Saturday, August 31, 2013

Busy day

First of all, I updated the cover for Life of Rage OSR Edition.  The link on the right is accurate.  And it's still only $4.99!  Get it now!

Spent a lot of time on Basic Arcana 2.0 today.  Made some edits on existing content, cleaned up a couple of the pictures, and wrote an entire new section.  Page count is still only at 16 pages total.  But, I like this thing.  If/When I get to run a B/X game, this will be included.

Once I get to work on Monday Tuesday, and have access to the proper PDF program, I will put it out there at RPGNow.  The version I have here will still be available for free, but it won't have all of the content, or my artwork in it.  But don't worry, 2.0 will still be pretty cheap.

Finally getting around to reading the articles in Gygax Magazine #1.  Very cool stuff.  I need to get out and grab a print copy of #2 now.

Anyways, don't forget that tomorrow I start the 30-day D&D Challenge.  See you then!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Basic Arcana 2.0

Today I was looking at some of the stuff I have written and created, and it suddenly hit me that I have done a lot of D&D-inspired artwork in the past, and that it's all up on my DeviantArt page. Holy crap! I have a source of artwork for Basic Arcana right there on my hard drive, and on the web!

So, I started re-tooling the whole thing, and replaced the copyrighted art with my own. I ended up using two pieces of public domain art as well, but the rest is all mine. I'm planning on publishing it at RPGNow, but a few things are in order.

First off, aside from the shiny art, I will work on some new ideas for content. I mean, why would anyone bother grabbing that if they can just get a free version here?

Also, I may try that whole "Pay what you like" system. Has anyone else used it? What kind of response do you get?

In other news, I was in a bit of a gamer funk this morning. I had a very "why do I bother" attitude towards gaming. It was mainly out of frustration about not being able to play much, and from the fact that no one among my friends seems interested in the OSR movement at all. So, I started wondering if I should just quit writing stuff, and coming up with ideas.

I dunno. I will probably continue to write stuff, and just enjoy the gaming I do get. And hope that maybe I can find some OSR game around here. I thought about doing something online with Skype or G+, but with a 4-year old that is constantly asking to use my computer, I don't see that being a possibility. But, who knows? Maybe if I get that netbook up and running...

D&D Challenge

Saw this over at Armchair Gamer, and thought it was interesting. I will attempt to do this starting on Sunday. I can see that many of them will be short posts...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shifting focus...again.

Stars of Fortune is on hold for now. I have done a lot, and there's really not much else to do. But at this time, I feel like my energy could be better spent on other things. Of course, that's just code for "My inner raccoon is getting bored."

So, I am moving on to another project that has been burning a hole in my brain: My very own, complete OD&D Retroclone.

I know, I know. There's about a dozen or more out there that I already know of, and probably dozens more that I don't. But, the idea of re-writing those classic rules, and putting my own spin on a few of the basic concepts, is just too tempting. So, I'm going to go for it.

We'll see how far I get before I see something else that shines...

In other news, we had game on Friday. Basically this was a big battle with a vampire queen and a few of her choice minions. We lived, though my NPC follower died in the second round. Fortunately, we had picked up a magic standard that allowed a certain number of instant resurrections, based on the number of "rays" coming from the sun. We're running out of rays...

But, we lived, we defeated the minions, and we almost defeated the queen. We left off in an empty maze-room, and the notion that she had retreated to lick her wounds, and that we needed to find and destroy her while she was weak. Hopefully that will happen in a couple of weeks, and we can leave this cursed island and get back to destroying the plague-lords!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Has it all been done?

Remeber a couple of posts back when I talked about duplicating efforts? I had decided to take my action/adventure RPG in a sci-fi direction, with a twist, adding in tactical play as an element to the RPG part. Well, this morning I just suddenly realized that even THAT has already been done. Remember a little game called Heavy Gear? Yeah, I have the core rulebook and a few splats. I have no idea why I didn't think of it before.

To be fair, my game is a slightly different take on it. I don't have mechs. Ok, that's about the only difference. Oy.

Ah, well, I have gone too far to turn back now. I have the core rules down, and just need to add some descriptions and flavor text, and stat out equipment. So, once I do that I think I'll turn my attention to creating a fully realized setting. That will probably be the stronger selling point. And even then, the game will be cheap, probably coming in around $5 or less for the PDF.

But one thing this whole exercise has brought to my mind is the fact that it seems like everything has already been done. I am extremely hard-pressed to come up with any original ideas. The best I seem to be able to manage is a slightly altered take on something someone else has already done. But, I think that's just the nature of creative endeavors. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and try to add our own unique stamp on things.

So, I suppose I should be happy with that. Because, in that arena, I think I do pretty well.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Life of Rage - OSR

Well, I am officially an RPG Product Publisher. Life of Rage - OSR Edition went live at RPGNow on Saturday. This version has a cover image (which will hopefully be updated to something better in the future), and some added content and edits from the version I had offered here.

I went kind of low on the price ($4.99), but not as low as I initially considered. It only runs 29 pages total. However, it has a complete setting and plenty of background material, not to mention the original game-specific content designed to be compatible with B/X D&D. All in all, it was a lot of effort. Chances are, if it had been produced by a larger company, with artwork throughout (which mine is 100% lacking), it would be offered for 2-3 times as much as I am charging. I think it's a fair trade.

The plan for this one is to raise enough cash to commission some pro-level interior art to fill in the Original Version of the game. As you may recall, that one has an original rules system, and some unique mechanics not seen in any game I have ever played. I would really like to make the Original Version very professional if possible. I have the basic game done, so my plan while I work on getting some art is to create some original fiction, a full adventure, and some adventure seeds to include in the final version.

All the while, I would like to get the game play tested. I've done some initial testing, and the system works. But I need groups of people not associated with me to have a look. So, if you are interested in this, please let me know. If you play test it and give me some feedback, I'll include your name in the final version, as well as a coupon for a discount on purchasing. My goal is to offer it as a PDF through RPGNow, and also as a PoD through Lulu.

On other news, the mercs in space game, which I have titled Stars of Fortune for now, is chugging along. I have an almost complete system, and am starting to figure out some background and fluff. This will be a small, cheap game, most likely. The art will be simple. Probably some Photoshopped stock images, and not much else. We'll see how it goes.

Haven't been able to play in a while, but we are scheduled to play our 3.5 game this Friday. I might print out some play test versions of LoR to hand out to my gaming group, and see if I can get some interest.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Duplicated Efforts

I hate it when I get an idea for a game, or for how a specific genre of game could be done, so I start writing away, only to realize a few pages in that I am re-inventing the wheel.

It all started when I was looking at how the old D&D rules had been adapted for other genres. There’s a few who do low-magic Sword & Sorcery, and even one that does Science Fiction (Stars Without Number). As a long-time fan of Mack Bolan, aka “The Executioner,” I have always wanted an RPG that would replicate that genre. There are a few that I know of, but, since I am a broke tinkerer, I thought about doing my own version.

Well, as I started thinking about it, I decided to ditch the actual D&D system, and create my own. I knew I wanted something simple, fast-paced and cinematic. So, I started writing down some ideas and building from those. I was chugging along pretty well, coming up with some cool ideas and concepts.

Then yesterday I bought the PDF of Dogs of W.A.R.. First off it’s a great game, based on the system used in another great game, Barbarians of Lemuria, which I own a printed copy of. However, I realized while reading it, I was duplicating a lot of what the author had done already. Granted there are some things I am doing differently, but basically, my game is the same as DoW.

So, now what do I do with all of this stuff I just came up with? I’m thinking about creating a hybrid RPG/Tactical game. I’ve seen it before. When I worked at ACD they had a game that I wanted that was a Sword & Sorcery RPG that, when you got into combat, became a miniatures wargame of sorts. I never got a copy of it, so I don’t know how successful it was (or even what the name was).

This idea came from finding my copy of Space Hulk in one of my storage bins, and remembering that I had once (many years ago) written rules for adapting that game to use other troop types (specifically the Imperial Guard Storm Troopers) and other foes, like Orks and Eldar. And rather than using the Space Hulk tiles, I used large sheets of graph paper to draw maps for exploring and assaulting.

So, will I finish my little game? Eh, I dunno. I have literally dozens of stalled projects like this, so what’s one more? Now, maybe if someone came along and said “Hey, that’s a great idea!” I might be more inclined to finish it…

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tailor Made Campaigns

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is about campaign creation. I generally consider myself a player first, and a DM/GM/Referee second. I create characters, and let others run the story in their world. This is usually the case because I don’t think I’m a very good DM. However, I have occasionally run a campaign with pretty successful results. Two instances come to mind.

My first was D&D 3.5E campaign set in the Forgotten Realms. I created a town founded by retired adventurers, and had the players roll up young, 1st level characters who were supposed to be children of either the retirees, or other members of the town. One thing I asked was that they all give me as detailed a background as they felt comfortable doing. Since they were all pretty experienced, I got a lot of feedback on that.

I then took those backgrounds, and mined them for adventure seeds. My purpose was to run the campaign as a string of related events, wherein each event would draw from a particular character’s background, thus giving them the spotlight for an entire “episode.”

This actually worked really well. And even though we only made it through about three episodes before the campaign imploded due to outside influences, I had a long-term plan that involved everyone. And none of it was planned before characters were rolled.

The other was a D&D game using the Dragon*Star setting. I based the premise off of Firefly, because, well, it’s awesome. But, like the other campaign, individual adventures were not worked out until I had backgrounds from all of the players for their characters. We went through several adventures. And while I didn’t generally focus much on individual character backgrounds as a basis for many of the adventures, I made sure to incorporate elements into the adventures.

So, the take-away is that, when I am most successful at running a campaign, it is generally because I tailor the whole thing to the characters my players create. I’ve always felt that the main focus of any RPG should be the characters. And any good DM will make an effort to let the characters dictate the tone and direction of the campaign. Even if it means ditching some of your initial ideas.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Some updates and stuff!

Well, since my last post we got to play another session of 5E. Nothing noteworthy, rules-wise, but the story progressed nicely. Of course, just after we played that, a new set of play test documents was released. Now I will have to download those, print them out, and start over. But, from what I hear, things are shaping up nicely. The game is widdling down to a good, playable form. I'm excited to play again when we can.

We also got to play in our long-running 3.5E game this past weekend. It had been many weeks due to the DM being out of the country on vacation, and then his father passing away during his trip. But, he has bounced back well, and the story progresses. I made a concerted effort to not let my character be bullied by the rampant meta-gaming that goes on at our table. I think I did quite well. Pulled a few surprises on the DM, and made some odd, yet successful choices of action. All in all, I think the break might have done us some good, as everyone seemed to be tackling the game with more vigor this time out.

This past weekend, we moved into our new apartment. One of the many results of which is that we have some boxes and bins to go through and purge the excess. While getting started on this, I found my old gaming stuff, including a large stack of D&D books from previous editions. I have set aside what I want to keep for sure, and listed the rest on the forums. Already got a nibble. I think I am going to take good pictures of everything, and create a slide-show on Photobucket. I'll be sure to post a link here, in case any of you are interested.

Other things I found include my old Star Frontiers books, some Palladium books, my copy of Twilight 2000, and some homebrew odds and ends, including a couple of copies of a sci-fi RPG I wrote a while back called HOMESTAR. It's kind of a hoot to look at it now. I could see it being edited, maybe have some of themechanics tightened up, illustrated, and published on the cheap.

Speaking of publishing on the cheap, I put together a salable version of Life of Rage OSR, and submitted it to RPGNow. The price will be $4.99, which I think is fair. If/When it becomes available for purchase, I'll post a link here.