October 17, 2015

It has been a while…

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 6:16 pm

Hey folks, I am going through a site update and hopefully will have some time to work on a few projects that Linda has been encouraging me to do. First, she wants a revisit of the Squirrel Attack series. We need to look at making the system more streamlined and I would like to look at the first couple of adventures that parodied popular genres of games while celebrating the style. I think it would be interesting and worth while.

Second, Nebuleon really needs to get a revision. Healing is poorly covered and I think some of the civilizations could be expanded on. As well, A.I. need to be tightened up as I think they sometimes run a little too loose with the definitions. In general, and this leads to the next point, Iridium needs a refit that could smooth its play a bit.

Third, Iridium makes me happy but I would like to see a few changes. First, fewer stats that have broader application. So, drop to 5-6 stats and let those drive to hit probabilities. I am toying with decreasing body locations to 5 and generally simplifying the system with a decrease of rules and clutter. That said, I am not set on a path yet.

Finally, I would like to revisit and update the site, specifically go after CHARGen and make it more flexible with upgrades to modern tech.

So, I hope to be posting here more often.


February 15, 2011

Better to burn out than fade away!

Filed under: General — bilbo @ 7:47 pm

So, Clash over on I Fly By Night had a commenter talk about the good ole days when games were “very punk rock” and I had to smile. I am not so sure I am nostalgic like that and I was a hard core punk rocker until I was a hard core new waver…yeah, it was like that. Anyway, it brings up an interesting point of commercialism and whether monetization of a market enhances or devlaues the artistic merit held within. Yes, I am channeling my inner thesaurus.

We have to ask then, do better illustrations, higher price points and product lines designed to separate us from our money really a bad and inherently non-artful endeavor. The answer seems to be “Not inherently so”. You can still do all these things, hire artists, editors and professionals to work on a game and still have it be an art worthy game. A fun game.

Here is the news, fresh from satellite V, you can make a crap game whether it has a $50K budget or a $5 budget. Likewise high art or great fun can come out of either. Worse yet, it is a subjective valuation. Just like a piece of art, a game can be a thing of beauty for one person and a total wreck and wast of time to another.

So, what do you loose? In my opinion, when you focus on the business, you loose passion. This, again, can either be good or bad. Passion can lead to incredible flights of inspiration and long hours spent doing something you love. It can also lead to a blindness to critical flaws and a denial of the realities of publishing a book. That is not as serious a lesson as it was even 10 years ago, but can be quite sobering when you are passionate about your work.

Despite what it sounds like above, passion is where my heart is. I have nothing agaist the people out there making fine products but I would rather burn out then fade away.

February 13, 2011

The Sin of Creativity

Filed under: General — Tags: — bilbo @ 3:29 pm

There are many people in many professions who will tell you how horrible it is when YOU are not creative. They are, of course, creative as all get out. They love to tell you about how creative they are but more than that, the love to tell you how uncreative everyone else is. This often amazes me for the simple reason that it often applies to those people who are enjoying that person’s hobby. They cannot be excited about others sharing their interests, they must attack those people for not sharing them correctly. That seems odd to me.

It would seem an observable division in hobbyists are those who are inclusive and those who wish to be elitist. Let’s think about that. Inclusive hobbyists are those that want to see people involved in what they do. They want to meet people and share an interest. When I go to a Jazz festival, I want to be around folks who listen to jazz. Sure, I tend to be more of a swing jazz guy but I have no problem if there is a modern or guitar jazz going on. I might get up and get something to drink then but I would never dream of interfering with someone else’s enjoyment of it. The elitist however, has a “right” way of doing their hobby. They are elite and “play the game at a higher level”. For instance, the guy who will go on and on about his martial art and how “those amateurs” just do not get it. The guy who will tell you, ad nauseum, about his train collection and how it is superior to anything you can possibly understand.

Now, here is the part I do not get. Why do people tolerate or even praise these people? Seriously, I will just get up and walk away. I have no interest in hearing a bigot ramble on about his superiority. Now, do not get me wrong, if you have a passion for what you do and you can tell me about a better way to study martial arts or the fine points of collecting trains then rock on! But one is exclusive or elitist and the other is inclusive and participatory. We should always be aware of the difference and strive for the inclusive over exclusive.

* Before anyone says I am living the definition of irony, I am all for a person believing they are elite, just not preaching about it. When a person decides to invade your sphere of consciousness, they violate you and then must subject themselves to social justice.

April 30, 2010

Hate, Vitriol and Melodrama

Filed under: General — Tags: , — bilbo @ 8:53 pm

Well, if it has not been obvious I have been taking a break from the online community for a bit and I cannot tell you how it has given me perspective. On a personal level, I am just more happy (even though I am working harder than I ever have) and have a much better view on things. It has been a breath of fresh air.

On another level, I have reflected on the online RPG community. First, to call it a “community” is a misnomer. It is a diverse group of people across all manner of communities, countries and cultures tied together by interest in role-playing games. Second, it is a “community” drenched and reveling in vitriol and melodrama. It is a really negative place that it is difficult to see from within. I believe far too many people do not realize just how subtly draining and heartbreaking it is. From forum posts where people belittle others not based on what they have said but what broad type of game they play, making absurd claims that in any other area of interest would be laughed at or scorned as simplistic and inaccurate. Instead, you hear refrains of “You have to listen to WHAT he says, not how he says it” or merely the ba-ba of sheeple overwhelmed with their need to belong to yet another, different hate group. Now, I will most heartily agree that there are positive folks out there. Clash, Alan, Scott, Mike and several others you could possibly name. However, most often, it is like you are four guys at a KKK rally talking about racial tolerance while the several hundred white robed looks burn a cross and beat up a black guy. The RPG “community” is like that clan meeting. Tolerance, true tolerance of different games from what you play (note: if you don’t like it don’t talk about it) is just not the common ground of any forum, blog or community for RPGS.

Finally, I have to stress it again, if you are in it, you probably don’t even know it. You think that all is fine, all is great because you had a thread last month that did not devolve into an endless back and forth about the “right way to play”…well, except for that one guy and he was playing the game wrong.

Now, as far as this goes, it is something of a rant in that it should not be taken too seriously. If you are happy, then great. I have just found a few common threads and practices that leave me wondering, thinking that maybe, in a roundabout way, I might be onto something. It is backed up with having some great gaming over the past couple of weeks, meeting great folks who never logged onto RPG.FORUM.HATE.YOUR.GAME.com. Inevitably, the ones who were bitter, the few, were the ones who were avid members of one online community or several. Give yourself a break, play a game.

Good gaming everyone.

April 1, 2010

April Fools

Filed under: General — Tags: — bilbo @ 8:24 am

I really hate practical jokes. It just is not my thing. I mean, if you do, that’s great but I just find the whole thing annoying. I have never found how humiliating or belittling your customers was a good practice. That said, a joke product is fine (heck, one could argue that SA! is all about that) but that is not what I am talking about. It is more misinformation by a company and on a personal level.

Short version, you will not see HinterWelt or me celebrating April Fools. 😉

March 25, 2010

I really dig this music station

Filed under: General — Tags: — bilbo @ 2:41 pm

Yeah, I try to avoid posting non-hinterwelt things here but this is really pertinent. Music is important to my game experience and I really dig this station.

Warning: the music will play when you go to the site.


March 3, 2010

Size and concise writing

Filed under: General — Tags: , — bilbo @ 4:52 pm

For what it is worth, as I write more I find myself to try and say more with fewer words. This is not to the detriment of understanding or clarity, in fact, it is in aid of clarity. I have found my squirrel books at 60 page of big margin digest format say a whole lot more than some of my larger books. I have had more than one newbie to role playing thank me for a clear rules set. To me, at this point, that is what I am talking about. It is what I prefer.

February 25, 2010

NEB SE: Planetary Generation

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 10:45 pm

First go at the Planet Building system.

Aspects: These are descriptors. So, Physical Aspects are things like landmass, seas, size, environment and the like. They can:
1. have no quantifier
2. Have a quantifier between -10 and 10

For the quantifier we would use it like so. Say, Price Index has a quantifier of 3, then all product prices would be multiplied by 1.3. If it was -3, then they would be multiplied by 0.7.

GMs can make up whatever Aspects they want but some are suggested.

Below is a rough draft of the planetary fact sheet. Click for a bigger version.

Nebuleon SE

Filed under: General — Tags: , — bilbo @ 9:30 am

Matt is asking about Nebuleon SE on facebook as well as Alan over on our forums. Here is what I told Matt:

Gee Matt, you don’t ask the easy ones. 😉 Basically, it has taken a back seet to development of the Squirrel Dice Game. To be honest though, I have been struggling with changes I wish to make to the Iridium version. I really like where Iridium V2 has gone and get great feedback from the play testers but it is still a case of whether to update the Nebuleon SE to Iridium V2 or just stick with V1 and the setting updates I would like. I think what I need is a good editor.

So, I have kind of hit a loop/block. Part of what I am having trouble with is what should be included, what should be added and what should be subtracted. Short list off the top of my head:

1. V1 or V2?
2. Planet generation system? If so, what kind?
3. Ship gen system? Change the ship combat system?
4. I will be clarifying FTL, the effects of travel. the specifics of travelling.
5. Better/clearer rules on healing.
6. ???
7. Profit!!!!

Of course, any suggestions are very welcome. In fact, much like Clash over at Flying Mice I would ask for suggestions, modifications, revisions and requests for Nebuleon SE.

January 21, 2010

Mapping Tools?

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 11:44 pm

I have an idea for a project where you would be able to upload your own map, then put annotations and symbols on it. This would work, eventually, in conjunction with a campaign manager where players would be able to interact and say things like “My char is from city X” or “My family rules the outlying barony here!”. In general, the GM could have players getting very involved in the actual creation of the setting.

Am I crazy or does this sound useful?

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