets (beyond the differences required by the varying power sets), it didn't necessarily mean that werewolves couldn't learn the skills of etiquette …