Showing posts from July, 2010

Fame, Fortune and the Vagaries of Fate

WARNING: Another long one.... I received more comments on my Old School versus New School post than I was first expecting, and the responses from Raven Daegmorgan have really gotten my mind thinking. Have a look at the post and it's comments before reading much further on this one. To an extent, I agree. I've often pondered why some people get ahead in life, while others simply struggle away with no recognition at all. I think the quest for knowledge is a part of human nature (it's certainly a part of my nature), and anything we can't pigeon-hole into our paradigms becomes a mysterious force at work in the universe. Some people use this mysterious force to justify conspiracy theories, some people use it as the foundation of religions, others simply declare the unknown to be a hidden randomness that can never be truly understood. People are always looking for answers, and devious individuals are always willing to give their interpretations on those answers for a pr

How to Make a Great Dungeon

I've just had my first piece of writing accepted. I hope to see it available some time soon on DriveThruRPG or RPGNow . Of you get the chance to buy "How to Make a Great Dungeon" from the Avalon Game Company, I'd thoroughly recommend purchasing a copy (it'll mean I get work a bit more regularly from now on).

The Origins of Fuzion

While I'm looking at Fuzion stuff, I found this fascinating article about how it came to be... Fuzion RPG design It's interesting to see how the designers took two sets of very different rules, seeing that one set performed a specific range of function well while the other performed well in a different area...then tried to create a generic toolset to cover all styles of gaming. Reasonably successfully given the number of games that adopted their rules (both professional and amateur). That's all for now.

d10 Core

After my last post, I've been poking around a bit and have found a kickstarter project for a system called d10 Core . Kickstarter seems to be the hot new thing for getting small to medium sized projects up and running. A few indie games are taking this route to get the first print run out. But this one's a bit different, it's more like the old school games. Lots of intricate mechanics compared to a lot of new school indie games, so either the author is comparing the game to something like D&D or Pathfinder when he says that it's "Total weight is 150 pages, so I think it is just heavy enough to be crunchy, but light enough not to be all-consuming."...or he is pretty much on par for a lot of the game in the old school renaissance crowd. If it were formatted differently it could probably be cut down to 100 A4 pages (then expanded back out to the 150 mark with pictures). It follows the old GM/Player split. Nothing really revolutionary in it (Die + static sk

Old School vs New

My first foray into the world of serious freelancing has been just as much an eye-opener as when I first opened up The Forge and Story Games . For years I had been working away on game designs in a amateur fashion, throwing together the stuff that I thought was cool, and then wondering why other people just didn't seem to get it. A part of that might be my Aspergers, but another part is simply the fact that different people think different things are cool. I hadn't consciously considered the notion of what ties a game together, and how it can be used to produce a specific experience within the minds of the players. Sure , I'd been home brewing systems that didn't seem to do what I wanted, and I picked elements from different games until I found a nice set of mechanisms that told the stories I liked to reveal to my players, but I still had no idea why certain people didn't like this style of gaming. People may argue the validity of the GNS theory, but it went a l

Two freelancing gigs

I've just signed the paperwork to become a regular freelancer for two game publishers. Here's hoping that things will turn for the better, and one of these options might prove to be a regular source of minor income. Or might lead to some good portfolio pieces that get me into larger companies for some regular work. I'm not holding my breath though, this year started out looking so good, but it turned dark so quickly. The companies I'll be writing for are : Avalon Games and QT Games Both seem enthusiastic, both targeting very different ends of the market. Avalon happy to quickly and continually publish pdfs through online retailers, while QT is taking a slower path and wants to make some big moves when they are ready. It will be an interesting journey.

Game Page active for "Come One Come All"

I've finally gotten the page up for Come One Come All. It's a weird game, it didn't get a great response from Little Game Chef, but it's out there now. Anyone is free to have a look at it, manipulate it, modify it, and generally play with it in whatever way they feel improves the experience. I might go back to it once I've finished working on my Quincunx graphic novel, or my new series of children's books "The Adventures of Butterball and Skitz". (Yes..that's right, I'm starting yet another project. You can blame my wife for this one.)

Unexploited Resource #3: The Magic Eight Ball

I've decided that the Magic Eight-Ball has absolutely huge potential as a roleplaying resource. The game I've just finished "Come One, Come All" uses it as a randomising mechanism, but it could be used in so many more ways... So, in accordance with the Unexploited resource format I'm developing, here are 10 things to consider and ways you might be able to use this marvellous toy. The magic eight-ball can resolve binary disputes fairly simply. The standard ball has 20 possible answers. 10 of which are traditionally considered positive, 5 of which are considered neutral and 5 of which are considered negative. Instead of "Say Yes or Roll the Dice" about "Say Yes or consult the Eight-Ball". As a storytelling oracle, the subtleties in the Eight-balls answers become more interesting. "Does Event X happen?", it might happen now, it might happen later, it might happen in a different way than expected, it might appear to

Come One Come All

I've just admitted to writing "Come One Come All" for Little Game Chef. It was a bit of a monster, but it got some ideas out of my system. I thought that I had gotten them out in a coherent fashion, but I guess I was wrong. The game concept is a step toward realising my Brigaki Djili idea, in two ways. Firstly, it is a game of communal storytelling. A single focus drives a story and the players collaborate on uncovering a collective truth. Secondly, it is a game described from the perspective of an anthropologist. A game developed from a ritual described by an outsider. I'm trying to write things in such a way that they are approachable by someone who has no idea about roleplaying games. Perhaps something that might have been developed in the late 19th century as a parlor game; maybe based on Ouija boards and penny-dreadful mysticism. It's probably even connected to my current thought patterns on Art Nouveau style gaming. I guess these two concepts need a b

Art Nouveau Roleplaying

As a student of design, one of the periods I loved was Art Nouveau. You can see this a bit in my website (especially through the swirling parts of the menu block in the lower right corner). But I'd love to develop a game where this aesthetic echoes through all elements of the product, not merely adding graphical elements and nouveau typography as a veneer over a standard base. The recent Cyberpunk revival project has reminded me of the many games which have been designed with a cyberpunk attitude. The output from the project has added a few more great examples to the mix; it would be nice to see a few of them achieve refinement and professional publication (whether free or otherwise). I've seen games try to push a modernist agenda through their imagery, mechanisms and flavour text. The transhumanist games even seem to push a post-modernist agenda. But the closest I can think to an Art Nouveau game is Nobilis; and that's only from flicking through the game a few times o

Little Game Chef (Part 2)

I just re-read the rules for Little Game Chef and one of the rules explicitly states that you are allowed to talk about your entries on your blog (if you so choose). But at this stage, I'll just hold off. I could write pages about my insights...maybe even write more than the length of the game. I've had a quick look at the other entrants so far, and there is an interesting mix, some short...some long. Some following the traditional forms of roleplaying, and others pushing into that weird role-playing space that I'm associating with Scandinavian play styles. Some clever short form games, I probably should have considered last year's "Harper Award" when writing mine (write a game that fits on 2 sides of a single page....NO MORE!!!), as normal I went a bit too descriptive. I'm most intrigued by the game "Have you seen the Yellow Sign?" because every time I download it, my pdf reader just gives me a black screen...very zen. I'm wondering if

FUBAR is done and dusted

1km1kt's Cyberpunk revival contest has now reached it's conclusion, so the FUBAR project has now reached it's first stage of completion. Now it's just a case of sitting in anticipation for the judges responses. The game was finalised, PDF'd and uploaded last night. I'm just checking now to see if the links work. I'll be very annoyed if they don't. Either's time to move on to new things. If you want to have a look at the final contest submission check out this page on my website . [EDIT: Since my domain server doesn't seem to be working at the moment... also try here .]