Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dancing with Mr. D (Part 1)

Several months ago, I had an idea.  Actually, it was more of a question that I posed to myself.
I had just wrapped up another game session, and was going over some points in my mind.  I was half asleep in my warm bed, passing through ideas in the ether of pre-unconsciousness.  
I remembered another game that I had played a long time ago, where success and damage were determined in one roll.  "I wish the game could do that," I thought to myself.

And then a little voice in my head said, "Why not?"

My eyes snapped open, and I was wide awake.  It was a very weird feeling, something I hadn't experienced before; a kind of buzz, but not brought on by any kind of medicine or drug.  It felt like I had to write something down RIGHT NOW.  If I didn't, it would be gone forever.  I shuffled into the living room, sat down in my chair, and opened up my laptop.  

Success and Damage in one roll.  Lots of different systems handle this, and do it well.  Why would this be any different?  I thought about dice pools, and thought of d6; it's a tried and true dice pool, even set of values, and easy to get.  It can also be broken down to different variables, depending on what you want to represent.

Dice pools can be cumbersome, especially if you're rolling a fistful of dice.  Some kind of limiter would need to be in place.  I started thinking about how to accomplish this, and thought about how it could effect other aspects of the system.  Character creation, advancement, averages, just about everything.  That's how I came up with the Rule of 10 - a dice pool cannot exceed 10 in total.  It seemed like a simple and effective way to limit massive dice pools, and I was pretty pleased with the concept.  Little did I know how deep this simple rule would shape the system.

Target numbers were no good to me, and didn't seem to fit the flow of the system.  I wanted it to be more about the dice, rather than their face value.  Skills and Attributes would be measured in the amount of dice you allocated to them.  How many Attributes, though?  I wanted to remain as simple as possible, so I decided on three; Body, Mind, and Spirit.  These Attributes would also form the basis of derived stat pools; Health, Speed, and Grit.  

Skills were tricky, mainly because I wanted to stay away from a long exhaustive list.  I wanted a simple list, but have the option for complexity and specialization.  I came up with a two tier system of Broad and Focused Skills, with each group granting a benefit to the character.  Broad skills represent general knowledge and aptitude in a field, and Focused skills represent specialization and expertise.

There's a lot more to talk about, and it's still evolving.  Stay tuned for more!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Memory Motel

Another update?!?  

*Insert Princess Bride Inconceivable gif here*

I don't want to jinx anything, so I'll leave it at that. ;)

I've come across a bit of a block recently, concerning time management.  It wasn't an issue in the past, because I was able to access my working documents on Google Drive.  Unfortunately, that avenue has been closed, and my access has been restricted.  As a result, I have a small window of time that I can work during weekdays, and thus, productivity has suffered.

Although this is a hindrance, I haven't let it trip me up completely.  I've been taking notes and writing up what I can on a few notepads, and then transferring those notes into my docs on Google Drive.  It's a little more work, but I'm kind of enjoying it; call me Old School, but I like writing stuff out with pen and paper.  It gives me the opportunity to really think about what I want to put down, and flipping through pages of notes is cathartic (at least to me).

So what have I been coming up with?  

Setting specific mechanics is one thing.  This includes Races of a sort, but it's based more on location.  There are four species total, which includes human; the others will be revealed here as teasers.

Another item I wanted to focus on was more dice mechanics, and I think I've come up with a neat little addition.  I'm calling it Elements, and they enhance your roll in very specific ways.  Each Element has a positive and negative quality, which is activated by the type of roll you make.  Players have the option to purchase an Element at character creation, or ignore them completely.

Finally, I wrote up some more planetary history, and a few culture specific details.  The world(s) are really starting to take shape, like they have a life of their own.  It's pretty exciting!  Ya, I'm kind of geeking out on this, but it's cool watching something take a life of its own.

One last thing I need to address is the actual game mechanics.  Would you like me to talk about the core mechanic, and give more details?  If there's enough interest, I'll go into more detail for the next post.  Let me know!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

High and Dry

Hi there.

It's been a while since I've posted; sorry about that.  I could go on a long tear about work, life, and whatnot, but I'm sure you'd be bored to tears.  The short of it is, I've been busy and totally neglected this poor little blog.  I'm hoping to rectify that over the next few weeks, with more updates and activity.

Even though I haven't been active here, I have been doing a lot of developing and playtesting.  After receiving some feedback, I've made some changes to the mechanic in an effort to streamline gameplay.  It's yielded positive results thus far, and players seem pretty happy with the change.
Another theme I've been revisiting is the emphasis on dice.  The mechanic uses six-sided dice, but not target numbers, per se.  Numeric value of each side has a different meaning, and each die has a purpose.  You're always doing something, even if you fail at a task.

While we're on this subject, let's talk about the core mechanic.  First and foremost, everything is represented as dice (or more accurately, d6).  Whatever number you have in an Ability, Skill, or Health is the number of d6 you have in said trait.  The same goes for task difficulty; picking a lock would be represented as a 5 die difficulty.  While this may seem similar to a target number, the action and resolution is very different.  The player's dice roll not only determines success, but how the dice effect the target difficulty as well.

Confused yet?  Don't worry, more on the core mechanic later on.  Hopefully this piques your interest, even if just a little.  I'll post some more details next week, maybe even a sample encounter.  Until then, thanks for checking in, and I'll be more diligent with staying up to date.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Who's Driving Your Plane?

Vehicles.
It can be a tricky mechanic to tackle, no matter the game system.  I've brainstormed, come up with some potential rules, and even run through a few test scenarios.  All of this led me to scrap it and start over again.  The main issue I kept running into, was that the mechanics became overly cumbersome and complicated.  It's hard to pitch a simple game system when one of the mechanics isn't.

As a result, I've kind of avoided the vehicles section for a while now, focusing on other parts of the game.  I ran another playtest, gathered some feedback, implemented some rules, and moved on.  The problem wasn't going to go away, but I had no real answer.  In the meantime, I watched a few of my favorite movies/TV shows for inspiration, and wouldn't you know it...I got inspired.

In many movies and shows, the ship itself IS a character.  It has personality, charm, and a soul (sometimes literally).  Why not stat out a vehicle the same way a character is built?  Use the same attributes, skills, and so on, but on a different scale.  It seemed a little too simplistic, but I tried it out.  The results thus far are very encouraging.  I'm really looking forward to test driving (ha ha) these rules in the next playtest, and getting some feedback.

I hope you've been enjoying my ramblings so far, and would like to hear back from you.  What would you like to see in the future?  Sound off below, and let me know what you think!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Don't Be A Stranger

Hey folks, sorry for taking so long to post.  Time just warped by at light speed, and now we're in February.  I had a bout of flu and strep last month, so that knocked me out for a while, and work has really picked up.  I'd like to get in a post at least every other week, but it all depends on what's going on.

I managed another playtest this past weekend, and was able to incorporate elements of the setting I've been working on.  There was some pretty good feedback on both the system and the setting, and I made a few discoveries along the way:

  • The average target number for non-opposed test is way low.  Players were able to easily overcome these tests, and I had to adjust on the fly.
    • Good news is that the system was able to compensate quite easily, and I was able to input the new adjusted target numbers with ease.
  • Huge difference between having a skill, and not having a skill.  Seems like a no-brainer, but it really showed in the rolls.  Even a single rank was enough to really differentiate between the haves and have nots.
  • Not having a skill for an opposed roll was killer.  The system incurs a -2D penalty when attempting an unskilled roll.  Really punished the players for not having a skill.
  • The system can be pretty gritty, in its current incarnation.  Getting shot or stabbed really hurts a character.  Go figure. :P
  • Emphasis on specialized skills is a benefit, and possible hindrance.
Overall, I believe that the potential remains for the system to be utilized as a universal game system, with options to adjust for any setting the GM wishes to use.  I intend to test this out with another playtest, using a completely different genre and theme.  There are mechanics that allow for more pulp, over the top game play, but I'm undecided if I want to include it as the default, or not.  

Another thought I had was what setting would be the initial "Selling Point".  I have a few that I'm working on, and there's one that I had a hand in creating that could be easily converted.  I know it's a long way off, but it's something that may influence how the system develops.  Right now everything is vanilla; there are no setting specific rules, equipment, races, etc.  I'd like to go the route of including setting specific rules in each new setting book, but I'd also like to have a free setting when you purchase the core rules.  

I'm slowly inching towards a full blown playtest document, so stay tuned if you're interested in participating.  I can't say if it will be sooner rather than later, but it is on the way!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Brand New Car

I have a couple of ideas, and would like your input.

I'm considering implementing a Career mechanic into the system, which would give certain benefits to the character.  It wouldn't be mandatory; the system isn't level-based, and you can build your character as you see fit.  The chosen Career would be a template to build upon, at the cost of build points at character creation.

I've also been developing a setting that is a mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  Right now, it's pretty localized; 2-3 planets, maybe a moon or two.  Space travel is fairly new and expensive, so you won't see a lot of tramp freighters blasting across the sky.  The other option would be a full blown Space Opera, with all of the trimmings; multiple planets, lots of different races, and space transports galore.

So what would you like to see out of these options, and why?  


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ride On, Baby

Hope everyone had a great time celebrating the New Year!  I'm really looking forward to this year, and seeing how things develop and progress.  It's easy to get caught up in the excitement during this time of year; New Year, New Me philosophy and all of that.  I can tell you that my local gym is beyond packed right now, which is fairly routine for January.

The downside is that the luster soon wears off, and instead of a positive outlook, it becomes more of a chore.  Things aren't going as fast or as smooth as you anticipated, other commitments take priority, or Life just gets in the way.  This isn't meant to be pessimistic, but rather a lesson in expectations.  Don't go nuclear, just burn bright and steady.

In short, my development philosophy is approach it like a marathon, not a sprint.

With that said, where am I currently in development?  Let's take a look.

Update #6

  • Mechanic update - The Story Dice I mentioned in the last update really seem to mesh nicely with the core mechanic.  This separates the dice into quantity and quality, as well as open up avenues for interpreting the dice in a dramatic fashion.  
    • Although I've mentioned it elsewhere, the system utilizes a D6 pool.  The core rule is the Rule of Ten - no dice pool can exceed 10D.  This comes into play when creating your character, as well as advancement.
    • Characters are further defined by Strengths and Weaknesses.  These are qualities that either give your character a mechanical, or roleplay advantage or limitation.
  • I will be conducing longer playtests with a local group in the next few weeks, which may lead to a campaign.  
    • Not enough setting has been developed to really jump into anything long-term (yet), but will continue to be fleshed out.
    • The longer playtests will determine how close I am to creating a full-fledged playtest document for others to test drive.
  • Setting development has been a bit slow.  Lots of ideas, but not all are conducive to the setting I'm creating.  These are jotted down for later, maybe for another setting book if this proves to be a successful endeavor.
    • I'm sticking with the science-fantasy route, as it really appeals to me.  It will lean more towards fantasy, with hints of tech (plasma pistols and minotaurs?).
  • Transferred all of my docs to Google Drive, as well as Google Docs.  Even though I was backed up, I don't want to take any chances.

I look forward to posting more updates throughout 2017, and look forward to hearing from you!