Sunday, 30 December 2012

First final copy done:

I will sit on this copy for a time to see if anything glearingly obvious occurs to me. Plus I have sent copies to several people (the playtesters) in the hope of feedback.

Its all a little stressful, the closer I come to a release copy the more I worry about the obvious being overlooked. I know that proof reading your own files is a dangerous thing, you are often too close to them to see clearly. But what the heck, its really not the end of the world, merely an exercise in fun.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Well I am close to a final draft of the SSUnderworld rules, they are off with my proof reader (who fell asleep after 5 mins of reading them, but that is normal, she is better in the early mornings).

Did some pictures for the startup.

Monday, 17 December 2012

This is to celebrate my 101st Kickstarter.

My success rate has been pretty good, not only with funding but I havent actually given up on any at this stage. 
Green ticks indicate received.
Blue >?< indicate in the mail.
Dates show last update in KS.

Monday, 10 December 2012

I've been throwing around the idea of a role playing game for quite some time. Its been through various iterations, evolving as I did. There was an early version that was tremendously complicated and very detailed, something I am sure many of us do. Since that version it has been down hill all the way toward simplicity, inspired by such things as The Fantasy Trip and Savage Worlds.  The latest incarnation I find quite appealing as I have finally come up with what I think is an original and interesting game world.  It has become obvious to me that the 'game world' is extremely important to a role playing game, it simply has to grab you, and grab you fast. Nearly all the games I have bought are because they had what appeared to be a fascinating environment. Bugger the rules, mostly, if the game world is unique, and presents something awesome then I am in (like Flynn!).

Your standard fantasy world of elves and dwarves and small people (so over done now) is still the standard on which everyone, mostly, builds.  With a few exceptions however they are all nice, barring dark elves etc. They all play the classic role of being man kinds allies against the 'dark foe'. Well not in my game!

The game will begin with a large fleet of humans landing in a new world. They are fleeing the total destruction of their old world. They make land fall and find themselves in a world with elves, orcs, goblins and dwarves. Only they are all hostile, after all this is their land, and humans are the invaders. Only there are 10,000 humans all in one concentrated spot, which makes for a formidable presence. Not to mention that they are completely unknown.  And it works both ways. Nobody knows what the other is, what they can do.

The players will be humans, the vanguard of the human invasion. It will be their job to explore, encounter, overcome, negotiate and trade with the occupants of the new world. It will be their job to ensure that nothing surprises the main colony of humans as they dig in and try to make a new home.

In the new world the elves are the really nasty bad guy. They have ruled the other races for a long time with arrogance and contempt. But over the last 100 years the dwarves and the orcs have been conducting a bush war whose aim was to kill as many elves as possible, to whittle away at their numbers whilst maintaining their own. This has worked, but it has depleted everyone. The world is sparsely populated, and even though orcs and goblins can replenish the numbers quickly they have been taking the brunt of the repercussions.

This will be the world that the players will have to deal with. Hostility, mistrust, constant violence and danger.

Friday, 7 December 2012

We are moving into christmas mode at work, had dinner with the team and such last night, so everything is slowing down.  I've printed out the latest version of the Underworld cards and arranged for a playtest next week.  Getting close to a version that I could put up on DriveThru. Probably start it at $10 to make some money, to make it attractive and to give me some room to add it to sales and such.  One thing I noticed from my first map offerings is that unless you find some way to keep them in sight they quickly fall into the dungeons.

Another KS game that looks interesting. I really like moody sound tracks and strange settings, so this game should suit me well.


THe KS itself:

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I have to admit I am a Kickstarter junkie.  I have over a dozen projects active at this time, and some of them have notable amounts of money, which can add up and surprise you.

The latest one I am happy about is the Fate Core rules:

I really like FATE, I even have a fair amount of a campaign for Spirit of the Century mapped out.  Roaring 20's and 30's and just such an excellent time to stage a rpg. Loose gun control and nazi's! What more can you ask for!

I forced myself to sit down tonight and redo all the artwork on the Underworld cards. Some of it I was not sure about copyright so rather than take the risk I stripped out a lot of it for stuff I know is safe, but not as attractive. Artwork is a big issue in a game, sadly it costs real money, maybe one day.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Oh and something exciting:

My god something NEW on Glorantha! Runequest 2 was THE GREATEST GAME EVER MADE!

You might feel that I have an opinion of the best role playing game every made, and that it was RQ2.  You would not be wrong.  Only you have to tie in the fact that RQ2 came out at the peak role playing time of my life (20-25), and was played with a bunch of people who felt the same way.  Its a very sentimental opinion.

Sadly we will probably never capture those moments again, the age of wonders is past.

Hmmm, so should we have the 7 Wonders of the RPG World? Are we old enough for that now?

Let me see:

1. White box D&D, plus the 3 core expansion booklets.
2. RuneQuest 2 + Cults of Prax + Griffon Mountain + Borderlands + Trollpak + Prax (the Great Wall of Glorantha).
3. Dragonquest
4. AD&D 1e
5. The Fantasy Trip (a treasure lost in my opinion).
6. The Empire of the Petal Throne
7. Traveller

Not sure about Traveller, could put a few things in the last slot, GURPS, Chivalry & Sorcery, RoleMaster.

On the weekend I realised two things.  One is that my main rpging group was finished, and the other is that some people just don't see the world the way you do.

I have been running a fortnightly game on a Saturday evening for quite a few years now, and on occassion I get burned out. To solve this I have changed games, changed GMs (swapped with one of the players) and changed games again.  Some of these measures have worked somewhat. About a year ago roughly, and continuing into this year (and into next year) several of the guys have become fathers.  This understandably puts extra demands on them, but what actually happened, I think, is that their focus in life changed - understandably.

Girlfriends and children do not mix with roleplaying, especially not the later.  If you are lucky enough to have a gaming female partner then live in the moment while you can.

Anyway, the dynamic of the group has been changing over the last year and it was becoming obvious that things were just going downhill slowly.  I remember reading an article ( where he covered the various stages of a group, and to me it really feels like we are in the 5th stage. We went through a stagnation phase where our efficiency in actual role playing dropped from 2-3 main encounters a night to 1. It really became more of a social evening where role playing was something to fill in the gaps.  Which isn't terribly surprising as a few of the players had openly stated that they were there for that very reason and role playing wasn't a priority for them.

Now that was fine, we had got by on that for several years. But over the last year I have increasingly become unsatisfied with the return for investment I was getting.  Players who have never GM'd don't always realise how much work you can put into a story/adventure, many hours. Until recently this hadn't been an issue but over the last year it has grown.

So two things collided maybe, peoples lack of interest and my satisfaction with peoples effort.  Really they are both linked, in hindsight its a fairly obvious tandem.

Anyway we had our last session for the year and only 3 of the normal six people showed up. It was time to end it all.  So next year I won't be re-starting the games. We might revert back to a board/card games night just to be social, but to be honest, at this time I'm not feeling terribly social.  I actually really like role playing games and that is what I would like to do with my allowed time.

The only real option is to form a new group and hope that I have not been poisoned by the experience with this group.  Only where I am it isnt all that easy to find total stranger replacements, so it may take some time. Maybe I should look into virtual gaming some more, I did a lot of work on a Savage Worlds campaign environment using Maptool, I could drag that out again?

The second thing I learned, and continued to learn over the next two days, was that there are actually people in the world who completely dont see the world the same way I do. Quite the opposite in fact. Its really surprising (I'm so perfect after all).  My other role playing group, where I am a player, has been having off and on discussions on what game we might play when the current game ends. Initially I threw out a lot of ideas for games that had interested me, and a few of the others thought a couple of them look quite interesting (in particular Squawk). There was a break for a few weeks. Then the GM came out with a list of 3 games he was interested in, and of course none of them were any of mine. My god, how could you not want to play my games! (sarcasm off). Two of the three games I was not even in the slightest bit interested, one of them was ok. Oh well, he didnt like any of my suggestions, move on please.

Recently I got a copy of Dungeon World and I thought it would be fun to play. So I suggested that to everyone as an option. Shortly after he suggested that Dungeon World was a nice looking game and maybe we could try that. Err didnt I just say that 2 days ago? Move on, at least we are making progress. He then advises that he was interested in using Ptolus as the campaign setting for the game. I wrote back and suggested that the game itself suggested using a completely open setting, where the players and the GM develop the world on the fly, freeform, as we go along.  This was one of the very things that attracted me to the game.  He replied that he totally disagreed with  this, that he didnt like the way DW suggested you run DW and he would go with the pre-set campaign module.

This is not the only time we have exchanged posts where we have stood in completely opposite corners, in fact over the last two years, or more, I cant recall a single time where he has agreed with anything I have suggested with regards to gaming.  Its sort of been building up in the back of my head for a time and now it is really annoying me.  Well, like I said above, how could anyone not see the world the way I do?  Obviously not my fault. Is it?

Which raises another issue now that I think about it, flexibility in your rpging.  Over the last few years I have been reading a LOT (HEAPS) of stuff on gaming, gaming theory, gaming styles, gaming this gaming that. I love reading this shit as it broadens your gaming vistas, even if you dont agree with it. Narrativist vs simulationist styles, wow doesnt that sound intellectual and very high brow.  Anyway I thought it was worth a try about a year ago so I dropped SOTC (fate) on my group after doing a lot of work to try to make sure it would be as easy as possible. I ran really simple scenarios to ease them into it. Long story short, didnt work. We are all pretty set in our gaming ways (we are simulationists) and most of them found it required too much paying attention and concentration (remember we are in the stagnation phase during this).

The more I think about it the more I think the other group are similar. Maybe I am similar too.

Its really really hard to change the basis of how you play games, especially in a group you have gamed with for some time. The sheer momentum of history and all the background you have all been through makes it almost impossible to change.   I think you have to crush the continuity in some manner to break free from it.  Not sure if I can be bothered. (lol).

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Well we ran a playtest last night and it went pretty good. Main issue was discovery areas of the rules that were not clear about how they worked.  I also spotted some cards that had not been updated properly.  The main issues now seem to be a difficulty to recover from a bad start - one of the players took a long time to recover after loosing some equipment that meant he could not defeat monsters, the main source of equipment.  Not sure at this time how to fix that, except putting advice in the rules about what to avoid doing in the game.  He didnt have any gold either to use a Shop action. So I have increased the starting gold, and I might put in an action that simply allows you to collect gold (say 2g), so you can save up and buy some equipment.

The game is a little long if you dont drive toward winning. We played for 2-3 hours which might be a little long for a card game, have to look at stream lining some areas maybe. It certainly helps if you push players to play faster, when we did this we tended to burn through moves fairly fast and the game hummed along ok.  A more step based, detailed, action sheet might help to improve this.

The other card game I am working on is called Gobbos. It is basicly about a tribe of goblins who tunnel around the place trying to kill the other players and create an uber chieftain. You get to lay tiles on the table and make tunnels to other players that only you can use, unless the other players blow them up or convert them. There are about 10 different types of gobbos, from straight warrior gobbos to mad bombers and wizards.

No rule set for this yet, but should have it up to look at soon.