Carving runes on the inner sky of an empyeran, trying to make meaning and hoping that those from without understand as well.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Guns, Alcohol, Tobacco/Swords and Coins

So I was working on a system recently. It was supposed to be aligned to the classic elements and was supposed to rework the classic symbols of the standard American card deck. It was mapped thusly:

Clubs -> Time -> Fire -> Guns
Heart -> Life -> Water -> Alcohol
Spades -> Death -> Air -> Tobacco/Swords
Diamonds -> Space -> Earth -> Coins

It was really hard for a fantasy fan like me to separate the original symbol of swords from spades, especially as I'd left a commonly used symbol of coins with diamonds. So it kinda is still stuck in the plan. I'd never determined how I was going to use this other than making descriptions of escalated actions taken by characters based on the suit to require one of the symbols. I'd also added some Jungian psychological representations, but I don't have my notes right now, and all of this is from memory. I think the system was going to be dice and cards, with a hand that would literally modify dice rolls, with suits being the influencing factor (like Face of Angels by Clinton R. Nixon). I can't remember if I came up with this before or after reading his playtest rules, so I'm just going to give him credit (which he richly deserves anyway!)

Ghost Killers

Check out Andy K.'s Ghost Killers before he starts publishing it. It's gonna rock!

I'll be posting more later as I give my thoughts. It reminds me of my group's Dark*Matter game, and has some interesting corollaries to my game in the works. More on that later, too.

Ghost Killers:

Characters are A-Team meets Ghostbusters meets Hellraiser. The first thing you define is a Trigger Event that is 1-3 sentence(s) long (pay attention, this rule comes up more than once). This event basically describes why you're involved with wicky supernatural shit instead of living in ignorant bliss (btw, the supernatural is all Conspiracy with a capital 'C', just the way I like it). Then you get three 'levels' of different 'roles'. This is like D&D levels, and they stack they way they do D&D does it now, but you're capped at three levels total. It'll certainly be interesting to see what happens when you're not continually wondering what level to take next to be more effective. Then comes Arenas, Items, and Karmic Ties (which all work pretty closely to way Aspects do in Fate 2.0). All of this is really cool shit, and stuff that I've wanted in a game like this for a long time. Finally, there's a section titled, get this!, What the Fuck Just Happened? which is kind of like the Trigger Event, but is a Kicker instead of a Character Descriptive.

So far, one of the best parts of this game is the flow in which it's written. Andy's vernacular matches my internal monologue and pacing, and it's like talking to one's self, if one was going to talk to one's self about being badass and kicking supernatural shit (which is what White Wolf should have been based off of how we played it, us .... LARPers >_<).

Hagure Tomato

Nothing like a lost (stray?) tomato to spice up your FFXII experience. @_@

I don't play many video games. I usually get home at the end of the day, cook some and clean some, enjoy being with my wife and go to bed. On the weekends, I'm either working on the house, hanging out with my friends, or roleplaying. I might play more if I had a handheld or two. I used to play quite a bit, however, when I was single. The Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Playstation were my consoles of choice; computer games never appealed to me (other than King's Quest V and VI, for some reason). I pretty much came to a stop after the release of Metal Gear Solid, as the time and skill requirements to play games I'd enjoy rose to levels where I couldn't justify the time expenditure to myself. Much of my roleplaying design ideas usually center around my videogaming experiences. Most notably, Legacy of Kain/Soul Reaver and Final Fantasy are the center of my creative thoughts, with a nod to Symphony of the Night every so often.

Well, back to work. Be on the lookout for tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mythic Heroes

Mythic Heroes by BadAxe Games is a case of missing the forest for the trees. It takes an oustanding idea and instead of developing it on its own it squishes it into a framework for d20 D&D. Maybe it's more like missing the faerie grove for the profitable lumber resources. But anyway, let me give my spin on what I think would make it better.


  1. Hero
  2. Shadow
  3. Mentor
  4. Oracle
  5. Trickster
  6. Maiden
  7. Fated

Hmm, okay. Based on the text, each group will contain these elements and will push for a better, more mythical story. My idea is that recognizing these elements in each character, and when they express themselves, will push for better roleplaying and a better, more mythical story.

So, what I imagine is a character with attributes or connections tied to each of these elements, as chosen by the player, which should, when certain game definitions are applied. Let's start with those definitions.

Hero slotted attributes or connections (Hero traits) are such that they lead the character to do bold, heroic things without concern for well-being, or discourage the character from being less than heroic when dealing with them. These include such connections as family and friends, attributes like justice or defending the weak. Hero traits give extra dice in conflicts, or cost less to activate, or whatever based off the system. Maybe this could be listed as 'Sacrifice self'?

Shadow slotted attributes or connections (Shadow traits) are such that they lead the characters to do sneaky, less than heroic things with concern for well-being, or encourage the character to be less than heroic when dealing with them. These include such connections as enemies and competition, attributes like practicality or hatred. Shadow traits remove successful dice from others in conflicts, or whatever based off of the sytem. Maybe this could be listed as 'Sacrifice others'?

Hero traits vs. Shadow traits - A player can broadly gauge their character's morality by which category has more traits. I can imagine the two headings on the character sheet, with traits listed under each. Could a trait be listed under both, and could it have different values? Maybe a Hero trait would refill or replenish the character when an act of self-sacrifice is performed, and for Shadow traits, when an act of sacrificing others is performed.

I guess that's enough for now.