Dust Pan Game Resource Pages

Featured Post

The island: (adventure seed)

From the prow of your ship you see the island come into view. At first it is nothing but a glint on the horizon, then a shining sphere.. a ...

Monday, December 30, 2013

With the best of intentions…Homebrew, table top, R.P.G super soup.

With the best of intentions…Homebrew, table top, R.P.G super soup.
This is going to be kind of a disjointed post, I apologize ahead of time.
With the best of intentions I have tried to put up Monday, Wednesday, Friday posts without too much filler. With work and the holidays, my unfortunate nba2k14 addiction, and actual gaming this past week I found myself lacking proper inspiration for today post.
Let’s get to the Homebrew goodness.
You ever think that game design is addicting? When I get something that’s really clicking I can work on it for hours and hours and the time just flies. The only other time I ever get like that is when I used to draw and paint regularly. It’s a similar endorphin rush. The other side of that same token however, is if things are not clicking I get grumpy and drop into a depressed mood.  (Not depression really, just a shitty mental state, depression is serious business and I don’t want to make light of it.)
So it is with that in mind that I find myself in a conundrum. I find myself working on side things, when really I should be concentrating 100% on Shards of Thimbral.
Focus, ya see, has never been my strong suit, and R.P.G. ideas are a bit like crack to me.  So I spent Sunday reformatting and clarifying rules for “The block game” which we played on Saturday.
The block game was great fun as it always is, but as I have said before, Here:
The block game is a beast with a thousand heads, I would need a team of professionals to fix all the holes in that sucker and the fact is I think it would be less fun for the effort.
I need to stay focused and get some setting tidbits up on this blog and hopefully get some more people interested.  Right now I just have some play test notes, A setting framework, a rough as sand paper character sheet, and good intentions.
Considering I only have a few months to get something solid going before I try to hit local cons, I need more hooks than what I’ve got. (Not being negative, just realistic.)
Speaking of settings: (we Were!) If you have not please check out Mike Evan’s Hubris setting for Olds school games.
Hubris HERE! (click me you will not be disappointed)
It’s pretty spectacular, non nonsense, good.
On the tabletop:
so what Have I been actually playing?  Glad you asked.
My wife and I tried a game of “Summoner wars” last week, and I really enjoyed it.  She beat me so naturally she enjoyed it as well. I played Dwarfs and she played elves, we both went though our whole decks and it came down to a few choices at the end. (I need to figure out how to get those war priests into the fight without getting them picked off.) The game looks to have some real strategic depth, and given we bought the master set with about 6 factions, there is enough to keep us busy for a while.
We also rocked some old school AD&D2ndED in our adventure to kill Krampus. My friend Jay ran a dungeon crawl style game with one goal, “Kill Krampus before he eats the children.”  What kind of hero can turn that down?
This game was relived in two posts on this blog form the point of view of my character Brandr the Barbarian.  (My writing skill makes even a barbarian sound dumber than he really is.)
It’s a lot to retell so I’m not going to go into that again. 
I will say is that Roll20 is pretty damn great for this kind of thing. We don’t use the built in voice IP functions we use Skype, but besides that the ability to write on the map, use tiles, swap tokens, health bars , etcetera is just really cool. I am an at the table guy, but for online play this is the best tool I have used so far. I have been considering opening up my wallet, feeding the moths, and getting a year full membership, just so I can dick around with the API.
After the game Jay decided that he enjoyed running dungeon crawls enough that he wants us all to make 4th ED characters to use when he wants to run a game. I agree with him it might be better for us to have spate characters simply because the “Krampus” group were all involved in my 2nded old school campaign, getting someone killed in a side quest would be counterproductive.  I have my least amount of experience with 4th edition D&D, so this should be interesting. (Does it matter? I always make fighters.)
Finally as mentioned above we broke out “the block game” on the 28th.  
So here is my guilty mind working, I have been trying to write out and install a random loot system for the block game for a long time now.  Every time I get it going something stops me. I don’t like the format, the charts don’t work, I grind away for twelve hours on an NBA game. Whatever the reasons the fact is I wanted to do more with the block game for this get together and I just didn't. 
Next time will be better, because next time will not be two days after the busiest holiday of the year.  
For what it’s worth I got to use some of my cardboard scenery and the back side of some wrapping paper to make a pretty large game. The party rolled some orcs and goblins and I thought it was going too easily until one guy blew himself up and the toughest fighter of the bunch got surrounded by goblins and took some strong hits. I sat out of the player side of the game and just ran the monsters, there were enough players that having a facilitator was the best way to go. One more player figure on the board would not have helped or hindered.
used some scenery with the blocks this time, that blood bowl orc is gonna get it.

The party confronts an orc, a goblin and  two  cave slimes... time to get messy


Speaking of my 2ndED game,(we weren’t) it continues tonight; nothing more to say about other than I’m glad to be to picking it back up so soon after Christmas I thought it was going to be a while.
I got invited to play Numenera, so that will be a thing pretty soon. I’m looking forward to it.

Then there is DeadZone. I did an un-boxing video and there it sits…. I think I’m intimidated by it, all the gluing…… the endless gluing.

The RPG Soup thickens!
See you on the New Year
As always thank you for reading.
Questions
Comments
And Shenanigans  welcome!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Why can't my Dwarf ride a Bear again? OR How I think every thing hinges on group character creation.

So why can’t my  Dwarf Ride a Bear again?

Great question:
Some of my most obvious answers:
Because you're level 1
Because you don't have the animal empathy or animal handling, or anything like that.
Because you don't have ride animal (Bear)
Because bear would eat you.
Your Druid buddy over there, the one giving you stink eye, would kill you in your sleep and release the bear.
Because our campaign is set in the Darksun setting and there are no bears.

why do I ask, here we go...

I am working on stream lining the character creation and just the basic, “lets get started playing”  parts of my shards of Thimbral game. I start thinking about the flexibility of narrative games vs the stricter more traditional forms of Role playing games.
I don’t want to project flexibility as better than traditional games. In fact I feel  having a very open character creation in an RPG necessitates all kinds of other processes that a more traditional game builds in.

Here is what I mean: If you take most old school games, if three players all make “fighters” they are generally going to be  balanced to each other and have a similar role to fill in the game. the meta elements of personality, Alignment, and back ground, might be vastly different. In AD&D however a first level fighter holding a broad sword is numbers wise not vastly different than a first level fighter holding a pole-arm. 

This is good for AD&D and other OSR style games like it. What does this do for the game? It assures most  low level characters are balanced to each other and to the world as it is presented by the game. I know if I go by the books my first level fighter is going to have a hard time with an Orc, and a pretty easy time with a giant Rat. I also know most other first level characters will have the same effectiveness. 

This built in balancing creates a consistency in the game world. My level one fighter trying to fight a level fifteen fighter would be akin to me trying to beat Roger Federer at tennis. (hint: that isn’t gonna happen...ever) Everyone knows this so players tend to try and not to bite off more then they can chew and I as a DM know that it would be brutally unfair to railroad them in to having to try. A DM will (should) know this.

This is all set up during initial character creation. From the word go the level system , the classes, the races, the  available weapon /non-weapon proficiency, in later version feats, and then daily -encounter- once a game powers are all structured to keep things consistent. 
This is also true of many point by systems, though in truth I find players tend to learn ways to job those systems as they become more familiar with them. (Big Point Buy games are a subject for another post)

With a more free form narrative game the  GM looses that cohesiveness unless the game provides some other tools to provide it. 

Relating this to my game:
In Shards of Thimbral a player can sit down and make any character they want. 
If left unattended a GM could easily end up  presented with a player character that fires calamari out of a steam powered cannon and has a live octopus for a shield. In the right game I would say  “FANTASTIC!”  I don’t see that game happening all that often. 

The Shards of Thimbral has one thing used to rope in is the “Character with a cannon in his chest,” syndrome (as we call it round our table.) That one thing  is the other players. 

I  write repeatedly  in the game that character generation should happen at a table (virtual or otherwise) with the whole group firing ideas at each other and coming up with interesting characters. The more interaction and sharing the better.
This as a design decision. It is not just because I think it’s more fun that way (it is) but I feel that it is the best way to replace the built in stop gaps of older systems, in a more free form game. Everyone creating characters together is peer pressure by design. If the whole group is buying into a game concept it is rare player who would go out of their make a character complete counter to that. 
Players:
     “yeah lets all create members of the Legio decima Gemina as we campaign crossed Gaul!”
Other player:
    “Sorry guys I’m sticking with this concept of a  guy who has a squid for a shield and  a cannon in his chest, cause I think it’s dope.”

I am not saying this guy does not exist, I’m sure he does, but  that's an issue the GM and the player can talk out. (Best of luck Mr. Gm, gods-speed to you brave sir)

In practice:
In the Shards of Thimbral play test 1 the players had made their characters separately with out a great deal of discussion. Now these guys have played together aloft of over the years, so they kind of know what to expect from each other. Their characters are both cool and fit the setting but that was more of a function of them both having read the setting material and knowing what direction the both normally go in. With that said one character did have a shot gun in his description as well as a vehicle that don’t fit so well and if we had been at the table he may have gone in a different direction. We had a great game, but I think it showed that you can end up with  divergent visions of what a game setting is if the players are not together when they make characters.

The second Play test both players who didn't know each other as well game wise, sat and made characters together, and there was allot more intertwining of their starting location , how they know each other and what was going on. Even if the shard they started on and the aesthetic of the game they played didn't fit my vision of Shards of Thimbral exactly, it was a shared vision which made it work all that much better while we played.

The point of all this is that with a free form character creation there has to be stopgaps to keep things from going to far out. (unless that's your thing, if so have at it.) For my game I think the best stop gap is having the players work together to create characters. 

I know that in the real world folks will get a game, make a character, and  show up to play ready to go, but in the design of my game that would be skipping a major step.

My question is this, is this to restrictive in a real world time sense? 
Is it too much to ask / expect?

What do you folks think?

As always:
thank you for reading.
questions, comments, and shenanigans welcome.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hey! I'm going to post actual Physical shards of Thimbral Progress today !
Not just vapor theory mumbo jumbo like my usual.

 This will be A quick view of a prototype starting character sheet or even character worksheet if you like, for the Shards of Thimbral R.P.G. 
 This sheet or one like it will be on the last page of the PDF when shards of Thimbral is complete.

It will not meant to be the "forever" record of a player's character and the character's adventures. What I'm hoping for is this sheet functioning  more like a work sheet to help move character creation along.

What I'm posting here is simply baby steps, nothing fancy, more of an attempted proof of concept.

it's a start



I know it is a bit hard to see on the blog, but it's a full sized 8 1/2" by 11" sheet containing not only spots to jot down initial character info but also the definitions of some of the  character terms and their uses in game. I think a tool like this would be very valuable for a new player. I particularly like the Fate Core character creation worksheet from the appendix section of the hard cover. I think that it's a great idea. 

My vision is  A GM sitting down with the rules 3 new players and three of these sheets and the four of them hammering out new characters, passing sheets and ideas around as they go. Will it work that way only time will tell.

I still need to tighten up the sheet and do some cleaner lay out. I built it with inkscape which I find kind of temperamental at times. I still need to size it all out so it prints cleanly every time. However I think it's a strong start.


As usual questions comments and shenanigans welcome.

And Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Am Brandr" Part two , Deeper into the caves of Krampus

This is part two and the conclusion of the Christmas dungeon crawl run by my friend Jay for our AD&D 2nd ed group.

The players already had characters from the game I am running , so this is kind of a side quest run for holiday fun. For my part, I am normally the gm so I did not have a character handy. I created a character known as Brandr the Barbarian just for this game. Even if he lives through the search for Krampus his future is uncertain.
If anyone wants to see “I am Brandr” part 1 it's here


The real legend of Krampus can be found here :
http://www.krampus.com/
and here

Enjoy the crawl.

I am Brandr part 2:

We find our selves continuing deeper into the cave of Krampus. He has stolen children for a local city, my companions and I have sworn to rescue them and defeat this creature before any harm can come. We have insofar fought Goblins, Giant spiders and two thuggish orcs. I have been thankful to the
gods of battle that we have met brave foes, who have offered no retreats and have been given no quarter. My ax is wet with orc blood and it is pleasing.

I stand with Guthar a priest of a god known as Thodin. The Master, a druid and the one that feel may have called me here, Johann the gnome who has been extremely useful so far, and Cyrus Magnus a mysterious traveler who is not with us for part 2.

We find ourselves at a cross roads the cave continues ahead into darkness and branches to both our left and right.


The Master provides me with a healing salve to compress on my leg wound, it stanches the bleeding and I thank him.

The orcs lie dead around us I offer a prayer to my gods while Johann searches the dead orcs finding nothing of note. The gnome then moves off to examine the eastern door, he listens at it.. he says nothing so there must be silence.

The master moves forward using his half elf vision to look down the dark hallway to the south.
He spy two orcs and a white skinned figure in a cloak. Another fight so soon after our last is a true blessing, my heart pounds in my ears as I move forward ax ready. The gnome begins firing arrows from behind the cloak of the master His shots all go wide in the heavy darkness, the orcs being well prepared keep moving from rocky wall to wall avoiding arrows. The priest Guthar moves forward and lands a blow with his hammer, while I attack with my ax. I have little room to swing and the strike goes wide. The Master winds up and hits an orc with a sling stone, a traditional Druid weapon, I was surprised to see him use it in the cave, but rocks are plenty and the orc is smarting from the blow.
An orc attacks me but I deflect the blow wit my ax, the creature fights fiercely, I am glad to see the fire in his eyes even if I must soon extinguish it..
The gnome hits the white skinned figure with his crossbow A fine shot in the darkness, it seems the pale skinned figure was beginning an incantation but the bolt to the ribs has distracted him.

The priest begins a prayer again this time calling on his god Thodin to halt the enemy where they stand. And behold the cloaked enemy stops in it's track apparently frozen. I do not under stand this magic, but better the presit use the power of his god, than that figure wield what ever dark spells he had planned. I am marveled but I refocus and cut down the orc in front of me with a side long sweep of my ax.
Another sling stone whips by into the darkness.
I am amazed by these orcs bravery but not their skill I easily parry an attack from the second orc and force him back several steps with a ringing blow from my ax handle. The priest turns and faces the orc I had just shoved and strikes with his hammer it is a sound hit but the orcs armor absorbs the blow. The orc is however, knocked off balance and I take advantage, laying the orc low with my follow through.
the druid begins to tie up the white skinned figures while the gnome searches it finding a strange and perhaps even magical pendant.. The fight is over so the questioning and searching interests me not, I guard the southern passage as the rest of the group make themselves busy.

The master moves to open a chest in the room but the priest stops him, suggesting that he gnome check it for traps which he does but finds nothing. The master tries to open the chest but it is locked the, the druid begins to work at the lock with his scythe which he gets well stuck.
The master offer’s me healing if I can get his scythe loose! I tell him no bargains are necessary. I hit the box with my ax which does nothing, so I pick the chest up by the masters scythe and throw the box against the wall destroying it and freeing the scythe. Some papers fall from the box, I see no reason for the all the fuss.

The Priest releases the pale skinned figure from the hold of Thodin so he may be questioned.
Guthar questions the figure asking "where are the children"

“here”
is the answer.

"Who guards the children."
“My master”

Which way to the children
“many ways”

The priest is getting nowhere with the questioning, the pale figure must be under the sway of this Krampus creature, and will not answer. So the priest walks off and the gnome begins to threaten the figure with a scourge, even under this questioning the pale figure is evasive, even disrespectful.

The gnome having had enough of the mages games chokes the figure to death with his scourge while he is defenseless. I will speak to the gnome when we are out of this cave, that was a cowards death he gave the pale figure deserved or not, the god of battle would not be pleased. It would have been better to leave the figure tied up to his on devices. Alas not every one seek entry to the final battle though I have seen the gnomes bravery he walks a path different than I.

There is a door ahead of a make unlike the others we have seen. The gnome says it's magical. I can not tell, I do know that the doors have symbols written on them, the runes give me an odd feeling.
The Druid approaches the wall and speaks in an Earth tongue, the very stone of the cave begins to shift at his touch and a gap opens allowing us a small passage past the door, only large enough for the gnome. We determine it is not worth risking the gnomes life to pass this door, so we move on to explore other areas in hopes of finding a way around the magical door.

We back track to one of the other doors that we had not breached, heading to the east. I kick open the door and surprise a goblin wearing heavy armor, I attack swiftly killing the first goblin before it could react.
The other jump to the fight one with sword the other with a bow. They will both fail in there attempts to save themselves the fate heathen gods have chosen for them.


The priest charges past me and kills a the second goblin as I move into the room and cut down one fiend with a bow. The gods of battle shine on me as we struck with great effect, and quickly.
I pray over them and thank my gods for their bravery and for accepting their blood as tribute.
Johann the gnome moves swiftly north and discovers three more goblin archers they are unaware of him as they scramble to gather their equipment.

The druid quietly blesses his staff with a prayer to the earth it's self, the staff grows suddenly and becomes knobby, heavy. With his blesses staff the druid leaps to action and attacks surprising one goblin but missing. the gnome fires crossbow bolt taking one goblin in the shoulder, then hitting again in the thigh, this goblin is made of strong stuff. The master again attacks with his his blessed staff but his foe is fast and dodges deftly.
One of the goblins arrows finds my upper arm, the pain is searing, it throws off my charge I fail to connect with strike.
The druid strikes and his blessed staff finally finds it's target but the enemy does not fall, the priest steps in and soundly smashes the goblin finally felling him.

Another goblin tries to attack with it's bow but in it's panic the goblin hits his compatriot. It is good to see the goblins too suffer for using ranged weapons in such tight quarters, the unlucky goblin dies never knowing it was his compatriot succumbing to fear that undid him.
I move to the clumsy goblin and hit him with the blunt of my ax, before I could follow up one of the gnomes arrows finds the goblin and drops him where he stands.

As the priest prays over the dead, the Druid tries to smash open a chest and his blessed staff explodes in his hands! The unfortunate druid is flung a crossed the room, sprawling to the ground. The druid claims this was an effect of his blessing being broken by some foul magic protecting the chest. The gnome goes to examine the chest but even he has no luck with the lock. On their request I take the chest and smash it over my knee, I do not under stand the preoccupation with boxes. Some carved shards of bone fall from the hole in the chest, I give them to the gnome, he seems interested in them, I am not.
The gnome takes his time looking over the bones I say he can keep them, during this time the priest asks his god Thodin to grant me healing, ad he once again does. A truly fine god is this Thodin. We continue moving now heading back south.

We see ahead, the gnome working slowly making sure the area is not trapped. We enter another room and are greeted by four more goblins, these look better prepared to fight than the others had been.
I move forward to the fight as my gods would wish.
The priest Guthar charges past me his hammer at the ready but misses with his attack, as does the Druid.
I charge the archers in the rear of the room missing with my attack as I dodge arrows. Despite my best efforts one of the archers lands a telling blow on the druid, a true shot if ever there was one. The second archer attacks Guthar the priest missing with a wayward arrow.

One of the goblins strikes down the Druid laying him low with a cruel strike. He falls motionless on the floor a poo of blood spreading around him. I mutter a payer that I was not called here just to watch the last druid die in a cave.
To his credit The priest rushes to the druids aid and staunches his bleeding, and then begins a frantic prayer.

The goblin in front of me dodges to the left avoiding my attack, then inexplicably drops, sound asleep. I can not explain this sudden slumber, why have the gods of battle frowned on me and these goblins? The gnome takes to finishing the sleeping goblins, this is no way to do battle, but I understand the utility of the act, the goblins would do the same if our roles were reversed. For my part I will have no part in it, neither shall my blade.


The priest gives them last rights, and the Druid now conscious again begins a chant of healing asking the good earth for help.

We collect ourselves and move to the south toward another rune carved door, the gnome deducts that he must read from the paper he found earlier, when he does the door disappears, revealing a room containing three chests. The gnome examines them all and declares the chests are free of dangers.


My companions all rush to examine the room and its contents. I am leery for the place and prefer to guard the hallway leading in.

The group searches the room thoroughly, each moment they spend in this vault the greater the chance of guards blundering upon us. I keep my ax at the ready just in case.
The group finds a long bow, and give it to me, I thank them, It seems a fine bow, and I will gladly use it to hunt when next I have the chance.

The Druid has found a key, and says it may open the door which we could not pass earlier so we carefully retrace our steps. The rock opening the druid had made is strangely repaired when we arrive. The druid tries the key and it works, for better or worse.
When we enter the room we are met by two creatures made of mummified flesh and twisted lifeless exposed bones, shambling with an unnaturally quick, stuttering gate. I don't know what kind of abominations these are, they smell of death and I feel they must die today.


The priest opens up the fight by throwing water at one of the beasts what is this folly? Use your hammer man!
I swing my ax at one of the beasts but it goes directly though the creature! By the lords of battle what is this! Perhaps I understand the priest now, will my a not strike these beasts?

The gnome steps forward and flame sprays from his hands quickly consuming and destroying one of the creatures! Then the druid steps forward and creates a ball of flame that rolls along the floor burring another creature but not killing it. The creatures seem to fear the fires light and flee from it. This group is truly a magical lot, and this fight seems to be one for such magical forces. I fear I may be in over my head in this situation.
The priest produces a blade, but a bade made of purest fire, it seems to sprout form his palm and he wields it deftly with one hand the heat not touching him. He attacks and cuts down one of the creatures where it stands. This Thodin apparently provides more than healing and faith, this is war being made with the force of the divine. All around me there is fire and magic, My head begins to swim , I search for a target to sink my blade into, before I am lost in the smoke. I am so distracted I barely notice the gnome taking vials and bottles off of a strange table sitting in the corner of the room.


As the Druids flaming ball rolls deeper into the large room the beast Krampus is finally revealed as well as the captive children and two more of the hideous mumified creatures. Now the fight is on I will meet this Krampus in battle and best him.

I charge.

The Krampus is large, very large, and fearsome looking, He has a long purple lolling tongue, and while he seems human but he is back bent with spindly arms ending in great claws and tumorous lesions dotting his pale skin. In the light cast from all of the fires he looks like a demon of old but I do not fear him, it is time for him to die.
I strike a mighty low on the beast full on with all my might, but it has little or no effect, again the creature seems resistant to my steel! I see now that these magical caves shall likely be my grave so I prepare to strike again, if this Krampus shall be my undoing, I shall make sure he works for the honor.

The priest continues fighting with his flaming blade, striking out at the beast while the gnome fires an arrow which inexplicably explodes into flame as it hits the Krampus!

The Creature lets out a bellow and rears up to full height, ablaze and surrounded by aggressors, it looks to strike out at anything near it. The Krampus strikes me but the blow is not telling, I shake it off and ready my ax! This battle is all flame and smoke I'm choking on the fumes of the chemicals from the gnomes bolt.
Before I can strike again the druids flaming sphere and the alchemists fire from the gnome, burns the creature where it stands, It dies with a shrill cry, falling in on it's self its waxy melting tallow skin like a candle burnt hollow. When the creature dies the other creatures flee, freed of what ever magics held them.

We gather up the children and carefully work our way back out of the caves, wary of lingering threats from goblin or orc, we meet none.

We are victorious, thanks to the blessings of Thodin, the powers of nature, gnomish knowledge, and as always blessings from the gods of battle.

The tales of Brandr will be continues another day.

As the DM says:
"I have been around a long time and I have never seen a group of braver men. They went to the Old Caves in search for Krampus, the Evil Deamon who takes naughty children. This year he it seem he has lost his mind. He has taken all the children of Krom. Even Tinny Tom Snatchet, the poor crippled boy with a heart of gold. These fine adventures ventured out to the mouth of the cave. A smart gnome who only wants an interview with Krampus, A mighty Barbarian who is here to help and in search for a Druid, The Druid who is here to kill and also find some mistletoe along the way, A Cleric who is here to please his god and an Assassin who likes to stick to the Shadows."
-Jay


Thank you for reading.
As Always
Questions, Comments, and, shenanigans are welcome.


Friday, December 20, 2013

I am Brandr part 1:

Welcome!
This is a retelling of the AD&D2ed game my friend Jay ran on Roll20 Wednesday night.
My character is a 3rd level Barbarian named Brandr.
This is his version of the events , others might differ, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
I don't get to play all that often so I try to take notes when I do, this is the result.


Others:
Guthar Wulfhar a Preist of Thodin
The Master, A druid
Cyrus Magnus a thief? Were still not sure, he is cagey.
Johann Tyree, Assistant Professor from Achoo University and Gnomish Lecturer


I am Brandr part 1:

I am Brandr. I have come south from my tribe because in a dream I heard the call of the Druids. Dream Magic is powerful and it is all I needed to leave my home. I am near the city of Krom, this is far form my mountain home, I will miss the bear hunt this  year, but this I must do.

I have arrived here near a cave with a group of travelers, one it was said is a Druid perhaps even the last druid, so he must be the one I seek. I join them, quietly, they except me as hired muscle, though in the end I will except no coin, I am no mercenary.

We enter the cave, I was told that a beast known as Krampus was hiding inside and that this beast was behind the theft of several children from nearby city. I care not for the city folk, but their children are innocent, so it has come to pass that this “Krampus” will die by my ax.
We immediately blunder into a nest of large cave spiders, I have not seen their like before, and hope to not again. The spiders are aggressive, in the fray most of the group keep their distance, wanting to fling arrows and use crossbows, one of them even manages to hit me in the shoulder with a stray bolt. Such is bound to happen in such tight quarters. Foolish to use bows in such a tight area. As it turns out there are two of the beasts and I manage to parry one then the other, be damned.

My ax ends one of the creatures admit is a shame, majestic beast.



The priest and druid of the group step forward and strike out with hammer and scythe. A priest of Thoth the cleric claims, though I know not the god to whom he speaks. The priest is grazed by one of the beasts, and steps away. The second spider falls dead under my ax. I kneel and prey to the lords of battle that I may fight with the aggression of these two spiders.

The rest of the group consists of a tiny man with odd features. I have heard them called gnomes or tinkers, where I come from and another man named Cyrus who fights with a crossbow and keeps to himself.
A strange group but this is where I must be, I feel it.

I attempt to harvest any poison glands from the great spiders but find none, perhaps they held no venom, unlikely, I have just never hunted such beasts before.

My companions look though the room and find two strange bottles, they offer them to me, though I am grateful I already carry a water skin and it shall sustain me. The group finds this funny.
The quiet one Cyrus does not believe in this Krampus, no matter, Cyrus is here risking his life to kill the Krampus anyway. Strange city folk. If I read the legend correctly this Krampus will enjoy dining on his eyes if he does not take care.

We pass door, with much discussion about how to open it and much examinations in the end one of the group simply pushes it open. Never has a door been such a riddle, I think they fear Krampus has trapped every hinge.

Within the next chamber three goblins who do not look to have been expecting us. I have no love for the underworld fiends and I make my ax ready.

The priest calls on his God and I behold the vines moss and lichen of the cave beginning to grow and entangle the goblins! What ever god this Thodin is he shares his power freely with this priest Guthar.
I swing at one goblin not yet ensnared and he dodges away I slip and lodge my ax well into my leg! A deep wound no less, the gods of battle must be punishing me for looking on the work of Thodin , and I will repay them with goblin blood in haste. I feel like a fool , but soon this goblin will pay.

Arrows fly from both sides again in the dark cave, the room is cramped and there is little to be gains form this ranged combat. The priest lunges forward, swinging wide also missing a goblin, his hammer far to high in the air. The druid, whom I now know is called simply “The Master” is fairing better as he separates one goblin from its head.

I hear a goblin in the back of the room muttering some wretched incantations in a foul speak, but the sound is cut short as an arrow takes to goblin in the throat, a fine shot in the darkness of the caves. What ever magics he was weaving died with him in a pool of blood on the floor.
I swing again this time missing the goblin but catching the priest , I wound him slightly , it is not serious but it is regrettable, damn these close quarters, I am getting ever closer to drawing my short sword and returning my ax to my back.

A second goblin charges but my armor takes the blow, I almost pity the goblin. The priest is not so lucky as he is struck again and backs away from the goblins and begins another prayer somewhere behind me. He asks for healing and again he is heard, a generous god indeed. For his part the druid has similar bad luck chasing a goblin in the dark I see him trip, cutting himself on his scythe, these caves are treacherous and so far we have been more harm to ourselves than anything!.

My anger is now up , this has gone on long enough I swing my ax with no kind intent killing a goblin with the blunt face of my ax and sending it flying a crossed the room. 

I move forward into the room as arrows seem to endlessly zip this way and that in the darkness, do they find their mark? I do not know.

The final goblin stands bravely , I don't know what compels them to stay and fight, he is dead where he stands yet he does not flee, I admire that, so I ready myself to kill him as cleanly as possible. The priest Guthar clashes with the goblin but it is wily and avoids being smashed to bits by his hammer. The creature puts up a brave defense avoiding both my blow, and parrying that of the druid, it took the gnome's crossbow to finally fell the creature.

The others search the room while I offer a prayer of thanks for such brave foes. I think they found some more bottles and some coins, no matter. Another door this one locked, no one seemed to know how to deal with the mechanism so I was about to put my ax to the timbers , when the gnomes steeps forward and deftly dismantles the hinge and latch. The stories of Gnomes intelligence must be true as this little fellow has proven quite useful.

The newly opened door reveals a long chamber with two more goblins these two seem ready for us , as they must have heard the fight in the room before. I move to attack and the goblin dodges away but it does not escape the Master, the scythe of the druid takes the goblins head, killing him where he stands. Once again the gnome shows his mettle with a perfectly placed crossbow bolt ending the second goblin.

This room is much larger than the other, with another door to the south. The priest commits last rights on the fallen goblins, his god must need some souls to clean the kitchens.

As we are searching the room a cowardly goblin attacks from the shadows, he is quickly dispatched by the one who calls himself the Master. That goblin showed no bravery except in the act of leaving the shadows to attack, what kind of hold must this Krampus have on these creatures that they will willing die for him? It matters not I will kill them anyway.

A simple door from this room to our south remains untouched as we press forward into a hallway and the growing darkness. We move towards a larger more solid looking door to The east. The group stops momentarily to go over supplies at a crossroad and search a strange empty chest.

There are two of these heavy doors here, one directly ahead of us what I recon would be east, and yet another to the south off of a short hall, we choose to press east but that door is locked. The gnome examines the door, and there is some continuing discussion about if the quiet one knows how to work locks. The gnome is stymied by the mechanism so I attempt to kick it open and fail.

We are left only with the similar door to the south or to backtrack, luckily this door is not as well built and I kick it to pieces.

Beyond the door two orcs are laying in wait for us. I move forward to block the brutes progress into the door way. I am hoping to introduce them to my ax before the can meet the others. More arrows fly from behind me, dangerously close in the narrow passage, and my attacks are turned by crude orc armor. The priest who is standing to my left mumbles a prayer to his god, Thodin is generous and some of my wounds are closed by his power. The gods of battle must know this Thodin, for he seems to hold me in his favor. The orcs counter but we defend deftly, they are not warriors but fighters and their crude techniques will undo them. An arrow finds it 's mark in one of the orcs thighs, the druid sees this as an opening.  The druid known as the Master calls fourth a flame from the very earth! It is a violent miracle, the druid throws fire at the orc burning it to death where it stands. 


The smell of burning flesh and hair permeate the small room, now it seems a real fight. The second orc is stunned by the sudden immolation of his clansmen. I feel for the orcs loss, so I cleave him in twain with my axe, that they may be together again. I offer a brief prayer for the orc warriors, they were outmatched, but still fought on, the gods of battle will favor them.

We move forward deeper into the cave of Krampus...

To be continued.

Quick note : roll 20 hates me , I rolled three "1's" almost back to back to back in combat. I took more damage from fumbles than I did from enemies!

Questions, comments, shenanigans are welcome!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Looking at old games with new eyes.

So it snows in winter..whodathunkit?

Shoveling is not my thing, it's going to be a snow blower Christmas this year I sear it. My driveway dealt me a crushing defeat with our first storm this year and although I rallied and won the field of battle the night of our second storm, my back is feeling it.

 Onto the  good stuff... Looking at the old with new eyes:

    One of my friends is going to run an AD&D second edition game, via Roll 20 and I am going to jump in and play. It's cool because I have not been on the player side of an AD&D game in quite some time (years).

I have to make an AD&D second edition character and level it up a few times (3 or 4 Gm's call) so that he can run with the rest of the party. I have chosen to make a straight ahead fighter. I am not going to make any thing more or less complicated than that mostly because the guy who is GM-ing normally plays the fighter, so the party will be down that role for the night.

 Looking at AD&D 2nd's character creation system , it is striking how little they talk about character when you are creating a character. I just never really noticed before. The game is to be honest still a war game at this point. The player is not creating a character the player is creating a stat block. Everything else, relationships to the party, place in the world, aspirations, or anything that might round out a personality is all done in a meta gaming way, during play or as chatter among the players and GM.

 The introduction talks about creating a personality and bringing life to a character. Which I think is great, the leading introduction text in the 2nd ed books is really good in my opinion. It's not the spirit of the character creation that falls down, but it's in how the system never buoys the idea that the payers are creating a being, not a set of combat stats.

 I could mention Alignment as giving the character a world view and an anchor for the characters personality. Alignment however has never in my opinion been given any really use or support in the system. I know a paladin can loose his powers if he is not strictly lawful good, but even that can be kind of gray. Why can your paladin travel with? What did he see the party thief do or what did he not see? In the game the teeth alignment has in the system is really up to the GM.

To take that further the treatment of alignment is traditionally seen as a limiter (You can't steal that, you're lawful good!), and never sported in the system as something useful.

GM: 
“Hey Paladin, that was a generous and lawful decision you just made! Your god is going to grant you a +1 Damage and -1 armor class bonus blessing for the rest of the session!”
 Player: 
“Awesome! Studly Angelworthy bows at the altar and praises his patrons blessing!” 
 That would be cool right? 
You bet it would. 

 To my knowledge alignment never receives that kind of support in the rules, and anything like that would have to be a dm's creation.

 This is not an indictment of the game, it's a classic. Just by today's standards the character creation is very fiddly, and sterile. Perhaps newer games are holding our hands a bit. Can I just say my guy is intimidating? No it needs to be an aspect. At least you can DO SOMETHING with an aspect.
 (best old man voice: Back in my day we didn't have aspects we had imagination!)

 I'm not going to try and play both sides of this fence. I clearly prefer character creation tied to systems that mechanically support the character concept in play. By support I mean by more than how hard your character can swing a sword, or to edition jump, that humans get an extra feat.
 Now that I have finished all my apparent kicking of an old dead horse.

 It brings me to how amazing it is that AD&D2ed (or the players using it) produced most of the most memorable characters I have ever been at a table with.
 Robot Roll call:
 Cyormach (However you spell it Russ. A decade + of me getting it wrong,) Aldron, Crank Swanson, Alihra, Lur, Helmar Hammerstrom, Shea, Treegan, Teaolis the bard, Boris Hardtoe, Rhino Rhun, Lancelot Goodthrust, Lothar, Grendel, Wang Fu Dong (lasted one game) Wormy (lasted less than one game) Osean Suran, Mel Teactor, Zeena Zwieble...

It woudl be wrong form em to leave out our current crop of characters: Thallis the Elf archer extraordinaire, The Master druid, Cyrus Magnus the assassin, Wilhelm the former dwarf footballer turned fighter, and Guthgar WulfGar the priest of Thodin.

The list goes on and on and on. I have left out literally thirty or so characters from over the years.

 Based on experience I can't knock the game blindly because I've had and have great times with it. I will say that revisiting it as a player brings into focus how far our hobby has come in the past few years, due in large part to the creative efforts of the indy / small print community.

 Have any of you gone back to revisit an older game recently and been struck by things that felt perfectly normal then, which have evolved over the years?

 What do you think of Older games methods of character creation compared to newer more story based games?

 As usual thank you for reading, Questions, comments and shenanigans welcome.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Deciding on the general Lay out for "Shards of Thimbral" (gotta play)


Shards of Thimbral, Laying out.
Making some decisions.

I have decided on the basic lay out for the shards of Thimbral game.
I plan on opening the game with “Ten steps to playing this game NOW” which will pair the game down to the bare bones, and get players playing as quickly as possible. (cause Players gotta play.)
After that section I will expand each part of the 10 ten steps in it's own chapter. Lastly there will be a fluff section expanding the setting framework that I posted earlier.

My goal is to have people actually playing as quickly as I can. It sounds simple, but it's really not. considering one of the pillars of the game is the set up stage where characters are created and the foundations for the characters locations and relationships are set up, takes time.
In our second play test the charter creation and set up phase took roughly two and a half hours. That was with some joking around and general B.S. But still it was a chunk of time. I want to at least half the time with a streamlined introductory system, after that I would encourage players to dig into the expanded chapters.

Don't get me wrong, if there are four players all sitting around a table making characters I want them to take their time and bounce ideas around. If character creation takes a whole session, as a designer I'm 100% fine with that, as long as the resulting characters are worth playing. I just don't want the games set up to take too long the first time the players sit down with the game. I want people playing this sucker, not tossing it on a bookshelf for latter. (we still use book shelves right? PDF's go there?)

I have my reasons. I have been noting a drift lately towards faster playing games, things like “Project Ninja Panda Taco” and the like. The one shot game seems to be the thing right now. I want to capture a bit of that spontaneity, while maintaining a game that is very much built for the building of complete story arcs. I know they are kind of divergent ideas, and I'm not wholly sure that I have it nailed down yet.

My next stage before play testing will be the writing and streamlining of the getting started process. I think this will be my main focus until the next play test, where I will …. you know.. test it...
This implies that I'm going to ask the guys who have tried the game to make fresh characters and get a game rolling using the streamlined system, so it should be interesting.

Now for the fleet of quick questions..
Do any of you have any thoughts on the speed of game set up?
Playability the first time your group sits down with a game?
Ideas on how to facilitate that kind of playability?

As always thank you for reading
Questions Comments and shenanigans are welcome.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowy day reading from around G+ (cool stuff to look at)

I figured because It is snowing and crappy here in the Hudson Valley I would do a kind of weekend extra post.
This is not going to be a super thought provoking affair but more a list of what I am keeping track of right now.
Sort of for the selfish reason of having all the links in one place for my own uses.
And also if you are sitting at home trying to decide if you want to go outside and shovel or would rather read some cool stuff..Read the cool stuff

Here we go in no particular order.

Posted about floating islands today and landed directly in the same camp as I am in when it comes to settings and moving away from overly dark settings.

Honestly I am not even quite sure what all this is yet, but it looks really interesting, evocative and cool, so I plan on spending some time this week reading as much of the Fatestorm website as I can.

Venger's Kick starter looks like it is going to be a great low down get down on the get down Old School Revival adventure, it should be funded.
Over on RPG now this is also by Venger and I want to play one of these fellows , like now..

A never ending list of cool stuff to read.
Another link to the Great Blog roll at Dyver's. So nice I shared it twice.
It's snowing out Pick some Blogs from the great blog roll then sit and read .. no reason to go out there in that crap. Also another thanks to +Charles Akins for including this wee lil' blog on the Blog roll.

Finally
Mike Evans is putting together a setting called Hubris and all of his ideas are down right awesome..(Who does not love Gorgons? who does not love precious metals? ..it's a win win..)
So check it out.


Friday, December 13, 2013

DEAD ZONE kick-starter unboxing.. Video Blog?

DEAD ZONE kick-starter unboxing Video BLOG (Drum roll please)




Something special for everyone who follows the blog today. The unboxing of my DeadZone kick starter package from Mantic games.
http://www.manticgames.com/

Some details:
Last spring DeadZone went ape shit on kick starter raising $1,216,482 on a $50,000 dollar goal.. or ...2433% funded, that sir is “magic bananas funding” level


I was an early adopter of “Dread-Ball” and then vacillated over whether or not to back the DeadZone kick starter when it came around. Dread-Ball was super fun so I was sure Deadzone would be  as much fun.

So why the vacillation abut deadzone? Good question. I knew they would make their goal, Mantic had just killed it with Dredball and had that kick starter momentum that any company would die for. Dead Zone was by the same designer +Jake Thornton (Whose Design Blogs I really enjoyed and were an influence on me starting this blog for Shards.) I knew they would have another home run. What was holding me back was the “damn one more game to play??” syndrome and the fact that I may have to paint all these miniatures at some point.


ON the first point I am sure we all feel it sometimes. A game looks great but we have no clue when or if we will ever get to play it. The backlog of games a dedicated hobbyist can amass is staggering. And I have one, Shards of Thimbral needs to be worked on, The Block game needs to be played, AD&D 2ned ed about twice a month, Fate now and again, a bazillion board games (it goes on) I did not see Dead-zone fitting in. (I told my wife thank you for the gift we WILL PLAY IT so it will happen.)


Secondly is the painting issue. I have one gripe with Mantic and it is a purely personal one. I don't expect anyone to agree, but I hate painting these smaller scale plastic minis. For me it is a nightmare. I am a fair, not good miniature painter, and I have a hell of a time with these sculpts. I don't know why. Just putting together some of the Dread-Ball teams was enough to make me never want to see them again. (I'm looking at you guys Z'Zor..) I want to make clear this is not a knock on Mantic games and their mini's. I think they offer a great product at a good price point and clearly doing smaller scale plastic mini's is a big part of that. The fact that my fingers are to stubby and shaky to paint them is no fault of theirs.
mine will not look this good.


Lucky for me my generous and ever understanding wife backed it as a Christmas present without telling me. She funded at the strike zone level which gets me honestly a pile of stuff, I don't even know what , I lost track at stretch goal “crazy.” (the shipping weight is a bit over 8 pounds, that's a-lot of lil plastic mini's)

So what we're going to have for this Friday is my first Video Blog, with me as your happy host and a bunch of tinny baggies containing dismembered plastic figures as our subject.
I hope you enjoy.

This video Blogg will be hosted on You-tube and is likely best watched on that site.

I will be recording with a web cam, so this is nothing fancy. I apologize in advance for any quality issues, there will be some, I'm not set up for this kind of thing.

(side note: Monday's Blog will be about how i'm going to present Shard's of Thimbral's rules as it pertains to the  lay out of the rules and such.. may be less exciting.. but really yeah it's less exciting.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The P.I.G. (not getting glanced over)

PIG! (Possibly interesting game)
I don’t wanna be a pig!
I want to be an I.G. an interesting game.
What I mean is this, there are A LOT of games out there right now. I don’t know how you see it, but in my view this is like the damn golden age of table top games. There are more quality R.P.G.s and board games being developed and on the market than I have ever seen and I have been around this hobby for about 25 years or so. It’s fantastic, almost heady sometimes. The quality is crossed the board better than ever and the creativity is simply off the charts. If you disagree, go to your local game store pick up a copy of the Numenera hardcover and just hold it, leaf through, then do the same with a hard copy of Dungeon Crawl Classics look how much personality just oozes from its pages, then Fate Core and look at how well put together and organized that is, how frankly beautiful Numenera is. Then think there are HUNDREDS of other examples I could be using. ON top of that I have not even mentioned any board games. DAMN.
 
As a player it’s fantastic.
As a would be designer, it’s problematic
Back to the P.I.G.:
I think I have the chops to offer up a game that a interested party might say “Hrmm that’s a possibly interesting game,” Just before they go buy a copy of Fiasco.
What I need to do is figure out how to push my ideas over that cliff to where a possible player will want to actually try the game.  This blog (Again, thank you for reading) is part of that. The one thing I think I am doing that is a bit out of the ordinary, is that if you have followed this blog you are seeing every step (and miss-step) of game development from the time I first thought of doing it. It might be the most transparent development process I have seen (I don’t have a huge sample here, so if anyone knows of another let me in on it). I think that the blog is a good start.
Another part is getting out there on the net, and chatting with other gamers, other designers, really anyone who is interested to gain input, feedback and support. (I thought about using the word recognition, but it felt wrong. I’m not out for recognition, I just want interested folks to know, I’m a guy making a game and I’m down to talk about it.) I am not the best network builder, but I have been really enjoying the conversations I have been having lately on this blog and others.
Naturally putting together a quality project is the number one best way to get people to stop and look at your work. Decent artwork, a nice lay out, and a solid game will go farther than anything else to get a game noticed, bought and talked about.
I will end on a question.
What about a game grabs your attention enough to give it a second or even third look? What is it for you that will turn a P.I.G into a purchase?

Monday, December 9, 2013

On the topic of mature topics / Setting design decisions.

On the topic of mature topics/ Setting design decisions.
I read an article recently about sexism as it exists in the steam punk genre, Written by Eric Simon and found here http://steamscapes.com/node/62 (It's a set of two excellent articles that I think any fan of the steam punk genre should take the time to read.) and another quick post wherein someone wanted address people who were complaining about the artwork in his game, which was apparently kind of racy (I never saw any of it). Far be it for me to judge, I don’t know from corsets. But they are thought provoking reads, and definitely inspire some discussion.
 So this brings me to the topic at hand, the treatment of social issues in role playing games  whether in a  real world sense (for example treatment of alternative lifestyles or modern economic issues in the game text) or as genre specific. (For example the over objectification of women in parts of the steam punk genre, or the chainmail bikini syndrome that has been around for about 30 years now.*) By treatment I mean the treatment of these kinds of topics in a mature way.
As I write Shards of Thimbral, I don’t plan on dodging any social issues. If I feel like adding something that might not sit well with some readers, I will. We are mostly adults here, and while I don’t want to set out to offend people, I am not one to avoid it either. In fantasy fiction the bad guys are generally pretty bad. This makes it difficult to avoid some subject matter concerning violence, exploitation, oppression, and any of a host of unpleasant subjects or images.  I feel that as long as an author takes care not to turn depiction into exhibition that most things are ok when viewed in context.
With that said, I also don’t feel any strong need to use my game as a soap box for any particular social issue. If I wanted to do that I would write a game specifically and pointedly about an issue. (I bet my next effort “Why am I starving in the richest country in the world, the R.P.G.” is going to sell like hot bat-turd sandwichs.) I personally don’t play RPG’s to delve deeper into the social issues of the day, or into my own psyche. At the risk of sounding shallow, I play RPG’s to gather my friends around the table, and makes some kick ass stories, and hopefully have a few laughs. (Trust me my humor is as dark and bawdy as it comes, but that’s at my table with my friends, not as part of a product I want to present to the public.)
So where does that leave me as a fledgling game / setting author?
When writing anything, especially an RPG game wherein people are supposed to play as a character inhabiting a setting it is important to take care with how we are depicting women, men, or anyone for that matter. In the end of the day these are the people that are buying the game. An author does not want a woman looking at the cover of his or her R.P.G. on drive-through and seeing some maiden chained to the leg of a warrior in a fur bikini, it just does into fly in 2014, the industry and the audience has changed. By the same measure, it is unwise to denigrate any real world social group as part of a game text. Let me put it this way, if you are proof reading your game right now and a homosexual character is the target of some kind of disparagement, get a damn eraser right now, grow up, and get rid of the offending references. Again it’s not 1978 anymore; the acceptance level for that kind of crap is a lot lower. (Rightfully so)
I will finish this by saying, play how or whatever you like. It’s your game, your hobby. As creators of the content however, we have to hold ourselves to a high standard as far as how we present people in our games. What we write is really how our hobby presents it’s self and how hobby presents its self are will go a long way toward either expanding or diminishing the RPG audience as the hobby evolves.

*Some external links:
Women in reasonable armor:http://womenfighters.tumblr.com/

Friday, December 6, 2013

The internet and the designer.

The internet and the designer.
I'm moving forward with my Shards of Thimbral project, most of which has been snoringly detailed in this blog.
As I work however, a specter, an amorphous cloud of cold..cold darkness tracks my every move..
Ok really it's just the internet, not some kind of pan-dimensional soul eating vapor, but still it's kind of creepy.
To be even more exact not the internet as such it's on line play, (ala G+ hangouts and Roll20 ect.)
I have touched on this subject before, but not in any real depth, so I thought I would revisit.
My issue is this as I read,, type , and playtest Shards of Thimbral, I have relized more and more that ther eis no easy way to run the resolution mechanics online. Now I say “easy way?” because I know there is someone out there on the web who is more creative and smarter than I am who will be able to hack around in Roll20's Ap shell and come up with a solution. I have no doubt of that.

I would like the general user with no suck access to the Roll20 Api to be able to pull the “book” (Ha! Book.. sounds so pretentious.. for what is pile of loose notes right now ) out get, some friends, create some characters, and start telling stories of kickassitude amongst magical flying islands.

My first inclination is to say “To Hell with it! I'll do what I do, let it shake out on it's own.” What I mean by that is I should not be thinking of my design in terms of one subset of possible may never be users. Then there is this other side of my brain that says , but wait you are making a game to be played , not as some set of mental gymnastics, so people have to be able to play it.

According to Merriam Webster (who ya gotta trust on these things)
the second definition of design is, ( to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose)
And I have clearly stated that my goal is to allow any one who wants to, the opportunity to start telling stories of kickassitude amongst magical flying islands. (Merriam,-Webster has surprisingly little to say about “Kickassatude”)

It is a pretty large question to me.
Should we as designers of role playing games, modify our design visions because of the number of people playing traditional RPG's over the internet?
Take that question in your minds eye for a second.
I am willing to bet most of us start working on a project because we have some idea in our minds of something we think is really fun and good, and we want others to share in it.
Now that vision that we think is as awesome as pandas puking rainbows*, starts to get affected by all these other considerations.
That’s called design, making the form of your game fit the function of actual play. How much of the outside influence we let in as designers is up to us.

On the side of letting the chips (blocks) fall where they may and making the playing public take a design regardless of it's limitations, lets take Dread, the horror story telling game, as our example.
I read a blog on this subject here:
though I admit I don’t agree with the total content of this Blog (I don't think Dread is a bad game.) The part that want to point out is the part about Dread's Jenna mechanic being unfair because it ties character success to a players physical ability.

I doubt that it never crossed Epidiah Ravachol's mind that someone who physically could not play Jenga could not play Dread. As the creator of Dread, the design decision was made to make the game as it was envisioned, and the result was a very popular Ennie award winning game.
Yes I understand Dred is an extreme example of both form being used in a game design and of success with a non standard form, but it fits.
As I poke around the Rpg Blogosphere I have seen a lot of people playing online. To make a game that excludes that group would be dumb-sauce. (which you can find on isle 6, near the Worcestershire) I can hardly afford to alienate any one in an enterprises which I expect a negative profit margin. It is an unexceptionable outcome to me if even one person looking at my game says, “Well darn my internet group might like that setting but I have no Clue how to play that dog on the web.”
In short I have to rectify the cold specter that is internet gaming.

My thought is put it on my docket to create and include token resources for the game to be played on Roll20 and dedicate a section of the game to “How to run this game on the internet via Roll20.” Which means I will have to sort it out then share my opinion on how to do with with the reader.
I think it may be the best option.

I am not going to change the core mechanic of manipulating dice on the table, I like it , I think it works. But I will have to feed the specter a bit to get where I want to go.


*
Yeah my game will be this much awesome.