June 21st, 2007

Lost my marbles...

Moving away from my gaming community....

Due to a promotion/migration in my job, I'll soon (end of the summer) be moving from Boston, MA to Santa Monica, CA - leaving behind the last 13 years of friendships and experiences.

Luckily, I have some friends in the CA area, so I won't be totally alone, but none of them are gamers like me. Anyone have any suggestions on the best way to find local gaming? Ideally, I prefer a "character-over-action" kind of game style, but figure anything is better than just playing on my XBox 360 by myslef and letting my dice grow dusty.

Any suggestions/leads would be GREATLY appreciated.

Holy Crap Batman!

(Note: I am in no way associated with Pinnacle Entertainment Group or any of the creators of Savage Worlds. This isn't so much advertising as word of mouth excitement. Plus with added discussion and whatnot, so don't delete me.)

So, most of you know I'm a rampaging Savage Worlds fanboy. For my preferences, it does action heavy games better than pretty much any system out there. So they just announced a new release of the core rules, for $10! Softcover, full color, digest sized.

I kind of wish they had this a year ago, when I had a player who bitched and moaned that she didn't know the rules and didn't have the money to buy any books and for some reason us loaning her the books wasn't good. I could have just said "Look, we all pitched in $3 and bought you the book, now quit your whining."

I think it's a very smart move on their part. I'm sure they're losing a bit of money on each one of these they make, but how many potential Deadlands Reloaded players were put off by the idea of shelling out $40 for Deadlands and another $30 for the Savage Worlds rules? This sort of reminds me of MMOs "the first month is free" (which kind of remind me of crack dealers "the first hit's free", but that's another topic all together.)

I also wonder how much money they're losing on each one of these. Probably not all that much considering they've already put out two versions of this book, and it looks like the new Explorer's Edition has some slight rules tweaks (the Deadlands damage system is now official across the board) and some additional adventures in the back. So most of their budget had to have gone into reformating and art and the like. For a new game company or an unproven product, this could be suicide.

But I'm curious if this will catch on. I know Mongoose put out the Pocket Player's Handbook a couple of years ago, but I wonder if WotC or White Wolf etc will end up doing something similar.
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    the ramones "sheena is a punk rocker"

(no subject)

I'm working on adding a slightly better rules system to Top Secret SI for computers. Previously, Computer Technician was a catchall skill with an Electronics pre-requisite. It allowed PCs to modify, build & repair computer equipment (including terminals, printers, modems, disc drives, etc) and program or use computers.

Now, Top Secret SI is an espionage game, and I'm planning on using it for Delta Green, so what I want to do is setup a three part skill tree for computer use.

There would be a basic skill skill, which has only one level and would let you use a computer. There would be a computer programming skill that would allow someone to develop computer programs and databases and require computer use as a pre-requisite.

There would also be a computer security skill that would allow people to create or bypass computer security systems. These seem to be the elements that will be necessary for an espionage game. The Computer Technician skill will still allow people to build, maintain & modify hardware.

I'm wondering if A) that seems like a logical assumption on my part, and B) if the Security skill should just requie the computer use skill as a pre-requisite or the computer programming skill.
Solar Ken

Fantasy RPG Setting Wishlist

Here's a follow-up question to the poll I made in regards to fantasy RPG settings:

If you could list 6-12 things you wanted to see in a fantasy RPG setting, what would they be? It can be anything from golden pantaloons, to just dragons, to cannibal, undead flower monkeys...with golden pantaloons.
Uh Oh

Cycles and Setting

This is in relation to my earlier post / reply about 'what I want to see in a fantasy game'.
About five years ago I was chatting with a gamer friend of mine about setting and how to do a campaign.  It is understood that most story arcs have a cycle to them like this:

Heroic Person on Throne.  Time of Peace (high point of civilization)
Bad Guy Comes and Destroys Peace / Slays Heroic Person (beginning of descent)
Time if Darkness (low point)
Hero Rises, Leads Rebellion (rise of next age)
Hero Defeats Bad Guy, Rules (upper level, near peak)
Culture Becomes Stagnant/Decadent, New Bad Guy comes.

Now, I've seen games where the hero's just claimed the throne, and the PCs are helping keep the kingdom intact, or the villain is in power, and the PCs are helping overthrow them to put the hero in place.  These are all well and good, but I had a different idea...

What if these cycles are encoded into the setting, they're a part of the paradigm?  And what if the bad guy has just risen?  In other words... it is time for that kingdom to fall?  Now, it may be that civilization doesn't know about these cycles... or only the wise do, or there could be portents, signalling the fall of that kingdom.  (A recent manga I've been reading addresses this, it is recognized that the Mandate of Heaven has passed, and people know this and are turning against the ruling Emperor).  What do the PCs do?  Do they side with the just ruler and try to keep the kingdom intact, knowing it is probably a lost cause?  Do they risk destroying the metaphysical Wheel of Ages, not knowing what this will bring about?  Do they side with the villain or try to get someone else to take the place of the fallen ruler if/when that ruler falls?

The idea of starting a campaign with the fall of the kingdom, and the rise of a ruler, is appealing.  The heroes could watch everything around them crumble, and then try to pick up the pieces.  Or they could try to find someone to help start the cycle of rebirth, and 'speed up' the Wheel.  Add a mechanic or system to represent the turning of the Wheel, and things could get more interesting.  Push things too fast, and you don't know what will happen.  Try to stop the Wheel, and risk breaking it and trapping your world in a specific Age... and one you don't want.

I have considered doing a campaign where the nation is at peace, but the ruler is the villain.  His law is merciless, but it is just.  People live in fear of him, but they respect him as a ruler who keeps to the laws and punishes those who abuse those laws.  The heroes are opposing him... but as far as anyone is concerned, they're the bad guys, because the heroes are trying to destroy society and bring it down.

Just some thoughts;.

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calling me home

Poll on non-mainstream hobbies

For my journalism class, I'm conducting a small survey on non-mainstream hobbies with two friends of mine. We're targeting role-players amongst other hobby groups.

If you have some time, it'd be great if you could fill out the survey. It consists of 17 questions and can be found (here).

I hope this post is not off-topic; if it is, feel free to delete, of course.