Categories
Game Design

Verboten

Roll the Bones: Role Call 27: Verboten!

If you were somehow forbidden from playing with your favorite system, genre or setting, what would you substitute?

Categories
Game Design

Assimilating the Straights

Perverse Access Memory: WISH 59: Games for Non-Gamers

Name three games you might use to get someone who has never roleplayed before into roleplaying.

Ahh yeah, the loaded question of converting the heathen. I have to say that I really haven’t done much of that over the years — I ran a gaming club at college that pulled a lot of people together, but generally that just meant that people who were already into gaming were meeting other people who were. (Not always the case: I remember the time De walked up to the gaming booth at the University Activities Fair and asked me to ‘explain this thing’ to her.)
But let’s see: you’ve got a cool, funky ‘norm’ who’s into genre fiction, likes genre movies and action films, doesn’t get too freaked out when they meet the gamer geeks you know, and seems like they’d enjoy the whole thing. What do you do?

Categories
Game Design

If I only have five of me.

Roll the Bones: Role Call: DIY:

Can you summarize two campaign concepts you’d create for player with identical tastes to your own?

Categories
Links & Resources

Yay

A Nobilis page I hadn’t found before.

Categories
D20

Update review

The clearest review of 3.5 that I’ve seen is here:

This release is like Microsoft charging for software updates. If you love the operating system and are devoted to it, you’ll buy it. If you’re a casual user, you’ll ignore it until a time comes when you need it, or have the means to get it. If you’re a first-time user, by all means, this is for you. If you prefer another operating system, it becomes moot. If you thought 3.0 and the D20 system was “broken”, a common euphemism for “these rules aren’t to my taste so let’s just hate them”, you’re not going to be impressed by 3.5, either.

Categories
Links & Resources

Positive over the Negative

Creative Guy asks “is it time to hang it up?” (Referring to what is, apparently in his neck of the woods, a dearth of players willing to do more than your basic hack-n-slash. I can’t comment there, so I’ll comment here:
I disagree. Transcribing quoted bits to respond to here:

Categories
Game Design

Magical Box of Limited Expectation

Perverse Access Memory: WISH 57: System, Setting, Style, and Play

Do you find that you play differently when you play in different game systems? For instance, do you approach D&D or Champions the same way you approach Vampire or Werewolf the same way you approach Amber or Nobilis? Do you build the some kinds of characters? What are some examples of different characters in different systems, and why do you think they evolved that way?

Categories
Diceless

Missed it

In my Palm, July 6th, 2003:
1st TiHE Game Session (not counting bidding war – 1997)
Six years ago… wow.

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Links & Resources

This just in:

August sucks for scheduling games.

Categories
Game Design

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Randy and I were having a conversation last night about character ideas and starting power levels. I’m one of those people that enjoys starting out at first level with a campaign. Randy isn’t, perferring instead to begin play with a character that more closely matches the capabilities of the orginal character concept.
There was a lot to say on the subject…

Categories
Links & Resources

“Sacajaweavich, you’re on overwatch!”

Some nostalgic chatting via email about playing SpaceHulk back in college led me to find this: QSpaceHulk : the total conversion of the Space Hulk boardgame:

Space Hulk is a great board game of Games Workshop in the world of Warhammer 40000. This is a two player turn-based game where one play the ‘Marine’, the other play the alien called ‘Genestealer’.
This video game is a complete conversion of the board game with the 2nd edition rules. Well, I know there is some fans discussion to know whether the 1st or the 2nd edition of the rules is the better. For my part, I only played the 2nd edition, that’s the edition this game is based on.
The project is aiming at providing a way to play SpaceHulk on your computer exactly as you could do it with the real board version but with some extra : you can play via network (no need to have two players in the same room) synchronized or asynchronized (via e-mail), and you will even be able to play solo against an artificial intelligent opponent. Currently, only HotSeat and Play-By-Email mode game are implemented. You can see some screenshots or download it.

I always thought this would be a completely do-able game via some sort of turn-based email interface. Looks like I’m right. I LOVE being right.
MAN I can hardly wait to get home and try this thing out.
Update: There’s apparently also a Visual Basic-based Space Hulk SP (Single Player)

Categories
Game Design

Having my druthers

Roll the Bones: Role Call 25: The ideal group:

“What qualities would your ideal group possess?”

Categories
Game Design

Psychoanalysis and the Gamer

So my biggest problem with the games I’m running right now are:
1. Most are too big (have too many participants).
2. There are too many.
The most recent development in this is, of course, that the Star Wars game came to a screeching halt on pre-game on Friday, two sessions before I’d planned to wrap it up.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about the games I run, why I run them and how I get into certain situations that leave me with bad endings like the Prince of Alderaan got me. Also recently, I got one of those personality evaluations at work, via the Insights system and, while it’s not perfect, it does pretty damn well with only twenty-five questions, and says a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a … well, person, actually, but also as a gamer. Here’s some excerpts, applied to the problems I mentioned above.

Categories
D20

Good on the spot NPC chargen

Via SfAD, the UPC Bar Code Character Generation.

Categories
Links & Resources

Pulp Goodness

Two-Fisted Tales from Spectre Press, available as a PDF or book.

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Conventions Diceless Links & Resources

Diceless con game

Something I’ve mentioned before: someone who took Nobilis and the League of Extradinary Gentlemen comic and came up with Convention game.
Nobilis: The League of Extraordinary Americans

Categories
Game Design

Wish

Perverse Access Memory: WISH 56: Friends and Associates

Do your characters have friends and associates who play a regular role in the game? What about henchmen and hirelings in the old D&D sense or Champions-style DNPCs? How does your group handle playing them? What sorts of things are they used for in the game? Is their influence good, bad, or indifferent?

Categories
Links & Resources

Building castles out of my mental blocks

I almost don’t want to teach Justin how to play Dice Castles, since he’d probably do it during our ‘real’ games, but the mental exercise would be pretty cool.

Categories
D20

Grumble

Jackie got an email notice today that her 3.5 PHB is shipping.
Me? Nothing. Why? Because I preordered my stuff too soon.
Yeah. A lovely but little-known fact of Amazon pre-orders is that, once they get the book in, they start shipping out in reverse order of the date the order was placed.
So… the longer you wait to pre-order, the faster you’ll get the book. Makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Categories
Nobilis

Useful bits

For anywhere from $2.50 to $6, The Language of Flowers is a steal and terribly terribly useful for a Nobilis game.
It’s a very simple book: the first half is lists of flowers in alphabetical order, matched to their traditional message/meaning. The second half of the book is arranged alphabetically by meaning/message, with the flower following. Good stuff, and pocket-sized.

Categories
Links & Resources

Sweet

hypocorisma: a weblog on names :: in other words, pure RPG gold.

(Via Perverse Access Memory)
Categories
D20

Oh my

Mongoose Publishing: Babylon 5 RPG, due to hit local shops any day now.
I’m only surprised it took this long for someone to get this license. I’m not surprised it’s d20.

All the previews are up on the web site. Tidbits include a sneak peek at the rules for Telepathy and a few of the major characters on board Babylon 5 — including Sinclair and Ivanova.
Fiery Trial, the first story arc, will be shipping to distributors this week.

I’m of two minds about this. First: cool. Mongoose is going the way of the licensed BESM products: half game-book, half sourcebook, so that there’s lots of good stuff even if you’re ‘just’ a fan of the show with no interest in the game. They repeat a number of times in the production blurbs that the book is ‘more detailed than anything you’ve ever seen from yadda yadda yadda’, so that’s good.
Second: this is Mongoose. Mongoose is a mixed bag for me — on one hand, I like their stuff, but on the other, they have a REAL tendency to come up with REALLY COOL IDEAS that are in no way balanced within the d20 system.
Emphasis: Often really cool. Often not balanced.
For an example, I present the Quintessential Monk book — the ‘varied paths’ that they came up with for monks, coming up with ‘substitution sets’ of alternate feats for the free stuff that monks get as they progress to give you a dozen ‘variant’ monks that are nicely balanced… that’s beautiful.
The prestige classes from the same book? An abomination before man and GM. Wow. Absolute crap. Cool concepts? Absolutely. But game busters? Wow.
So you’ll have to understand my trepidation — do I think they’re going to come up with some great ways of handling the deep, intriguing bits of the B5 setting. I think they will be fantastic at that… Story they understand.
Game balance? Well, we’ll see.

Categories
Nobilis

Poof, you’re a bird

Prompted by watching the Prophecy, Dracula, and seeing similar stunts in the LoEG trailers, I present this bit of fluff for Nobilis (though, like many Nobilis Gifts, I’d rather have it in Amber 🙂
Gift: Body Swarm
Greater Change of Self (9) Self Only (-3) Simple Miracle (-1) One Trick (-3) Uncommon (1) = Cost: 3
This gift allows you to change into a flock/swarm/pack of vermin or small winged critters… pick one type of critter, whatever works best for the character — power of Heaven might go for white doves or butterflies, a power of Light might go for sparrows or honeybees, a power of Hell might select bats or rats or something equally disturbing. Generally, the animal needs to be fairly small — swarms of Condors might be a bit much. As a rough guideline, ten little critters will manifest for each Wound Level the character has, and killing off ~10 of the things will inflict a Wound level on the character. Other than that, you consciousness is pretty much distributed over the whole group, which might make it easy to spy on many people (provided you’ve got the Aspect to process all that incoming information), though there should probably be some logical limit on how far apart the individual critters can be spread out… call it a mile.

Categories
Links & Resources

Groovy

Dave’s Mythical Creatures

Categories
Game Design

Roll the Bones: Role Call 24

Have you ever felt like it was time to take a break, short or long, from roleplaying?

A few months ago, I had every intention of ending my bi-weekly Star Wars game — 2/3rds of it isn’t really working for me, and while I like the story arc, I just don’t have the time to make it really come out right (or the desire to make the time).
In a sense, I’m still ending the game, but with a couple of the players getting ready to move to Texas, I decided to keep it going long enough to finish the current arc. I’ve had some reasonably good ideas recently in that regard, and it should end up (a) interestingly and (b) soon — both of which are pretty important to me.
I think it’s important to mix up your games — play a bunch of different styles of stuff — modern, fantasy, horror, and both diced and diceless. It keeps everything fresh and keeps you from getting sick of the ‘same old thing’ that can crop up when using the same system for three different games (*coff*guilty*coff*).

Categories
Game Design

Woulda coulda’s.

Perverse Access Memory: WISH 51: New Genres

What are three genres that you?ve had limited exposure to as a gamer that you?d like to try or play more of?

Listed quickly:
I’d really like to play some ‘spy genre‘ stuff — I’ve got an awful lot of spycraft d20 material that I could use toward this goal, but the idea here is that this is a genre I’d like to PLAY, so I haven’t been reading up on too many modules. That said, the only way I’ll ever get a chance to play all the character ideas I have for this genre is if I GM the thing so I can make up lots of NPCs. 😛
I think it’d be fun to run some Unknown Armies stuff (dark mystic conspiracies in a modern setting, basically) but I know enough about my Usual Suspects (the folks that are easiest for me to schedule pick-up games with) to know that it really wouldn’t suit that group very well.
I’d like to play in a Nobilis game. It’ll probably never happen to my satisfaction, probably, since it’s unlikely that I’d find a GM whose into the same tropes that I am, but maybe at a con or something…

Categories
Game Design

Schticks and Schtones

Perverse Access Memory: WISH 53: Schtick

What are three examples of physical or verbal schtick that you?ve used to develop your characters?

Well, with Gwydion the Skald, it’s the scottish accent, laid on nice and thick.
With Sscraseetota’bobah (you may say “Bob”), my wandering mystic in Star Wars, it’s the monosyllabic, halting speech (he’s not fluent in Basic).
And then there’s ‘thick as a brick’ Tony Vincetti, with his traditional American-Italian acceent and such pithy comments as “Collateral Damage? What’s that? Like, ‘damage we will do in lieu of damage we’re gonna do later’?”
I use schticks for most of my characters and almost all of my NPCs (or at least any of the ones I really want to stand out). I don’t really know when I started doing it, but I know I do it more and more as time goes on (and as I care less about what people think of a grown man who talks with funny voices).
My current beef? I wish I was better at doing the Mako-style voice that you hear in the narrative voice-overs in Conan and Samurai Jack.

Categories
Game Design

Favorites

Role Call 23
What’s your favorite character you’ve made up for a game that you never got to play?
Hmm. Too bad this isn’t “that you only got to play once”, because that list is long and distinguished. The only problem with this is that I’ve been gaming a pretty darn long time, so eventually I do get a chance to recycle characters that didn’t make it to the tabletop the first time around.
I’d have to say this award has to go to Barret, a guy I made up for a Vampire campaign that never made it out of the grave. (har) I envisioned this guy as looking like Dolf Lundgren from the much-maligned poster for the Punisher movie: very pale skin, big-ass dude, etc. Kicked ass in hand to hand, if I remember right.
Blah blah blah… why was he interesting?
Barret was mute: an absolute horror of a human being, Barret was a womanizer and abusive to boot — he picked up a new girl every week or two at one of the local bars (the setting was supposed to be a college town). One night, the woman he picked up turned out to be a vamp. She sensed his inherent vileness and took him home where she then beat the hell out of him, ripped his tongue out, and then ‘made’ him.
Since the vampire’s ‘image’ is cast on their appearance when they were made, the tongue never grew back since it was removed prior to his ‘enlightenment’. Thus, he’s mute, stays the hell away from women, is deeply screwed up and conflicted, doesn’t know what to do with himself…
and really, really wants to kill his sire. I had a lot of fun writing this guy’s background up.

In a more normal, less-detailed vein, I’ve always had a hankering to play Niko in an RPG. Stated in d20 terms, he’d be a Monk/Sorcerer cast in the mold of the Chinese Wizards in “Big Trouble in Little China” or the Mako-character from the first Conan movie. I described him once with wide hands, a broad, smiling face, bald head, and tiny runes sitched or painted over every inch of every object he owned. He’d be a very funny, outgoing, positive attitude guy who’d probably die a hideous death at the end of Book One and be mourned by all.
Or something. 🙂

Categories
D20

3.5

Compiled list of stuff that I’ve picked up regarding the d20 v3.5

Categories
Links & Resources

Rulez

d20 Star Wars Errata has just been put up at the WotC page.

(via Rey)