Update on the RPG

About a week ago I was able to get a quick playtest in with the final set of rules.  It was a quick run but it gave the players a sense of how the rules worked and how much control they had over the story.  The end result?  Everyone enjoyed it!   In turn, this only inspired me to get more focused on getting this thing done and out to all of you.  It feels good to be getting “serious” about this much fun.

I’m currently organizing another playtest with a group of friends that are a bit more experienced and hardened in the arena of roleplaying games.  I’m looking forward to getting their input and moving forward.

The only thing really left to get done is the formatting and a few of the appendices.  I’m going to supply the basic rundown of a magic system and include it in the initial rule set.  If nothing else, it will work as an initial example for other gamemasters to manipulate as they see fit.

Big week this week with two NPC’s of the week and hopefully the beginning of some solo play fun!

 

Advertisements

NPC of the Week – The Bush Pilot – Jan 23rd, 2016

(Argh.  I thought I had this set up for auto-post but I was tricked!  So, here’s the NPC for last week.  Bonus?  You get two NPC’s THIS week.)

I’m continuing on the NPC of the week series.  For this NPC I will be using Rory’s Story Cubes. I was just able to purchase the third set, Voyages, over the New Year so I’m anxious to give them a go.  I’ve placed all three sets into a central pile and will randomly pulling out three cubes.   After a quick roll I will have my three choices for each of the set of character elements below.  Here we go!

The Setting – We’ll stick with another modern setting, perhaps Superheroes, perhaps Pulp heroes?  Regardless, a modern setting from, let’s say, 1930’s onward?

1st Set of Cubes

Group1

Obvious NPC Story Elements
(Things that are immediately apparent about the NPC or that can be learned through casual conversation.)

The NPC’s role in the world: discerned by clothes, demeanor, initial introduction, etc.

Plane/Flying – At first I thought of this as an international traveller/athlete (see 3rd question below.)  However, I decided to be a bit more literal as it would be more engaging with the PC’s.  The NPC is a commercial bush pilot flying freelance jobs wherever and whenever needed.  The NPC might work for a big airline but I don’t think so.  I believe he/she is a bush pilot which will hopefully open up many more options for the PC’s.

The NPC’s current home or home-base: learned through initial introduction, casual conversation, etc.

Snowflake – The pilot lives in a northern clime like Alaska or Canada.  Again, the bush-pilot theme works here.  The NPC is used to the hardships and joys of living in colder, remote areas.  They know how to fly in unique weather which makes flying anywhere else kind of like a walk in the park.

The NPC’s signature/unique talent: learned through casual conversation, simple getting-to-know-you questions, etc.

Jumping Person – The NPC is a hardcore athlete who trains themselves almost daily with running and exercise.  They are incredibly fit and in excellent shape.  They compete in obstacle course races, marathons, mountain climbing and other outdoor events.   More endurance focused than strength.

Continue reading

NPC of the Week – The Courier – Jan 16th, 2016

Here we go with a new feature where I build an NPC from a series of random elements. Sometimes it will be Story Cubes, sometimes tarot cards, or, maybe, even wikipedia articles.  (Did you know there was a “Random Page” link?)  Heck, I might get crazy and combine all three!  I’ve done this before in the early stages of my blog and I enjoy the process.

I use a list of nine questions that were first created on a now quiet blog called Solo Nexus.  You take 3 sets of 3 questions.  Each set of 3 questions gets 3 random elements which you use to answer the questions.  Each set of questions has a level of intimacy with it which go in this order, Obvious, Personal and Intimate.  This helps give the NPC depth as the PC’s get to know them.  The random elements can be moved to fit whichever question you feel it works best with.  Once you’ve done the first set, you move on to the next one.  Mix in some creativity and, at first, you get a puzzle that is fun to solve and then you get a character.  Read on below and you’ll get the idea!

For this NPC, I’ll go with a modern superhero setting.  Who knows, I might use the character in the upcoming Supers sandbox?  Of course, the NPC will be generic enough that they could be fit into any setting with a little tweaking.   The other settings I chose from week to week will be based on whimsy and maybe an eventual random chart.

The random element for today will be the good old Ryder-Waite Tarot deck.  It’s a standard deck and it’s symbols are pretty clear to understand.  As I’ve said before, tarot decks are just pretty, colored  tools.  They work great for creative, visual thinkers like myself.  If you have a problem with them, I’m sorry, I’m still going to use them.  I’ll draw three cards for each 3 question set and then pick a card that I think fits or works.

At the end I will wrap it all up and present a quick write-up for the character as well as possible story hooks to involve the PC’s.

Let’s get started!

Continue reading

Like a Cart with Square Wheels

As 2015 passes away and 2016 knocks us around a bit, I’m looking back over this blog and where I am with things.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of herky-jerky motion that does not make me happy.

In frustration, my response was to take a sledgehammer to it, knock it all down, burn it and start over.   “No, no,” says the wizened me,  “it’s still good.  It just needs a bit of love and attention.  Focus on the wheels.  You’ll see.”

square

It seemed to be a good answer so let’s get this moving one more time and carve a few corners down.

The Superhero Sandbox game – The bad news? I managed to use the idea of a Solo Sandbox Superhero game to inspire me to write an entirely new RPG for the past year or so.  The good news?  See the bad news.  End result – It’s still going to happen!  (I also realized I allowed myself to get a little stuck on the world creation before actually just, you know, playing.  So, I’ll be doing the micro to macro formula and we’ll build the world as we go.)

The Homebrew Roleplaying Game – There is actually no bad news here.  Hooray!  And you know what else?  It has a name other than “that homebrew roleplaying game thing” and, as much as it can be, it’s done!  I’m running a few more playtests as well as getting it prettied up for it’s PDF deput.  I’ll be happily posting it here.  The goal is Early Spring 2016.   To get things warmed up, I’ll be talking about it here and going over a few concepts.

Game stuff, Storytelling Stuff and Whatnot –   I’ll be doing some other solo play.  I have no idea what genre.  I also want to get back to the NPC builds and maybe a few maps.  I want to create things for folks to use or experiment with.  You’ll start seeing some NPC’s pop up here again.  The first question is what genre?  Should I go with the most popular, fantasy and science fiction?  Or, maybe, make it a reader’s choice?  Maybe both?  Let me know your thoughts.  (I love the word Whatnot.  It covers SO much.)

Also under Storytelling stuff we are going to start talking about what makes the art form work.  For the record, I do consider it on par with the actual form of storytelling and performance.  In some regards, it is the same.  In others, it is different as you also need to work the storytelling within a framework of rules as well as other players, other attendees, etc.   The best comparison at hand is scripted acting vs. improvisational.  They are both acting but are very different.   What makes a good storyteller?  Should a storyteller hold all the power in the performance?  Is the Storyteller a lord or a servant?

Finally, I’ve been doing this the majority of my life and I’ve got some stories to tell.   Look out, I’m going to do storytelling about storytelling!  I’ve got a few rambling tales to offer up about running games, creating games and selling games.  I hope they’ll be entertaining, and, hopefully, informative.

More to come!

I promise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random Spots with a Google Earth Image Overlay

One of the tools I mentioned in my last Flight Simulator post was a way that I generated a random spot on Google Earth.  I wanted to talk about it briefly and show you how I do it.

The way to do it is incredibly simple.  I came up with it while trying to figure out a way to randomly select areas of the U.S. for a possible game campaign.  Below you will find a simple JPEG image.  Feel free to double click on the image and grab it for yourself.  the other thing you will need is a D6.

6x6Grid

I bet you can see where this is going, right?

Right.

  • Open Google Earth.
  • Create an Image Overlay using the graph image. (The button is up near the top.  See the image below.)  Adjust the image over whatever part of the world you want to use it on and adjust the opacity so you can see the terrain underneath it.
  • Roll the dice twice.  One roll for the row, the other for the column.  Find the square that coordinates to the die roll.
  • If it is too large of an area then simply shrink the layer down to fit the area of the initial coordinate and… guess what?  Roll again!
  • Wash, rinse and repeat until you get the area you want.

Here’s a quick example of what it will look like in Google Earth.

6x6gridexample

Also, if you have Photoshop, Gimp or something similar, you could also use this grid to find random locations on a digital map for a fantasy world or anything.  Just add it as another layer and manipulate it as you’d like to put the grid over the area.

The next post today is a more detailed look at how I use the 6 x 6 grid AND some elements of the Mythic RPG Solo game to create one of my more memorable charter flights.

Question on Character Advancement

While spending time on my Flight Simulator, I’ve also been working on my RPG ruleset.   I even attain full geekery by working on the ruleset WHILE flying a long flight.  Geek Multitasking for the win!   The bulk of the basic rules are done and I’m scheduling a playtest in the next week or two to get some initial feedback.  The hope is it will be a fun, story based system that will convert well to Solo RPG play.  Earlier this week, I just finished up an initial run with it in a fantasy RPG setting and I feel it was successful which only energizes me to move forward.

Though nearly finished an important question has come up regarding character advancement.  I’m currently between two decisions and, since this will eventually be free for folks here, I thought I would put the question forward to see if anyone might be willing to offer feedback.

I am torn between two systems of character advancement.  Both have a focus on the fact that levels of Skill become increasingly difficult to attain and full mastery is very difficult and takes times.

DarwinShrugI’ll briefly describe both of them and then you can let me know your thoughts.  Which would be more fun to play?

Version A — A player gets a certain amount of XP awarded to him by the GM, typically between 2 to 4 points.  The player then can spend those XP points on making a roll vs. a difficulty number in a chance to raise the skill.  Low level skills have a low difficulty number, Higher levels are, of course, much more difficult.  This would most likely result in a player missing rolls and possibly burning all of their XP for “nothing but a chance.”  I don’t mind this idea too much but as a player I think it could get rather frustrating.

Version B — My system has “exploding dice” so anytime a 10 is rolled, the player may roll again and add that number to his new total.  If he rolls another 10, he rolls again and adds THAT.  The idea here is that anytime a player rolls an exploding die for any skill use he gets a “tally mark” next to the skill.  When that skill has built up enough tallies to reach the proper level that skill advances automatically, even if it is the middle of a session.  Also, at the GM’s discretion, he may allow a tally mark to be given if a player really bungles a skill roll.  We learn by failure, right?  The downside is that if a character is very focused on a particular skill there may be a bit of a “grinding” feel to it.

Also, it should be noted, players would not be allowed to do a repetitive task in order to try and gain more tallies with an exploded roll.  For instance, throwing a knife at a target over and over to try and get his skill tallies up.  (I understand, in reality, this would be the way you do it but it doesn’t make much of a story, right?)    I suppose I could include a rule that a character could announce between games they were doing such a bit of practicing to earn a single tally mark?

Those are the two versions right now.  What do you think?  Which would be more fun?

Thoughts?  Ideas?

 

Pardon The Interruption but, Hey, GenCon!

I just wanted to jump on here real quick and offer a sincere apology for not having a more recent post!  You see, I was surprised a few weeks ago by my middle son who decided he wanted to go Gen Con for his first time ever.  So, after much scrambling, we are headed to Gen Con in nearby Indianapolis!

GenConMy first Gencon was in 1983 when it was still being held at the University of Wisconsin.  I was halfway through high school and about to burst with excitement when I walked into the vendor hall.  I partook in a TSR sanctioned D&D tournament which showed me that railroading PC’s DOES occur at the higher game levels.  (Close to actual quote of the GM at the time.  And yes, I was so mad I STILL REMEMBER IT. “Yeah, that Revenant was supposed to come after the Ranger character in the party.  It was designed for the Ranger to die because he would be too useful later on in the adventure.  IF the party could come together there was a slight chance he could survive…” )

I was a midwestern kid from a small town and a chunk of that town thought for sure roleplaying was the work of the Devil.  I had to find my game books in a dusty hobby shop that specialized in model trains, planes and race cars.  Not that I really cared but I never knew if I was doing any of this roleplaying stuff right.  By the time that summer weekend was over, I had a pretty good idea.  I played in a double blind Gamma World miniatures battle that blew my mind.  I saw my first large scale miniatures wargame that blew my mind.  I saw the first ever fantasy wargame battle strewn out on 30 square feet of convention floor that blew my mind!

Because of my interest in art I spent a large chunk in the artist’s hall and for two days was befriended by Timothy Truman who gave me impromptu art classes.  I remember him showing me the best way to draw legs and arms.  I would take my sketchbook in and sketch next to his table and we would talk about all stuff comicy and geeky.  Needless to say — Mind blown!

I think by Sunday morning of that first GenCon my brain was completely goo.

I’m not really sure how many I’ve attended now.  I attended them in Milwaukee numerous times including one time where everything fell through and I and my friends had no where to stay!  Funny enough, I’ve attended them less now that it moved to Indianapolis and is much closer to me.   The first year it was in Indianapolis I was working from the other side of a vendor table with friend Chris Engle after becoming enamored with his Matrix games, the first story style game I ever played.  I was even pushing my first garage made RPG at the time.  After that, I would go if I could afford to drive up but not attend.  You know,  just to meet old friends who were either going as convention-goers or vendors for dinner.  I don’t think I’ve been in probably five years.

But that’s all past now because I’m headed back.  This time I get to bring the next generation along and start a whole new round of stories, adventures and shennanigans!

I’ll most likely have a post out in the week following the con.  In the meantime, if you want to see a bunch of goofy con pics from a paleo-gamer, feel free to follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting more than my fair share!  If you’re at the Con, let me know.  I’ll be the tall, graybearded fellow walking around with a nostalgic grin!

Announcements – Annnnnnd before I forget, I’ve been working on the Super’s setting for the solo play and I’ve managed, I think, to come up with a decent hack for the FU RPG.  Very shortly I’ll be presenting that as well as an outline of the up to date gameworld.   Hang in there!

I gotta deal with this pesky game convention thing…