Monday 30 November 2009

Teaser Trailer

Kind of. I've had to put SOTU on the backburner as there was far too much detail to get into a 54 page magazine including rules. I might write that up as a sourcebook for the D6 game system I want to use. I'm aiming for something a little more streamlined and accessible.

So here's the intro to my new RPG setting.

'The Year is 6540. We think.'

That is all.

Friday 27 November 2009

I needed a fix - Star Trek Extravaganza!

You know, I think the Star Trek franchise is like the druggies in Pulp Fiction.

It starts out good - you watch the Original Series and you get high on it. It's trippy and new and you can't get enough. You slow things down for a bit with movies and you get a hit every two/three years but you demand more. After a break you get high again on the Next Generation but you demand even more so you get Deep Space Nine. You're getting two hits at the same time! Then Voyager takes over and you're body starts to get corrupted because it turns out this batch to hit the streets is bad shit, man.

Finally, you take a direct shot of Enterprise in a major vein and it's too much. You're resistant to it now and you only take the hit because of what it's called, not what it is. You don't know what crap you're sticking in your body and then that's it - you've OD'd. You can't take it anymore. You're body is failing. It's old, worn out, almost useless. It started out fun but you've put so much of the recent shit into your system you're in and out of conciousness and you're puking Starfleet Regulations.

Then along comes the new Star Trek movie and BAM! Next thing you know the whole thing is taking an adrenaline shot straight into Uma Thurman's chest. The corrupt dying body is saved!

I really liked it.

*** *** ***
Whilst we're on the subject I need to share with you a work of genius.
No budget? No costumes? No props? No special effects? Who gives a shit! We just wanna make a Star Trek movie, damn you!

This is quite simply a work of utter brilliance and I love it. Check out the other parts, it only gets better.
*** *** ***
Me and my mate Mark Newbold of created this Star Trek website to document a roleplaying game I was going to do, waaay back in 2000 - it's still around! I wish we'd done more with it.
Warning - annoying Trek sound effects abound...

Thursday 26 November 2009

Fun fun fun

When I’m designing a new game that could possibly blossom into a campaign I try to do things in stages. I once wrote the list of things to do down but that got lost a long time ago. It’s been literally years since I last sat down to create a new adventure, and not only that but I’m creating a new adventure for a whole new system that I’ve only played a couple of times. Creating this game should be fun!

I do remember that first of all I have to consider how many people will be playing this game. At the moment I’m working on a possible three players, but the number may fluctuate depending on who can make it and whether my wife (hi, baby!) will be joining in. It’s her first proper RPG (she did a lot of message forum and MORPG) so I’ll have to take that into consideration. With it being a new game for most of us at least we’ll all be in the same rules learning curve. That means creating situations that won’t rely too much on rolling dice, as I don’t want to spend the sessions page-flipping.

Following that, I’ve got to consider what kind of game these guys like to play. I know that one of the potential players has a wargaming background and will most likely look at situations tactically so I’ll throw in some combat. One of the players is casual about rules and will most likely prefer some character interaction, so I’ll include some NPC interaction. The other player likes the design and feel of a challenging game, so puzzles, exploration and combat are in order. The new blood (hi, baby!) will be experiencing a lot of this for the first time so the elements of the game I include for the other players should be more than enough.

So, the game I’m going to create is pretty eclectic – there’ll be something for everyone be it combat, puzzle solving or roleplaying, which is not only good for the game overall but will introduce the new blood (hi, baby!) to every aspect of the game.

Fun fun fun.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Tree-hugging hippies!

I've been bouncing some ideas around for a D20/D&D type game for publication and, apart from the rules I'm going to use, I've been thinking about the setting. Now, I have some love for fantasy stereotypes, considering that my first love is Tolkien, but I'm a bit concerned about portraying Elves. I don't want that high-born aloof tree-hugging hippy naturalist approach you get with most (ie all) other settings. I also don't want to flip that on it's head and go for that dark-and-dirty 'oh, Menzoberranzan is the place to be' evil Elf that's the stark opposite of the hippies just so that they're different. And if I give them closer-to-human abilities, then what's the point?

I was thinking of something smaller, like about two foot tall, but rich in culture and history. Drop the pointy ears, perhaps, but keep them in the forests hidden behind veils of magic so that wanderers and travellers miss them. Okay, maybe three foot.

I don't know. It's just that when I think of Elves I think of the way that Tolkien portrayed them and if I do that then what's the point? I'll be joining the 90% that already do that. I guess my point is that I'm having difficulty making my fantasy setting unique, Elves or no.

Damn you, saturated genre.

Monday 23 November 2009

Uh-Oh... D20 system looms closer and closer...

Since I can't get a straight answer about the Open D6 I'm dropping my SOTU project. I don't want to spend stupid hours typing up the rules only to find that an SRD has been released or the whole Open D6 thing has gone down the shitter. Someone at WEG needs to tell everyone what's going on because the longer the silence the more likely people are going to dump the D6 System and opt for something they can use...

Aaaaand that brings me to the D20 System. With some slight modifications (and, more importantly, simplifications) I can use a cut-down version of the system for my game and still get the whole rules/setting package into 54 pages. I have access to SRDs, the licence is out there and everyone knows what they are doing and all I have to do is copy/paste and edit. I'm not talking about the SOTU setting, I'm talking about something totally new and fantasy-based.

I've done my preliminary research and it looks like D20 is the way to go, modified to cut out the fat and streamline it, more in line with the OD&D stuff that's out there but lose the THACO (blegh) and include a skill list. That way I'm appealing to a large percentage of gamers.

WEG have pretty much lost their window of opportunity for Open D6. With no official word from the guy in charge there's no clarification, and without that I'm not using it.

Simple as that.

Friday 20 November 2009

Spirit Games, Burton

Yesterday, about lunchtime, I ordered the Dragon Warriors book 'Prince of Darkness' from Spirit Games in Burton-on-Trent.

It arrived on my doorstep this morning.

That, my friends, is a damn fine gamer's shop. I was in there last week and it's exactly what I like in a gaming store - friendly staff, helpful and chatty, and a plethora of brand new/used gaming stuff.

Go to right now and peruse their catalogue. Brilliant.

Mary Sue Part 2

Another GMPC story...

Another GM who Sue'd us - this one I shall call MB. MB's PC had been killed in a WFRP game by a fellow PC during an in-character argument after a dungeon delve. MB challenged the other PC to a duel and promptly lost. He didn't seem too bothered about it. He created a new PC and we carried on and nothing more was said.

A few weeks later, MB asked to take over the GM reins for a short while whilst I took a break from the campaign I was running. We all agreed and the game began. For four sessions we played a rather enjoyable dungeon-bash type game trying to get to a powerful Chaos Knight in a mountain - think Moria but smaller and with more traps. It wasn't that bad but very combat-centric.

When we finally confront the Chaos Knight the truth is revealed - the Knight is actually MB's dead PC, bought back from the dead by Khorne to be his champion. He then proceeds to wipe the floor with us, finishing the PC who he originally lost the duel with until last, making his death particularly gruesome. It was revenge on us for letting his PC die.

Four long sessions of mostly fun just so that he could take his revenge. What a bastard.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Blankety Blank

I like to write. In fact, sometimes I'll have an idea and just start typing away. I recently found this on my hard drive and I can't for the life of me remember why it was I wrote it. I'm sure there was a larger story involved but I simply can't remember what it bloody was!

** ** **

'I feel somewhat dismayed that I have to explain this to you.
This is our land. Our fields, our trees, our hills. Our rivers run from our mountains into the seas that surround us. Our land, boy. Never, ever forget that.
Now that Hengelin has decided to return to wrest the throne from our High King it’s time for us to fight. Every one of us. There are those who say that the High Kingship has nothing to do with us as Mondadruil is so far away, and that Hengelin is the High King’s brother and that this is a family squabble over who sits on the Wooden Throne, but do you know who it is that suffers during times like this? Not Kings, locked in their fortresses behind their high walls, and not Lords or Masters who run into their keeps and offer gold to those who assail them.
It is us. Us, who toil in the fields and the forests, who pay our taxes so that those who dwell in the castles and towers can be kept in their finery. We are the ones who fight, who kill, who die. It is our homes that are burned, our fields that are trampled and our cattle that are slaughtered.
But remember, son, if you must swing your sword you’re not swinging it for your Mayor. You’re not swinging it for your Lord or even your High King. You’re swinging it for your land, to protect your family and that which you have built with your own hands.
So don’t ask me again why are we riding to meet our enemy.

As Cuthred walked briskly up the hill behind his father Osirin he glanced behind him. The beacon on the crest of Car Tor had been lit in response to the blazing tower of fire that the beacon on the hilll of Car Ken had become. Car Ken towered over their village and in the darkness the mount blazed brightly.
As they approached Cuthred could feel the heat from the beacon. It wasa cold evening, typical this early in the spring, and he welcomed the warmth. Moths flittered about attracted by the light. He batted one away as his father came to a stop. The twelve men with them, all armed with whatever they could grab when the warning bells of the village hall began to ring out, stopped also. Their hands grasped worn swords, wood-chopping axes and even an old rusting scythe; hardly an impressive show of force.
In the middle of the path leading up to the summit of Car Ken was a body, lying face-down in the dirt. The thick leather armour was penetrated by several arrows, all of them in his back. They were barely fifty steps away from the beacon and Osirin looked up, his sword at the ready.
‘Alright, men,’ he growled, shifting a wooden shield from his shoulder to his arm. ‘Looks like we got us some trouble.’
There was a murmer of dissent. When Osirin took a few steps forward he realised that only two of the men that had accomapnied him had walked with him. The others, including Cuthred, stayed back with nervous expressions.
‘What’s wrong?’ Osirin asked, confused. His eyes lingered on his son.
Some of the the men shared nervous glances and most of them stared at the ground. It was Mull of the northern farm who answered. ‘Osirin… there’s been blood shed here. The armies of Hengelin may already be here. We’re farmers, not warriors.’
‘I’m a farmer,’ Osirin said gravely. He motioned to Cuthred with his sword. ‘So is he. Yet we are here, now.’
‘These are the Lord’s men,’ added Wuth of the river mill. ‘Soldiers. What good are we here? If the armies of the ursurper are here we should flee. Take our families and run to the Lord’s keep, maybe even go to the castle at Verin Ansumott.’'

** ** **

And that was it. I'm trying to find my notes on this as I have no recollection of what was supposed to happen next. It's very frustrating.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Mary Sue... Uh-huh-huh...

I find a lot of the stories associated with RPG groups highly entertaining. Weird players, weird GMs, strange places to game, strange encounters with groups... they all make for a damn good read and highlight warning signs. What I'm interested in at the moment is GMPCs, those Mary Sue NPCs that are thrown into the mix because the GM feels the need to ego-trip. What are the worst ones you have ever come across?

I've got two - the first was with a GM I shall call NG in a Star Wars D6 game. He took over the GMing reins and used his own PC as an NPC and basically ran the show. He rolled high, made all our PCs look like amateurs and got all the best stuff. Also, NG liked to send his GMPC in to do the cool stuff and after describing what the character did he'd tell us 'you're pretty impressed'. So - after leaving us on the sidelines you're also telling us how we feel about it? Great. To cap it all, when he used the PC in a game I was GMing he assumed that he could use all the cool and amazing gear he had awarded to himself in the game he ran.

The second was a game run by a guy I shall call LT and once again it was Star Wars D6. We'd been employed to track down a missing heiress and we were told that we would have to work with another guy who would 'look after us'... oh, yes, LT brought in his Boba Fett clone and spent, as the GMPC, the whole game shaking his head at our decisions, taking command of combat situations, continually complaining about having to 'babysit' us and always saying - and I mean always - 'come on, ladies' when we made decisions he didn't agree with. When a fellow player said, 'screw this, I'll blow his head off' LT narrowed his eyes and said, darkly, 'you really don't want to mess with him'. I can't even begin to tell you about the game he ran when the Star Wars PCs ended up going through a dimensional portal and ended up in the Star Trek universe, and his GMPC 'guided' them back to their reality.

Just thinking about them makes my blood boil.

And in other news...

This just in - Rob Lang gives a makeover! There's new graphics and everything and it's very pretty!

Now over to Fatima for the sport.

Monday 16 November 2009

SOTU D6 Progress


Honestly, how difficult can it be? All I need to do is write the very basic D6 system and tweak it to suit my Scum Of The Universe setting. Surely that's not hard?

Turns out it is. You see, apart from writing gaming stuff I'm also a father and a husband and I have a full-time job. I also seem to spend more time writing/talking about RPGs than actually playing them. I want to get some solid playtesting done of the setting - not just a couple of bash-about adventures but a long, hard campaign - before I even think about what it is I want from the game. Is that me making excuses? Maybe I don't even want to write the game and I just want to play it. I have no idea. Playtesting will no doubt tell me where it is I want to go with all this.

Man, sometimes I suck at writing projects.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Madness, I tells ya!

Apart from the silent movie adaptation of 'Call of Cthulhu' - which was pretty damn fine for a privately funded film - will there ever be a decent Lovecraft adaptation?

Come on, film making dudes - the Cthulhu Mythos is positively screaming for a direct adaptation from the original stories. How could it not work? Forget 'adaptated from', 'inspired by' or 'based on', just take the time period and the monsters and voila - one audience scared shitless.

It's either that... or... (stifled laughter) Hollywood can make something original! Mwa hah hah hah hah! I crack myself up.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Just to get a couple of things off my chest...

STARGATE: UNIVERSE - For God's sake, have something happen, will you? I don't care about half the characters you want me to care about and the ones I do care about are doing shit-all. I was looking forward to having a darker, grittier Stargate series but in order to get my blood pumping, stuff actually HAS TO HAPPEN. That is, something has to happen in an episode. I'm honestly not interested in the relationships between people right now, that will come later as the story develops and I get to know the characters. Stop forcing character dynamics on me! Other than that, good job.

STARGATE: ATLANTIS (SEASON 4) - No more Weir! Hooray! But, Jesus Christ, someone give Rodney McKay his own show. I'd fund that myself. I'd call it 'STARGATE: McKAY IS BY FAR THE BEST CHARACTER IN THE FRANCHISE, BAR NONE - THAT INCLUDES YOU, O'NIELL, YOU LOSER!'

MERLIN - Fucking bleh.

LIFE ON MARS (US) - Really very good, actually. I still prefer the British one (of course) but I love what they've done with it.

SOTU D6 - Well, I've made a start, which is fine, but I keep changing my mind about what I want to keep from the original Star Wars rules and what I want to throw out. I need to keep it streamlined if I want to get it all into 54 pages, including setting.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT - Not played it in three weeks, don't miss it. At all.

GTA IV - And, finally, a quick apology to the guys I was playing with on multiplayer free roam last night (I'm the user 'Jonnynonny'). I did have fun creating havoc in the city and working as a team to escape from the cops and SWAT teams and we lasted for a while. But, and I have to stress that this isn't personal, when I'm left behind to face a cop onslaught whilst the other players piss off in the only available chopper even though there is room for me then I'm going to be forced to shoot a rocket up your abandoning bitch arses. So bollocks.

Friday 6 November 2009

My Old Star Wars RPG Group

Aaaaah.... the heady, rockstar booze-fuelled days of hedonism. And whilst that was going on, I was playing Star Wars.

I'm the dude with the long hair trying to choke himself. I can only assume the game sucked and I wished I was dead. From what I remember this was around about 1994.

Thursday 5 November 2009

It's Dead Here

Day-yam! I seem to be so busy that I'm not having time to blog! I'm either very popular or I'm working on crap that'll amount to nothing. Which is it? Who knows? I know I don't.

I'm pushing ahead with my D6 SOTU game, to be published in magazine format at 54 pages. I have no idea when It'll be ready, but I do know that if I work it out correctly I'll be able to sell it for as little as £5.00 British Pounds a copy. Full game with setting. I'm generally re-writing the original Star Wars D6 1st Edition rules, so it'll basically be a copy of the original Star Wars game from 1987, cut down and with a whole new setting. I'm taking my cue from the OGL PDFs of the West End Games D6 books that are out there and that Eric Gibson (who's out there somewhere, I'm sure) has OK'd. Time to get to work, then. I'll update you on my progress as I go.

As I'm not updating my blog as much as I'd like I've resurrected a dead friend of mine using a mixture of arcane arts and biotechnology. Brian the Zombie will be putting some entries in every now and then to fill in the 'dead' space (comedy gold!) and he'll make no 'bones' (hah!) about the 'lack of life' (I missed my calling) in this blog.

Over to you, Brian.

Urgh? Urrgaaarreegaarrr aeraggahe erarrege arerra. Arerrare? Aerarerrer!!

Aaerrerg squirrel aarrgg

Arerrefrrfarerrag? Aaaeeraiioioiuoaeerar. Aeaeear uoiaarre aerggg.