Monthly Archives: July 2015


Yeah, that’s where I’m at right now, where this blog is concerned. At the moment, I’m trying to get over being pissed off because of a post on Facebook (someone being an asshole on my wall), and I’m full of nervous energy. I’m hoping writing will work off some of that energy.

I’m still in the mindset that Fate is almost too flexible. I can’t get over that idea. I’ve gotten my copy of the Cypher System in PDF format, but I haven’t taken time to do much more than skim it. I know the system is solid, but I don’t know if the character building will work to create what I want. However, it looks like I might be able to make it work with just a little tweaking. I could be wrong, of course. I’ll have to figure out how cyphers (powerful, one-use items) would fit into the StarSea, but I’m betting I could figure out something.

I’m also interested in seeing Green Ronin‘s Fantasy AGE when it comes out in a couple of weeks. It’s the system that Green Ronin created for their Dragon Age tabletop licensed game, without the Dragon Age stuff. I’ve been watching Wil Wheaton use it for a “Thundarr the Barbarian“-style game on the Geek and Sundry website. I’ve been interested in the system, but I never picked up any of the books. I was expecting that the Dragon Age stuff could be taken out and still have a viable game system, and Green Ronin went and did it. So, I’ll pick it up when it becomes available.

Other than that, I haven’t really been thinking about the StarSea. I’ve been reading stuff from Games Workshop on their new version of their fantasy battle game, called Age of Sigmar. I like their “Sigmarines”, as they’ve been dubbed, but they are huge compared to other figures. But I like their fluff, and the Realmgate scenery pieces look really cool. It’s been a little bit of a distraction, but not a huge one.

So, that pretty much covers my last two weeks. I’m feeling better now. More relaxed. Later.


Another Week of Nothing.

Nothing but being sick. The cold I reported last week was rough on me this week. It migrated, as usual, to my chest, so coughing became the norm. One afternoon after work I came home with an upset stomach that had me in the bathroom a number of times. That night I went to bed early, after forcing myself to stay up longer than 8PM. I have found that NyQuil gives me weird dreams and has me sleeping 12 hours at a time (with a full dose). So, many days I’ve been out of bed late and into bed early. Not much going on otherwise.

Yesterday was the Boy’s 13th Birthday. He got into Magic the Gathering just before the end of the school year, and I found out that this weekend was a big pre-release weekend at the FLGS, so we went and played MTG until the Midnight Release of the new Core Set (said to be the final Core Set), got our cards, started deck building for the sealed deck tournament, but left before the first round as the Boy was tired. He said he had a good time, and even though he said he was tired, he was kinda hyper, so I think he was honest with me.

My only creative thing I did this week was working out a spark I got while listening to a podcast. It was the Gaming Careers podcast, and it was really a long chain of thoughts, but I sparked on a mystic circle idea, as it relates to game stats (but not necessarily anything I play or am reading right now). Maybe by next time I’ll convert it to a graphic I can post up here. It’s very bare-bones and incomplete, so you’ll have to forgive me that.

I was trying to get a hold of Issue 75 of White Dwarf, which shipped with a promo mini for their new game, but no one in town has had it. It’s already going for $25 to $50 on eBay, so I doubt I’ll be able to get the magazine. >sigh<

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got going for this week. Later.

The Fate Fractal in Other Games

(Basic Idea: Why can’t the Fate Fractal be applied to other game systems? Answer: It /can/. Provide examples.)

The past few days I’ve gotten my summer cold. Today the tickle finally appeared in my chest, which is the beginning of the long haul of the chest portion of my colds. It sucks, and I felt somewhat yucky yesterday (less so than Saturday, when my head was congested and achy), so I didn’t get around to posting. Something I’ve learned this time around that I don’t think I really realized before is that A) NyQuil really wipes me out, as in a full dose will have me sleeping up to 12 hours, and B) I have some really strange dreams while on NyQuil. In my dreams, I don’t have carpet in my bedroom, but rather weeds and grass. Go figure, the teetotaler gets wasted on NyQuil.

Lately, I’ve picked up and read bits and pieces of some rules-lite systems. Breachworld and MiniD6 in particular stick in my mind, and I’ve mentioned previously that I’m being attracted to Cypher System again. After looking at an older version of Fate, I think I’ve finally figured out why:

Fate gives me analysis paralysis.

There are so many ways I could do what I want for the StarSea that I feel like I’m trying to shoehorn the setting into the game. I’m trying to find the most efficient way to do what I want with the game system, and no one way is shining as particularly efficient or screams “Pick me! Pick me!”

The idea of creating my own game system has crossed my mind. That’s a whole lot more work than I want to take up, though. I’ve tinkered with my own systems before, and I tend to overbuild. I think in that route lies madness (and frustration for players). That may be an issue with the setting in general (that is, I may be trying to throw too much stuff into the world), which makes it more important that the system be clean and free of cruft.

On the upside, I did trim down one idea. I’d wanted to include tanks and personnel carriers, but as I’ve gotten to thinking about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you have flying ships of various sizes, why do you need tanks? Well, you don’t, assuming that the boats can do the same thing. I’m thinking that I may need to start doing some cutting with other parts of the setting. Possibly some of the orders, possibly going from a groups of planetary systems to a single world (which will sink the whole “sea of stars” thing), and maybe a few other changes.

However, one idea from Fate that I’d like to port around is the Fate Fractal. The idea of the Fractal is that any object can be built like a character, with aspects and stress tracks, etc. One variation of the game includes the plot line as an item that can take stress. However, typically the Fractal is used for vehicles or other character possessions, and often for organizations.

I found myself asking “Why can’t this idea be used in other game systems?” And I realized the answer was “It can.” Cypher is one that does it, in a round about way. The rules are a bit simplified, but they’re basically there. Back when I had wanted to write for Wizards, I proposed an article about large scale combat in 4e, making military units extensions of PCs (or other characters), acting as weapons and armor, and in the case of 4e, potentially giving them powers that would be appropriate on a battlefield.

And I think scaling is another issue that needs dealing with that the Fate Fractal handles better than others. Breachworld and MiniD6 both wind up giving battleships and other large objects mountains of defense and offense (upwards of +24D6!) because of their size, rather than simply rule that such huge objects can’t be harmed by man-portable weapons, and they can’t target objects smaller than a certain size. It seems a waste of everyone’s time to be rolling such phenomenally large numbers of dice regularly. Of course, Champions lives on that, but that’s another kettle of fish altogether.

Well, I need to be up in the morning, so I’ll end things here. Later.

Being Brief

This week, things are going to be brief. It’s too damned hot to think, especially after being out working in the heat. Only a half an hour about did me in today. I think I’m just a little dehydrated.

One thing I did want to discuss is a question I thought of while working. I wonder how much reading reviews of things we buy before we buy them affects how we feel the thing we purchased is performing once we use it. For example, I bought a weed-eater last week. I researched the prices, and then checked reviews, and bought the device that had the best reviews and price. I’ve now used it a couple of times. It has some issues, but generally, I’m happy with the purchase. But how much is the idea that I bought the best reviewed item affecting my opinion of its performance? Just some thought games, to which I have no answer.

Other than that, I have had little going on in the StarSea department. When I failed to get the game going in April, I really lost steam. I think I need to set a new deadline. I’m beginning to vacillate on the Fate System or the Cypher System, which is not a good thing. On one hand, I have very little designed for the Fate System specifically. On the other, I have to wait for the setting-neutral rulebook and then potentially design for that. Am I experiencing the “Shiny!” Effect (“shiny thing distracts me from current direction…”), or do I have real concerns.

I have given a little bit of thought to a couple of things in the StarSea: Mapping the ‘Sea, the economy, and rulership. My thoughts are very vague for now, so I won’t go into detail. They’re thoughts and concerns recently, for whatever reasons.

Most of my free time has been spent with the kids recently. Now that they are out of school, I usually spend my days off with them. Not today, because of the heat (106 locally, with high humidity and bad air quality), but otherwise, I’ve been by there frequently. I resurrected my notes for a game the Boy and I were working on. It was too ambitious, I now realize. Too many things going on, and too many dice rolls and such. We might try something similar later. I’ve been inspired to do something with the game from the Gaming Careers podcast.

That’s it for now. Head ache is getting to me. Later.