Friday, July 29, 2011

UPDATE! Yeah, he game(d).

So, the chap from the aforementioned post is totally a gamer.  Well, he used to play tabletop.  Now he's a WoW gamer (I'll take it).  Yay GAMEDAR!

He's into steampunk a lot, too.  He drooled at my steampunk RPG concept as I pitched it to him.  w00t!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fresh Meat!

Did you ever get that 'sense' about someone?  You know, that feeling that they game? 

I got it when I met some dudes in high school.  They had that same feeling about me.  And when we broached the subject, it was a huge confirmation that our internal geek sensors were working.  And I'm still gamer buds with those guys to this day.

It's like gaydar, but for gamers.  Perhaps it's gamedar?

Well, we got a new intern today.  And looking at him, I just got that sense.  More to come...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weapon Speed Factors and Floating Initiative

Lance and I talked a while back about weapon speed factors, and I still haven't quite shaken the idea that weapon speed factors are a great idea.  Although he and I don't agree exactly on the implementation of them, we seem to agree in principle that they can serve to add a dynamic feel to tactical round-based combat.

I read some viewpoints on this variant.  One staunch detractor was Sean K. Reynolds.  His post was interesting, and I get where he's coming from.  But he took a 'case closed' approach that I don't feel was justified.  He seemed to feel that introducing a speed variant justified revisiting other combat rules.  Well, it does, if you want to.  Heck, you can do whatever you want in your own game!  But it doesn't have to.  Attempting to bring in one factor of realism to combat doesn't require bringing in ALL factors of realism, lest we have to account for the efficacy of piercing/slashing/bludgeoning weapons versus leather/chain/plate armor, just as an example.  We don't want to do that; we want to reflect the dynamic, unpredictable flow of combat (while rewarding quicker characters with a very slight edge) without bogging down the game.

I propose something light and simple as a solution:

Weapon                          Initiative Penalty

Unarmed, spells                          0
Finessable weapon                    -1
One-handed weapon                 -2
Two-handed weapon                 -3

Now, I do agree with Mr. Reynolds in the greater body of his article that weapon speed factors become a moot point after round one.  At least they do when using the standard initiative model.  Sean says that weapon speed factors still result in 10 attacks by side A and 10 attacks by side B in 10 rounds (assuming low level characters).  Heck, almost everything about initiative is a moot point after round one.  Improved initiative is a waste of a feat, at least.

The point of this post is, then, two-fold.  I wish to justify weapon speed factors (and hopefully coax comments about them), and propose a floating initiative system, which resolves the aforementioned mootness of weapon speed factors.

I've done a floating initiative system before, in which initiative is rolled every round.  While this CAN slow combat down, it doesn't have to.  Just about every game table I've seen in the last five years has a laptop at it.  Why not open up a spreadsheet program with a random number generator formula? (E.g.,  =RANDBETWEEN(x,y) in MS Excel).  Hit F9 to recalculate every round, and use an auto sort macro to put it in top-down order each time?  A proficient user could recalculate initiative every round in a second or two.

What does this look like at the table?  Round after round, the quicker character (i.e., the character with higher dexterity, lighter weaponry, and the improved initiative feat) gets a chance to go first more often.  But there's always a chance that your foe gets two full rounds off before you get yours.  I liken this to the dynamic flow of exciting battles in novels and movies. 


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Steampunk Development Underway

So, I've assembled a team of crack(pot) developers to help me move Pure Steam (that's what I'm calling it until I come up with something better) into an actual product.

I have three game content developers on board, as well as an artist and a musician (yeah we're rolling out an original soundtrack with the core book!).

Last night, we were supposed to have a telecon (considering 2/3 of us live out of my town). I was dialed in, waiting for a couple more people to call in (Lance was already there!), when our social worker arrived (we're adopting a baby!). She wasn't supposed to visit our house until the day after (today), but she mixed up her dates. So, I had to cancel the meeting. I could imagine what kind of marks I'd get if I told her, "Go away! I'm meeting with guys to make a game!"

So, sadly, I had to cancel the meeting. But Brennan stayed, and we hashed out a few more details.

Also, Devon worked up a few (very) preliminary sketches of our cast of characters and some lighter-than-air transport. I'll post them soon.

Comment and let me know what you'd want to see in an original steampunk setting!

Monday, July 11, 2011

You Need One of These

Now, I believe we gamers have all gotten creative over the years with determining probability when the standard dice didn't quite cover it. But some of these options just get tedious after time. Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, d1. I don't know about the rest of you, but my d1 approach is such a game stopper. But you should try it sometime!

Step 1: Locate marble.

Step 2: Roll marble on table.

Step 3: Wait for it...


rolls onto floor...



ricochets off first wall...



second wall...


it's a 1!

- - -

But seriously, there are certain required probability rolls for which the game publishers never bothered to manufacture a concise solution. The most infamous is the d3. I'd say 90%+ of gamers just half the d6, but I always thought we could do better.

A couple years ago I finally found a d3! I gave it a few years to catch on, but I'm still shocked by the number of gamers I encounter who have no idea of its existence (and who salivate at the sight of one!).

Well, there is a legit d3 out there, by GameScience.

The silly letters are--I presume--a way for handless folks to adjudicate Rock-Paper-Scissors. To me, they're an acceptable distraction from the sheer awesome of having a d3.

Now your halfling, or slapfighting human, can have a proper damage die. And for that, we rejoice.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great Old One Candleholder

This candlestick holder is exactly what I need for my new basement gaming haven.

I can see it right candles dripping wax over the suction cups, as the party delves into a howling cavern...


Monday, July 4, 2011

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!

So, me pal Lance is published! He's on with a nice column: The Art of the Small, Analyzing the "Crunch for the Fluff". After two articles published, I can say that it's solid stuff. There's already something I'll be incorporating into my game on Friday. Language barriers, ho!!!!!!

And seeing this wonderful work of art really got me to thinking, "I like writing; why don't I see if I can con someone into putting my thoughts in their 'zine?" I mustered the courage and shot a note (damn you, Lotus Notes, for that part of my vernacular) and asked if I could contribute to this user-fueled treasure trove of all things fluffy. They obliged.

It looks like the post didn't make it to the website after all, but it's in the newsletter. So, subscribe, and tell 'em to send you a back issue of B'omarr Punk's post! If you get issue 522, scroll to the bottom of this post, you'll see that they liked my character creation guidelines (which emphasize character depth and reward such with tangible bonuses) enough to copy and past them! It ain't much, but it's a start. If you read it, let me know what you think!