Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Benefits of Prep-Work

So I've been prepping "cheat sheets" for the magician characters for tonight's game of CDF (following a near debacle last week)...and as a result, I've ended up modifying and adjusting the magic chapter...again!

This just goes to show how much (rules) editing RPGs really do need. If you can't fit all the procedural/system info from a particular chapter on a single page or two, you've probably have too much dross. I got the whole ball o' wax...theurgy, summoning, astral projection/combat/warding...on one piece o paper INCLUDING every single spell in the game with their (brief) descriptions, and cut about a page out of the "real rules" because of it.


ALSO...the monster stats are nearly done, which means the NPC chapter is nearly done (it doesn't take all that long to put it together). The critters ARE a bit different from standard B/X, I'm afraid (even critters from my own B/X Companion: like the phoenix, the naga, and the wendigo). Why is this bad? 'Cause it makes it a bit less compatible with Labyrinth Lord, etc. However, I don't feel too bad...after all, it IS intended to be a standalone game. The system only uses B/X as a starting point...things get a little funky round about page 3.
; )

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So, Yeah...Neuromancer

I actually finished reading Neuromancer a couple days ago. So, um, what did I think of it?


I mean, it's a decent enough read...Gibson's a good storyteller. But THIS is the grandfather of the cyberpunk genre? Forgive me, but it reads like any futuristic speculative fiction book to me. That is, standard sci-fi fare. Nothing about it particularly says "cyberpunk" to me.

I suppose the idea of a computer matrix was pretty heady stuff back in 1983 (or was it? The film WarGames was released in 1983 and so modems and the beginnings of the internet were already in place).

How about people willing to sell their souls/bodies for the money to (invasively) augment their own bodies? Well, there's nothing all pervasive about "getting chromed" in Neuromancer...only a couple characters have elected for augmentation (organ transplants and cosmetic/geriatric surgery being the real ubiquitous procedures). And so what if they're not shook up about it? Didn't people think it would be cool to be the Six Million Dollar Man or Deathlok back in 1983?

No, Neuromancer seems no more cyberpunk than the 1980 film Saturn 3...and it certainly doesn't feel very "noir" or "hard boiled." You've got a futurist world where there are space ships side-by-side with (the equivalent of) 20th century drug addicts? How is that any different from Harlan Ellison's brilliant short story Run for the Stars (originally published circa 1957). Answer: it's not.

This is simply the Stainless Steel Rat in a more dystopian universe. I'm sorry...color me completely disenchanted and even unimpressed. Having read Neuromancer, I can't for the life of me see how it has come to be considered "the archetypal cyberpunk work." Archetypal?

What is cyberpunk about the Rastafari movement?

I'm starting to think there ISN'T such a thing as "cyberpunk." I mean, there's an IDEA by that name, and people have an idea of what it is...kind of like people had an idea of what "Seattle" and "Grunge" music is/was. But Chrome and Drugs and Computer Hackers can (and do) fit into a lot of SciFi genres. It feels (to me) like a whole mountain of pastiche tropes have been created around an idea that was never anything more than a little piece of SciFi with a clever name...and not even an amazingly original piece of SciFi, at that.

Sorry, Gibson...I vastly preferred The Difference Engine to this.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

B/X Companion: 3rd Printing Now Available!

Third and probably FINAL least in its current format.

The B/X Companion has definitely sold better than I could have ever hoped (well...maybe not that well; I can dream pretty big at times). However, my original hope was to get at least 25 or 30 paying customers. While the sales figures are still chump change compared to say, those Pathfinder guys who have their books on the shelves of Barnes & Nobles, I am definitely pleased with my "out-o-the-garage" sales. Like I said...I've already sold into the 3rd printing.

So if you were planning on picking up a copy in the current format, you probably want to throw down pretty quick. Here's the deal: my all aces printer is losing the machine that is capable of the saddle-stitched, staple down the middle format. IF you're interested in a book that reads similar to your old Basic and Expert set rules (something the book was designed to do) then this last print run will be your last chance to get a copy, because IF there is a 4th print run the book will probably be perfect bound...which is (in my mind anyway) not nearly as cool.

Not that the book was a perfect match to the old B/X books three-hole punch for goodness sake!...but it's as close as I was able to get it with my thumb-fingered lay-out skills.

So what's changed between the 2nd and 3rd printing? Not a blessed thing. I wasn't getting any more typo reports after the proofing between printing #1 and #2 so I just let the printer roll with the files in his system. Hell, it still SAYS "2nd printing," which I suppose is a bit of false advertising or (at least) "bad publishing etiquette." But, as I said, nothing's been changed since the last round of's just an additional run of the last update.

Anyhoo, thank you to everyone who bought into the book already...I truly do appreciate your support. Once this last run sells out, I'll start the .pdf process. Really.
: )

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A-Z Challenge

So, I forgot to mention that I signed up for the A to Z blogging challenge for April 2011 (#502 on the list). I'm not the only RPG (or OSR) blog on the list...I got hipped to the challenge through Mike at Sword +1 after all...but I am kind of surprised there ain't more names on the list I recognize.

Maybe everyone's busy with the One Page Dungeon Contest?

Anyway, you can expect a weird alphabet soup from Yours Truly in the month of April. Though I will be making an effort for the posts to revolve around a single theme, namely:

Things Needed for a Kick-Ass D&D Campaign.

[as opposed to one that sucks]

We'll see if I can pull it off. I have been a little tired lately.
; )


Wow. Spent part of yesterday reading the entirety of YourDungeonIsSuck. That's a lot of negativity in a small package...I was surprised my own book/blog wasn't somehow referenced.

Ah, well. I gave up "complaining" for Lent. And while I admit I haven't been extremely dilligent about it, I'll make a real effort today not to bitch and moan about stuff. It IS Sunday, after all.
; )

Friday, March 25, 2011

So, Yeah...Lameness

Finally got the internet back up-and-running's been down all day. Which is ridiculous considering I just picked up a new wireless thingamajob a couple weeks ago, but I'm procrastinating on figuring out how it works because my track record with technology ain't all that great.

At least it was sunny today...the fam and I spent a lot of time out-and-about.
: )

But now I'm back so just wanted to check in regarding last night's play-test at the Baranof.

Kinda' lame.

And due mostly to me, on all counts. In fact, I will take the full blame for a totally "blah" game session. Here's why:

#1 Bad introduction buddy: we had yet another new player down at Ye Old Baranof last night...Tim from over at Gary's. Which means that even with a couple people missing, the table still had EIGHT players...not counting Yours Truly. (*sigh*) Which is fine except I completely glossed over character creation, trying to get back to the adventure.

Now normally, that's not much of a problem...unless you're, like, trying to play-test a new game that no one knows the rules to except you. But Tim's an old hand at the RPG rodeo, so I wasn't worried about him picking it up (plus he watched another chargen session). No THAT wasn't the problem.

The PROBLEM was that both Tim and Randy made new characters and they both made full-on sorcerers...the first ones in the game...and I completely blew off (duh) explaining how magic worked and what their characters were capable of. "Here, pick some spells off this list," I said.

How retarded of me. This then just ended up bogging down the game in multiple places because I kept offering information in a piece-meal and half-assed fashion. And it never even occurred to me (at the time), 'hey...maybe I should just give these folks a quick crash course in:

a) what magicians can do
b) what their specific spells do
c) how summoning, binding, and banishing works
d) how astral perception, projection, and warding works

You know the that they weren't just left thinking they'd be relying on their handguns or something.

Ugh...which was compounded by:

#2 Where the hell's the prep? I spent most of my free time Thursday writing...specifically vehicle descriptions and rules. While I got that done, I left off prepping the adventure for the night figuring, oh it will take care of itself. I AM using a pre-packaged adventure after all (Shadowrun, converted to my own system), and one I'm very familiar with...what's there to prepare?

Well, how 'bout the wrap up of the mission the team just completed...not just the pay-out, but the XP totals. What with different PCs showing up from session to session, I could have made a chart of everyone's "take" beforehand. Heck, I could have prepped "cheat sheets" for the magician characters (that will happen next week).

What about the transition to the NEW mission? One thing I forgot about these old Shadowrun missions...they are "railroad central." Each chapter has a "debugging" section...basically a couple paragraphs to tell the GM how to get the players back on the (train) track, should they somehow jump the rails. That's not a method of play I've used in a looooooong time. Truth be told, I think I'm creative enough at improving "on the fly" that I should be able to adapt scenarios to player choices withOUT resorting to railroads.

Fact of the matter is, I've been a bit lazy about this whole adventure. I mean, I AM still play-testing after all, and a railroady Shadowrun conversion is probably a fairly good vehicle for this kind of thing. But I get annoyed with myself when a session isn't as fun for the players...I mean, even though they're helping me by play-testing they're here to have fun, too....and when I'm "off the ball" and the pacing is crap and the story is railroady and I don't even have a good handle on my own rules...dammit, I should do better.

A little prep work goes a long way.

#3 Subdual damage: This was f'd in so many ways and needed correction/clarification. It's now been fixed (had a chance to do some editing this morning since the internet was on the fritz).


So, yeah, it was a low energy evening, that wasn't nearly as "kick-ass" as last week's extravaganza. And that's the thing...I want to set the bar high and top it...again and again. Instead, I had players distracted with their own IPhones, downloading illustrations from the 4th edition of Shadowrun...and my own personal lameness as a GM wasn't doing anything to keep them engaged. Which makes me kind of bummed...I won't have a chance to ...

[sorry...just dozed off for a few minutes! I need to go to bed!]

...won't have a chance to redeem myself until NEXT Thursday.

OKay, okay...I really need to hit the hay. Talk at y'all shortly.
: )

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Swamp Boats & Stealth Bombers - Cut!

Vehicles are really starting to irritate me.

Mainly because I have too many listed in the new game. I now TOTALLY understand why game companies end up putting out supplements like Solo of Fortune or Rigger 2...there's just too much "stuff" to put into a main rule book; even a several hundred page main rule book.

And I don't have that many pages to play with.

So now I'm making cuts. Which IS irritating...mainly because of all the work I put in trying to scale vehicles against each other and game mechanics and real world models. I mean, do you know how hard it is to get cost information on a Czilim class ACV ("air conditioned vehicle")?How about the price tag on a new armored SWAT truck?

No, I am not being totally exact in my accounting...I like round numbers, too. Yes, I AM being overly particular/perfectionist about this whole exercise. So what? I can admit when I have a problem...

Anyway, the prices for vehicles is NOT based on U.S. dollars anyway...50 years from now (the setting of the game) al civilized folks are trading in World (Corporate) Credits ("CR") anyway. Of course, I did take the time to convert all vehicle prices into a true world currency on which CR is based...namely, USD circa 1981.

[why 1981? Figure it out]

Which means, of course, that some vehicles will be cheaper than those found in games like Shadowrun (which was published in 1989). Does this mean an individual will get more "bang for their buck" with money in the game? Well, kind of. All prices listed are "friend prices," generally only available at the time of character creation. Paying retail prices later on costs 2x to 5x as much...assuming items are even available (not every town has a "used gunship" lot).

What's this all about? Well, it's one of the ways I've re-vamped the concept of contacts. Now, if your character knows an armorer (for example), it's more interesting/beneficial than just hitting him up for info (what SR calls "legwork"). More on all that later...

The point is, I've got cuts to make. I should probably cut anything that isn't going to be used/purchased (would any self-respecting black ops merc be caught dead in a SmartCar?), but I like having stats for those "desperate situations" (maybe the SmartCar is the only thing available for a quick get away!).

Ugh. Maybe I'll just drop all the drones/RC stuff. I hate drones anyway.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Anticipating Tomorrow's Game

So the last couple weeks or so, my cell phone has been on the fritz and (hating technology as I do) it's taken me till the last day or so to get it fixed. Which means today is the first time I've had a chance to talk to the Doc in a while. Here's a paraphrase of our conversation:

Doc: "So what are you doing tomorrow?"

JB: Well, I've got to get up early for work (taking the bus), and then I've got my Thursday night game.

"Yeah? What are you guys playing now?"

Oh, that's right! I haven't talked to you in a couple weeks...we've been play-testing the new game; the one I'm writing?

"Oh, yeah? How's it going?"

Pretty darn good. I've been tweaking the rules every week. Last Thursday was a fairly awesome session. Everyone really seemed to have a blast; I know I did.

"What happened?"

Well, a lot of action...killed off a few characters.

"That's not good!"

No, no it was fine...actually I only killed off one guy. A couple others got knocked out, but they weren't "permanently" killed.

"How'd they die?"

Well, the troll got greased in the stairwell by some ork thugs with laser-sighted submachine guns. He did manage to hose a couple of 'em down with his assault rifle before being riddled with bullets. Then the computer hacker got gunned down while he was trying to snipe the same guys, though he did take one of 'em with me. See, the orks were trying to get up the stairs, the players were trying to keep 'em down and there was this kind of running gun battle with a race to see who was going to whittle down the other side. Eventually, it was down to a badass shaman versus a sociopath troll...

"The shaman was the bad guy?"

Yeah, bad guy human, "good guy" troll.

"The shaman had magic?"


"What kind of spells did he have?"

Um, you fireballs and bolts of power and some spell that made him more badass in combat...stuff like that.

"Wow. Your spells sound awesome."

Um, yeah...I might have been a little off with the "challenge level;" he may have been a little too powerful for the 1st level characters.

"That's not unusual for one of your games."

Thanks...anyway, he went toe-to-toe with the troll, big-ass spear in hand. The troll was getting low in hit points, and decided he'd take the shaman "over the edge;" as in, taking him over the rail and dropping him five floors down the center of the stairwell.

"Why'd he decide to do that?!"

More damage...he planned on riding him all the way down...and landing on him. He needed to roll something ridiculous like a 16 or something on a 20 sided dice, but he was able to use Ego points [a game convention, gained from role-playing one's his case tasering some poor sucker earlier in the session just because the dude was ignorant and the troll's a sociopath] to automatically succeed. He knocked himself out, but he got the shaman down to 5 hit points or so...then the dwarf army vet raced down the stairs to plug the mage with a handgun. I'm not sure why he felt he needed to get in close and personal, but after trading a few shots at close range, he was able to put the guy down.

" they managed to beat the wrecking crew?"

Yeah, it was mission accomplished at the end. I found it pretty exciting myself.



And that was about it...though Doc did say he wished I lived down in Oregon so we could game together.

I've been so busy (and so tired) since the weekend, that I completely forgot how elated I was after last week's game...glad the rules are finally starting to gel the way I want 'em. Last Friday, I spent much of the day thinking about the prior night and anticipating our next game session. Now that it's tomorrow...well, shoot, I should go get some sleep so that I'm fresh for the game!
: )

A Personal Japan Update...

...has been posted by Noisms over at Monsters & Manuals. In case you missed it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All right cyber-fiends...

...sliverguns are back in the book (and better than ever, might I add?). I had some really BS complicated rules regarding "ballistic armor" and how it interacts with the damage of different weapon types. All that's gone bye-bye now...which actually makes flechette guns a bit more effective against non-hardened targets (like vehicles and heavy military armor).

Why the change-o-heart? Um...because variety is the spice of life? And because they ARE different from some of the other firearms. Plus, what could be more useful against a werewolf than a pistol that fires silver flechettes? Come on!

ALSO, I found a great remedy for shortening the excessive length from a book: editing! Yes indeed, going back over my own writing (now with a better idea of how the damn rules are supposed to work) has allowed me to cut lines and lines of needless description from the text. I mean, a lot of the stuff was just "filler" I was using to remind myself of which rules applied to which things...writing the RULES better allowed me to skip these "reminders." A nice trick.
: )

Unfortunately, I have been mui busy...both at home and work...since, oh, about last Tuesday or Wednesday. Which means the writing has stalled a mere handful of pages from the finish line (have to finish the writing if I'm going to finish the editing after all). However, tomorrow I SHOULD (hope-hope) have the time to make a concerted effort to get a few pages out. And if I get my shit together, I may be able to knock out all the monster (um..."NPC") stats on the bus least by hand (for later transcription).

For some reason, I'm having a dread or "procrastination reflex" to finishing the Rules chapter. The whole thing's written with the exception of combat...which is pretty silly considering combat works almost exactly the same as B/X (and the new parts...specific with regard to firearms, explosives, shock, etc.)...all that has been written out. It's just the "order of battle" stuff...I don't know what exactly my problem is. I'm probably just making it harder (in my mind) than it has to be.

All right...gotta' go fold some laundry. Hasta.
: )

Your high INT won't save you, kid...

You know what I just realized? Black Dougal of B/X fame had an Intelligence score of 18!

Being a B/X thief in Tom Moldvay's Basic set means the character is a human...there are no other types of thief in the Basic rules. And yet when Black Dougal hears muttering voices listening at the door of a dungeon chamber his character asks:

"Do I understand them? I speak Common, Orc, Goblin, and Elvish."

Human adventurers in B/X are limited to the common tongue in B/X unless they have a high INT score. In order to have three (3) bonus languages, the thief must have an 18 for his Intelligence score.

As a 2nd level thief, one has to wonder what his DEX is that he would retain such a score (in B/X, one may raise his or her prime requisite by reducing STR, INT, or WIS). I would figure it to be at least a 16 if not an 18. Black Dougal would appear to be no slouch in combat given his survival in the fight against half a dozen goblins later in the example (and in melee, too! With 2D4 hit points and nothing but leather armor to protect himself what were his STR and CON scores?!).

Interesting...of course, none of this does anything to save him from a poison needle trap. Felled by a failed saving throw, a 2nd level thief with 18s across the board has the same poison save as a 1st level character with a 3 in every score: 13. That's a 60% chance of death for the player character, and we can see that with those kind of odds, well, the house generally wins.

Poor guy. He just wasn't smart enough!
; )

Monday, March 21, 2011


I was watching an episode of the second season of Top Shot (my wife put it on during dinner the other night...they were throwing tomahawks and my wife knows how much I dig axes in every way, shape, and form), and I was struck my the same thought that struck me when I watched the show in its first season:

What a bunch of nerds.

Now I'm sure many of these sharpshooters are fine human beings, but that doesn't change the fact that they spend a large amount of time honing a fairly useless talent. Ya' playing role-playing games and pretending to be elves and such.

Really. I mean, I guess it's useful if you want to shoot something (or someone) but the value of shooting things (and people) is a fairly debatable point. I mean, learning to play RPGs has given me some math and reading skills anyway...if nothing else, RPGs have helped me to decipher my own taxes every year since I started working, round about age 15.

[fast food, folks]

There are a lot of "nerdy" pastimes available to folks in 21st century America, many of which I engage in ("fantasy football," for example...of what possible value is it to geek out on sports in this way?). I'm not saying this just to be negative or contrary, I'm just pointing out something...a lot of the hobbies that we are blessed with the time and money to pursue are fairly worthless; and often, when we are not caught up in the moment of doing what it we are enjoy doing, I think we realize that.

Is it wrong to pursue such worthless pursuits?

I know that some of the saints and prophets who have come into this world before us would say that. Yes, they would say we should be spending our free time (and money) on pursuits that emphasize humility, compassion, and kindness in support of our fellow human beings. And far be it from me to go against the wisdom of the saints and prophets.

But (and I'm sorry if this seems to be a justification for my own indolence) "to err is human," and I think that it is a deep and sometimes cumbersome challenge to ignore that humans often crave these shallow things that entertain us or fulfill our desires. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," and we are so enamored of not being dull. Or not leading dull lives.

I think that rather than "beat oneself up" for indulging in petty fantasies, one might find what is good, positive, and constructive in any hobby. I'm not sure I can think of such for all hobbies (Texas Hold 'Em? Internet porn?) but there ARE constructive grains within most of our nerdy pastimes...and I'm not just talking about doing taxes.

For a person who studies "the way of the gun," one might consider that what is learned is a respect for life: the fragility of human (and animal) life and the ease with which it may be taken...not to mention the need to protect against the indiscriminate action of doing so. Also, a respect for the awful power of the technology of man: a Glock isn't a cell phone and an M240 is no polio vaccine. That we have made these things is a testament to both our ingenuity and our perpetual madness...and from the study of guns we should learn to respect both of these human "virtues."

Also, the simple fact of the matter is that there will always be those who use guns for the wrong purpose (again, whether or not there is a "right" purpose is debatable), by which I mean "used in the harm of others for the sake of self aggrandizement." And those who DO study the way of the gun should serve as a pillar of integrity to those who do not, an example for others to follow...they can display the right way to respect the discipline and proper use of these tools that have such potential for harm and woe. To those who enjoy firearms I say: your enthusiasm has led you to know the weapon; use that knowledge for good, as a safeguard for and testament against ignorance.

Ugh...I guess I'm feeling a bit guilty today. Personally, guns give me "the willies" even if they are fascinating pieces of destruction in games (or any dynamic, artistic visual medium: comics, film, video games). My non-gamer friend, Jon, would certainly accuse me of "glorifying violence," whatever that means exactly. I suppose it means "having fun imagining I'm shooting imaginary people"...but, hey, I AM a big nerd after all. Pretending to be a one-man wrecking crew is nothing worse than pretending to be the coach of a fantasy football least in my book. is obvious I am on my last "mental legs" of the night (it's after midnight, and I just got Big D to sleep with a little bouncing/singing). Tomorrow, I'll have more interesting gaming things to say I'm sure. Sorry for being such a downer!
; )

Sunday, March 20, 2011

But really, who cares about HOT ELF CHICKS...

...when one can have totally badass orc girls, instead. Also with guns, of course!

[for troll chicks, you'll have to check out Ron Edwards' Trollbabe game. Sorry]

In all seriousness, I found this pic floating around the internet, and was totally inspired. Does anyone know where this illustration originated? And the artist behind it? Maybe it's from Shadowrun 4? I'm just curious, 'cause I think it's a great, dynamic piece. I'd read a comic book about that character.

Hell, I'm inspired to write up a character for her in my own game. Let's see:
  • A few random rolls: 10, 13, 9, 14, 6, 15.
  • Choose priorities: Abilities (A), Resources (B), Skills (C), Metatype (D)
  • Add it all up.

Handle: Show (as in "Showboat" or "the Big Show")
Alignment: Professional
Level: 1

STR: 14 (16)
INT: 16
WIL: 13
DEX: 18 (19)
CON: 10
CHA: 18 (11.6)

IB: 17 (18)
SPD: 55 (Strong)
HPs: 14
Skills: Combat 1, Stealth 1, Military 1

Cybernetics: Custom Wired Reflexes 2, Custom Muscle Enhancement 1

Gear: Armor clothing, 2 medium pistols (both with fire modification), 200 rounds of ammo, flash grenades (4), grapple gun, commlink, combat drugs (1 dose), boosters (4 doses), survival kit, shuriken (4), road hog bike, High lifestyle (1 month), 1050 cr

Combat Stats:
Defensive Class: 4
Shock: 13
Initiative: +5+2D6
THDC0: 16 (pistol/shuriken), 15 (pistol, burst), 16 (unarmed)

Hot Elf Chicks - Hotter With Guns

I've had a recent epiphany about the whole cyberpunk genre...while I'm still struggling to crystalize it in words, the gist is that the whole theme is predicated on an illusion, a sham, a mish-mash lie...much as D&D has helped foist a variety of trite "fantasyisms" off on the world community through inspiring artists and writers (and movie makers and TV shows) with a variety of game tropes masquerading as real mythology and folklore. That may sound harsh, and I don't really mean it to be as such (personally, I long ago accepted D&D as "it's own thing" and commercially produced art for its overall quality apart from its basis or source material...). But as I said, I haven't quite crystalized what I wanted to say about the matter, so let's leave it.

What I DO want to say is this: elf chicks are hotter with guns.

As I work on my own new game (a knock-off of the "Original Adult Fantasy RPG" set in the dark future and filled with a face-full of chrome), I can't help but come to the conclusion that THIS is what made Shadowrun and its imitators so successful. In the end, it's not about rebelling against a corrupt society or "fighting the man;" hell, the characters are working for THE MAN for Chrissakes! There's nothing "punk" about that...and even less about getting "screwed over" by your employer (something that is a common occurrence in SR adventures). That's called getting punked, not being punk!

No, the real draw of the game...after careful analysis, let me assure being able to play hot characters with guns. Leather-clad adventurers with explosives and fully automatic weapons. It's like the best of two great fetishes...The Matrix mixed with fantasy magic. Hell, elf dudes (of which I've known to play a few in the past) are hotter with guns. Talk about your serious bad-boy image!

Is such a game "Old School?" Well, while I normally wouldn't presume (really!) I'll say this: The way I'M writing it is, yeah. Why?

  • It tests player skill, not character's capabilities.
  • It requires rulings (especially with the new "skill system") more often than rules research.
  • It has abstract combat of the oldest style automatic weapons.
  • It's heroic without being superheroic...player characters still die. Fortunately, character creation is fairly simple.

It also has (a bit to my chagrin) a certain level of "resource management" inherent to it...specifically counting bullets (which we remember as often as one ever remembers to count arrows) and counting hit points. Counting credits (money) is also important...but at least I don't make folks keep track of the battery life in their gear.

It's a cool, fun game...and I hope to have the writing finished soon (the next week or so depending on time). If you're new to the OSR blog-o-sphere (and just finding this through a "hot elf chick" search) and your interest is piqued by the idea of fantasy gaming with guns PLUS sword, you might want to check back here in a couple weeks to check my progress.

And welcome!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Farewell to Jim Roslov

Grognardia has reported that former TSR artist Jim Roslov has died at the age of 65. Not all that old considering he was born the same year as my father.

While the news is certainly sad...especially for his loved ones, I'm certain...Mr. Roslov has left an indelible print on the hearts and minds of those who grew up playing (and who continue to play) these old games. For me at least, he remains my favorite "old school" artist (all apologies to Erol Otus and Larry Elmore). I've blogged before of my appreciation for Roslov's artwork. While the cover to the updated D1-D2 is probably my single favorite piece, it is his spare treatment of low level combat on the cover of B2: The Keep on the Borderlands that stands out most in my mind...not just in remembering Roslov's work, but in remembering B/X D&D or any of my childhood gaming.

How often did I stare at that cover as a kid, just taking it in. Much of it is reminiscent of a Japanese woodcut (the cherry tree, the landscape, the samurai-like armor of the hobgoblins)...and like an old woodcut, I always felt something tranquil about illustration, despite its subject. Even though I found it puzzling that there was no apparent "keep" in the image, despite the title of the module.

Ah, with Gygax, Arneson, and Moldvay, Roslov's death marks the passing of yet another "great" from the formative years of the role-playing hobby's history. I know his family and friends will miss him more than I (who have never known him) ever could. But I can't help but be glad that he shared his art and creativity with us during his life. He provided a great deal of inspiration to many young minds, including my own.

Rest in peace, Mr. Roslov. Thank you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

One Page Dungeon Contest

Completely forgot to mention the One Page Dungeon Competition is going on again. I was asked to participate as a judge again this year, but I've just got too much going on. However, I'd encourage anyone with mapmaking skills and an ounce of creativity to give it a shot. There are some great prizes this year (like 40 or so!). You can get the full scoop at this link.

Here's the thing: the deadline is April 1st, so get your asses in gear if you want to be in the game. Last year, I got to see and judge a huge pile of fantastic entries...the sheer creativity out there is wonderful. But I think the participants themselves get a lot out of the exercise of distilling an adventure down to one page. I know I was impressed by the skills on display!

Good luck to all!
: )'s NOT laziness...

I mean, I HAVE been lazy in the past. I admit it...I can be an undisciplined, procrastinating slacker of the highest magnitude, but the lack of blog posts (especially actual play posts about my recent play-test sessions) has NOT been due to laziness.

Well, I did take a two (or three) hour nap this afternoon...but I was tired, folks! And most of today was spent in quality time with my wife and child or running errands or prepping meals (and bottles). Hell, it's ten o'clock and I still have a bunch of errands before I hit the hay.

But I just want to make it clear: this is NOT laziness that's keeping me from posting more on the recent game experimentation. The fact of the matter is, the game's been on my mind non-stop, all-day. It really went well. And the two or three speed bumps along the ride are barely wrinkles that need ironing...hell, they just made me realize (again) that simpler is better (specifically with regard to ballistic armor and how it functions...or rather, does not). There IS a more major wrinkle with regard to the magic use (the new rules worked great by the way), but I think I know how I'm going to fix it without making the system needlessly complex ("needless" being the operative word...but really my needs regarding complexity are few).

Here: I'll tell you maybe the coolest thing that came out of last night's game...and I didn't even think about it till I was "debriefing" with Tim down at Gary's this afternoon.

Real role-playing.

The game has got some teeth to it that I think help promote delving into character. And we saw more than a little of it last night. For people who have spent recent years just dealing with the mechanical/tactical aspects of D20-style games, having the ability to "get the rules out of the way" (as simple, old school RPGs like B/X do) is one thing. But having rules that define and reward in-character behavior is taking it to a whole 'nother level.

There were traces of this in the earlier sessions, but the amount we're seeing...the interaction between the alignments, the relating to both the mission objectives and the other characters (PC and NPC alike) definitely picking up. No, it's not hammy. No, nobody is talking in funny voices (well, maybe I do occasionally to distinguish between NPCs). But players are taking actions in character that have a LOT less to do with the "strategic value" of gaming the system (there's no system to game, really...especially now that "random skill checks" have been taken out completely) and much more to do with A) what seems cool to do giving the setting and situation, B) what "my guy" would do given said setting and situation.

I dig it.

All right, I really need to get to those chores I was talking about (it's now 10:24). More later when I have time, I promise.
: )

Right On.

Again, this will be quick, as I'm going back to bed right after the beagles are done eating.
Last week's game was pretty fun. THIS week's game? Awesome.

Getting rid of skill checks worked great. Dropping endurance points and streamlining spell-casting worked great, too...and greatly speeded up combat. The new karma rules? Spot on. Plus we got to see a firefight in a stairwell (elevated position rules, not to mention falling), intimidation rules in action, kicking down doors, and grappling and improvisation, Ego/alignment use...all good stuff.

Oh, yeah...and I instituted the "Caller" rule from Moldvay's Basic set (though I call it "Team Leader;" more macho). While we weren't religious in our use of the role, it helped me mightily having such a filter.

A good playtest...and yes, there are more revisions to be made afterwards. I'll try to get a full play report later today.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I should say more than this, but I have little time before tonight's game and lots to prep (plus dinner to eat). However...

Yesterday's post touched off a lot of bile...and re-reading it, I realize it was written fairly half-cocked. Please forgive the trite, generational philosophy. I've been operating on...well whatever is 8 divided by 3 hours o sleep over the last few days.

I am totally NOT ready to start thinking about the 80s in any way, shape or form with regard to least not yet!

Drink some beer and eat some corn beef, folks!
: )

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Disposable 80s

The wife and I (and baby Diego) were down at the Elysium tonight eating dinner, and through the entire meal we were serenaded by the collective one-hit wonders of the know all those dudes like Soft Cell and Flock o Seagulls and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Or whatever their names were...I just know the songs, not the bands.

"One hit wonders." Disposable music. So perfect for the 1980s when so much was disposable (or seemed to be). There and gone, like coke up the nose.

[whoops! What happened to my paycheck?!]

Is it any wonder that the cyberpunk genre came out of the 80s? Johnny Zed was first published in 1988, Neuromancer in 1984. Both postulated future worlds where everything was disposable: governments, body parts, thousand dollar bills, people and relationships.

Nowadays, these concepts seem so...well, dated. I mean, becomes obsolete frightfully fast. And you can still pick up "disposable" pre-paid cell phones. But there's a whole push to make things of quality, things that will last. I mean isn't that why so many of us old gen Xers are finally settling down and starting families?

Or maybe I'm mistaken. I haven't got a whole lot o sleep lately, so I may just be slappy tonight. After all, I am a true "child of the 80s;" born in '73 I was seven in 1980 and 17 by 1990. God, that was a long time ago...what music was I listening to back then? Operation Mindcrime? Use Your Own Illusion?

Jeez...that was long before "grunge." Well, at least before the phenomenon (we had Soundgarden's Louder than Love on vinyl). The '90s was a shift from the "disposable" to the "self-destructive." Oh, right...Nine Inch Nails and Reznor.

The point is (if my meandering has a point), does it even make sense to put too much "disposable" into an RPG? Is cyberpunk completely passe at this point? I don't listen to my NIN disks anymore either.

I suppose dystopian futures and all-powerful mega-corporations are still pertinent and contemporary. But I can see why R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk 2020 holds no more interest for me. I'm kind of over the disposable 80s.

I am SUCH an idiot!

Johnny Zed is written by John G. Betancourt, NOT Gibson.

I realize I may be completely shooting any literary cred I have left (shit), but I don't think I've read ANY Gibson...well, any of his cyberpunk stuff (I'm a big fan of The Difference Engine). Now, I've TOTALLY got to finish Neuromancer, or I'll look like a REAL punk!

[and, no, Shelly Tracer does NOT use a sliver gun...she carries a custom .38 or "medium pistol" as I'd call it in my game]

Ugh...more responsibilities. And me with only four hours of sleep (again).

Regarding - progress report: close to three more pages written so far today. It's hard for me to focus on WORK work when I'm tired, but the fantasy stuff just seems to flow from my consciousness.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On With The Show

My revisions are all complete. I'm considering getting rid of all ammunition types except for normal, "non-lethal" (gel rounds, etc.), and "high velocity" (the latter stolen from Ghost in the Shell). This would allow me to cut out a bunch of additional rules/fiddly-ness regarding HE, AP, dum-dums, ballistic armor, etc., etc.

Or as Luke put it in last week's game (when asked, 'what kind of ammo did you buy for your sniper rifle?'):

"I bought the correct type of ammo for this kind of job."

Enough said, right? Hell, I've got a dozen types of grenades and explosive devices I need half a dozen different ammo types?

Now granted, I don't have a list of magic items and potions in the game, so I don't mind taking up more pages with an extended equipment list (compared to, say, B/X). However, to paraphrase D30's comment in my last post, magic potions change how you think about approaching the game...different ammo types are just exercises in granularity that beg for min-maxing data crunching that this game is NOT supposed to be about.

Goddamnit...I'm doing it. It'll cut half a page (or more) of text, but I can always use the space for an extra illustration.
: )

I should probably get rid of f'ing "sliver guns," too...if you want a concealable firearm that shoots a spread of fire, saw-off that shotgun, pal.

Cuts, cuts,'s not like I couldn't do a Weapons Compendium sourcebook or something later. Sheesh...that's just MORE money in the bank!
; )

No, Really...Simpler IS Better

I'm nearly finished with the revisions needed after last week's play-test session. Is it all right to say, wow...I really like where this is going? SO much easier!

For example, I'm really liking the new skill "system." Yes, yes, I included a selection of skills in my game (total of seven), even though I've railed against "skill systems" in the past...this ain't your father's skill system. For example, in the revised rules, skills just work. If you have a skill like "paramedic" you can perform first aid, if you have "demolitions" you can set and disarm "skill roll" needed. Nice and neat.

I know that part of old school D&D's charm is the "comedy of errors" that can ensue from low-level character's incompetence...but isn't that why WotC ended up creating scaling "difficulty levels" for their elaborate skill system? Isn't that why most low-level thieves came to rely on their tactical flanking/backstabbing ability (the only thief "skill" that works automatically)?

I still find plenty of humor in the game, even without throwing in low-level incompetence. I mean, you can't NOT find humor with the guys I've got play-testing the thing (Bobby Peru...sheesh!). We'll see how it works this Thursday.

We'll also see how the magic system works...that's been the bulk of revisions so far (getting rid of "endurance points" has led to the re-working and re-writing of the entire magic chapter...only a couple pages left). However, as with skills, the new system is much less bulky and cumbersome. Now magic is tied directly to hit points (caster's get tired/damaged from channeling mana through their bodies)...which is SO much simpler. And tying everything tightly to willpower (as opposed to charisma) have given magicians a much cooler feeling...I don't know WHAT I was thinking earlier with my "jolly old sorcerers!"

Progress continues...hopefully I'll have the chance to work on the NPCs chapter some more today (and I need to finish the damn vehicle rules! I know AB's gonna' want to hose some folks with that gunship of his...). Later, gators!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finally - Neuromancer

AB brought home Steve-O's copy of Gibson's Neuromancer for me to read, something Steve has failed to do for many moons now. I shall be starting it as soon as I finish reading this third Shadowrun novel.

I've been watching a lot of movies lately, especially anything vaguely cyberpunkish (Johnny Mnemonic and Ghost in the Shell to those latest Swedish movies about the computer hacker girl...two down, one to go). All for inspiration, of course. But why the films are good for the feel of an RPG (cinematic action), the literature is important for the foundation and story ideas. Neuromancer is, of course, the cornerstone of cyberpunk, so I'm glad I've finally got a copy in my possession.

Have a good week, folks.

Simpler = Better

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that it is much better to start small and simple than elaborate and grandiose.

This may appear to a be a "no brainer" to most folks...certainly, it would seem to be wisdom that I myself already know (or can certainly grasp) can just be difficult to actualize it, and it's certainly a challenge to execute it without losing the nuance that you want.

And here I am specifically talking about game design. I started writing up a typical, long-winded post yesterday describing the actual play events from Thursday's play-test of the new game. But as I formulated my thoughts on how to describe what happened, I began thinking more and more about what worked and (much more importantly) what didn't.

So I didn't get around to finishing the post. Instead, I was up till 3 in the morning figuring out how to get more of what did work into the game, and where I needed to cut "the other stuff."

There was a lot left on the cutting room floor...including most of the magic system as written.

That's pretty shocking considering the fact I had the magic chapter (and system) sewed up weeks ago, and completely finished (as far as text goes) even before LAST week. And even more shocking considering there has been almost ZERO magic use in the entire play-test.

One enemy mage cast one spell. It did some damage. End of story.

And NOW the system is getting the axe...or rather, it's getting a sever hatchet job. Charisma, as an "all powerful stat" for magicians has had the rug pulled out from under it.

And why exactly is that? Well, the reasons are actually a lot more complicated than the solution. Here are the problems that arose in the game:

1. The planning and "communicating-plan-with-GM" phase got completely bogged down. That was the biggest drag on the whole evening (in my opinion). As I said in my last post, I now see the wisdom in having a "Caller" for any group larger than three or four...and probably even for those sizes. More Moldvay scouring is definitely needed, as well as a few scratch rules on how it ought to work.

2. Though the problem hasn't arisen yet, issue #1 gives rise to one of the first reasons to change the magic system. If the Caller is (generally) the character with the highest Charisma score, that's going to make the party magician the defacto Caller more often than not. Why? Because cybernetic implants destroy a character's Charisma (one becomes "more machine than man") and Charisma is the lifeblood of magicians (determining their power level), making it double likely that they will have the highest CHA in the group...and I don't WANT that to always be the case. I want sleezy magicians and corrupt magicians and irritable, unlikable magicians to all be possibilities. Not every wizard needs to be "jolly old Gandalf," for goodness sakes!

3. Combat needs to be even more streamlined than it already is. It's not "bad," per se, but it's got too many moving parts. This was silly of me. I ended up skipping or glossing over or forgetting several of those "moving parts in our play-test in the interest of pacing, and the fact of the matter is that I want the game to move along briskly and not get bogged down in of the reasons I started designing this game was because I was frustrated with Shadowrun (and other games of the genre) bogging down when the theme of the game often involves wham-bam action on top of the intrigue and double-crosses.

My main mistake in this regard? Trying to write Shadowrun in terms of the "B/X system." What I ended up with is pretty much that, right down to having two separate damage tracks (Hit Points and Endurance Points mimicking "Physical and Mental Damage"). Ugh. Guess what...we're scrapping Endurance altogether. Damage is damage, and it's all going into Hit Points.

4. And because of THAT I needed to re-write the fatigue rules for casting spells. *sigh*

5. Skills needed re-vamping. Here's a place where I tossed out a terrible system (Shadowrun and most other "skill based systems") and put in a re-vamped but not-all-that-great system (namely, B/X thief skills with their ascending percentages). Unfortunately, the latter is dumb...there's just too much chance of failure at low levels, and applying it across all skill areas (computer use, demolitions, vehicle piloting, etc.) makes the characters all look like a bunch of incompetents. In the play-test we had the computer expert failing to hack very routing, non-secure systems, and a demolitions expert incorrectly building a bomb for another character (with the expected results of such a SNAFU).

This is NOT what I want to see happen. I now have more of an idea why the "real grognards" HATE the addition of the thief class. If characters formulate a decent plan and carry it out, success shouldn't based on the single roll of percentile dice under a 25% or 30% chance. Hitting a guy with AC 3 isn't even that hard for a 1st level character (especially with an ability bonus). I've got a couple different things I'm considering for these skills (including junking "percentile rolls" all you have the skill? or not?). But I haven't decided yet.

6. Speeding up combat (again): I've decided I'm going to implement some of my "mook rules" from my B/X space opera least with regard to certain combat traits. I'm also thinking that my rules for shock/stun need to be greatly simplified (duh) well as finding a way to distinguish between lethal and non-lethal damage while only having one "damage track" (hit points). I think I've got it worked out, but it'll be needing a bit of play-testing.

Of course.
; )

Friday, March 11, 2011

Everyone wants to be a Troll...

...or more than I would expect, anyway.

Continued the play-test of my new RPG last night at the Baranof. For those just joining us, this particular game is MY "dark future, fantasy-punk" game, a cross between B/X and Cyberpunk 2020...similar in many ways to Shadowrun, and made (in part) as a response to the over-complication (my perception) of the SR rules.

So far, not bad.

Even though Josh and Steve-O failed to show (Josh 'cause he's out o town, and Steve 'cause he works Thursday nights), we still had THREE new of seven. Plus Tim from Gary's stopped by (and might be joining us next week), and Vince was supposed to be there but ditched at the last moment.

I've never run Shadowrun for more than three (maybe four) players at once before.

Fortunately, this is NOT Shadowrun...if it was, I doubt we would have accomplished much, action-wise. As it is, after last night's game I can see the true wisdom in Moldvay's addition of "the Caller" to the B/X game. Great guys though they are, my players coulld sure have used a little discipline...or outright leadership!...when it came to formulating their attack plan. Everyone's so nice and consensus-driven, that the "planning stage" of the mission took longer than either chargen or the mission itself!

Yes, more chargen. Having re-vamped character generation from last week (and putting together some pre-gen equipment lists), we still were able to get new characters generated for all three new guys...despite them having no prior knowledge of the game system. Nice.

Lots of trolls...I asked AB about this afterwards and he thinks it's due in part to the novelty. "When do people get to play a troll in an RPG?" This makes sense, I suppose. Though I find it a little weird that after nine characters being generated, the break-down is:

- one orc
- one dwarf
- three "norms" (normal humans)
- four trolls

And the trolls aren't all "big, thug-like" dudes, either. Well, two are. Mmmm...maybe three (Greg's troll, "Grok," is outfitted like a high-tech "hit troll" but he's got a pretty low Intelligence...I believe he's functionally illiterate). The fourth guy is the rigger-pilot of the helicopter gunship that made their quick-strike mission possible.

Anyway, the first part of their two part mission went down as a success with much gunfire, grenade throwing, computer hacking, and roof-top rappelling and snipering...not to mention a little plastique for good measure.

And trolls bludgeoning people unconscious. Of course.
; )

If I have a chance, I'll blog a full play report here in a bit. There was a lot of "food for thought" and, yes, plenty of rules revisions that need to be made (especially regarding saving throws, karma, and skill use). I am also considering revising the entire magic system, but I kind of want to get another test of that prior to junking everything I've written.

All right, I've got to run for now. More later (hopefully!)!
: )


My heart (and prayers) goes out to the people of Japan...I have friends in Tokyo and Kofu and those areas seem less devastated than the north, but sheesh. Hopefully the help and recovery period will be quicker than Haiti (who's STILL suffering!)!

I hope Noisms is okay.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Forget You, Infravision

I have made a command decision: no more infravision.

Infravision…the whole concept…has annoyed me for years. Really. I can remember (really!) first reading about in my Tom Moldvay Basic Set and thinking “What the F?” And today, I’m still saying the same thing.

Hell, in my own games, I’ve long since given up on infravision. “Certain species (like elves and dwarves) can see in the dark…period.” Otherwise the whole thing is just…what? I mean, where does this idea come from?

Certainly Tolkien elves and dwarves (and the Norse myths from which they descend) still make use of light sources…torches and such. Faerie folk may have better vision than normal people (as noted in their increased ability to find secret doors and traps and such), but if they see better in the evening, it’s because those sharp eyes are making better use of moonlight and starlight…NOT because they see heat sources like the Predator monster.

I mean, isn’t that what “infravision” is? Some kind of infrared or thermographic vision? “Your character sees heat sources,” why exactly? I just don’t get it.

I mean, setting aside the general uselessness of it (infravision is fouled by torchlight and most parties have humans in needs of real light anyway…plus picking out “heat images” doesn’t tell you where a door or doorknob is, nor read the writing on the tomb wall!)…SETTING ASIDE the uselessness of infravision, what the hell is it based on exactly? Where in myth and legend does it say elves “see heat.”

Be honest, don’t most of you ignore infravision most of the time anyway?

Maybe this comes from Wendy Pini’s “wolf rider” elves…but most elves in ElfQuest still need and use torches (the wolf riders simply having heightened senses…smell and hearing…like wolves).

I don’t know…what I DO know is that I’m tired of it. I found myself putting it in my “fantasy punk” game and then thought, why? Why bother? Because it’s in “D&D?” Because Shadowrun uses “low-light vision” for its elves and orcs?

Nope, screw it. No allergies to sunlight and no friggin’ “infravision.” If an elf wants to see in the dark, he can wear night vision goggles. That’s a cooler image anyway.

Infravision: Deleted.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Page Count Update

42 and three-quarters. Even with re-writes (the character creation session last Thursday gave me plenty of food for thought) that's the current page count on the new book. Add in the 2-3 pages of charts (not yet formatted) and setting aside 8 pages for art, and I'm about 10-11 pages away from knocking this bad boy out. I probably could finish it over the weekend if I found a way to put in a couple solid days.

Not very likely.

Ah, it is, things are fairly tight. And by tight I mean, "burgeoning on the edge of explosion;" i.e. going over my self-imposed 64 page limit. I probably threw too many machine guns in the equipment section, but I thought it was important to get the distinction between a microgun (man portable) and a minigun (forget about it).

And by "man" portable, I mean "troll" of course.
; )

Anyway, just thought I let folks know where I'm at...skipped around a bit the last couple days, writing all the "development" stuff in the GM chapter (still need "adventure creation"), and "rules and procedures" is all put together except for basic combat (i.e. order of rounds, what's a "to hit roll," etc.). It should be good though...I'm hoping to play-test some combat tomorrow night at the Baranof, which may well give me more fodder for revision...but, hey, that's part of the process, right?

Hopefully, the writing bits won't take longer than the end of March...I'll start soliciting artists once I've got the final page count and know what I'm looking for.

Happy Ash Wednesday, folks!
: )

Friday, March 4, 2011

Making Characters

Ugh. That's about all we did last night.

I'll admit it...I'm disappointed in my own showing. I meant for this to be a "quick start, quick play" game, but I should have brought friggin' pre-gen characters...or pre-gen equipment/cyber- builds...or abbreviated gear lists.

Unfortunately, I didn't do ANY of this. I printed-out a couple of the equipment charts just before leaving the house, but these were meant for my own benefit. My (rather half-assed) intention/assumption was that I would simply outfit any created characters with equipment lists from the 1st or 3rd edition Shadowrun archetypes.

'Course, I'd forgotten my pet peeves regarding these games: 1st edition archetypes or miscalculated and 3rd edition archetypes have no equipment. Adding these together ended up meaning two and a half hours of chargen...and that's with me hurrying folks through the paces.


It's a testament to my players' kindness/politeness that they didn't complain too fact, a couple of 'em remarked afterwards, "I ENJOY making characters." Well, that's great and all, but I really wanted to play the game...that's kind of why we sit down to do it!

Well, anyway...NOW we have the characters (and I may just write up some "standard builds" over the weekend in case anyone wants to switch 'em out...the game is still mui young, since nothing much got a chance to happen!). Next week we should be able to get down to brass tacks...though two of my players will be MIA, and a couple-four new guys might be showing up.


Okay, pre-gen builds needed. Also, it becomes obvious that I may have too many choices of goody on the equipment list. The original edition had 24 pages of equipment (with illustration) and I only have 13 or so (including the rules for computer hacking), but parsing might still be necessary. Does one really need entries for radio, radio receiver, and sub-vox microphone? Can't these just be combined into one? Shouldn't vision upgrades simply ASSUME replacement with cybernetic eye?

Definitely need to manage and trim the contacts. Part of the problem here is I haven't completed the "monster" chapter (except for the few monsters I'd need for last night's guards and gang members and such).

Hmmm...there's some good things to work on over the weekend for sure. We'll see how much time I have to do so. Man, I am hungry!

[one more thing - more than a couple of my players drew very cool pictures of their characters...Josh, especially, might need to be roped into some illustration work down the line. Check out his troll!]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Are You Ready For A Good Time?"

I'll make this brief, 'cause I got less than 4 hours o sleep last night and have to get up earlier to catch a bus in the morning. However, long story short, the new RPG is ready for a playtest. I converted an old *ahem* Shadowrun module into MY rules and will see if I can get the boys to play tomorrow night at the Baranof.

Assuming I can keep my eyes open of course.

Tomorrow I'll print up some cheat sheets and draw up a few standard archetypes for folks to play around with. I'm not sure I want to do "pre-gen" characters, but maybe some pre-gen equipment and spell lists will allow us to get the game going quicker.

Huh. I'll be sure to let y'all know how it goes.
: )

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Small is "Too Small?"

A few more pages added to the book, and it IS adding up...still haven't added the vehicles to the equipment chapter (nor the tables, now that I think about it), and even without 'em, I'm closing in on 11 pages.

That's pages withOUT illustrations.

I suppose I could put the computer hacking rules in a different chapter ( chapter called "Rules"), but it's still looking pretty long. If I shrunk the font to 9 or 9.5 even it would free up a couple more pages...but what size font is too small? It's no good working to cram everything into 64 pages if it's illegible. The point is to make it simple, not require a microfiche reader...sheesh?

Honestly, I don't remember the font size I used for the B/X Companion. Was that too small?