Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday's Efforts, made good progress

I have completed the 27 rough cards for Valarians. They will show up as three sets. The first PDF is done. I just need two more PDF's completed to post them. Mostly it will be writing up the cards. The second and third will not have much discussion at the start.

I also got 18 Bloodkin cards ready for sets. The background piece needs finishing.

I completed the first Necro set. My thought is to do them in a series of sets expanding their spells as we move up through the stages of Necromancy. I will have to see how many their are when I get done.

Sue and I have been using SMS to stay in touch while she is at FurFright. She is due back either Monday or Tuesday. We then head out Thursday for Fort Wayne and Pentacon.

Now, I think I will lay walk Mocha and then see if I can get some sleep.

Good Night and Good Gaming!

-- Post From My iPad

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Valarians and more

I sat down yesterday to work on the Valarian sets. I wrote a piece on the Valarians, but I was not happy with the work. It just felt wrong. So I switched to working on the cards and that went much better.

Talking to Mark R he mentioned that I should read the Valarian book before writing anything. I did so. Damn, Sue wrote a good work there. The result is that I think everyone should read that book again. It really helped me finish up the cards, and even my written piece for the PDF. I am hoping to post the rough Monday.

There was also a good deal of talk about Bloodkin in there. So, I am now working on bringing the Bloodkin back into line with the original concepts. The Bloodkin were mortals and shifters, anyone with Dragon's Blood, even if they did not have strong enough blood to become a shifter. Orcs probably call it Orckin, but what can you do?

My thinking right now is to make a "Bloodkin" set with no forms to start with. It would be for both shifters and their Mortal Allies. A good place to move the Latent Shifter card as well.

We can then create the "Evolved Bloodkin" for the shifters, form affinity and fill out that set with forms.

The response to making racial Avatars has been good. It is really what we wanted to do in the first place, but we were limited by the Deluxe card format, so we crammed them into the Bloodkin. I am thinking we should call them all Greater so they can not access the coming Prime abilities for each race. It will make the Primes just a little more special.

I am also looking at giving each shifter race a mortal form. That would mean all Wererats could shift into Vermite. It would give Vermites a second face and let human wererats smell like a vermite.

Yea, I know. With the Great Change we are taking the opportunity to do some of the stuff with DS that we have wanted to do for a long time. Sometimes I wonder if we were wrong not to change the game every few years like everyone else. Look on the positive side, once this is done we can cruise for another 15 years.

Good Night and Good Gaming!

-- Post From My iPad

Friday, October 29, 2010

Embrace the Chaos. Not just a slogan, it is a way of life.

Here it is Frakkin 7:40 in the morning. Sue is safely in Connecticut for Fur Fright.

I even made two mugs of coffee this morning. One sip for me, one sip for Sue. Mocha is mopping, she misses Sue too! Mac suddenly wanted to cuddle with me last night, her Sue was missing and she yelled at me about it.

On the work front I finished a rough of a Channel set. I also laid out a complete library of one card for each of the different card types we will be using. Of course I am still going over them for the missing ones. Just realized I need a Reaver, Storm Hunter and Hag cards. I am breaking the Features out into Features, Warp Features, Necromancy, Jikadell, Hag and Pylos. Got card layouts for Astral and Ritual done too. Working on the Channel card caused me to start work on the Ritual stuff.

Trying to establish some consistent word usage. Spells are Cast. Abilities are Activated. Powers will be Invoked.

I am glad we went with recognizing Classic as a category. It means we can design new cards that work making some old cards outmoded. It does mean we will be relying on our GM's to use 3.4 to make older cards work within the scope of the game. That is fine by me. My opinion, and that of our players, is that we have the best GM's around.

Today I will be going back over the Channel Rough PDF and posting it later. Getting the work done on the card category Fundamentals. Work on the first Valarian set.

Drink coffee. One for Sue and one for me. Hey, downing three cups of coffee right off almost has me moving.

The mind is bouncing around. We will need to break Rituals into two parts. One is the field work and will be on cards. The second half will be creation. Since making Rituals involves permanently sacrificing experience it really is not an in game activity. We are working on the concept that a Ritualist Anchor can be learned, but that Glyphmasters and Zachtos Bloodline shifters can use them without the Anchor. That is the concept anyway. It may be changing. Rituals will be a Power. We have a pile of contradictory cards here on Rituals. We will have to work that out before we can release them. Sue and need several free days just to decide which way we like these best.

Now to get to work. Start with a Valarian write up, then Hadley's safe house work, need to send card art needs for new Channel cards to Sue. She may have some extra time at the Con, we will see. Those leaves are not raking themselves, and Mocha is ignoring them. Hmmm, breakfast. Yogurt. Maybe three more cups of coffee. Rewrite and expand my new module. Run it at PentaCon?

Progress is going in too many directions to be making good headway in any one direction. There is the "bootcamp" project for helping new GM's and players. Adventure creation. Actually, we create tons of adventures, we just do not write enough down to be able to actually publish them.

The Familiar Place comic is good experience and light hearted. A good way to practice for the DS one Sue is working on.

Working up a new podcast character and background for Mark's Mysteries podcast. Want to make it closer to DS. It reaches many non gaming people and we need to draw them in.

Thinking about doing the game podcast as a mission briefings for DS games. Use it to expand a sense of the world and give GM's some ideas to run with.

I need to stop this rambling and get to work.

-- Post From My iPad

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Game Preparation and more

I am running in a few hours and the players are going to be encountering several new terrain issues as their mission leads them into the blight line in the center of Kanchaka Valley.

It is going to take me additional time to create the adventure because I want to lay out the ideas in a way that can be edited into something that can be published.

In the past I have run everything off the top of my head with little more than a set of cryptic notes organizing the whole thing. I can run an evening in about six short sentences.

I do it that way because the time to do a complete work up has to be ripped from some other project.

Today I am going to do the adventure even though the Valarian and Channel sets are begging for the time. I can get one of them roughed out or do the adventure longhand.

I know that most GM's have exactly the same problem, so we need to assist by publishing adventures. To publish adventures we have to put off other projects. The old catch 22 is visiting us.

I also found the reason that I should not pre-number sets. Set 34 was supposed to be Familiars and Companions, but it is not ready. Anyway, I lost track of the missing set number.

Back to work with me.

-- Post From My iPad

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Design is a Balancing Act

Writing the new Version 1.1 Dragon Storm Update was interesting and it presented us with some problems.

First, we want to keep the rules as simple as we possibly can. That entails looking at each rule proposed and asking if it is fundamental or a complication. We always come down on the conservative side of this and cut anything that even looks like a complexity.

To make this work we rely on our GM's and players to fill in the blanks using their intelligence and understanding of the Spirit of DS. The spirit is to have fun and try to get everyone else to have fun. If we wanted to be serious we would be reading Aristotle instead of gaming.

Second we want each player and GM to have the freedom to manipulate the game in ways they find entertaining. From that was born the famous GM rule 3.4. This rule allows a GM to really extend the fantasy aspects of the world without having to follow a rigid set of rules or a script written by us for them. We really believe that our players and GM's will want to stretch their imaginations in ways we can not know about. We have a world where Dragons fly and Breath Fire, how much absolute realism can you expect?

We realize that this makes DS different form other RPG's. Few of them expect GM's and players to input their own ideas into the games. We have faith in our players, you can handle it.

Our next DS rules project is to take the old rules and the revisions and go through and combine them for the book. This is going ton take a good deal of careful consideration. We will be taking our time. After all, it took us 14.5 years to do our first update.

Good Night and Good Gaming!

-- Post From My iPad

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Preparing for Con on the Cob and more

It is once again time to get on the road and go to a Con. Today I will be packing and prepping for the Con at, I hope, a leisurely pace. Need to rest the old bones before the Con. That way I will not be more grouchy than usual.

We have been working like mad to get the new Dragon Storm and Guild updates done. It has been instructive to hear from the two opposing sides on the DS issue. We have scattered the drafts around among our regulars and among a group of people who have left DS.

What we have compromised over the years is the simplicity of rules. The simpler the rules the more you can do with them and the quicker it is to play. The individual GM can make their games as detailed as they want, yet the people who have a full schedule should be able to sit down and create an adventure in a few minutes. The growth of the rules has taken away the quick GM aspect of DS. Our ultimate goal in doing this is to bring the chaos of our warped world in a way that is simple and flexible.

The people who are finding these changes the most difficult to accept have added the rules in their heads slowly over time and they have not noticed how far from the original game concept we have drifted.

One of the changes we are making is outside of the rules and is an informational procedure. We want to do a full write up of each set of cards that we add to the game. The most complete example of this is the Familiars and Companions PDF that we posted. This is the link. this kind of writing is time consuming and we are going to have to slow down our card set releases to be able to provide the world in this way. I believe it will be worth it. We are going to have to wait and see.

Once we have a series of these works created we will be able to combine them and publish them as a series of Grandilar World Guides books.

I will be delving in to a number of DS thoughts over the next couple of weeks, right here, so keep tuning in.

And thanks to all of our loyalists for their support as we make this transition to the future.

-- Post From My iPad

Friday, October 8, 2010

Life is Good, but not perfect.

I spent Wednesday relaxing with Sue, Mocha and Mac. Good day, but taking a day off sure makes things pile up.

I have been using Twitter more often to send out links to new "stuff" as we do it, with links. If you have a Twitter account that I should be following, let me know about it.

More writing being done. I can get these pieces done to a certain point and then I need to wait for the final rules update before I can finish. What it means is that when we get the new games rolling there will be a lot of new background material built into the card set descriptions. We will not be able to publish all of these at one time, so we will put the PDF's up for people to see. One of the new things we are going to push is people making proxy cards for playing with. That was the purpose behind our publishing the Blank card set. If people need just a card or two, they can use Blank Proxy cards.

Thursday I went grocery shopping. I must have spent two hours on the iPhone looking up huge, strange chemical names from the labels. When it made me go "ewwww" I put the stuff down. An oddity showed up that I still can't track down the why of. Hotdogs. Hotdogs have calories of 70 to 180 varying with the brand. The 70 calorie ones have a short list like beef, garlic etc. The more strange names in the list the higher the calories and the higher the salt and sugar. On prices it looks like you choose between chemdogs and beefdogs. Have you ever looked up the possible side effects of some of the chemicals they add to food. Don't, it may cause fear and terror in the eater.

Ok, Mocha says she has needs and then I need to get to work on something. I guess the first job is to decide what to work on. Even the dog knows I should get to work.

Good Night and Good Gaming!

-- Post From My iPad