Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The race and the swift

If you want to get cracking on the wargame deck from yesterday's post by writing your own cards, here's a blank. It's the same size; just click on it.

Feel free to print them all out, but I'm interested in hearing about whatever it is you come up with.

If you're wondering about the titles, they're from Ecclesiastes; I might use the first for the deck.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Nor the battle to the strong (1)

You might remember a while back I linked to a post Big Jim wrote at Galaxy in Flames on the wow factor and GMs in 40K, and the discussion we had in the comments on creating a kind of automatic GM for players who want more unusual action in games.

This is a start on one possible approach, three cards for a deck of interlinked cinematic events. Although the original discussion focused on 40K, I've generalised here, aiming to make it compatible with a range of wargames, hopefully with very little adapting in-game.

As you'd imagine, the idea is that each player has a hand of cards and is able to play a given number per turn, applying each to a target listed below the title, with some targets created by the deck itself. You can see how Spill creates a new element for interaction, which is also a target for Spark, and Spark in turn creates one for cards like Plume.

To make things more reasonable, it could be that it a vehicle can only be targeted when it moves, a weapon when it fires etc. and depending on the game, the weapon can be a heavy weapon or artillery piece only. The wording of the cards also allows for effects to be selected via a table when a potential target acts, but that's all still to be worked out.

One obvious point to make re Spill and Spark is that they are less suitable for settings pre-black powder or combustion engine. In cases like this, Spill would be best dropped and Spark could have the weapon and vehicle target options struck out on the card. As the deck grows, there should be ever more cards suitable for a fuller range of settings.

I can see it borrowing not only from the death scene post, but also the living objectives idea for 40K and maybe even the ever-present, still open Getting out of the boat project.

All feedback welcome - I recommend reading the discussion over at Big Jim's as well.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The noble art of the rip-off?

Tied loosely to the subject of the last post is this suggestion - link found here - that Electronic Arts has been heavily inspired by old GW tanks. The usual debate follows.

One commenter even writes: "Nothing’s been truly original for the past 50 years or so, however the given combination of unoriginal can produce something original." It's not so original a claim, but coming up with a specific number of years shows creative potential.

Another links to this exchange on replicating miniatures. Could the commenter who says "The onus is on the rest of us to get these stupid laws changed" have a point?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The noble art of the yawn

For me there is value in this discussion on genre at Monsters and Manuals. But having followed it up by watching scenes from Sucker Punch, I'm feeling mild despair right now.

By the by: Does anyone see in this Butthole Surfers video a spark for the video for "We Come 1"? Or think the Streets ran with that Faithless theme for "Turn the Page"? If you don't know the Butthole Surfers, Independent Worm Saloon looks a good place to start.

Handle - mat - collapse

As the rhyme goes on beyond the door, you reach for the iron handle. Movement on the floor catches your eye, and with a puff of dust the doormat strikes, sinking bristles deep.

You fall back, off balance, and seize a wiry root running out through the brick wall. For a moment it takes your full weight, then pulls away, and with a pounding of brickwork and rush of loam the tunnel collapses, carrying away the world in cold dust and damp earth.

Silence. Pressure and pain. The darkness grips tight and you realise you are buried - held down deep. You splutter in panic, spitting out clumps of soil and worms. They tumble back. Choking.

Cry out for help   Blog One
Struggle against the weight   Blog One
Attempt to compose yourself and take stock   Blog One

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

40K OSR? (19)

What's a 40K OSR? There's some basic info on 40K here and a definition or two for 'OSR' here.

Colonel Kane's logo is to the right, and ready for anyone who identifies with the idea. If you use it, consider giving him credit and adding Tales from the Maelstrom to your blogroll for the inspiration.

Like the Inq28 battle report posted yesterday, which also has news on a July event at GW HQ.

Here's the list, with a lot of new rules especially.

        The usual applies: if I've missed anything at all, just leave a link, even to your own posts.

        Sunday, 8 April 2012

        Back-to-back reality, or Ouroboral gaming

        Cygnus of Servitor Ludi reminded me of this at the dis-Atlantean post. It's a sequence from an old episode of Red Dwarf, a sci-fi sitcom about a group of humanoid misfits lost in space three million years in our future. Just before the clip begins they're blown up...

        After watching it again I really want to set up a marathon session with a mix of settings and systems, with each game flowing on into the next and the players running through scenes based on this one, or using the kinds of framing at the Conan le Barbare post.

        It could be another approach for S. P.'s guerilla gaming concept, and there might even be a universal supplement in it, just inspiration and possible methods for transformation.

        Maybe it could be integrated into the Pluristem campaign when it gets up and running?


        Saturday, 7 April 2012

        Grilled Porky

        The interview I did with Loquacious for the ID series is up here at World of Wonder. If you don't know the series, the subject is game design and it goes wide and deep. All of the interviews are here, and to anyone interested in gaming I recommend a good read. 

        Tuesday, 3 April 2012

        Still blogging our own

        We have a new scene in the online adventure, a second option from Ricalope over at The World of Damnation, continuing up the dry streambed.

        That makes 44 scenes at eight blogs. If you want to write one, go for it. Post it when it's done then drop the URL in a comment at the scene before. The master list is here.

        Begin the journey here.

        Update: Ricalope actually has three more than I thought - one, two from Sunday and one more today, all exploring the space beyond the hole in the earth. That's 47 in total.

        Update: Make that 48 - Ricalope has another, catching the creature high up in the tree. 

        Monday, 2 April 2012

        Campaign undercurrents

        At the last sly-fi post I suggested a table for dark plots in old school gaming. On the same subject, here's a simple proposal for improvising shadowy dynamics through play. It's propluristemic, i.e. for various systems, and maybe for fiction generally.

        Campaign undercurrents

        Roll one die after each event, i.e. each encounter or session in roleplaying, or turn, combat or game in wargaming; the lower the number of faces, the stronger the currents.

        If the maximum result is rolled, the event hints at the currents. The DM/GM / players decide which aspect of the event was most unusual or clear and add this to a list; each aspect could be given a proximity to the eye of the storm with the 'well met' idea.

        At regular intervals the list is reviewed and links made, and these are fed into the choice or design of future events. As the list grows, the details emerge more fully.

        For example, if the aspects on the list are a) a powerful blow struck by a weak member of a group, b) a defeated warband fleeing parallel to a river and c) a die chipping a terrain piece, these could be taken to mean the weak member is protected, a dark power lurks beneath a mountain lake and the physical world is decaying; as the campaign goes on, rains and erosion could intensify, highlanders could be driven from the valleys by raiding amphibians, and the weaker member could develop a strange ability or draw followers.

        I'd guess a lot of us use a system like this already, more or less formally and with more or less complexity, but it seems worth putting out there for experimentation or tweaking.