Showing posts from March, 2009

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #13: Scales of Morality

I'm taking someone else's game mechanism this week. Scales of Morality It's OK, as you can see in the thread, I told him I was going to steal it. I actually think that this is a good basis for a morality system, a system that makes sense for a specific character. There are a number of scales that a character can use to gauge their outlook on the world, and if I were going to use it as a character development tool, I'd have players choose two or three of these scales to show what their character values most about themselves, or what they fear they could become. Sloth-Temperance-Greed Foolishness-Prudence-Slyness Cowardice-Fortitude-Rashness Corruption-Justice-Wrath The simple options offered have a virtue in the middle, while characters who tend toward the extremes of the scale veer toward the traditional sins. It's simple, and it sets a specific in game theme about moderation being a virtue. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, I guess that all depends

Blog Surfing (Part 1)

Occasionally I do searches on the net for illustration ideas, or images that might provide some inspiration. Many of these searches end up producing a couple of potential ideas, some don't. Every now and then I find something that really strikes me as odd, either resonating with something that I've previously thought, or simply making me re-assess thoughts that I've had. I'm always open to new perspectives, but it's human nature to get a bit of an ego boost when someone agrees with your previous thoughts. So either option is valuable. One of the blogs I found tonight revolves around conspiracy theories...or at least it seems to, I haven't delved too deeply into it. I was busy searching for images of rocks and clouds. What I found interesting is here . It's an interesting view on psychopaths within society, and I can really empathise with a number of the authors ideas. Especially after my time working within a national level office of a major retail chai

Little Game Chef Part 2

I've completed my Little Game Chef Entry. The Gambit of Erzulie Ga-Rouge. It uses chess as a pacing and scene development tool, and hopefully draws players into the experience of the setting through layers of intrigue within the game play as well as levels of intrigue within the metagaming. Trying to get this down to two pages hasn't been easy. It would have been much nicer in 4 pages, with a bit more room for some decent explanations and some better ideas to jump start stories...perhaps even a couple of illustrations to help further set the tone for the game. I had considered the idea of really immersing potential players in the tropes of the game by writing it in Haitian Creole, or at least scattering a few words very liberally throughout the text, but I've come to he conclusion that this would just make he game too confusing and would require even more explanation. Taking the current 3 to 4 page optimal layout up to 5 or 6. The judges have already indicated that the

Little Game Chef

This time last year I entered the Annual Game Chef contest with some artwork and a game of my own. In the time since then, one of the games developed from my artwork has started to progress more formally as a finished product. That game was "Sexy Deadly", but the design progression has only happened through the original author passing the ideas on to a new crew. I had originally offered free illustrations and page layout to anyone designing a game based on my work. But the new group don't want to take up these services...oh well. My own game from last year, based on fragmented dreams trying to survive in a world where the only options seem to be a decay into nightmare, or being forgotten... But time has come full circle and the contest is on again, albeit in a smaller form. Little Game Chef has two requirements this year. First a theme, "immersion". Second a list of four ingredients of which 3 must be used in the game designed, "Sea", "Burn

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #12: "SNAP!"

For a while I've been tying to think of mechanisms that can be used to bring a certain emotional response into a role-playing game. I've heard a few stories about a game called Dread, where the mechanism uses a tower of Jenga blocks to build the tension. I haven't actually seen it in play, so I'm not 100% about the mechanisms specifics, but it seems to be the case that every time you want to accomplish something within the story, you pull out one of the Jenga blocks and add it back to the top of the tower. The first couple of times this is easy, but as the game progresses it gets harder and the tension mounts. I'm sure that something appropriately dramatic occurs when the tower crashes to the ground. It seems to give a sense of immediacy to a situation, and a visceral sense of defeat when the tower collapses after a false move. The feeling of dread builds as players realise that their next action may force them to confront an ever more unstable tower. Over the

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #11: Sharing the Spotlight

This mechanism ensures that no single player dominates all of the action. Players are given tokens that may be used to purchase scenes; the more tokens a player chooses to spend on a scene, the more focus is placed on their character. Some players may choose to save up their tokens for dramatic scenes at the end of a game, others could evenly distribute their tokens throughout the game, and other players might choose to have a dramatic impact at the beginning of the game. There is no right way to spend these tokens; they are merely used as a device to balance the focus of the story over the course of the session. Spending a single token might allow the character to perform some kind of cursory action, or engage in a support role for another character. Spending two tokens might allow a bit more of the spotlight to shine on the character, highlighting one of their special bonuses or weaknesses, or maybe exploring their personality a bit deeper. Spending three tokens might give a char

I've gotta stop websurfing

I found this really inspirational idea for a game. Ultraviolet It's starting to give me ideas.

Multimedia Aspirations

Now this is the kind of stuff I'd love to be able to do. I just don't have the time (with all the other stuff I'm trying to get done), or the patience. If the embedded version isn't working for you, here's the link. The-Awakening

Finally, another actual Observation...

This blog started out with me commenting on various things I saw around me. Some of those things were related to roleplaying, others were related to theology, philosophy, or just my general perceptions on how the world at large works. It's tended back to the roleplaying as a staple, but finally I've seen something that I just have to make an observation about. While doing some research on immortality I found a blog entry from someone else . A few paragraphs in to it I read something that just shocked me. "I suppose life would get boring if it went on forever," she added. Now we were getting somewhere: In 25 years of talking to people about these issues, I had never heard that response before. Eternal life would be boring. Is this guy serious? He claims to be a game designer and he's never heard this response!! That's one of the key themes of many pieces of vampire fiction. The need to continually find something meaning to do with your eternity, the de

Newcastle Trip

I'll be taking the journey north to Newcastle this weekend to run a session or two of The Eighth Sea for a new roleplaying club. Should be interesting to expose some new people to the chaos and carnage of time travelling swashbucklers on the high seas. After this, I think the Eighth Sea can take a bit of a back seat. It's a finished project and I'd like to see it run it's own course for a while. I'd love to see someone pick it up and run it without me (giving me feedback so that I can improve and clarify the system a bit more), but I think that my time trying to refine it by myself as come to a temporary conclusion. I'll definitely be returning to it at some stage, but I've got some more pressing concepts to deal with.

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #10: Hit Locations

To depart from the Quincunx work that I'm currently pursuing, here's a completely different game mechanism. I've found that a lot of people enjoy the concept of combat in games, but different people view the essence of physical conflict in different ways. Some prefer an abstract series of die rolls, some like tactically placing their hits on their target's vulnerable areas; some want the die rolling to be fast, while others love an exceptional level of detail. Without plugging the numbers into a computer program and letting it do rapid calculations, there is no real way to get good crunchy detail while also having the game progress at an action packed pace. Either you get the adrenaline pumping with quick descriptions and abstract detail, or you really get into the minutiae of injuries and slow the combat down to "matrix-style" bullet-time. Plenty of games try to find a balance between the extremes, some more successfully than others. I know of a few gam

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #9.5: Addendum to Matrixed Experience

After posting concepts last week about a theory where a character advances two steps in one direction but sacrifices a step in another part of their development to do so, some new ideas have arisen. Some of these have been prompted by some helpful posters over at the Forge, others have developed in those sleepless hours between 1am and 4am, or when I've been taking my customary meandering strolls through various parts of the city seeking inspiration. The following concepts are very "stream of consciousness" stuff; they may not make a whole lot of sense, but they are a starting point for the concepts I'm currently trying to develop. Hopefully some revisions will develop shortly. Revisions that help to clarify what I'm trying to get at. For the purposes of these notes, a machination is a series of events happening in the background. Not so much a story, but a sequence of events that someone is trying to put into motion. A machination becomes a story (or becomes