September 25, 2009

Setting Primer: Echoes

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — bilbo @ 9:40 am

So one of the settings brewing in the back ground is called Echoes. Mike from the MU Skulls is kind of up on the idea of the setting and one of the things I do for early adopters is give them what I call a Setting Primer. This has the basic concepts and broad strokes of the setting and no system parts. They then can take it and run it with Iridium or whatever system floats their boat and we see if the setting holds water. I usually get tons of feedback from this method and lots of change and interesting bits come back into the setting.

So, feel free to look over this 2 page setting primer for Echoes and let me know if anythign jumps out as good or bad.

Echoes Setting Primer


September 15, 2009

Initiative for Object Mechanic System

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — bilbo @ 9:40 am

Initiative is determined after any rolls are made. If the character is not doing an Action tied to a skill then they roll 2d6 + their Dance mod. The person who makes a success by the most, has the option of acting first. They may hold their action and the next person may do like wise. Eventually, initiative will be inverse and the last person must act and back up the chain to the person who won initiative. Someone holding initiative may act at any point between the actions of another;i.e. between the declarations of the players actions.

Tim: Shooting his gun at Taco’s Minion’s Machismo: 2d6 + Tim’s Machismo Mod (0) + Guns Skill (3)

Jen: Seductive Dance at Taco’s Cool: 2d6 + Jen’s Dance Mod (3) + Dancing Skill (3) + Jen’s Gidget (Seduction) (2) – Difficulty Mod from the GM (3)

Taco: Intimidating Dance at Jen’s Machismo: 2d6 + Taco’s Dance Mod (4) + Dance Skill (2)

Taco’s Minion: Using a Sonic Shouter at Tim’s : 2d6 + TM’s Smarm Mod (1) + Ray Gun Skill (2)

Tim: 10 + 3 = 13 Success = 13 – 8 = 5
Jen: 10 + 3 + 3 + 2 – 3 = 15 Success = 15 – 8 = 7
Taco: 9 + 4 +2 = 15 Success = 15 – 8 = 7
TM: 4 + 1 + 2 = 7 Failure = 7 – 8 = -1

The initiative order would be:
Jen and Taco -> Tim -> TM

So, does that make sense?

September 14, 2009

Small Press at ACD Gameday

Filed under: Press — Tags: , — bilbo @ 11:29 am

HinterWelt (Me, Linda and Theo) went to the ACD Games Day. This is a trade show for retailers and manufacturers of games to meet under the umbrella of ACD distributing’s house. There is a lot of meeting up and talking and a fair amount of gaming and general merriment but there is a lot of business done too. Specifically, there is one day where an exhibitor’s hall runs where retailers wander around and publishers tell them about their products. It worked out well for us in that we made contacts with a number of retailers who carried our products but did not know about all of them, those that carried some and did not know about the full range and those that just plain did not know about us.

Linda is shown here displeased with our booth. We set up the night before…then rearranged…then switched back…then rearranged again until we called it quits. Then the next afternoon before the hall opened we rearranged some more. In the end, the booth looked like this.
Our Booth

Next to us were two wonderful ladies from Fundex Games and they really took a shine to Theo.
Fundex Games

We met up with some old friends and made some new (Bill Bodden and Matthew McElroy)
Green Ronin

Phil Reed and Steve Jackson were there. It was great to meet Phill in real life. We had worked together and had a lot of good discussion online for years but despite going to a lot of shows had never met. He and Steve both had great ideas/advice about Squirrel Attack! the Dice Game.

The hall had a lot of folks in it but there was a lot of clustering around the big names. Small press was not commonly represented but nonetheless we found it well worth while as the number of retailers we met allows us to find a wealth of information about who is carrying our products and who is interested in carrying our products. As well, they helped out a lot with pricing and packaging for the Dice Game as well as general feedback ont he play of the games (they are gamers after all).

Oddly, we found there was not a lot of RPGing going on in the game rooms. Most of them had board or card games and our own dice game was well represented. I do not know if we will go back next year but it is not for lack of contacts made or even that we do not think the show is worth it. I think we can do better with Gen Con in terms of time to profit ratios. Still, ACD Gamesday is in the running.

Oh, and despite someone having an sick stomach he slept well.

September 13, 2009

More from Ticket to the Moon…

Filed under: Games — bilbo @ 10:46 pm

Following with the “2095” theme…

All She ever says “Is that what you want?”. She looks a lot like you, she does the thing you do but she is an IBM. The latest in technology, almost mythology, but she has a heart of stone. She has a jump suit on and she is also a telephone.

Machismo : 12 (+4)
Balls : 10 (+2)
Smarm : 6
Cool : 4
Dance : 8

She’s Skills
Martial Arts: 3
Computers : 3
Mechanical Repair : 1
Communications : 2
Dancing : 1

She’s Gidgets
All-Band Telephone/transceiver (Communication) : 1
Super Strength (Martial Arts) : 3

Oh, and more inspiration…

September 8, 2009

Ticket to the Moon

Filed under: Games — bilbo @ 12:20 am

So, I was in a silly mood and needed to blow off some steam. This is the result. Some background. Dr. Rotwang is a poster and general gamer I have alot of respect and admiration for. To that end, I was inspired by the ELO album “Twilight” and specifically the song “2095/ Yours Truly”. Good stuff.

To that end, I came up with this ROUGH DRAFT. Note: Should you be wondering, this is a ROUGH DRAFT. 😉

In this file there is 5 pages (1 is a cover) of a system that uses what I call “Object Mechanics”. This is a highly abstracted mechanism that allows you to use an Object to perform an Action on a target’s Stats. For instance, you could use a Dance Routine Object to perform a Seductive Dance Action against an opponents Machismo (physical stat) stat to disable him. This is degree of success driven so how well you do affects it. On standard skill checks, 2d6 are rolled against a standard difficulty of 8 modified by difficulty. The player’s roll are modified by stats and skills.

Link 236 K PDF

Feedback is always welcomed.


September 2, 2009

Setting Design : Villains

Filed under: Games — bilbo @ 12:08 am

I approach the creation of villains probably in a bog standard way. I will, nonetheless, break it down here as to the aspects I consider as I create a villain for my settings.

This is usually where I start. I ask myself, what kind of villain do I need. Often, it is in three simple but broad forms, individual, organization and monster. Individuals are your Ming the Merciless types. Sure, they have an organization around to do their bidding but it is really all about them. The evil they do is not attributed tot he “The Mongo Empire” but to that unbelievable bastard Ming! Individuals are usually the easiest to create as there are so many different examples to riff on. Building the individual’s organization is mostly making an extension of the individual themselves. Their lieutenants will be shadowy reflections of their master. Sure, they might have a quirk or two of their own but they are simple to create int he extreme…and that is the point. They should be just this. Go farther down the chain of command and you find they become simpler and even more a caricature until you get to the snout nosed non-speaking red suited foot soldiers who live to make the hero’s job difficult and die for the emperor.

Second, and by far the most difficult, is the organization. Here, you have to have agendas, structure, leaders yes, but not magnates. The leaders of an organization must be replaceable. Organizations, IMO, make some of the best villains as they can be eternal, like the Hydra, regrowing and sprouting up again just when you think they are done. Organizations though, are hard to get the proper feeling built into the setting. When you say “Ming the Merciless” you have a certain theme leap to mind. With an organization you can do likewise but it takes work. Chances are, the mood can be set initially but following with the proper encounters becomes important. For instance, you can make the Gestapo a part of your game and build them up to be as horrible a force as history showed them to be. Terrifying and methodical. However, if then in play (or as you write your supplement) you describe failure after failure, you build a different organization through play example to your group. They see a bunch of bumbling psychos who, when they get lucky which is not often, and catch a person simplly torture them. Sure, not pleasant but hardly what was initially presented. In a supplement this initial set up is important but in the end, must be followed through by the GM.

In the end, Organizations are a great villain but one that takes time to build up to and a fair amount of effort to manage in play.

Finally, we have the monster. This is a version of an individual you might say but the distinction i draw is that this is a lone creature while an individual will be a leader of his own cult. Monsters can be simple smash a grab types or they can have depth. I tend to almost always fall on the “have depth” side. This means that when I create, say, Trolls, I cannot but help to think of the different tribes, how they interact, the pottery they use, the areas they live in, their preferred foods and so much more. In doing so, it does not have to be a study of biology but it helps for me to gauge the important aspects to be included in the write up of the monster. As a foe, they should have a reason for their being there. They should have a reason for their aggression. I am not a fan of “Racial Evil” as I tend towards most monsters believing they are doing good by their moral code. That code may be to protect themselves or gather wealth to buy a mate or all manner of variations but it is important, imo, that you know what those motivations are and how they fit into the setting.

The scope of a villain is important, as important as any other aspect. It defines what they will affect and how they will affect the world they are in. For instance, if the villain has a galactic scope it makes a much different power base and even the method of rule of that area comes into question. It is wildly different if the scope of the villain is that of a local valley. The scope is they area they affect but more than that, it is also the effect on the world. An individual kobold may have a limited effect but the kobold race could change the landscape, political and geographical of the world.

This is the level of tie in to the supplement or the world but most importantly, the group. Here we have the aspect of “Luke, I am your father!” and equally important Luke’s “Noooooo!”. This makes the villain relevant to the group and their actions as well as the characters that make up the group. You might not be able to make the villain relevent to every last character in the group but you do not have to. Often, it is enough to just make them relevant to a single character as long as that Relevance is pertinent to the entire group. For instance, making Darth Luke’s father was really (at the time of Empire Strikes Back) relevant to Luke. It would not change how the group looked on Luke but it did change how Luke viewed the group and himself. Because of this, the group them had to reflect on their views of Luke. Thus, the relevance resounded throughout the group as whole while touching on ly one of them.

Competence is a tough one. Make the villain too competent and you have a TPK. Make him too incompetent and you are left with comedy relief. I have had success in approaching it in two phases. The first is to determine if, indeed, the villain is meant to be a comedy relief. Competence is not the only way to model this but it can be useful. Alternatively, the villain could be meant as what I call a MacGuffin Villain. These are villain meant to threaten but not engage the party. Finally, the party threat type of villain engages the party, either through direct means or minions or both.

The second phase is to determine the level of competence in key areas. Is the villain knowledgeable? Does he fight through his minions and is a thinker? Great skills? Is he a powerful warrior or a brute strength killer? All good questions to ask and ones that must be answered. This is the real form, the root of the villain, almost their personality. And yes, you can apply this to all three types. Organizations may use brute force to ensure their will is carried out or they may use long reaching plans that outlive any one individual in the organization. The think to avoid here is making a villain so competent as to be impossible. A genius is fine but as a GM, you must realize there are limits to what the enemy will know of the actions of the party. That is the balance to be struck in play and it should be reflected in written work as well. I mean, the villain should not be all knowing. He should have weaknesses, vulnerabilities. That can often be one of the fun parts.

So, that is how I go after a villain and construct them. Like I said, bog standard but it works well.

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