Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Polar Bear

I haven't been getting a whole heck of a lot o feedback on my recent Land of Ice posts, and I don't know why. I'm not saying that it surprises me, I'm saying I literally don't know.

Not that I couldn't hazard a guess or two...but really it doesn't matter all that much (I wasn't complaining). Well, it matters that people find it interesting and useful (or inspiring for their own games) 'cause that's why I write this type of stuff (usually). But I'm having fun with it anyway, so I'm going to keep posting till I get to the end of the series.

HOWEVER, it occurs to me that perhaps I haven't been gonzo enough with the setting...I may have been modelling it too close to "real world" Vikes and the kind of human-human conflict (psychic or not) found in MZB's Darkover novels (a major inspiration, in case you couldn't guess). It may be that the stuff I've been putting out there just isn't "D&D enough" other words, not weird enough for use in your average (or below average) D&D game.

So I will be endeavoring to get some more weirdness "stuck in" to the mix. In reviewing my notes for a different B/X setting concept (one based on Dark Sun, of all things) I can see I had plenty of magic mixed in with the psychic weirdness and the monsters were certainly fit for the blasted post-magic-apoc setting. I probably need MORE weirdness in mine: talking polar bears and psychic snowflakes and such...otherwise what are characters supposed to DO in this setting.


Anyway, we haven't gotten to Chapter 6 yet, so there's still time for me to up the ante on the strange and bizarre. We'll see if I can find it in my heart to do so...
; )


  1. Too many football posts on a gaming blog scared off the gamers.

    Also, maybe folks would be more interested in a D&D supplement rather than something that's essentially a new game. A whole new game is a lot to swallow compared to some custom classes or even an alternate magic system.

  2. Bi-Polar Bears.
    One minute they are cute, cuddly and starring in Coca-Cola commercials...
    And the next they're the claw/claw/bite/hug masters of disaster tearing plate-armored Fighters to shreds.

  3. Fumers hit it for me. I'd be more interested if this was a B/X supplement than a whole new game. I'd rather have more new monsters and treasure than rehashed classes and combat rules. It just seems redundant.

  4. I like the premise for the setting, especially the Vikings in space angle. I find actual medieval history and mythology much more interesting than the pale imitations of most modern fantasy.

  5. As you well know, it's a losing proposition to try to tailor a game to the silent masses of the internets to get their attention. Don't shift the game tone for a faceless audience.

    Part of what leaves me cold about this (if you'll excuse the expression) is that I have never had a good experience with psionics in a D&D game.

    Then there's the post-space-travel angle. That works for me for Mesopotamia, for Egypt, for Stonehenge--but Vikings? Those flavors settle uneasily next to each other on my palate. It's a personal preference.

    Also, it seems like you are adding a lot of complexity to the simplicity of the system--considering the number of house rules you have generated and discarded since I've been reading the blog, that's a bit puzzling to me. (The names would also require memorization, and are perhaps a step too far.)

    I think a more ideal defense of the ideal nature of B/X would be to come up with a setting that people could use the B/X game rules with as-is.

    You are not primarily constructing a defense, but instead using a system you love to bend in new directions and do a setting you love. With that goal in mind, full speed ahead, right? Follow the passion, says me.

  6. @ Luke/Fumers: The whole idea of the series was (in part) to throw a bone to all the readers put off by my football-craziness. It may be "too little too late," but...well, there it is.
    ; )

    @ Bane: Well, sure...the IDEA of Gamma World is much cooler than the execution (for example). It's a fine line.

    @123: Deja vu.

    @ Ian: I haven't even gotten to the combat rules yet! That's next chapter...stay tuned!
    : )

    @ Brian: Yeah, but you like the football posts, too.
    ; )

    @ Fictive: Sound (if a tad schizo) advice. I'm not totally sure on how the idea sits with me, either. Psionics instead of magic? Vikings from space? Maybe in practice (i.e. at the gaming table) it would fall flat. Right now, it's all a bit of theoretical exercise...the jury's still deliberating.

    Ha! Who am I kidding? I totally LOVE the idea. Sorry!
    : )

  7. This is sorta the point where you say to yourself "Well, I think I'll just go F*** myself"... :) (hahaha)

    It's been this way for a few months man, that's why I just dropped a small fortune on ARKHAM HORROR and all 8 expansions and the binders full of notes for my system are sitting quietly on the shelf.

    One post says MAKE IT DIFFERENT! and then the next one says MAKE IT THE SAME!

    If possible just remember the reason for the creation is it is in you and it's got to get out. Write it for yourself first and foremost and then others will follow...or point and never know how that one is going to go :)

    And I for one am interested in this series of posts, just been busy fighting off madness and Great Old Ones and giving my typing digits a rest. Continue the work. I loves me some Vikings. :)

  8. My opinion-
    A) I'm sure the whole new system is fun to create & players will dig it but for someone (me) browsing a blog to have to read & learn a whole new system just to be able to understand it & change it back to my D&D is a bit "meh".

    B) Elves as Alfar & Dwarves as Dvergar is something I & I'm sure many others have already done. The psionics is interesting, but 3/4 of D&Ders don't dig psionics.

    C) Adding more Gonzo & Weird is very in right now, everyone from LOTFP/Vornheim to ASE & Carcosa is doing it. I am wondering when it will jumo the shark & begin to be regarded as a certain Drow elf ranger effect.

  9. I'm enjoying the posts, more so than the football, but that's because I've not followed American Football in 20 years and because its similar enough to an idea I've got for a game set in the 'mythic history' of my homebrew world.

    These posts are adding some interesting fuel to the fire. Not so much the system as the ideas. Keep it up says I!

  10. Personally, I am interested in new settings, and your Land of Ice IS interesting, but not so much if they so heavily modify the rules like you did. Your stuff is definitely interesting, but in an "academic" sort of way, if you get what I mean.


  11. I mean, Dark Sun was more conservative than your approach when it came to rule alterations! And that's saying something. Personally, if I had to go with your concept, I would simply take the standard D&D classes and add psionics from the Realms of Crawling Chaos supplement. I have a system of "talents" in my game which replaces the general skills of the Rules Cyclopedia, and by which I add small boons to rules effects already in the game (for example, a talent gives a bonus to avoid surprise, another talent gives a bonus to surprise etc.)

  12. I've been to busy and wrapped up in stuff to comment too much, and I don't always have anything useful to add. But I have been reading them all with interest.

    Slow day at work, so I'll go back a few posts and see what comments I can conjure up :)

  13. Take a look at the last week on my blog. High post count of the week? You're playing too many non-human characters. (Commentary/navel gazing)
    Followed by skill analysis posts (Game theory/design), and pulling up the rear with almost no comments - actual useful content for the table in the form of interesting treasure, traps and alchemical items.

    It's the way of the world man.

  14. I'll take issue with you C.

    It is not that people don't want useful posts, just that they don't want to add a bunch of crunch & changes to remember. No one is clamouring for more rules.

    See this blog post for an example of making something cool using existing rules with minimal changes. THAT is something people can use easily.

  15. For me, I've had very limited time to read blogs lately, so that's why I haven't been able to give you feedback. I've been wanting to do so, but this time of year is especially tough with regard to finding free time for blogging, game prep, actual gaming, etc. I'll try to find some time for feedback for you, as I am very interested in what you have going on here.

  16. JB I'll quote back to you, the wise words you left on my blog.

    "Art, in all its forms, is meant to be shared."
    It's your art - don't let others detract you from it. I for one am looking forward to the Land of Ice supplement, hopefully with art, even cheap stock art.

    I'll go one further. Games are meant to be played. Get a B/X group together and get playing with Land of Ice. The game reports you share, will be inspiration and reward for everyone.

  17. Ha! And now I have feedback coming out the ears!

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and/or comment. I promise, I really REALLY wasn't trying to complain. But your encouragement (and honest criticism) is definitely appreciated!
    : )

  18. I've been enjoying the series. Keep it coming, I say.

  19. @Blake, Clearly you have read the posts under disscussion I'm talking about - they aren't new rules, they are new content using existing rules. Those get the least comments.

    The next tier are posts about theory and design - deconstruction of the rules.

    The last are opinion pieces.

    @JB, like this one "No one comments on my posts! Possibly because they aren't weird enough?" Everyone has something to say.

    An awesome new spell? Not one peep - not even from those that use it.

  20. I think eventually people settle on a spectrum between their readers shaping their blog, and their blog shaping their readership. I'm not sure where you see yourself on that spectrum.

    So, depending on how you see your blogging, I spoke to both types; if you want to shape your work based on what your readership thinks, here's where I am. However, I believe you will ultimately be more pleased and productive if you stick to your vision regardless what kind of feedback you get.

  21. I for one really like this series of posts! Sorry I'm so late to comment on it. And I think it's great that you're rewriting a lot of the rules in addition to doing a new setting. That kind of stuff is very helpful to people who want to get inspiration for new rules.

  22. @ George: Thanks, man...never to late to comment.
    ; )

    And I will be getting back to those posts pretty soon (probably this week), just by the way.