Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sound for your Game

I’ve always thought about adding music into the game… I’ve read a lot of people who swear by it.  I noticed in advertisement that I actually clicked through (very rare for me!).  The service looks interesting and I’m considering subscribing.

It looks like they’re working officially with Paizo to do sounds for Rise of the Runelords campaign.

http://syrinscape.com/

 

Still Kicking and Still Thinking About Resolution Mechanics

Had a good time revisiting this project yesterday and I’m getting the energy back up to start working on it again.  While the core mechanic probably doesn’t matter all that much, I’ve been reading a lot of debate in various threads around the internet regarding the virtues and faults of non-linear mechanics (like the one I am currently using).  

The main issue to me seems that with a bell-curve or pyramid distribution, the probabilities all fall in the middle of the range (which is the point, obviously).  The mechanic I am using measures success over your target, so it’s not just a succeed/fail system and so I do think the curve makes sense to use.

However, there is a lot of discussion about different activities one might take that should not be based on a normal distribution, but would be hard to model with a non-linear resolution mechanic.  Also, with all that probability in the middle of the range, a couple bonuses or penalties can end up putting all the probability ahead of you or behind you, making the game difficult to balance and unforgiving.

 

 

Blog Activity

I put down Lost Worlds for several months as my work swallowed me for awhile.  I’m hoping this summer to start posting the rules I’ve put together.  I’ve got a friend going to GenCon and I have some extended vacation in August, so my hope is to circle back in August to take a fresh look at all of this.

 

Not Blogging Much

I had a 10 day vacation with my wife, then a work conference, and now I’m catching up from that.  My paying job has continued to require more of my time, and I find I don’t have as much energy for this in the evenings anymore.

I have been blogging for almost a year, and I’ll keep it up occasionally, but this space is going to be a bit quiet.  I have managed to post over 120 times in that year, which I think is a better rate than even I thought I’d manage.  I have a feeling I’ll get the bug again and start working to get a finished product put together, but for now, I’m going to go back over all the stuff I’ve written in the last year and see where I want to go with it all next.

Thanks to everyone who participated with me – I appreciate it.

 

Elric of Melnibone

I just finished the Elric compilation I purchased (and started reading way back… I really do need to put some more time aside to read).  Some of the early stories were hard for me to get into.  Still, once Moorcock got into his four-part novel, the character, the cosmology, and the story were worth the wait.

I also enjoyed the context from the letters published at the end of the book.  Moorcock is forthcoming about his inspirations, how his novels and characters reflected his life, and how he weaved his own philosophical and religious beliefs into the cosmology of the world.  You get a brief glimpse into the differences in his work between writing commercially and writing for himself, and what happened at the intersection of those usually competing goals with the Elric stories.

I like to hear an author admit to which stories and scenes he or she thinks are good, and which are rubbish.  Moorcock also talks about some of the literary techniques he uses, and how he intentionaly used symbols throughout his works. Back in college, when reading literary criticism of various works, I hated how easily someone slapped the word symbol onto pieces of literature, when it seemed more like they were bending the fiction to the critic’s perception of reality.  When the author talks about it though, and having just read all of the stories, it really adds some depth that lets me revisit what I just read.  His letters make me want to start reading some of the other works that Moorock references as inspirations.  I may pick up Leiber’s Grey Mouser next.

Of course, I have a hard time reading this stuff without thinking about how to steal from it for my game, or eventually for my own writing.  I was a creative writing minor in college, and I always had this little bug in my brain that kept me thinking I was going to one day start practicing more heavily with fiction and start writing again – or even better, find out I was one of those people who seemed to be able to just pick it up and make it work.  There’s a lot to steal from the Elric stories, and I can’t help but notice how much classic fantasy games HAVE stolen from them.  You have a magic sword that gives Excalibur a run for its money.  There’s a whole cosmology of Chaos vs. Law (Now that I’ve read the Elric stories, I realize that Warhammer doesn’t even try to hide pulling straight from Moorcock).  There is, as is frequent with these fantasy tales, a little hint to the fantasy world being a precursor of our modern world.  You have a great anti-hero, who like Wolverine or Han Solo, always seems more fun than your typical prince Valiant types; although Elric gets a little too moody and whiny for me sometimes.  Moorcock manages to make his stories of Elric epic though, from beginning to end, but for the most part he manages to allow this epic story to unfold naturally out of the characters and the world he’s built, so that it doesn’t (usually) feel gratuitous.

I need to put some more time in reading I think.  It’s just with so many competing pulls on my time, I’ve had a hard time making a habit of it.

GenCon

I’m flying to Indianapolis for GenCon.  I’ve attended once before and I feel like I wasted some opportunities on that trip.  The last time I attended I was writing (very little) on another blog, and playing 4e almost exclusively.  I attended with some GenCon veterans that signed our group up for all of our events throughout the weekend.  I ended up playing in about 14 different D&D 4e games, and didn’t manage to do much else.

Needless to say, I burned out a bit on 4e and started branching out my interests in RPGs.  Our playing group switched to Paizo’s Pathfinder, which we are currently playing.  I told myself that if I ever go back to GenCon again, I’d make it a point to use it for the opportunity it really is – a chance to experiment and see the wide variety of games the industry has to offer.

So, I have tickets for only a few events.  I’ll buy some generics and see what all there is to see.  I may be going a bit too unstructured this year, but I’m looking forward to the freedom of bouncing from event to event without having my calendar for the whole weekend dictated for me, rushing from one thing to another.

I also hope I get some more inspiration for Lost Worlds, and maybe pick up a few games to mix things up once the convention is over.

A Peak at the Pro Game

I’ve slowed down a bit in the last couple of weeks.  I was going to try to keep it up at the same pace for another month or so, but I just haven’t made it as much of a priority lately with some competing drains on my time.

Today, I want to share the live playtest of D&D Next that’s available as part of the D&D Next playtest.  I’m not sure what my expectations were going into it.  I feel both disappointed and a little bit relieved that it seems just like a regular game of D&D.  It’s nice that they didn’t script it out or ham it up for the audience.

I’m interested to see what your reactions are to the session.