Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I suppose I shall have to take an F for effort, but I will post the results whenever I get a free half-hour.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Actually, skimming over the blog that seems to be exactly what I'm doing anyway. I think I may just be on to something here. This will require further thought....
In the meantime I will continue playing with Overcard for now since the playtest is already underway and it was a NagaDemon project anyway,
Which makes it rather odd that I hadn't run across Dinky Dungeons until recently. What is it about rules-lite systems that seems to lend itself to humour/parody games?
to come up with some? Here are some games from sciffy and fantasy books/shows.
My personal favorites are Fizzbin (Star Trek), Dragon Poker (Myth books), Cyvasse (Game of Thrones - someone make a playable game of this already!), THUD (Discworld) and of course, Calvinball!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I showed her my write up for Johnny Saxon and said, “A normal person from the near future. The earth is about to be struck by a Comet and the last thing the character remembers is being kidnapped by men-in-black. The circumstances are up to you.’
Well, she didn’t disappoint and being a bigger Community fan than I am, she came up with…
Brianne was a second year university student. A bit aimless, she had not yet declared a major but was trying to decide between Woman’s Studies, Sociology, Drama and Psychology, all guaranteed to make completely unemployable after graduation.
After the Comet became public knowledge classes were suspended, but being estranged from her mother and not having anywhere else to go, she stuck around campus. One night, she was invited to attend an end-of-the world costume party in the Student Union bar. Knowing that some of the students had been going a little wild, she decided to dress in the least provocative costume she could find. A few hours later, as the party tipped from wild to decadent, she slipped away and tried to stumble back to her dorm room. Along the way, a black van suddenly pulled up and she was dragged inside…
Accouterments: (5) Squirrel costume, half a bottle of tequila, a textbook “The Womyn’s role in Modern Herstory”, and a can of mace (+2 Mental Damage).
Trick: Big Heart: Bri has a big heart but has to work on it, so whenever she draws a heart, she doubles her bid points.
Flop: Temper: Bri also has a bad temper so whenever she draws a Club, the card value is halved.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Still trying to get a quick Overcard game test together before the end of the month. In the meantime, here are some other NaGaDeMo projects I've run across:
-Savage Afterworld has been working on some Mutant Future stuff.
-Zombie Toast is working on DICE. I'm looking forward to reading the finished product.
-Stargazer's World has some notes on tools writers can use.
-And the one that kicked it all of in indomitable Nathan Russel
Friday, November 25, 2011
Legend tells that when it came time for him to lie upon his death bed, the Monarch summoned his Queens, his councilors, concubines, generals, lords, wizards and children to him. As his heart grew faint, his eyes grew dim and his skin became pallid and cold, the throng of onlookers leaned in closer, waiting eagerly to hear him name a successor. Instead, with his final breath he laughed softly and whispered only, "Let it all be broken."
The plot concerns a theft named Mouse (Matthew Broderick) who escapes from the infamous dungeons of Aquila. As a kid, I had thought that Aquila was a made up place, but I know realize the film is set in medieval Italy. Aquila also means 'eagle' in Latin which continues the animal theme running throughout the film.
Mouse makes the mistake of bragging about his escape in a tavern, which brings him to the attention of some guardsmen and a mysterious knight named Etienne d'Navarre (Rutger Hauer). Navarre then rescues Mouse from the soldiers, but not out the kindness of his heart. It turns out he needs the thief to break back into Aquila for reasons of his own, the prospect of which doesn't exactly thrill Mouse. The knight also carries a surprisingly intelligent hawk, which aids them in their escape.
As night falls they take shelter in a woodcutter's barn, but Navarre disappears. When Mouse tries to escape, he is nearly killed by the axe welding woodcutter, who is in turn attacked by a great black wolf. In the confusion, a beautiful young woman suddenly appears (a stunning Michelle Pfeiffer) who calms the rampaging wolf.
So unfold a tale of revenge, romance, magic and swordplay that has the feel of watching a particularly good novel. The plot is well structured with a good pace, a lot of humour (mostly derived from Mouse's running conversation with God) and a truly epic final battle between Navarre and the captain of the Bishop's guard. Hauer's Navarre made a huge impression on me and to this day he stands as my archetypal image of a knight. It was also the genesis of my undying love of whacking great two-handed Zweihänder swords.
Okay, so the 80's style synth-a-soundtrack is a little hard to take. I've actually seen it referred to as one of the worst film scores ever composed. Still, if you take that for pure cheese value, it isn't so bad. I think that if it had a more orchestral score the film would be a much higher rated geek classic. Soundtrack or not, it is still my favourite 80's sword-n-sorcery epic.
This custom built crossbow can fire two quarrels separately or simultaneously (requiring a single to-hit roll for double damage of a normal heavy crossbow). Because of its large size, it requires greater than average strength to draw and weld.
Curse of the Sun and Moon (WARNING: SPOILERS)
A powerful curse cast on two lovers, usually by a jealous or jilted suitor. The curse is so powerful that it cannot be cast by a mere mortal and can only be obtained by entering into a bargain with a powerful denizen of the underworld, though their price for weaving such a spell is terrible beyond measure.
The effect of the curse transforms one of lovers into an animal for the duration of the day, while the other is transformed into a different animal during the night. The only time the two might see each other in the flesh is for a single, heartbreaking moment at dawn and dusk.
While in animal form, the person is utterly loyal to their lover, will follow them faithfully and defend them to the death. However, while processing high intelligence for an animals, they are still wholly animals in temperament, intelligence and instinct. Upon reverting to human form, they have only a fleeting recollection of their time spent as a beast.
The only way to break the spell is to force the person who cursed them to gaze upon both lovers at the same time, while both are in human form. If any of the people involved is killed, then the curse becomes permanent.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
If a physical situation such as lifing a gate, or climbing a wall comes up in the game, the character uses their Physical Stat. To do this the Dealer assigns a Difficulty Number.
Easy: 1-6+1 Card
Average: 7-12+2 Cards
Hard: 13+As many cards as required.
The Player now assigns as many Physical Points as they wish and are dealt a card. If they tie or beat the Difficulty number then they are successful. An amount of points equal to the Difficulty number is added to their X-P.
The points spent are temporarily lost (how to regain Points will be explained soon).
Mental skills work the same way if the PC is attempting to repair anitem, or decipher a code or disarm a trap. It is up to the Player and GM to determine when something is Mental or Physical.
PCs can easily have Tricks or Flops that pertain to Mental or Physical checks, for example the player may want the PC to be a trained doctor, so they give the PC the Trick that when doing a Mental Check involving medicine, they may be dealt two cards and can discard the lowest (or similar).
For obscure or trivial skills, such as Jonny's knowledge of Vintage Rock (that song coming over the speakers is "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers!) or a character's in depth knowledge of Doctor Who trivia ("that tree looks just like a Tardis!") can be played without a difficulty number unless the Dealer absolutely deems it necessary to the plot.
Using Your XP
During the next significant rest period, players can move points from their XP back into their Combat, Mental and Physical stats at a one for one ratio.
If the character does not have enough points in their XP to cover all missing points, then they are still tired, sore or hurt, depending on where they did not put their points.
XP The other use for XP is allowing characters to build up their stats and/or purchase new Tricks. It costs a number of XP equal to the current number+1. For example to raise a Mental Stat from 7 to 8 would require 8 XP.
The cost of a Trick must be approved by a the Dealer. Conversely, players can raise the level of a current Trick by the same as raising Stats. (if the Trick cost 6 points during character creation, it would cost at least 7 points to make it more powerful. The final cost us up to the Dealer.)
So the character has nothing in their XP and they want to heal. For every eight hours of rest, the character gains back 3 points that they can put back wherever they wish.
Well, that is it in terms of basic rules. I've done a HORRIBLE job at explaining them here, but I hope to run a quick game-test
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Door in a Jar
This one shot item is a small ceramic jar filled with a green slime. When thrown at a wall, the slime will poor down the wall and reveal a small door that resembles the entrance to a hobbit hole. The door opens into the next open space beyond the wall. The opening is quite small and is difficult for normal sized humans to pass through.
Rubber Duckie of Invisibility
Guard Mind Control Spray
This bottle of mind control spray will automatically convince any guards or security personelle to take the sprayer's side. It will affect ONLY guards and security, it will not affect police or military personelle, unless they are specifically acting as a guard.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Dinosaurs are the best monsters never used in RPGs. Most of them have stats somewhere, but when there are fire breating dragons and other monsters they rarely seem to get played. This beauty of an image has strengthened my resolve to include my half pondered Fort Dinosaur (title shameflessly lifted from Burroughs'
Land that Time Forgot books) module to Extinction Event.
Anyone know of a game that does dinos well?
had only a 4 card and bid 6 points, for a total of 10. Because Jonny (the PC) won that round, he collects those 6 points Bid by the Clown and puts them into his "Experience Pot" or X-Pot. How the points in the X-P are used will be described later.
Jonny then gets a total of 17 for Damage, clocking the Fireclown for 3 Physical points (of an original 10).
Example, Round 4In the final round, the Fireclown is attacking with 2 remaining points while Jonny has 4 points left. The Fireclown is dealt a 10 and goes All In, wagering all his remaining points. Jonny Calls and throws in 2 of his 4 points, revealing his card to be a Jack (11 points). Jonny successfully defends that round and takes no damage. Jonny also collects the Fireclown's two points and puts them into his X-P.
The fight is over because the Fireclown does not have any further points to bid, Jonny has two points left. Since he has points remaining, he has won and Jonny's player NOW DETERMINES THE FIRECLOWN'S FATE. The fireclown is not dead, but he has been defeated. Jonny's player now gets the opportunity to describe what happens to the fireclown. This can be as simple as saying "with one last swing of his crowbar, Jonny cleaves in the Fireclown's head" to whatever the
player envisions. He can take it prisoner; he can sell it for parts or whatever his fiendish little mind so chooses.
If the Fireclown had won, the Dealer gets to determine what happens to the Character.
If the fireclown had taken enough 10 Physical damage points, it would be dead. If it had taken 10 Mental Points, it would be automatically unconscious/nonsensical.
If both the Fireclown and Jonny had ended the fight with 0 Combat points, the winner is determined by the side that collected the most in their X-P. Yes, I'm going to backtrack and state that Dealers should keep track of how many X-P are collected on their side as well.
Jokers – If either side is dealt a Joker, they automatically win that round. If both sides are dealt a Joker, then the side that Bids the most points, wins.
---- yeesh this is bady written. MRW.
Neutral Good: A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.
Druids; gain power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. They hate the unnatural, including aberrations or undead, and destroy them where possible. Druids receive divine spells from nature, not the gods, and can gain an array of powers as they gain experience, including the ability to take the shapes of animals. The weapons and armor of a druid are restricted by their traditional oaths, not simply training. A druid's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast.
Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?
courtesy of Easydamus email@example.com
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Following the road, at the crest of one of those low, brooding hills, travelers first see Skarab as a giant hulking scab over the landscape. Dark and sour looking, its walls are the color of dried blood in under the flickering sun. Drawing closer you will see no buildings beyond the walls, only the road leading directly into the round, open maw that is the city's only gate. The walls are not stone, but resemble the chitinous casing of a burrowing beetle. There are no windows or other openings and even the sky is blocked as the walls close overhead.
Visitors rarely venture beyond vast open space beyond the gate known as Craw Market. There they can they can trade bolts of fabric, fruits, glassware and forged tools for the rare alchemical distillations for which Skarab is famous. They hold no monetary system and are rarely interested in coins through they sometimes take them for the metals contained therein. Though the people of Skarab invite trade, they offer little fare for travelers. Food is free for the caravans, but they serve only a thick broth known to traders as snot soup, and a strange meat that is cooked in an alchemical bath. Its stringent, alien flavor is said to be an acquired taste at best.
Inside, the air is heavy, warm and moist. The city is a warren of twisting corridors and tunnels leading randomly into large rooms that are lit only by bulbous clusters of glowing orbs that give a watery and greenish light, for fires are not permitted in the living city. The walls and floors have a curious texture, dripping with moisture and solid, but curiously yielding, as if one were walking on a layer of thin ice over a pond. A fetid wind sometimes blows through the tunnels, and when it does, all the people of Skarab will stop and turn into the wind, chanting 'H'Bjulth Ska'rabblu', 'the breath of Skarab'.
The people themselves are a bloated, yellow-skinned race, who dress in colourless, membranous robes. In the wet, heavy air, many shave the hair from their bodies and wear only thin sandals or go barefoot. Though many speak the pidgin tongue of the caravans, their own language is a guttural and gibbering sound that bears no resemblance to any other known tongue. Their dwellings are cavities carved into the walls, closed off by curtains of the same membranous materials as their clothing and most daily activities take place in the communal halls found deeper in the city.
There is no king or ruling council in Skarab, no authority at all beyond the relationship between master and student. Children are raised by their parents only until they are old enough to become an apprentice at which time the bond of family is irrevocably cut. After that, their lives belong utterly to their new master, who assumes complete authority and may treat them as they see fit. Of the children
who fail to find a master, nothing is said.
The thing is that I like my fantasy WEIRD. Tolkien fantasy is great when I'm reading about Hobbits, but in my early teens I picked up a copy of the Talislanta Worldbook and immediately fell head over heels in love. From there I expanded into Lovecraft's Dreamcycle, the works of Jack Vance, John Varley's Gaea, Howard's original Conan books among many others and realized that limiting yourself to Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits was for suckers. I believe that Middle Earth ranks up there as one of the single greatest achievements in world building, and a goal
that every fantasy author should at least study, but the plethora of pale imitations can make even the original seem pallid at times, like watching a comedian scream 'Stella!' or doing 'I coulda been a contenda'. Then you go back and revisit the originals and remember what made them so iconic in the first place.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Then there is krokodil, which is nothing short of THE MOST HORRIFYING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. You've been warned...
Still, the evil GM inside me cannot help but think that any game with non-human races could easily have a local intoxicant that might not be exactly friendly to a human body.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Each guardian was to protect their burden with their lives and as a final act, fill the key with their own blood and pass it on to next one worthy enough to carry it. Down through countless eons, innumerable souls have done the best they can, but now only one key remains.
Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight- Key (clipped to polyvore.com)
One night in a remote country tavern the party meets a stranger. Half starved and nearly half mad, they catch him trying to steal the party's (transport, cash, etc). Soon after, a handsome stranger appears, calling himself a Collector and claiming that the stranger has stolen something from him.
All they have to do now, is survive until sun up...Watched Demon Knight over the weekend and realized that it would make a pretty decent one-off scenario in any game with supernatural elements. The problem might be what to do with the Key at the end of it all if the GM does not want to make it the focus of a long running campaign with the party running from Billy Zane the whole time. The solution to this of course would be Jayda, the bar's spunky young barmaid.
Example Con’t. Round 2
The next round the Fireclown attacks and Jonny quickly folds because his card was only a 2. No Combat Points are lost by either side to be used next round, but Jonny takes damage as he is hit by the flaming rubber chicken (+3).
All weapons have a damage modifier ranging from +1 and up. All armour has a modifier ranging from -1 and down.
To determine damage, deal two cards. Take the numerical value of the cards, add in the Weapon and Armour values and consult the following chart.
2-15 Minor Injury. 1 Physical Point lost
16-24 Serious Injury 3 Physical Points lost.
25+ Grievous Injury. 5 Physical Points lost
If a character’s Physical points reach zero, they are considered physically incapacitated and in dire need of medical attention (for most NPCs and monsters it means death).
The Fireclown gets dealt two cards, a 4 and an 8. With the Fireclown’s flaming chicken doing +3 damage, this means a total of 15 points. Jonny takes a minor injury and looses 1 Physical Point.
So how does it work?
Combat begins with allocating a certain amount of CPs to Initiative, called the Ante. The more points you put into the Ante, the higher the character's initiative. The character MUST Ante to participate in Combat, but they need only Ante once. Any points spent in the Ante are set aside are automatically put back into the characters XPot (experience pot) and cannot be used later during bidding.
What you ante is the character's initiative for the entire battle. However, at the start of any following round, a player can choose to add more points to their Ante, thereby increasing their place in the battle order.
Dealers Note: If a PC and their opponent have the same Ante, the PC goes first. The only difference is if a player only Antes one point, they act AFTER all opponents.
Jonny (15 Combat) is fighting a Fireclown (Combat 12). At the start of the round Jonny antes 2 points, while the Fireclown antes 1 point. This leaves Jonny with 14 CPs for the fight, while the Fireclown now has 11.
The Character with the highest Ante goes first and chooses their opponent. The Dealer then deals one card, face-down, to the player and one to herself (as the Opponent). You may look at your card, but do not show it to your opponent. The attacker then begins the round by choosing one of the following options, known as a Bid--
RAISE: Allocating a number of CPs. Except for the opening Bid, each raise must be at least one CP higher than their opponent's previous bid.
TAP: The character does not wish to Bid any further points and is sticking with their last Bid. Their opponent then has one last chance to make a Bid of their choice and the cards are revealed.
BUY: For 6 CPs the character can BUY an additional card. This card is dealt Face Up and its value is added to their Bid. Players may only Buy one card at a time (but are allowed to Buy additional cards each time the Bid comes back to them).
ALL IN: The character bids all their remaining CPs. If the character going All In has more points than their opponent, their opponent must go All In or Fold. If the character going ALL IN has fewer points than their opponent, the opponent may make one last Bid of their choice. The round is now over and the cards are revealed.
CALL: To call the character must equal the amount of CPs bid by their opponent. The opponent then has one last chance to make a Bid of their choice and the cards are revealed.
FOLD: The character stops the bidding and no CPs are lost by either side. If the attacking character folds, nothing happens and the next round begins. But if a defending character folds, they will take damage as normal.
Once the Bidding is done the cards are revealed. The value of the card is added to the number of points bid and the person with the highest number wins.
To begin, the cards are dealt face down, one to Jonny's player and one to the Dealer who controls the Fireclown. Jonny has the highest Ante so he begins by making an opening Bid of 2 points. The Fireclown Raises with 3 points. Jonny then Raises to 4. The Fireclown now Taps which ends his Bidding for that round with 3 Points. Jonny has one last chance to make a Bid, but decides to stay where he is with 4 points.
The cards are revealed and the Fireclown had a 10 which gives him a total of 13 points. Tommy had an 8, which means he has a total of 12 points. Since Jonny was attacking, he has failed to hit the Fireclown.
The next round begins. Jonny now has 9 points (15 to start-2 for Ante -4 Bid). To play with. The Fireclown has 8 points (12 to start-1 for Ante -3 Bid).
Monday, November 14, 2011
Jonny was a burnt out, former roadie working as a nighttime DJ on a vintage rock internet channel under the name of Jonny Midnight. When the Comet came, he was one of the few who remained at his job, hunkering down with some junk food liberated from the station’s snack-machine, a couple of bottles of Jack Daniels and few other illicit materials. He was content to wait for the end of the earth by playing through the entire Pink Floyd album catalogue. When the men in black burst through the door, he just figured that it was ‘The Man’ finally coming to shut him down.
Combat: 15 (Jonny does have some anger issues that he puts to decent use when riled).
Jonny starts with an mp3 player filled with 10gigs of classic rock. A worn leather jacket, a black t-shirt with “FUCK OFF” written across the front, jeans, heavy boots, a baggie of mushrooms, and a crowbar (Damage +2) and pellet gun (+1), he had been keeping in the DJ booth to ward off looters.
Induced Precognition (8 points)
Whenever Jonny eats one of his mushrooms, he gains a prophetic vision that allows him to see the next 3 cards in the deck. The problem is that Jonny has a hard time remembering what he sees and the player is not allowed write down anything. Jonny also has a limited supply of mushrooms (starts with 8 doses). Taking the mushrooms also drops his Mental Stat by 5 for one hour.(Point cost: Precognition is fairly powerful affect so the Dealer assumes it will cost 10 points. However, because he must first take a psychotropic substance to induce the precog power and his mental capacity is limited, drops the cost to 8).
Rock and Roll Trivia (2 points)
Jonny knows all there is to know about rock and roll from 1960-1993. He is a passable musician on the guitar, but doesn’t play much anymore.
Flops: Anger Management (+2 points)
Jonny doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is prone to flying off the handle.
*yes, he is equal parts Dr. Johnny Fever and Tommy Saxondale.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
TricksTricks are any bonus that the character possesses. Just that bonus entails, is up to the player. They can be hard rule variations, such as extra cards or points, to in-character notes such as declaring that the character knows everything there is to know about Gnomeish Nose Flute music and will almost always know the answer should anything relating to Gnome Nose Flutes happen during the course of the adventure.
Tricks can be rule variations such as extra cards, bonus points, or wilder variations such as rolling 1d6 and gaining a bonus for a certain number. They can also be rare skills (as noted above), bonuses for using specific equipment or anything else that the player desires. The more powerful the Trick, the more points it will cost.
Flops are the opposite of Tricks, they are detriments, flaws and handicaps that the character has. The more powerful the Flop is, the more points it awards the player.
Players must submit all Tricks and Flaws to the Dealer for approval. The Dealer should not automatically veto any submission, but they may suggest changes. If the Dealer and the Player cannot reach a compromise, then the Player has the option of presenting the Trick or Flaw to the rest of the group. If the group then determines that the Trick or Flaw is acceptable as is, or with modification, then both the Dealer and Player must adhere to their decision.
These points are used during combat situations.
This represents the strength and fitness of the character and is used whenever the she needs to do something physical such as swim, climb, jump, bend bars or hula.
This represents how smart and mentally strong the character is and gets used whenever she needs to do something cerebral, such as fix a car, decipher a code or play sodoku.
The character’s stuff beyond the game basics.
This is where the player starts to have a little fun. Here they can come up with any special abilities, skills or powers. Tricks will be discussed in more detail in Character Creation Part III.
These are the flaws and defects of the character. Unlike the other categories, Flops add points that can be used elsewhere. Flops will be discussed in more detail in Character Creation Part III.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
By tradition, each Prince that survived and became Caliph would add their own room or puzzel to the labyrinth, which has resulted in a sprawling complex of corridors, rooms and caverns that now extends far below the pyramid itself.
Inside is a series of traps, puzzels and riddles, each designed to teach the Prince what it is to rule. Some test his endurance, others his skill with a sword, wisdom, intellect, compassion, guile, or of a hundred other qualities deemed important to become a king. But to rule is not easy, and many of the rooms reward failure with death.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Eddie Murphy (probably unwisely) stepped down as this year's Oscar host after his "Tower Heist", wannabe Oscar director, Brett Ratner was "yanked after outing himself as a small minded douche. The best part of this is the growing internet movement to have the Muppets host the Oscars! <
Update: Apparently they hired Billy Crystal again. Not wildly original, but probably a solid choice.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The New Death and Others, by James Hutchings
A New Death and Others is a collection of over sixty short stories and poems. I know what you’re thinking, but the poetry is actually readable. If My Life was Filmed made me laugh out loud and My Cat is Not Like Other Cats might just sum up how everyone feels about their pet. There are some longer pieces, but they read easily and some are based on stories by Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft.
As for the stories, the book gets off to a somewhat rocky start. The God of the Poor, is a little heavy handed for my taste, but is otherwise pretty good. The second story called How the Isle of Cats Got its Name, is a little more problematic. It may have been some defect on my part, but I had a lot of difficulty following this story and to be honest, after two readings I’m still not sure how the island actually got its name. Also, whether by accident or inspiration, the story is very similar to the 2010 Oscar nominated animated short, ‘The Cat Piano’.
Fortunately, things pick up quickly and the pace rarely abates. The next two stories are The Enemy Within with its sufficiently creepy take on racism and The End, which puts a nice spin on the current torrent of ‘monsters amongst us’ fiction. From there we plunge headlong into the still fifty plus remaining stories. There are a number of reoccurring topics running through such as the stories such as the Telelee Tales, or the Anthropomorphised Concepts, where Fame, Ambition, Destiny and Love all have a role. But there are still a lot to choose from no matter what your tastes, ranging from the humorous, to the historical, the horrific and the fantastic.
Being a sucker for good world-building, I particularly enjoyed reading about the city of Telelee, which is a reoccurring setting for many of the stories. Sometimes serious, sometimes humours, just a little bizarre, the city felt like a delightful mix of Lankhmar and the Thieves World’s Sanctum, with just a touch of New Crobuzon. I am looking forward to reading more stories from Telelee and seeing how Hutchings develops the world.
If I had to make a complaint it would be that some of the longer stories seem to lose the thread, which can result in the ending feeling rushed, or the story as a whole becoming disjointed. There is always a good idea at the core, but a second pass under the editor’s red pen would have been helped tighten up and focus the story.
That being said, any book with so many stories will have a few that do not appeal to personal tastes and there were a lot more hits than misses. I’ve certainly read much worse from more established authors and I heartily enjoyed the book as a whole. I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Mr. Hutchings.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
As the name implies, the game is loosely based on poker and is designed to be played using Playing Cards, but D20s or D12s can be substituted with only a slight change in the odds. For the cards, Aces are worth 1, while face cards have a numerical value: Jacks are 11, Queens 12 and Kings are worth 13. How Jokers are used will be explained below.
Obviously, these rules only barely scratched the surface with what you can do with the cards. Dealers are encouraged to tinker, fiddle and warp the system in whatever way they see fit. Players are encouraged to do the same in the Extras category (see below).
Players start off with 50 points to distribute between five categories: Combat, Mental, Physical, Accouterments and Extras. There is also an optional fifth category called Flaws that may awards extra points. Players MUST put points into Combat, Mental and Physical. Characters that do not allot points for Accouterments start the game only with the most basic of equipment. In a fantasy game this would mean the clothes on their back, enough pennies for a meal or two and a rusty dagger, while in a science fiction game, it might mean the clothes on their back and a pocket zapper with only a small charge left. For Extinction Event, a character with no points in Accoutrements (depending on the viciousness of the Dealer) could easily start the game completely naked.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Then came the Comet. No one knows who leaked the information to the press, but in less than two minutes every news feed was broadcasting that the planet was doomed. Then it was discovered that the World Government Organization had known about the Comet for almost five years and a nuclear strike had already been tried and failed, the manned mission was lost with all hands. By the time the general population found it, it was already too late and the human race had less than a month to live.
The Arc Project was revealed; the best and brightest minds with a few lucky lottery winners squirreled away in secret bunkers hidden across the world. Corporations and governments made their own plans, while Doomsday cultists, survivalists, Jehovah Witnesses celebrated. Besides a few helpful pamphlets and a government ration of penicillin and toilet paper, everyone else was on their own.
There were rumours of men in dark uniforms snatching people off the streets, but in the midst of the chaos of the time, now one paid the stories much attention. Neither did you, until the night you woke to find people around your bed and felt the needle enter your neck…
The next thing you remember is the sound of your own heartbeat. The air is cold, ice cold and as your eyes slowly adjust you can see your breath curl into the air and spread out against a pane of frosted glass. There is a hiss of air and your ears pop with the change of pressure. The frosted pane before your eyes swings away, beyond is only darkness…
Saturday, November 5, 2011
What has always bothered me was the set modifier. What if somehow you could compensate for a bad roll? Mulling over this problem a few years ago lead me to create a system I called Pocket, but I could never quite get to run the way I hoped. I was using poker rules as a basis (which has since been done much better with Deadlands), but I think I can salvage something by limiting the cards in play and simplifying some of the rules. The decision to continue to use cards rather than dice is practical rather than stylistic; it is simply harder to fake a card value than it is to conveniently nudge a dice roll. There is actually nothing that would prevent a trusting GM from using d12s.
So my gallbladder decided it was going to claw its ways out of my sternum last Sunday night. Luckily it was aided in its egress by a slightly more competent doctor than this one. It has however, put me rather behind in my NaGaDeMo attempt.