Friday, August 30, 2013

Fantasy Thursday (well Friday)

Hey Gang,

Well as usual real life has been interfering with my writing.  I won't bore you all with the details other than to say my writing laptop is out of commission for the time being.  No big deal though, I was able to get everything transferred to this computer.

This post is going to be a bit of a ramble about fantasy gaming in general.  One of the topics that came up on one of my many G+ gaming groups was the topic of D&D and its notoriety versus other games.  The reason that everyone knows about D&D is twofold really, it has been around longer than anything, and it's parent company has the money to crank out the goods.  Paizo is the same way.

Is this a bad thing?  Of course not.  To me anything that keeps the hobby going is a good thing.  I just wish that some of the other, smaller games, could get more of the spotlight from 'mainstream' gamers (that's a bit of an oxymoron I know).  Ah well, that is just my opinion really.

Strangely enough my first gaming experience was not a fantasy one, but a supers one.  Shortly after that I was introduced to D&D and enjoyed it immensely.  I am clearly a massive fan of supers, but it is so much easier for others to visualize and grasp something in the fantasy vein than anything else.  Look at the plethora of books, movies, and television shows that expand the fantasy genre daily.  Sure, comic-book related media is growing in popularity but can it ever dethrone fantasy as the number one type of RPG?  Nah, not a chance.

I have played more fantasy games than anything else, and as you know I am currently working here-and-there on two different fantasy settings.  One is a more 'typical' setting with dragons, knights, and darring-do, while the other is more...well off the wall.  Both are fun but I don't know if either are really all that ground breaking.  Again, is that a bad thing?  Nope.

I think the most important thing, regardless of who is doing it, is the act of being creative.  It is the imagination that drives the hobby and the thinking process will always be more important to me than something like say a video game.  I may be crazy but that's just me.

Keep on Gaming!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Super Tuesday 4 continued... the System

Following up on my previous post and the responses from Joshua I have decided to further explore the ideas of working up my own system.  The thing to keep in mind is that this is far from polished.  It is just the basic ideas of my newest system and needs a lot more examples and such but this should give you all an idea of where I am going.

The work on a system of my own is interesting to be sure.  Every time I look at it I see things I would like to expand or fix.  I understand that is just part of the process but it doesn't help that I am so obsessive about details combined with the fact that I am amazingly hard on myself.  Do I know if this is going to be "the one"?  No, of course not but hopefully it will give some sense of my thinking process.

Also touching on something I said earlier I am all for finding someone else's system to work with.  I am fond of the idea of using the OGL but prefer the Creative Commons idea even more.  I know of a few options that I can use, but as I mentioned before I am worried about losing my IP if I use someone else's system.  Probably a silly notion, but it is there.  'Course it would help if I studied up on the various permutations of the OGL and CC licenses. 

Anyway, I am rambling.  Here it is, a preview of my 'simple' system.  I would be happy to hear anything you all think and if you have any ideas of other systems I could use

Thanks as always and keep on Gaming!!

Super Tuesday 4

Comic-books are full of greater-than-human characters that defy logic.  The same can also be said of characters in the Fantasy genre.  I suppose the only real difference between the two is the type of clothing the character is wearing.  One is decked out in spandex and capes while the other wears chainmail and swings a sword.

Does this mean the two ideas are totally opposite of one another?  Nah, not really.  I have actually toyed with the idea of combining the supers-type characters with other genres before.  Take for instance the Hellbound setting idea that I presented earlier in my blog history.  The premise of that was to combine low-powered super-humans with all sort of supernatural horror.  Kind of like Supernatural on crack.

There are those systems out there that claim to be totally universal but always have issues when working on supers of any time.  A good example of this is the Palladium System.  It is touted as a universal system, but boy does it take a lot of work to make the settings mesh together.  While it may be a bit of a bother I enjoy it because I am honestly a big Palladium geek :)

The best way to combine the genres, supers-and-fantasy is to keep things simple.  I was working on a G-Core hack for a fantasy type game but honestly it was getting way too mechanic intensive and lost the loose, fast feel of G-Core.  I think that over-doing the rules for any genre is a prevalent problem across all games.  The interesting thing is that most of the Supers games I enjoy (G-Core, Bulletproof Blues, and Invulnerable in particular) would easily handle a fantasy type game.  The powers could easily be converted into spells and there ya go.  Fantasy heroes...

I think the idea of being able to cross-pollenate genres is the best way of doing things.  Games such as Palladium, Savage Worlds, and the slew of other universal games have the possibility to make something great.  Sadly I have yet to find one that truly meets my needs for a combination of detail but simple rules. 

Then again isn't that part of the point?  I mean gaming in general is a combination of what is out there and what one can create.  Fun stuff I think.

Thanks as always, and keep on Gaming!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What's your game like?

It is no secret that I have worked off and on with a variety of systems over the years in the quest to find 'the ONE'.  You know what I mean, that one system or setting that completely engrosses me and keeps me coming back for more.  Several times I have thought to myself that I found it, only to become frustrated and out-of-love with it for one reason or another.  That has lead to me working on my own system ideas many many times.  Has this way of thinking ever truly worked out?  Well no, but it doesn't hurt to try does it?

So in this vein I have decided to make a list of my favorite systems for you all to peruse and maybe get you all thinking on this as well.

Fantasy: I would have to go with Pathfinder overall.  I really enjoy the crunchiness and the multitude of options that are available.  As always there are issues with balance and rules confusion but that is just a matter of fact for any system.

Sci-Fi: Shadowrun, and by that I would probably pick everything 3rd edition.  The total package from system through setting is just awesome to me and it is one of the few games I have kept all my books for.

Favorite Supers: This one has a lot of options, possibly more than any other through the years.  I have actually settled for three games for this.  G-Core for rules-light, Bulletproof Blues for my general supers-gaming, and Invulnerable for my tactical supers goodness.  Three totally different and enjoyable games for three different play styles.  Shame I never get to play this genre eh?

Overall though I would say my favorite system is.... drum-roll please.... Palladium!!  Yeah, Yeah I know.  It is the epitome of problems.  It has a myriad of issues from the contradictory rules, the over-reaching skills, and so-on.  For me though it is just fun.  And isn't that what this is all about really?  Having fun?

On the home-brew tip I am slowly working on a massive overhaul to my system.  The mechanics are simple enough and have only changed a bit from its original idea.  The character generation has gone from a multitude of different classes to a system that allows the Player to choose what they want from a few lists.  Is it going to be the one for me for everything?  Eh, probably not, but it is still fun to try.

So what about you?  What is your favorite?

As always thanks for reading and keep on Gaming!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Whats going on?

Hey gang!

I am sorry about the lack of updates the last few days, things have been just odd enough around here to keep me from working on anything meaningful.  I have managed to get some work done here and there, but personal things have been keeping me busy.

On that note I have still be working on a couple of different projects.  I know I said I wasn't going to be working on making my own system any time soon, but a few conversations with a friend of mine changed my mind.  It is funny, there is nothing more enjoyable, or more frustrating, than writing and making up a game of my own is no exception.  That being said, after a major overhaul of the die-mechanic, things are progressing well on that front.

I have also been working on a couple supers-projects the last little while.  One is art related and though it is nothing major it is for a fun game and hope it will lead to more involvement with them in the future.  The other project involves working out more details and expounding on some ideas for one of my super-settings.  That one is going very well at the moment.

As an aside I have decided to change up the flow of the posts here on my blog for a bit.  I will be altering the days around just a tad to reflect my current predicaments.  Super Tuesdays will continue as is, but my fantasy offerings will be changed to being just on Thursdays.  It will also be more than just my Espeth setting as it will contain information about a number of fantasy-related topics.

I am also hoping to get to do more reviews of different games, and not just supers ones.  I enjoy this process and find it helpful for what I want to work on next.  So all in all, despite some ups-and-downs things are going well here and writing on a number of fronts continues.

Thanks as always and Keep on Gaming!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bulletproof Blues Review

It's no secret that I enjoy reading every super-hero/comic-book oriented system I can get my grubby little hands on.  Today I will be reviewing one that I have had for a while but am just now getting around to reviewing.

Bulletproof Blues , written by Brandon Blackmoor, is touted as a "rules-lite" system.  While it is a simple system to digest and understand I would consider it to be more than its descriptor.   There are 8 attributes as well a several Skill Groups that make up a good chunk of the characters abilities.  The nice thing is that these characteristics are flexible enough, and easy enough to grasp, that you can do a myriad of different things without having to result to a slew of skill-checks and different modifiers.

As with the skills and attributes, the Powers of the game are set up in such a way as to be easy to understand and use.  While the list of powers is not exhaustive as it is in some games it has more than enough to create pretty much any character you can think of.  The nice thing is that the power set-up is simple enough to allow for the creation of other powers should the need arise.

In addition to the standard chapters of a book of this genre such as Mechanics, Characters,  and World Notes there are several helpful sections like the one devoted to helping the Game Master and the Players understand both their play-style as well as how to work together to make a more memorable game experience for everyone.

Is the game perfect?  Of course not, I mean, what game is?  But they have done an excellent job of designing a system that allows for easy answers without being bogged down in all sorts of over-the-top mechanics, exceptions, and headaches.

Another nice thing about this game is that it uses both a Creative Commons License as well as the OGL which allows others to create their own works for the system.  Personally I am not familiar with the Kalos Comics Universe, but I do know my own and see how it could be utilized for such.

All in all I give Bulletproof Blues a hearty thumbs up.  It fills my need for a game between "super-light" and "crunchy" very well and will make a good addition to anyone who loves the genre.

Thanks for reading and keep on Gaming!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

M&M Wednesday 4

Hey Gang!

After a busy and frustrating few days I am back with another Monsters and Magic post.  Todays little addition details the largest church in the world of Espeth.  It is, in effect, a multi-denominational gathering of people all who are allowed to worship as they wish so long as they do no harm to others.

I do apologize for my tardiness in a couple of posts, most notably M&M Monday and Super Tuesday.  A creative block has everything off by a few days but I will have it sorted out in no time!

As always thanks for reading and keep on Gaming!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chronicle 00: Book One Review

Hey gang,

I am taking a break from M&M Monday to present you with a review of a brand new game offering from Dilly Green Bean Games.  You might recognize that company as being the same one that makes the G-Core Games that I am such a fan of.  Please don't let my previous use of the game as an absolute to the way Chronicle 00: Book One is, while it has a similar system the game itself has been through an amazing deal of expansion and explanation.

Chronicle 00 takes place in a future where Mega-Corporations rule the world and their technological offerings have helped to create the perfect man.  While this premise has been used before, it is Jay's presentation of said material that sets it apart.  This is more than just a typical cyber-punk genre game.

Jay has spent tow years researching this genre in order to create his own vision of it.  He has chosen to step outside the normal tropes and  create a setting that is vibrant and easy to understand even by today's standards.  The technology level of Chronicle: 00 is very high allowing for all manner of product from simple cybernetic upgrades, through fully self-aware Artificial Intelligence's.

There are comprehensive rules for creating your own cyborg characters as well as powerful suits of battle-armor that take the fighting to the next level.  Even his use of power-armor is well done as it breaks it down to more than just bash your enemy until it's dead.  There is a sense of actions and consequences to said actions even if the attack fails.  There are even guidelines for repairing and recharging depleted mecha.

It is a fun read.  I was able to take in and understand it all in a relatively short session.  Anything that could be misunderstood is given an example to help clear it up.  While the setting itself is quite bleak it has the glimmer of hope that only the characters can help bring to reality.

All in all I give this game a 5-star rating not because I am a fan of DGBG and their products, but because it is worthy of that rating.  It is a work of patience and love that I can't help but enjoy.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

YaY mE!

Those of you who have been reading this humble blog understand that I have been struggling with conflicting ideas for my super-heroic setting known as Rally Cry.  To say I have been beating myself up about it is a major understatement.  As I have mentioned before RC has been a labor of love and frustration for me for quite the long time.

Over the years with it I have tried to create my own systems and tinkered with adaptions for tons of different games.  I finally realized (with the help of friends) that creating a system, while something I hope to someday do, is not for me at this time.  To this end I have firmly decided on my plan to move forward.

I have decided to pretty much destroy the world of Rally Cry.  This somewhat drastic action will help me in a number of ways.  The most important being that I don't have to keep obsessing with incredibly detailed back-stories and cramming as much into one setting as possible.  This has been the major stumbling block for me throughout the years.

One of the oldest ideas for RC was to have a major earth-shattering invasion that involved the entire planet.  It is this invasion that will be the setting for Rally Cry for here on in.  It is, in my opinion, going to be much easier both writing wise and in scope.  I have already worked out all the basic notes for the new setting and even got the pencils done for one of the invaders creatures.  The new plan also means that I can re-utilize my 'Welcome to Bifrost' setting that is an off-shoot of the original RC universe.

I can't wait to see where this goes.  For the first time I am truly excited about writing for supers again and look forward to doing more.

I hope you all will join me for the ride!

As always, thank you and Keep on Gaming!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

M&M Saturday?!? and other thoughts

Hello all!

Well, this is an unexpected post.  I have been going through something of a writing glut of late and haven't gotten much of anything done for the last few days.  In an effort to alleviate that I have been going through some of my Espeth setting in an attempt to get my creativity going again.  Todays post involves what is going to be the first fully fleshed out region for my setting book.

The frontier is a vast, mostly-uninhabited area of dusty plains and switchbacks.  The recent discovery of all manner of riches in the mountains there has created a rush into the wilds in an attempt to become rich.

In the meantime I have been pondering many other creative ideas, although not with the results I would like.  I have been sporadically working on a Supers adaption for Rally Cry for the upcoming Invulnerable Vigilante Edition and have finished my next G-Core release, which is currently in layout.

On the M&M tip I have still been considering a couple of different ideas in addition to Espeth.  As I mentioned before there have been thoughts of a modern horror/monster hunting setting and/or a future based space-opera type game.  I am still up in the air as to which to work on.

One of the problems I have as a writer, especially a game writer, is getting over the idea that whatever I create has to be totally original.  I know that this is pretty much impossible given the number of ideas and products out there, but I at least want to be interesting and entertaining.  That is the part I struggle the most with.  I have a hard time not bashing my work and comparing it to other things out there.  It isn't a fun position to put ones-self in.

That being said I am fortunate to know several people who help me get through these funks and as time progresses I will have more goodies for you to peruse!

As always thanks for reading and Keep Gaming!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

M&M Wednesday 3

Hello Everyone!!

Today is another Monsters and Magic day.  Instead of another deity this time I decided to post another of Espeth's many important groups.  This group, the Ebony Eye, is known as a collection of thieves, assassins, and rogues, but most importantly their members are reputed to have the ability to sense the future.

There is much more to the Eye than is in this post as I would like to keep some facets available for when I go into more detail about their home region.  The Ebony Eye can be found just about everywhere but their headquarters is in the domed city of Antios.

On a related note I have been thinking long and hard about the overall setting of Espeth and with some advice from the M&M G+ group I have decided to stay small in my overview for now.  Instead of going into wide swaths of the continent I am going to limit it to one smaller region.  The region in mind is a wild, untamed area known only as the frontier and is situated between the two most powerful nations on Espeth.

I have also been thinking of the flexibility of M&M and the Effect Engine as a whole.  For a time I was thinking of doing another fantasy setting for it, then I wondered about doing a horror setting.  Now my thinking is leading toward a space-opera setting.  The great thing is that I firmly believe the system can be used for anything, especially when considering the Constructs rules.

As always thanks for reading and keep Gaming!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Super Tuesday 3

Hello there!

Welcome to the third installment of Super Tuesday.  I have been alternating my writing work between a couple of projects lately.  The primary one has been my Monsters and Magic setting, but have no fear, my supers work has continued as well.  In fact sometime in the next week or so I will be releasing my third G-Core product, a small book of characters and a bit of their background.  This little project is just part of my larger G-Core work to fully flesh out my Rally Cry setting.

What's that you say?  Rally Cry again?  Yeah I know, its my addiction.  I have decided (after chats with several people) to break my supers into a couple of projects instead of trying to force everything into one massive project.

Rally Cry will continue to be my homage to a near-future comic book world while the other will be a more contained setting.  The reason for the smaller second setting is two fold.  The first is so that I can attempt to finish it as one project easier than a far-spanning one such as RC.  The second is that this will be my first project utilizing the Invulnerable game system.

In the past I have gone way-overboard creating my settings.  They are generally massive sprawling concoctions that span scores if not hundreds of pages.  This is great for free-writing but difficult for releasing to others.  This is especially true when I am also the one doing all the art work!  The benefit of working in this way is that I have to force myself to get better in both fields.

The Invulnerable setting doesn't have a name yet, but takes place around the same time as the Nexus freebie on this blog and the Welcome to Bifrost book available on  (yep, shameless plug)  I have been working on a couple of ideas for this little work.  The first idea is to place it on Earth in the years following the alien invasion while the second is to set it on one of the massive ships of the armada during the journey to escape the alien armada.

I have done a little free writing based on the former idea and the link to it is in this blog.  I hope you all enjoy it, and if you have any thoughts about anything I write please feel free to let me know!

There will be another post concerning my work on this genre later this week and more free writing on the subject...

As always enjoy and keep on gaming!

Monday, August 5, 2013

M&M Monday 2

Hello everyone,

Here is the first of this weeks two Monsters and Magic posts.  This post will not be a single aspect of the setting, rather it will have some information about the setting as a whole.  This is meant not only to help expand the view of the world for you readers, but also to help clarify some things here and there that may have cropped up.

My goal with creating Espeth is simple really.  I did this as a method to express my ideas both for myself as well as others.  For me it is a matter of letting others see my thought process as well as my myriad of ideas.  My overall plan is to slowly expand upon the basics of Espeth, eventually including artwork and maps, into a larger setting akin to something like the Forgotten Realms or the Pathfinder setting.  Ambitious I know, but one has to dream big I think.

The plan right now is to go into detail about each specific region before putting it all together into one large product.  This way people can cherry-pick what they want and only use what they feel they need.  Originally I was going to go nuts on detailing the southern region of Leston and the City of Stadtler.  Stadtler thus far has been detailed to a point and put up on this blog.

My thinking at the moment is to complete work on the portion of northern Espeth known as the Frontier.  This region is akin to the wild-west portion of the world and is situated between the two largest and most powerful nations on the continent.  It is a fertile area full of gold fields and areas ripe with other types of precious metals and gems.  This makes it an ideal place for the two nations, Golardin and Trepia, to duke it out as they have before.

Thank you to all of you who replied on my post on the G+ site about my setting.  Hopefully you all are enjoying what you see and read.  A more detailed write-up containing the basics of the Frontier will be released this Wednesday.

Thanks, and keep on Gaming!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How many is enough?

I have, as is generally the case, been thinking about gaming in general as well as my writing.  As of late the majority of my time has been spent working on a fantasy setting using the Monsters and Magic system.  It has been a great amount of fun and quite different from my normal train of thought.  I have even found myself wondering if I may have found a system that will handle all of (if not a lot of) my system needs.

This question brought to mind the question of systems and how many is enough.  By that I mean how many is necessary to fulfill a players needs?  I guess that is something of a pointless question since only the individual can answer that question.  I wonder if maybe the quest of finding the 'perfect' system is a moot point really since there are just so many options out there.

As is the case of most gamers I have slews of game systems and settings that I have purchased over the years.  Now admittedly there are only a tiny of handful of these that I have actually used but I try to read as many of them as possible.  With anything one buys there is always the chance of getting total dud and I wish I could say I haven't spent my money on any of them.  The truth is I have...many times.

What I try to do is find at least something of interest in these less-than-ideal products for inspiration.  This has served me well for many years and has helped me over some humps in my creativity.  That being said I have to change my way of looking at things somewhat since I decided to no longer work on creating my own system.

There are several games out there that I really dig.  Fortunately most of the ones I really enjoy are now using the OGL or a Creative Commons license which means I am free to do products for them pretty much as I see fit.  In some ways this is much more liberating than working up my own system from the ground-up.  I can use existing rule-sets and just create stuff for them regardless of their individual mechanics.  This allows me to do what I want and move on.

There are many games that I hope to do work for.  There is of course G-Core and now Invulnerable that I want to crank out some material for but I was also reminded of the game Supers! that I really enjoy.  All of these systems alone can keep me busy for a good long time... and that is if I were to stick solely to the comic-book genre.

With fantasy I am still working pretty much entirely with the M&M system although there has been some thought of using D20 Modern as a basis for my techno-fantasy setting.  These two systems are dramatically different and although I truly like the D20 Modern system I can't get entirely into it due to the amount of work involved in doing a OGL product.

That being said, what is enough for the typical gamer?