Saturday, July 6, 2013

Behind the Scenes...

I do not have a lot to report but here are the latest things happening in the background that will most assuredly lead to some posts in the future.
Escape from Camp Blood: I am still jotting down ideas but would really like to get some serious work done on this board game.  The truth is, I do not have a tremendous amount of serious board game experience so the going has been kind of rough.  Eric at Memories of the Mayfly has been tremendously helpful with providing insight and ideas but I just have not had any solid ideas yet.  It will come along eventually but in the meantime I want to say "Thanks, Eric" and hope that the game starts to take shape soon.  It kind of sucks to be stuck in brainstorm and research mode with no real progress to show.  Soon, I hope to have something for us to make available for download.
Swords & Wizardry: After a bit of investigation I believe that I have settled on Swords and Wizardry for my standard retro-clone of choice; as in, games that stick pretty close to the older editions of D&D.  I think S&W does a fabulous job of it and I am working on a project right now with Venger that should be completed later this year.  The DCC RPG is still my all time favorite neo-clone type of game for all of the little changes it makes in the rules.
Toldara: I have two ongoing projects for my campaign world.  First, I need to complete the B/X campaign handbook; who knows, maybe I will whip up a S&W version also?  Second, I need to update the map with some geographical changes and additions.
USR:  I am still working on the zombie apocalypse adaptation of the USR system.  Most of my work has consisted of background and setting material because USR tends to fade into the background.  The biggest change is in the name of my project.  The name, OUTBREAK, is already taken by a small press rpg and also used for the title of a supplement to another game.  I have decided to either use REMNANTS or REMNANTS OF HUMANITY. 
In case you were wondering what has been going on behind the scenes, there it is...     


  1. Given some of your recent posts, I thought I would send a think to a forum post that might be of interest to you:

    1. An interesting thread, no doubt about it. I was not surprised to see no general consensus on ALL of the details that are essential to an old school game. I agree with everything there in varying degrees. I like old and new school games with just about everything in between also. Nostalgia is a BIG draw for me - but not necessarily to the actual rules of the era but mainly the experience. As in, a group of us gathered around the table after generating our characters to play for hours into the night - often times it would be all night - and then crashing the next morning to get up to play again. The rules weren't important. Hell, we ignored or hand waved many of them at times. Yeah, that's the draw for me. I do play and enjoy new school games but I do not enjoy the debates I have had to endure over rules at times. Granted, this can happen in any game but it just seemed like the focus of our group back then was on having fun and playing instead of trying to prove the DM wrong. No, the old school rules were not always consistent and even seemed unfair at times and sometimes player skill or knowledge was more important than in game character knowledge or skills but we sure had a fun time all those years ago.

    2. I just think there are so many issues conflated that it is difficult to get an answer. With OSRIC, they had a good idea. We will put some stuff out for the purpose of other people putting out AD&D adventures and supplements. Except now they say compatible with OSRIC to help avoid legal problems. Beyond that I get really confused. For example, I never understood the purpose of buying retro clones because you can easily get a hold of the originals.

      I also think people confuse their rpg experience with the rpg rules. Certainly rules have a huge impact on things, but many of those that preferred the more "open" nature of D&D like it because of the lack of rules. It also had to do with how they handled things that helped create the style of play they like.

      OSR seems mostly a short hand marketing issue rather than a codified term. I think games should be judged on the quality rather than when they were made. Newer doesn't mean better. At the same time to insist because D20 is a bad system that some old game is the pinnacle of game design is also wrong.

      I think I am a bit weird in that I think some of the most intriguing game design is being done in computer games and that importing some of those aspects to table-top would be a step in the right direction.

    3. I agree with your sentiments. I still think OSRIC is a good idea along with you. I plan on buying a copy of it myself someday just because it is convenient all-in-one book restatement. I guess the most relevant reason in purchasing a retro clone is the availability; yes, originals can be found without an earth-shattering effort but maybe it's the "new and shiny" version of the old game or something similar?

      Yeah, I pretty much think that is the case for many people. I straight up admit it's the old style EXPERIENCE more than the RULES for me.

      Good point. OSR is far from codified. A game can be "good" or "bad" regardless of whether it is new or old. I totally agree with you on that point. Some of the OSR is nothing more than old guys saying "get off my lawn" or "dang-nab this new fangled stuff...back in my day we didn't have fair rules. We took the ruling of the DM and we liked it. No, we loved it!".

      I'm a little bit behind on computer games myself. That sounds like an interesting thought.

    4. I was at a con around 18 months ago. There was a panel with people in the computer industry and they were talking about game design. They mentioned how all of the computer mechanics were just based off of D&D and boardgames. All of that got me thinking about what they managed to do with the mechanics.

      I got to thinking that while the base mechanics may be the same, how they are used are different and that could be used to make PnP RPGs better. I think WotC was smart for trying to get computer gamers, I just think their mechanics are poorly thought out.

      Let us look at the poor fighter class in AD&D. What can the fighter do? Well he can hit with a weapon. That is pretty much it. Magic users get a lot of spells doing different things. Thieves have a set of skills to use. Clerics gets spells and combat as well as druids, rangers, and paladins.

      So, in combat situations, it pretty much is just a fighter rolling a d20 and seeing if it hits. You can describe combat all you want, but from a mechanics perspective that is all there is. It is really boring compared to every other AD&D class.

      In MMORPGs, you train up a skill line. This gives you access to different abilities. This gives melee classes more tools to use. In some of the better (and for that fact older) mmorpgs, you would have chain styles. One hit has to be successful to do the next style, etc. There would be different effects - damage over time, impair attacks, increase defense, stun, slow, etc. There are also positional styles, i.e. certain attacks need to be done on the side, back, front, or from stealth.

      So, if you are a teenager coming from online games, and you come to D&D, it is going to look pretty boring from a mechanics point of view. Sure WotC has added a few things, but you online fighter-type character is way cooler in what he can do.

      What I had in mind is that fighters should be able to train up different special abilities. These can then be used in combat like they are in mmos. If you look at the PJ rules, there is an appendix where I give this idea its first shot.