Showing posts from November, 2019

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - Eureka

I'm not going to get this project finished during the NaGaDeMon / RoleVember month, but I've certainly made a lot of headway, and the game is a lot more focused that it was before. Over the past couple of days I've been refining the spellcasting system, and that's a bit of a "make-or-break" element when the premise of the game involves casting spells, invoking effects, or otherwise bending reality. In two earlier posts, I shared how magic is rated in a character , and the procedure for invoking mystical effects in the game , but the last couple of days have been dedicated to generating a system where characters can invoke mystical effects on the fly without needing to resort to pre-defined spells, or working out how players can develop their own mystical effects for their characters. I'd always aspired back toward Mage: the Ascension for this, but a recent Facebook thread on people's favourite magic systems prompted me to rethink this idea, and

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - Variant Character Sheets

Apparently the first character sheet was too hard to read with it's grafitti fonts. So, I've made a few variants following the same basic template. The idea would be that players can pick the character sheet that best matches the ideology of their mystic. There will probably be a few more of these made eventually. I also need to work out what's happening with the "vertical" boxes at the bottom of the sheet. At this stage the boxes under the connection value (at the lower left) will probably be filled with the specific "connections" that a mystic uses to link into the metaphysical energy underlying reality, while the boxes under the capacity value (at the lower right) are the ones I'm really second guessing myself over.

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - Character Sheet

There's been a bit of theory this month, and a bit of explanatory exposition about how I design, and why I'm doing things to achieve my intended goals. I'm hoping that a few of these posts have been useful for the people who've been reading them, but now it's time to show something a bit more concrete. Here's where I'm thinking of heading for the character sheet design. The whole design is aimed to invoke something urban and streetwise, while hinting toward something arcane and mystical if you look a bit deeper. It's also deliberately designed to imply the rules of the game, while looking a bit different to most other games' character sheets. My rationale is pretty simple.  The important dice are the calling die and the attribute dice, these are rolled for pretty much everything that the characters do. I still think that there will need to be an extra die rolled when magical effects are invoked (to see how well the accumulated energy is

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - The Rule Sequence

When developing a freeform magic system, there really needs to be some distinct rules in place to prevent everything degenerating into a free-for-all. Don't get me wrong, in a lot of games a free-for-all might be exactly what you need, but in a game where there is an underlying assumption that reality is as we know it (and that magic is a subtle thing that doesn't regularly require spells that obliterate the memories of regular mortals), we need some checks and balances. I've gone through this sequence a dozen times, with refinements and changes many times over. The general idea is that all magical manipulation of the universe requires a combination of the metaphysical energy that can manipulate reality, and an understanding of how best to achieve the desired changes. The bigger the change, the more the energy needed; the more focused the change, the more understanding of the situation is needed. In order to apply a magical effect, you need to accumulate the necess

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - Magic

I've mentioned Ukiyo Zoshi ("Tales of the Floating World") earlier in this sequence of posts. It was the series of multiform LARPs that I ran wth Dave Chandraratnam back in the late 90s at game conventions in Sydney. These were the games we were solidly booked out for... ...where we'd have sessions of 6 players in the first session (because that was the maximum team size that the conventions expected)... ...then a few extra players in the second session due to word of mouth... ...then two full teams in the third session (10-12 players) and we'd split GM duties... ...then then a player from the first or second session would step up for GM duties, when we'd have 14+ players (divided into three groups of 4-5, each with their own GM)... ...and by the tenth session of the convention we'd have half a dozen GMs, and 30 odd players... ...good times. I've already indicated that I'm recycling some of the faction ideas from those games, but ther

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - Experience

How do characters level up? Why do characters level up? What does levelling up mean in the setting? In most class based games, a character fulfills an assortment of tasks, then gains a number of ephemeral "points" which are accumulated. Once a character has accumulated enough points, their "level" improves and tey gain a range of benefits (which might include skill improvements, attribute improvements, new abilities, etc.) In more open games, the same sort of thing generally applies... the character fulfils tasks, they earn ephemeral "points" then spend those points on specific upgrades. These upgrades might include new skills and abilities, improved skills and abilities, increased attributes, or whatever else the game system uses to differentiate one character from another. Some games flavour this by giving more points when characters do things that are more significant to their role in the story, other games direct the expenditure of points towar

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The hypothesis of linguistic relativity, part of relativism, also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism is a principle claiming that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition, and thus people's perceptions are relative to their spoken language. (Linguistic Relativity, Wikipedia) Since the awakened mystics in this game derive their knowledge of the loopholes in reality from a variety of different books, I'm really tempted to apply the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis into the game. Different books will require knowledge of different languages before they may be understood. Since this is generally intended to be a street level game (generally aimed at an Australian/US/UK audience), many of the books will be in English... but since it's about marginalised groups in these communities then it makes sense that quite a few books will be in the languages spoken by those communities. A few in Spanish, some Arabic, some Hindi, some Cantonese,

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - Insularity

One of my early thoughts with this game was that the human mystics would be able to affiliate themselves with a variety of groups to tailor their magical mathodologies. One character might see themseves as a fusion of Chinese Taoist principles and technological artificing, another might draw on Pagan dogma as they refine their herbalist approaches to the craft of reality weaving. But looking at all of the factions I've created, I can see that they're all pretty mysterious, insular, and generally work at cross purposes to one another. A character belonging to two (or more) factions under this kind of political structuring would be a bit of an anomaly, and would be severely distrusted by both groups, if not ostracised (or even hunted) by them. This makes a good setting for shadowy intrigue, but there needs to be something that binds the disparate groups together. A unifying organisation that allows members of these groups to work together against a greater outside threat... w

NaGaDeMon / RoleVember 2019 - The First Factions

I'm going through the template I've generated for the different factions in this game. In some ways I like where this is heading, but in other ways it isn't quite heading the same way that I had initially expected it to and I'm having some reservations. I'm not sure whether to keep the factions linked to different types of familiars, or whether to make factions and familiars completely independent of one another. If I follow the first path, where familiars are dedicated to a specific faction type, then I have a situation where a player will portray a familiar who always attracts the same types of awakened mortals to their side. It kind of makes sense that a familiar would share an affinity with a specific type of person, but that doesn't open up the dynamic world-building that I want to see in the first sessions of this game.  If I follow the second path, I strip out one of the distinctive elements that defines each faction. On the positive side, it allows a


I'm trying out a new social network by the creator of Wikipedia, it's called WT:Social and it's seems to already seem positive. A few local game designers are hoping to push is forward as the replacement G+ that many of us have been looking for over the past few months, and with that in mind a number of gaming groups have already started to become established on the network. If I've done this correctly, my link on WT:Social is here. If you read this blog, it'd be nice to see you there.