Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Preview of the Weekend to Come!

Last week, I got the immobilizer taken away from me. This week, I'm gonna have some fun. I have a couple of ideas for my next couple of posts. As you probably know, I am writing a campaign setting over on Ko-Fi that has sparked the idea of creating my own ruleset

To that end, I have decided that I need to stop cross-posting between Ko-Fi and here. It's super boring for me and I love this stuff. Also, I need to dig deep for ideas and things that make gameplay fun. I would like to thank everyone on MeWe for taking my poll, it was really helpful. 

So, what's happening this week? 

I've never been there, so I can't wait. Hopefully, I can use a light mech like the locus. There is something really fun about a hot rod little mech on the battlefield.

I haven't played Battletech in a hot minute, so I really hope it's Beginner's Night. I hope to do a game report, a review of the Beginner's set, and meet new friends. I really need a night out and pushing mechs and throwing dice sounds great. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Polling Data In...

I'm doing this thing where I create a new game system. Over on MeWe, I ran a 24-hour poll, polling seems to be the way to collect user data nowadays. Click the link to follow me there. Even WotC tried it right here

It's surprising what you can get from a little consumer feedback. I did two polls, one for my friends on MeWe and a duplicate poll in the Sandbox gaming group. I felt these were the two places to find "generic" gamers, not necessarily system-specific gamers. The Hearts System is created with fantasy gaming in mind but should be pretty adaptable to other genres. So, if swords and blasters are your thing, this could work for you. 

My poll size was rather small with only 32 respondents. The question I asked was about the number and type of dice. As I originally pictured it, The Hearts System would be a single 1d6 game. However, at this point in the planning, I could totally change that. 

The nice thing about the MeWe polling system is it allows for both a choice of responses and comments. That is really helpful. 

Here was the question: "For a quick, easy-to-play RPG, I need to roll... 

The choices were: 

1 six-sided die. 
2 six-sided dice. 
I need more dice. 
You can't roleplay with just one type of die, freak!

Both groups came down pretty heavily on the 2 six-side dice option at 18 of 32 votes. Next up was "I needed more dice" followed by "1 six-sided die" and "freak". 

People were more likely to call me a freak than select "1 six-sided die", but only just barely. 

A full 50% of responders wanted 2d6 and 25% wanted more dice. Based on these responses, I need to retool The Hearts System. This is exactly the time to do so, as nothing to too hard-coded to change. 

Many commenters mentioned that one die is too "swingy". And they are right. The funny part about this is when I hear the word "swingy", I immediately hear this: 

Now for the sales pitch and favor. 

What brought on this impetuous to create a completely new game was my goal of writing a system-agnostic campaign setting called "A Handbook for Travellers on the Peninsula of Plenty". Being ruleset agnostic, theoretically, I can completely ignore the whole OGL Version RND#" debacle. But where I can't is that when you play a game for so long, like I have with D&D, your headspace is locked to certain ideas. To be completely system agnostic, I need to start having new ideas and new ways of thinking about things that have nothing to do with D&D.  Hence, The Hearts System. 

This is tangential to my "A Handbook for Travellers on the Peninsula of Plenty" project, but it would be great if you came over to Ko-Fi and followed me. It would cut down on the number of times a week I'll have to crosspost. It would cut down on the number of things I have to keep track of, social media vs. ko-fi, vs. Blogger. 

You might just get some great ideas for your table over there, too. I have three backing options, but without backers, I am limiting myself to open posting to just followers which is the free option for you.  

I have this wonderful vision of not having to post every blog post to every kind of social media out there. So, go ahead, follow me here on blogger, and over at Ko-Fi, MeWe, and even Mastodon and Dice.Camp if you would be so kind. Go pick a place where you are going to get the content you like, I would really appreciate it. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Hearts System

 In my last post, I spoke about creating a whole new game system. I think I have settled on the name "The Hearts System". At least the abbreviation, THS doesn't spell out something too horrible. 

One of the advantages of B/X games is the speed of character generation. Everything you need is on 4 pages, class on one, equipment on another, saves on the third, and special details someplace else, if even needed. I want an even faster system. 

So here we go: 

Step 1: Lay your cards out. I wanted a simple graphical way of displaying information with a low entry cost. So a standard deck of cards works. As soon as I find my Rider-Rider Deck, I will start using Tarot cards for fun. 

The Aces are your abilities and there are four: Swords (Spades), Shields (Diamonds), Coins (Clubs), and the titular Hearts. At this point, you can probably guess what each means, but you don't need to know. 

(I am also playing fast and loose with the suits, I will probably make my own deck of cards so that doesn't happen.) 

Down the left side, the King, Queen, and Jack represent your class. Ignore that for now, we will just generate a character using the Kings. 

Step 2. Place a King on the matching Ace. 

This is an average starting character, each attribute is two. Every living creature has an attribute of at least one. 

Step 3. Customize. A starting character can only move one card as a choice. In this case, Coins as been reduced by one to increase Swords by one to a total of 3. 

Step 4, (not shown) Record your attributes on the character sheet I have not yet created. 

Step 5. Rally your defenses, place your Shields over your Hearts and add this to your character sheet. (Again, not shown as the sheet hasn't been created.) 

In this case, we have created a warrior. He has 3 Swords which is his attack strength. He has two shields, which is his defense. He has one Coin, which is a measure of starting resources. He has two Hearts, which is how much damage he can take. But we put the Shields over the Hearts meaning that the character can take two more hits than someone with just two Hearts, thanks to the Shields. 

In the next post, we'll talk about the difference between King, Queen, and Jack or your class choices. 

This game is going heavily featured in my new Ko-Fi Project, and there is going to be a time when I stop double posting. Why don't you follow me over there? 

What Makes a Great Game? Return to Star Smuggler

My last post addressed my desire to create a new game system. In order to make great games, you need to know how to play games. This helps create new mechanics that are hopefully fun. So for the past week, I have been quietly playing a lot of games. 

I've also been collecting data from the gang at MeWe.com via a poll. There will probably be more polls over there. It used to be that Blogger had a poll system, but that has been depreciated to unhelpfulness. 

This week, I busted out Battletech, Star Smuggler, and the classic risk game. I have a feeling that my system will use only 1d6, but the question is how many of them. 

During this process, I happened to notice a good tactic for "winning" at Star Smuggler which is very simple. On day one, you start in the Regari system at the Spaceport with 1d6+150 credits (secs. not credits, actually. I hate that abbreviation). One of the highest-priced items with a good rate of return is e37 GM bots. They cost 120 and can be sold for 100, not including multipliers. Yes, you can sell the ship boat for more, but only once. 

Spend the day collecting your GM bots. We are talking 5, max. You just don't have the funds to do more. Next, jet off to Nipna. Nipna has a wealth of 60 which allows for a 10 multiplier. You can offload those bots for 4000 or 5000 creds. 

WARNING: You have a 1 in 6 chance of damaging your ship on the way to Nipna and once that happens, you have another 1 in 6 chance of being forced to turn in the Status Unit in pilotage which is very negative to gameplay, if not impossible to recover. I won't tell you the event number, but it is interesting as it is one of the cases where Duke can patch up the ship like an engineer. 

That takes the bite out of it, assuming he survives the event. The real kick in the pants is the event becomes more difficult if you have a lot of crew, as they could just outright die from it OR subject Duke to death by not piloting his own ship. 

This is not the end, as you just burned 4 of 6 hypercharges getting to Nipna. That is a cost of 2000 to replace cutting into your bottom line. Before we do that, spend some time hopping back and forth from the space station to the colony. You are looking for two interesting events:

e153 Buy High Technology items and 
e198 Disgruntaled Colonists. 

Also, be on the lookout for cheap items that can be resold at a profit. Due to e198, there is a good chance that selling your ship's boat is a good idea because you're going to need the space. 

How I imagine an empty hold looks like on the
The High Tech Items has a collection of fun items, but the Portable Life Support unit is my favorite. It allows you to provide 50 cu of goods with life support for a month. After that, it takes a week to recharge it with the ship's engines. What is interesting to me is, it doesn't say where you can use this. So, what if you strap it to the side of the ship? You now have a good-sized second hold for goods for 3 weeks a month. 

All of this space plays positively with the Wealth code of 60. You have a 1 in six chance of picking up items at the base price and an equal chance of selling them at 10 times their value. This is helpful no matter what you buy. The lowly repair unit is 1 to buy but you sell it for 10 on this one planet. Heck, even with half of that rate of return, it's well worth doing. Nipna is played as dark and dangerous, but more dark than really dangerous. 

This is where e198 comes in. Once you sell off the boat and add the PLS system, you can carry all of the disgruntled colonists no matter what you roll. The closest destination that meets the criteria is New Karma. You could probably do it without the PLS with a lucky roll. The result of this event scores you 30 creds per colonist, so even 30 of them is almost enough to buy 2 hypercharges at New Karma. 

New Karma is kind of the End Game planet for Star Smuggler and getting there in week 1 or week 2 totally changes the dynamic of the game. It is strongly suggested that once you build your bank account, you should try to take on crewmembers at a low-wealth planet, so you haven't completely abandoned the rest of the Pavonus Sector. 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Tired Thoughts on Tired OGL

I love posts that start with the Chaos Star
The OGL has attained the maximum cultural entropy. Even my wife has a passing familiarity with OGL, which is impressive as she is a nurse and doesn't do "nerd stuff". She's still pretty hot that our children's collective initials are NPC. 

Anyway, I took on this new project to write a campaign setting. And then I busted my shoulder, leaving me to do everything with one hand tied behind my back... literally. Now that I have the immobilizer off, I can start moving and thinking again. 

Here is the long and short of my thoughts on the OGL. 

I have 6 products on DriveThruRPG: 

  1. Kobold’s Folly Mini Setting
  2. Compass Rose Inn Mini Setting
  3. The Hex Pack
  4. Swashbuckler Character Class for D&D and AD&D
  5. Zero to Hero: Uncommon Heroes
  6. Character Sheet for AD&D
Three of these products have nothing to do with D&D, the OGL or SRD: Kobold’s Folly and Compass Rose Inn Mini Settings plus The Hex Pack. I can ignore these. 

The other three are directly tied to D&D. They are nothing without the original game. If push comes to they are either going to be withdrawn or go to "OGL version whatever". I have some decisions to make, I guess. The Swashbuckler Character class really needs to be burned to the ground and remade or dumped in the historical stupidity bin. I'm ok with either. I'd like to rework Zero to Hero into OSE, so I need to wait and see what Old Games Essentials does. The character sheet is a historical snapshot that assumes the use of a couple of books, I am not sure if it needs to be connected to the SDR or OGL because it is literally nothing but an image of a collection of words and numbers that are very context specific to a certain version of a D&D game.  

I have come to the conclusion that I need to abandon D&D and ignore three of my products linked to the SRD and OGL while reworking the other three into something that doesn't remotely touch the works of Wizards of the Coast. 

I have decided to come up with a completely new game system. One of my own devising. In the best case, I am the next WotC. The worst-case scenario is no one uses it. 

What I know now: 
  • I have the basic idea of a game system. 
  • Playtesting has started.
  • It will be called "Zero to Hero", which I am 99.9% is not a copyrightable name. That's cool, I'll deal with it if I can. 
    EDIT - No, No, this is no longer correct. I think I will call it "The Hearts System". 
  • My first book, "Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners" will be worked into this somehow. I don't know how. 
  • I will press on with my new campaign setting and tool it to work with "Zero to Hero". 
  • I need to come up with a better naming convention because if I find too many things referencing "Zero to Hero" I will have to change the name. 
So here we are. 

This is a cross-post with my Ko-Fi project