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Tuesday, November 20th, 2001
12:15a - Too Many Projects
There comes a point in your life when you know there are just too many things bouncing around in your head, and there's no way you can really even do most of them. I have a whole series of unfinished/undone/uncompleted RPG projects I'd really like to move forward on.

Amongst the outstanding, in rough chronological order of concept:

Sanrioverse) Yes, Hello Kitty, Batz-Maru, and all the rest of the gang. Probably using Fudge as the core mechanical resolver in a diceless mode to keep things simple. I was going to move it into the future, with HK and friends as the PCs "commanding officers" in a space setting/military that owes more to elementary school than Starfleet (or is that redundant?) but I never really moved beyond a few character basics and feel.

CrystalM*) Sort of a predecessor of the modern Massively-Multiplayer RTS craze that's slowly starting. I wanted to create a hybrid RPG/wargame site in which your decisions as a character actually affect the war on the greater scale. To that end, all the PCs are assumed to be corporate liaisons from various companies, buying rights to a planet and staying bodily in an orbiting station/meeting house, while the Players run units on the planet below, mining materials to trade for more points which could be traded for equipment. Claim jumping, expansion, and politicking. If I'd ever finished it beyond the design documents, I could have been a rich man by now. Still could be, if anyone wanted to contract me to complete the design. ;)

The Lucifer Chronicles) More a supplement than a game in and of itself, I really, really want to see a book for Nobilis that goes into detail on the whole issue of Lucifer, his rebellion and Fall, with a goodly section on the things Hell has been up to since, organizations, et al. I've tried to convince R. Sean Borgstrom, the author of Nobilis, to do this stuff up as a novel or trilogy to little avail. Sadly. Nobilis is an awesome game in and of itself.

Heartquest) Admittedly, the thought of me working on a Harlequin romance/shoujo girls' manga game should probably give anyone pause, On the other hand, I think its a niche that should really be exploited and developed a lot more than it has been. I was very, very impressed with Guardians of the Order's Sailor Moon RPG, for its openness to female gamers who normally wouldn't be interested in gaming. I'd love to do something similar in terms of accessibility. Unfortunately, when Heartquest was an open project being worked on by a group on the ML, pretty much my every suggestion to make it as mechanics-light as possible, to bring the feel of the source genres into it, to promote emotional ties as important if not more important, than character attributes got me hustled off the list and the whole project got taken over by three folks who, at least on their new web page, say they'll be actually publishing it for pay in PDF format. I don't have to tell any reader here how likely that is to sell; just above lemon ices to Eskimos/Inuit.

Ace of Angels Wargame) Ace of Angels is an online, 3d, realtime space flight simulator which seems to be stuck in AEternal Beta. I'd really love to work on a full-bore minis wargame for it, and still may, but the deal has yet to go through. Ergo, I'm on hold with this one, too.

That's just the ones that come to mind right now on these projects. I'm sure I'm forgetting a pile more.


current mood: aggravated

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12:52a - Had my first of two Seavan chat sessions today.
Seavan is my fictional world in which I set four play-by-email role-playing games.

  • The Children of Dana - a Mage/Werewolf crossover
  • Blood of Vengeance - for Mage: The Ascension
  • The Daggers' Promise - for Werewolf: The Apocalypse
  • The Heart of Redemption - for Vampire: The Masquerade


Overall, I got some good feedback. With the loss of some players and the fact that I've just moved across the continent and we've come through a slow time, it's time to reassess where things stand and figure out where I want to take the current plotlines.

I've been really lucky to have some phenomenal writers working with me on this. I've also been blessed with the opportunity to help some adequate writers improve immensely. I've been doing the play-by-email games for just under five years, and still have many of the original players.

In general, I need to limit crossover scenes in such a way that the PCs drive the scene. NPC-driven scenes can be done as a prose bridge without necessarily requiring PC input. This will help speed things up a bit. I need to set up a mechanism that specifies time, date and conversational thread being responded to in a post. Chat-sessions are good for modelling conversations. Email exchanges aren't as good. You get multi-dimensional conversations, which are fun, but confusing as hell to follow.

And finally, I want to start working the major metaplot that all four of the lists are indirectly involved in: the awakening of the city itself...

Overall, I had some really good feedback from the players and I'm happy that they feel they can speak up. When they do speak up, I don't feel like I'm building this world alone.


current mood: sleepy

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1:30a - While I'm at the drawing board....
A few months ago I found myself preparing to create my very own special D&D game world. I had my books, my paper, my pencil, and my ideas. What I found I didn't have was the motivation to write all this stuff out. As many of you know, creating a game world takes a lot of work, and a lot of paper. "This is crazy," I thought to myself, "In a world where everything is automated by computers, why do I have to do all this the long way?" Hell, I'm even a software developer by trade.

Thus, my DM's Assistant was conceived. I envisioned an integrated tool suite to do everything from world building to combat simulation. It would have an equipment manager, a character creator, a dungeon builder (yes with graphical maps), and much much more. I was giddy with excitement. I even had a friend who wanted to help me out with it.

But, alas, my DM's Assistant was not meant to be. Jon and I just couldn't find the time to get together and really hack it out, and after a while I ran into a brick wall in the design. Shortly after that my life went into disarray and I had to move (else be evicted). So work on the program tapered off, and it was soon forgotten.

Well, now I'm all settled in at a new place, and comfortably employed. I just unpacked my rule books and want to ressurect this project. I've decided to take a more calculated and planned route this time, and so I'm gathering ideas, writing flowcharts, and doing all sorts of good paper and pencil stuff before I write any code.

What I'm coming to this community for is suggestions. What features would make this tool indispensable? What "features" in other programs do you absolutely hate? What tasks involved in running a D&D game just bore you? What things about running a D&D game do you think should be left alone? What do you think would just plain be cool in a program like this?

While I'm learning the game system inside and out (so that I can model it properly in the code), I want to gather a list of features to incorporate. I've got a list a mile long of my own ideas, but I want to hear yours as well. So please post them here, send me an email, or find me on AIM and let me know what you think.

I've given the project a working title of Gnoll, since it is an open source project and Gnome was already taken. But, I'm not totally tied to this name. In addition to a wishlist of features and functions, I'd like each and every one of you to give me a suggestion for the name of this program.

On that note, I'm going to go back to poring over tomes of brand new (and soon to be $10 more expensive) lore.


current mood: creative

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11:28a - Worth it?
How crucial is it to buy the D&D3e Dungeon Master book? And also, what about the Monstrous Manual?
I have tons of second edition books and I think I could adapt monsters and things to third edition fairly easily, but I wanted to know if anyone really thinks its necesary to buy these books and why?

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12:32p - Haven't posted in a while.
Haven't had much opportunity to game or orgainze anything, but I did get a thrill out of my roommates copy of Dragon Magazine. I am a huge HK action film fan, so I thought that many of the articles were well written. Especially this one. I only wish they would put the whole random style generator online.

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6:42p - Getting Lost
How often does your party get lost.

I was thinking about this as I was reading Gallilaos Daughter by Dana Sobel (Author of Longitude) and I though given America was found by accident isn't it odd partys always seem to find the obscure island marked on the old map.

Even on land features can change new villages grow up old ones disappear paths be imperfectly described passes closed by rock falls.

It struck me as an interesting option to have the pc's guarding a caravan where the guide dies which then gets lost or on a ship that gets hopelessly lost (maybe runs aground so as to be un sailable.

What do you do settle leave if so where are you going everywhere you go is new.

Magic users will have to find substitute spell ingredients as supplies run down with unpredictable consequences. Fighters can adapt but damage can't be smithied out so swords and axes will blunt over time.

Oh and the Paladin will be the first one voted off the Island :-)

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11:30p
I ran across some of my old notes for RPG sessions I wanted to run but never got around to...

I had an idea for a Vampire game where all of the PCs are Tremere and share the same sire, who they consider their lord and master. He has them running around New York City, taking out gangs of humans, recovering stolen artifacts from the medieval era, and making a name for their sire amongst the 'rulers' of NYC.
The central plot device I had was a tapestry that the PCs slowly collect portions of during the course of the campaign that tell the story of an outcast vampire. When the tapestry is completed it actually shows a tradition (from Mage) symbol linking all of the images together, and instead of telling the story of an outcast vampire the tapestry is really telling the story of an outcast mage who tried to become a vampire and failed.
The crux of the campaign is that the PCs' sire is the same mage on the tapestry, and he has succeeded in becoming a vampire, retains his magical powers and is now experimenting with creating new vampires from his own blood. What the PCs would eventually realize is that their whole existence is a magical effect that could be disrupted, instead of being actual vampires and the focus of the campaign would then be to find a way to make their existence permanent or reject it and allow themselves to die.

Too bad I never got to run it, because whenever I put restrictions on character creation nobody wants to play.


current mood: nostalgic

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