Saturday, May 16, 2015

State of mind, state of projects (Goblintribe-Simulator, S!A!C!, Lost Songs, Community Projects ...)

Since I'm right now up to my elbows in various projects here on the blog, I thought it's about time to give you all (and myself ...) a short summary of the state of affairs. I'll try and keep it fresh (or at least short).

The Analogue Goblintribe-Simulator:

It's developing slow, which is a shame, since it got quite popular and I fear loosing the wave here. I will dedicate a weekend in May pushing this forward. Here a glimpse of how that sheet is filling up:

A "0" indicates a place for a die, there'll be different forms of storage and you
see the angry/happy scale somewhat improved ... lots of stuff to discover if
you knew the last incarnation of this thing. This is still happening :)  

The idea to use a deck of cards to build a dungeon got quite some legs. +Eric Nieudan and +John Payne took the ball and came to some great solutions in this regard (check here and here). I love it when those things happen. It's all far better than anything I could come up with.

Anyway, that's not what S!A!C! - Combat is about. Instead it's about cleaning random space stations from alien scum. And how far am I in finishing this baby? Well, I need to test it, that's how. The girlfriend and I are trying to make a test run happen, but no luck so far. We'll find the time this weekend, I'm sure. What I could do until now (it's what needs testing ...) is streamlining the combat as far as possible.

So instead of having armor and health, you have just one stat and loose action points as soon as you drop below 10 (when wounded you get slower). I came up with an idea to make firing a gun a bit more than using a die and bookkeeping ammunition (I think it's a dull exercise to keep track of those things).

What happens now is that each clip is a d6 and if you hit the target (roll d20 above card number, 11 is a true hit), you loose as much ammo as you rolled above the target number but never more than a d6 (this way you just change the die number or just take the clip from the sheet). If you miss, you roll the d6 to see what's left in your clip (keep the number you rolled and a 6 means the clip is emptied). We'll see if it holds in play-testing.

Another little problem I have is with what I call "Card Intelligence" (C.I.). How should cards move and all that. Should they move towards the player or take cover and let them come?. Again, we'll be testing all this the next few days.

Lost Songs of the Nibelungs:

We are still testing this in our Friday group and it's still developing further and further. Combat is getting somewhere but still not at a stage worth writing home about. Magic is a big gap and I need to do something about that soon, but level advancement is more important right now, as the players are already asking for it (not surprising, three sessions in).

I think the most important development so far is how ability scores are handled. Everyone starts more or less the same and the narrative (fate) decides how characters are shaped. Organic character growth, if you will, mixed with a level-based advancement system that allows some freedom in how a character develops in that regard.

Character creation takes 5 minutes and still creates unique snowflakes individuals.

In my head it keeps manifesting more and more. So much even, I'm way behind in writing this stuff down. And it's not just one thread either, but at least three sub categories that need updates. Let's see:
  • Reading the Nibelungenlied: Will take time. I might even switch to writing about each chapter in a separate post. The first post was received quite well, as far as I could tell. We'll see if I can keep people interested, but I think it's a great story with some beautiful verse and really very much like a session report of sorts.
  • Bare-Knuckle Fighter/Pub Brawl (the mini dice-game series): A bit neglected on the blog, but I test this stuff as often as possible. What needs to be happening is a complete re-evaluation of how the rules are presented. I got some ideas and I talked a good friend of mine into writing a guest post. As soon as this happens (or I know for a fact that it doesn't ...) I'll start with the updates and give this stuff a permanent home somewhere on the blog. I plan to make similar mini games for magic combat and armed duels. All of this should in it's final stage work as a skirmisher and I still plan to use this combat system for lost songs. It will take time, though.
  • The Lost Songs Page here on the blog: Needs updating. ASAP, as they say. There are already lots of strays to collect and put there. Also need to do some work on the logo. Ah well, it will happen soon enough.
  • Loose ends: Level advancement will be the next thing, but I'll start talking about layout and design of the game very soon. DM procedures will also be a topic in the near future. What I have in mind here is a method using 3d10 to generate a fully developed region for the characters to explore. I have some vague ideas how to make that happen, but all I can say is that it'll happen some time this year. Which is a shame, really, since I think it will be great fun exploring some old ideas further ...

Lost Songs is a big project and will most likely expand in many more directions I didn't think of right now. Being a weekend blogger doesn't help with all that either. I need to have some food and shelter, though :) Anyway, I'm getting there, step by step.

Community Projects

As of this writing I'm participating in two awesome community projects. Both were initiated by +Charles Akins over at Dyvers. The first will be about revenge, murder and mayhem in role playing games. I aim for two entries in this: one will be my first attempt at short fiction here on the blog and the second is a surprise (as in: no idea ...).

The second community project is about writing love letters for role playing games. I really love that idea, as it will collect a huge amount of essays about the games out there and what makes them special. It'll also get a pdf release and I imagine it a great help for introducing new people to the hobby. If we can spread it that far, which I really hope.

But look at the line-up linked to above! It's 5 names short of a Who's Who in the OSR, so it's sure to generate some noise. My entries will be the D&D Rules Cyclopedia and HackMaster 4e. Both are a big deal for me and I'll do my very best to do them justice.

So far it's been a great experience working with all those creative writers. As those things usually take lots of time to come to some sort of conclusion, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this to happen very soon. But it will happen eventually :)

Smell what (else) the Ranger is cooking!

Yeah, sorry, there is more. I'm going to take a close look at the blog and check it for loose ends. I need to come to a point where I actually finish the things I've started. Right now I'm thinking of one adventure and a series about clerics that need finishing/reactivating. I'll do this whenever I get the feeling I need some variation in what I'm writing about at the moment.

I also want to start doing interviews around the blogosphere to learn more about the people I read so much on a daily basis. A first shot on this will happen soon, featuring the great +Adam Muszkiewicz, finding out who he is and where he's going (if you for some reason never heard of his fantastic blog Dispatches from Kickassistan, go and check it out - you're in for a treat).

If it works, more of the same is going to happen on a monthly basis (I think).

And there is a vague idea to write about great old school products out there that people already lost out of sight (like this great D&D supplement by Cygnus, for instance). But it's just that for now, a vague idea.

That's it, folks. A lot is happening, it's just not happening fast ...

A picture of an OSR logo by Matthew Adams, because
it's fantastic and for other obvious reasons ...

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