Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Projects in Motion

I'm not really a game designer and I've only ever made $1.98 from writing. I can't even get my mitts on that. But I have some gaming related irons heating in the fire. Only the first one is active and I hope to be writing about it here a some point. The last is, of course, on going.

Project Tarragon Oubliette.

Formerly DaD's RPG, I'm still working on my fantasy heartbreaker homebrew. I need a better title. I'm tempted to call it "Lucid" but I'm not entirely sure why. All that follows is highly likely to change.

I got lost with DaD's because of my tendency to get fixated on the character stuff without thinking too much about how it would all work. So I went back to first principles, stripping out the character stuff and working on the core engine.

I've settled on 3d6 for my core mechanic, rather than d20. With a higher-is-better attitude, and possible exploding dice that can be toggled depending on genre.

I'm leaning towards a heavily modified Mearls initiative dice, 1 second segments (possibly no rounds; but they'd probably be 6 seconds if I have them). Ascending AC, but I want active defence rolls rather than a passive target number, with having to defend adding 1 segment to the character's next action. But I don't want too many dive rolls. Rolling 3d6 and then deciding if you're attacking or defending with it is tempting.

I've reversed the relationship between attributes and classes when it comes to Hit Dice; size of die is based on constitution while classes give bonus hit points per level. Hit points are now called Stamina and not only are they still used to soak damage but also to fuel special abilities. When a character runs out of stamina they don't drop dead but instead start losing Vitality and rolling on the Death and Dismemberment table. Stamina increases with level but vitality equals the total of strength and constitution and only changes if those attributes do. If not killed by their injuries a character dies when Vitality hits zero.

There's also Resolve, which is stress and willpower. When resolve hits zero the character starts rolling on the Delirium and Dementia tables. I might come up with the mental equivilent to vitality; sanity, psyche, or something. The size of die used to generate resolve is based upon the character's wisdom attribute with class giving a bonus to resolve. Resolve is used to soak "psychic" damage from fear and stress but it is mostly used to power spells in the form of "Wyrd".

Magic is still Vancian at its core, with spellcasters having to memorise spells which are released when the spell is cast. Or the caster can use Wyrd to hold onto the spell while still letting its effects loose. Wyrd is also used to power supernatural abilities and spell-like talents. Some characters have naturally elevated Wyrd. Most don't, with some actually being Wyrd deficient. But that's not a problem as resolve can be turned into Wyrd at a rate of 1 to 1 per second. Although I might rename Wyrd to Source. Not sure.

Ultimately I want it to be modular, with me being able to use it for whatever genres or settings takes my fancy. Such as, below.

Project Rainbow Vamp.

In reaction to the strammash over the fascistic, homophobic and generally unpleasant fifth edition of White Wolf's Vampire I decided that there needed to be a Rainbowpunk Vampires game and it needed to be built as an OSR style game.

Rainbow-Punk is a literary genre I invented. Or at least it's one I believe I named. It is encapsulated in the phrase "Be Gay; Do Crimes", which I first heard from the TheFingerFuckingFemaleFury over on Tumblr. I've yet to write anything I'd call rainbow-punk. Probably because I'm right on the outermost edges of queer culture and I'm not familiar with it enough to do it justice.

I'm planning to use the engine from Tarragon Oubliette but change the bodywork as well as the player
and GM facing stuff so it's about gay vampires.

In the world of Rainbow Vamp (final name TBD) there are no cishet vampires. All the undead are some form of LGBTQIA+.

I  want all the powers and abilities to be in Polari, not pidgin latin or greek. Unfortunately I'm going to have to come up with words that sound like polari as the lingo just isn't there. However "Vogue" for fire control and "Remould" for shape-shifting are perfect.

This is a really difficult project for me.

Fon Choille

A few years ago I got involved with the We Are Adventurers Collective over on Tumblr. Fon Choille is the home setting for my Iconic Character, a Dhampir Assassin called Jay September-Magvyr who is better known as "The Magpie". It is a vaguely gothic setting very loosely inspired geographically by the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland. It is south of the Choille Olc, a true wilderness populated by all sorts of monsters. But, ironically, very few orcs. Fon Choille means, in the local dialect, "Below the Forest". (As opposed to "across the forest", in Latin, "Trans-Sylvania")

Fon Choille in 6 mile hexes.

For three centuries it was ruled by Duke Vilias Magvyr, the vampire lord. Then his two youngest children, Jay and Octavia, slew him, killed or scattered his surviving loyalists, nicked a lot of his stuff, and then blew up his castle with Dwerthen blasting spirit. Given the chance for home rule the populace, who are mostly of Chaladeann ancestry and thus can pick a fight in an empty room, descended quickly into petty squabbles and feuds. After a century Jay returned and took over the ruins of castle Gristocit, proclaiming themselves as duke. Their intent to return order and unity to their homeland. They succeeded after a fashion. The feuding militias joined forces against the perceived "outsider" and besieged Gristocit.

The siege lasted less than three days. On the third day a woman rode into the camp claiming that she was Magda Magvyr and she alone would liberate them from interlopers. She rode up to the castle and disappeared. Hours later the assassins descended from the castle and decimated the besiegers. The slain were impaled, as in Vilias Magvyr’s time. But the assassin’s prisoners were released and the survivors of the attack allowed to rout to Dun Duglas undisturbed.

The following morning a group of riders arrived in Dun Duglas from the castle. Their leader announced that, like it or not, Jay September-Magvyr was the rightful Duke of Fon Choille and would brook no pretenders nor rebellion. Rebellion would be met the only way the assassins knew how, with the death of the county’s leadership and replacement with people of the Duke’s own choosing. A fortnight from that day said leaders, Counts, Marquis and all were expected to present themselves to the Duke at Castle Gristocit. Those that failed to attend would be replaced.

On the given date the summoned nobles, and those who laid claim to titles, arrived at the castle. They were led through to the great hall where The Magpie sat upon a modest throne. Before them on the long table was a huge cake in the shape of the Duchy, divided into it’s counties. Each alleged count was called forward. There were more than there were counties.

“How this works is quite simple,” said The Magpie. “You have a choice between Death or Cake. If you lay claim to a county then you may come forth and claim it on the table. You will then divide it between your Marquis who will then divide it between their Barons. If there are more than one claimant to a region I will decide who gets the cake. The excess claimants will be executed. If any of you are here in error then I bid you to depart now. Before the cutting starts.”
A 1-mile hex child of the above map. Minus icons and labels.
The two maps I included here are the only surviving maps of the project. It was going to be my big world building project with dungeons, adventures and stuff. Alas my desktop PC died and took with it all my maps that weren't hand drawn. Possibly for good.

On top of that I was using ACKs as part of the world design, and struggling with it. I was able to trace the issue back to presumptions made by the designers due to their odious far right politics. I had to make so many hot fixes I might as well have used something else entirely. I'm currently toying with some things in that direction.

Castle Magvyr

The ruins of Castle Magvyr were planned to be a megadungeon. Eleven levels, numerous sub-levels, the castle and it's surrounds. It was going to be the tent-pole for Fon Choille as a whole. In theory, even if I have to restart Fon Choille from scratch I can still use Castle Magvyr.

Phenomenal Paragons

A world building exercise specifically to give me something to write about in this blog. It's both getting out of control and fighting me on every post.

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