Monday, January 23, 2017

The Desing System

Hey all,

I thought I would take some time and review a game system that I enjoy that never really took hold. It is a simple game with an OSR feel while still having its own 'flavor'. Why am I reviewing an older game that only never had a lot of support?  It's simple really, because I really dig it. Also I love the idea that it is simple enough to be used in several genre. There are Fantasy, Supers, and Sci-Fi versions available.

When I call the game 'the Desing system' it's just a reference to the creator. It doesn't really have a 'name' like some systems but that's no issue. The first thing he released using this system was a game called 'Saga of the Splintered Realms'. The core is a PWYW product as is the adventure book

The game uses the standard OSR attributes although they are rolled a bit differently. The system uses the well-known 1d20 roll to determine success or failure of actions. The main mechanic that changes things up is the Feats system. Feats involve using a special modifier (determined by the character's archetype) to preform special actions.

Feats cover everything from resisting poison and smashing things to picking locks and avoiding traps. It is somewhat of a catch-all mechanic that allows for quick resolution of tasks without a pile of mechanics. There is also a system of Talents that represent special knacks the character's archetype has.

The archetypes that I mentioned can be translated as Classes from other systems. They are simple to understand and easy to use. They have the prerequisite options like Fighter and Cleric but races like dwarves have their own templates. For example a dwarf would have the Myrmidon Template with its own special traits. Magic is also simplified to allow for versatility without bogging things down.

This system of archetypes is used throughout his games. The make things easier overall but I'll admit I want more of them. Thankfully its simple to create your own things for his system.

As I mentioned before there are two other products in his 'line'. One is a supers game called Sentinels of Echo City. The sci-fi version is named Shards of Tomorrow.

Overall I give the 'Desing System' a 4 out of 5 stars. Will it fit everyone's needs? No, of course not. But if you are looking for a simple game with lots of room for growth this will be a good one to check out.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Testament Chronicles 2

One of the things I want with Testament Chronicles is to have lots of options. Several player races, different choices of professions (kinda like classes) for instance. I like games that offer up different ideas for species to play. The problem is most of them don't give you a lot of detail about said species. Usually you get a paragraph or two and are supposed to go with it from there. This isn't a bad way to do it but I like detail.

What I thought I would do today is share the write up for one of the species of Testament Chronicles.  It's kind of long, but I hope you all enjoy it.

Background: The armet are an ancient species of scholars, historians, and archeologists. Long ago they left their home world for the stars. Over the centuries the armet have encountered scores of different species. Most encounters were peaceful and beneficial to both species but some resulted in terrible wars. The armet learned long ago they were not suited for the rigors of war. Their peaceful mindset and weak ‘bodies’ meant leaving battle to other species.

The armet were thrilled when the Grand Dominion offered them a home. They knew that the Dominion was an ever-expanding society. The armet knew Dominion would could benefit from their abilities and that the Dominion would protect them.

Today armet roam the Sakora System seeking lost knowledge and collecting ancient relics. The Dominion greatly value in their finds and inspects even the smallest artifact When not exploring armet can be found teaching others and acting as mediaries. They do their best to remain neutral so to view delicate situations more clearly. Even the cymean are known to call upon the armet when their own negotiations fail.

Personalities: Armet live to learn. They are more concerned with knowledge than any other facet of life. Armet seem cold and distant to others. Their dry sense of humor and poor people skills makes them seem humorless. They are always darting to-and-fro looking for things they may have missed. Armet emotions are difficult to gauge as their communications are all psychic in nature. They are loyal friends and will remain with outsiders so long as they continue learning new things.

Appearance: Armet are free-floating spheres of colorful glowing energy. The most common coloration found among them are shades of red or blue, although they can appear in any color of the spectrum. The emotional state of an armet is reflected both in its coloration as well as its bodily shape. Calm armet are entirely spherical and their bodies only emit gentle light. As an armet becomes agitated its body takes on a more rigid appearance and small pieces break off and begin orbiting their body at high speed. The color of the armet also changes to a much brighter hue of their natural color and they radiate a much greater amount of light.

Armet are able to communicate with one another through the use of an incredibly complex combination of body colors, radiant light, and various body shapes. Although there have been many attempts to decipher the armet language none have been able to reproduce its intricacies. The armet are generally quiet individuals but when they need to communicate with others they do so by using an advanced combination of telepathy and empathy. It is somewhat eerie at first, to simply feel and understand what an armet is thinking and feeling, but as one becomes more accustomed to it the easier it becomes.

The armet’s psychic abilities are not limited to mere conversation; they also possess telekinetic abilities. When necessary they manifest long tendrils of psychic energy to manipulate objects and interact with the physical world. Even the gear they make use is uniquely armet in design. The armet make use of intricately created devices built into small crystal housings. These crystals weave and bob around an armet until they are needed, at which time they stop moving just long enough to be used. Anything else that an armet needs to use is manipulated by means of their telekinesis. The armet do not have the need for any sort of clothing or other accoutrements although they are fond of precisely cut crystals and gemstones. All manner of specially designed jewelry spins and orbits an armet at any time. It is this type of creativity that helps to identify individual armet to outsiders.

Attribute Modifiers: +2 Intellect, -2 Body
Base HP: 4
Base PP: 8
Special Traits
  • Flight: Armet can move 40’ per round. They can float as high as 100’ or as low as an inch above the surface.
  • Glow: Armet can use their light to blind creatures. This can be used as a beam out to 100’ or as a flash. The flash affects all non-armet within 50’.
  • Telekinetic: Can move and operate small objects up to 50’ away. The armet uses their Int modifier to determine weights allowed.
  • Telepathy: Can communicate psychically with all sentient species.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Testament Chronicles 1

My original plan for today's post was to review Sentinels of Echo City as I mentioned previously.  That however, came before a shift in my already short attention span...

Over the last few months (over a year maybe?), I have been tinkering with a dark sci-fi/fantasy mash-up that I call Testament Chronicles. When asked about my influences for it I respond that it is a combination of things. I am tinkering with ideas from: Warhammer 40k, Mutant Chronicles, Shadowrun and of course Star Wars.

I have waffled between a variety of mechanics systems for it... White Star, Open D6, Stars Without Number and so on. As it stands now I will be using a chopped up and recombined version of White Star, the D6 Star Wars and my own ideas.

But more than that it is the setting that I can't shake. What I mean by that is the ever present itch to work on it. Annoying and fun at the same time.

Testament Chronicles begins centered on a massive space station.  Testament is far out on the edge of the Grand Dominion (kind of like the Empire in Star Wars). The Dominion has declared a great pilgrimage into the Frontier. The idea is for the characters to either be part of those moving into the great unknown or those that stay on the fringe of the Dominion.

There are all types of special 'features' at play in the setting. Gifted individuals have potent psychic abilities, some choose to upgrade their bodies with cybernetics. Some choose to go to the extreme with their upgrades, becoming beings called War-Cores.

In the background of all of this is the Fold. The Fold is the great shadow, the evil and corruption that is generated by sentient species existence. It's power can totally twist people into monstrous beings or subtly alter their personalities, making them in turn spread more of the Fold's power.

I have a multitude of ideas for this setting and although it isn't one my my 'normal' genre interests it must be done! I will continue to make posts about this, detailing information about the setting and the system I am working on,

I hope you all enjoy my ideas!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Super Confusion

Hello all,

First off I hope you are having a great New Years so far. I know it's only two days old but sometimes even that short amount of time can be quite telling.

This post is about the comic book style of Role Playing. There are a multitude of supers games out there. Everything ranging from the super-detailed Champions to the incredibly rules-lite game; The Four Color Hack.

Over the years I have waffled between the two styles. I even change my mind in mere minutes when considering this question. I don't think that either style is 'wrong'. Just the opposite really. I think the main factor in deciding on a Supers game is tone. To me the lighter the overall tone the lighter the mechanics should be. In my experience it's much easier to add a dark feel to a lite game than to make a more 4-Color campaign in a rules  heavy game.

I have tried approximately ten trillion times to write my own supers game. I always start off well but then I start second guessing myself. I think it's much harder to write a Supers style game than say a Fantasy one. I know there are really a lot of similarities but something just makes my mind freeze when writing Supers.

Of all the games I've read of late I keep leaning back toward a tiny, pretty much forgotten game called Sentinels of Echo City.

It fits a 'middle of the road' feel for me. It's more crunchy than many rules-lite games but is still really flexible. I have been considering doing a large, full fledged project for it. I still want to, but my own fears make me hesitate.

So, I ask you... What is your go-to Supers game?  What makes it so endearing that you keep coming back to it?

My next post will be a detailed review of the aforementioned Sentinels game. I may also begin sharing details of my massive 'Rally Cry' setting. Its a setting I have been tinkering with since the early 90's so there is a lot to share!