Showing posts from September, 2016


Perhaps a FUBAR magic system. Just inspired by a post made by +Scrap Princess , not too long ago. It's not quite the same type of magic system indicated in that post , but a riff on it. Characters have a range of base magical effects, they each basically add or remove a single trait to the magic's target. Damage - Add a negative "injured" trait to a person, or a "damaged" trait to an object.  Focus - Add a positive "focused" trait to a person. Healing - Remove a negative "injured" trait from a person. Repair - Remove a negative "damaged" trait from an object. Stealth - Add a positive "hidden" trait to a person or object. Reveal - Remove a positive "hidden" trait from a person or object. Horror - Add a negative "scared" trait to a person. Courage - Remove a negative "scared" trait from a person. etc... (Since most actions in FUBAR can add or remove traits like this, we


If you follow my fledgeling Instagram account, you'll notice that I've been getting a bit obsessed with the app "Prisma"... filtering all sorts of photos through it, then tweaking them a bit further in Instagram and posting them. I've shared a few of them on other social media platforms too. LARP photos, scenic shots, all sorts of things... It might be a quick way to illustrate some game texts in the near future (I just need to edit out the "prisma" in the bottom corner). If you haven't been following these's a random assortment of a few of them.

Elimination of Duplication

After a few days break, working on other projects, I looked back at "Tales" and realised that there was something that simply felt like it was a odd duplication within the rules. Two of the mechanisms seemed to be doing much the same thing, and one of the incarnations of the mechanism didn't seem to be addressed very well at all in the rules. Needless to say this had to be attended to... ...and I've stripped out impairments completely. Generally the idea behind the impairment system was a series of predefined traits that would aply penalties in a variety of situations. Such impairments would include such concepts as being "tired", "hungry", "injured", "scared", "cursed" and similar effects. If you suffered an impairment, it would temporarily make things harder for you, but this basically works the same as temporary disadvantages. There were a few badly worded and vague ideas about rendering these impairments i

Rationales behind Design Decisions

( This post discusses the game design released in alpha format in my last post ) In Tales, and in "The Eighth Sea", I made a deliberate design decision to involve other players in the process of judging whether actions succeed or fail. I warn you, there will be some Forge terminology in this post. As a linguist, and more specifically a sociolinguist, I'm at odds with certain elements of Forge terminology, but then again I'm at odds with a lot of the terminology across sociological fields and academia where a specific term is given a specific definition in a specific context, then other people use the same term in a slightly different context only to find that the meaning doesn't quite hold the same definitive meaning when used elsewhere. It's always been one of the thorns in the side of Forge theory, and one of those places where other people seem to hate it because the terminology is used in different ways by different people. Where I'm using those te

Tales Version 2.0

Here's what I've been playing with over the past couple of days... Tales Version 2.0 It still needs a bit of work, and I haven't written up any scenario or setting booklets for it yet, but I think there's enough here to start some discussion about the mechanisms of the game. Once a bit more refinement has been done, I'll add some proper page layout as well.

Rules that vary to match the scenario

One of the things I find about convoluted rule sets is the idea that there needs to be a mechanisms to cover every contingency, whether or not that contingency comes into play. Just in case the characters are disarmed, and fighting over who gets better hold of the jade statue, let's include grapping rules. On the off chance that characters moght need to sneak in somewhere, avoiding the attention of guards, let's include some dramatic stealth rules... ...all these rules need to go into the main book... ...oops, we've blown our page count. Let's keep the common rules, then throw the uncommon rules into a "player's guide", and the rare rules into a "GM/DM/Referee's guide". We've all seen systems like that. It's common in "traditional" games. I know that my description is fairly glib, and designs teams are probably more likely to think that their rule systems are becoming more versatile, and thus more likely to be used

Blog like a Pirate

Image be the 19th o' Septemb-arrr, so it be time to be talkin' like a Pirate. The buxom swashbuckler who be spendin' the last 13 years as me helmsman made a wise decision to get married on the 20th o' Septemb-arr, else that weddin' might a been quite a confusin' day indeed. T' be honest, today snuck up on me like a monkey with a musket. -0- Enough pirate talk, it's taking too long to work out what I want to say in scurvy slang.  Even though I didn't realise it was coming up, I've been working on a project that's related to my first published game..."The Eighth Sea". That game was based on a earlier unfinished work named "Tales", which designed to be a generic system but was probably more of a convoluted mess. "The Eighth Sea" had elements of the original game stripped out, and a few other elements added in. It probably had a lot of loose unconnected bits, because at that stage I hadn'

Now on Twitter

After resisting it for years, I've finally gotten around to making a twitter account Here it is. I don't expect to post much there, it's mostly just a means to stay in contact with a few people who use it as their dominant social media platform.

Breathe (Part 2)

The ideas posed in the first part of this post would be the point where I'd leave things for an Aussie Freeform. A few archetypal ways of manipulating the situation, a few goals that point certain characters in certain directions...then you just let the players go. A GM per 5-10 players (plus a head GM), and if decisions need to be made, the outcome is determined by whatever is best in the context of the overall story, even if things look like they should head a different way at the immediate scale. Maybe throw in some egg timers for specific effects that require delicate work (like hacking the server, tending to someone's wounds, fixing the power, or adjusting the oxygen-beds). Players can't do anything else while the sands in the timer are running through; and if they are disturbed, the count resets. Combat would be enacted through basic wrestling, each player has a literal bottle on them representing their oxygen supply (maybe attached by loop velcro to a hook velcro

A Thief in the Night

Aussie designers are killing it at the moment... Here's a concept from Steve D... If he doesn't end up writing this, I desperately want to.


This idea was posted on Facebook. From Joe MacNamara... Game idea: it's a one-off freeform. It's bleak-as-fk sci-fi; the PCs are asteroid miners, and they need a constant personal supply of oxygen, represented by poker chips or something like that. Every 30 minutes, a GM comes around and collects a poker chip from each PC; any PC who can't produce a chip dies in 30 seconds. The chips represent bottles that can be screwed into your gear and are therefore tradeable; some PCs have far more than they need, some of them won't last the 3 hours. If I did this, I'd do it worth hard player elimination; no replacement PCs, if you die that's it. What are people's thoughts? Frakkin' brilliant! I rewatched Danny Boyle's Sunshine last week, so this idea instantly sent my mind racing. It's got built in tension, where there might be enough oxygen for everyone to survive, but might not...and if anyone exerts themselves (such as combat), they'd find th

An analogy

From a facebook post I just made... Here's an analogy... For the purposes of this anlogy, we have a gun range and a gun shop that sits right beside the gun range, where people talk about their hobby and a range of topics associated with their hobby. The cast of our analogy include: A seasoned marksman who has been in the hobby for years (no, actually decades). This marksman currently runs another range and while he generally shoots rifles, he is generally interested in all elements of firearms. A new range owner who has spent heaps of time promoting his new range (actually the one next to the gun shop) but is running into the same problems that the seasoned marksman has seen time and again over the years. A young shooter, who has shot a few times but certainly doesn't own a range of their own, and is a friend of the new range owner. Scenario begins: New Range Owner: I spend all this time and effort making targets, and all they want to shoot at is that silly shrub

Contemporary Space Supernaturals

Many of my thoughts about Vampires and other supernatural beings in space have focused on a sci-fi perspective. But upon waking this morning I considered another idea... What if the epic battle of the outer solar system were playing out simultaneously with our recorded history? ...and what if the religious texts of the modern world were simply half remembered and mistranslated accounts of event before formally recorded history? Noah's ark may have been a tale about a interplanetary ship captain who fled his world as it was being "flooded with radiation" due to an environmental catastrophe on a lost world which became shattered into the asteroid belt... The Tower of Babel is a reflection of an ancient space elevator which opened a diaspora to the stars... where the bible says people were flung across the world it's only because ancient translators could understand the concept of a diaspora across many worlds... Izamani and Izanagi didn't so much creat

Asymmetric Play

Thinking more about these operatives in an eternal war between a "One Universe/One Truth/One God" legion of technocrats seeking to establish order in the outer planets, while a group of eternally warring ancient monstrosities maintain their millennia-old principalities and kingdoms. This is perhaps akin to the Warhammer 40k notion of human space marines waging an eternal war against the chaos gods, just as much as it is related to the idea of the Technocracy against the most ancient of Vampires who fled to the outer planets to escape the damage of the sun. The latter is still the core framework of the game. The vampires are able to simply slip into slumber while they make the journeys through dark-space taking years or even decades shifting from one planet to another (and months to get from a plant to a moon). The technocracy might employ state of the art jump drives (or blink drives) to instantly travel those distances, but such jumps require nuanced calculations a