January 28, 2010

Chevalier Play Test

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , , — bilbo @ 9:23 am

This time around I had a go at what I will be calling Aspects. This is inspired by a designer I very much respect, Clash Bowley over on I Fly By Night. Essentially, Aspects are a free form descriptor that the player can generate and invest experience in. However, it goes a bit further than that allowing the GM to imbue items with an Aspect (or more than one). For instance, the other night a knight got a crit on a bandit that had been plaguing the thoroughfare. The sword cut off the limb of the bandit. After the battle, I told him to write down the Aspect: Vorpal Rank 1 for his sword and to give it a name. He named it Thrond as he imagined it came from the north and had Nordic runes on it. As play progressed, he brandished the sword and made a stirring speech to rally his men against a dragon. I gave him the option to advance his Vorpal to Rank 2 or give it an Inspire of Rank 1. He chose the Inspire.

Now, you might ask, that is fine but how does it play out in the system. This worked so much better than I thought it would. Basically, the Vorpal Rank 1 added 1 to damage roles. I switched back and forth between that and adding 1 die to the damage roll. I could see either working. The Inspire affected his Renown (previously called Honor) allowing him to gain 1 addition Renown point whenever he earned 1 normally. Also, I added it to any skill checks for leadership. This mechanic will have more weight in campaign play.

Finally, I want a method to remove Aspect ranks as well. So, a thought would be with weapons and tools, you could have crit failures do this. Perhaps a save of rolling under the rank on a d20. This means you most likely will loose your Vorpal 1 on a failure but could just as easily gain it back (on a crit success).

I look forward to more play test on this as I think it has applications in Nebuleon, Shades and just about all out games.

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?

January 20, 2010

OBS, Small Press help out Haiti

Filed under: Press — Tags: , — bilbo @ 12:33 pm

Please, consider donating $20 through OBS by purchasing their bundle (which includes $1400 in PDF titles). The proceeds go to Doctors without Borders, a very noble organization. If you cannot do that, please consider donation what you can to the organization of your choice.

HinterWelt is proud to be a part of this effort and has offered Roma Imperious, Turris Lemurum, Squirrel Attack! and Shaolin Squirrels for inclusion in the bundle.

It can be purchased here:

Thank you for anything you can do.

January 5, 2010

Adaptability of a Game

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — bilbo @ 12:35 pm

To me, any game can be adapted to another setting or genre but, as with any spectrum statement, ease of which one can do such things is variable. Now, in rare cases, a system can be so handicapped as to make it prohibitive for adaptation but this is rare and, to be honest, I have never encountered such a case. I can imagine the possibility but I believe it would indicate a willfulness on the part of the designer to make a system incapable of being adapted as opposed to being such a good fit for a specific setting.

When considering adaptability, the system should be split into three basic parts. Task resolution, special abilities and combat mechanics. It is not so important how these are resolved as it is what they are designed to support. For instance, under special abilities, you might define a spell list and lists are the mechanic however, this makes a lot of work when adapting to a new setting. Say, one based on modern psi powers. However, a free form system allows for higher adaptability and flexibility. The same applies to task resolution. With skills you have a lot esier time adding and subtracting elements while with a class structure it becomes more problematic.

In the end, it is a trick to balance blanding out the system with keeping the mechanics interesting. It is easy to make an ultimately adaptable system but far more difficult to make such a system interesting.

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