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lawrence.whitaker

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About lawrence.whitaker

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  • RPG Biography
    Co-Owner, The Design Mechanism, Co-Designer of Mythras, RPG writer for 30 years
  • Current games
    Mythras
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    Grafton, ON, Canada
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  1. TDM will be virtually attending. More details on what we'll be hosting soon.
  2. The process was much the same as with an InDesign book. Create the Master Pages, set up the paragraph, heading and character styles, then tweak the layout elements on the Master Pages and main pages with the sizing of the guides and so on. I tend to import manually and selectively, using linked text frames with autoflow turned off. That is, I have the Word Processor manuscript open at the same time, and cut and paste text into a Publisher text box, pausing when I reach an element (such as a table, piece of art, boxed text, etc) that requires a different kind of work to be done in Publisher. I then pause, work on this element, and position, and then continue with the text paste. Once I've completed a chapter or major section, I go back through and apply heading and paragraph styles, adjusting for spacing, flow, widows and orphans, and tweaking where the separate graphical elements need to go, and whether they're kept in-line with the body text, or float free. The book builds up in this way, and always in a single document. The three big challenges I had with Publisher were: 1. Art needs to be carefully linked to its source files, and if these links become broken - which can happen quite easily - it can be a devil to correct. Doable, but deeply annoying. A couple of images somehow delinked in the production file following all the proofing, which meant there were blurred images in the final PDF download that just shouldn't have been there. The TDM logo image also shifted or replicated somehow, and this wasn't spotted. So Publisher's image handling still needs some tweaking by the developers; it's not quite as slick as InDesign's yet. 2. The file size increases hugely with art and other graphics, and this caused the software to slow down hideously the longer you work on a file. When it came to adding page hyperlinks for 'page XX references', it was taking a massive amount of processor power, and several minutes, for even small text changes to be processed. In part, it's because Lyonesse is a very big book, but also because Publisher handles graphics in a weird way, and imports linked images, but doesn't embed them - which is presumably how they get delinked when a file is saved. 3. Indexing is bloody awful. And as the file size increases, it gets slower, and slower, and slower... Overall though, Publisher is far, far nicer to use than InDesign. It feels friendlier. It's a doddle to create styles, update them, copy them, and edit them. Wrapping text around an image is much easier than with InDesign. Despite slowing down, Publisher is far less prone to crashing. The Studio feature (allowing you to swap between Publisher, Designer and Photo personas, if you have these other two apps installed) is simply brilliant, and I used it a lot. Managing assets, like tables, text boxes, certain graphics, etc, is a doddle using the Assets pain. Spellchecker is better. Find and Replace functions are far superior to InDesign. I wouldn't go back to InDesign at all. Publisher can only improve. InDesign, I've found, is getting clunkier. Soon, Adobe will stop supporting older operating systems, and then I won't be able to use the latest version of their hideously expensive Creative Suite at all. Affinity came along at absolutely the right time.
  3. Magic users still get STR+DEX as the base in the Combat Style; they simply don't get skill points to develop it from their class/culture.
  4. If one opponent has a skill >100, the Combat Style is reduced to 100, and the number of points above 100 are subtracted from the opponent (see page 51 of Mythras). So if Anathaym has Spear & Shield 120%, and she's fighting Bestatrix 98%, Anathaym effectively fights at 100% and Bestratrix fights at 78%. Bestatrix now has about a 25% chance of failing a roll, while Anathaym has a 5% chance of failure: Anathaym should win a Special Effect and cause damage much more frequently than Bestratrix - and it's the Special Effects that actually speed up combat. This means that very long combats are quite rare in Mythras. Plus, when one factors in the rules for weapon reach and fatigue, high skills can be whittled down moderate numbers quite quickly. Good use of Special Effects, such as Overextend, also reduce an opponent's ability to retaliate; while other effects, such as Trip, Stun and Bash, can be used to eat-up a high-skilled opponent's Action Points, denying them the opportunity to fight effectively. Our advice for newcomers to the system is always to try the rules as written first, and study the many options one has in combat. You should find that we've anticipated the situation of highly skilled opponents drawing combat out, by building in a number of different ways to either reduce the skill of an opponent, or their effectiveness in other combat areas. The Combat Training modules: Breaking the Habit and Take Cover! are very useful in helping you get to grips with Mythras combat, as they're designed to show you hwo to make the best use of situations, reach, Special Effects, and other tactics that help you gain the right kind of edge. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/4057/Design-Mechanism/subcategory/8030_32283/Game-Aids You'll also find some very engaging discussions about combat and tactics on the TDM forums: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/designmechanism/rules-and-mechanics-f6/
  5. Most likely Unearthed Companion.
  6. It's not easy getting hold of a copy. Ebay has one listed at CAD$210 (so about USD$154). Plus, there weren't many adventures published for it. There's the start/setup for a campaign in the Ringworld Companion, and a so-so adventure, using characters from the novels, in Different Worlds, but Chaosium lost the license before they could really develop the game line.
  7. Tonight, 8.30pm EST, I'll be the Q&A guest on Random Worlds, answering questions about Lyonesse. To join: https://tinyurl.com/randomworldsIRC Log to be posted at: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com
  8. Elfquest is based on a graphic novel series by Richard and Wendy Pini. The characters are elvish characters of various clans, but beyond that, I can't tell you much more, as I'm not really familiar with the game or the comics. Ringworld is based on the Known Space novels by Larry Niven. This is hard SF, and the Known Space series covers a huge number of stories set against man's expansion across the galaxy, and their encounters with some strange and hostile species, including the cat-like Kzin, the Puppeteers, and the extremely dangerous Pak. The game itself is based around the exploration of the titular Ringworld, which is the focus of several novels (although at the time of the game's production, Niven had only written two: Ringworld, and The Ringworld Engineers). Characters are Known Space natives who travel to the Ringworld for exploration. So while there's a reasonable amount of background information on Known Space for the purposes of character creation, the game is actually highly focused on the Ringworld itself: it's size (which is absolutely immense), ecology, and peculiarities (such as maps of the planets of Known Space embedded in one of the immense oceans). The game is very good. The rules are a version of RQ3, with a very different action system based on 'impulses' that counts up through a combat round, with different actions taking different numbers of impulses to complete. Skills are based on cascading branches, allowing for characters to have a solid grounding as generalists in scientific areas, but higher skills in specialisations. So, a character could have Mathematics 48% (Hyperspace Probabilities 85%). This means that the character has a 48% chance of success with any kind of math problem, no matter how specialised it is, but when working on Hyperspace Probabilities, where they are an expert, an 85% chance of success. It's a little clumsy, but does reflect the root/branch nature of science and other areas pretty well. Where the game shines is in describing the Ringworld itself: it's perhaps the best reference work for the novels you can find, and it articulates and explores concepts mentioned in the books in ways that make sense and really give you a good grasp on how huge and complicated it is. The creatures book is also very good, with many new sapient species described, and how they fit into the strange ecology of the Ringworld, alongside species from the books. To get the most out of the game, you also need The Ringword Companion, and a good knowledge of the novels themselves - at least the Ringworld stories, but many of the Known Space short stories are incredibly useful too, especially Protector.
  9. Mythic Babylon is in layout and art commissioning. There's a very good podcast on Mythras Matters where the book's authors discuss more about the content. https://www.buzzsprout.com/266482/1479823-1-4-by-the-mythras-of-babylon
  10. Lyonesse features in this month's Grognard Files podcast. https://thegrognardfiles.com/2020/05/22/episode-38-lyonesse-rpg-with-lawrence-whitaker/?fbclid=IwAR3ltpLMbc0Dr0dXeszZbDgx9WI_un-1ppkWcJuzKjXvW19mEu6IeK0DBoI
  11. Here in Canada, lockdown and isolation rules are mandated Provincially. In Ontario, there's some tentative easing, but Doug Ford's administration is being cautious about this, and I think his stance overall has been pretty good and measured. There haven't been the hysterics seen in parts of the US, and on the whole Canadians, while wearying of the isolation and social distancing regs, are taking things pretty much in their stride. Where I live, there have been only a handful of cases, 1 death, and the rest are recoveries - but still, the community is taking things seriously, and continuing to abide by the iso and SD guidelines.
  12. Regarding the disclaimer you'll find on the credits page... First, Mythras doesn't have an Open Game License. We do have a Gateway License that 3rd party producers can use, if they wish to base their game on the Mythras mechanics. Secondly, for its first edition, SABRE's producers directly used a fair amount of verbatim text, lifted straight from the Mythras rulebook, without permission, and without using our Gateway License. This material was then made Open Content because SABRE chose to publish using the OGL, which was a clear breach of both the OGL, and our copyright. Following productive discussions with SABRE team, we agreed on the disclaimer you now see, as long as SABRE completely rewrote those sections of the game that were in breach of copyright.
  13. Magic comes in two forms. Fairy cantraps are simple, relatively low level spells, evocatively named, usually used by fairies, but also known by human magicians. Simple and quick, but with wide ranging effects. Sandestin magic involves summoning sandestins, magical creatures that specialise in creating a specific magical effect. Sandestins carry out the magic on behalf of the magician, with the spell actually being detailed instructions on what the sandestin needs to do. This form of magic can be very powerful, can be scaled, and effects combined. But it is magic point intensive, and there are backlash effects for overspending.
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