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lawrence.whitaker

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Everything posted by lawrence.whitaker

  1. Continuum's a great convention. Guests this year are: Greg Stafford Jeff Richard Sandy Petersen Mark Galeotti Angus Abranson I'm waiting to hear from Charlie Krank, too. There are LOTS for Glorantha/BRP/MRQ games being run over the course of the weekend, which is 1st to 4th August. The con has a long tradition of support RQ, HeroQuest and Chaosium's stable. Sandy is running his famed 'Evil High Priest' Cthulhu freeform and Greg will be running HeroQuest and Pendragon games. If you want to book for Continuum, do so before Tuesday as the price increases from 1st April. At the moment the prices are: Registration for Residential Members: £20 (£35 from 1st April) 3-Night room (Fri, Sat, Sun) booking: £105 Single Night room booking: £40 per night All rooms are extremely comfortable and en-suite. Each room has bed linen and towels, plus telephone and internet access. The rooms are grouped into flats of 6 rooms, with a large, airy, well equipped kitchen - great for impromptu gaming. If you intend to come along just on a Day Pass, these cost £18 each per day and can be bought on the day or in advance. What else can Continuum offer? Superb range of games. We'll have the preliminary timetable up soon. Great bar with Real Ales Seminars and guest presentations: Glorantha, HeroQuest, RuneQuest and BRP Auction Pub Quiz and Ice Breaker events to get everyone into the con spirit Continuum's noted for its friendly and relatively relaxed atmosphere. If you've never been to a convention before, its a good place to start, and we have a small army of Mentors who are there specifically to help newcomers get the most out of the con. And if there's a strong enough BRP Central presence, I dare say we could help facilitate a BRP Central seminar so you can all get to meet each other face to face. I really do hope to see lots of you there. PM me if you have any specific questions. Loz
  2. Hmmm - I think you have a contradiction here... On the one hand you say that you've made every effort to get rid of artificiality, then you say, emphatically, that because you know magic, you won't be interested in technology or spiritualism. Why not? Aren't minds curious? In the real world, people have very diverse interests. You simply don't get such mutual exclusivity. However, you do in roleplaying games, where there's a desire to achieve a certain game balance, and that's the very sort of artificiality you say you've completely removed. Your elf might very well believe that magic is superior to tech or spirtualism (though how magic and spirtuality are so mutually exclusive, I fail to see), but every discipline offers a different way of doing something that might offer an advantage over another. Why would I drive a car if I can fly? Because flying costs magical energy, I'm presuming, and I might want to conserve that for something else, yet I still want to get downtown. I might also want to transport a passenger or a load. That might be tough if I fly, so a car (or a cart, or a subway, or a plane) might be much more expedient. You cannot, in all honesty, say that all these things co-exist, and that you've removed artificiality, and then go on to say. 'But elves never drive cars or use guns because they have magic. So there.' If you really have removed artificiality, then you'll get tons of diversity. I'm not trying to pick holes are dismiss your ideas - or to be deliberately provocative, either, but I think Vhraeden may be in danger of some contradictions that you then have to spend a heck of a lot of time explaining away (which is essentially what you're doing in the bits you've quoted from the book). If you genuinely have removed artificiality, and created a setting that provides a great base for cultural conflict (whilst promoting how the worldviews differ) then you shouldn't need to spend time in justification and explanation. It'll be inherent in the themes, the setting and the system.
  3. But a publishing company will. Any company that publishes professionally produced books has printing and distribution costs to take into account. That's a financial risk to them, and so the size of the book, which will influence their costs, and thus the price point, will be a big factor. This is where I can see you having problems interesting a professional games company. Then self-publishing is probably your best bet. This gives you the level of control you're looking for. A games company will want to impart its own control of the book if its going to spend money on publishing, printing and distributing it. If you go the self publishing route, then you're shouldering the risk and outlay yourself - which you seem to be willing to do - and maintain complete control.
  4. And thanks for the speedy answer! Am I right in assuming, then, that the three cultural blocs inhabit parallel realities, but not the same physical reality? If so, then yep, I can buy the above. If they co-exist in the same plane, on the same world, then I have trouble with it. Every culture inhabiting the same physical space, if it has the means to travel and communicate, is going to absorb elements of the cultures it meets and disseminate elements of its own. In that regard, it would be nigh-on impossible to keep your fae, human and goblinoid cultures as distinct as you say they are. And, if you have a fae mage who is capable of understanding deep esoteric and magical theory, why wouldn't he also grasp the principles of physics, or the co-ordination skills, needed to drive a car? That's where I have a problem with using clear divisions between magic users and tech users, as exclusive propositions, if the three cultures inhabit the same plane of existence. It seems to be more of a game balance mechanic to limit PCs power, rather than a genuine way of representing different cultures and how they clash. You can, by all means, have magic use as a dominant cultural trait in one society, and tech use in another, but saying that one culture will never understand the trappings of another is rather artificial. Cultures always exchange doctrines, practices and understandings. That's how the world works. Someone might not choose to understand magic or tech, but there'll always be those who strive to do so, in order to gain an advantage or an edge over their enemies, if for nothing else. If there isn't this possibility, then the premise is rather short-changing the PCs and limiting all kinds of great adventuring potential too. One of the things that made Shadowrun so fun was the ability to play an Elven, magic-wielding street samurai who could teleport, but was also equipped with cyberware and tech augmentations. But, as I say, if you have three 'bubble' realities, or the cultures occupy parallel dimensions, where the laws of the universe are unique, then I can buy what you're saying!
  5. The idea of 60+ playable races, and 173 pages of skills and powers makes my head spin a little, but this is clearly a labour of love for you, and that you've got this written into a playtestable form is a great credit to you. I also think there's a lot of good ideas in the snippets you've provided, and the idea that even the gods have to obey the rules is something I could have real fun with. Cultural conflict is great. But I don't understand how denying PCs pegasi AND assault copters translates into a reflection of cultural conflict. Surely cultural conflict is about the clash of ideologies, beliefs and social codes? You can certainly have mechanics to handle that, but it seems to me that limiting what PCs can and can't have in terms of magic/mythic kit and hi-tech kit is more a game balance thing than a solid attempt to reflect cultural tensions. Perhaps you could explain a bit more? And this is where you may run into trouble. A 600 page core book is unlikely to be attractive for a professonal publisher. It carries several risks: Format, layout and editing such a huge book will be a massive job. Games companies have limited time and resources, and tackling 600 pages, plus 173 pages of skills and powers (which will need cross-reffing, double checking for fit, consistency and balance, etc), may not be attractive simply in terms of the amount of time it will take. The second risk is physical size. A 600 page book, even in paperback, is going to be a monster tome to physically print, bind, ship and display. This indicates a high price-point, which may put customers off. Also, there's artwork to be considered - a LOT will need to be commissioned to break up the text and that pushes-up the page count. The book, with 600 pages of text, once layout and art s factored in, could be up to 700 pages - double the size of BRP Zero, for instance. The third risk is Licence. Have you submitted this to Chaosium? If its using BRP, then you really need to. Unless, of course, you've found a publisher who has licenced BRP already. If you haven't, and you decide to PDF or go for prnt on demand, then you'll need to have some form of agreement with Chaosium to use the BRP system. All that said, I do wish you well with the work, and I've enjoyed reading the snippets you've put-up here. Lawrence
  6. Exceedingly neat and clear. Nice work Sarah.
  7. Me too. Note: just tried to submit 'Me Too' as the full reply, only to get an error message saying the reply is too short and needs to be at least 10 characters in length. So... Me too. As well.
  8. Okay, opt-out it is. . Note I said a teensy bit of a cop-out - meaning that, whilst its intriguing enough idea, I can see that the am to try to get round some things that are, really, going to prove inevitable. So not a complete cop-out by any stretch, but even using gates as a central mechanism you'll still need some ground rules to operate to. Of course you can do both, but even in the gate version you'll be surprised at how much effort you need to go into a shared world, so doing two versions will still be heaps effort. Look, I'm not trying to put anyone off. Developing a shared world is great fun and working on Gwenthia was a blast. But, like anything worthwhile, it will require quite a bit of committment from those involved. I'd offer to get involved myself and get something kickstarted, but I simply don't have the time. I've still got Gwenthia to work on in addition to my usual writing workload. But, I'm keen to see something develop and the approach taken.
  9. I completely agree. A framework is essential. I know the aim is to have fun - and you will - but there has to be a set of ground rules (no pun intended) or the world won't seem coherent. The gates idea is a teensy bit of a cop-out; it'll be far more satisfying if you get some framework together and work to it to produce a coherent, but original, world. Gwenthia used several mechanisms. First, we had an arbtrator. Next we had a weekly conference on IRC to discuss common elements such as magic, religion, and so on. Then we had a 'History Game' where we designed Gwenthia's history and integrated it as a group, despite comng up with disparate ideas. We also established a wiki so that ideas could be shared, amended, and collaborated on. Finally, Pete Nash put together a questonnaire that asked people to answer certain questions about their realm such as 'Who have you invaded and who has invaded you'? 'What culture developed as a result of these invasions?' This helped blur the edges of the silos we'd come up with indvidually. Its taken about 3 years to get Gwentha to the point its at now, and it still isn't finished. So be prepared for a haul! I'm not saying you need to do all these things - just outlining how the Design Mechanism did it. But yes, you will need rules. They needn't be too strict, but they do require buy-in.
  10. Precisely the mandate Gwenthia was developed under. And including Ax's technology idea, too. I'd say one thing: embarking and a shared world is fun, but its heaps more work than you probably bank on. And it has to gel. One of the problems is avoiding different nations become silos. There's always going to be interplay between countries; they don't develop in complete isolation, so you'll need a framework to ensure the setting feels real.
  11. What about the Hawk? That was designed as a fast attack craft and looks damned cool! Space: 1999 Catacombs- Hawk Now, I know it doesn't feature as part of the Moonbase Alpha fleet, but its still too cool a ship to ignore (and who's to say that Koenig doesn't have a couple stached somewhere in a secret hangar that he hasn't even told Dr Russell about in one of their little trysts...?)
  12. Personality traits are presented as an option in BRP, based on D100 rather than D20, but they are there.
  13. The idea behind Questworlds was that Chaosium would define a base world, with geography, politics, cults and so forth, that was distinct for Glorantha but would be developed by fans, leaving Chaosium (back when they had it) to work on Glorantha's specific development. The concept's great in theory but it never really developed in practice - perhaps because, really, shared worlds require an enormous amount of commitment and resource to properly develop. There was no intrawebnet back then, and its taken the www to really offer the online collaborative tools necessary to make shared world development effective. Whilst Gwenthia's being developed as product for publication, the intention was always to develop it to a certain stage and then release it as a basis for others to then develop as they wished. The existing body of Gwenthia is offered under the Creative Commons licence and does provide a very good basis for world sharing and development, using BRP as a system, if people want to. I think the Design Mechanism would be very happy to discuss with those on this forum who are interested in using Gwenthia, just how they can do so, using BRP. It actually moves things back to the original vision and, given that we'll produce Gwenthia independently anyway, won't impact on our longer term plans for a glossy book. Let's discuss this more on the Gwenthia thread. I've a whole host of supportive documents people can have, using the CC licence, to kick start a sort of shared world experience.
  14. I was actually responding more to Atgxt's comments - so I don't take the idea of a financial deal as derogatory at all. We all have to earn a crust somehow. The wider inference is that Greg's bunged Mongoose the Second Age setting and doesn't take much of an active involvement with it - which really isn't the case. He and Jeff Richard put together books like 'Middle Sea Empire' and 'History of the Heortling Peoples' precisely to act as a frame of reference for Mongoose writers, and, certainly, everything Gloranthan I've written for GtSA has been run by Greg, and then been subject to very detailed and useful discussions.
  15. Having worked very closely with Greg on the 'Dara Happa Stirs' book for Mongoose, I don't get the impression that he doesn't care about what gets developed. He might not care too much for the system, but as far as the Second Age is concerned, he's put a great deal of effort into providing Mongoose's writers with the precise tools to reflect his vision, and his own writing seems to have developed the second age. Greg's been extremely supportive about the Dragonewts book, Dara Happa, and is very keen to see what further Second Age projects are developed. So to say that his interest is purely or mainly financial is a little on the disingenuous side - both to him, and to Mongoose, which is very keen to ensure that all its Gloranthan output gets an official seal of approval.
  16. Only if Greg Stafford gave permission first. Glorantha is a protected Intellectual Property. If you did a 'rewrite' to fit BRP specifically without acquiring a licence or the appropriate permission, they'd be opening themselves to litigation.
  17. Sure it is. Or has. Moon Design's republished RQ works are still in print. Completely compatible with BRP. And Mongoose's Glorantha the Second Age core book is effectively system agnostic; perfectly usable with either/any system.
  18. There's actually several magic systems. Orb Magic, Mysticism, Shard Magic, Spirit Magic (very different to RQ SM) and Communal magic. All share similar elements, but all work very differently from each other and tie closely to the way Gwenthia works as a world. On hit points - it'll be general hit points rather than hit locations. On RQ logo or just OGL, we're going for the former. It means we can cross refer to the SRDs and RQ rulebooks, thereby saving space and not having to reinvent the wheel (save where it needs some reinvention, like the magic systems). Y'know, just yakking about Gwenthia again s gettng me itching to get back to work on it. If only there were 30 hours in a day and 10 days in a week.
  19. All the Elric and Hawkmoon books are brilliant. Imaginative, thought-provoking, and mesmerising. The forthcoming titles, Elric Companion, Castle Brass, Cults, Magic... all will be paragons of excellence. :):):) Okay, to be serious and less egocentric... Simon's reviews speak for themselves. Charles Green has done brilliant work on Bright Shadows and Magic of the YK, and the Elric Companion takes a great deal of material that I couldn't fit into the main rules, plus a whole load of new stuff written for that project. Cults of the YK will expand cults further, but won't be a shopping list book of new and groovy cults; it will be a serious dip into who cults work in the YK, their relations, and what worshippers can expect. Castle Brass is a detailed campaign setting and campaign outline for the Kamarg, Aigues Mortes and the Castle itself; lots of NPCs, maps of the regions, and lots of scheming and weirdness. On Hawkmoon, I think Gareth Hanrahan has done a fine job. In particular, the opening of the Granbretan book is just fabulous, capturing the weirdness and comedy of the Hawkmoon setting in a really unique and imaginative way. A complete newcomer to the Hawkmoon saga can read that intro and know immediately what the flavour of the game (and books) is. As Charles said, I'm very happy to talk about the Elric and Hawkmoon lines here, and on the Mongoose forums, so please feel free to ask questions.
  20. I really hope you do. Converting between BRP and MRQ is really NOT going to be such a hassle. The magic systems are designed with both systems in mind; the background is dense, multi-layered, and can be used with many systems. Gwenthia will be published independently. It will conform to the SRD and OGL, but it'll be produced by The Design Mechanism, the name of thje collective who created the world. All profits generated will go into producing additional books; Mongoose won't see a penny of it. The reasons for taking Gwenthia in this direction are many, but can be summarised as follows... 1. Communication. Yes, The Design Mechanism was frustrated by the lack of communication, but on its own, it wasn't the only reason for going MRQ. 2. Flexibility. MRQ operates under an SRD and OGL which gives us great scope and freedom to publish the system we want without having to wait for the BRP rules to be published or negotiate with Chaosium on how the rules, or the BRP licence, is applied to the finished article. Also, staying independent would allow us to perhaps include BRP conversion notes without having any license issues. 3. Control. The Design Mechanism has about 10 members - all contributors to the project, and all have a say in how the book and setting should develop. Whilst I'm certainly NOT saying that we'd lose control over Gwenthia if we went with a Chaosium contract, there is that possibility. And that's what we were discussing; a contract for Chaosium to produce Gwenthia - not for the DM to sublicense BRP. 4. Money. By remaining independent and MRQ, we can do this on a much, much, lower budget. We do not need to pay for any form of license to use BRP, and that lets us focus on other things. Ultimately, whatever your feelings about Chaosium, Mongoose, BRP or MRQ, Gwenthia is a setting first and foremost, developed as a place for great gaming (and it is. I've run games in many areas of Gwenthia and had a comnplete blast). MRQ will support the system as well as BRP, but the Gwenthia variant will have the following additions: Magic: several completely new magic systems that are unlike any of the MRQ magic systems. Or BRP's, for that matter. Combat: Pete Nash's brilliant combat rules will be the system used here. Religion: These are the main areas we need to develop before going to publication. It'll be very different to MRQ's cult structures. Creatures: A brand new bestiary, with creatures that fit ecological niches and have sound, believable rationales. If you've seen what we've done with the Iqari and She'eth, you'll see what sort of design approach we're taking. Enough thread-jacking from me, but I wanted to just outline why Gwenthia's going the way it is, and just make clear that Chaosium hasn't 'lost' it just because comms was lacking; there are other reasons outweighing that.
  21. If I'm understanding this interpretation, you're saying that Second Guy rolling 54 gets downgraded because first guy also rolled a success? If so, then that's not right - certainly in MRQ. Second Guy wins the contest because he has the better roll (under, yet higher than Frst Guy). In opposed combat, First Guy would be downgraded to a failure, not Second Guy. Am I understanding you correctly? I like the gambling example though. It can be rationalised thus. Both guys, playing cards, have hands that could be winners. But Second Guy has a pair of aces whilst First Guy has an ace and a king. Both succeeded in playing good hands (for eg, neither folds in the first round), but Second Guy has trumped the First Guy with his better hand - so First Guy has, effectively, failed.
  22. I also concur with the thoughts on Lovecraft. Some of his prose is god awful to read; some of it is okay.
  23. Sorry, my last diatribe should read Matthew Riley and not Mark Riley. I'm sure that any author named Mark Riley writes incredibly good books and does not need to be confused with Matthew Riley who ought to be burned at the stake for crimes against literature.
  24. Not strictly fantasy, but 'Scarecrow' by Mark Riley. Why? Appallingly written. Cliched plot. Blatant Star Wars homage/rip-off so crassly done its an insult to the intelligence. Characters that aren't really characters but simply a collection of every, single, action-genre Hollywood cliche its possible to find and mould together. The book rounds itself off with an 'interview' with the author that is so clearly himself interviewing himself, and crowing over what a masterpiece he's created, you seriously want to track this idiot down and brain him with his own Boba Fett helmet. A novel that is, truly, truly, gut wrenchingly awfully, appallingly bad and should be burned from the face of the planet.
  25. I've got two copies (don't ask me how). Numbers 9 and 16.
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