Friday, 30 March 2012

Unnamed System ready for review

Following from my previous ramblings about a d12-based system, I've now formed what seems to be a serviceable system that can use several different dice, d12s included.

If you're not already following me on Google+, then you might have missed the posting showing off those rules. I'd obviously appreciate any feedback.

I managed to run using most of the rules and a d8 system in my Kingsmead setting on Wednesday. The play report will go up there shortly, along with a few of the optional new setting bits and pieces I've come up with.

Friday, 23 March 2012

First experiences with Traveller

I know I said I'd recap Dresden. I promise this will happen. It's just not happening today.
This week it was decided that I'd run something, rather than just play along. Great says I, I have many of these things which people call ideas. Here are some of them. And then the players picked them apart, and it all got a bit interesting. As I'm sure you're all familiar with.

My ideas for the game were a few options:
1/ Run Traveller for a complete change of pace. This involved more rules prep, since I was then going to use the Secret of the Ancients campaign series (Players: DO NOT READ THESE BOOKS. You have been warned.) Character creation is plenty fiddly, and would take a while, especially since none of us have exerience with the system.
2/ Run Blood and Honor, the samurai Houses of the Blooded setting by John Wick. This was mostly rules prep, and then I was planning on coming up with some game ideas based on what people wanted to play. Character creation is not too fiddly, but might take a little while since none of us have experience of the system.
3/ Run Legend of the Five Rings. More samurai, less rules prep as I've run lots of it before. This was 4th edition, and my experience is mostly in 1st, so a bit of fiddle there. And the game I had planned to take from the example in the back of the book, since it's so similar to the 1st edition example adventure.
4/ Run my homebrew system, and set it in my Kingsmead setting. No rules prep for me, only a refresher of setting prep. Just get things together and explainable for the players, and have an idea how to run magic well using the system. Seemed doable, and would favour story over rules challenges, hopefully.

The players chose option 1, which was followed by over two hours of character creation and rules learning. But the game itself, once it was under way, went extremely well. I really enjoy the simple mechanic, and it was useful to have the story sat beside me and ready to go with minimal prep.

The characters were an ageing but moderately famous scientist with little in the way of promotion in his long career, a thief who pulled off a famous escapade a few years ago, a civilian colonist and courier who accidentally crashed during an important mission years ago, a marine who got thrown out for mental health issues but somehow managed to be drafted into the army infantry, and finally an army infantryman who was scapegoated for a disastrous mission and somehow found himself in the navy instead.
This intrepid bunch set off for Regina, following the death of the scientist's strange old Uncle Vlen, and found themselves investigating his murder instead. So far, encounters with a broken down hostel computer and a paranoid ex-detective have left the group with little clue to motive behind the murder, but it seems the local legal system have found their man. He clearly supplied some drugs, but did not it seems pull the trigger on the murder weapon. More investigation will have to take place, especially with contact from a mysterious university professor claiming to have information.

I'm planning to run the homebrew Kingsmead some time in the next few weeks also, because thinking about it has re-ignited the fire I had for the setting.
Dresden update soon, I promise!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Apologies for the delay

It seems I've been lax in my postings of late, and it's been at least three weeks since I've said anything. I won;t bore you, but due to some personal issues I've had a hard time working on it. I've even managed a few false starts, but I've resolved to keep this up, so I will.

I'll take this post to just talk about some of the things loafing around in my head, and return with some regularly scheduled mayhem soon. There's a bunch of stuff happened in our Dresden game that just got a little (a lot!) silly.

But back to everything else.

I was debating how to keep track of health or damage in the system I've been working on. I thought about a static five damage slots, with the damage applying equally from physical attacks or mental stress. Then there'd be an option to buy off your damage by trading off a line of the character sheet.
If you recall, it worked that the character had five aspects, five skills/achievements/what-have-you, and five pieces of equipment that they never went without. By trading off a line, you lose an aspect, a skill and a piece of kit. They don't necessarily have to be relating or focus upon the same task, the point is your character becomes more limited. It's very heavy-handedly stolen from Chris Tregenza and co.'s 6d6rpg.
The other issue I'd been having was that of scale, specifically with dice rolling. The point was to come up with a viable system for d12s. That worked, but it meant a lot of swing, and became especially difficult when I did some dice rolling to kill time and didn't seem to roll very well at all. I know that the average of high d12 minus low d12 should not have so many results equal 1 or 2 or 3, but the data seemed to skew that way. I thought it would hug lower numbers, but rarely rolling above a 3 seemed to push it, probability-wise. I know what the curve looks like, but if my dice were that random, the rolls would show it. I might need new dice.
The system was perfectly viable with smaller dice (Feng Shui uses d6s and was part of the inspiration, Qin uses d10s), and didn't seem to skew too badly. So it metamorphosed into a d-whatever system. But I have ideas for the d12s. It's mostly about power levels. Superheroes would likely use d10s or d12s, as would the idea I'm putting together around the Malazan Book of the Fallen (fansite, since there's several novels). The d6s and d8s would better suit the boy scouts, child's toy dream defenders, and maybe generic science fantasy. I'm working on that.

I've also want to run Synapse again, since the rules were fun and the story worked well. But for some reason, I'm just not in the mood to right now. I've got a lot of stuff buzzing around my head, and I want to finish what I've started with some of it, but I also want to try out the new ideas. The eternal dilemma, it seems. I think I'll set aside a time to run it properly, on a weekend or something soon. See how much I can get done if we play for more than two hours.
And if I don't get distracted plotting Legend of the Five Rings, Traveller, and other sordid things.
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