Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category

Draft: After-Action Damage Rule

March 16, 2017

[EDIT: Phil Wright pointed out an error in the original posting example of Horton’s injuries.  It has been revised.]

The idea of a combat system that doesn’t determine the damage to a character during the fight is an intriguing one.  I started thinking about this earlier this week after listening to a cop talking about an incident where he’d been shot but didn’t know how badly he was hurt.  Someone in a real fight doesn’t know how many hit points they have left.

Many many years ago, in a Traveller campaign, there was the story of two player characters who would go down to the cargo hold and practice shooting each other with snub pistols, because a single shot from a snub pistol wouldn’t kill anyone.  So they’d practice until someone was shot, then go rest up, and then do it again the next day.

One of the things that was immediately attractive to me about DragonQuest when I first started playing was that there wasn’t that much difference between a hero and a peasant.  A couple of blows with a sword would kill either one, rather than the hero needing to be chopped like a tree, while a peasant was a one-hit kill.

So, with those ideas in mind, here is a cobbled together a rather quick and dirty draft concept for this for DragonQuest.

Injuries – a DQ rules variant

These rules supercede the regular damage rules from the Combat section of DQ. (Adaptation to use with the magic systems will take some time)

Damage Roll (d10)
 Weapon Damage.....Light.....Medium......Heavy.....Serious
 D - +2.............1-4.......5-7.........8-9.......10
+3 - +5.............1-3.......4-6.........7-8.......9-10
+6 - +7.............1-2.......3-5.........6-7.......8-10
+8 --  .............1.........2-4.........5-6.......7-10

Roll D10 for damage level (Light, Medium, Heavy, Serious); then roll D10 for armor protection.
* If armor value is < weapon damage number, add +1 to damage roll
* If weapon is A Class, add +1 to damage roll
* If an ‘Endurance Hit,’ then add +3 to damage roll
* A ‘Grievous Injury’ is an automatic Serious Injury, and armor protection is not rolled.

Roll D10 for armor protection
*  If roll is a 10 (0), armor is damaged and reduces Prot value by 1 (until repaired), and injury level is automatically Heavy, except if the hit is an ‘Endurance Hit,’ in which case it is Serious
* If roll is =< armor Prot value, then reduce damage class by 1
* If roll is =< half armor Prot value, then reduce damage class by 2
* If roll is =< quarter armor Prot value, then no damage.
* Note: Damage cannot be reduced below Light, unless armor has a Prot value of 4 or more.

Any Serious hit causes the character to be Stunned per original DQ rules.

Track location and level for each injury during combat.  (Stat reduction based on location is calculated after combat when determining injuries.  Table to be completed.)

Damage Roll (d10) and Stat Reduction (d10)
 1-2   Head
 3-4   Upper Torso
 5-6   Primary Arm
 7     Secondary Arm
 8     Lower Torso
 9-10  Legs

Fatigue Track
Damage is calculated at the end of a combat, rather than during the action. Fatigue is used to determine whether the character remains active.

For the first hit to a character, FT is reduced by the number of the Damage Roll. For each subsequent hit, subtract the level number of the damage (ie Light= -1; Med= -2; Hvy= -4; Serious= -8). When FT is reduced below half of the original FT value, the character acts as having 0 Fatigue in original combat rules. When FT reaches 0 or less, character falls unconscious.

(Consider possibility to double the FT reduction for Endurance Hit or Grievous Injury)

The premise behind these rules is that damage and injury keeps you from being at full capacity.  When you are wounded, you aren’t at full strength, you aren’t as quick or as nimble as you would be if uninjured.  So there are reductions to the key stats (not just EN) as part of damage and injury.

Each injury Med level or higher reduces 1 point of a stat until it is recovered.

Calculate recovery time; use the number of days as the percentage chance of having life-threatening injuries.

If the injuries are life-threatening, roll percentile dice.  Multiplier of current EN is the number of points of EN reduced.  Current EN divided by number of EN points reduced is number of hours the individual will live without treatment.

Recovery time
Recovery time = (1 day x Light) + (5 days x Medium) + (30 days x Heavy) + (60 days x Serious)  Divide total recovery time by number of injuries (other than Light). Add any EN reduction to total.  Recover 1 stat point at each interval.

[example: Horton (EN=17; FT=21) suffers 2 light, 2 medium, and 1 heavy injury;
Fatigue Track = -6med, -1, -1, -2, -4, so has 7 FT remaining at the end of combat
damage locations are:  Upper T/Light, Leg/Light, Upper T/Med, Lower T/Med, and Lower T/Heavy
Life threat is 42%; roll is 09, so injuries are life-threatening.
Roll percentile to see EN multiple; roll is 53 (under 4x EN), so also reduce EN by 4.  So, Horton will has 17/4=  4 – 1/4 hours before dying, unless treated to stabilize wounds.

If Horton survives, stat reductions for injuries: -1 PS, -2 MD, and -4 EN.   (2 Light, 2 Med, and 1 Heavy Injury = 42 days recovery)  42 / 7  = 6, so Horton will be able to regain one point every 6 days.

Again, this is still very rough, but putting it out for initial feedback and general discussion.

Downsides: still may be too fiddly with numbers.  

Upsides: scary dangerous to get into a heavy fight, but it’s also pretty hard to kill off a PC (if you have healing/treatment available to you in the aftermath).  However, while you might not get killed, you can be seriously messed up for a while.

A Complex of Rooms

May 22, 2015

This map started out with an idea for having fairly regularly orthogonal rooms, but not necessarily orthogonal to one another, and that got carried through pretty rigorously.  Each of the hallways had to be square to its room, which then meant that each hallway had to have a single break where the hallway transitioned to the hallway for another room (though there are a couple places where that wasn’t carried out that way).


The lines are also better in this, and I think the fougou-like walls stand out more strongly than previously.  I also like the way the secret room is worked in to this.  Whether it would just be a door (though it isn’t drawn like that), or whether it would be necessary to take pieces out of the wall in order to have access to the small space beyond, the idea of this small, hidden bolt-hole is suggestive of a number of possibilities.

This was designed, in part, with an approach to making an Un-Furnished Dungeon, and I think this might be the next in that series.  As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project.

Difficult Dungeon

April 1, 2015


A difficult dungeon to get through, with chambers long hidden from any exploration, lying untouched for millennia. Can your intrepid explorers find their way through and uncover the hidden secrets?

Happy 1st of April.

Exquisite Corpse Dungeon

March 26, 2015

Deadline: 30 April 2015

This was kicked off in the Google+ Map-Making in Games community, but it doesn’t need to be restricted there. Drop a line if you’re interested in participating, and also feel free to pass this along to others who might be interested.

If you aren’t familiar with the term Exquisite Corpse, it comes from the Surrealists. It was a party game, and a way of making unexpected art. Someone would begin a drawing on the top of a page, then fold it over to hide almost all of what they’d done, leaving just a few lines along the edge showing, which the next person would connect to as they continued the drawing, and so forth.

A Google image search on ‘exquisite corpse’ will bring up a variety of drawings showing the kind of result that comes from artists’ versions.

So, the idea for this is a bunch of people all drawing a section of what will eventually become a large dungeon made up of sections each by a different artist/cartographer. The Exquisite Corpse Dungeon will wrap up the same time as the deadline for the One-Page Dungeon Contest (April 30). Since this will be all map and no contents, and because it is a multi-participant project, there is no plan to enter it for OPDC, it’s just a fun thing to do in parallel.

Soon after the deadline, we’ll have the whole thing posted here (and doubtless shared on some other sites, too), so check back in to see the whole thing when it’s done.

Format: 30 wide x 12 tall grid. Map scale is 5′ squares. Bottom row (only) is passed to next participant in order for them to align connections. Grid is not a requirement; but you can use it (or not) as a general guideline for size.

Layout: No dead end connections; every passage must provide a way to connect through to further sections of the map. Each slice must have at least two connections to adjacent sections.

Two additional rows on the far right can be used to identify the artist for each section. Submissions should be put under the “Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0” license. (Reference: )

Participants (as of 4/15/2015):

  • Rodger Thorm
  • Kevin Campbell
  • David Millar
  • Paul Baldowski
  • Cecil Howe
  • Dyson Logos
  • Nate McD
  • Scott Slomiany
  • Nate Marcel
  • Jens Larsen
  • Scott Aleric
  • Billy Longino

(Edit: So far, everyone’s been pretty good with relatively quick turnarounds on their sections. I’ll probably cut off – or wait-list – anyone who wants to join in after the 20th or so, just so we can wrap it up by the 30th.)

Blog name change

March 18, 2012

This blog has a new name: Antherwyck House Games. It’s the same blog, fundamentally; all the old posts are still here, and it will continue to be largely about DragonQuest and about indie games. But it is now going to be linked from the new website (coming soon), and is going to become an official part of Antherwyck House. Announcements and discussions of new projects will be posted here.

We’re never going to be a high volume publisher; this is a side-line for us. But, after the fundraiser for the Wilderness adventure, it became clear that there was still an audience for DragonQuest materials, even though it’s been nearly a quarter century since anything was last published. We’re looking to become the source for that small audience.

We’re plotting a release schedule for our first year. The present plan is to have one new title per quarter, and we’ll see how that works out.

We may also get more heavily involved in the development of a retro-clone for DragonQuest. Retro-clones are re-written rules that are compatible with an existing game. The core concepts of the game remain, but they are written in new language, so that they do not fall afoul of copyright law. A lot of old-school games are getting this treatment. Having a free retro-clone of DragonQuest would make it easier for new players to discover the game and try it out.

Announcing Antherwyck House Games

March 7, 2012

The fundraiser for the new DragonQuest adventure was enough of a success to make it worth considering the next step. I am going to be setting up a new company, Antherwyck House Games, which will be publishing adventures and material for DragonQuest, as well as other games and related items.

There will be more information about this in the next couple weeks.

In addition to the new DQ adventure currently under development, there is also a revised and illustrated version of my old adventure, “The Water Works,” which will likely be the first title in the line. Also in queue to get cleaned up and re-released will be “Poor Brendan’s Almanac,” the rules supplement that includes 2 Colleges of Magic and 3 skills for DragonQuest, along with other rules and additional information.

Both of these titles will probably be available as PDF or print-on-demand through one of the major online sites. Once that is firmed up and in place, there will be more about that here, as well.

If you’ve got questions, this is the place to ask ‘em!

Connecting Wilderness and Alusia

February 25, 2012

There was a question raised on the IndieGoGo page for the Wilderness project, wondering if the adventure “is taking place on Alusia or not. Does anybody know?”

Since the adventure will include its own map (the new quarter-map that Stephen Peto is working on) it is not going to be located on the Frontiers of Alusia map (though I expect an enterprising GM who really wants to transpose it there may find a way to do that). 

The better question would be if it will coordinate with Frontiers of Alusia at all. My initial thought in putting it together was just that I was creating a new map; I meant it to be a completely separate setting. However, I’ve ended up with something that might coordinate with the Frontiers of Alusia rather well, for some people.

This map is one possibility. The Frontiers of Alusia are to the south. The Western extents of the Confederated Baronies (mentioned in the Frontiers of Alusia) would occupy the area of the black rectangle in the middle (which would be another Alusia-sized map. What I’ve written about it (draft) for the adventure is this: “The region of the map can be related to Alusia with another map of similar size to the Alusia map covering the majority of the land of the Confederated Baronies north of the Frontiers of Alusia. For a comparison to Earth, that’s approximately similar to having Carzala as Bilbao, Spain and Cape Bage as Saint-Nazaire/Nantes, France, or Los Angeles to San Francisco for a west coast cognate in the US.”

There are probably many campaigns that have already developed their own extensions from the Frontiers of Alusia, and this extension may not readily fit into how their campaign has developed the lands beyond Alusia.

I haven’t gotten a lot of strong feedback one way or the other about having a connection with Alusia. I’m curious if those of you who are using Alusia have strong thoughts one way or the other. Do you think this is a useful enhancement to the existing setting, or is this stomping all over sacred memory, and Alusia should be the beginning and end of it all?

Draft Wilderness Project Map

February 7, 2012

The artist for Wilderness

February 3, 2012

Had an exchange of emails with Nate Marcel, the artist who I’ve been in touch with about doing some illustrations for the Wilderness project. He’s posted a shout-out about the project on his blog, so I’m taking the occasion to also link to his blog.

Feedback from the adventure supporters about his work has been positive, too. This image (which I’ve linked to his online sketchbook) is very reminiscent of the illustrations by John Garcia from the original DragonQuest rulebook. It’s not the same style, but it has a similar character. (Garcia, unfortunately, died a few years ago). I’ve also been using this particular image as a placeholder/test image as I’ve been working on setting up the page layout. If you’re a DQ player, I think you’ll agree there’s something about this kind of black and white illustration that just seems right for DQ. I think he was a serendipitous find.

It’s a small job for him, but he’s been very receptive to working on a small scale gaming project and recognizing we don’t have a big budget. I’m looking forward to working with him on this.

Making a Fundraiser Work

February 2, 2012

There is a good discussion about many of the finer points of setting up a project with IndieGoGo or Kickstarter on; it’ll probably spill past this point as the discussion continues, but I just came in on the thread a couple pages back, so this will put you in the middle of the part I’ve been in on.

I wanted to repeat my comments here that I posted there (as well as keep an anchor to go back later):

In response to the suggestion from another commenter that you should open your project to non-domestic supporters, I completely agree.  For DragonQuest, which has a big international audience, being readily accessible outside the US was important, and it’s paid off. More than a third of the contributions (in total dollar value) to the Wilderness project to date are from outside the US, coming from 3 different countries, so far.

I also understand that Kickstarter is less easy for non-US supporters, which is one of the reasons I went with IndieGoGo, though it sounds like IndieGoGo has some other drawbacks.

It was also suggested that you have separate domestic and international perks. Mine won’t be too expensive to ship, and I think international shipping looks to be less of a premium than what I originally thought it might be. If you have a strong international appeal and the perk levels warrant it, you might consider eating or splitting the international shipping costs, to make it more appealing. I haven’t officially announced it, yet, but I’m contemplating splitting the international shipping upcharge with my supporters.

What’s That Map?

December 3, 2011

There’s a map occupying the homepage on the Wilderness of A— Fundraiser page; what is it and where did it come from?

This is a portion of the map from my Caldera campaign. The city at the center of the map is Gafton, where the campaign was based. It was just a black and white map, but I took a little while and added some color to it to make it more visually appealing. It’s a 5 mile hex scale; the scale of the DragonQuest strategic hex grid.

While I don’t think it looks too bad, this is NOT the location I’m looking at for the adventure. It’s just here as eye candy (and hopefully you find it appealing like that). If you can use it in some fashion in your own campaigns, that’s great.

But I do have some questions about the setting for the Wilderness adventure, and I’m interested in feedback from you, the potential players and GMs. Schematically, here’s an initial look at the kind of configuration I am looking at for the adventure right now:

The issue at the heart of the adventure is the need for goods from the Barony having to go down to the Frontier Port, then sail across the Ocean to the Port City, then travel overland back up to the Kingdom’s capital. A direct road would be quicker; that’s the Baron’s project, and, since there is difficulty, that’s why he needs the help.

The questions for discussion regarding the setting are:
* What kind of environment would fit in for most campaigns? Right now, I’m thinking of making it a combination of wasteland, forest, and mountain.
* Does the concept of a Kingdom at the edge of the known world and a frontier Barony fit for most campaigns? (Basically, are you going to be able to use this?)
* Should the adventure be located in relation to the Frontiers of Alusia?

Even if someone takes the Hero – World Supporter perk in the fundraiser, these are going to be valid questions, so I’d appreciate your thoughts about it.

IndieGoGo Fund Drive Launch

November 29, 2011

IndieGoGo is offering half-off on fees for new fundraising campaigns that launch today, so rather than waiting for December 1st, I’m quietly launching it today, and will go with more publicity starting in December. Description needs more detail and some editing, but it’s underway.

Here’s the short link to share the campaign:

The embed widget doesn’t appear to play nice with WordPress; I’ll need to find someplace else to test that.

Working Title: Wilderness

November 28, 2011

I’m getting ready to start the adventure fundraiser project. The working title for the adventure is Wilderness. Naming rights are open to discussion and/or sponsorship.

Right now, my plan is to start the campaign on December 1st and run it through the end of February. That’s a little longer than ideal, but I think it allows more time to reach people who might be interested in it and try to recruit them to contribute.

I’m planning to use IndieGoGo to handle the fundraising. This means a couple things for the project. Most importantly, unlike Kickstarter, all contributions are collected. If the project doesn’t reach its goal in Kickstarter, no one gets charged. But with IndieGoGo, if you pledge X dollars, you are charged X dollars immediately, and, after the fees are taken out, the rest goes to fund the project right away. I’ve also been given to understand that it is easier for non-US contributors to participate through IndieGoGo, as opposed to other crowd funding platforms.

The upside for this is that, as long as there is some contribution, the adventure is going to be produced. It may only be minimally funded, in which case, it’s going to be smaller in scale. But I’m going to take the advice of Mark Shocklee about setting a range of goals.

The base goal is probably going to be $750. For that, the project will be a minimum 16-page adventure. If support reaches $1500, it will be a minimum 32-page adventure.

There is also an opportunity to have an art component. If support reaches $3000, I will have a custom piece of cover art commissioned from Timothy Truman (the artist who did the cover art for Enchanted Wood; I’ve been in brief contact with him, and it looks like it would be possible to commission him for a piece). That might also end up being a separate crowd funding project, rather than rolling it into the adventure fundraiser. I’ve also contacted another artist to see about rates for some interior art. I was going to see about contacting John Garcia (who did many of the interior drawings for the DQ rulebook), but unfortunately he passed away a few years ago.

I’d like to have some art in the adventure even if we only raise a moderate amount of funds. So I will assign roughly 20% of the money raised to go toward illustrations and artwork. This will probably mean hiring younger, lesser-known artists for a pittance (and I am not happy at having to do that), but I am realistic about the money that will be available, and I hope that I will be able to find a couple people who might be willing to do some fun work for a fraction of what they would normally charge. The other option would be to find some existing art that would be appropriate that we might be able to license to use.

If you have any leads or ideas about the art side, let me know.

Preliminary Corwdsource DQ Adventure Proposal

August 19, 2011

I am thinking about writing and producing a new DQ adventure, and I am looking at crowdsourcing models as a way to gauge interest and to generate enough support to make it worth doing. There’s no market for a traditionally produced adventure for DQ, but I think if I can crowdsource some support for it in advance, I can take the time to work on this. This is a draft proposal for comment and discussion.

If you are already familiar with Kickstarter, then you’ll understand the premise of this project. Basically, I’m looking to fund the creation of a new DragonQuest adventure. I’m going to see if I can get enough pledges to let me take the time to work on this project. If there is enough support, I will take the time to write and produce this adventure and have it completed by the end of the year.

In short, the Kickstarter model lets a creator get support for a project from aggregating a number of supporters who would like to see the project carried out. Rather than relying on a single patron, a bunch of people agree to contribute a small amount for a project to be carried out, assuming that enough other contributors also agree to help out.

Pledging to contribute doesn’t cost anything until the goal is met. If the creator’s goal isn’t met, no one contributes anything. Pledging only means that you are agreeing to contribute to the project if enough other people to also pledge to contribute. If the pledges fall short of the goal, then no funds change hands, and nothing happens. (If that turns out to be the case, I may revise the proposal, or I may just set it aside.)

If you are interested, you can pledge to contribute towards the production of the adventure. I’m not looking to match my freelance rates for what I do, but I am going to put time and effort into this.

Basic level pledges will get you an electronic copy of the adventure when it is completed. I plan to eventually make it freely available, but that will not be until some time (maybe 6 months or a year) after the supporters get copies. So contributors will get to have the adventure before it is otherwise available.

But there are also higher levels of support and involvement. If you want to contribute at a higher level, you can have some involvement in the design and configuration of the adventure. Contributors at higher levels can help select the NPCs, the setting for the adventure, and other elements. These premiums can also help make the adventure fit better with a supporter’s existing campaign. Higher contributions also make it more likely that the project will meet its goal and be able to be completed.

The goal is to get at least $1500 in pledges by September 30. If the goal is reached, then all pledges will be due, and work will begin on the adventure to be completed by the end of the year. However, if the goal is not reached, then no pledges will be collected, and the project will be dropped.

If you aren’t already familiar with my work in DragonQuest, I’m the author of the “Poor Brendan’s Almanac” supplement and the adventure “The Water Works.”

Premium contribution levels and benefits are as follows:

All paid pledges will be listed in the credits of the adventure.

Mercenary Level
$20 – Basic level pledge. Receive an electronic copy of the adventure at least 6 months before it is open to free distribution.

$50 – Print pledge. Receive an electronic copy as with Basic level, plus receive a hardcopy printed version of the adventure. (Non US residents will have to pay an extra postage premium).

$100 – Playtester pledge. Receive a copy of the draft adventure before final publication for review and/or playtest before the final version is released. Playtesters can provide feedback about the adventure to help improve the final release version. Those who provide feedback will be credited as playtesters in the final adventure credits.

Adventurer Level
Adventurer level supporters will get all of the premiums offered to Mercenary level supporters (printed hardcopy, etc.), as well as the particular premium selected. They will also receive one review/playtest copy of the adventure before even the supporter release and can provide feedback and commentary before the adventure is finalized.

$150 – NPC – Use an NPC from my campaign. An NPC in the adventure will be an NPC (or could even be a PC) from the contributor’s campaign world. (3 available)

$200 – Adventurer – Treasure Supporter. A specialty treasure to be selected in collaboration with the contributor for purposes of their own campaign will be incorporated into the adventure. (2 available)

$250 – Use part of my campaign world. Adventure setting will include places and features from the contributor’s campaign world. (2 available)

$250 – Adept – Magic College Supporter. The contributor’s choice of a College of Magic will be incorporated into the adventure in a significant fashion. This may include any college from the basic DragonQuest rules, Arcane Wisdom, or Poor Brendan’s Almanac.

Hero Level
Hero level supporters will get all of the premiums offered to Mercenary level supporters (printed hardcopy, etc.), as well as the particular premium selected. They will also receive one review/playtest copy of the adventure as the Adventurer level supporters.

$350 – New Skill Underwriter. Rules for a new skill will be developed for introduction and use in the adventure.

$500 – Magus – New Magic College Underwriter. Rules for a new college of magic will be developed for use in the adventure

$750 – Hero – Choose the adventure outline.

To Crowdsource a New DQ Adventure

June 24, 2011

Looking at things like Kickstarter, I have been thinking about seeing if there would be interest in the DQ community to support the creation of a new DQ adventure.

I’m thinking about creating something, and offering premiums and opportunities for people to help support it. People who contributed some amount will get a copy of the adventure before it is released online. A higher level of contribution would get a hardcopy. People who wanted to contribute even more could have a say in some of the creation of the adventure; for instance, if you wanted to be a supporter of the project, you could have a place from your campaign incorporated into the adventure or used as the setting, or have a PC or NPC from your campaign included in the adventure, or ask for a particular College of Magic to be incorporated into the adventure.

If there are a few people who would make a contribution to the project, I could justify taking the time to work on this. The downside to the idea is that there are only a few people playing DQ anymore, and probably only a tiny number of those who would spend money on a project like this.

I’ll probably post this idea to the DQ lists in a while, if I think I could make it work. If anyone reading this blog is a DQ fan and has comments on the idea, I’d be interested in your thoughts and feedback.

Poor Brendan’s Almanac [DragonQuest Supplement]

May 20, 2011

Since it has come up in discussion again recently, on the DQ-rules Yahoo group, it finally occurred to me that I ought to post a copy of Poor Brendan’s Almanac to make it more widely available. Although I don’t think it’s going to be lost from the Yahoo group, maybe it will be useful to have a copy available that wasn’t locked up in a members-only group.

Poor Brendan’s Almanac is a supplement for DragonQuest that I authored and edited a number of years ago. If you aren’t a DQ player, it’s probably worthless to you. [It’s a 1.86 Mb PDF]

However, if you are a DQ player, and you haven’t seen it yet, I invite you to take a look. It adds some new weapons and some extra combat rules, some additional magic rules and two new Colleges of magic (College of Witchcraft and College of Time Magics), rules for minor skills, as well as three new Skills (Diplomat, Herbalist, and Hunter) and a number of other rules to add detail to your campaign. Comments about Poor Brendan’s Almanac are welcome, either here or at the DQ-rules group.


April 11, 2011

Came across this game called Microscope which looks like something akin to what we used to call Metagame. The designer also has a website for the game. I’m intrigued.

It also looks like it’s at least somewhat related to the idea of the Lexicon game, though it seems to incorporate time perhaps a bit more structurally. (It also appears that 20×20 Room is no more. This means that the canonical link to Neel’s original outline of the idea (Neel Krishnaswami’s “Lexicon: an RPG”) is gone. However, there’s a mirror of it here.)

I’m curious to find out more about it. I find that reviews don’t explain how it works as completely as I’d like, though there is a whole series here, so maybe I’ll get it better when I read through the whole set.

Dungeon Poetry

November 22, 2010


Several months ago, a friend forwarded me a link to Tony Dowler’s Year of the Dungeon (pdf) February 2010 compilation. Something kept me from following the link he sent me until I was doing some sorting through my email and found his reference to Dungeon Poetry.

The idea of quick images of small dungeons – flash fiction dungeons, if you will – is interesting.  These could, of course, be used as a one-shot, a quick encounter, or the like.  But I think the idea of generating a lot of these is useful as a tool to come back to when looking at a larger project.  In the same way that some writers talk about short stories as a workshop for ideas that go into novels, this kind of exercise could also be a way of keeping active with trying out ideas.

A deck of a couple dozen of these could be used as a generator, like a deck of tarot cards for generating storylines or character backgrounds of NPCs.  Not that they would just be assembled like so many old TSR dungeon tiles.  Rather, the images of a few different spaces might work together, to suggest an overall theme to be used for creating a more interesting place.

Would a similar approach be workable for other kinds of games?  After all, aren’t many spy movies (especially Bond movies) a series of exotic locales and set pieces?  Would a set of places be useful for a spy game?  Interesting things to think about, for any genre.

Cyberpunk Hard Drive

March 31, 2010

Came across a cool idea in an article to create a physical object hard drive as a means of distributing a cyberpunk game.

A couple of the suggested points (to give you a sense of where this is heading):

  • Distribute a retro cyberpunk RPG this way.
  • You’d get an artist to gussy up the hard drive to look like some menacing bit of futuristic technology according to 80s design aesthetics. I’m thinking of early Walkmans with chunky, battered chrome, maybe with an LED readout — actually, especially with an LED readout. I’d probably keep some of the drive’s steel around just because hard drives look agelessly rugged and cool by themselves.
  • The game would be written in a user-editable web format (maybe an offline WordPress installation and crosslinked wiki) with the option to print a version or see it in PDF.
  • It would only be available via hard drive — maybe in cheap old 6GB drives (I was looking through my old Quantum 6GB drive from 1998 when the idea hit me, and looked them up – 5 bucks each on EBay for good ones, 99 cents for maybe-dodgy ones).

I think this very much comes out of a steampunk sensibility, and has a similar retro quality about it (now given cyberpunk’s vintage), and there’s a real appeal to the idea of a boutique kind of object as a container with which the game could be played.

To my mind, the biggest problem behind doing something like this would be to make it Win/Mac/Linux cross-compatible so that the user experience could be fairly consistent.

Custom Card Printing & Resource

February 27, 2010

Stumbled across this site today and thought about customizing a set of cards that might better fit for a 4 humors combat system.

The custom round cards might also be interesting, especially if you created 4 quarter cards.

The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses
Jesse Schell
2008, 512 pages

from Cool Tools, in case you missed it: