Category: roleplaying

Long time, no blogging. Some medical stuff happened, but now I’m back again!

So, let have a look at what’s been on my workbench lately:

* My Final Fantasy 9 version of Descent is, maybe not dead, but frozen solid. I wanted to do a playtest of this before I made a post about it, but that all fell through. I’ll try to make a larger post about it tomorrow.

* I had some ideas for a furry RPG, but only one person showed any real interest in the idea (furry supernatural high school mystery drama) so that project is also shelved.

* I recently got back in creating maps for Warcraft 3. I’ve been looking at my old (6+ years) stuff and I’ve been thinking about maybe finish some of my old levels.

* A friend of mine recently mentioned that he wanted to run a Star Wars campaign, but he dislikes the systems in the existing SW RPGs. He does however like the new World of Darkness rules a lot, so I’m helping him to modify those into something suitable for fun and exciting action in a galaxy far, far away.

* This morning I got the idea of making a Star Wars version of Descent. I decided to make this a One Day project, to force myself to get things done quickly. It’s a simple thing to do, will have stuff on the blog later this week.


Siratsia and powerful heroes

Returning to an old game after many years away from it can be both a blessing and a curse. It can bring back many happy memories of joy and excitement, but also the stark realization of how utterly bad the game was. I might be about to go on such a journey.

Siratsias vita formelbok (The white spellbook of Siratsia) is a more than 20 years old adventure for the Swedish roleplaying game Drakar och Demoner (Dragons and Demons). It is centred around the very powerful, but confused, wizard Siratsia and her plot to take control over the northern kingdom of Barbia. I have played parts of it two times before, but I only remember small fragments off it. I’m hoping that the third times the charm and that I will actually be able to play through it all this time. I’m not sure when (or if) we’ll actually get to play it, we’re still all in that early “I wanna run this sometime, anybody want in?” phase. Still, I can’t help but get excited about it and I already have a handful of interesting character concepts.

The book mentions that the adventure is suited for four to six powerful heroes, and that they should be well equipped with at least one magic item each. This made me think. Enchanted items have become a commonly accessible thing in a majority of modern fantasy games. Everybody and their grandmother has some kind of imbued gear, be it healing potions, sorcerous runes or some kind of enchanted weapon. Back in the mid 90s when we played Drakar och Demoner every weekend we were lucky if we ever got more then one magic item on any of our heroes. Times have indeed changed.

This in turn got me thinking about power levels. When we sit down to make our characters for this adventure, should we aim for balanced or highly specialized characters? Should each character be build to stand alone or should we create them together as a group? It’s possible to break the game by having one player play an artificer and create some extremely powerful magical items to hand out to the other characters. Why would the barbarian pay 40 points to max out his strength when he could just pay 1 point to have really low natural strength and let the artificer create a magical item that raises it to his racial maximum for him? If you can create amulets that grant the same level of protection as the finest armour around then why wouldn’t you make sure that everybody in your group had one? What fun is there to overcoming challenges with god mode enabled?

I don’t know if we’ll ever get this going, but if we do then I will return with an update.

Winter is finally here and with it the return of my gaming nonsense! I have a lot of things to talk about so let’s get going. These are some of the things that has happened in my gaming life since my last blog entry.

* The IRC Exalted game I was looking forward to kinda imploded, so no Exalted for me. That game has been on my list of roleplaying games to try for many years, but something always comes up and it all ends up being nothing…

* I was invited to an underwater Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign, but had to turn it down because of the difference in time zones. It did however inspire me to sit down to create a swashbuckling octohuman. Being able to use five fencing blades at once is cool.

* The game File 13 was mentioned a couple of weeks ago by my buddy Mike on his podcast Nerd Pride Radio. File 13 was a little game that came with an issue of the Dragon magazine back in 80s. The idea is something I’ve toyed around with before, it’s a game about creating games.

* A couple of days ago I got wind of a rules-light fantasy rpg called Warrior, Rogue and Mage. After having read through the 4-page version I found out there was a pulp version called Resolute, Adventurer & Genius so I had to look at that too. Then inspiration hit me and I began to twist the rules engine into a superhero game. The working title for it is Paragons, Gadgeteers & Mystics.

* I listened to a book review while out walking a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of Era, an old rpg a friend and I made back in the mid 90s. I was able to find my old character sheets, some info on how to write spells (if was very much like programming in BASIC) and what dice to roll to generate stats for the different races, but most of the rules are still missing. I’ve been thinking about recreating the missing information, or perhaps redoing the entire game from scratch, but that will depend on if I can get people interesting in it or not. I did remember that the campaign we played was heavily influenced by the Artifacts of Power series by Maggie Furey, so I’ve been trying read my way through that.

* I have once again fallen into the time-devouring abyss that is the Final Fantasy game series. I am once again replaying Final Fantasy IX, all thanks to a Swedish retrogaming podcast that I listen to.

* I have finally gotten a chance to play Descent: Journeys in the Dark. The game has been described as a tabletop version of Diablo or a WoW instance, and that I can agree with. The Hero players run around in a dungeon with the goal of slaying monsters and grabbing treasure while the Overlord player tries to kill the heroes with monsters, traps and other nasty things. The biggest downside to the game is that it takes a long time to play even a simple quest.

* I am currently working on a FF9 version of Descent for an upcoming weekend thing at my local gaming club. Creating custom characters and monsters for Descent is relatively simple, but I’m not sure how much I dare to change the rules regarding revivification and the handling of money and items.

For the past couple of months I’ve been working on a game setting where reincarnation is a proven truth. I have been trying to write a blog post about it for weeks now, and none of my seven previous drafts have been any good. I’m about to give in to desperation and just post whatever comes to mind just to get this over and done with.

Mythological explanation
The universe is conscious, and it wants to understand itself. To do this, it has split off parts of itself as observers. By examining itself from different points of view it can gain a greater knowledge of itself. Each person has one of these parts inside oneself, the soul. During the lifetime of its body, the soul gathers many memories. On death of the body, the soul caries these memories back to the universal soul. A soul still has a connection to all memories it has gathered. Through these connections you can remember the past lives of the soul. There are certain things you can do to help bring forth these memories, to strengthen the connection. People want to remember good things and forget bad things.

Remembering the past
Normal people can remember things about their previous lives, but only tiny fragments, like parts of half-remembered dreams. It can be very vague and fuzzy, but there is almost always a strong emotion carrying it, serving as the connection to the memory.

Something I felt was important to have in this setting was the cultural value of diversification. Just as the universe is trying to experience all of reality, so should you do in your lives. You might have been a swordsman or a carpenter in your previous lives, and now you might try to make a living as a fisherman or a sheep herder.

Technological stagnation
I want the technological level of this setting to be lower than in your typical fantasy setting. After doing some light research (mostly reading Wikipedia and the game manual for Age of Empires) I have decided to set this somewhere around late bronze age and early iron age (Ancient and Classical Greece would be good examples).

I also want karma as an important thing in this setting, though I’m not sure how to implement it.

The start of the campaign
During history there have been a group of legendary heroes that have been reincarnated in times of troubles. They created a secret order whose only purpose is to travel the world and test young children (under the age of ten) in order to find the heroes whenever they reincarnate. Our heroes would be teens bearing the mark of the legendary heroes (purple eyes, an unusual birthmark, something the group of players would agree on), found as children and raised in secret hideaways far from civilization. When they all have grown up enough (become young adults), they will all be taken to the main fortress of the order for the grand memory reawakening ritual (a secret and very expensive thing). They will then reacquire all the memories from all of their past lives and proceed to journey out into the world to fight the current threats to the world. But this time something goes wrong. The temple is attacked during the ritual by agents of the great darkness threatening the lands and our heroes flee to avoid getting slaughtered. They would be out on their own in the world, and the people who recognise them would expect great things of them. During many adventures they would learn new skills, find their inner strength and reclaim ancient artefacts and become the ones who could defend the peoples from whatever might threaten them.

The goal of the campaign
One unfortunate thing is that I will not see this campaign play out in the way I intended it to. My health doesn’t allow me to be the one to run this campaign, so a lot of things will be done differently. For me, the big question in the campaign isn’t IF the teens will grow up, collect a bunch of legendary artefacts and, in typical fantasy hero fashion, stop the evil power that threatens the lands. For me that’s a given. The big question for me is HOW the group will accomplish this. It is not the goal that matters, it is the journey.

I hope at least some of this made any sense to you readers…

Yet another batch of short updates on my myriad of projects.

I have been trying to get back into Naruto and Bleach in order to get some more inspiration for my anime miniatures combat game, but it has been really hard. I will probably abandon those series and find some new ones.

The fantasy roleplaying campaign I had been working on for the past weeks that was supposed to fill the void on Tuesdays since Game of Thrones has ended have fallen apart due to lack of player engagement. A longer post with more details may or may not appear here in the future.

Project Black Valkyrie quietly stirs in its slumber. May Wōden watch over it.

The one-shot scenario for WASPcon, The Twelve Apostles, is finished with 2 weeks to spare, but due to recent events I’m no longer sure if I will be attending WASPcon or not.

I’m making slow progress with my wrestling card game. I have some rough core mechanics and some ideas for certain special manoeuvres.

My different Doctor Who board games are still drifting in time and space. None of the layouts are good enough right now.

Alien Abductions – Who wouldn’t like a board game in which you pilot mysterious crafts, abduct humans and mutilate cattle?

Doctor Who – Board games based on Doctow Who have been done before, but mostly just for kids. I want to make a serious game for grown up gamers.

Final Fantasy RPG – My collaborators finally have time over to work on this now.

unnamed project – Modern media and mythology merges.

As you might have noticed, I’ve haven’t really been updating this blog very much. I have unfortunately been keeping busy with other things. Here’s a quick update:

I have made zero progress on my Final Fantasy board game. I have pretty much put it on ice for now. I have no ideas on how to develop the gaming board and making it an interesting part of the game and nobody is showing any interest in the project.

I have become sidetracked by two TV-series: the HBO show Game of Thrones and the anime Fairy Tail. I’ve been in a fantasy mood for a while and now I get to indulge in it.

Earlier tonight I voiced the idea of creating a custom expansion for Dominion to some people at my local gaming club, and I got a lot of positive response. I personally don’t like the game any more, I have played it too much, but it is a favourite as the gaming club.

There has been talk about getting together a group for some Call of Cthulhu. The campaign idea that have been tossed around is a kind of mix between Men in Black and Warehouse 13.

My gaming recently has consisted mostly of older games like Diablo II, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and old NES games like the Mega Man series.

During last Sundays playtest of Jönköping Horror the topic of making a Final Fantasy game came up yet again. We in my gaming circle have many times before talked about writing our own roleplaying game based on the series of games, but this time we had a new idea, to create a co-operative board game.

I have been thinking about it for a couple of days now and it has been hard to come up with something original. My best idea so far is something similar to the game Talisman. The board would have lots of low-level areas along the outer edge of the board with some high-level ones in the middle. You would run around and do quests, slay foul monsters and level up you character, all the typical stuff from that type of game. What I’m lacking is the overall story, the big reason why the heroes are out on this epic quest.

Last time we talked about a Final Fantasy roleplaying game I suggested we’d use Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition as our rules system. The FF games have lots of cool combat manoeuvres and few social skills, so DnD is a perfect fit. The rules system is made for tactical combat and everybody has a number of powers to use as they please.

Another suggestion I’ve had was to use the Savage Worlds rules. My biggest problem with it is that I haven’t yet played the system, only read it a few times, so I don’t really know how well it would fit.

I have spent a few hours today on a SW wiki and a FF wiki reading up on things. I’m not sure what will come out of this idea, but there is a chance that this seed will grow and blossom into many hours of entertainment.

Mixed Bag Of Ideas

The holidays are here and I’m spending most of my days sick in bed. Nevertheless, I’ve got some half-baked ideas to share.

Super Kids
The South Park episode The Coon made me think about a game about kid super heroes. As I imagine it, the game should have two different distinct feels for when you play kids and when you play costumed heroes. I want it to be unclear if they have actual superpowers or if it’s all pretend, it’s all the same for the kids anyway

Weird Stuff
I was listening to George R. R. Martin talking about his childhood and that his father grouped together science fiction, fantasy and horror literature under the name “weird stuff”. I liked that label and started thinking about making a game centered around that label.
The main focus of the game would be mysteries in the modern day. The exact elements used in the mystery, be it murders, kidnappings, occult rites, weird creatures, fringe science or abnormal behaviour would depend on what the people involved were interested in.
I see this as a game for 1-4 players that are trying to solve the mystery together in an interesting way. An important factor in that is the concept of failing forward. There is always a way to continue, the story can never just abruptly end.

End Users
This idea is a mashup of TRON, The Matix and the Virtual Adepts from Mage: The Ascension.
Human hackers vs computer systems in cinematic adventures.
“a digital frontier that will reshape the human condition” – Kevin Flynn

Space opera
This is something I’ve had in the back of my mind for a long time. A setting with weird aliens, psychic powers, princesses waiting to be rescued, advanced technologies, laser-guns, force-fields, space armadas, those sorts of things… I will write more about it as soon as I can decide on a good name for it.

Obsidian Shadows
There are a lot of fantasy settings out there based either on Europe or Asia, but very few have used the cultures of the Mesoamerican region as their base. As a fan of this region, I thought I’d address that issue. I also like the idea of a realm where dreams manifest and become reality. Taking these two ideas and combining them with a vivid spirit realm and a land of the dead makes for an interesting mythological setting with a different feel to it than normal fantasy settings.

Conspiracy Theories
I have a soft spot for the really crazy conspiracies, I find them very enjoyable to listen to. Something I’ve been thinking about for a long time is making a one-shot RPG scenario or two in where you make one really insane theory into reality and really go nuts with it. There are thousands and thousands of theories out there in the world to get inspiration from, but the ones I’ve been looking at recently are Scientology, the reptoids and the videos by Colleen Thomas.

Darkness Within

I had this idea earlier tonight and felt like sharing it. I will probably never develop this further so I’m just throwing my notes up here as-is.

* one-shot RPG scenario, 2-4 players, 3.5-4 hours
* character creation during play, Instant Game (no pre-defined traits)
* wakes up in old abandoned church, no memories of their previous lives, no names
* relatively fresh occult tattoos and scarring on their bodies, blood and gore around them
* semi-abandoned location, exploration of both selves and the place
* strange powers start manifesting, their bodies act strange, accumulation of side effects
* “who am I?”, “who did this?”, “why did they do this?”
* the group tries to track down the people responsible, scattered hints and clues
* the world is not as it should be, tainted creatures stalks the night
* final showdown with crazy cult
* when you finally know who you where, who will you then become?

“Battle not with monsters lest you become a monster;
and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche