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 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.  
I quickly realized that the rules update wasn't the whole thing. I don't know why I didn't realize that sooner, but I really hadn't looked at it so when I sat down to go through it, the go-through was a lot quicker than I initially anticipated. I finished this morning, but honestly I have to admit that I committed the grave sin of generally skimming through. Yeah, I read it, but it wasn't the deep read of a philosophy text where you actually hit each word. I did that with the core book, probably didn't need to, and it took just this side of forever to complete. There's no need. I'll bold the topics I wanna hit; we're doing this whole thing right now.

Last time, guys and gals. )
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 )
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. )

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. )
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)
( Dec. 22nd, 2011 10:34 am)
It's another busy day. Time to write a little here while coffee's brewing (and subsequently being drunk). I get to take a drug test, which I could be more thrilled about, I guess. Now that I think about it, this coffee will probably help make that happen. Sorry for that image, LJ.

There's been a decent amount of role-playing on this end. A lot of it has been the same tired Exalted game, which I keep going to because I want to like it. The game itself is no longer really fun at all. The ST comes in, gives his monologue, has us debate for an hour, then makes our decisions for us and discourages both dice-rolling and role-playing in a way that, frankly, I've grown tired of. I'd be almost ashamed to say that I'm going just because it'd be scandalous to pull my character out now at this late date and I don't want to be That Guy except that I feel like the ST is doing the same thing. We're all trapped in this unpleasant gravity well that should only last about two more games. 

Katie's coming back from NYC though, and I'm pretty pleased about that. An evening of recuperation time and maybe finishing our third session of our WoD game on Friday. It's pretty different to play one on one, and I might talk about it pretty soon.


atolnon: (Default)


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