Tag Archives: game design

Now for something completely different!

I’m getting money for some game writing I did! Several years ago, when I thought I wanted to be a game designer and writer, I took a royalty-only project for a company called Seraphim Guard. They were known at the time for a small game book called Heartquest, a game of romance in shoujo manga. I got tapped to write a game book for fantasy anime called Spell-Slingers and Sword-Saints. I wrote it. The book went into limbo. The company changed hands a few time. I parted ways with them finally under bad terms.

About a year ago, the new owners of the company contacted me because they realized they had the rights to publish this game book. After some time, the decision was made to have someone else finish the missing bits of the manuscript and just cash me out rather than deal with the royalties. So, yay! Money!

Age of Twilight

This isn’t so much a game I want to run as an idea I’ve been mulling around. Not sure if I’d want to run a game in such a setting, but I like the potential it has. So think of this more as a creative exercise. If I have enough ideas, I may even start up a Wiki for it.

I really like “prequel” settings for popular game settings. I loved the Earthdawn setting. Hated the rules, but loved the setting. Loved the connections between Earthdawn and Shadowrun. I’ve similarly loved the connections between the Exalted and the old World of Darkness.

The general idea for what I’ve been noodling about is, “What if there was an Exalted-type setting connected to the new World of Darkness?”
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Interesting Post on Game Design

I swear, Rob Donoghue’s blog is one of my favorite things to read regarding game design. I find the man very inspirational. I ignore a lot of podcasts and forums on the topic, as they don’t interest me. But I continue to find Rob engaging and approachable in his thoughts.

In this post he talks about minimalist game design and it’s relation to “crunch.” What I found particularly amusing is the comments which highlight that other people have already head the same thoughts as I did about the “game” aspect of roleplaying games, though admitedly from a completely opposite bias.

Let’s Be Bad Guys

I’ve been mulling around ideas for a D&D or D&D-like campaign. I haven’t decided what system I’m going to use, or when I’ll have time to run it, but it’s something I’ve been mulling around for a while.

Part of it comes from some ideas I noodled around back when I ran a cop game in D&D. Mainly it was a thumbing of my nose at the traditional adventurer model, where the law enforcement PCs looked down on so-called “adventurers” as mere tomb raiders and troublemakers. But that was more of a background setting piece than a cornerstone of the setting.

This idea got a bit of a surge from a quote from, if I’m recollecting properly, John Wick. I think it was from his Houses posts on Livejournal, prior to him locking his posts to private. I thought it might be in Houses of the Blooded, but I can’t find it in the PDF I have of it. But the gist of it was this: Bands of armed thugs wandering the countryside are not adventurers. They are criminals.

I attribute it to Mr. Wick because I believe it came out as he was trying to distinguish the ven of his anti-D&D game from the ageless sociopaths of D&D. But I like the idea as a setup for a D&D campaign, especially since I love the thought of using a concept from Houses to do a non-standard D&D game. It’s like… thumbing my nose at so many people at the same time.

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Maybe I’m Doing it Wrong

I have another post I’m working on, but thought I’d make a quick post about this.

Played in the second session of both the hack-and-slash Exalted game and the Werewolf: The Wild West game. Not much worth commenting on in W:tWW. It was fun. My Creole accent is really bad.

The Exalted game was also fun, but I had sort of a horrible realization: The game is even more fun once you give up any pretense of serious roleplay. This isn’t to say that no roleplaying occured. We spent some time gathering information, interacting with NPCs in sort of a Diablo-esque fashion. But we had two big combats in the five or so hours we played, dropping charms, stunting, etc. And it worked.

A common problem I’ve had with games that have an involved combat system (like Exalted, D&D or 7th Sea) is that (a) combat takes up a big chunk of a session, (b) this is not helped when you’re running a roleplaying oriented game for people who don’t necessarily understand the rules, (c) not all players are typically present for a given combat and (d) I’ve had bad experiences in the past where the entire session is basically one combat with a light garnish of plot on either side.

Typically my solution has been to minimize combat, sometimes abstracting it a bit when success is a foregone conclusion. This unfortunately means that neither I nor my players get really familiar with the system making combat that much more onerous.

I’ve had luke warm experiences with games that try to go with the route “You are badasses! You can change the face of Creation!” I’ve had a lot of fun in a frankly dungeon crawl driven scenario. Hell, I’ve been inclined to try and make some of my own combos.

While this doesn’t sell me on the “system matters” dogma, it certainly leads me to think that I should reconsider how I approach games in the future. Especially ones where I’m less familiar with the rules.

“Don’t kill my stalker… I think he’s my husband!”

Exalted didn’t happen this last weekend due to a last minute cancellation. Werewolf isn’t for another week. But I did have the first session of the new “kids’ game”. I’m not sure that it should still be called the “kids’game” now that most of them are 18, but there’s still a 15+ year age gap between us, so perhaps the term still applies for now.

Overall it was overwhelming. We had 8 kids show up. I really only thought we’d have 6, but 8 actually showed up. It was loud and a little overwhelming, especially when I had two players who were new and two players who were anything but new but were not prepared to play when they showed up. I tried some new stuff this game, so here’s my thoughts on how it went behind the cut.

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Encountering the Random and Mattering System

A few game related thoughts I’d had since my last post. One continuing my thoughts on random encounters, one regarding an idea I’m poaching from tatterdamelion for the kids game (which the random encounter thoughts reminded me of) and one regarding a quote from the White Wolf team on game design.

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I want so much more than they’ve got planned.

After my post a couple weeks ago about, among other things, my need to play more and GM less, I’ve gotten invited to play in three games. ZOMG. One is the D&D 4e game I mentioned previously. Another is Werewolf: The Wild West and the third is Exalted. Additionally, the kids game has rebooted rather than combusted.

I’ve been frantically working on characters since the first session of D&D is today and the first sessions of the other two games are the following weekend. This work has brought up a number of thoughts. I’ll try not to let this devolve into, “Lemme tell you about my character.” I’d hoped to cover all three games in this post, but in the time it’s taken me to write up just the thoughts on D&D, I’ve kinda run out of time. I’ll try and post about character creation thoughts about Werewolf and Exalted within the next week.

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