Saturday, May 29, 2010

Leftovers: Setting a New Standard for Disturbing

Just finished running Leftovers here at Gamex. That was without a doubt the weirdest, most bizarre, and definitely most disturbing game of Leftovers I've seen yet. Samuel Mitchell, you are a bad, bad man.

However, it was also highly successful -- again! So that's encouraging.

And here's some more art, courtesy of artist Stacey Montgomery!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Icons & Sorcery

Just a quick note here to let people know about Icons & Sorcery (link fixed!), my swords & sorcery hack for Adamant Entertainment's Icons Superpowered Roleplaying. It strays a bit here and there from the way Icons works, but not dramatically so. The idea was to retain the random character generation of Icons, but for a typical Howardian/Lieberesque fantasy setting -- so instead of Origins (Trained, Birthright, Artificial, etc.) there are Cultures (Great City, Decadent South, Frozen North, etc.), and since only shifty sorcerer-types actually have powers, there's a greater emphasis on Specialties, although these two rely heavily on the roll of the dice. "Equipment" in the conventional sense is practically a non-entity for the superheroes and villains in Icons, but not so in Icons & Sorcery. And so on.

Incidentally, I'm running Icons this weekend at Gamex, in case I hadn't already mentioned that. Icons hits the e-market June 1st, with a print edition coming soon after.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Leftovers: Art!

Development continues apace on Leftovers. Jenny's initial layout looks great, and Tony just sent me some similarly great art. I figured I'd post it here for interested parties to peruse.


Click on it to see it full-sized. From left to right, that's a Fangfist, a Gut-ripper, and a Fly-By-Night.

On a related note, I'm running Leftovers at Gamex on Friday the 28th, so if you're in the area come check it out! Event pre-reg begins tomorrow. Get on it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

[CLASSIFIED]: Simplified

So in looking over [CLASSIFIED] and thinking about it in terms of this contest, I realized that it's rather... well, needlessly crunchy. There's some nostalgic crunch in there, what with the separation of stats and skills and skill categories, and the way your base rating with a skill is determined by adding two stats together, and the fact that the number of skill points you have available to spend in a given category's skills is dependent on adding another two stats together, and so on.

The simplest solution is to ditch the stats altogether, and just have skill categories (Areas of Concentration, or AoCs -- an obvious nod to Top Secret's Areas of Knowledge) and skills (specialties). The AoCs are Combat, Academics, Technical, Athletics, Subterfuge, and Interaction. Your rating in an AoC is the base rating for every specialty that falls under it, so if you have a 12 in Combat, all of your Combat-related specialties are also rated at 12 by default.

I was a little torn on how to determine what your starting AoC ratings would be, until I fully committed myself to the central, unifying idea of [CLASSIFIED], which is, essentially, "antiquated but relevant." I want things to have a somewhat retro feel, but not to the point of just being derivative or clunky for the sake of it. Likewise, in terms of setting, this applies to the PCs: Former government spooks, spies, and assassins turned loose with the end of the Cold War in the mid-'80s (alternate history!), they're now high-priced "consultants" for a "private security corporation." In other words, they're still doing what they've always done, but now they're doing it for cash instead of duty. They don't really know another way of life, even though the world has ostensibly passed them by. Their ways and worldview are somewhat outdated and out of step with those around them, but they're still frighteningly effective. I want the system to feel the same way: a little passe, in some ways, but still fun and playable.

Anyway, with that in mind, I think I'm taking a page out of Star Frontiers. I want AoC ratings to range as high as 20, and this is a contest based on the use of d10s, so instead of some point-buy thing I'm going with actually rolling dice and determining those ratings randomly -- but with a sliding scale of bonuses to those rolls to forestall feelings of uselessness in a given AoC. I think it'll just be 2d10 six times, arrange to taste.

Then it's eight points to spend on specialties, on a 1:1 basis. Eight's enough to probably max out one or two specialties at 20 at the cost of effectiveness in other areas, which is fine with me. I want these PCs to start out as more than competent; a 20 in Marksmanship or Security Systems is not only acceptable, it's desirable. It may vary a little from this. Maybe it'll be six points, plus another two in a chosen AoC's specialties to represent something along the lines of departmental specificity, like Eliminations or Infiltration. I dunno. Details.

Toughness -- the measure of how easily a character takes major injuries -- used to be based on a couple stats, but now it's (Combat + Athletics)/5, which should make for a practical range of 4 to 6, and a possible range of 3 to 8.

The big honking resolution table stays the same, as does the method of injury determination by hit location and weapon Damage Factor. From a design point of view, the latter is the most genuinely interesting or innovative, or at least unusual, so I'm not dropping that.

As for layout, I have this crazy idea to make the whole thing feel like government documents, with redacted words or sections and slightly crooked, typewritten pages. I don't know how practical that is to do without it getting annoying, but it intrigues me enough to find out.