Monthly Archives: April 2013

Not really a post about anything…

I had back problems all last week (which came to a head the past couple of days), but I managed to re-read chunks of the games I posted about last week. There were elements of many of them I really liked, but there were core issues I didn’t, in most cases.

I like the Fate Point idea in Warrior, Rogue and Mage, but I didn’t care for a lot of the rest of the system. Above the Earth also has that kind of a rule, but based on GM pricing, with some suggests offered.

My favorite was still Paladin. I like the system in general, but that it’s limited to “those who follow the Code” versus “those who break the Code” presents problems with having a three or four axis setting.

I’m going to continue thinking on these games, and maybe adapting some of these ideas for other game systems.

Otherwise, that’s all for tonight, as my back still hurts and I’m still pretty tired from lack of sleep. Night all.

Thinking on game systems, again…

So, this week I did very little thinking on StarSea until today. Actually, I started to think about some of it Friday, after running into an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Rob Lopez, creator of the online comic Forsaken Stars, and I have a few common friends, and one of them came into town this weekend, so we all reconnected. I’d mentioned to Rob that I’d kind of lost track of the metagaming thread, and that I might yet get back to it. Then, yesterday, I read on Wil Wheaton’s Google+ that he’d played some Savage Worlds and gave it a review. Comments therein lead me to a few other indie, rules-lite games to look at, as well as a couple I’d already looked at. So tonight, I thought I’d discuss some possibilities.

This morning, as I was stmbling around my room in the morning, I looked at one of my bookshelves, and I noticed a pile of paper that I knew was my pile of printed free indie games. I was inspired to go through them again (based on the other events I mentioned above) and take a peek, and maybe re-evaulate them for use with the StarSea setting.

One of the first I’m going to mention is Paladin, by Clinton R. Nixon. It seems that Anvilwerks is now a blank page, and you can no longer find the PDF version of the rules there, and the original rules only exist as an HTML file on the Risusiverse site listed above. Or if it does exist in its original form, Google can’t find it. As to the original, I like the integration of the moral codes into the mechanic, and that the only real work a DM would have to do for any setting is simply coming up with the moral codes of your “paladin orders.” The rules seem solid, but I haven’t really run the numbers to see how solid they are. At a con, Kenneth Hite once said of a game I was thinking of buying that he knew the author and thought the numbers would be solid because of him. They weren’t, so I don’t trust numbers unless I can run them myself. Nothing against Mr. Hite, just agains humanity in general. 🙂

Another I’ve got here in my hand is Above the Earth. It’s a system that I think could be adapted to a wide range of game styles, but at this point, it’s been a while since I read it, so I’m not sure how much work would be needed to make it work for StarSea. It is something I’ll be looking into. However, I like the idea of simply having 100 dice to roll per session…

I also have Cthulhu Dark as part of my list. That link goes directly to the rules, but this link goes to a Google search, and I know there are more “rules” that just the basic book. Another extremely “rules-lite” system, it seems so “lite” as to be pretty generic. I can see the insanity rules easily being converted to corruption rules. I have a host of the additional files that I may find myself looking into if I can’t find something more full featured. That’s one of the weaknesses I find with “rules-lite” games: Sometimes there’s too little guidance for the GM.

Warrior, Rogue and Mage is another one I want to look at more closely. I read it quite a while back, and I remember very little of it, but it seems a bit like Bare Bones Fantasy, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Making “classes” into skills would fit the idea of the orders work very well mechanically. Either way, I’m going to want something mechanical to stigmatize players from one order living and using their powers within the realms of another.

The final one I’m currently re-reading is Dungeonslayer. I have the Third Edition printed, but I know that there is now a Fourth Edition available. It’s another game that I read quite a while back and don’t remember much of, so I don’t know if it’s something I can modify to what I want. But I’ll give it a look and see.

That’s pretty much all I have for this week. I’m going to maybe watch “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” and remember Jonathan Winters, then start planning for next weeks game, which will include the friend from out of town I mentioned above, so I have to plan for a guest player in a very plot heavy game. I’ve already told my players were going to be showing the effects of the plot on the rest of the world, which means new characters and a good deal of other work for the harried DM, me. 🙂

Maps and Tech

Running a little late. It’s been a hectic week.

Mapping the StarSea

I put some thinking in on the map of the StarSea. I want the worlds to exist in a pattern, not just randomly scattered throughout the space. This is the level of power the Ür had: they moved worlds into a specific set of positions. I had thought about using the Qaballah “Tree of Life,” but I felt that would leave me with too few worlds. I want upwards of twenty or more. I want enough that all of the factions have a few worlds each, and that there can be plenty for exploration. I did a design based on the Star of David, and I liked it, but I’m not settling just yet. I’m going to wait and see what other ideas come to mind. I don’t want to settle on the first thing that comes to mind.

Technology: Putting on the Brakes

I’ve had plenty of ideas for vehicles and other items of Wyrdtech that could be floating around the StarSea. Sadly, I’m only one person, and this is pretty much a hobby right now. While I’d love to publish the StarSea setting book, right now, I doubt I can do it anytime soon. I could easily end up with a supplemental book on just vehicles and tech. That means I need to edit my ideas as I form them, and try to keep things under control, so I’m not overwhelmed with material. Besides which, the source materials I’m drawing from don’t have 75 different personal transports, troop transports, etc.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. I’ll probably be late next week, as I have D&D for Kids at my FLGS on Saturday, and I plan on attending a local Renaissance Faire next Sunday, and expect I’ll be home late and tired.

Of Systems and Settings

So, I’ve forgotten to mention things I’ve intended to, but that can be a good thing, as it gives me subjects to discuss every week. This week’s forgotten item is Bare Bones Fantasy. I picked up the POD version, which was a bit overpriced for its size, but then all POD stuff it. The book is digest-sized, but very thin, only about 80 pages.

BBF is definitely riding the “simple rules renaissance” wave, and it’s not a bad set of rules, and I can see ways I could extend it for StarSea. I doubt I will, but it’s a possibility. While I like simpler rules, I almost think this one is too simple. It’s still worth considering.

I also looked at Lords of Gossamer and Shadow this week. I considered it for a moment for StarSea, but I don’t think my current players (neither my home game or my FLGS LFR group) would be up for such an intrigue-heavy setting/system. Yeah, even the system is more intrigue-biased; just look at character creation. It’s based on the Amber Diceless RPG, including the stat auction as the initial part of character creation.

This is kind of a bad thing to me. There’s nothing new here but an extremely derivative setting. I already own both the core Amber rulebook and the Shadow Knight books. They might pull in some extra stuff from the old Amberzines, but how much of that will I need as a DM or a player? Their new setting is nice, but as I said, it seems pretty derivative, so I’m just not seeing the point of buying this one, especially unemployed as I am now. I think unemployment is good for me right now, as I think I might go broke on supporting Kickstarters, and I might have supported this one if I hadn’t stopped to think about it…

Anyway, that’s all I have for this week. Hopefully, I’ll have a little more for next week.

Life has been a mess…

So, no, I have not blog-faded. Since my last post, I’ve had a pretty hectic life, which goes to explain why I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. My mother’s health problems have created a good deal of distraction from many things in my life. She’s needed someone to wait on her, as she hasn’t been able to get up and do things for herself often, so as I’m home so much of the time, that gets to be me. However, she’s been to the hospital now, and her problems have been determined and a course of treatment set in, but that means trips to the hospital and rehabilitation center, etc.

On the other hand, I have gotten some things done for StarSea, just not much.

I’ve mentioned settling on the way the world systems will work, and how the StarSea Giants will live. I’ve done some design work on how the Giants will look. Since I’m going to a more traditional fantasy look for the suns and moons, I’ve decided to do the same for the Giants. Tall, lanky and humanoid, with long, thick-featured faces. I think this is a good direction, but it makes me wonder what kinds of beings the Ür were, to create creatures that are humanoid in shape. Hmm…

I also gave some thought to the Primals, but only in that I am thinking about how to make them unified, rather than building a separate Primal philosophy for every world that the Primals control. “Why do that?” you might ask? Well, because the amounts of work it may take to make a setting might otherwise become prohibitive for a single person to write. And at this point, unless I win the lottery, this has to remain my project; I can’t afford to hire help, and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to do it for free.

I also remembered something I forgot about last time, regarding the setting themes versus a game system. One of the strikes against 4e (and D&D in general) is the lack of focus on philosophy. The StarSea’s themes are potentially very philosophical. Something I’ve picked up from Mage the Ascension that I want back in a setting, but maybe not as deep. MtA is about the different major factions trying to sway humanity to their way of thinking. I want some of that in StarSea. However, I don’t think any game system out there deals with this sort of thing. Maybe some of my Indie Game fans know of systems that have a way to sway societies. I know Mike Nystul (creator of The Whispering Vault) was planning a game called Crusade that did that sort of thing, but he gave up on that way back in the mid-90s, never publishing it. But I want to be able to do something along these lines. I may have to develop some sort system of my own to deal with this sort of influence.

That’s all I have for tonight. I’ve been dealing with a bad back the past couple of days, and I want to go rest. Thanks for your patience while I work out writing more frequently. I fervently want to. I’m just having trouble getting there. On that note, I’m going to try posting on Sundays. I started on Tuesdays because I started on my birthday, which was on Tuesday that year. I’m switching to Sundays because I tend to have more free time on Sundays. Hopefully that will help me get these out more regularly.

Again, thanks for following my irregular posting.