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Glaciation

I'm now into the phase that's the least work but likely to be the most time-consuming:  legal inquiries.  I have to do them in a certain order for a number of reasons, and every one of them is a potential obstacle.  So I wait impatiently for a reply before I can move on to a resolution.  There's not much point in doing the actual writing until that's all cleared. Meanwhile, I'm working on peripheral things, like assigning and coordinating keywords and abilities...which brings me to a big issue with HQ2 Core.  Character creation is too generalized; there are all kinds of options for abilities but not a lot of guidance.  If you happen to have played HQ1 or HQG, there's a structure that is missing with Core.  I get why it's that way; abilities tend to rely on the setting, and Core is supposed to be able to cover any setting.  But it's a high bar for newbies, especially if there's no one who has experience with the game in its more specific forms.  Occupation and cultural keywords provide that kind of framework, so that you end up with a modular character that's still plenty customizable. To provide a bit of a teaser:  magic, being the lifeblood of Earthsea,  will have its own specialized framework, primarily having to do with wizardry.  This is a consequence of the system presented in the books.  It's going to be like yet unlike the schools in HQ1; for one thing, there's only one school and one system in Earthsea, although there are other avenues of magic (chiefly the Old Powers).  There will also be a plethora of occupational keywords, so you won't have to be locked in to playing a wizard. That's about all there is to report at this point...except that I'm revising my theory in the last post to Segoy meaning parent instead of father, given the generally indeterminate gender of dragons.  More news as it occurs.
 

The end of the tunnel, and a question.

Research is finally complete, to the tune of 183 pages of notes.  Well, mostly.  Now that I have the basis, I'm going to check out some of the wikis to see if they have anything interesting or unique to add.  The synthesis begins. I realized in researching the last book that I was missing the two stories that were the germs of Earthsea, The Word of Unbinding and The Rule of Names, both from Le Guin's short story collection, The Wind's Twelve Quarters, which is basically a sort of retrospective of her first decade of published work.  (I happened to have that book as well, primarily because when I find an author that I really like I tend to buy up everything that I can get my hands on that they've ever written.)  Unfortunately, they have a much different tone than the Earthsea series, and some of the rules of magic are in flat contradiction to the later books.  So I read and discarded them; there's really nothing in there that I find that bears on the setting that isn't already better explained and executed later. This brings me to a question that cropped up while I researched the last few books.  While there are things that Le Guin meant to be mysteries from the beginning, there's one issue that nags at me.  It has to do with Segoy, the Creator.  In the very useful appendix to Tales From Earthsea, where she gives a great deal of background for the world itself, there's a small section relating to Segoy which is as inconclusive as it is unsatisfying (to me).  The logic is a bit complex, but bear with me.  Let me quote the relevant statements here, interspersed with my own comments.  Note:  I've omitted page references because of the differences in various editions, using somewhat less specific but indicative ones.   So there is no being before Segoy, whether he is a being or not.  (I'll use the general pronoun, with the understanding that gender is inconclusive or even inapplicable.)   Here we come to multiple ambiguities.  If Segoy  is an Old Power, he must be the first, since there are no Old Powers of the Earth that aren't connected to one of the islands, unless you count the sea itself, which isn't in the mold of the other Old Powers.  I don't find the supposition that Segoy is another name for the Earth particularly compelling either, but it's not germane to the issue I want to deal with.  As for 'what is certain,' I don't find it certain at all:   If Tehanu calls Kalessin 'Segoy' in the Language of the Making, at best the etymology is the reverse:  that the Old Hardic words are a derivation of the name Segoy.   Assuming that the familial references are literal, Kalessin, being the son of Orm, cannot possibly be the Segoy, since Segoy was before all beings.  This leaves us with the assertion that Segoy is an ancient, respectful nominative, and brings me to my contention:  that Segoy is the word for Father in the Language of Making.  Segoy is the Creator, the Father of all...and Tehanu calls Kalessin Father because it is literally so.  (One wonders how that works out, since Tehanu is one of the 'winged people' and Kalessin is a dragon, but Tehanu's true origin is shrouded in mystery.) The reason I bring this up is that it will definitely appear in the variant...so, does anyone have any counterarguments?  Is there some logic I'm missing or that is fallacious, or do you have other interpretations?

Yelm's Light

Yelm's Light

 

More on research and some ground rules

Five books down, only one left to research:  The Other Wind.  The light approaches.  After having increased the margins to make hunting for entries faster (and thus reducing the total number of pages by about 15%), the notes still grew to over 140 pages.  Tales From Earthsea has by far the most notes of any of the books. Alright, so why am I doing this research, anyway, if there are numerous wikis out there on Earthsea?  Well, I'm glad I asked.   Three main reasons:  first, I didn't want somebody else's filtering getting in the way of the content.  Second, I've read entries from a few of them, and none provides much of the information that would be useful in RP'ing, that the books do:  physical description, motivations, mannerisms, etc.  Mostly the wikis are about history, "X did this, then he/she did that."  Or "X was Master of Underwater Basketweaving."  Finally, it immerses me in the world to an extent that wikis just can't, so that I have the proper mindset when I start writing. OK, now for some ground rules.  You've all read the books, right?  Good. About true names:  in keeping with the practice in the books, the only true names that will be used in the variant itself will be a small selection of names of objects or animals so that GM's can have some kind of baseline to extrapolate other names, and those personalities whose true names are public knowledge (Lebannen, some dragons, the old Kings/queens).  If they really want the other names, enterprising wizards (and GM's) can go through the lore-books.  Of course, sneaky bastage that I am, I have a master list of names.  (I never quite got why kings would want their true names bandied about; it seems like a security risk to me, at the very least.  They're not that well-protected, especially in a world chock full of mages.) Next is physical combat.  I think there are a total of three such fights in all the books, excepting the last, which I haven't gotten to yet.  While occasional mass battles or dragon-on-wizard violence are mentioned in passing, none of the stories focuses on any kind of melee, or archery, for that matter.  Magical duels are much more common; even wizards' staffs aren't used to beat on people, other than the occasional recalcitrant student.  So the rules will tend to work accordingly.  Besides, a warrior isn't going to be much good when the mage he's fighting binds him. There is one type of magic (wizardry), not three as in Glorantha.  The two examples of organized religion, both Kargish, are about temporal power and politics; there's no evidence in the stories that any magic derives from them other than calling the Old Powers in particular ways, and they're limited to the proximity of the Power.  Theism otherwise is dead except for the semi-pagan rites of the Long Dance and Sunreturn, and they don't seem to have much practical or spell-like effect.  They're more a way of retaining and passing on the oral history of the world.  Spirits don't play the same role as they do in Glorantha, either; they generally don't have much effect in the physical world other than informationally.  And witchery is just a weaker offshoot of wizardry. So that's where I am right now; at this point I only have general impressions rules-wise, since most of my effort has been doing research...and the dull brain which it tends to engender.  Once that's finally done I'll be able to apply more brainpower to synthesis.

Yelm's Light

Yelm's Light

 

Prehistory

So...a few weeks ago I learned that one of the seminal fantasy authors, Ursula Kroeber Le Guin, had passed on into other realms.  Earthsea being one of my early fantasy influences, and never having done much with it other than reading it, I determined to create a campaign using the setting.  Doing some preliminary research, I soon realized that the Heroquest 2 core rules would be a fine system with which to run the game, and would eliminate a lot of time spent in reinventing the wheel just to be able to play it.  Now I'm around 800 pages into the initial research phase, with over 100 pages of notes.  Suffice it to say that there will be no shortage of material for this project.  It balloons beyond where I thought it would go. But that's putting the cart slightly before the horse.  Let's go back into the mists of time to the '70's, the land of disco (bleh), Rocky, the Bicentennial, gas lines, and Watergate.  My father was an avid reader, and, like many readers he was a packrat.  He had stackable strawberry crates filled with paperbacks, including fantasy, mythology, fiction and nonfiction, sci fi, and a veritable library of the sci fi periodicals...Analog, IASFM, that sort of thing.  (Not particularly good for preventing aging, but then the books weren't nearly that old then.)  And, of course, he had a full set of Tolkien's books from The Hobbit to The Silmarillion.  One week I was home from school, in sixth grade or so, I think, with chickenpox.  Feeling like crap and having nothing better to do, I rummaged through his boxes and pulled out his Tolkien books and, in the space of that week I'd read them all.  Thus began my fascination with reading, and fantasy and sci fi in particular.  I was soon devouring every book in sight. Flash forward a few years.   My grandparents had given me the princely sum of $150 for my birthday (it really went a long way then, especially for a teenager).  As far as I can remember, it's the first time I'd ever even held more than a $20 bill in my hand.  So what did I do?  I blew it.  Only I blew it on something that would last...mostly, books which would become the core of my fantasy collection.  There was a bookstore about a half mile from home, and I walked back with a large box filled with paperbacks, some new, some used.  Stephen R. Donaldson, Roger Zelazny, Fritz Leiber, Piers Anthony, Michael Moorcock, Robert Silverberg, Robert E. Howard, Anne McCaffrey, Patricia A. McKillip...  I still have most of them in somewhat less open-to-the air boxes, or replaced some of the more treasured ones with hardback collections.  And among them there was a set of three thin, grey books with interesting art and enticingly simple but evocative and thought-provoking storytelling.  You guessed it, the Earthsea trilogy.  I read and reread them over time, as I occasionally do with my favorites.  This was roughly the time that my interest in RPG's developed, as sort of a natural offshoot of my reading.  But I wouldn't do anything with this particular combination for 40 years. Back to the present.  Having decided on a course of action, I hunted the internet to ensure that there weren't any books that I was missing.  I went rummaging through my book boxes for the trilogy, and the few continuations that Ms. Le Guin wrote later.  This was a project in itself; I have a lot of books and, though they're categorized and the boxes marked, I still had to dig through stacks of boxes to get at them.  It took me several hours to find them all, mostly because there was a book of short stories (Tales from Earthsea) that I knew existed but wasn't with the rest for some reason.  Which brings up another interesting vignette.  I finally found that book sitting with some others in a box, all of them in mint condition.  (In my collection, if a paperback is in mint condition, it means I haven't read it.)  As nearly as I can figure it, I bought those books on one of my occasional binges to replenish my reading list, and moved soon after.  The books went into a packing box and I forgot about them, and there they've sat for over 15 years.  You can imagine my delight at finding an unremembered and unread gem.  I'm just opening it now for the research, and am looking forward to exploring new territory.  As it turns out, that short-story book looks to be the most important to the project; it has a fair bit of background material that Ms. Le Guin wrote in working on the newer novels. And now, a note about research.  There is no more drudge-like drudge work.  Book to word processor, back to book, back to word processor...  It does tend to limit my enjoyment in reading this time.   The fun stuff won't really come until later, when I integrate the notes with the system.  But work is work, a set of obstacles to be pushed through.  Part of the motivation for this blog is that if I write about it, and people read it, it puts an onus on me not to procrastinate or, worse, let things go altogether.  So, that's where I am right now.  Further entries will touch on processes, difficulties, and other related things. Reader beware:  Here there be spoilers.  If you haven't read the books yet, and have enough interest to be reading this blog, shut down your computer, get into your car or go to Amazon or whatever your favorite online bookseller is, buy them, and read them... and wait until then to look at any future entries of mine.

Yelm's Light

Yelm's Light

 

That Moment

That moment when you see a thread and think "Hey that looks cool" and then you read it and you are like "Oh hell no, not getting into that one." lol

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Crunch And that moment

So I missed another deadline of my own making, but I am working on the ever of Independence Day on Skaerune'. Recently I have been watching some RPG review videos (and enjoying them) and I realize the current trend is even more away from crunch in games than I thought. It did not bother me before: I mean for Skaerune' and Q21 to be a bit on the crunchy side. Yet still I had a frantic moment where I went through and was mentally cutting it up into pieces and wondering how I am going to keep my minor evolution. Then I went through the char sheet, made some minor tweaks and calmed myself the hell down. THIS is the game I want to make, publish, support, and sell. All I can do is sell it on its merits and hope plenty of people enjoy it. Crisis averted, now I get back to work.

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Rounding Third and Changes

So things are getting very close. Yes I know, its just a QS guide but it feels like something bigger. I have been designing games for 30 years, but none of them really saw the light of day beyond friends and acquaintances.  With a lot of things in life, sometimes it just is not the right time. Well this is  the right time and I am getting a little nervous about it. People are going to look it over and judge it good or bad or, which would be worse, not worth anyone's time. I do not think that will happen but it is one of those things that sit in the back of your head. I have come to the conclusion that Item Creation, beyond being its own chapter will really amount to a fourth kind of magic. Especially Alchemy which will be something avilable to anyone.  I am pretty excited about this.

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Time constraints

I haven't been able to spend as much time as I want to with the forums lately, and then mostly to approve new members. I've started working again AND we've gotten a fresh spawn in the house. As a result, I'm rather occupied these days. Current work assignment ends April 1st, should be able to siphon some more time for BRP Central then.  Cthulhu is wispering in her ear. She's only been an initiate for 10 weeks, but was able to cast the Attract Attention spell from the beginning.

Trifletraxor

Trifletraxor

 

Fighting Skaerune' Fatigue

The holidays did renew the energies a bit, for a great many things including the game designs. However, I am in a portion of the Quick Start guide which is dry and a little bleh. I know how the game works why do others need to know! lol So I am reducing the Skaerune time on a given day and devoting it to fun vanity designs or campaigns etc.. I know once I get over this hump it will pick up again. Also, it would be good to actually play a bit as I GM and design more than I play. Playing would definitely help alleviate some fatigue. I did figure out recently how many spells will be in the SkQSG. It is a good selection I think, but I may put out the list to see what others think. Same with beasts. It will be a small list to give folks a taste of the more unique Skaerune' monsters. 

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Item Creation and Some Important Holiday Thinking

So I began work on the Item Creation chapter, tentatively titled Forged & Fantastic Power. I have long wanted to weave item creation into a game design as something more meaningful than just making your own magic items or potions or gaining an advantage in the game. I have always wanted it to be an end (or a journey) unto itself. As I was working on the chapter,which deals with forging everything from mundane trinkets to powerful soul eating weapons, I found myself for a moment considering the heretical idea that all magic ws in the form of item creation, that it made something concrete and bringing magic a little closer to science, but also upsetting some fantasy tropes. I took a step back from that ledge, but just a step and realized that item creation could be important for other (future) Q21 games.  However, it is important for Skaerune' as well. With skill Synergy item creation will not be a sideshow for players, but a reason for their character to be. I also realized I need to name the other three cities. The First City, which will still me a common way to refer to it, is Kupaya Luki, which is a very bad translation of Copper's Landing or Copper's Rest. The other three cities still need to be named and the Fourth City will likely need 2 names, the original name and the name the Rakshasa give it. So over the holidays as I spend some time with my little dragon and her second Xmas, I will be doing some research and coming up with those three names. Happy Holidays everyone

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Setting Goals

So while working on the game this weekend, I came up with some goals I want to reach, so that I do not wear myself too thin making content no one is playing or reading. I decided that if PDF and POD versions of Skaerune and Salt Island sell 500 and 250 units respectively, then it might be worth it for me to pursue more content.  I would be honored if others liked the world enough to create content for it, but I will not presume people will do so. Along those lines, here are the three potential adventure packs I came up with.  The Vagabond Series Crodspear's Lament: Adventures in the Badlands Past the reduced borders of the Second City lay the ruins of civil war. When the Second City fell from prominence the Wroleclaw family and their allies fled into the Badlands to the west. Here they carved out some territory from the trolls and Cormoran giants of the Cold Lands. Now they live in a valley with seven keeps and a dozen villages that are constantly at war with each other. The land is dotted with ancient ruins and more modern ones and mercenaries are treated well. A bloody and vicious land where the only thing of value is a sword, a heavy coin purse, and the promise of a warm meal. Chief among the temptations is an aged keep once home to the powerful Duke of Mreghome, Crodspear Wroleclaw. Now it is a troll infested ruin that still holds the secrets and possibly the Torc of Wroleclaw, possession of which could alter the balance of power and portend more troubles for the Second City. The Myth Walkers Series City on A Mountain of Clouds There are many rumors of failed cities. Some sages suggest as many as seven such cities exist around the world, though no one has mapped them all. One such city known only the City of Turtles lies on the great Cloud Mountain. It is a flat plateau that reaches so high clouds obscure its top. All that is there are bones and stone dragon turtles, one for each direction. Deep in the eastern wastes, few come here except the Fire giants who see it as a holy place. Of late there have been strange tidings in the area and the Fire giants have seen lights on the mountain. Rakshasa caravans have disappeared into the wastes on secret missions for the m'Raaj. This is of interest to the Emir of Setch and his ally, the Khan of the High Days. They are seeking out heroes brave enough to walk the Eastern Wastelands in search of the City of Turtles. To find the city wll require more than digging in dusty and lonely mountains; it may require walking through time itself to when the world was much different and today's allies may be yesterday's enemies. The Cosmic Countdown Series Empire of the Drowned Kej Veho has long been thought dead, drowned in the Sea of Woes by his one time ally the dwarf Orobok. Orobok himself soon faded from view and is thought to have been destroyed long ago. With the cleansing of Nightmare Isle and the transformation of the Orange Princess, much that was hidden has come to light. Apparently Kej survived and had been creating an army of drowned men and women, along with beasts from the deepest parts of the sea. The Drowned Leiche has not forgotten Orobok nor has the dwarf forgotten his former ally. Working through agents the two enemies have each set into motion events that could summon the Fifty City far sooner than anyone has predicted. Black Dukes, angry Archons, and an army of elves all could become involved in a war to end the world.

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

The Pursuit of Perfection Never Ends

We have been trying to create the Perfect RPG for over forty years now. Through new ideas, changing needs and expectations, and a socio-technological boom that allows many of us to jump into that pursuit, game designers in corporate offices, home work places, and nerdy basements have been seeking that ONE system to rule them all (apologies. to Professor Tolkien). We have never found that system and likely never will, but that won't keep various people from trying.  Including myself.  People change and people want things their own way and to leave their own mark upon legacies. It isn't a betrayal and there isn't anything wrong with it.  Admittedly some handle it better than others, but overall we feel threatened by change almost as a knee jerk or allergic reaction. There is nothing logical to our reaction, but there is a great deal of emotion. I think that is fine but it makes for grumpy customers from time to time..... Obviously I am speaking about the recent RQ6/RQNext revelations. Some folks are elated and some are angry and some are passive aggressive and I get it, I really do. It can be exasperating because to the player these are games and settings we are passionate about. Well us designers are passionate to. No one does this to get rich but if you are in some kind of business, you need to do smart things to make money. Business vs. Art. So stay positive. This too shall pass.

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

The Wine Dark Sea

Gods! 
     Suwolfe unconsciously tightened his grip on ship’s rail. The roleplaying seas change yet again. He shook his head in wonder gazing sightlessly out at a horizon he could not see but where he knew sea and sky met. 
     “Around and around and around we go; where it stops, nobody knows,” he chanted under his breath to the rhythm of the bireme’s oars.
     “Orders, lord?” his first mate asked softly. He acknowledged the man with a slight turn of the head but said nothing. The crew was nervous. 
     Orders indeed.
     They’d been without support, or even the promise of it, for quite some time now. Separated from the fleet during the last great storm they, along with two other galleys, had maintained visual contact but an unexpected squall around dawn had scattered even that tiny squadron. Now they were alone with the seas still shifting and unpredictable. 
     Where to, indeed. Eventually they’d eventually need provisions—even if they foraged for themselves, as they had done for so long before the fleet had gathered, sooner or later they’d crave support.
     Glorantha? Out of the question. Though its particulars were fascinating to some, they’d never held much allure for him or his crew.
     Another rune quest? He mentally sighed. What was the definition of madness? Something about expecting different results? He couldn’t remember, besides, there was really no point, considering its ties to Glorantha.
     BRP? Again, there was the issue of support. No doubt the scattered fleet, or what was left of it, was just as much at a loss and concerned for supply and supplement as he was.
     There was treasure off to the east and though he knew it existed, eastern landfall was distant and he wasn’t sure his crew could last the journey without some sort of respite.
     There was also rumor of a new group of islands to the north. Though they were closer, he suspected they were some they’d already visited and had simply been renamed. He’d enjoyed them, but his crew had not.
     “Can a leopard change his spots…?” he murmured.
     “Lord?”
     “West” he said, “turn her head to the west”
     “West, Lord, but there’s nothing—“
     Sunwolfe’s sharp look cut off the man’s protest.
     “Yes, Lord” he amended quickly and began relaying orders to make his captain’s wishes reality.
     His gazed about lovingly at the battered ship.
     “It’s my fate; I suppose,” he whispered. Sailing with the old and outdated, taking what was needed, solving their own problems, it was really nothing new. 
     So, pirates once again, he smiled ruefully…though there had been a time when he’d hoped they’d finally found a home port—he shook off the thought with a shrug and turned back to face the blurred and unknown horizon.
     It doesn’t matter, really; for now, we yet sail.

Sunwolfe

Sunwolfe

 

The Wine Dark Sea

Gods! 
     Suwolfe unconsciously tightened his grip on ship’s rail. The roleplaying seas change yet again. He shook his head in wonder gazing sightlessly out at a horizon he could not see but where he knew sea and sky met. 
     “Around and around and around we go; where it stops, nobody knows,” he chanted under his breath to the rhythm of the bireme’s oars.
     “Orders, lord?” his first mate asked softly. He acknowledged the man with a slight turn of the head but said nothing. The crew was nervous. 
     Orders indeed.
     They’d been without support, or even the promise of it, for quite some time now. Separated from the fleet during the last great storm they, along with two other galleys, had maintained visual contact but an unexpected squall around dawn had scattered even that tiny squadron. Now they were alone with the seas still shifting and unpredictable. 
     Where to, indeed. Eventually they’d eventually need provisions—even if they foraged for themselves, as they had done for so long before the fleet had gathered, sooner or later they’d crave support.
     Glorantha? Out of the question. Though its particulars were fascinating to some, they’d never held much allure for him or his crew.
     Another rune quest? He mentally sighed. What was the definition of madness? Something about expecting different results? He couldn’t remember, besides, there was really no point, considering its ties to Glorantha.
     BRP? Again, there was the issue of support. No doubt the scattered fleet, or what was left of it, was just as much at a loss and concerned for supply and supplement as he was.
     There was treasure off to the east and though he knew it existed, eastern landfall was distant and he wasn’t sure his crew could last the journey without some sort of respite.
     There was also rumor of a new group of islands to the north. Though they were closer, he suspected they were some they’d already visited and had simply been renamed. He’d enjoyed them, but his crew had not.
     “Can a leopard change his spots…?” he murmured.
     “Lord?”
     “West” he said, “turn her head to the west”
     “West, Lord, but there’s nothing—“
     Sunwolfe’s sharp look cut off the man’s protest.
     “Yes, Lord” he amended quickly and began relaying orders to make his captain’s wishes reality.
     His gazed about lovingly at the battered ship.
     “It’s my fate; I suppose,” he whispered. Sailing with the old and outdated, taking what was needed, solving their own problems, it was really nothing new. 
     So, pirates once again, he smiled ruefully…though there had been a time when he’d hoped they’d finally found a home port—he shook off the thought with a shrug and turned back to face the blurred and unknown horizon.
     It doesn’t matter, really; for now, we yet sail.

Sunwolfe

Sunwolfe

 

Adventure Writing

So I have been playing with formatting and working on individual sections as I have pieces of them in place. I re formatted the bestiary and I like the new format, but it still looks like one entry per page. I pondered that a bit but decided this was my game and no player I have ever heard has said "there are too many entries in the monster section", at least as long as everything else is good too. I did notice that so far the creatures tend towards the dangerous side and tonight's beastie, the Cormoran Giant, is no exception.  So I am not quite done with them, but I told myself I had 10... no 15 more minutes of working on this before hitting the sheets (since it is 0h Cr4p 41 here). That was 40 minutes ago. I decided to spend a little time on the first small adventure to go into the Quickstart. Its called Delivery to the Sea and it is part 1 of 3. I think the best part of it was that I am writing an adventure for my own game. Not the design of someone else, which is still a great feeling btw, but for my set of rules however quirky and descended from other rule sets it is. I feel pretty good about that. It will also introduce both Salt Island and the Rakshasa / Glorious Empire in a small but hopefully powerful way.

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

So this happened

My expectations for Skaerune' were that it would likely be third in line of the games I was working on.  When I came here and really started getting into the site, I thought it might move up to #2. Well, now it's number one on my list and no regrets. The game is falling into place nicely and I feel like I have a good handle on it. I have made templates for myself. The layout is under way and looking good. Once I have a version people can look over, I have a good feeling about it. I am also keeping more of the OpenQuest 2 SRD than I imagined, which is as testament to that game and to Newt on designing a great version of d100. So now I think I need a stuffed Rakshasa to sit on my office (i.e. desk) and demand I work harder,  as stuffed mythological characters are want to do. 

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Midnight on the Writing Line

So having brought up Clark Ashton Smith the other day, some of the comments have been peculating in the back of my mind. I have been very focused on Skaerune' and the focus is paying off in a big way. I solved my Strike Rank / Initiative issue tonight AND have turned my new attribute Aura into a very potent and useful bit (where before it was on the verge of being out). So this makes me happy. So, having accomplished a huge amount of work on the design doc, I prepared to log off and was letting my mind toy with other ideas when it hit me. I am enjoying Return of the Sorcerer and I was imagining where a Sorcerer might return from? How might that be interesting? What if the battle between all the forces stretched not just through time, but through space as well? What is there was an Earth unknown to use that had been destroyed by these forces? And what if in the late 1930s these people co-opted fascism and used events to their own purpose? And what if there is a future where instead of allowing humanity to expand, Wormholes and advanced tech reveal themselves to be more easily corrupted and leads to a hopeless diaspora where colony worlds are feeding grounds for dark alien gods? Two potential names come to mind: Princes of Earth & Time; A Tale of Three Earths. A GM could focus on one setting, but a character could exist in all three and even perhaps campaigns could swing from time to time to time. It might be wonky but it could be an interesting take on some CAS work mixed with too little Mt. Dew tonight. I probably should not devote any time to this tonight. (Grabs notebook).

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Lots of Work and Falling into Place

So I realize how much work goes into a game and I have to be patient. I want to be there RIGHT NOW lol. Progress is going well though and finding and participating here is helping me greatly just through osmosis.  At least now everything seems to be falling into place. 

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Quickstart Cover

So the quick start rules are not ever close to being ready for running and playtesting and handing out. However, my cover artist sent an initial sketch of the Rakshasa who will be part of the cover and so, somewhat bored I went ahead and played around some with it. What do you folks think?  

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

How Important is Experience, really?

Experience is pretty essential for life, right? We experience things and (hopefully) learn from our triumphs and mistakes. It works the same way in role playing games because you are a person (or robot) and people (and robots) grow through learning. Even if that learning takes place at the business end of a blaster. I mean, who doesn't watch Solo and Greedo and think "Yep, I am gonna shoot foist EVERY TIME!".  I suspect that comes out of he grading system found in many war games. (Again, don't know that for sure.) I liked the experience system in d100 games, starting with Runequest when I played that. At the time I was playing though, experience was a big deal. As gaming has progressed, experience seems to be less and less relevant as campaigns become shorter and shorter or gaming becomes a series of one shots. This is not a bad thing, but can call into question time spent on designing the experience system of a game (or blogging about it... maybe).   I still think an easy to follow but meaningful experience system is important, as is a system that allows for the creation of characters at a certain power level. So in essence you need 3 experience systems.  Traditional medium to long term experience system that helps characters develop over time. A faster system that gives the feeling of change over a short number (2-4) of sessions A Jump Start system tied to character generation that lets you create an experienced character of a certain power level.  Keeping number three in mind I am considering using a Life Path style character generation and having extended life events for higher power levels. Unlike a class based system you just can't pick a level and go.

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

Charismatic Personality Appearance Disorder

No statistic has been as ill defined from the very beginning of role playing as the Charisma stat. I think this is true for most games. In some ways I imagine it derived from "leadership" scores that many units or generals have in table top war games. I do not know this for sure of course, but I surmise this was the case. No one seemed to use it correctly and at least early on among the games I played it lacked real emphasis in design. When I began playing Runequest and found that the role playing stat had been replaced with an appearance stat and now I could role play however I wanted, I was quite pleased. It held a great deal of appeal to me. To say that many years later when I noted CHA creeping into d100 games, I was a bit baffled.Why was this happening? Why were designers making this choice for a stat no one cared about before anyway. Was it the sudden use in d20 games, which revived CHA as a meaningful stat? Despite my confusion, I was forced to reconsider some kind of stat that encompassed an element of personality and decided that personality was just what I was looking for.  In Q21, PER / Personality is an important stat. It is a measure of force of personality and presence of the character. How the character chooses to use this depends on what skills that they choose.Those skills are listed under Communication skills. But what about appearance?  On the one hand no one can help the face they are born with and we have to make the most of it. Often a strong personality overcomes societal preferences, but is there something useful in having an actual appearance stat? I do not want to put in a stat to just have one and I want to not be on the fence about it.Right now Q21 does not have any appearance stat and I am not inclined to add it in, even though I have a great deal of nostalgia for it. 

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

 

A Little Skaerune

So I want to talk a little about Skaerune. I feel that a strong setting is an expectation of any d100 game, which is not a bad thing. The problem though is that the days of the truly powerful setting has passed. It is not as much a draw to players or at least ones I interact with. With a few exceptions, it is more difficult to use a setting as a selling point (1). The typical game master is going to run his or her own game anyway and may or may not use setting information anyway. Added to this is the small amount of room that can be spent (2) on setting in a given manual means that your setting has to come strong and be interesting and usable even when its bare bones.  So I decided I wanted to combine the mythical fantasy feeling, the cosmic nihilism, and features from traditional fantasy. My old college adviser and mentor described the United Staets as a stew, not a melting pot. I don't want Skaerune to be a stew even though it will have some disparate bits that did not begin life together. The Cosmos acknowledges that many worlds exist, but they are distant and relevant only in their existence. It drops ingots of civilizations into a barren Earth - like world, where slowly but surely they begin to come together and identify more with this world then wherever they came from. Now that I think about it, I guess it will be a stew, or an artifact that is a unified whole, but the various ores are still visible on the surface. And it needed a antagonist worthy of the name. The Rakshasa (3) are definitely the new power in town. While a bit sadistic as a race, they are not inherently what we might call evil as much as we could say they embrace chaos as a way of life. At least aspects of it. As rulers of the Fourth City and an ever growing empire, they are trying to create their own strange order on the world. Intelligent, inhuman, and physically strong they bring a pov that is alien to the world but in some ways alien to many players. L8R SMH

Sean_RDP

Sean_RDP

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