Focus For NaGa DeMon 2012

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After two weeks of thrashing around ideas, a killer birthday party, a bridal shower and four nights of insomnia, I've decided what I will be doing for November.

I'm going to finish a setting and make an add-on for ACKS.

I seriously considered writing a novel or a collection of short stories. A good friend of mine has written a few books and has a great magazine. I would like to be a part of that at some point. However, I couldn't bring myself to attempt a novel with so many game ideas.

A few ideas were not RPG related at all. I want to finish my redesign of Statis-Pro Football. I want to make a couple games for my kids. I had all sorts of ideas for various bits and bobs to be manufactured by the GameCrafter. My lack of funds helped me to put those ideas aside.

I still want to create my own five suited deck of cards. I know that Five Kings already exists, but mine would have Aces, Jokers, Sergant-At-Arms and other extra cards. (You can do a lot more than rummy.) I just don't have the money to pay for art. I don't have the talent to make my own face cards.

In the RPG world there are all kinds of settings I want to finish, especially my space fantasy setting.

In the end, the two projects were chosen because I have a lot of groundwork already in place for these two projects. The ACKS Psionicist, I believe, fits into the spirit of the ACKS rules. Also, the psionicist rules fit very well into one of my favorite settings, Tanah Con-Rahn. This setting is inspired by Southeastern Asian traditions from Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, though no real historical accuracy is attempted. In addition to setting rules, the book will include a spell creation system. The goal is for all of this to fit into a 128 page PDF.

The system for this RPG will be largely based on Labyrinth Lord with the Specialist and some other features of Lamentation of the Flame Princess game. LOTFP has an elegant skill system that also handles demi-humans very well. Although written as its own game, Tanah Con-Rahn should be easy to adapt to your system of choice.

The setting itself features an eternal struggle of the Naga against the Garuda as the primary backdrop. Unlike traditional D20-based games, the Naga are the good guys and friends of mankind. The Garuda love nothing but destruction and to inflict suffering on others. Demi-humans, both traditional and diverse sit on both sides of the conflict with mankind squarely in the middle.

Urban adventures, wealthy landowners, tedious bureaucrats  and much more await in the mythical Land of the Naga.

I can't wait to get started.

Psionicist as the Fourth Class

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1d30 sets out in a recent post to define classes by what they fight. This differs from the definition of classes by how they solve problems. If you look at classes by how they solve problems, you get Fighter (solve problems by physical force), Mage (solve problems by magic) and Thief/Rogue (solve problems by skill or finesse). Under this paradigm, a Cleric/Priest class requires a bit of convoluted rationale. Do they solve problems by faith? Divine favor? ???

The Fighter/Mage/Rogue paradigm shows up in a lot of games. Two that I can think of off the top of my head are Warrior, Rouge, Mage (Stargazer Games) and Numenera (by Monte Cook).

Using 1d30's paradigm, though, makes you wonder why a Rogue/Thief is necessary. Fighters are a human class designed to fight just about anything, especially other humans. Mages learn magic to fight demons. Clerics rely on their faith to fight undead. This way of looking at class feels more old-school to me, especially in light of the post shared in his post.

Reading the article reminded me of a couple of the design goals of the ACKS Psionicist. Specifically, the ACKS Psionicist would be different than a magic-user and the psionicist would be useful against incorporeal foes. The latter required me to redefine ghosts as something besides undead.

One of the proficiencies of the ACKS Psionicist allows the psionicist to actually grapple ghosts or shadows. It doesn't allow the psioncist to kill a ghost or shadow outright, but he or she can deter such creatures long enough to protect others. Ghosts/shadows can walk through any obstacle and I wanted a way to combat them that wasn't a variation of creating a wall of force.

Using mental powers makes sense to be a quick method of attack/defense against these creatures. More than that, the most vulnerable part of a ghost is the mind. Since it cannot be attacked easily by physical force (fighter) and magic may take too long to cast (mage), the ability to attack the mind of a ghost fits in very well.

Even astral constructs fit because it is the psionicists attempt to fight fire with fire. Astral constructs and ghosts are made from the same substance, so they naturally are able to fight or contain each other.

From 1d30's post, though, reminded me also of the ghost generator I am working on. Instead of a 6-7 HD creature with aging attacks, ghosts can do a whole range of things from cause disease to cause nausea to causing instant death. Ghosts can also have variable weaknesses ranging from silver (or electrum) to nothing. More powerful ghosts are even immune to +1 magic weapons.

Still, I want to go back and add in creatures that range in HD from 1 to 10 as well as add in various abilities. I don't mean a ghost dog for a 1HD ghost, but instead something like a mindless ectoplasmic blob that was formed from a soul that didn't successfully become a ghost.

More to think about.

Alas, Alack and Alay

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Sorry for the lack of posting here and on Google Plus and Twitter. Due to complication from sleep apnea, my overall health has been in decline for a number of weeks. This weekend will be an effort to get lots of rest.

When I feel better, I hope to have a ghost generator for ACKS suitable for use with or without the Psioncist stuff I'm working on. Ghosts are so configurable, you can have almost all the monsters you need for a campaign using just them. I know that shadows are not ghosts, but I am making them similar for the purposes of the generator and the psionicist stuff. To make an analogy of what I have in mind -  Shadows are to ghosts what zombies are to Vampires.

No promises on ETA. I am not sure when I will be feeling better. I am spending more time doing the positive things to help (better food choices, regular exercise, seeing the doctor about adjusting the CPAP, etc.). I have lost about 10 pounds, and that helps a lot.

Until next time, I really hope this is my last personal post ever.