28 January, 2019

Lack of posts

I had great intentions to start this year off with plenty of posts about all sorts of things, but moving house has taken it's toll.

Hopefully some more posts are on their way soon.

Here's some shots of the move so far.







13 January, 2019

Where to Find Me

With G+ closing down, an online friend (Kit La Touche) has come up with a way to track people in their various social media homes. I thought it was a great idea and have decided to share it with you all.

https://wheretofind.me/@Vulpinoid

10 January, 2019

Other Strangeness Character Guide


After reading bits and pieces of the 500 odd pages comprising the two starter books for the new FFG edition of Legend of the Five Rings, I'm looking at the pocketmod books that form the basis of my Other Strangeness game. I'm undecided...

...a lot of that 500 pages is providing context and background information for the setting, or explaining how elements of play tie into that setting. Since Other Strangeness is generally designed to use the real world as a basis for it's play environment, then modifies it according to the collaborative choices of the game's players, it doesn't really need this.

The actual rules of the FFG game are a bit convoluted, and feel a bit counterintuitive at times, they're partly explained multiple times in a way that builds up the concepts from various perspectives. The way these fundamental rules are explained could fill multiple pocketmods, each of which doesn't actually explain the rules... as an example, I've had to page flip between half a dozen different parts of the rules to get a gist of how combat is supposed to work in the game. 

I'm not saying one extreme is right, or one extreme is wrong. FFG is making a bucketload of money, while my game writing often scrapes together barely enough to make a trip to the cinema once a month. They're obviously doing sonething right with their hefty tomes. Some people just prefer a minimalist set of rules that get right to the point, and other prefer carefully, legally constructed sets of rules that back up their explanations with multiple examples to cover every possibility that might arise in play.

Anyway, enough editorial, here's the character generation rules

09 January, 2019

City Trip

The big move is coming, so I took one last trip into Sydney with my wife to make sure I spent my store credit at Games Paradise, and do those things in the city that just won't be possible living a few hundred kilometres from any kind of metropolis.


A few urban referenced shots were taken, comic shops were visited, Chinese baked goods were consumed, as was sushi, quirky stationary stores were explored...


...these are things I'll miss about living in Sydney, particularly the way certain parts of it look just like they belong in a cyberpunk setting, and other parts look no different than I've remembered them for decades.

I particularly went in to get myself a copy of Blades in the Dark, but the store was out of stock, so Leah ended up getting Sushi Go Party Edition...


...and I got the starter books for Fantasy Flight's incarnation of Legend of the Five Rings.

I'm digging through these now, and might have a bit of a review shortly. But the way house packing and moving is going, that might get delayed until the end of the month. We'll see how things go.

08 January, 2019

Current List of Potential Animals to Mutate

One of the things that always bugged me about the Palladium game "TMNT and Other Strangeness" was the fact that most of the animals available were mammals, with a lesser number of birds and reptiles... I think there might have been a couple of amphibians in the mix, but certainly no fish, and the only insects or invertebrates in the game appeared much later in the "Mutants in Orbit" supplement as monstrous NPCs.


One of the things about the TMNT comic is that it had anything and everything among the characters in its pages.

So, with that in mind, I've been deliberately creating a list of character options that cover all those other non-mammalian critters, and have aimed to focus on drawing a lot of those mutants to explore potential options that many players might not consider as immediately fun.

Here's the current listing, which isn't comprehensive at all, but tries to cover a wide variety of different animal types. I'll probably narrow down the listing to two dozen common starting character types (the types of animals most likely to be studied in genetic research), and then if there's enough interest in the game I'll start writing up a few of the other animals in themed groupings.


Mammals
Eutheria (Placental)
Aardvark
Dugong
Rabbit
Mouse
Squirrel
Beaver
Gorilla
Chimpanzee
Orang-Utan
Lemur
Mole
Whale
Dolphin
Bat
Dog
Cat
Bear
Sloth
Horse
Seal
Cow
Deer
Camel
Pig
Rhinoceros
Armadillo
Fox
Metatheria (Marsupial)
Opossum
Thylacine
Numbat
Quoll
Tasmanian Devil
Bilby
Bandicoot
Koala
Wombat
Possum
Cuscus
Sugar Glider
Tree Kangaroo
Kangaroo
Wallaby
Quokka
Prototheria (Monotreme)
Echidna
Platypus
Birds
Palaeognathae
Ostrich
Emu
Cassowary
Kiwi-
Galloanserae
Chicken
Duck
Lyrebird
Peafowl
Neoaves
Hummingbird
Pigeon
Crane
Flamingo
Albatross
Penguin
Pelican
Vulture
Hawk
Owl
Kingfisher
Falcon
Parrot
Reptiles and Amphibians
Lizard
Snake
Sea Snake
Boa
Viper
Python
Cobra
Turtle
Crocodile
Frogs and Toads
Axolotls
Fish
              Sharks and Rays
             
Crustaceans and Arthropods
Crab
Lobster
Woodlouse
Prawn
Spider
Scorpion
Centipede/Millipede
Insects
Fly
Beetle
Ant
Grasshopper
Dragonfly
Wasp
Cockroach
Butterfly
Mantis
Moth
Cephalopods
Octopus
Squid
Cuttlefish
Nautilus
Other Invertebrates
Slug
Snail
Jellyfish
Tardigrade
Leech
Velvet Worm
Worm

07 January, 2019

Other Strangeness GM Guide

Here's the second part of the updated rules for Other Strangeness. In this case it's the guide to the player who facilitates the flow of the story. Note that this is not the player who provides the story, because like in the other games generally produced by Vulpinoid Studios, the story is a collective endeavour that unfolds organically as the characters engage with the world around them.


There will probably be additional hints about running things scattered through the other pocketmods in the system, but this should be enough to get a group started.

The next booklet will be the guide for players to create characters, then a guide to create locations that might function as characters hideouts or places of interest, and then a guide to creating items. after that I'll present a few sample characters, places, items, and story hooks, before finally offering the various animals, cultures, and occupations that allow players to make a diverse range of strange characters and mutants to focus their stories on.

By that stage, I should have started work at my new job, so we'll see what happens from there.

06 January, 2019

Other Strangeness Core Rules

I've experimented with a few release formats over the years, sometimes offering products as PWYW, sometimes offering them free of charge, sometimes just hoping they'll get a bit of exposure toward products I intend to sell at a bit of a profit. I still haven't worked out the best option, but here's my current plan... the current incarnation of Other Strangeness occurs as a series of pocketmods, but it's also foreseeable that the game will be printed on a series of cards and distributed in a small tin of some kind. It's designed to be a simple little pick-up and play game.

After the first alpha draft release. there was some feedback from a few sources that the font was a bit hard to read. So here's an amended version of the core rules for the game. Character creation rules are coming shortly, along with a few other necessary components for play.

Here's the Core Rules Link

05 January, 2019

RPGs in the Classroom

I've been interested in the idea of using RPGs in an educational context for a while. So when I was alerted to this article about using D&D in a STEM setting, it got my interest.

This is something I'm going to try working on this year, as I head out to a rural community to teach practical crafting and artistic skills, and whatever else I end up teaching. I'm hoping to find a few more scholarly articles, to back up my plans, and justify the ideas if I'm queried.

I've often found people in my gaming groups have an overwhelming desire to learn quirky facts to inject them into games at critical moments, or use obscure knowledge to justify actions attempted during a game, so the aim would be to instill this curiosity in a group of students... getting them to want to learn, so that they might gain advantage in whatever game I run.

Similarly, if I choose to run domethong crunchy, then the addition multiplication and modification of numbers becomes a mathematical exercise, and we can analyse probabilities in the game, and optimal strategies that might normally link to meta-gaming, power-gaming, and munchkinism...

...or maybe we can just focus on social interplay, and sociological studies during the roleplaying games, while delving into mathematical concepts through a miniatures game (with crafting and art handled by miniature painting and terrain building).

There are so many options here.


04 January, 2019

Other Strangeness Version 2.0

I've shared various elements of the new incarnation of my mutant animal game in a few places. Mostly to private groups on various social media platforms to get some preliminary feedback. The first round of that feedback has come in, and now I'm ready to share it with a wider community.

This next round of sharing will be done over the next few days, with the game released in pocketmods each day. One for the core rules, one for character generation, a GM's guide, etc... until the whole initial playset is shared. I'm suspecting about 8 pocketmods at this time. Keep an eye out over the next couple of days, and let me know what you think.

03 January, 2019

Russian Translations

Thankyou Yu. Sergeeva for your translation of one of my blog articles into Russian. It's always great to know that my thoughts and writings are being read by people in various parts of the world and that my small contributions might be influencing other parts of the design community.

I probably wouldn't have even noticed this ping on my radar except for the experiment I did last month where I didn't make any posts at all on the blog and simply looked at the traffic every couple of days to see what happened. Strangely there was s little bump of traffic from a Russian site, and it didn't look like a porn site so I investigated... it looks like I'm even a hashtag over there, with my entire 'Worldbuilding 101' series translated to Russian. This was a little series I'm pretty proud of, so I consider this a great piece of flattery and praise. It makes the whole effort feel worthwhile.


02 January, 2019

So bad it's almost decent

My nephew was given three games for Christmas.

He got a starter set for Warhammer 40k... that's going to be an expensive hobby for him if it takes hold.

He also got the D&D 5th edition starter set... which is also going to be an expensive hobby.

I'll probably get roped into runn9ng a few games of each. Since I've bern collecyinb miniatures for 25 years and have been roleplaying for about 30. I can see both of these games really hooking him if he gets the right crowd, but can also see him turning away if he has a couple of bad experiences. We'll see how things go.

It's the third game that I found surprising.

I despise Monopoly, and I've generally avoided Fortnite, but no one else wanted to play the game against my nephew so I took the hit for the team. I figured he'd get bored and I'd only end up wasting an hour or so.

The basic premise of the game follows some of the tropes of Monopoly, moving around the board, collecting properties, going to jail, collecting random cards that might be beneficial, etc.  But it also has elements where you can shoot other players if you're on the same side of the board, or build walls if the dice give you the opportunity. Also, instead of money you get character health which is depleted by various means, and replenished by far fewer.

It suffers from many of the standard issues of Monopoly where it's all about the dice, and strategy really doesn't play as part. It still sticks to the whole roll-and-move paradigm, but starts with the interesting idea that players can begin anywhere on the board. The gradually decreasing health scores mean that there is basically a built in timer for the game, so that's nice. I'd be interested to see how it played out with a few more players, rather than just a 1-on-1 fight. The fact that I'm willing to play it again firmly places it above virtually every other incarnation of Monopoly that I've encountered. It feels like it could be a good game if it weren't so tied to the shackles of the Monopoly framework, but that framework provides a common starting ground for people who get scared of things that aren't familiar.

So, not great, but I'd play it over any other version of Monopoly, or Cards Against Humanity.


01 January, 2019

2019 - A year to move forward

You may note that there were no posts during December 2018, that was fairly deliberate, just to see how many people might keep visiting the blog without new things to lure visitors in. It's actually more than I was expecting...so that was an interesting experiment.

It wasn't all an experiment though, part of the reason for not posting is the fact that I'm in the middle of moving house and drastically changing my life. The last seven years have seen me studying and retraining, but thst phase of my life is over. At the end of 2018, I started teaching, and at the start of 2019 I begin my first contract as a teacher of Industrial and Visual Arts. 


The blue dot indicates where I live now, the red pin indicates where I'm heading... roughly 770km between the two. This month will see that move taking place. Fingers are crossed that it all goes smoothly. Having a regular invome again should mean the ability to order game proofs quicker, and prototype a few ideas that I haven't been able to move forward on. Tje last few years have seen heavy traffic to this site from Google Plus, but with that platfotm being switched off some time this year, I'm still not sure what's going to replace it as my primary form of social media.

For those interested, I can be found on MeWe, Instagram, and Facebook



Overall, this means I'm hoping for a few big things this year, but the specifics are still pretty vague. 

We'll see how things go.

Happy New Year everyone.