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.

Thoughts from Turkey Day

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I did. My wife outdid herself with all the wonderful food.

As far as gaming goes, I tend to be behind. I just discovered that Paizo is licensing a MMO game.

This is hardly news to anyone. Personally, I wish Paizo well. I hope folks really like it.

Seeing that this happens from time to time, I keep hoping that someone will license Labyrinth Lord or Swords and Wizardry into a MUD. I wish it would be as simple as downloading Pennmush and creating rooms. I imagine it would take a bit of programming to get the standard classes.

Still, it's a frontier untouched by the OSR so far...

I still remember the unofficial MUD list circulated in college. Once I got XWindows running on my Amiga in my dorm room, I could rely on a bit of good gaming, especially during finals when the brain was fried.

I know that the OSR is more than just nostalgia. It's just that the idea of an LL MUD MUSH would be the ultimate in retro.

Then again, maybe putting all the rules in an HTML Help file is the ultimate retro. 🙂

I promise to have something more useful next time.

Platforms and Other October Things

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By now, I'm sure that many have read the recent buzz about creating platform instead of product. This has triggered a few things in the RPG set starting with Zak and then continuing in this and this.

Oddly enough, there has been criticism in the past where Labyrinth Lord called itself the Rosetta Stone of Old School Fantasy. Truth be told, it is the platform that created Original Edition and Advanced Edition. It also spawned Mutant Future and Humanspace Empires. All that's left is Alternity and Boot Hill and we got the whole shooting match. (Maybe if you're a completist, you'll want the Amazing Engine, too.)

But Swords&Wizardry has generated its own progeny as well. There's Ruins & Ronins, Ultima, and Battlemech (can't find the link). This isn't even mentioning the number of versions of the core rules and Brave Halfling's new rules in development.

Are there more clones that operate like platforms? Looking at other old school games, S&W and LL appear to be the two largest platforms. Microlite20 is a strong third, there are so many add-ons for it, that compiling them all generates a 600+ page document. Openquest is a great rules system, but no one that I know of is working on a space-based game with OQ as the foundation. The D6 game spawned all sorts of games in West End Games' hey day, but only one publisher is actively building on it. Both of these systems could be great for making all sorts of games. That's why I use part of the spell building system in D6 Fantasy and a variation of the OQ skill system in Andras.

So, what does this prove except the fact that I can add a boatload of links to a post? There a platform out there for whatever game you want to make and it is broader than the legacy of TSR.

Did you know that the STRength scale in the Action! System is setup so that the STR of a horse will scale to units of horsepower?  Give a STR value to a vehicle and you have the power rating for its engine. It also scales in powers of 10 so that you don't have to have a space craft with a STR 4200.

But I digress.

I don't believe that Andras will become the platform for gamers everywhere. What I do know is that I like a game that can help me define just about anything I want. Mechs? Sure. Interdimensional Self-Replicating Bismuth Golems? You betcha. Greyhawk? Not a problem. A Spelljammer version of Tekumel? Yes, but the rest of the internet will hate you for it.

I hope that with the fair number of systems presented, folks can find something to use for their game. Skill-based wizard? Roll d20+d10 under the INT score for a rules-lite game and a roll under Spell skill for a more nuanced approach. Spell Creation System? Here's a short version and a detailed version complete with an expandable table assigning effects to point values. Vancian Spell Name Generator? How about Hastra's Delicate Surfeit. Monster Builder? Here's some tables and an XP Chart.

More than that, I also want to provide spreadsheets. If someone wants to make their own spreadsheet based generators, lots of useful data will already exist in spreadsheet format. Better yet, convert the files into csv and build database apps. Go for it. I am intentionally building the various spell lists in a spreadsheet for this reason. Monsters will exist in a spreadsheet as well as the class builder. It's one thing to provide a text version of the rules, it's another to provide a dataset for folks to build with.

The ideal system for me would be 48 pages of rules and another408 of magic item tables, classes, spell lists, price lists, etc. The GM's guide would have a bunch of tools to make just about anything from a monster to a class to a demi-plane and everything in-between. A person could basically ditch everything after page 48 and use the GM guide to recreate anything needed.

Work continues very slowly in October - with birthdays, anniversaries and non-profit events, it's a very busy time. But I have the XP tables for monsters ready as well as the SRD versions of spells in the 2e PHB in a spreadsheet. This winter, I hope to get quite a bit of work done and have a playtest document before March.

Thanks for the six people that indulged me a bit of commentary.