This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Friday, May 31, 2013

historical fantasy in RPG's and me

Looking at historical fantasy for a role playing game.
Recently I floated an idea of hooking the gaming group to the historic Lewis and Clark exploration of the Louisiana purchase. Using the expedition as an underpinning and plot hook, to get the players into the wilds.
The next step is to re-mystify the forests and fields from a time before “we” were all over them.
A straight up historic re-walking of Lewis and Clark would be interesting if well done, I just don't think it would be a heck of a lot of fun. I also don't think I am built for straight up historical reconstruction.

This is where a bit of research and “stretching the real” comes in. What were people afraid of in 1804?
How did they view the wild places of our continent? It will be my job as Gm to set a stage where those fears are real, and not simply imagined.

Another challenge is this. In RPG's walking is not fun, to say your party walked or canoed or whatever is simply not as fun or as descriptive as doing things. So I will have to spice up the travel and the the moving about as often as possible.

I am thinking the journals of the actual expedition would be a great thing to have. I am going to hunt them up , I Need to know what they actually encountered so I can make what ever the gamers encounter feel real , and then bring that extra fantasy element in behind that.

Also knowing how the party dealt with getting food , the elements and just generally living in the wilderness fro two years would be a great help. For example I know they used several native guides and the help of a trapper and his native American wife, so interesting NPC opportunities abound.

At the end of the day pulling off a campaign like that this one will require a bunch or research and a light hand.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Basket ball.

Found it on my thumb drive.
The table top basketball game is one of those ideas I have written and deleted several time over the years.
I have a board drawn up, I have pieces built, but it's the die mechanic and the game play that has killed the idea more than once.

a game that looks to simulate a sport is tough. Sports are visual, visceral, exciting. A player has to be a certain type of sports fan to want to boil that down to purely tactical x and o’s. I have to face it any table top game of basketball I create is not going to have the thrill of watching a player swoop down the lane and dunk.
The reward for the players has to be getting the most out of each procession, being efficient, basically not playing form the stance of being a fan or player but, playing from the stance of being a coach.
With that said the rules have to be detailed enough to be realistic (offer realistic tactical tradeoffs and risk vs. reward), and fluid enough that the game still feels like basketball and not fell like some game played by people wearing  concrete boots.
So without further ado, here is the dice mechanic I found wallowing in a dusty corner of my thumb drive..Yes this is seriously the whole document; I’m not even sure where I was going to go from here.

General rules:
4 D10
Stats are rated 1 to 9 with 9 being the best

Roll under the appropriate stat. Is a success
Roll of 0 (aka 0) “explode” and are rolled again

Contested rolls both players roll 4D10 vs an attribute if the defender scores more successes the action goes in his favor.
If the offensive player roll more successes the action end favorable to him.
Ties have special results.
The player must roll below his shooting % from the proper distance. 2d10

A defender may roll up to 4d10 vs his defensive stat each success represents 5% off the shooters % chance of making the shot.

Shrug who knows perhaps I will get back to it one of these days.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When confronted by a blank page... just type.

Blank page syndrome I guess.

I was thinking of updating the concept of PARANOIA to be a bit more topical for today (Though Paranoia is technically always topical.)
So I was thinking of a game where every character has a camera installed in their eyes when they are born. When the characters reach young adult hood the dormant cameras switch on and they become part of the worlds biggest reality show.
You can literally tune into anyone, the camera is never off, every one is watching you.
Naturally you would be given a bunch of similarly aged room mates, and stupidity would ensue.
Each player would have a turn interacting with the world, the other players as the “audience” would give the player dice to do things with.
Good rolls would raise the character popularity a bad rolls would raise the characters infamy.
Each player would have two stacks of 6's in front of them (like hell for leather) one to represent popularity one to represent infamy.
With mechanics to move dice between towers , even perhaps swap towers with others.
If either one were to fall over, the the shit would hit the fan in a epic explosion of drama and emotions perhaps death, that would eliminate the character.

The idea of the game would be to exist like that heaping on others attention and embarrassing moments and until the character cracks.
I had some ideas about dice and how they would be used. (a good number of D6's changing hands for a start)
Some other ideas....

I'm not sure it would be fun.

I do like the idea that reality TV is today's fishbowl, a pressure cooker of attention, expectations and opportunity heaped on people that are emotionally ill equipped to deal with it. Also I belive the audience  is really only watching for the car wrecks.
I think its a subject that is ripe to explore. It's like paranoia in that it is fun to put the pressure on the players until they crack and start gunning for each other. Thats when the game actualy gets moving.
But is it still fun when the characters are not sci-fi guys in red suits?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

3 Weeks and ... oh boy.. lets talk Dread Ball.

I’m not sure about the one page game of this week. Busy at work and intellectually lazy at home, I am drawing blanks for games I can fit on one page. I went three weeks though, and it's only Wendsday!
What I am thinking of doing is running a test solo game of “down On Old Mill Road” and then publish it here. That game idea drew some atention, so it might be worth fleshing out a bit.
Dread Ball talk:

 Aound the end of this week or the end of next week. Once that happens I will post an unboxing over on my youtube. Everyone can get a look at what teams we have to play with and start thinking about which team suits them.
For the record Dreadball is not Blood Bowl and the comparisons I see on line are not really all that valid. Some of the terms are the same but the game plays much differently.
The way I see it Blood bowl is very strategic in that how you are going to reach your goals is often largly predetermined by your team choice. You can choose to play how you want to pay before the dice ever hit the table. For example if you pick the wood elves that is a strategic choice to use the assets of that team to obtain your goals. There are some tactical decisions during play, but they are not so much about how you are going to achieve your goals, but more about minimizing risk.
Dread ball on the other hand is very tactical. The choices you make play to play, the securing of objectives set by strategy (score points to win), the technique of deploying and directing your players all change moment to moment. Being a “bashy” team is nice, being a “fast” team is nice, but those things don’t define the play of your team turn to turn in the game as much as they do in Blood Bowl.

 It’s a huge difference that plays out in a kind of discreet fashion; I’m really looking forward to seeing if this observation holds up with the more complex season two teams.

Pluss DredBall spells it Orx, which must count for something?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Aleria Fluff.. The guild of Rangers

Aleria Fluff.
Guild of Rangers:
The lands once known as the Alarian Empire are now a loose confederacy of feudal holdings being ruled by lords and clans. Each of these territorial rulers still pays tribute to the Emperor in Dairhouse, while ruling his or her lands as they say fit. The power of the old empire is rarely felt in the outlining highlands, the concerns of an oncoming winter weigh much heavier on a citizens mind than do the opinions of a distant king's court.
News moves though the kingdom in the form of rangers, hardy outdoors-men who move from town to town, disseminating the latest news from Dairhouse. For many in a small town the rangers are the only contact they may have with a larger world around them.

Each Ranger has his or her own towns that they service. The reappearance of a ranger at the town hall or near the jarl's hearth is a welcome sight and a reason for many to gather, Drink, feast, and listen to the news of the land.

    Lately however, in the city of Dairhouse the years old tradition of the rangers is being called into question. It is being said that the Rangers are manipulating the stories and news they carry to the people. Bending the peoples loyalties even farther away from the distant empire.
The current rangers are aging, their long journeys through the wild frontiers of Aleria getting farther apart. The empire seemingly unconcerned about the thinking rank of the rangers have not brought fourth any new trainees for the order as they had in the past. Even more concerning some of the number have recently disappeared, or simply not returned from their yearly trips.

For the first time in their history the remaining rangers have called a meeting to discuss the future of the group. On the table is a continuation of their traditions of traveling from town to town as envoys of the empire. The other option being leaving the umbrella of the empire for good, and continuing their travels as an independent group bound to bring truth to the farthest reaches of the old empire?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tessellations and the big ship.

Tessellations and the big ship. 
Lately my mind has been turning to fleet battles whether it is ocean going vessels or space fairing dreadnaughts. 
In the past my big hang up was either you have a grid or hex mat restricting your movements or you have a measure system that may or may not account for a ships nimbleness or maneuverability in it's own way. I have sometimes felt a both methods are a bit clumsy. 
Here is my thought.
Why stop at grids and hexes?
Why not stray into the world of semiregular tiling?

(aint that perdy?)
If we were to restrict ships to only being able to enter spaces of their size / class or larger, we could have several sizes / class of ships all acting under the same rules but performing very differently in play.

For example if a large ship can only enter the big peach spaces that are connected by squares, and had to pay (movement energy whatever) to change facings when in the big peach spaces, then those big ships would move a great distance with each space but turn a crap load slower than a tiny ship that could enter any space on the board and pay the same price to change facings.

To continue: A tiny ship could cross the big peach 12 sided Space and move into one of the blue cube spaces and basically turn on a dime; but those sharp turns would not be as incremental so in turn not as precise as the huge shit turning in the 12 sided peach area.

It's all just conjecture, but I think it would make for a fun ad a bit more tactically challenging ship to ship combat model.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Do it yourself or Kick it?

Do it yourself or Kick it?
I like to write games and explore game ideas. I don't think any of my ideas are boundary pushing , or even new, but I enjoy the process and like to share it with others. I call it the “do it yourself “ gaming hobby. If a game or genre catches my eye , most of the time I have tried to do it myself at least in my head, figure out how I would make that game.
With the advent and rise of Kicks starter however I have been more and more tempted to simply make a small investment and get in the ground floor of an interesting game.

If I put the block game on the table and tell a group “lets play this! And oh by the way we have to print out character sheets and rule books and bring your own mini's and yeah any mini's that you might have that we could uses as mobs.” or “lets un-box this new Kicks starter and give it a go with real figures and a nice glossy book.” Chances are the group will want to try the real production game. Additionally the production levels of games recently have been through the roof. Fantasy flight games has set the standard for boxed games and now other company's are rising to meet those standards. The products coming out now in boxes are of the same standard that a few years ago you would only find in larger collectible armies games from companies like Games workshop. The production values offered by companies and their kick starter projects far surpasses any thing I can do

Now take into account that the block game was made at no small expense, what with all the parts the blocks, the time, and so on.
Forget that I think the block game is as good a skirmish game as any thing out there and that it offers and does things no other game does. That's not my point. (toot toot)

The point is for the same or less money and zero effort other than reading the rules, the group can be just as happy playing Zombicide, Dread Ball, the up coming Deathzone, or any other recently released game that, had I backed them I could have gotten my hands on at a good price.
Back to the question, I wonder is it worth it to do it your self any more or just find a genre you love and back things you can find on kick-starter?

In my mind it's like building a car, chances are a person could go to the junk yard scrap the parts together to build their own car, frame, engineer, interior, whatever. There is likely someone out there right now who really enjoys that kind of thing. Honestly unless the person building their own car has a good deal of know how, and a great many resources, he is likely still going to want a real car in the driveway, and his friends will likely rather ride in the real car over the junk pile he is cobbling together in the back yard. So it's only worth building your-own if you want to enjoy the process for it's own sake, otherwise, just go to the lot.