Hello all hive members!
BRP Central once again sees a spurt of activity from the beetle breeder. The forum software has just been updated to the latest version, software that makes the URL more SEO friendly have been bought and added and the forum structure have seen a reorganization, with more forums where their activity determines their visibility. So far it looks like we've avoided the big bugs we had with the last big upgrade.
Furture plans include a facebook application and a mobile suit for smartphones. These pieces of software does cost some money, so I've added Google Adsense ads for guest, which I hope will both pay for the sites expenses and convert some of the many lurkers to BRP Central members.
Just at Marseilles airport, waiting for my long flight home after a very pleasant few days at Chimériades.
I flew in on Friday morning, having set off at 2300 Thursday night to find that my mobile phone had no roaming set up - Thanks Virgin! Eventually I got my lift sorted out and got to Andrew's house where we looked at figures and I met Steve, the modeller. We talked for a while, took a last minute look at the rules, prepared a game board for the con and had a lovely meal. Eventually, we set off about 1630 and drove through the absolutely beautiful Provençal countryside. I was a bit disappointed to not see any Occitan signs, but apparently Provence is nowhere near as bi-lingual as, say, Catalonia.
We took about an hour and a half to get there and the venue looked the part - a lovely French castle. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, as seems to be the case with all the 3 day cons that I go to. Accommodation was similar to Stahlek, with bunk beds in dorms, and as last arrival I got the top bunk with the longest flight of rungs I have ever seen, or at least it seemed that way to my poor old bones.
Friday night was spent socialising and eating/drinking. I would have liked to have played a game,but there didn't seem to be any around and I was shattered. I went to bed at about 2200 and was woken at 0200, 0300 and 0400 by the SNORE MONSTERS - you know who you are!!! Eventually, I dug out my pair of ear plugs and got to sleep.
Saturday, I got up at about 1000, thinking I had missed breakfast. After a shower I wandered down and they were still serving! The French are certainly civilised. After breakfast, i finished off my morokanth costume for the Prax at War game and headed off to the game. When I got there, I thought that nobody else had come in costume, so I felt an idiot. The hands lasted about half an hour until I took them off (no thumbs is really awkward) and the head about an hour as I couldn't see or hear properly. Had fun in the game, though, especially when I trumped the baboon's claim to have one of his victory conditions - his face was priceless. Afterwards, we socialised, drank, talked and ate, but no games seemed to be played. Just before I went to bed, someone asked if I had seen the Game Signup Board. "What Game Signup Board?", I asked! What an idiot.
Sunday morning, I got up bright and early, about 0800, showered and rushed to breakfast as I wanted to help Andre set up his miniatures game. Breakfast wasn't open yet!!!! Then someone asked if I had forgotten it was Daylight Saving Time. Of course I hadn't as I had told my wife to change the clocks. Hadn't changed my phone, though. Idiot 3. Played the miniaturesw game and had a lot of fun, even though the prize was cruelly snatched from me by a Great Troll who should try out for the Sazdorf Trollball Team! Couldn't find any English speaking games and decided my French wasn't up to a French game, so socialised a bit unt6il Greg took pity on me and asked me to play in a game of Broos vs Ducks. As the ducks had been my adversary in the earlier game, I readily agreed and we had a very fun time until my giant rhino broo was duffed up by a combination of weaker lesser broos. Two of us ended with null points, Paolo declared victory with 5 points and the chap in the corner who hadn't fought anything counted his hoard of sheep and pigs and said 10 points! Socialised and chatted with various people, said about the SNORE MONSTER in out room and was told that there were 3 on Friday, but one had stopped. I had only heard 2 and had put on some snoring clips on Saturday night,so I wonder who the third was!!!
Charlie's barbecue was tasty, but I had to queue for almost an hour for a second portion, which tired me out just enough to send me up to bed soon afterwards.
Monday, got up at 0730, showered, went to breakfast and Phillippe had kindly organised me a lift to Aix railway station. Said my goodbyes and waited to go. Christophe Badista (I think) had offered me a lift and I got chatting (sort of) to him and another chap who had both been gaming until 3am the night before. He was the most enthusiastic gamer I had seen for years and reminded me how much roleplaying used to burn inside me in my younger days. It also made me feel so, so old. Anyway, we had a pleasant trip in the car for a couple of hours (I didn't realise it was so far) and eventually made it to Aix TGV after passing tghe same road 3 times. The other gamers helped me find a ticket for the Shuttle to the Airport and showed me where to go and I made it with hours to go.
So, here I am, waiting for my flight in 3 and a half hours.
Did I enjoy it? Yes.
Was it the best/worst con I've been to? No.
Would I go again? Maybe, if I could get a cheap flight.
Worst thing about the con? The SNORE MONSTER (excluding myself, of course, as I didn't hear the 3rd one).
Best thing about the con? The oh-so enthusiastic gamer. I never caught his name, but hearing him talk for, what, 3 hours really made my day.
I spent yesterday looking at Mad Knight’s new range of Gloranthan figures and playtesting a set of Skirmish Rules to go with them. They are very impressive figures, harking back to the best of the Citadel figures from RuneQuest’s hey-day.
We played using broos and trolls, as they were the painted ranges and swept through a Sun County village with devastating results. The sides seemed fairly evenly matched, with the trolls having more figures, half of which were trollkin. We ended up with one of the troll leaders ably supported by two Great Trolls fighting each of the broo leaders in hand-to-hand and killing both of them twice! Very satisfying, especially as I was playing the trolls .
The rules worked well. They were fast, easy to use and very, very simple. We even had Gloranthan magic and Divine Intervention for Leaders, which worked very well indeed. Some areas need polishing slightly, which is why it was a playtest, but most of the rules worked well first time.
Hopefully, Mad Knight will be able to run the scenario at Chimeraides at the end of October.
In the meantime, they have a Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/madknight/ if you are interested in what they have done so far.
I have somewhat recently come to the conclusion that what I want out of a campaign setting is broad strokes; sweeping action and color to inspire but little set canon to tie one down. This may well be why I’m drawn to running games in the Young Kingdoms. Moorcock had a lovely way of hinting at a world, creating a pacing that is ridiculously fast while giving room for the imagination of the reader to fill in any gaps in the narrative.
But my impetus toward these loosely defined worlds comes not from any austere aesthetic I might posses. Rather, it stems from an odd mixture of necessity. Frankly, I’m not going to be able to keep a gazetteers’ worth of information in this poor squishy grey matter I use for processing. So I’m left with optimizing the information that I do ‘know’ and allowing details to develop as needed (and sometimes forgotten just as quickly). Fortunately, this ties directly into the roleplaying medium as a shared experience. I find it’s much easier in a group to start with a general idea and a few specifics and build from there so that the GM and Players build a shared experience in some unholy sort of interdividualistic utopia. Then we all get ice cream and puppies, or something.
You know what I mean. It’s that weird, disorganized fun thing with the numbers and the dice and the retelling of stories. On the good days hours fly by without notice and on the bad days it’s like sitting through a conference call on the socio-economics of gang herding tundra elves.
I know none of what I’m writing here is ground breaking thought. Hell, there are games out there that tie group world creation into their mechanics. I write it though because it jumped out at me when I was doodling a map for a possible upcoming game. It was on my mind when I ran a recent session of an ongoing game. Hell, sometimes it’s just good to write this stuff out.
It also acts as an opening post and a nice bridge to my next possible post which might be about tying The Green and Tarsa together in a Freeport game.
I’m also thinking about ruminating on all those bastards that took the good fantasy names already or the wonderment I feel every time players enthusiastically come back to my table.
My latest game setting is a post apocalyptic mutant filled superhero game, set on a new continent called Pacifica. The creation of the continent by a geological anomaly caused huge changes to the planets weather due to large scale vulcanism and the dumping of dust and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere. A limited nuclear war has raged due to the famines caused and attempts to annex resources to build arcologies for the remaining populace to live in. The date is 2060, and Americans fleeing the radiation in their blasted country have created a new city on the continent of Pacifica. But the new land holds secrets of its own.
And why is the superhero cyborg known as Kron weaving a huge sphere of carbon nanotubes around a nuclear weapon? Is the Tech Guardian priesthood being infiltrated by some dangerous cult? And will Neo Nihon be able to defend itself against the huge reptilian monster when someone has stolen the megamecha that is their only line of defence? (Thanks to Seneschal for his sentai team write up, it came in handy). Who stole it and why?
I'd answer these questions but my players would read them and it wouldn't be fun playing in my game.
In this morning stroll through Engadget I came across two stories that related to the science of Rubble and Ruin. When I wrote R&R I was trying to take modern science as seen from my perspective as a professional scientist and project to a near future where everything was cranked up to 11.
For AI brains being used to “man” automated weapons systems I give you http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/13/darpas-msee-to-develop-new-mathematical-language-race-of-senti/.
Of more interest to me, R&R has a “fantasy” element of nano-psionics. This was intended to represent some new discoveries coming out of the Second Global War that could not be predicted from our current vantage point – the idea being something like asking someone in 1910 to predict the atomic bomb. There were probably people thinking in terms of both big bombs and unlocking the power of the atoms, but I don’t think anyone had a clear idea of how it would be done. Likewise I don’t believe anything like nano-psionics will appear in our future, but I do believe there will be things we have yet to think of. Still, it was interesting to see that people are using tattoos of subdermal nano-particles to create biomonitors. See this link: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/21/fluorescent-nanosensor-tattoo-monitors-glucose-under-the-iphone/
I needed some atmospheric damage rules for my last space opera game, and so found something in GURPS Space that I adapted to my game. These rules are fairly loose and need a lot of GM disgression.
A slightly toxic atmosphere requires a CON roll every hour or so. Damage should be in the order of 1 to 2 points, either automatically, or after failing against a toxicity level of 4 to 6 on the resistance table.
Toxic atmospheres need a CON roll every Full Turn, for the milder atmosphere, to every Combat Round for the deadlier types. Damage is 1d8 either automatically or after failing against toxicity level 16 on the resistance table.
Deadly toxic atmospheres would need a CON roll every Combat Round, if the GM is feeling generous, or a luck roll. Damage would be 1d10 upwards plus possible heat (page 223-4 in the BGB) or acid (page 211) damage as well. The toxicicity level on the resistance table should be at least 25, possibly more.
Remember the good old days™ when you would get together with your buddies and game for eight to twelve hours a couple of times a week? Back then the BRP experience system worked great; you would get a bunch of checks and some of them would improve each adventure. Over the course of a few real months characters would be getting better at the skills they used often, and not so much for the rarely used ones. But now days, for a lot of us, family, work, and Real Life™ get in the way, we might be lucky to get three to four hours of game time a week. But, we would still like a character to improve in commonly used skills faster than rarely used ones, and faster if the character has a low percentage, slower for higher skill levels. And, we would like to see noticeable improvement in the characters over the course of a few months of play.
To this end, the group I game with has been testing the following system for the last few weeks.
Characters accumulate check in skills as usual, but when it is time for skills to improve, there is no roll to see if the skill goes up, instead all skills with checks improve, but the amount is determined by the skills current percent chance of success.
If the current skill level is:
1-30%, the skill improves by 1D8,
31-60%, the skill improves by 1D6,
61-90%, the skill improves by 1D4,
91% + , the skill improves by 1
Thus, after ten game sessions a PC who started with 90% in his or her main weapon will have likely improved to 100%, while a skill that is used (successfully) every other game and started at 25% will be around 46% or 47%. This gives noticeable improvement over the course of a ten week story arc, but not earth-shattering skill gains.
Well its been quite awhile folks and I am entirely to blame for that. I won't bore people with the details except that I am on the move again residence wise, not as far as last time but a decent distance nevertheless. I had been hoping to finally upload BRP Star Wars in the next few weeks but I am going to defer once again. It does pain me to do this since I detest nothing more than vapourware and all sorts of needless spruiking and its partly due to my sensitivity to this issue that I am uploading a BRP conversion of Harnic beasts for our cohort of fantasy gamers that I have worked on to at least prove that I am actively working on stuff and not just a bag of wind! Rodney better known as our beloved threedsix from the forums can testify to my seriousness in regards the BRP star wars project since so far he is the only other person who has seen a working copy of it, albeit an earlier one.
During this summer the current version 1.2 has seen a fantastic amount of play testing from within my RPG group the problem is that the more i ran the games the less and less I was happy with the conversion. It just lacked that star wars feel that I wanted it to have and the more I played it the less i liked it. Considering that i have been working on this for a good 18 months this was somewhat of a bitter realization that I disliked my own spawn. Consequently the other night the group had a meeting and we discussed some ways to get some zip back into the conversion. A popular alternative was to mine the old d6 system for some inspiration. I have been busy doing so and I have identified some possible ways to bring some concepts from that system into the BRP system.
The dilemma is and this is the crossroads bit, is that its quite a bit of work to do those changes and I am kinda wanting to throw in the towel more than make them and just go back to playing d6. So I am thinking, thinking and thinking as to what to do. Even though I am unhappy with aspects of 1.2 and its still a bit rough in parts I might upload it anyway and see what people think. Let me know, and enjoy the Harn conversion.
*I am listing games, not individual books
Against the Darkness TableTop Adventures
All Flesh Must Be Eaten Eden Studios
Ancient Odysseys Precis Intermedia
Angel Eden Studios
Army of Darkness Eden Studios
Atomic Highway Radioactive Ape Designs
Barbarians of Lemuria Beyond Belief Games & Cubicle 7 Entertainment
Basic RolePlaying Chaosium
Call of Cthulhu Chaosium
Colonial Gothic revised Rogue Games
Conan (only a single supplement) Mongoose Publishing
Conspiracy X 2.0 Eden Studios
Coyote Trail Precis Intermedia
Dark Continent New Breed
Dead of Night 2nd Edition Steampower Publishing
Dicey Tales Evil DM Productions
Dogs of W*A*R Beyond Belief Games
Familiars Ganesha Games
Fudge Horror: Vampires ComStar Games
Ghostories Precis Intermedia
Ghosts of Albion Eden Studios
GURPS 3.0 revised Steve Jackson Games
Hard Nova 2 Precis Intermedia
Hollow Earth Expedition Exile Game Studio
Horror Show Bedrock Games
Hunger: Zombies Must Feed Precis Intermedia
Hyperborean Mice Kiz and Jenn Press
Kindred of the East White Wolf
The Laundry Cubicle 7 Entertainment
Legends of Steel Evil DM Productions
Mean Streets Precis Intermedia
Monsters & Other Childish Things Arc Dream Publishing
Mouse Guard Archaia Studios Press
Mythic Russia Firebird Productions
OpenQuest D101 Games
Shadow, Sword & Spell Rogue Games
Star Trek the Next Generation Lost Unicorn Games
SUPERS! Beyond Belief Games
Terra Incognita Grey Ghost Games
Terra Primate Eden Studios
Traveller Mongoose Publishing
Two-fisted Tales Precis Intermedia
Thousand Suns Rogue Games
The Unexplained Carnivore Games
Unhallowed Metropolis, Revised Atomic Overmind Press
Vampire: the Masquerade (+ supplements from several WoD lines) White Wolf
World of Darkness 2.0 White Wolf
Wraith: the Oblivion White Wolf
Wild West Cinema Spectrum Games
(pre)ordered or planning to order:
Earth AD.2 Precis Intermedia
Eldritch Skies Battlefield Press
River of Heaven D101 Games
The travelling beetle will be leaving home tomorrow, heading west for warmer climates in South America. First there will be trekking in the Central Andes and then there will be diving in Los Roques. I'll be back 8th of August, and first order of buisness then will be to get a new internet provider, as my current one has been extremely unstable lately. Then I have Eternal and Continuum reports to write up, and tons of stuff to improve here in addition to work to be done on d100rules. Hmm... There's to few hours in the day. Maybe I should bring some "stay awake"-chewing leaves from across the pond? Anyway, hope that you'll all be here when I get back and that the hive still stands. If not, I've made some very accurate blueprints to recreate the current conditions here today. A good summer to all of you!
My web connection has been very dodgy for over a week now, turning itself on and off, mostly off. Trying to get some web access elsewhere, but that won't be happening till after Continuum. So, upgrades must wait for a bit. But the beetle will be back stronger and better!
Well once again guys its been some time since a post but today I can happily report that I have now completed my very last examination for this semester and the last obstacle in the path of progress has been set aside. Now the obvious up shot of this is that I can turn myself back to the fruits of BRP Star Wars and get the bloody thing done. So I am hoping to provide happy tidings soon. Please be patient and hang no effigies. For those north american brethren who have been hassling me because they want something to do in their long summer break you will soon get your hearts desire. Unfortunately for those BRP comrades in the southern hemisphere we have to do without the long summer break but at least we may game as a consolation.
While the title Pendragon would be more appropriate it has been already taken. In fact so has Age of Arthur .... Warhammer Ancient Battles.... I would like to create a BRP game for the Gaming of a fantasy based Dark Age post Roman Europe/British Isles, Hibernia, Amorica. Loosely referencing the Bernard Cornwell fictional series.
Long promised and long delaid, finally they fixed the problem with the new review software!
Still, it will take some work from me to get it going with all the products. So far it should be working with all the products published by Alephtar Games. Will get to the others bit by bit.
You can both rate it - 1-5 stars, anonynomously (okay that wasn't spelled right but you understand) and/or writing a review.
After an fun, exciting and exhausting Eternal Convention in Germany last weekend (-rapport pending), I'm now travelling to Lofoten for an obligatory psychiatry course. I've seen the program and it's horrible, which is why I'm bringing my laptop so that I can work on d100rules while "listening" to the lectures. Unfortunately, my gaming group have no time for gaming currently, so I won't be able to game again until Continuum Convention in England. Hope to see some of you there!
Well its been quite sometime since I posted a blog so i must apologise for the absence. So whats been going on? Where is the damned book? Well Rodney's been busy in the last few weeks working on some of the chapters. He has proofed up to chapter 8 with 9, 10 and the equipment annexure left to go. I haven't hassled him yet for the rest because I've just finished my amendments and I'm still incorporating his suggestions which at the moment are nearing completion. At the moment I am confident I'll have his last lot of changes complete in about one week. After that if Rod gets the remainder of his work back to me around that time (no firm plans yet) we could be looking at an up-loadable version by the end of the first week in June. So for the time being I'm going to return to the final edits and the rest of my university course and hope the next blog I post is the announcement of its impending release!
Despite the title this has nothing to do with Clinton, dope or Whitney. Its simply been a long week and unfortunately most of it hasn't been about role playing. I've been busy trying to produce three 2500 word law assignments which I can assure you that you do not want to hear about those. Well a quick update on the more interesting stuff is in order.
Version 1.1 was completed last weekend and is now in the hands of Rod. Rod's edits are being worked into 1.2 and a big thanks for that if your reading this. At the moment however nothing appears set to interfere with its release this month but Rod and I have normal lives so timing on this could change if we don't get the opportunity to make the best edits possible.
The reason for this is that I started the project with producing the very best possible book. Homebrew material at times can look and play terrible and in all circumstances i wanted to avoid that. Some have commented to me on the how good the character sheets look and thats a consequence of my approach. So basically it doesn't go out if its crap!
On other fronts I've had one opportunity to run a playtest on starship combat. Generally all ok there are some minor issues with facing and position. Ionization is still a problem which is going to have to be resolved but that is quite a minor issue. i'm just not happy with how it works.
Now in terms of the next project I've not heard from anybody about this so for the moment I'm going to proceed with the sourcebook idea. The GM's guide is as large as the players book at the moment and realistically I couldn't expect getting it out to people until July. A sourcebook though with a simple compilation of ships, droids and other stuff is a bit less of challenge editing and development wise so for thats where things will go for the moment.
So far I've had no requests in people wanting to review the final product. So if you have an interest and you would like to see the rules before anyone else PM me.
Trying to come up with catchy titles for this bog is quite demanding but i will keep on trying! Well a brief progress report. I am 99% certain we will be able to release this month if there are no horror scenarios that emerge. Now just a word about the revisions.
Version 1.1 is almost complete which has resulted in some major changes. It will be done this weekend. Rodney (aka threedeesix) has been busy with reviewing and providing suggestions for edit. For a variety of reasons these changes will find themselves in v1.2. For those of you who are confused I was intending on releasing 1.1 but since rod has come on board this will be v1.2 with maybe some additional changes depending on what comes out of additional playtest. Any additional changes are likely to be cosmetic at that point. Anyone who is interested in coming on board as a reviewer or helper is still welcome
Now the next thing I wanted to address is what comes next? I have two things floating around that could be the next release after the players guide. The first is in rough edit at the moment which is a GM's guide and that was going to be next release. The third which is only at concept stage at the moment was to be some kind of sourcebook with ship, vehicle and equipment stats. However after some thought it began to be apparent that the sourcebook may be more useful to people at this stage. Anyone who has an opinion about this drop me a line because i'm leaning more to the sourcebook idea all the time.
Trying to remember which movie i last heard this line from the title of this blog post), i think it was a comedy. Well its been a busy weekend! Some good news and bad. Firstly lets have the bad. I have stated that I wanted to get this puppy out sometime this week. I'm going to have to push this back to probably sometime in April. The reasons for this are (this is the good news) is the extra play testing i did on the weekend went so well that the quality of the input from those sessions is worth taking the time to reproduce in the rules.
Most of the issues arising were quite simple ones like unclear expression of rule concepts and so on. I know that some will gnash their teeth over this delay but i can assure everyone its worth waiting to incorporate the changes. My goal is to put out a good quality product thats going to be a gift to the BRP community and i personally want that gift to be used and enjoyed and not marred by gibberish prose.
I did have other reasons for delaying which include a teenage daughter with a dislocated knee and both a full-time Bachelor of Laws degree and job bearing down on myself. So for those fans (like threedeesix) my apologies. If you like deesix, i can chuck you a consolation chapter from the first version - just PM me.
Well as promised a review of how things go. Firstly the play test of the starship combat rules is continuing. No further problems are being encountered. Now progress overall. Instead of posting this here I will place it in the forum.