Friday, July 30, 2010

Summertime slowdown

I just wanted to post something to let my readers know that while I am a bit silent right now, I do have some posts lined up. It's vacation time and my time online is limited.

While waiting for me to get back to posting, why not take a gander around the other fine blogs at my blogging network? Point your browser at The RPG Bloggers Network and find something new to read!

Have a nice summer vacation, all of you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Play experience - different rules for different feel, in one game

Last night we played my weekly 7th Sea game. It was a session where we really exercised the rules. It made me think about different subsystems.

One of my players wasn't able to participate last time. He was just about to engage with a pirate captain for a duel when we had to end the session, so we just had a cut scene, since he had been separated from the rest of the groups since then. That duel was done with the full combat rules. Initiative was rolled, action dice used to take actions and drama dice used to boost rolls. We tried both passive and active defences. A thorough exercise.

We also had another fight, with the other two players fighting pirate ruffians in a bar. The pirated was about to thrash the place, and our stalwart heroes stepped in when it turned out that the Ladies present was about to become hurt. In this fight we rolled rolled to hit, using the Brute Squad mook rules, before the antagonists were knocked out. Here we also used drama dice to boost our swashbuckling skills. There was swinging in chandeliers, tables overturned and women daintily replaced on chairs while parrying fencing attacks and spinning around.

Afterwards it felt like the first fight, while tense and exciting, was more of a slog than the latter one. I'm not sure I'm ready to say that the mook fighting was "better" or more interesting. They were different things. This clearly showed what can be done with having different rules for different things.

Having rules emphasize theme is something I mentioned in a post a few days ago. That is not a new idea, but I'm thinking that 7th Sea is the clearest example I've seen of including multiple themes in one rule book.

This is almost like playing different games. Sometimes you want to wade through opponents, and you might want to play Wushu. Some time you might want to do tactical combat with all the dials to tweak for optimum stance, attack, defence and resource utilization, and you might want to play Riddle of Steel. You play different games to satisfy different urges. The idea in 7th Sea seem to be that you can have different urges within the same game, and be bale to scratch all those itches by different methods. I'm not sure I've ever seen it purposefully designed that way before. It's an interesting idea to think about how to make that happen in other games by having some house rules that only take effect when you feel like it, not when a specific situation occur.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To swell the ranks of the hobby?

I found this link today from an old thread at The Forge. It made me think about the need of more clone rules and how to make a game that appeals to new and potential gamers. Food for though.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What do you have rules for?

Ponder this.

Imagine someone trying to roleplay, but discovering that it wasn't as fun as it could have been. Now, how about we create rules for you to "play it right", so it has to be fun. I mean, if the rules lay it down how to do to have fun it must be fun. Right?


How about you have rules that strengthen and enforce the theme of the game. Rules about what you do in the game. You don't have combat skills in your game, because that wont be what your game is about. Your game is about baking pie. That's what you need rules for.

How about that?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blood have been shed!

I have managed to cut my index finger, and it sure ain't great for blogging productivity.

At the same time some people themselves look like total morons on the Internet, guess everything is just as it usually is. If you don't care much about Finland, just ignore it. Ok?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Instant swashbuckling, with fast pacing and a fun game

I have been requested to run a game of 7th Sea. This caused me to take down one of those games I have on my shelf which had not seen any action, and make a concentrated effort to make it shine. This brings back the question, before mentioned on this blog, of pacing a game. A game like 7th Sea is very much a game about pacing.

Swashbuckling means you have to keep the pace brisk, and the mood has to be one of adventure and daring. My friends have started to make characters, and while we have decided to start the game at sea, we will probably try to swing from at least one chandelier, and at least have one chase involving horse dawn carriages. My image of how swashbuckling works, is to have iconic settings and iconic dramatic situations presented in swift succession to get that feeling we all look for in such a game.

Now, anyone can line up a few villains, a few chases and a fencing scene or two. Making it sing and dance demands a rhythm, a beat, to keep everyone dancing the same dance.

Swashbuckling is, I claim, not a genre, but a way to approach your game. I suggest the following.
  • Chases - there must be quick transitions between scenes. If you don't just gloss over a bit of travel, it should be a chase.
  • Witty banter - whatever you do, you have to whip out witty one liners. The problem hwre of course is that not all of us are that quick thinking. 7th Sea have something called The Repartee system, usable for tauting and intimidating people while you cross swords. I like that game system support for such a thing.
  • Swinging, sliding and jumping - I designed a S&W swashbuckler class in an earlier post, and tried to get this in there. I think swinging from chandeliers is the thing for swashbuckling. Oddly, most gamesystem give you penalties when doing something at the same time as swinging a sword. To make this kind of action happen you should give bonuses for every action you take while fighting! The only game I know of that does it is Wushu. 7th Sea uses something called Drama Dice, which you can use to increase the chance of success. A good idea, but maybe having to roll at all is a bad idea?
My idea is that if you manage to get that in your game, the pace of "brisk succession" I mentioned above might come naturally. If nothing happens for a while, I'll just have someone enter with a loaded gun (hey, in the 17th century you can have guns!) and then add the three points above. Instant "swashbuckliness". Should work, eh?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tunnels & Trolls clone found!

Randall at the Retrogaming blog posted a sweet find today. Looking closer I realize he actually posted it yesterday. Well, I read about it today. He have found a clone of T&T that somebody called Jonathan Clarke wrote, called Lances & Labyrinths. I took a quick peek at it, and I think it looks quite cool.

While I think it sounds preposterous that this is the game you design if you think T&T is too complex, it still contains a lot of interesting tweaks I could see myself use as house rules for T&T. "For every full STRx10 units they carry they are at -1 DEX", is one such nice little rule. Easy encumbrance, how's that for a shot at the while whale of gaming, workable Encumbrance rules? Also there are some fiddly bits like Serious Wounds that you might want to make combat more detailed.

Something I'll never understand is how riles up some people get by the names of the spells in T&T. Personally I think they sound more interesting than the rather dull names in D&D. In L&L they are in the D&D style. Workable.

All in all it's a nice take on the ideas of T&T, and anyone who fancy Tunnels & Trolls, or just a fun game, should download it from Randall's link.

Apparently Jonathan have been publishing games under the name FJ Gaming a while. I even looked at his game about the age of sail, Ship of the Line, before. I happen to have a soft spot for that era, and naval wargames. I had never suspected he had produced a rpg like L&L. Great find!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An insight into "rules lite" systems

Yesterday we met for the first real session of 7th Sea, the new game in my "indie Wednesday" group. We had met once before but had not finished making characters. This time I had decided to set a time when everything had to be done, so we could play at least one scene. Having accomplished that goal I was struck by a sudden insight about "rules lite" systems.

I know some of my readers are familiar with The Bat in the Attic blog, and might have noticed the posts about GURPS there a while back. If you would have asked me two weeks ago if I wanted to ever pick up my GURPS books again, I would horrified have said "Never!". After last night, I think I might have changed my mind, slightly.

Just like GURPS, 7th Sea is a game where you build a character from points. Just like GURPS, there are dozens of things to spend those points on and choosing can take a while. A long while. That was really my main beef with GURPS.

Looking closer at the rules in GURPS, both from The Bat posts and my own copies, I realize it can be a fairly smooth game. On the other hand, if you spend all that time making characters, you not only feel an urge to cushion those Player Characters from danger (as a GM) but also risk loosing all interest in the game if it takes two sessions until you get to roll dice.

I don't know if I'd call GURPS a "rules lite" system, but it sure looks like a lot of the clunkyness can be found in the character generation system with point builds. This brings me to my newfound insight and hypothesis that the "rules lite" aspects that are so fondly spoken of in the OSR, is mostly the fact that the games most talked about are games where you get to dive into the action, right from the start. The reason "rules lite" is so popular is that "rules lite" = no point buy systems.

There, now go find a game popular in the OSR which have a quick character generation system with complex rules once play starts. I think that combo could be a seller.
Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Andreas Davour. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Blogger.