Retrospective on Andras

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I began serious work on Andras in March of this year. Before March, I posted here occasionally at best. There were no posts between December 2010 and March 2011. Yikes!

There has been constant change. There have been a few stops and many restarts. I don't consider any of this a problem. Instead, I see it as normal to the development process.

I consider the starting point to be my restating of the goals of the project. I also laid down a few ground rules to guide development. Looking back, I am happy with the progress considering my lack of large blocks of time. (Large blocks means more than 20 minutes at one sitting.)

The Arcanist class, my attempt at a skill-based Mage, has undergone several transformations. I feel good about where the class and the spell-building system used for this class are right now. I have a working copy of the spell building system and it seems to work fairly well. I may even translate the 3.0 SRD if I have time.

The Skill System was the biggest change. Rolling under a d20+d10 presents some interesting possibilities. In my goal to streamline sub-systems, this system guides non-weapon proficiencies and Rogue Skills. It also appears in the spell-building system. It may be a personal weakness that I keep this subsytem. We'll see what happens with the class builds!

Overall, I've tried to develop the entire game in three different ways: I tried sketching it in M20 first, reorganizing the rulebooks, and just editing LLAEC and changing the parts that don't fit. I believe that I have the definition of magic finalized, so I do not expect large changes in Player information at this point.

For the GM, though, the cycle may be pretty severe. I want to have lots of information and tools. While magic may be in good shape, the random tables and "how-tos" have yet to be created.

I expect to have it finished in 2012. I'd like to believe that it will be sooner rather than later, but who knows what tomorrow may bring.

I hope that whatever your secret project and/or labor of love is that you will be able to finish it in the coming year. Good luck!

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.

Potpourri and Upcoming Posts

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I've begun to believe that the RPG crowd has taken over Google+. Aside from Zuckerberg and Ford Motors, almost everyone I have seen there is from the RPGBA and the RPGBN. This isn't a problem for me as Google+ has not been blocked by my workplace, yet.

If you need invites, let me know. I got a bunch.

Thanks to everyone that linked the trailer of the upcoming John Carter of Mars. (I linked to the Apple trailer instead of the one on YouTube.) Since it is Disney, I'm not sure what to expect. Until then, all I can say is BARSOOM!

I have received a review copy of Azamar, a game based on the OpenD6 rules. The folks at Wicked North Games developed their own SRD called Cienma6 and then created Azamar as a fantasy setting on top of it. Seeing Azamar reminds me of what I loved about D6 when I first saw it a couple years ago. I'll get into more detail in another post, but it reminds me of Talislanta in scope and diversity. I've really enjoyed reading it so far. When I think about RPG material I like, it has to meet two criteria: I want to play it and it has stuff I can re-use in my campaign. Azamar meets both of these criteria very well.

I think I've worked out the spell and augmentation systems for the Arcanist. The spell list is heavily inspired by OpenQuest sorcerers, 2e psionicists, a smattering of Wizards from TFT and magic items from Tekumel. Developing this class has helped me to define some of what differentiates Andras and 2e. It has also stretched the class creation system I plan to include in the GMs guide. Not only can you re-create the standard classes, but invent an off-the-wall magic wielding class!

Zolotta Publishing will quit publishing Tekumel books after its current inventory runs out. Many fans of Tekumel books have inquired about digital publishing and/or assuming the rights to publish the books. We'll see what happens next.

Savage Worlds Deluxe is out and I have a copy. I am excited about it in many ways. The biggest way pertains to advice about running the game without miniatures. I don't use minis at all. I have a big pad of blotter paper and I may scribble some sketches of a room or corridor, but nothing with enough detail that a player begins to study the scale of the drawing and start to argue exact distances. If the action moves from the mental landscape to the real world, it's not fun for me anymore. It's a personal preference, not a criticism. Many of my gaming friends love minis and tactical planning, etc. If I had the money, I'd be painting them and building huge armies to display in my basement.

I don't have to change much about Shayakand to conform to these rules, but I am hopeful that it can help me figure out the system of psionic magic called Shaping.

Lastly, a link I keep forgetting to make permanent on my site, the list of retro-clones, some not related to D&D.

Anyway, that's what is percolating here. Next post really should be the Azamar review. I am testing it to see if I understand some of the finer points so that I can sound half-way intelligent in my review.