Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Who’s your audience?

When you’re writing a technical manual or something like rules for an RPG, how much do you assume that the reader knows? Are you writing for a veteran or a newbie? As I see it there are a couple of different things you (and subsequently, I) could do.

Option 1) Assume your reader has never picked up an RPG (or whatever) book and explain every detail.
Option 2) Assume your reader has an understanding of how RPG’s work and gloss over finer points.
Option 3) Somewhere in between.

#1 or My audience might be people who have never played an RPG before.
So you write up every detail of every rule. You go into the minutia like, “this is a die, it has 6 sides, you roll it and add the result to this other number…”

The most obvious benefit is (as long as you explain everything well) everyone knows how to do everything. There will be a clear understanding of how this works, how it interacts with that other bit etc. This can be good for anyone new to the hobby of RPG’s because it makes the learning curve softer.

The very obvious downside to this is that it makes the text very dry and slow. This can itself turn people off.

#2 or In all likelihood anyone playing this gave has played at least one RPG before.
SO you hit the points that make “your game”, “your game” but assume some familiarity with the RPG thing.

Benefits include brevity which might make for an easier read. If you don’t have a daunting 3 chapters before you learn how to make a character, you will probably be more likely to keep reading.

The major downside to this is that things get muddy. Something that is clear to you and 20 others isn’t quite understood by someone else. Then their off looking at the next pretty book.

#3 or the fine line between writing so everyone likes it and writing so no one does.

This can go two ways:
You get the best of both worlds, brief where it should be brief, but clear and concise where you need that too. Everyone’s happy and you sell a million copies.

You try and split the difference and jack up everything. Anyone who you might pull in with your cool cover art immediately puts it back down because your book looks like a space shuttle owner’s manual. Your book sits on store shelves till their thrown away or worse yet, in a server of some POD website, never, ever to be printed.

To me the best option is the good side of 3. However, the risk of falling over into the bad side of three is kind of big… so I’m thinking number two… with a good index.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Yawn... Cracks knuckles,,, Where were we?

Well I have the magic system as down as I can get it without playing it.
I have skills and how they interact with traits.
I have traits.
I have combat.

Chargen is almost written out. So I can give it to someone and say, "make a character".
I'm thinking of testing soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Game @ Work or G@W

The story so far:

Hexeous, a brilliant scientist with amnesia and Max Von Clark, an ex ace marine sniper get recruited to an organisation known as Aldera. Unfortunately before they make it to their orientation they are sent to Antarctica to re-establish contact with an Aldera research facility.

Max and Hexeous quickly find the generator room and turn the power back on and then begin to clear the 5 small building that make up the complex. After they turned on the power, they entered a laboratory where it became readily obvious that the researchers were trying to re-animate the dead. Further investigation would reveal that the goal was to reanimate dead soldiers to continue fighting in wars. This was accomplished by introducing a fungus into the dead soldiers nervous system.

Before entering the next building, they saw an pink and blue ethereal humanoid run through the building screaming. While totally creepy, they didn't seem to pose a threat so the team pressed onward into what  appeared to be a storeroom and workshop. It was here that they encountered the first fungus victim. A man, whose head had split open revealing a fuzzy goo, revved up an 8ft chainsaw and began manically attacking our heroes.  The two tactically retreated through the doorway, but not before Max slapped a bit of C-4 in the doorway. The chainsaw wielding monster chased the two to his doom. His Ka-boom doom.

In the rec-room the team was ambushed by a fungus mohawked mad-man. The shock of the attacker caused Max's shots to go wide, but Hexeous' sub-machine gun plowed through the bestial man's flesh. Unfortunately it didn't stop him from getting within striking distance of Dr Hexeous. If it weren't for Max steeling his nerves and ending the beast, the fungus powered man would surely and destroyed the ping pong table, with Hexeous quickly afterward.

Tune in next time to find out:
Will the team remember that their mission is to re-establish radio contact?
How long will the team stay barricaded in the laboratory doing experiments?
What is that thing chasing them?

Friday, May 13, 2011


So these guys I work with were asking about gaming, and long story short, I am now running an impromptu rules on the fly game durring down time at work.

Niether of the guys have ever gamed before, so some of the results are a little weird.

I decided to throw together a skill list:

The way I did skills was very FATE-ish. 1 amazing skill (+3) 2 great skills (+2) 3 good skills (+1). One of the guys has a free dice roller app on his not-an-i-phone, so for rolling mechanic I'm doing Take the green die, subtract the Red die and and your skill.
We dicided that it should be a modern type game with a supers element. So far its been weird.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Star Wars RPG

So I'm going to start running a game of Saga edition Star Wars.

Having looked it over I'm thinking of using it pretty much stock, which is a BIG surprise for me. Part of this is because I've never played it, so I want to give it a chance to perform, for better or worse. The other part is while reading through it there wasn't anything that really stood up and said, "Hey, I'm a dumb RPG rule thats here to spoil someone's fun."

That said there is an important bit I am going to change.

The Force.

Specificly the dark side. See, as written, theres no reason to use the dark side of the force, because, in the core books, theres only two dark side powers and using dark side powers seem to be the easiest way to get Dark Side points. So it seems like, "Ok as long as I don't press theese two buttons, I won't get dark side points." And, theres appears to be no benifet, short or long term, to getting dark side points other than you can access a Dark Side Tallent tree.

Sooooo whats wrong with this?

The Dark Side is supposed to be easily accessed, suductive, and dooming.

So whats the change?

First off, Dark side is not tied to any particular power. Its a way to access powers. So you can potentialy use ANY power with the dark side. How? By using your negative emotions, hate, aggresion, etc.

Why would you do this? Yoda said it was BAD?

Because, if you use your powers with the Dark Side, it doesn't count against the amount of time you can use that power. So if you need some more force push just get pissed.

anyway, lunch break's over, what do you think?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I got the Dresden Files RPG on PDF.

For the record, Jerry Jones is now a house Skavis White Court Vampire.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

If I keep posting like this, this blog might be worth reading…

Alright so
I was thinking the other day about magic, In Game. And I generally dislike the way D&D does magic. I like a more then-and-there approach, kind of like sorcerers are in D&D but even more so. I also have become drawn into the Dresden Files books, and I really dig the way magic works in there.

Harry Dresden sometimes uses a type of magic called Thaumaturgy. In his world, thaumaturgy is magic done to a little thing that affects a big thing. The little thing, though, has to be similar to the big thing, and has to have a piece of the big one. One time he soaks a Snoopy doll with werewolf blood so he can affect the werewolf. Kind of like a Voo-Doo doll, but with other applications, you could use a piece of a tree to scry the area around that tree.

The only problem I have with it is Thaumaturgy means ‘miracles’ in the dictionary. And since there is no Divine magic in Cobweb, I find the connotation less than desirable.

Now some dude, who I can’t remember, wrote a bunch of stuff on how societies evolve and he identified a thing he named Sympathetic Magic, which is described exactly how Thaumaturgy is described in the Dresden Files. So I decided to call the type of magic in ‘Cobweb’: Sympaturgy.

There will obviously be other types of magic, but if you a casting a spell on someone, and you have some hair or fingernails to use as a Sympatugic Link, you won’t have to use quite so much Mettle.

Friday, February 18, 2011

100th Post. Yay.

In addition to the Chart I'm working with in order to create the spells, I've got a list of mitigating factors for the spells. These won't change the TN for the spell but it does change how much Mettle is used. These will be rated -1, -2, etc. based on how big a deal they are. If the spell has a specific time it has to be cast, 'midnight' might be a -1, reducing the mana cost of the spell by one. If the spell had to be cast at the full moon of the fourth season of a year, it would probably reduce it more.

Rare Component - If the spell requires a material component that is rare or important.
Specific Timing- If the spell can only be done at a specific time.
Glamour- If the spells effect is only an illusion. (The rationale is that its easier to make something that looks like a brick wall than it is to actually make a brick wall.)
Focus- If the spellcaster uses a special focus. staff, rod, ring, book, etc.
Sypathurgic link- Sypathurgy...

Maybe I'll talk about that next time....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Two posts??????!!!!omg!

OK so heres an idea.

What if the amount of Mettle (manna) used was not a function of the amount of 'spell points' used to create the spell, but simply the result of a die roll.

It could look like:
If the Spell TN is < 13 than spell uses 1d6 worth of manna.
Spell TN 13 - 15 than spell uses 2d6 worth.

This would make spell creation faster AND mitigate some of the Mettle loss from a failed spell.

For example:
If you are casting a spell with a TN of 13 and you roll a seven (3d6 result: 3,1,3) then take lowest 2d6 (3,1=4) and lose 4 manna points.

Just a thought....

Friday, February 11, 2011

Magic, It's magical

So I think that I've been looking at this particular forest from the inside of a hollowed out tree. After not quite liking my finished product I decided to look around for other examples and found one in the 2nd Ed FATE. (I think they are updating that site so it may be a bit weird.) It uses the same method as the one I was using, but executes it much more elegantly, so I've tweaked and adapted it for "Spider".

To create a spell (OOG), run through the list below adding the numbers together for what you want the spell to do. (Choose either Area or Targets not both) That number is the amount of Mettle you need to cast the spell. Add seven to that number, and you have the TN for the casting check.

small room...1
large room...2
entire building...3

Single Person...1
small group...2
Large Group...3

convenient / inconvenient...1
Damaging / Healing...2
Incapacitating / facilitating...3

Casting Time


I'm formulating another chart to determine amount of damage. The TN for the spell will be the same, regardless of damage. However you will have to pump more magic into the spell using more of your mettle. So two spells might have the same TN but one might use 2 points of Mettle while the other uses 5.


more gestalt

Thursday, January 27, 2011

other people's bright ideas

So Rob had something cool to say about adventure design and it can be applyed to everything from one-shots to epic campaigns.
Basically, the "hard" part of the episode is going to be one of the following:
  1. Finding out what the creature is (and by extension, its weakness)
  2. Get their hands on whatever they need to exploit the weakness (get the arcane widget, find the body, find the lair)
  3. Applying the fix (Actually shooting/burning/stabbing/whatevering the thing, performing the ritual or the like).
In RPGs, there's often a temptation to make all three of these the hard part, and the result is adventures that turn into long slogs. By making only one of them the real problem, pacing stays pretty sharp, and the formula becomes MUCH more usable. If the problem was ALWAYS that the monster was unknown then every show/game would be about research, which would get dull fast. Ditto the other hard points. Shifting emphasis between these three consistent points (Research, Investigate, Apply) gives you the benefits of consistency while still providing versatility.

If you like you can read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hectic Life level: yellow

Yay! I think I'll now have time to start working on Spider again. I figured a way to get the beta charsheet up. click HERE

Glaring game deficiencies: magic

Requirements for magic:
Easy to play
Versatile spells

I'm thinking that instead of explaining magic use in terms of amount of energy you can wield (manna) to explain it as your mind/body/soul's capacity to channel that energy, and having the currency be called 'mettle'.

(over?) Simplification:
I've also had in the back of my head for some time, that, I can no longer seem to justify breaking magic into two groups (sorcerers and wizards) and may need to just combine the two.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

GReat Idea.

Not for Cobweb mind you... wellllll....

Anyway, What if skill checks had hit points and you rolled skill-damage on them to compleate them?

Rob hashes it out here.