Friday, 23 November 2018

Hungry Sun

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF  Here is a more detailed example of what I was talking about in the Bad ideas with Legs post


 Man Panther (fighter with wizard spell mechanics)
Hitpoints & attack bonus as fighter, can only use weapons of obsidian, tooth, bone, silk and wood.
Get "Sacred Leaps", special fighting maneuvers  and spiritual directions that are treated like spells, though most happen simultaneously with an attack.

 (example of 1st level Sacred Leaps)
Red Haze:
 Everyone the Man Panther want to hurt badly glows with a red light. Duration as Light spell.


Thirst :
The Man Panther moves double their full movement and does their melee attack against an wounded opponent


Butterfly Step:
Immediately after missing an attack the Man Panther makes a new attack against any other enemy within there near melee range.

Screaming Weapon:
The Man Panthers weapon screams continually causing fear 


Hunters Hide:
The Man Panther appears as middle-of-the-food-chain animal appropriate to this area. Duration as disguise self


Rot Kings:(wizard using specialized equipment lists)

Hit points and attack bonus as wizard.  Can use any armour or weapons
Collect , breed , and trade "entropys" (parasites. worms, vermin, stains, rust, frays, rot, blights etc). Keep in sacks, cloaks , headdresses. Socially function like a combination of exterminators, engineers, and the runners of protection rackets.

Flesh Locusts (as long bow)
Debridement (as Halberd) 
Night Terrors ( expensive and rare , multiple ranged attacks only useable from surprise)
Death Stink (as leather armour , and makes wearer repugnant to carnivores)
Blood Cough (as spear)
Earth Star (exploding fungus, as a grenado)
Lice (as dagger)



Itinerant Clerk: (clerics using thief skill mechanics)
Hit points and attack bonus as Cleric . No armour . Only tools for weapons.

Flay (as pick pocket but removes spiritual and physical protections)
Weather sense (as hear noise)
Bureaucracy (as move silently/ hide in shadows , but allows the following with supernatural beings of the current sun :bargain, make contracts , intimidate , bamboozle, and hold to their word )
Placate (as picklocks, calms and soothes disembodied hungers , mindless ghosts, and pooled malices)
Nourish (as climb walls, boost natural heal by feeding sacred foods)



Exiles: (thief's using cleric spell mechanics )
Hit points and attack bonus as Thief.  Can use any weapons or armour.
People who the Bureau-Engine-Priests has declared are reincarnated souls from the Previous Sun. Not officially human, thus unbound and unprotected by law.
Can bring forth fragments of the Previous Suns world;
( for example these spells)
1st level
Change self
Sanctuary
Heal light wounds
Light
Feather fall

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Regular Card Game

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF The bigger post I got half written keep not getting written because the time and concentration needed to do them keeps being used on other things.
So y'all get the rules for this card game I've been playing a lot with my flatmates

It's a modification of game I learned in Melbourne that never had a good name ("Game of Threes ") and I've seen a few variation of .

The version we are playing has a notable enough extra bit we gave it a new and better name;
GILGAMESH 

The aim of the game is to get all your cards out. (Thus giving you the title GILGAMESH) .

There can be 3-6 players, and it is played with everything but the jokers.
  1 deck is fine for 3 players , a bit tight for 4 players , and 2 decks is needed for anything higher.
2 decks is actually pretty good for 3-4 players as well.

SET UP:

Each player starts with a hand of 5 and 6 cards in front of them , with the remaining cards in a central deck.

The cards in front of the player are arranged with 3 cards face down and 3 cards face up , with the face up cards on top of the face down cards.

 Play starts from the left of the dealer.
This player chooses a card, or set of matched cards,  from their hand and places them in the centre (the "pile")

They then refill their hand.

Play goes to their left.

THE GUTS OF IT

Play then consists of a player playing a legal card on the card/s pile and then refilling their hand if its less than 5. If they can't play a legal card they must instead pick up the pile and add it to their hand.

A legal play is playing any card equal or higher to the card on top of the pile.

Once the deck is gone, and players can no longer refill their hands , any player with no cards in their hand will use the cards face up in front of them, and when those are gone, .he face down cards.
The face down cards are played "blind", which might result in a illegal play, thus picking up the pile.
Once all their face down cards are played , they are out of the game.
First to do so is GILGAMESH , last is BEAST BOY or if you can pronounced it ENKIDU.

SPECIAL CARD EFFECTS:

2 s can be played on any card and can have any card played on them.

5s can be played on any card ; however immediate next player card/s played on it must be legal for being placed on the card before the 5.
Additionally any other effects that previous card might have must still be considered

7s can be played on 6 or lower.  Any card played on a 7 must be either a 7 or lower than a 7.

10s can be played on anything except a 7.  A 10 will "burn" the pile, discarding it from play. Burning has additional special rules , see the BURNING section

4(or more) of a kind : burns the pile.  A 4 of kind does not need to be from a single players turn. The set just needs to be uninterrupted by other cards (other than 5s)

For example player A plays two 6s. Player B then plays two 6s. This is now a 4 of a kind.


BURNING:

A player who burns a pile , then refills their hand , and then can swap one card in their hand with one of the face up cards in front of them. They then play again, starting a new pile.

ADDITIONALS:

>When a player refills their hand and draws a card that matches the card they just played , they may immediately play it.

>Once the deck is empty and a player is playing the last card/s in their hand, they can include any of their face up cards if would make 2 (or more ) of a kind by matching the card played from their hand.

>5s don't prevent a 4+ of kind from forming. So a pair , a 5 , and then a pair of the same rank , is treated as 4 of a kind.

>if a player can play a card they must do so , they can't choose to pick up. However this has not yet come up that someone might want to do this , and it's possible a good choice in some situations. So you are welcome to allow it, we just haven't tested this out at all.

>the player that is BEAST BOY deals.  Sometimes we make them also be responsible for keeping the Burned pile tidy. Neither is that thematically appropriate though

CLOSING NOTES:
The bit I added and we are now playing with is the bit about being able to swap a card after you burn the pile. In the original game players could freely swap from their hand to their top cards immediately after the cards were dealt but before the first card had been played.
This addition gives the early game a lot more considerations than just trying to avoid picking up lots of cards. I think I'm a fucking genius for thinking of it and its possible that I've been pre-scooped and this version exists already.





Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Bad Ideas With Legs

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 I threw out an idea on the dimming but still alight g+  .
It was ridiculous idea but actually has more potential than I thought.

The idea is swapping the mechanics for how the classes work.

So fighters mediate and select their fight moves "magic missile" "light" etc
and wizards buy a halberd spell and use it.
Thieves steal "cure light wounds" and "sanctuary" from the gods in their sleep and clerics solemnly learn 45% Hear Noise from their hierophants and solemn tomes.


By frankensteining  around the raw mechanics , a different genre feel starts to happen.
(Although something more than just calling the halberd a "woeful finger" will need to be done)


Fighter "supreme techniques"/spells  as limited use encounter breakers starts becoming more wuxia

(though "limited use" isn't that common in Wuxia; it would have to be framed as Ultra taxing powers as opposed to the workaday cloudstepping and needle throwing)

Wuxia as a genre is extremely open to how much can be justified as possible via "chi" and "kung fu" technique so limited use supreme techniques could still include things like Charm person , Web and Phantasm force.

My favourite film "Swordsman 3: The east is red" features such abilitys as a ninja suspended in the air hiding behind a fake moon, sewing needles used to animate corpses, a dozen hearts exploded out of enemy goons simultaneous  (at range ) , a "laughing point" manipulated to cause compulsive laughter, disguises,  doves released from corpses upon death and a swordfish as flying carpet. It's a good time.


Wizards relying on equipment for power already has an easy form; in scrolls or calligraphy paper .
(the Palladium book "Mystic China" has some interesting magic based on this)
A greater range of abilities and power should be possible than what is normal for an equipment table, but it seems workable to me.

Thieves using mystic abilities could be added to a world as something elaborate as promethean thieves stealing powers from the gods themselves , or drawing from folklore such as the "hand of glory", "thieves oil" , protective talismans , or other superstitions and "one weird tricks".

This is more suggestive of component based casting than clerical powers, but that's not really a problem.

Further mixing it up could have the spells randomly determined and the player is required to explain their components and write them down, the spells become weaker if anyone else (including other players , not just characters ) knows the recipe.
Or the recipes could be learned as an item like reward.


Clerics having a set of skills instead of spells could be conceptualized as formal ghost hunters, exorcists,  Confucian scholars, or doctors.

Priests in folk stories tend to have a much narrower range of abilities than most spell lists (the "turn dead " ability is even already close to a thief ability)
A quick list from memory:
-banishing supernatural agents
-trapping said agents if they can tricked or convinced to enter a vessel
-casting out possession
-healing sickness, infertility, curses
-fertility (land /domestic animals/ people)
-weather prediction
-dispelling illusions/detecting of supernatural influence
-protective wards against disaster or ill intend
-assessing auspiciousness of dates , partnerships or signs
-omens
-lay dead to rest/ placating angered ghost or spirit

So using any of these as replacements for "pickpockets" and "find and remove traps" seems plausible to me.


The trick bit is how much to keep or modify hitpoints and attack bonuses . The thief and cleric seem similar enough in power that swapping or giving them the same seems fine to me . Though if you were using classic d&d having this priest having the lower hitpoints and attack bonuses makes more sense than a more robust bandit type.

For hitpoints /attack bonuses for the fighter and the wizard , I would keep them the same (maybe bounce the wizards hitpoints up a die), but have the wizards calligraphy magic ignore conventional armour a lot of the time.

Or have both classes having options to trade less hitpoints for more Special powers .



I'm still making slow progress on "plane scrap" , art is being done for DCO's re-release, I'm being commissioned for 2 other projects. The cyberpunk writing is still shelved for now and ditto Broken Fire Regime .

HOWEVER
Me and Patrick made a zine and it's available now:

https://falseparcels.bigcartel.com/product/a-night-at-the-golden-duck



EDIT:
just remembered about some osr wuxia rpgs that its been awhile since I've read but I'm pretty sure had some ideas overlapping with this
http://lordgwydion.blogspot.com/p/flying-swordsmen-rpg.html






Sunday, 30 September 2018

Dwarves In Space

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Warhammer 40,000 has orks, humans, demons and elves in space. 
The other fantasy classic dwarves (also hobbits?) exist as the "squats" a modified human race that were dropped out of production by Games Workshop and sidelined by the lore.

Something about Dwarves couldn't translate into Sci-Fi, possibly because two of the central aspects of dwarves ,industrialism and being underground, are eclipsed by the scale of outer space conflicts.

But is possible to have Dwarves in Space being Dwarvish?

I don't think you could add them now to Warhammer 40 K , as any new faction some amount of  Starcraft and/or Lovecraft to be taking seriously. 

However here's my attempt at a Space-Dwarves that would fit in the earlier 40K warhammer.




Their origins indicate they were human , descended from humans that left with slower than light travel.

From there they increasingly compromised their humanity for the advancement of technology and the requirements of space travel.

Eventually being able to survive and traverse blackholes  and making use of the super dense materials and energys they mine there.

 Their form is now inseparable from their pressure suits, the being inside a oily like mass of bio-slime and crude nano bots.




The requirements for their extreme existence have turned their society into one of absolute routine and conformity,  spending millennium maintaining and improving their ships, gathering materials, and drifting through space.

Their ships are like brutalist sculpture or soviet reactor.
(Center for the Performing Arts, Albany)

Divorcing themselves from imagination and frivolous individuality is one of their solutions to the threat of Chaos.


Their goals now is render the universe safe from chaos, which involves converting anything that chaos could invest into the equivalent of concrete dams, like the apocalyptic madness of "paperclip making AI".

While not having access to the warp , they claim to have outlasted the universe and seen it loop over , allowing them to have already traveled to where they need to be.

Their ships are undetectable and vast fleets can be calmly traveling at sub light speeds, having traveled millions of years to arrive just as another fleet arrives out of the warp.


Their technology and weapons would involve moduleness , gravity, magnetism , and weird time effects, weird materials, blackholes, super bullets and railguns.

Aesthetically drawing from any human like technology which looks threatening or overwhelming to human scale, so brutalism, big massive lines, hostile cubic detail.

Additionally add signs of pitting and crust from the vast ages of their craft.

The central ideas and required horribleness (warhammer)  would be the fear of technology and overly applied rationality to transform things into unrecognizable alienity, as well as fears of deep time, and the unblinking gaze of those hidden behind protective suits





(Arnaldo Pomodoro sculptures)

Saturday, 25 August 2018

snares, ambuscade, and inveiglements

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Look it's a game or a trend or something

https://soogagames.blogspot.com/2018/08/34-good-traps.html

http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2018/08/some-traps.html

http://falsemachine.blogspot.com/2018/08/back-to-2015-motherfuckers.html

and I have been mildly encouraged to join in! I am also mildly inclined to pay attention to what the criteria of a good trap is so ..

1. The Classic.
It's 10 by 10 metre square pit , smooth sided, and  deep enough that it would injure you to fall in it and it's hard to see the bottom with the lighting.  30 Metres  ?

It's not disguised, it's plainly there in the middle of the room. There is nothing in the bottom of it.
The odds are really good that your players will manage to spend a hour on this trap and resulting in at least one character badly injured.



2. Blood Stream
This section of corridor is partially flooded via a  fast flowing stream, very clear and fairly quick. Algae or some other slime has coated the submerged. The real danger is the concealed glass blades, spikes and caltrops  that are hidden here. Brushing past them will cut you , falling on them will impale you and trying to knock them out of the way will break them into smaller , but still sharp pieces.
Any resulting cuts or injurys have a high chance of infection because its down stream from a midden.
(if this trap is being used as defense rather than a fun house fuck you type deal , this will be a defense that scouts or sentry's will escape or fall back past, using stilts or a simple raft to get across.)

3.Statue Gallery
A looong winding tunnel filled up with statues in various poses, you have to  occasionally squeeze or clamber over them if you want to get through. Some statues appear crude and unfinished (or abandoned), others executed well. Mostly sandstone but some harder materials.  Creator has a good eye for movement and emotion, especially anger and sorrow.  Air is a bit stuffy though

4.Free Fall
Something is wrong with space here, there's no floor or  ceiling , and they effectively loop.
So something that falls through the fall comes out the ceiling, soon reaching terminal velocity .
A number of large rocks are doing this currently

5.Upper Crust
A boiling mud pool has a natural bridge of a thicker layer leading to a Obsidian Elephant Skull. It's heavy enough that if you try and carry it you will fall through the crust and into the mud.

6. Candle Snakes
An altar with unlit candles. The candles repeal undead when lit but have a snake skeleton inside. As the wax drips away the snake becomes noticeable. If it is burned much longer that snake bursts free and starts savaging the face of the holder.

These candles were made to allow junior archivist to access the archives, crypts , and mausoleums  but with strict time allowances.

Friday, 3 August 2018

OSR and what to explain

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These definition of the OSR posts are the worst.
NEVER THE LESS
*


I feel the compulsion to explicitly state the things I desire in play and assumptions in the material I write,
and,
they overlap so much with what people state as OSR , that it would incongruous for me to deny that.

However if there was a new term or a sub-term that was getting used instead and that was a better fit , sure use that (like Patrick's "Pretentious Hipster" or DIY etc etc)


ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE USE OF TERM AND A POSSIBLE REPLACEMENT


There could be a new term that would be a "better fit".

-if somehow it was more clear about what it represented right there in the name, like "story games" (also constantly argued about) gives fairly good indicator of what it means.

         -there's OSR as a style of play and there's OSR as (numerous)  communities. A new term that could dodging the misunderstandings around this .
Like when someone talks about a shit head "in" the OSR there's an implied question about what other (OSR) peoples relationship is  to this person . If this New Term was one that described a style of play then this confusion could be avoided.

So "board gamers" is a term that describes a style of play and to talk about a board gamer community you have to actually put the c-word in there.

     -Because OSR is referring to numerous communities (each generally congealed around particular personalitys and/or websites /social media) and OSR-play to each of these communities generally refers the play styles and assumptions they have. These can vary enough that it causes a lot of confusion . I've read people dramatically stating they are an OSR heretic because they don't like Thac0/descending armour class/Gary Gygax. And basically everyone I'm talking to in the """OSR""" could not give less of shit if one like or doesn't like these.

and against all this:
- The inertia of a  term that everyone is already using is massive and it's rare that anyone has ever got a "better" term brought in. Like, slightly bad example to due length,  "Procedural generated content with permadeath"  is better than "rogue-like" but I've not seen it stick.

-I can't really think of a catchy 2-3 word title that sums up and I doubt its possible to summarize all the stuff I'm about to discuss below in this way.


-I am looking for a new term to describe exactly what I'm about or for the OSR as whole?

SIDE NOTE ON THE TERM "TRAD PLAY"


 A term with a reasonable of traction is "traditional play" / "trad games" , and while it is a term that is kinda useful to talk about a distinction from  "story games".
However  "traditional" by definition is fairly unchanging and isn't looking for refinements, and a lot of OSR** game design is about the refinements and breaking abruptly  from "back in the day" methods.

Additional "tradition" play could be the sandboxy , high lethality , "bob the fighter"  style of play or railroaded to shit , 3 page back story, fantasy novel,  style of play.

**a good example here of contradicting goals had by different self identified OSR people/communities; people who want to have play/game design closely replicate "back in the day" methods and people who want to improve and experiment with play/game design that has the same playstyle/goals as "back in the day"

 
 

NO WAY AM I BOTHERING TRYING TO DEFINE THE OSR AS WHOLE BUDDY

With the games I run and write material for, these are the assumptions and desired play styles I have that overlap with the OSR enough for the term to be correct.


>Players Decisions  Must Matter: The consequences of their actions and decisions is the engine of the entire game. It is what results in an "emergent story", but even before then , the moment to moment play is interesting because what they are doing matters to what will happen.

 To best support this:
 They should be given all the information that would be available to their character.

The g.m should be prepared to accept the results of the dice and roll with the players effects on the world.

>Trying to force a conventionally coherent/cliche narrative for a "better story" by trying to force or cancel player decisions or consequences or ignore a dice roll, will always act against the mattering of player decisions.  Don't worry about the final results working as conventional story , worry about the moment to moment play being interesting .

> Any encounter /situation will be "balanced" ( i.e have the ability to effect) as is appropriate for its existence in the world.
Therefore the players should be able to seek the challenge they want by seeking out different areas, getting information, or coming up with plans, alliances or schemes to balance things in their favour.

Outright avoidance , fleeing , negotiation, schemes, befriending, disguises, and the like are acceptable and even desirable outcomes.

>Because of above , only exp for killing monsters is a bad fit. Consider exp for treasure, pre-set goals, or the like






 Here are some other statements about """OSR""" play I felt were good summaries for me.
They were from a g+ post about OSR assumptions that people felt should be stated.

Lungfungus:

Resolution of action by player skill first then dice or character mechanics. Like players don't declare I roll X instead players describe their characters actions and rolls are done if neccesary.

Gregory Blair :
 
 Killing things is usually not the goal, there is nothing that is "supposed" to happen, combat is not the default assumption for an encounter.

Character death is not taboo and is to be expected.

The adventure will not enumerate the one correct way to resolve conflicts and puzzles; player creativity is expected and should be rewarded by the referee.

Balance as a design goal is generally absent.

Brian Harbon

This is a game primarily about interacting with this world as if it were a place that exists. Outcomes will be based on how this world would react to your interactions, and challenges will be as unbalanced, unexpected, and exciting as they would in a real world. Your goal is generally to survive the enemies around you, whether that be via avoidance, negotiation, befriending, or creatively throwing the balance in your favor./
I think I just view story more as an emergent, secondary effect of OSR play rather than it's active, primary goal. i.e. The goal is not to tell the most interesting story you can, the goal is to interact with and overcome the problems at hand. From those interactions, the story passively emerges.





Brian Murphy

 It is not the DM’s job to balance encounters; it is the players’ job to unbalance encounters in their favor. (AKA: if you find yourself in a fair fight your tactics suck.)



But why all this?

I read this Maze Of Blue Medusa review and the author appeared to have no understanding of other peoples play styles and it was a trip. 
So I thought I could try and make a pre-face to use in future for any material I create.


Annus Horribilis:

 Speaking of any material I might create, let's address the commonwealth .

-The Stretch Goal of me writing material for Demon City has been reached so that's happening.

-There's an edition of Neoclassical Geek Revival happening with just my art. It was a selectable option for backers of the just finished kickstarter.  Not sure what the availability after that will be . I'll let you know

-Jacob Hurst (Swordfish Islands, up for ennie) is doing a Deep Carbon Observatory new edition , he's got a lot  on, there's logistic problems etc etc, but it will happen at some stage with better maps (not  by me, don't worry) , not be a5 (fuck a5) , and have more art and replacements for the stuff I'm not happen with.

Additionally the next release me and Patrick are doing with him will be Broken Fire Regime.
This one has been nailed with so many fucking delays and piss arounds including the previous publisher suddenly dropping it (a whole year of unnecessary delay right there, thanks for that) .

It's got like 95% of the writing and art done but that last 5% plus layout or anything else involving other people is a minefield and we keep stepping on them.


Ones possiblitys and potentials open dramatically up if you find the right people to work with but boy can working with other people send everything into the doldrums.

-The Planescape material has got David Shugars editing it , he is a star, I'm on the last plane now (lawful evil one) and it's being difficult but progress is happening. I'm hoping the decisions and quality of the later writing doesn't make me then have to revise all the earlier stuff however (some of which was written 3+ years ago now). Eta by the end of the year

-The cyberpunk thing: this is on ice at the moment (no pun) , kinda waiting for feedback from someone else in the project .  Will resume this and give it my full focus once the planescrap is out , or if I feel massively inspired. I needed to load the brain with fresh ideas for this anyhow and also? trying to extrapolate a terrible future from the terrible realitys right now is depressing.
It will happen at some stage but don't hold your breath.

These last 2 are the only things that could use that preface I talked about...

After these are done I am so excited about doing something that I'm 100% into and not one that I got caught up in .  Who knows what it will be, something small not involving anyone else most likely.






*

did Sherlock Holmes say Never The Less a lot?  Jeremy Brett delivering the line has always stuck with me  enough to make seem like he didThe fuck is with this Burma Shave Format?

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Teaching a dog to flick the lightswitch on and off is of little benefit to one's peace of mind

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 /
UnClass:

Fighter is a Seldom Prophet
Rogue is a Santa
Wizard is a Labourer
The Cleric a Disillusionist 


WHO ARE THESE FELLOWS:

THE BAT LIKE PROFESSORS 


They Meet On Meat , And Discuss Every Matter.
Oh what you can learn from them! If you can entangle actual fact from the dense sophistic arguments they frame it in


JUDAS BIRDS

They Steal and Conceal, only to have something to betray each other for.
They might just betray who they betray to before they find the spoils.


THE MENFOLK KEEP FUCKING A TREE
it's not even a sexy tree spirit tree.
Ants are the reason

THE EMPEROR DEMANDS HIS FLESHWORKERS AND WOMBWITCHS MAKE HIM A DRAGON ARMY

No-one is good at their job


Some even suspect it's become a competition to be the Worst

A crestfallen Journeyman approaches you  , having spend a wish on a  perfect horse, he now offers to sell it you.





THE HUBRIS OF THE EASTER MAN! HE HAS CHALLENGED THE SKY AND CAST DOWN! WHAT BECOMES OF US?




One of the backer options in this is to get a version with just Scrap Princess art:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1594988817/neoclassical-geek-revival

////
FANTASIA DYSTOPIAS
1.What if Children but Too Much?
2.What if Domestication but Too Much?
3.What if Holes but Too Much?
4.What if Puppet Show but Too Much?
5.What if Writing Things Down but Too Much?
6.What if Tombs but Too Much?
7.What if Dying but Too Little?
8.What if Air but Too Little?
9.What if Bones But One Set Per Family?
10.What if Trains?
///




WAR ENGINES:

A Giant Brass Head, It is a Vast  Kettle That Lips Part and Kill With Steam




A Zorb ball but Perforated allowing the  elite spear men inside to stab and punt it around.


A Walking Wickerman Siege Tower but with bees hives inside, the densely attired troops concealed in the head


The Sickening Ultra Bell