31 May 2013

Obscure RPG Appreciation Day: Lone Wolf RPG (1989)

A little blog named Mesmerized By Sirens that focuses on obscure RPGs is running what they call Obscure RPG Appreciation Day and have challenged bloggers to post about a little known RPG. I have decided to join in the fun with this blog post.

Did you know that a Lone Wolf RPG was published way back in 1989? Yes, I do mean the Lone Wolf of choose-your-own-adventure gamebook fame. The name of the game was, unsurprisingly, Lone Wolf RPG and it was published in issue 15 of the Lone Wolf Club newsletter. Taking inspiration from the popular line of Lone Wolf game books a group of dedicated fans outlined a basic role playing system that could be played on a good old fashioned tabletop.

You're probably wondering what this game looked like and you are in luck. Project Aon has made a great deal of Lone Wolf content freely available, including game the gamebooks everyone knows and loves and every issue of the Lone Wolf Club newsletter. The RPG starts on pager 9 of Issue 15. Go give it a read, the author's managed to cram a great deal of content into just two pages.

The rules of Lone Wolf RPG are very simple. Players chose one of two classes and rolled 3d6 to determine a total of seven attributes. Despite the 3d6 character attributes, challenges are actually resolved with a percentile roll with the difficulty being a multiple of a character's related attribute set by the GM. I don't think I have seen that particular take on things before and it seems a bit weird to my eyes, what do you think?

Another interesting quirk of Lone Wolf RPG is that HP is divvied up across different hit locations on your character, so your head has 3 HP, each arm has 2 HP and so on. I really do find it interesting how much crunch and granularity was squeezed into so few words. Modern ultralight games take up just as many pages and aren't nearly so crunch as Lone Wolf is, yet Lone Wolf isn't any more difficult to play.

If you like reading about RPGs that got lost in the passage of time then be sure to spend a few minutes looking through Mesmerized by Sirens. The blog is all about those old games it is a lot of fun to look back on the games that got left behind.

29 May 2013

Campaign Pitch: Djinni Unchained

As May draws to a close I have decided to squeeze in a post for this month's RPG Blog Carnival, hosted over at the always entertaining Age of Ravens. This month's carnival topic is games that you would like to run, so now is as good a time as any for me to do another campaign pitch.

Al-Qadim was always one of WotC/TSR's more interesting settings and it has been heartbreaking to watch it get left to languish in a dusty old corner of the Forgotten Realms. I was happy to see that Paizo touched on the setting briefly with the off-brand Legacy of Fire, but they have since moved away from there to focus on other parts of Golarion. I bring this up because I have long wanted to do an Arabian Nights style fantasy campaign. Desert and middle eastern inspired settings have been overlooked in my gaming circles and I think it would be a lot of fun to play in my own spin on the setting and mix in some old published adventure modules.

Digital Art by João Paulo

Djinni Unchained

My Arabian Nights campaign would start with a bang or, rather, a puff of smoke (bang sold separately) when an old bottle falls off a shelf in a dungeon and shatters on the floor. This, of course, frees whatever was trapped inside the container. In this case the bottle contained our group of player characters which, due to a clumsily worded wish in the past, have been sitting in a bottle for a hundred years.

The PC's will need to climb their way out of the bottom of a dungeon and when they reach the surface they will find the world has radically changed in their absence. The Djinn they accidentally freed has been running rampant across the country, passing out twisted wishes left and right and freeing his magical brethren. Wishes are common place and feared by all. A wish uttered in exasperation could end in disaster and many avaricious men have tried to take advantage of unrestrained wishing, often to their own downfall.

 What will the heroes do in this new world? Will they journey the fantastic desert palace of the djinn they switched places with? Will they set out to explore the new world and right the twisted wishes along the way?

I don't know the answers to those questions, but I do want to find out.

How I'd Run It

This would be a sandbox game. 100 years of indiscriminate wish granting could make for a very unusual world for a group of heroes to explore. I also think there is a strong chance that the party would be motivated by revenge and will seek to take down the djinn that condemned them to a lifetime of prison. Even if they aren't, I think much of the game will involve recapturing djinni and saving people from their wishes.

This would definitely be a campaign with a heroic mood and I would pull a lot of from the source material that inspires an Arabian Nights setting. There would be a lot of magic, but it would be unpredictable and rarely in the control of the heroes.

What Game Would I Use?

Dungeon World, probably; however, any edition of D&D or D&D style game would do the trick. Maybe it would be fun to dust off AD&D 2e and go full Al-Qadim. I might also take the campaign as an opportunity to run one of the few RPGs designed for an Arabian Nights setting and I think Legend of the Burning Sands would be at the top of that list. I would be also be interested in trying 1001 Nights, but I don't think it is the right game for the style of play I imagine this campaign having.

28 May 2013

Game Chef 2013: Chroma Team vs. The Terrorlights

The design part of Game Chef 2013 is now complete and I am already hard at work on the the peer reviewing phase. I have already shared my initial brainstorming session as well as teased a character sheet, but now that my entry has been submitted it is time to actually share the fruits of my labour.

How's that for an ugly cover?

Chroma Team vs. The Terrorlights

I went with a goofy game this year and built a game about a team of brightly coloured super heroes fighting giant monsters. I named my super hero team the Chroma Team because Power Rangers was already taken and Rainbow Warriors sounded like it would be a game about gay rights activists.

The general premise of CTvT is that a mysterious force (Terrorlights) is sicking giant monsters on the most populated cities in the world. As members of Chroma Team, the players must kick some giant monster butt while also keeping innocents safe and their identities secret. I think I nailed the first two parts of that, but I don't think I really accomplished much on the secret identity front (at least not mechanically).

You can read/download the Game Chef 2013 copy of Chroma Team vs. The Terrorlights here. As always, I would love to hear from you if you read or play the game.

25 May 2013

Game Chef 2013: Character Sheet Teaser

The clock is ticking on Game Chef 2013 and submissions are due when it is no longer May 26th anywhere in the world. Naturally, with less than 48 hours left on the clock I have decided that my time is better spent updating my blog than actually working on the game. It's all part of the creative process, I swear!

I have stepped away from designing and proofreading to tease the character sheet for my entry and without further ado, here it is:
I could explain everything on this sheet to you, but I think it will be more fun to leave it up to your imagination until I do up a proper blog post on my entry to the competition. I've stuck fairly closely to my original vision in the brainstorming post and maybe you can glean some hints from there. I will also say that the name of the game has changed to Chroma Team VS The Terrorlights, make of that what you will.

18 May 2013

Game Chef 2013: Ingredients & Brainstorming

Game Chef is back for 2013 and I am already scratching my head and staring at the ingredients. I have participated in Game Chef twice before, 2010 and 2011, but have never won or placed as a finalist (historically I have done better with the 24/48 hour jams).

This year's ingredients come in the form of five images, the first of which is the theme.

I'm not really sure what to make of this image. The first thing that sprang to mind was an elevator, but the only thing I can thematically link to elevators is heaven/hell and business. I'm really not interested in doing another afterlife themed game for Game Chef as I did one back in 2010 with In Between.

Some other things: teleporting, grow/shrink, alien abduction, glowing eyes. If you turn it upside down it looks kind of like a sword

Brainfreeze, cold and calculating, elemental affinity, death/skeleton, train driving through snow, head cold, thinking about winter, paralysis/frozen in place. Upside down it looks like someone eating snow.

Worms, bad apples, parasitism, corruption, growth. Upside down the apple becomes a tree and the monstrous worm is still  a monstrous worm. The apple could refer to New York which would mean a giant worm is eating New York.

Armour/chainmail, diamonds, expensive clothing, status symbols. I guess it could be an anchor or some kind of weird pot if you look at it upside down.

Lanterns, shine light on/revealing, shadows, China, keep darkness away, hiding from light, film noir, beacons/being drawn to light.

I have done a game that used light/fire in the mechanics before, so I don't think I want to go that route again.

What am I Going to Do?

I have been staring at these images for about 24 hours now and a lot of the ideas I have been coming up with are too similar to games I have done in the past. I don't want to build mechanics around light or fire again and I don't want to do a game about the afterlife or death. I also don't really have much interest in doing a game around status, politics, castes or things of that ilk.

Looking back at the games I have made for competitions of the years it seems that I am often drawn to darker themes and horror. The same is true of this year's Game Chef. Most of my ideas involved dystopias, parasites, corruption, social climbing and so on. I am kind of sick of dark topics and this year I have decided that I am going to go in the opposite direction; I am going to interpret the ingredients and theme in the most off the wall and fun way that I can.

Attack of the Terrorlights

Glowing lights pulse in the night sky. They dance over the city until falling down and into the most ordinary of things. Destruction follows the lights. They are the Terrorlights, some kind of otherworldly force intent on the destruction of the earth. The creatures their light touches grow to massive size and become enraged, laying waste to everything around them.

Someone must stand up to the Terrorlights and their gargantuan creations and that someone is you. Players take on the role of members of the colorful Chroma Team, mighty defenders of earth with the power to grow (and shrink) in size to combat any threat.

 That's right, I am going Kaiju with this game which will be inspired by such classics as Kamen Rider and Power Rangers and the Terrorlights are a little bit like Mysterons.

I haven't put a lot of thought into mechanics for AotT yet, but I know that I want to include few core ideas.
  1. I want the colour/pattern of player clothing to matter. If you wear a plaid shirt then you get to play the Plaid Ranger. What I think this means is that there will be a kind of class system where players match up their clothing and it gives them some abilities or powers. This is then paired with a choice of title like 'Ranger', 'Warrior' or 'Defender' to get their full sentai member code name.
  2. I plan on using push your luck mechanics in this game. My thoughts are that the heroes can keep pushing forward when fighting giant monsters but if they push their luck too far they will damage the city or injure innocents.
  3. I want the game to be a balance between giant monster battles and slice of life for the heroes. My idea is that we get to see the heroes struggle with the fallout of their actions when they push their luck too far and I also want to have some fun with the players hiding their secret identities from friends and family.
I have just over a week to make something out of this and, luckily for me, this year Game Chef falls on a long weekend.

3 May 2013

Elven Name Generator

Today I round out my set of standard fantasy race name generators with an elven name generator. For this generator I took pieces of ancient celtic names and mashed them up with new age/hippy names. I am relatively pleased with the result, which gives a suitably elven first name paired with a cheesy surname.


Web Analytics