atolnon: (Default)
( Sep. 1st, 2013 10:03 am)
Halfway through the workweek for me - I get a full 8 hours for Labor Day and because Labor Day's tomorrow and Sunday isn't the end of the week, I get an extra hour today, too. That's what Labor Day means, right? Out upper management doesn't understand the irony, so my amused chortling was lost on them.

I've gotten two letters in! It's a new month, so that's a good time to start writing back. I don't know how I feel about Syria, yet, [livejournal.com profile] writer_lynn. I know I'm the kind of person who should have an informed opinion already for you, but I'm deeply burnt out these days on stuff like that. I'll read up a little bit and I'll give you the full scoop on paper. I don't feel obligated to get cool stationary for writing letters, I just think it'd be fun. On the scale of things that cost money, it's not especially high, anyhow.

I'm finishing up my list of stuff I'm supposed to do before I make another ambitious list of stuff I'm supposed to do, but it's going well. I've done most of the easy stuff, in any case, so now we're to the parts that have been a long time in the making - re-arranging several rooms of the house, finishing some writing bits. I once made a promise that I'd write fan fiction for Kay of all things to promise. It's for Scott Pilgrim, and the prompt I have is really not safe for work, and it's really likely it's never making it out of this house, but it's a writing project between 2k and 5k words depending on how I feel about it.

I finished up my old reading list except for Oryx and Crake which recently came back to the library here in Belleville. I'm reading the Euthanatos book for Mage, O&C, and just finished Good Omens. I have a lot of opinions about Mage, and I'm not going to do the WIR again, but if anyone wants to hear them, I'll post some (after I finish the splat book).

My notes for running a D&D/Pathfinder game are looking more positive. I have two people who might want to play, I promised a third way back that I'd talk to them if I was going to run one so I owe her a call (or message, as the case may be). I'd like between 4 and 6 people if I can get it going, but there's been some unpleasant drama lately. I've talked to Frank about gaming events, but he's said he's really busy. I know he's running at least one Exalted gaming session on occasion, and I don't know if he's playing, but I suppose that would do it. It's a shame, really. I was playing in two and suddenly they're not being run anymore, and I can't for the life of me think of why. Honestly, though, that level of gaming plus work is probably going to mean he doesn't have time for another sessions, and he's never been much for the whole rules suite, anyhow. Mikey, what do you think about you and Megan? I don't know if you're still reading these or how busy you two already are. I might have to buzz you about it, sometime.
I feel like I've been talking too much, recently, and crowding everyone else out on LiveJournal - I don't know how talkative the rest of your friends are, though. But, well, I've been brainstorming for future games and working towards the one that I've got going now. The one I'm running I keep putting off, but it's on the to-do list and I can't actually start anything new that's fun without knocking that thing down for good, so it's inevitable.

The project names are obviously just me screwing around before I come up with real campaign names. I've wanted to run games for a group for a while, partially because the pressure from multiple people is cumulative and gets me off my ass and partially because I miss multiple person collaboration at a table (real or virtual). Deep Thought is the city-wide D&D game, and the deal with that is simply that the idea is too much fun for me not to try to tackle at all. Uneasy Sunrise is my hopeful plans for an Exalted game, which may end up being run over Skype.

I got an email from the Kickstarter for the Exalted 3e project that, even though the schedule shows Exalted being released in October, it's not likely to actually happen because the Charms still need work. I'm willing to wait for a good book. The problem with Exalted is that I have only the meanest idea of where I'm going on that. I have some Infernals in the works, and that's going to be iffy because there isn't going to be an Infernals book and I'm going to need to see how much legwork I'll need to do with the support offered to me right out of the box. I have some Wyld Hunt ideas, some ronin Dragon-Blooded, and some home-brew stuff that I've never seen support for in earlier editions that I've already mentioned. (I had e-mailed the Exalted team about that just before and just after the news about 3rd Ed and new Exalt types, and none of them are what I had proposed either, which means that I may or may not get an e-mail in the far future. But probably not.) My project notes for Exalted is literally just a list of things that could be in a game. I could always run 2.5...

Deep Thought is a lot of work. I have no idea at all when something like that is going to be ready for prime time. I don't think I've said much about it here - I haven't talked about my love and hard work with D&D from 2nd Ed. on up until now for quite a long time. If anything, surely I just dropped it out here as a vague idea and went on my way, but plenty of my friends have heard all about it in person. The idea that someone has stumbled onto a mega-dungeon is not a new one, but I've never been much for simple dungeons-for-dungeons sake.

I had, for a long time, been interested in this idea of a D&D game that held to the rules really scrupulously. Like, on how to find new spells or research them, use of downtime, encumberance and movement rates, spell components, stuff like that. I don't think I've ever played a game - even a one shot - where we used all those rules. Back in the past, they always seemed like a headache. My friends don't even particularly care for rules in a general sort of way and D&D has always been at the root of that. But I found them interesting; how much does the play experience change when you're using this stuff? What if there's an actual dungeon-like thing, or you're in the field for an extended amount of time?

So I wondered, what if, instead of a normal dungeon, the characters are raiding a ruined, now-mostly-underground arcology? The prizes dredged up aren't just gold and gems (which would still weigh plenty) but trinkets and items long forgotten. Ancient bottles of intact wine, books and journals - not items of power but items of scholarly worth, art objects and old pottery, children's toys and weapons both mundane and bearing unusual enchantments? How much do you keep for yourself and how much do you try to sell and find a buyer for? Which of this stuff is actually priceless and which of it is just old junk? Instead of traps, there are environmental issues that are trap-like (and also, sometimes, still traps) - weak ground, rock falls, dangerous walls, unseen pits that go stories.

The PCs would come from different parts of the kingdom - the little town on the edge of the empire becomes a boom town, like if there were a gold rush. The PCs get in early and rent rooms, but gradually come to be almost like minor nobility. Crime comes to the town. Claim jumpers wait outside the entrance for exhausted arcology raiders to come up for air. People from home send aid or ask for money. There's a civil war brewing in the capitol. The game would be patterned around four different seasons, as they plan their expedition - planning and laying in supplies, actual raiding, finding buyers and determining worth (dealing with the town's issues), and dealing with circumstances from home.

I'll probably be moving to Pathfinder to run that one, though, providing I can get it off the ground. 
atolnon: (Default)
( Aug. 13th, 2013 12:04 pm)
To the great relief of everyone, I'm going to spend a few days away from the WIR process and stop spamming everyone's LJ feed in order to do literally every other thing I need to do. I checked the WIR off my to-do list, since the Core book was arduous enough, and I'm going to probably change the format radically for G-M:C because 9 posts regarding a thin volume of straightforward rules is downright goofy.

I spent the larger part of the evening drinking and playing Burning Wheel, and we're getting fairly close to finishing the arc. I don't know if we're going to finish the whole game, but we're approaching a big milestone. I've tried to write about the games before, and it's been difficult to know what to post. We've been playing for a long time now, off and on, and sometimes we're playing weekly and sometimes we play once a year. I've only ever played one character with these rules. We're over Skype. We're in different time zones, and we started playing with one extra person in a college-provided apartment several years ago. I've largely given up trying to dedicate a spot to it here, and I've been finding my meta-game writing a little lackluster. I'm only doing the WIR now because I said I was gonna.

Kay's doing stuff for GISHWHES, which means I'm on the team. It stands for "Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen". It has a website. I'm not, like, particularly helpful but I'm doing a few of the things where somebody writes something. I kind of serve a logistical role, because a lot of the stuff is asking people about preposterous things and kind of making a scene. I really appreciate that kind of thing, but it terrifies me to actually do it. I'll write weird horoscopes or copy, but don't ask me to make phone calls - I'm terrible at it. (Ironically, from someone who's worked a lot of customer service.)

Also, I have no idea where my envelopes are. I haven't mailed my letters out and it's driving me nuts. If I can't find them by the end of the day, I'm just buying new ones.
So, I'd looked into the G-M Chronicle and so far I've liked what I've seen, but it's probably going to call for fairly in-depth commentary. Not only does the PC I'm making today get the rules update treatment (to see what it's like to convert from the old system to the new, if one chooses to do that), but I'll probably want to comment a little on almost all the changes. This might be a good time to de-friend me for a little while if you haven't been okay with this.

Read more... )
I've really picked up my pace here, because I'm tired of my WoD Core book floating around my living room at all hours of the day even after I've read it. I still have to get through God-Machine Chronicle and post it here before I can check the WIR off the to-do list because I'm a masochist, I guess, or maybe because I'm a stickler for my own incredibly arbitrary rules. The upside is that it's a rules update and it's only about a hundred pages so, since I'm going to try to hit the high notes on this one, hopefully I won't drag it on forever. I'll start in on that at roughly the time I make my character and hit any notes I missed that I meant to talk about on my first go round. For everyone who's not reading this, though, I'm sorry for spamming your wall; I mean well. At least every thing else today goes... under the cut.

This is the end, my friend. Of this book, anyhow. )
Remember, kids. It's boring-ass rules and not boring ass-rules. That's a totally different game. For those that don't know me really well, now is pretty much where I usually start regretting that I started this. We're past my scant commentary on gaming fiction and atmosphere and into the mechanics, the exceptions to normal rules, weapons charts, grappling rules, and all the rest. I'm gonna keep chugging through this, though, because there's some interesting stuff here; put on some tea and read under the cut.

Read more... )
I don't think this'll be as long as some of the previous Chapters, since a lot of what we talk about when we talk about Attributes relates to Skills.

Under the cut.  )

Okay, I've spent enough time here. I've got work later and I have stuff I want to accomplish before I have to go in. I'll probably do this and God-Machine and probably call it quits on WIRs, though. I don't think this is helping any of you in particular and I'm not really big on the format, but I've been trying to finish stuff I start out to do so I'll at least wrap this up properly.

I got to see Pacific Rim last night. It was pretty good!
So, I managed to get through Chapters 2 and 3 and finally found time to write on them. These are basically obligatory chapters describing, in detail, what's going on with the character sheet. Because it's a dice pool system, you actually need to explain how you combine one with the other, in two separate chapters, and have it make sense rather than having an extremely dry but even-more-straightforward list of where character stats create derived values ala Dungeons & Dragons. (This latter bit being confusing in a different way to deeply grok, but easier to use in the event that you just have all the derived values written down before you start.)

Chapter 2 : Just check out those... Attributes!

I liked the art on the chapter intro and I liked the story. It set a tone pretty well but, once again, it has absolutely nothing to do with the chapter so, in the greater scheme of things, I felt it was somewhat wasted space. Could'a left it blank. OR, actually, just take all the pages you used and take the best of those beginning of chapter prompts, and write one last end-of-book longer fiction piece. Oh well.

Both chapters have a pretty similar format, in that they explain what attributes and skills are, how they're used in a dice pool system, and go through each one individually. I'm not going to do that, I'm just going to hit a brief overview of my system thoughts and point out anything that specifically comes to mind as noteable.

One of the things that I like had major ramifications for the gameline, which is the 3x3 chart of Mental, Physical, Social and Power, Finesse, Resistance. There are things that don't have certain traits, like ghosts and spirits, which just end up using Power, Finesse, Resistance though I don't think I've ever seen anything just use a Mental, Social, Physical. The 3x3 gives you a good shorthand for what you need to be rolling in abstract dice-pool situations. The writer also explains the 1-5 dot scale pretty well.

2's average and 1's below average while 3, 4, and 5 are above average to astounding. Attributes can go well above 5 if needed, but the lowest they can get is 0 in really unusual situations and generally inept behavior or capacities are typical modeled through Flaws or non-standard Merits. The unspoken implication for this is just that it's not really useful or interesting to get really detailed at how abysmal someone is at something. Attributes from 1 to 2 do just fine in modelling that spectrum.

Each Attribute (and Skills are demonstrated the same way) are modelled identically. There's the Attribute or Skills name and a really short fictional blurb involving the characters of either Martin, Becky, or Josh demonstrating the Attribute in action by example. You get a short explanation of what it is and how, if needed, it's different from other Attributes. Each one is given an explanation of a botch rolled on a chance die, a normal failure, a standard success, and exception successes, then each one is given an example of how equipment can be used to make a roll more likely to succeed and situations where rolling is more difficult (represented by bonus dice and dice subtracted from the dice pools).

On several pages, there's art that I consider to be stylish and evocative of the mood as presented in the chapter fiction, and all of the art pertains directly to the text in the book which is something I really appreciate since it gives an overall sense of mood; it helps present a unified experience that I rarely get from a gaming book.

One of the things that I noticed is that things that tend to go wrong in a dramatic failure aren't what I would call 'tame', but normal examples of failure in high-stakes environments. However, a dramatic failure only occurs when you're rolling a chance die (reduced to 0 dice on a dice pool roll), and then only if you roll a 1 on that die. You're really only going to be rolling a chance die when the situation is so abysmal that your negative modifiers from your situation are higher than your whole dice pool, which is attribute + skill + equipment - situational modifiers. And then, it's only one in ten times you'll botch the situation. The dramatic failures range from inconvenient to almost catastrophically bad, but there's a surprising amount of word count directed at an event that's generally going to be so unlikely as to basically never occur.

The only time I can really see this happening is in a generally low-point game where the ST really doubles down on making characters roll for a majority of situations and the character is placed in a situation that they have few, if any skill points in or it's a life or death situation and the character can't simply opt out. I think that I may have had someone roll a chance dice exactly once, and literally nothing came of it. (A 2-9 standard failure result.) That tends to imply that, even at fairly low experience levels, you're usually better off shooting for the brass ring than not shooting at all, ie, the game rewards playing it rather than trying to sit things out, if you're looking at the RAW.

I could talk about equipment modifiers, but that's better left for our next section to put it in the proper context.

I'm not going to talk about WoD Classic much, here, but both noticing things and rolling initiative used to be actual skills you'd have to specially designate to put points in, but abilities like Defense ratings (actively derived and listed on the character sheet), Health, resisting mental effects, reaction to surprise, and the above are functionally derived wholly from your Attributes. It used to be that a new player could try to build someone competent in combat and totally not realize that Awareness was critical for your basic initiative for combat, and that you could absolutely build a character who could fail to notice a barn in an empty field if you didn't take dump points in the right skill. In WoD, these are no longer skills you can totally avoid by accident (and which eat up precious scant skill points), but something you'll tend to have between 2 (minimum, if you're really unhappy) and 10 points in. (Though I imagine that between the small-medium-large attribute spread you have to take, you're more likely to roll between 4-5 dice.) I find this to be very satisfactory now that I think about it, though it used to bother me because I was always asking people to make Wits+Awareness rolls or whatever to react to combat or to notice shit.

Okay, I'm going to do Chapter 3 later and tag this in a bit. It's taking me longer than I expected. 
I did the reading yesterday, and I'm the kind of guy who refers to notes rather than jots the notes down on the computer as I'm reading. This is largely because it's really difficult to read a game book and type at the same time. My desk doesn't currently allow it. So, it's WIR once-removed. Let me talk about the book and format for a moment. I'll put it under the cut, because it's gonna be large.

WIR Chapter One )
The title is a little hyperbolic, but the subject's pretty silly.

Basically, I like to put together playlists that are CD-sized for characters I've played in past gaming scenarios. It's really just a thing I do when I get tipsy and bored, because it's pretty much just me actively listening to music - often music I haven't listened to in a while, because I got into a rut. It kind of adds one more reason for me to search out new music - just in case a song happens to match a character perfectly. None of it is a primary concern - just something fun to do when I'm bored and too tired to really make myself do something productive.

It's a weakness.

Anyhow, weird stuff like this from other people occasionally makes me search out new music to listen to. I've talked a lot about Panahon in the past (though not lately, because why would I?) and I've got her rough track list, so here it is.

01. Venus Hum - I Feel Love
02. Metric - The Police and the Private
03. The Smashing Pumpkins - By Starlight
04. Interpol - Always Malaise
05. Blood Red Shoes - It's Getting Boring by the Sea
06. Metric - Stadium Love
07. Broken Social Scene - World Sick
08. Interpol - Pace is the Trick
09. Venus Hum - Surgery in the Sky
10. Metric - Combat Baby
11. VAST - I Know How To Love
12. Thievery Corp. - Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes
13. Smashing Pumpkins - Age of Innocence
14. Frank Sinatra - The Girl From Ipanema

14's an in-joke. Panahon, because of three dots in Savant and two dots in Sail I purchased as an explanation behind her becoming a fisherman in her youth (gendered pronouns are all correct, here) was the second-best pilot in the group, but not the leader. So, when we left the airship, she was left behind to make sure the craft wasn't bogarted by GM-fiat. (Because Pana would easily murder almost any would-be thief in Creation.) This happened so often, we started humming elevator music as half-hearted protest, since we joked that the craft had exactly one musical selection - a copy of the Girl From Ipanema stuck on repeat for eternity.

After that, who wouldn't want the Neverborn to succeed?

There's an awful lot of Metric and Venus Hum on this playlist. I think I have [livejournal.com profile] baronsamedi to thank for introducing me to them via this very website.
Many of these songs have a reference either oblique or obvious to themes of fate, fleeting love, stars, fighting, or the color blue. It's a little too much for me to make an explicit list, but many of them have references to several of these. Those that don't tend to have an appropriate tone or fit Panah's history or themes in other ways. (Trouble youth, living in Yu Shan's decadent splendor, ect, et al.)

Age of Innocence is Panah's namesake. Panahon ng Kamumusan is a reference to the song title in Tagalog, albeit probably mangled.

This is incredibly lame, but it'll probably happen again.
atolnon: (Default)
( Mar. 9th, 2013 10:05 am)
I'm still doing all of the things I said I'd do, vis a vis my personal goals. I don't have anything exciting to report, but I am doing stuff, so that's my progress report.

I'm still playing fucking Dark Souls. I guess I'm pretty miserable at it, because I'm 91 hours in and I'm just starting on the boss fight circuit. This shit is wicked difficult, but I think I'm doing one of the hardest ones first. I don't spend all that much time playing video games, so despite the large number of banked hours, that's literally every hour I've spent playing video games since December 26th. Don't get me wrong, though - I like the game. It's still fun, and I'm still enjoying my time with it, but right now it's a little like the meal that tastes really good, but it's too large and you're trying to finish the dessert which you know won't age well in your refrigerator so if you don't finish it now, you probably never will.

That analogy is a little clunky, but I guess I'm not really going back to fix it.

I'm still reading Foucault's Pendulum. My alternate read has moved over to D&D 3.0's version of Manual of the Planes. Pendulum probably should be done by now, but it's about 500+ pages and it's not really tough, but it's a little dense. When I get back from work, though, I'm physically tired, and at about 10 PM, my eyes start to get pretty heavy. On my days off, I'm pretty busy. So, the window of time that I can get into it is pretty small; I forgot how easily a full time job saps your energy. But, it's interesting and I'm still working on it. I'll talk more about it when it's finished. MotP is also interesting, from a gaming standpoint, because I've never gotten to play a D&D game that seriously hits the planes, and I've wanted to ever since I checked out the old 1st Ed. Manual of the Planes book from my local library as a kid. It's dry as hell and, in a lot of ways, it's not as engrossing as that first book was all that time ago, but it's still an interesting read.

I'm going to the zoo today to enjoy a friends birthday, so I hope your day is okay, too. 
atolnon: (Default)
( Feb. 27th, 2013 08:54 pm)
I've been wanting to run a game for a group for a while now, but I really haven't had the time. I don't really know if more time is going to open up in the future (though I imagine it would almost have to), and besides, I really don't know what to run, but I still think about it from time to time.

I don't really want to run anything where I'd feel like I want to kludge too many mechanics together to repair a game engine. There are certain games with aspects I'm very fond of that I really couldn't run without tweaking - Kindred of the East, for example, really can be problematic. All the classic WoD games run on a game engine you pretty much had to be there for when it was created to enjoy (especially if you were just playing WoD or never actually paid attention to the rules at all in the first place). Some were brilliant settings with terrible mechanics. (The beautiful Engel, which was badly translated to d20 during the boom without really any attention to mechanical rigor at all.) Some are just fucking difficult to run at all. (Wraith.)

Several years ago, I stopped buying new game lines. I already have a shitload of books, and I wanted to run or play the games I had to justify my old purchases. I've already played a lot of D&D, Ascension, and Exalted. I've run straight WoD, Changeling, and Mage : the Awakening. If I ran a game, I don't know what it would be, at this point. What, to my mind, is ready to be run that I own and haven't played yet? Maybe Vampire : the Dark Ages or Wraith. I don't know that I'm really prepared to run either of those games, to be honest. I wasn't 100% happy with how I did my Changeling and Awakening games, and I could always justify a new purchase with a new game plan...
One of our friends from the Homestuck events Katie's been running turned 21, and I had to work (boo) in the evening, so I wasn't able to go. Kay was, though, and seemed to have a great time, and that's always pleasant. Since I'm pretty much toast after getting off work at 9 PM, and I've already done most of the stuff I expect to do in a day, I figured I'd stop by the store on the way home and picked up rail bourbon and soda. Most of my night was spent drinking bourbon highballs and listening to loud music, but there's always a little time to sneak on the internet and embarrass yourself a little bit. The temptation is difficult to resist!

So, the hangover's over even before noon works its way around due to good hydration, and I'm mostly just sitting around waiting for Kay to get back. My schedule for the next week is less demanding then the one leading up to Frank's wedding, but it still involves a gaming session sandwiched in between my two most demanding work days. (That would be Wednesday and Thursday, which are going to be even worse than usual. There's really no getting around it, since people are getting their tax returns in, there's a huge, several week long sales event, and incredibly heavy furniture is flying out of the store almost faster than we can truck it in.) I've come to grips with the fact that for as long as the sales event is going on, I'm gonna be physically wiped out. I can't stress enough, though, that it's better emotionally than being unemployed or even my last gig. Other Ops members in the warehouse assert strongly that there are head-games and stress aplenty, and I'm sure they're right, but I'm not sure if it's on the same level as what I was dealing with before. 

I've been continuing my read through of everything we've got physically at the house. I'm still on Foucault's Pendulum, which has started to pick up. Eco is a talented writer, but the reading is much denser than a lot of other stuff I've picked up in the past. I had finished Guide to the Traditions (which just made me want a copy of Guide to the Technocracy to pair it with), and wasn't in the mood for more dense reading this morning with the hangover, so I picked up the dharma book for the Bone Flowers from KotE. KotE has always had issues with exoticism, and I think that a post-colonialist reading of the core game book and its splats would probably be really interesting, but we already know, in a broad way, the kinds of issues the line had. Stephen Lee Sheppard over at RPG.net has long espoused that the Bone Flowers book is rubbish and, while I did purchase and enjoy the Devil Tiger book at his prompting, I still like the Bone Flower book quite a lot. 

I don't really know if it's worthwhile to really discuss the gaming books on here, but despite my pseudo hiatus (which is really more me being unconcerned about not posting than it is actively cutting back), I feel like I probably will - just somewhat sporadically.
atolnon: (Default)
( Jan. 22nd, 2013 03:07 pm)
I've got a single day off, followed by work until Saturday again, which is kind of a strange day to have off at a place called Weekends Only, but I've got at least one friend that only works weekends due to school (to make up his hours, he works 2 doubles and one regular day from Friday to Sunday), so shit like that probably accounts for it. I'm spending part of the day catching up on LJ entries (so thanks for writing things to entertain me), drinking warm beverages, tidying, and writing odds and ends. Tidying is critical, because I've discovered that it's really difficult to write anything or change my focus quickly because I'm not able to get my references and notes together easily. 

I've got a Pathfinder game coming up. I went to the meeting at the beginning to see who I'd be playing with and if I'd be able to deal with the players. Going in, I had only known one of them, and not as any kind of gamer, so I felt like if I started carting my ass out to Alton and this thing sucked, I'd be miserable and forced to deal with getting out of it, somehow. It's an adventure track, so I really feel like this is gonna be a game on rails and talking about making characters was a real game of '1-2-3 Not It' on who had to be a healer. I tossed out a few character ideas and kind of watched the DM's face to see how he reacted. Cleric Lots of nods, lots of ideas Alchemist? Solid nods Bard Whoops, back to ideas for Alchemists, healing-based Paladins, and Clerics. Druid Close enough to Cleric. Okay, looks like we've our bearings.

I like to look on the dull side of things a bit, but that's the bad news. The good news is that I've played games on rails before, and as long as I'm actually provided with the plot bunny and things aren't egregiously dumb, I'll chase it. Fine, you know? Not everything has to be a sandbox. Complexity and character development are things I love (so I like to hear about [livejournal.com profile] writer_lynn's game, for example), but I figure that nobody is gonna get that into it in these games. The good news is that Alchemist was on the table and they throw bombs, so that's good enough. It's also a game about possible violent revolution of an Lawful Evil state, and I feel that throwing bombs has been a time-honored way of getting into that since bombs were invented. Since we're level one, a paper-thin reason to be playing is really all we can develop (because anything more than that pretty much requires some degree of experience), and we're off. I'll throw a single plot hook to riff on for the DM in case he's into that kind of thing, and we've even got a cherry on top. 

Honestly, I'd normally pass, by my gaming recently has been so shallow that a longer campaign can provide depth over time even accidently. The 4-5 shots and 1-3 shots I've been playing are fun, but they're only really providing framework for extended hangouts with one time characters (usually in Exalted, which is possible because of an existing world where other campaigns have already taken place). Kay and I are doing another one of these pretty soon, and it looks like it'll be as much fun as it usually is. (And the short series games are, in fact, pretty fun.) So the characters don't go entirely to waste, I usually re-write a little of the background on them to make them generically useful to other games and take their stats down on a text file. By this time, I've got a ton of them.

I haven't run a nWoD game in forever, again, which is a huge pain. The start and go is killing me. Prioritization is a real pain in my ass. 
This is just your weekly Weston reminding you that I don't just have one or two characters written up waiting to go, but that I literally have a file folder on my computer simply titled RPG Dossiers. One of my arbitrary fun-time goals is to have a character written up of every different Exalt type for 2.5, and I'm branching out into Pathfinder, Vampire, and Mage.

I am a nerd. 

Has anyone got any role-playing stories lately? Like, is anyone gaming? How's it going? I haven't been playing all that much lately, (but I've got some gaming stuff coming up in the generally near future), and there are people here I just haven't talked to in way too long about anything, much less gaming. 

I have a hunch I'm not gonna get a lot of bites on this because I don't get a huge amount of comments, but I know some of you actually do read this, so I'm interested in what you're up to. Rambling or ranting is acceptable, if that's what you got.  
My personal life is going pretty well, but it doesn't make for an interesting read. I went to a party last night and didn't get hammered, so that's good. We left at about midnight-ish, probably getting out just a little before whatever was going to turn pear-shaped did so. There's a party tonight. There's a get together tomorrow to see if I want to join a role-playing group nearby, followed by a party. I'm probably going to duck out of that one. It's in St Louis, where I just was. Literally in the exact same spot, with the exact same people. Parties aren't even my thing, really. I'm over-saturated. Just, like, give me a breather. It sounds rad, I wish I had the energy and gas money, but at this point, I'm out. I've got family stuff all that upcoming week, and that shit just kills me. Family shit, man. Damn.

So, I'm obviously at home. I'm rehashing my stupid homebrew Exalted notes, you know? I've got some ideas for Fair Folk, Dragon Kings, Abyssals... stuff. I've got Lunars, Terrestrials, Solars, and Sidereals. At some point, I know that I've got to working on some very concrete rules shit, or it's all just note taking. 

If you're interested in the design direction I'm taking for this fan project, it's under the cut.
I'm drawing heavily from the newer WoD core. )
I'm still working on an alternate version of an Exalted 3rd edition in my off hours. I mean, sometimes I should be cleaning, but I've been pretty fucking depressed and you can really only muck around so long like that before you kind of think, "Okay, well, it looks a little better and I really don't want to do this anymore."

I'm a little struck by how useless a job search is in December. I wasn't picked up for holiday work after all, and I'm mostly sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Retail ain't hiring at the moment. A lot of corporate is basically out to lunch the entire month, only to stumble in a little after the 1st of January with bags under their eyes and not all that much rest to show for their time off. So I write. And I want to write something productive, but only the Exalted cylinders are firing right now. I know pretty well just to work with whatever my obsession is, anyhow, because nothing else is getting done and I've ended up with ten thousand words of notes. 

So, I know that there's a real Exalted 3rd Ed coming. I'm excited for it, too. I really like the work the designers have put out in the past, and I think it's going to be great, but I also know that what they're up to is not what I'm up to. I'm explicitly working with the old assumptions and pulling out a lot of the wiring and infrastructure in order to build a new edition. I mean, I like tics, I like the Charm structures, I enjoy the challenge. I've really liked what Exalted has done in the past - it's heavily flawed, but it's a little unprecedented, too. Skill-based powers from the obvious Melee to Bureaucracy. I want to keep that. I don't know exactly what the developers are doing - I think they've got the staff to really blow it out of the water with a brand new envisioning of the line and giving Exalted its due, but I'm still hacking the old dream because I know that nobody is ever going to make the exact game I want made. 

That's the challenge I sat down with; take Exalted and find what's not working then find a way to make it cohesive in terms of setting and mechanics, and have that setting and mechanic set work flawlessly together. For me, it's already taken replacing Attributes, yanking, merging, and adding Abilities, and reimaging where the Exalt types, mortals, Incarna, and other races fall into the setting. 

Should I be doing other things with my time? Probably. I spent 12 hours on the site of a video shoot yesterday for Stand Alone. I've been to business meetings this week, so you know, I guess this is how I blow off steam. I really, really dig mechanics like I dig setting, fiction, and academics. I wish what I'm doing seemed more accessible, so maybe I'll work on that. I think I can do that, actually; take my vision for Exalted and translate that somewhat, even if you're not really a fan of this kind of thing, normally. I'd like to have greater mechanical representation, but I think I'm at the point where I can demonstrate my direction with broader, non-mechanical language. It's worth the time for me. 
I found myself with some spare time, today. Like, not all that much, but some! In any event, instead of doing NaNo like I was supposed to, I went and clarified in print what my 'Exalted Alternate 3rd Edition' would probably look like.  

I'm just going to post the tl;dr version right now, because I remember how huge those other posts got and what I wrote earlier today was two thousand words. 

Martial Arts : 
Not technically Charms. Neither is Sorcery, actually. They're internalized Essence works, sort of proto-Charms, formed by great workings at the beginning of the high first age. Martial Arts are learned by taking Merits, and the Merits form what would look like a Charm Tree if you wrote them out. This version attempts to explain why different Exalts and even mortals get to make use of martial arts abilities. The minimum ability for many of these is going to be Brawl. 

Abilities : 
I want to drop Occult, Thrown, Craft, Linguistics, possibly Integrity, and possibly Awareness. Of course, if I can figure a good way to keep one of those (probably Awareness, but maybe Integrity) then the breakdown for castes and aspects is made easier. Occult gets lumped in with Lore, and turned into a Merit : Occultist as a pre-req for the Merit : Sorcerer or Necromancer. Linguistics is turned into a bevy of Merits, as is Craft. Integrity and Awareness Charms are shunted into other Charm Trees. I'd turn MA into Brawl. So there. 

Crafts : 
Basic crafts are elemental, and many of their Charms are shunted into Lore. Most Craft Charms suck, anyway. I had some good names for some of the advanced ones, though. 
Merit : Magitechnologist, Merit : Genesis Engineer, Merit : Vitriolic, Merit : Fate Spooler, and Merit : Geologist seemed pretty catchy. 
Advanced Merits will often have other Abilities or Merits as a pre-req. Basic Merits will probably have minimum Attributes. Like, Geologist has Craft Earth, Magitechnologist has Craft Air or Fire, and Genesis Engineer might have Lore, Medicine, and Merit: Occultist or Merit: Craft Wood. Vitriolic may not have much of a pre-requisite, but I bet learning it is still real interesting. 

I bet crafting magical materials probably gets a merit, too. Or not! I don't know, yet. 

Attributes : 
I figure we just switch to NWoD and turn Appearance into a Merit. Dropping Appearance from the roster of abilities probably helps the social combat problem. 

Backgrounds : 
Most of these just become Merits. They do the same thing, and otherwise we just have two generally similar setups competing for design space. Resources, Contacts, Striking Looks, the whole shabang. Some of these are likely to become 'dumping ground' Merits for when you're not sure what to do with your Merit points. Artifact, Striking Looks, and Resources are popular. 

If you want to see the comprehensive write-up and larger reasoning for this stuff, just say so and I'll make it available. Brent, you already have access, so don't bother. It's in Google Drive like it usually is. Mind the typos, I did it in WordPad and didn't clean it up. 
Christ, I know. And I intend to post again today, even. Like I said, I've had these thoughts floating around for a while and I haven't done anything with them, I'm not running a game, and Exalted is getting a new edition. So, you know, whatever, man. 

Also, my last mechanics post was pretty unhinged. Like, LJ got an idea dump and it wasn't exactly coherent. This is still going to be really long. This is everything I have on Martial Arts in Exalted right now from what I want to do to exactly why I'm proposing it as a hack. It's under the cut. 
Exalted Martial Arts Game Notes )




I really think that I'm going to get four posts in four days, so I'm sorry if it seems like I'm spamming all of a sudden. I just kind of want to take this piece by piece. 

But anyway, that's why it's below the cut. )
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