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 28, 2010

To Percentile or not

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 9:26 pm

One of the big things worrying me about Iridium Version 2 is that it is all standardized on percentile. So, unlike V1 where you had percentile for skills and d20 for combat/stats you now have percentile for everything. I am torn. I made the split originally as a sort of easy short hand. I saw no need for combat to have the % breakdown, steps in the 5% range were fine. However, I have had enough customers mention that they want a “standardized” system that uses one sort of dice, either d20s or %. For me, it had always been no biggie since conversion was easy enough. Now, some of the more refined pints might run into trouble with conversion back and forth. I really like how the system has been stream lined and is a very nice system with the conversion to % though out.

Still, I have to wonder, am I throwing the baby out with the bath water. Any thoughts?

Here is the V2 rules as they currently stand.

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.

February 22, 2010

Satire vs Comedy

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 11:11 pm

This is a point that has weighed on my mind quite a bit lately. As I write All Squirrels Must Be Eaten, I am constantly evaluating the difference between comedy and satire. They can often be dangerously similar in their appearance. I say dangerously since it can often lead down a path that is neither funny nor particularly a good parody. For instance, today I took Theo to see the Max and Ruby play. It was excellent. It had elements of the familiar mixed with original songs. The plot (if we call it that) was lifted, more or less, from the cartoons and books. No biggy since it worked the same way as satire does. That is, a good satire must have elements of the original but also original elements. To copy a work whole cloth but with funny names will not work and worse, it will make for dry and boring read no matter how hilarious the names are. Original content is key but there must be hooks that draw the reader to nod, reminisce and draw comparisons to the reference work.

I hope I am getting there with ASMBE. I think I am.

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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