When I got home from work, it was already cool, humid, and cloudy. I got the front yard mowed and trimmed just in time for another bout of rain, which I guess I'm a little concerned is drenching the tomatoes, since there's been a lot of water and not a lot of direct heat lately. It looks like the back yard is going to have to wait.

Since I have some time, then, I figured I'd crack the GMC addendum open (figuratively) and refresh myself on what's changing in the core rule set. While Aspirations, the new V&V system, Breaking Points, and Conditions/Tilts add a different kind of play experience, and the combat subsystems change, GMC Core doesn't take anything away from the old core, but does give me some new mechanical widgets to play with.

We were doing the bulk of our design work with Arcadian Exalts, which were direct parallels to Changelings in the nWoD. Initially, they were laid out like most Charm sets, which is to say they were laid out by Skills. This is absolutely the simplest conceptual way to go, and it does have some things going for it. For example, you could be sure that each ability got something and if you wanted a specific kind of combat, for ex, you could be assured that there was at least some coverage for archery and melee, and you could have Punch Guy, Sword Princess, and Bow Jerk without everyone pulling from the same pool.

It's also exhausting to write up and do well, and one of the specific virtues of the initial nWoD system was that it was streamlined in comparison to Exalted 1 or 2, which has the side effect of pulling a lot of mechanical switches out of the works, meaning that it's easy to imagine most ability sets with, like, only 4 Charms. And that's an optimistic scenario. Initially, I chalked that problem up to How It Was Gonna Be, while wondering if that wasn't something of a virtue in its own right.

So, Brent brought up using the Seasonal Courts to divide basic abilities that the Charms would cover, and buying from a Court's Charms would probably slowly change you ala Infernal Exalts. I think that's really the direction to head in, and tying that to Mantles seems to me to be an evocative idea. So now that I've got GMC and Core in my pocket, it's time for me to look at Changeling (and the rest of the core splats) and see where we're going to want to define our conceptual spaces for the nWoD Exalts.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jun. 1st, 2014 06:33 pm)
When I finish a project, the first thing I do these days is find another back-burner project I'd thought of or started and get back to work. The stuff I've completed is pretty marginal in a lot of cases. It's stuff like archiving data I've been meaning to back up, typing up old work (sometimes really old work), and in a few cases, just finding something I'd done in the past that I'd discarded, lost, or otherwise forgotten. It's nice, though. Start small. It's surprising to me to see all this work I've already done and some of it is better than I'd expected.

There isn't much to actually do with a lot of it, though. I mean, like, oh well.

Until I get some word back on where admissions will be going, everything I need to actually do is done. That's relatively disconcerting, because since I graduated in late '07, I was always aware of this list of stuff that needed to be done in order to re-enroll. The feeling that there was something that should be done was with me even when I had no immediate intention of trying to re-enroll, like when I was up in Bellevue or when I was living in Glen Carbon. I'm not talking about quality. I'm just saying that I do have something to submit. That will be judged on its quality by others, so it's in limbo for me, but until I get that feedback I'm free of that feeling.

But here I am. Very quick to put something on that front burner.

So, I have this Google Site. It's technically public, but there's not much there for most people unless you're really excited about literary notes I'm saving so I don't lose them or Exalted. I knew I wanted a location to store stuff I've done and stuff I'm working on, but I hadn't ironed out exactly what I wanted it to do. I still haven't ironed out what kind of structure and layout I want for it, because I'm still incredibly dissatisfied, but I've worked out that I value that space primarily as a kind of online workbench. I'm dick at making something look nice, and I'm more interested in a layout that takes me where I want to go in as few clicks as possible in the most intuitive way (for me) possible, with the cleanest, non-obfuscating design possible. So, it'll remain public if you're the kind of person who wants to see exactly what it is that I do in my spare time, but hopefully the layout will continue to make it easy for myself to access my work.

If this sounds really self-indulgent, it really is. I'm moving away from imagining any of this with any kind of commercial application and towards viewing it as a purely personal project space, with academics being a thing when it becomes more of a concrete thing in my own life.

Right now, I have three personal projects that I'm looking at that are all intertwined both in mechanical and conceptual headspace, since they're all Exalted projects. I don't really care if Exalted is the most popular game - it's got some love, since the Kickstarter absolutely blew up - but I love some of the ideas written into it, and I unapologetically will continue to write fan stuff for it. I just went back to RPG.net after a long (unannounced) hiatus, and there are a lot of people that don't care for the exception-based design format. Well, I love it. I love the mechanical-playing card-like feel of Charms and I like mechanically heavy character design, but I also feel like it needs a major overhaul. I also still feel like I trust the design team to work on that in their own way, but they're not using the nWoD system and I love the nWoD system, while feeling like it can be reasonably used to facilitate a better overall streamlined mechanic for Exalted.

I wasn't nuts about GMC, but it seems like that's my own cross to shoulder. While I can do whatever I want in the design space I choose, for some reason working in nWoD doesn't seem as weirdly niche as resolutely fighting the GMC update and doing all new mechanical developments in the pre-GMC system.

So, I'm taking a new look on my Synod project because I'm reasonably sure that nothing's going to come of that proposal after the small discussion I had with hatewheel, like, 9 months ago. I'll probably wait until Exalted 3 is released to do any more mechanical work on it, even though it's exceptionally tempting to begin work from a nWoD standpoint. (If the other projects make it significantly far and I feel like I'm doing okay on progress, I might. That's clearly a long shot.) Nexalted and Brent's WoD Exalted projects will get dusted off. They're conceptually close enough that the base mechanical representation will pretty much only need to be done once.  
Since I posted last on character competency, I spoke with Brent for a decent amount of time about nExalted, which occasionally popped up here again quite suddenly. There's a great example of a project that's been on a cold burner for a long time that we decided to re-heat pretty much out of nowhere.

And because I'm still running WoD Core / Second Sight, this'll probably be it for now on the topic so I can return to working on all the other stuff that's boiling over, to abuse and finish with the oven metaphor. Anyhow, under the cut, as usual. I know I missed a day, but this is probably the most consistent I've been with getting full ideas out in a long time so, I don't know, I guess I'm pretty happy with this anyhow. 

Cutted. )

I've had people who don't live in my house in my house for 4 out of 5 days, and for those days, they wanted my input on activities so, by today, I'm basically like "It's nothing personal. I like you. Get the hell out of my house." It's late, and I've only got one topic in me.  I don't really care what order I take this stuff in, except I'm likely to hit the easier stuff first. Brantai wants the most complicated one, but since he actually commented, that's what I'm talking about tonight.

Hey man. I'm not, like, strictly-speaking, exactly sure what the difference between Storytelling and Storyteller is here. I'm concerned to look at my books and realize that there's a subtle difference in the nWoD Core line terminology then there was in the oWoD. I'm not sure it matters, though, so I'm not going to look. I think I got your gist. 

It's long, and so is below the cut. )
atolnon: (Default)
( Sep. 28th, 2012 12:25 am)
I've been trying to work out a post about competency in role-playing games, but when I've sat down, I realized I had a few different issues come up, and by the time I felt like I was getting somewhere, I had to go somewhere else and do a thing. This pattern's repeated itself three or four times now in the last week. 

On one hand, I've been running WoD. I mean, not as much as I want, but still fairly often as things go. I'm planning on using the plot for NaNoWriMo, even. For what it's worth. Ahem. But I've had fairly good success managing my own expectations for competency in game using the Core and Second Sight. Those expectations are managed by the implications in the writing for what fluff there is (usually not related to mechanics players are going to be interacting with) and the mechanics in the text. 

One excellent example if how, when it was released, it was generally lauded but the stats for the beat cop were immediately torn to shreds. The reason why was obvious - the beat cop was built using an incredible amount of experience points off the starting character template. This kind of transparency is, for me, extremely important. The newer line of WoD books has been very consistent from what I've seen in this kind of regard. Part of this is how the characters are all built off exp right from the beginning, and none of these games with Bonus Points. The character creation game can still be rigged, but the discrepancy is smaller and can typically be managed using a few simple rules of thumb. 

Exalted 2.5 is much, much messier. I don't really think anyone's surprised to hear that, but character creation is all over the place. Backgrounds are very messy, with some being clear winners and others varying by campaign from absolutely wasted to absolutely game-breaking. Bonus Points muddy the issue by allowing players to buy rank 4 and 5 skills for a single point, in some instances, making extreme specialization a much better deal then diversification early on. Experience point expenditures are different for the same thing cross-splat. The reality of combat is pervasive, but which powers you should buy aren't always clear. Certain areas of expertise are oddly structured, so that being able to survive combat (which is fun, so tends to be prioritized) is extremely expensive, which leaves other interesting and fun powers largely off the table until much later, or at risk of accidentally being dissolved by the first attack they're unable to defend against. 

So, there are issues. That's part of the problem you run into with a system originally designed to partially mimic the deck building feel of collectible card games, and also runs into the problems about the concern of verisimilitude in setting and different expectations from different writers. I struggled with some of these concerns when writing and editing my own game, which I guess I've decided to leave titled Dream, until I figure out otherwise. 

It's a system that's incredibly stripped down, but the potential problem exists despite that, because as long as you put character creation options into the hands of players, the possibility of making a character 'wrong' is present. Getting into the details about all three of those things is obviously going to make a post really long by LJ standards, but that's what I've been wrestling with. I've certainly got notepad pages full of inane scribbles. I'd really like to get into even one of those tonight, but it's late and I'm probably busy again most of tomorrow. I guess I'm making a promise to myself to try to do it tomorrow, though, at least in part so that I can fully realize some of these design issues. 

That's not even to mention, really, that I feel that languages, crafts, and to a wider degree, styles of martial arts would be better served being merits like in newer versions of WoD and that the structure presented - in part - for Changeling is worth looking into for Exalted. Possibly, anyhow. A mash-up of inherent abilities based on splat, a flatter power curve between Exalt types, Charms, applicable Merits, Merits instead of Backgrounds, free Excellencies (if that structure is maintained) as inherent powers, ect, et al. Prioritization has been extremely difficult for me. I want to do everything all at once. I've been working incredibly hard to focus and actually accomplish one thing at a time, but sometimes I just have to check in and talk about what else I want. 
It's Saturday, so that means I get to sit around in my pjs at 11 AM, drinking coffee and waiting for the hot water heater to do its thing. That is a device that has never been repaired. If I so much as want to wash my hands in hot water, I usually need to wait 20 minutes.
After three cups of coffee on a weekend, I get totally pumped about my expectations for the day, though. Seriously do.

It's probably another kind of bust weekend. Friday was a more or less surprise D&D game and a serious blast from the past. My roommates older brother, and a long time friend, is running a series of games in the future of a setting he had run about 8 years ago. I remember playing the initial game in his apartment in downtown St Louis when I was a teenager, before I had to drop out because I had a part time job. It's D&D, so now instead of Exalted books, the living room in our apartment possesses 3.5 books piled on every available surface that's not previously covered by a combination of empty alcohol containers, tea cups, coffee cups, books and character sheets from old games, dice, and one lava lamp.

It's almost supernatural how I clean this place up right nice, and about 45 minutes later it becomes a nerd bachelor pad again. I blame that we routinely house between 4 to 6 20-somethings on an almost nightly basis which, no matter how clean they try to be (and they make the attempt), this shit accumulates.

I got my new clothes in! One fishnet shirt, one additional t-shirt (because I have to replace old ones, not because I'm terribly impressed by t-shirts), and my new orange hair dye. I still need new clothing, but this is a start in the right direction.

Water's hot. I'm going to do that thing, now, and then I've got to lay out plans for the day. I keep saying I'm going to work on nExalted, and I wanna, so I'm going to take those notes. I have writing I really need to accomplish, too. This list, it accumulates. I'll link anything noteworthy.


atolnon: (Default)


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