Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home and Staying there!

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday just staring at the walls. They seemed to have a life of there own. The movement of the shadow spirits had me entranced. It is, I'm afraid it is a symptom of not quite being one with our physical world, and exhaustion.

So, at 11pm wednesday night I started moving furniture. This drives Sue crazy so she has her fingers in her ears and is saying "la la la" and a few other choice words. I can't blame her, but it relaxes me. Now, where to put the couch...

Work is stacking up, oh well, I'll get to it. I have some creative dreaming to do.

I have a new office set up completed, I like it. This should work. I think I'll move on to some other tests of the space.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Every Action in the game must be accompanied by using an Action.

During any game designed by Susan a Gamemaster is constantly called on to interpret the results of player actions. They use experience, common sense and their understanding of what the chaotic universe is doing currently. Sometimes the GM rulings seem to go contrary to what the player expects. Because this multi-universe is chaotic, even actions performed yesterday may be different today. Susan's rules design creates a multitude of possibilities for every action. To help the players sort through the ever changing universe, we have created an official in-game appeal system for the new games.

- In Game Player Appeal Process -

The player may expend one of her characters actions to perform a rules appeal. The player will state their case as to why they think something different should happen. If other players want to join the appeal and talk, they will also need to expend an Action. The GM will listen to the speeches carefully. At the conclusion of the commentary the GM will thoughtfully consider the players words. The GM will either agree with the player and change the ruling, or they will not. Once the GM has made a second ruling the appeal process is over and the game continues. The appeal is over.

Gamemasters have a tough time in rules discussions during the game. They are usually basing their rulings on factors the characters, and their players, do not know about. To reveal these secrets at the wrong time may well do the game more injustice than justice. For the players part they should be aware that Susan's multi-verse does not have firm laws in place. That means that identical actions are not meant to have identical results all of the time. Your characters are well aware of the anarchy of the universe. The characters are not surprised by the universes mutability, even if the players are.

Obviously this new rule is designed to try to segment rules discussions from the game proper. All Activities in the game require an Action to perform, so we are classifying questioning the universes operation as an activity. If the GM decides in the players favor she may even give back the Action, it all depends on the players attitude.

Commentary: As with all the new rules this one needs a good rewrite. The idea is to keep rules questions from disrupting the game.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just Try It. A Basic DS RPG concept

When we first published DS way back in 1996 Susan had some basic concepts built into the game. We made some assumptions about how they would be handled by players and GM's. That assumption led us to fail to clearly elaborate some of those concepts.

Now that the modified 2d6 game system is on the horizon we have an opportunity to delve deeper into some of those concepts. As I was doing dishes this morning my mind began mulling over one such concept. We did not present it strongly enough in the original game. We are going to add a new Guideline to the new games. It is the "Just Try It" concept. There are slight variations here from the DS rules, they represent the Tweaking of the rules that hindsight has provided.

In Susan's concept of the multi-verse the characters are special creatures. Within these characters is the ability to conceive of, and perform, amazing actions, along with, of course, the mundane actions. To allow for this Susan created the 2d6 contest roll where the player rolls 2d6 and adds their bonuses to the roll. This becomes their contest number. The Gamemaster rolls 2d6 for the universe and adds it's bonuses. That becomes the universes contest roll. The higher number is successful. If there is a tie, the GM (Universe) wins the roll.

The question I want to approach in this piece is what a character can actually try to do. We have cards that represent many skills, spells abilities and more, in our crpg systems. When one of these is activated the player is going to get a bonus to their contest roll. That is pretty simple to assimilate. What becomes more complex is when a player wants to perform an action for which they do not have a card. These actions can be anything from climbing a cliff, riding a horse, or singing a bawdy song to distract the listeners. Basically anything the players creativity can think up. How do we make a contest roll for this?

To try to do this will use the standard contest roll. The player will roll 2d6, and, since they have no bonus, add zero to the roll. That will be there contest roll. The complexity in the contest roll comes in the gamemasters end of the roll.

The gamemaster is rolling for the universe, or at least a piece of it, such as the horse, listening crowd or the cliff. The GM will have to think quickly and determine the universes bonus. If the action is an easy one, such as climbing a steep stairway up the cliff, the GM may give the universe a negative bonus, making the action easy. She could even decide that the universe has a -12 bonus and the character succeeds. At the other extreme the GM may look at the action and determine that it is darned difficult. Riding an unbroken wild horse is going to be tough. The GM may, in this case, determine that the universes bonus is as +8. A very tough endeavor, but possible.

The Gamemaster has further decisions to make. How long does the action take? What may be the result of the action? What happens if the player rolls a "2" and has a bad failure? The GM also needs to consider if the 10, 11, 12 success rules apply to this situation. These decisions are done based on factors that the players are unaware of, and may never discover. Due to this confusion, and secrecy, players will sometimes want to protest, not knowing that there are special factors at work.

In the new guidelines the player may invoke an Appeal by expending one of the players actions to make an Appeal. I will cover this in a separate posting. For the moment all I will say is that if something uses game time, it is an action, and the GM's decision after the appeal is final, even if the GM says "You failed, your character, and you, do not understand why".

Now we come to the question of how far all of this may be taken. Throwing reality out of the window allows players to liven the game with their fertile imaginations. What if a peasant character wants to sing a complete opera she once heard? How about casting a teleport spell she once saw a wizard cast? Leaping over a 30 foot ravine? Repairing a war-bots eletronics? All of these may be tried by anyone, however, the difficulty should be extreme. We want role-playing to open the creativity, not limit it. It is all about having fun.

All right, now that I have perplexed my readers, that is all for today, I really should be cleaning house and prepping for GenCon, but this was in my mind. Someday I, or some volunteer, will try to compose this in an understandable commentary. Comments welcomed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Surviving rather ok, as is sometimes done.

I am nearing the end of the Bronchitis, and I must say I picked a heck of a day to do so. The heat is interesting, but the way it is combined with humidity has brought the intrigue to a fevered pitch. Which basically means that I worked for a couple of hours and then I laid down to close my eyes for a few minutes. After the minutes stretched into several hours I am awake again.

I have assembled our orders to ship tommorrow. I have been slow in getting them prepped, but with GenCon coming this week it is necessary to get them on the way.

During this illness I have done little except for picking away at the new game. Tim suggested I rework the layout sheets to have nine cards, because our new printer works in 9 card multiples. Seems like a good idea, and I need to tweak all of the cards after the last couple of games.

My mind has just wandered away and I must chase it down...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back from StormCon

Such luck. Great convention, but all I got was this bronchitis to show for it. I slid down to the docs office and he muttered sagely that I have bronchitis, and if I take some mystical pills it will go away. I am on the pills. One makes me hotter, one makes me colder and one muddles the world.

I ran Crypt Crawl RPG friday night. The mechanics are coming along fine. I need to put a little pizzaz in the background, clean up a few more questions and we will finally reach a stable beta version.

People seemed to have a good time at the Con. I always like StormCon. It is full of people I like and people who are Supporting and encouraging Sue and myself.

Well, I think I'll go lay back down...