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Everything posted by Jakob

  1. Hey Shawn, whatever setting you'll come up with in the end, these are certainly some interesting questions! Since you've asked about things that other published works don't quite deliver and that we would like to see: I'd really love to see a fantasy setting that deals in an interesting way with social change triggered by a major epistomological change; a "true" Renaissance game, not in the sense that it has some real-world historical trappings of that era, but that it really deals with people developing a whole new view on what it means to be human (or whatever other intelligent fantasy species you might happen to belong to ...). Take, for example, a fantasy society where magic has always been bound up in religious ritual, but recently, a more scientific approach called "sorcery" has been developed - what does it actually mean if humans can wield magical powers without recourse to gods or spirits? What kinds of upheaval would follow from that? You wouldn't even have to combine something like that with a Renaissance-like technology level, it could just as well be a stone-age setting. Are the gods real? I consider both "they are definitely real and active" and "There's no proof of them being real whatever" interesting; for some reason, I don't really like the "they're probably real but keep in the background" middle-ground. And I'm not very interested in "good" and "evil" gods in a pantheon. Still, they can serve as interesting philosophical concepts in a gaming world. Ideal stakes for me a medium, it just seems most playable. I tend to like my game worlds either utterly alien or very down to earth - once again, what I'm least interested in is the middle-ground. Harn feels a little to familiar to me (I'd probably like it better if it were a humans only setting). I love weird settings with lots of intelligent species like Talislanta, but I want them to make sense (I played Numenera for a while, but all of the cool elements where just there, with no connective tissue that made them feel like they were belonging to the same world and being in relation to each other). I don't really like any more or less creative new takes on elves, dwarves and the likes - they have been done, and they have been done well, but I really don't feel a need fo any more of that. Regarding details: I kind of prefer slim, but focused setting material. Give me a lot of broad strokes, but also some very detailed elements that I can use right away. I find that I can make most uses of the extreme ends of the scale at the gaming table - very broad descriptions that just give me a general idea of a place, and fine details about one thing or the other (a castle, a group of NPC, an inn ...). I like to have some near future history of the world (two or three years), but only in very broad strokes and only as suggestions what will happen if the PCs do not interfere. Also: yay to city states!
  2. Wow, hadn't heard about Afterthought before - in all it's briefness, it sounds awesome. @Sean_RDP, please show up here and tell us more. Actually, is there a way to get in on this as an author in a small way? I haven't done a lot in English (yet), but I'm starting to get my RPG writers legs back (with some community content for Gumshoe and some Mythras in German), and right now, I really wan't to do something with QuestWorlds, and I REALLY want to be involved in an sf rpg project that, conceptually, is as interesting as this sounds ...
  3. Now that's interesting! I kind of love to hate these books - they drew me in like little other fantasy I've ever read, but there's also a nearly ritualistic repetitiveness to some elements of them that feels like it's truly grinding the reader down ("Scranc to the horizon ... and more Sranc, and even more Sranc ...")... and the highly violent nature of the story (and I'm not just talking gore, it's really terribly violent on so many levels) is hard to digest. Still, I couldn't put it down and kept buying each new volume. Great author, great prose. I'm really curing about how it informs Jackals.
  4. Good to hear! I'm working on that right now - I've just read the companion, which might change things a little bit because I noticed that the scenario has at least two possible scenes that might work well for the new social conflict rules ...
  5. Yeah, that's mine! Finally! (Although it actually went quite fast with the 100Questen Gesellschaft from manuscript to publication).
  6. .... and it's mine! (pdf at least, now the wait for delivery of the print copy begins ...)
  7. On the one hand, there's the heavily narrative one- or few-shot systems like Fiasco, Durance, Polaris - I love those three to bits, but they are very narrow in what you can and can't do with them, so they're not a really good comparision to HQ. Then I know DungeonWorld and some other pbtA games (but mainly played DW), which hit, in many ways, my sweet spot for narrative systems in really sticking to their core mechanic. However, they also tend to be pretty limited in scope - they are usually structured around "moves" which do very specific things in the narrative (moves are not necessarily character traits, but often), and they really need to be tailored the the genre and setting. Then there's Fate, which, honestly, I just don't like - it seems so elegant when reading, but at the table, it always feels clunky and mechanistic to me, and I don't like that it is so centered around its Fate points economy. However, Fate is a good point of comparision for HeroQuest: It is actually a more classical system with skills (and Aspects, which are more similar to traits in HQ, but work very differently), but also very much about enabling a narrative flow comparable to that of a pulp/adventure story instead of simulation some fantasy reality. The thing in HQ is that it gives you lot of formalized options for conflict resolution, and some, at first glance, look wildly complicated (I have yet to fully wrap my head around group extended conflicts). What they mean with regards to hat happens within the fictional world is very open-ended, which is a great thing, because it means that you can decide which resolution mechanism exactly to use based on how much time you want to spend with the conflict and not based on whether the characters are fighting under water, climbing a mountain, doing a spell duel or having a debate with the High-Priest. It's actually not that interesting? Make it a simple conflict, however complicated events within the game world might seem. Now, that is great. But coming at the rules with the desire to understand them, it is hard to grasp the advanced rules parts and how and when to use them. And they do feel simulationist to me, even they they are not about simulating some fictional reality, but about simulating a certain kind of narrative flow. Which is fine, as I said, but I'm not sure if I feel the need to go into the detail as much as things like group intended conflicts would have me. On the other hand, as I said, I don't really need to use them - if I stick to simple conflicts and chained contests, everything feels quite straightforward. EDIT: Oh, what I meant with "HQ feels a little more simulationist to me than my approach" actually is: I feel okay with having one roll for all the "random factors" - how the character performs in that particular instance and whether the problem got harder or easier by some accident (that's, as I mentioned, how I tend to interpret fumbles in "classical" games - they usually don't mean that the character screwed it up, but something bad happened to screw with him). HQ seems more granular to me in having one roll for the characters performance and one for random stuff involving the circumstances. That seems, in a wider sense, a little more "simulationist" to me.
  8. I'm buying the printed edition, anyway, but does Really mean that? Or just that the PDF comes with the print copy for free?
  9. Questworld 3.2 doesn't give a higher cost for raising keywords at character creation - that's what I was going by; however, it seems that they are more expensive to raise later on with Hero Points.
  10. Can someone give a brief overview of the "News" part in the video? I'm just a reading person ...are there new supplements/games mentioned that we don't know about yet (so, anything besides Babylon, Polynesia, Greece, Destined, Fioracitta and ... what am I forgetting? Certainly someting!).
  11. Thanks @Ian Cooper! I didn't think it this possibility. That, combined with making sure that use of your keyword won't be considered a stretch under certain circumstances, is probably enogh incentive to put a few points in breakouts. EDIT: I should have read the whole SRD before asking - I just noticed that, when buying advancements, there's a significant difference between keywords and breakouts, with keywords being more expensive to raise ... so that's mechanical incentive right there!
  12. @David Scott I get the "color" thing - but I'm still not sure how much sense breakout abilities make mechanically. Let's say you have the keyword "Jedi", which usually encompasses the abilities to wield a lightsaber, to force-throw objects and to be very suggestive. You should be able to use all these abilities without stretching the Jedi keyword. Now, lets say you start with the Jedi keyword at 17 and want to put a total of 4 points in it. You could end up with this: Jedi 1M or with this: Jedi 18 Lightsaber Fighting +1 Force-Throw Objects +1 Being Suggestive +1 Mechanically, Jedi 1M just looks more appealing. If I were to come up with an idea for how to handle breakouts, I'd rather treat it as a zero-sum game: You can add points to a breakout ability by taking other, negative breakouts. That way, you could end up with: Jedi 1M Lightsaber Fighting -2 Force-Throw Objects -1 Being Suggestive +3 This might even be better to add colour, because you can also define certain elements that you are not as good at as might be expected.
  13. Reading the QW SRD, I stumble again over a question I remember from having when I read HQ: Why would I use breakout abilities from keywords, instead of just using my points to raise the keyword itself? raising the keyword affects all possible breakout abilities, after all. The only reason that comes to mind is that sometimes using just the keyword might be considered a stretch; but within the spirit of the rules, it should only be a stretch if another character has a more specialized trait covering the obstacle. This seems like a relatively unlikely case ...
  14. Reading, I'd say that the key idea is that overcoming a story obstacle should always be tied to a concrete goal, so that success or failure move the story forward. That's can mean "move the story forward to its conclusion", but it can also mean "achieve something meaningful within the broader context", like getting vital information that opens up a whole new line of investigation, overcoming a guardian creature that blocks the entrance to a place from a temple where someone you want to rescue is held, creating an antidote that can save the king ... I think the rules are just suggesting not to split things up into finding the right recipe for the antidote, then finding the right herbs and then preparing it into single rolls, because none of these tasks is meaningful to the story in itself.
  15. Just read the on "Tactics" - I don't know if that was in the original HeroQuest rulebook, but if it was, I have forgotten about it. Reading this section was an eye-opener, especially the part about how you can choose a Trait that will help you to overcome one key task within the story obstacle and still succeed at overcoming the whole obstacle by just that one roll. This sounds like a great concept for focussing the narrative without having to worry about whether a Trait is broad enough for all tasks involved in a story obstacle. As I said, I don't know if that was in RDL's original rules or of it was added by Ian Cooper (or another contributor), but I'm really grateful for the passage!
  16. I just took another look at the Mythras Gateway license and noticed that the BRP license is actually quite similar in some regards - I think them main problem and the reason for most of the discussions is that the BRP license doesn't state its intent as clearly. Mythras Gateway practically tells you: You can reproduce the abbreviated (but fully functional) version of our rules in your publication; and you can reference official material - but whatever you do, you have to ask us first. We don't want a share in the profits, we just want to have some control over what's out there under the Mythras brand. That is not an open license, and it doesn't call itself one; and all in all, it is a fair and even generous arrangement. As someone who wants to publish for Mythras, you know from the get-go you'll have to stay in contact with the Mythras publishers about what you are doing. The BRP OGL says: You can use the abbreviated (not quite fully functional) rules from our SRD in your publication; you cannot reference or reproduce other official material (though I'm not quite clear on that), but you can create your own subsystems, as long as they don't stray to close to our systems for Sanity and Passion, because we consider those a signifant part of the product identity of CoC/Glorantha. We might be okay with something similar you create, or we might not be okay with it. Please ster clear of certain subject matters like the Cthulhu mythos or King Arthur, because these are also a core part of the product identity of some of our games. The limits are fuzzy, please ask us in case of doubt. We don't want a share in the profits, we just want to have some control over what's out there under the BRP brand. Now, the whole middle part is basically saying: Whatever you do, please ask us whether we consider it okay and in the spirit of our OGL. Which is an absolutely legitimate arrangement, but it just should be stated as such. The way things are worded now, you open up the door to situations like this: Someone comes up with an idea for his own horror rpg based on some other take on cosmic horror, for example based on the works by Laird Barron or Thomas Ligotti, who have created their own mythologies that are in no way part of the Cthulhu Mythos (although I think Ligotti might have been adapted into the Cthulhu myth by other autors). He creates an alternate Sanity system for it. Chaosium looks at the pitch and feels that it doesn't infringe on anything they'd consider barred, so they give their okay. A year later, after a lot of hard work, the game is ready for publication. Chaosium takes another look at it and now feels that it strays much too close to CoC after all. What now? This is a scenario where all parties may have acted in good faith and simply followed different interpretations of what is stated in the OGL and what was communicated in the original pitch. Or even simpler: Reading the OGL, an aspiring author feels that he or she can safely create a King in Yellow RPG (like the excellent recent Gumshoe game by Robin D. Laws, by the way ...), since the Carcosa Mythology was only later (and quite artificially, despite some vague references that Lovecraft dropped for the fun of it) integrated into the Cthulhu Mythos. However, we already heard that chaosium considers everything King in Yellow off limits in conjunction with its OGL. Now, if the license simply said: "Whatever you do, it is subject to our approval", it would be clear for everyone that you need to stay in contact with chaosium throughout your development process and be ready to make the required adjustments, whatever it is that you want to do. The way it is now, it looks as if Chaosium wants an OGL, but still wants to keep the door open to veto publications based on criteria that are very open to interpretation. This is significantly different from most other OGLs, which state clearly what parts of the publishers IP you can use; and you can than freely combine these parts with everything that is not protected by that publishers (or anyone else's) copyright. The publishers have decided to live with the risk that people will create material that strays close to their turf; they decided that it's wort it. If you feel different, that's okay, but it's problematic to call your license an OGL then. The BRP OGL creates insecurity. Just saying: "We retain the right to veto whatever you want to do; however, you can expect us to want you to succeed with your project, and we'll try to support you by answering your question" would be clearer, and, to my mind, actually more inviting.
  17. Actually, I think the HQ approach is somewhat more simulationist than mine - after all, it makes a distinction between the quality of the character's effort and the circumstances (resistance roll). The way I usually think about it, a bad roll by a player doesn't necessarily mean a bad performance by a character; it can also mean an unfortunate gust of wind when he's losing his arrow or the sun in the sword of his opponent blinding him for a fraction of a second. I prefer that approach because it gives me the option of not letting a character who does something that he is supposed to be good at look bad. No problem with failing, but I kind of dislike if it feels unearned. However, as I wrote, masteries mitigate that, because they mean that a character normally would never fumble, but he can still get a fumble result on a very hard problem. In fact, my main gripe with HQ is that it feels a little too simulationist for a narrative ruleset; it is interesting, but I still feel that it sits in an uncomfortable place. But on the other hand, that's just my reading impression, and I still very much want to try HQ (or Questworlds, as of now). EDIT: But to be honest, by now im intrigued enough again to make my next rules-lite experiment Questworlds. The more I think about the "both sides roll", the more I can see that it might open up some interesting perspectives!
  18. That makes a lot of sense. But I am used to putting all the factors that haven't been determined in advance in the player's roll (I've long stopped looking at fumbles by players as "they just totally screwed it up", now it's usually "you are very unlucky as a rock loosens beneath your foot and sends you tumbling down" with me.) So I feel I have things like that already factored into the player's roll. However, you could split the characters performance and the random obstacles on two rolls. I don't know, I guess I'll have to try. I must confess, it still feels more intuitive to me to say "character's trait score = characters performance, fixed target number = difficulty, die roll = all the random factors that make the task easier or harder." Masteries are another factor, though. Since they make sure that no one with a mastery will fumble on his own accord, they do mitigate my usual gripe with fumbles and failures (being that it just seems unlikely that one time out of twenty, even a grand master will totally screw things up for no good reason). So I might be okay with splitting the random factors on two rolls, after all .. @Runeblogger I could do this, but in this case, it wouldn't really make things easiser, because the second roll would still have to be compared to the Resistence, and both results compared to each other ... it's different with a straight "Both sides roll +skill and compare" scenario, where you can just give the player a positive and a negative die, add everything up and compare it to the opposing skill.
  19. There are two aspects to it: For one thing, I just like to roll as little as possible as GM. It's one of the few positive things I took away from the Cypher System (and one of the many positive things I took away from Gumshoe). I feel that it keeps the focus on the players, their characters and achievements and also makes the GMing much easier. Another slightly irrational gripe: I just can't picture how the Mountain you're trying to climb would succeed, fail or fumble. I know that these are just mechanical categories, but it still is so terribly counter-intuitive. It is just there, and therefore, it shouldn't do anything that is rated in terms of success of failure. @soltakss I always kind of suspected that using such straight rolls would play havoc with the underlying systems, since the RAW seem to discourage them so strongly ...
  20. Skimming through the SRD, I must say that it looks like a very good evolution of the system! I like the slight alterations to how Resistances work (no more by-session-table), I like that Chained Contests are now a part of the core rules, and overall, the writing seems clearer. Still not sure if this will ever become a rules-lite system that works for me (I just don't like the fact that the GM has to make an opposed roll for every test, and there seems to be no going around it, considering how much this mechanism is ingrained in the system). But I'm interested again!
  21. If you want a duel so badly, you shoud really come up with something more controversial. Besides that, +1 to everything you're saying!
  22. Looking forward to all of this! To be honest, OQ3 is what I'm most on the fence about; I have the feeling that the Skyraiders will hit my sweet spot for rules lite better, and any version of OQ would probably sit a little uncomfortable between that and Mythras. But I'm not kidding myself - I'll end up buying all of it, anyway ... Anyway, I'm very happy that the Patreon encompasses all three now!
  23. Yes, it's pretty organic - basically, your selection of combat style, weapon (and shield) type and overall skill define what you'll usually be able to pull off.
  24. I'm totally fine with that; what I really dislike, however, is things like: "You may be a competent warrior, but you can't even try to disarm someone, because there's a special Feat for that, and you don't have it." EDIT: However, this actually brings us pretty close to how Mythras does it anyway, where you get to choose special effects on higher succes levels than your opponent and also a self-designed special feature for each combat style you learn.
  25. Now, that sounds like a good idea! Especially since it doesn't necessitate "stunt spamming" (getting new stunts all of the time to be able to do new things).
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