Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The stamina die

I just read on intwischa.com a really neat idea bout how to model fatigue. This does sound familiar, but I'm putting it up here for personal reference if nothing else.

On there they suggested everyone roll a stamina die when doing something that might exert your character, in addition to the regular die roll. When you roll a 1, you step down one die size and take -1 to all physical actions. Naturally someone fairly weak would start with a lower die, maybe d4, while someone more buff would maybe start with a d8.

I like  the simplicity of it all. Maybe you could even tie it into encumbrance somehow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Thinking back on 7th Sea

I ran a short arc of a revenge story in AEG's 7th Sea a few years back. The idea of swashbuckling is seldom far from my gaming thoughts, and the game system had enough interesting knobs and dials for me to long to try it out.

When I had decided I wanted to run it, and had read the books, a new problem appeared. The game was set in an imaginary Europe with new names for everything, and magic to boot! I liked the idea of filing off the serial numbers. I remembered that Dave Arneson had thought that taking the adventure into fantasy was a great way to stop arguments about historical minutiae, that was not the problem. The magic on the other hand, was.

For some reason I wanted a regular world, with none of that "gamey stuff". I wanted exciting fencing and swinging in chandeliers, but no fireballs. I also decided to ditch the culture inspired by ancient Norse culture. Those are always corny when done by Americans.

Starting the game it also became clear that even though the game system had some really good ideas, for example the incentives to do dramatic stuff, it did have problems. One of the most glaring ones showed up already in character generation, where the sheer amount of knacks and skills made it take too long to whip up a character. I like that part of a game to be quick and breezy, which is why I fell out of love with GURPS.

Now this weekend when I saw the movie I posted about yesterday, I realized I had been wrong about the magic, though.

While my 7th Sea game was a success, the way that musketeer movie shoved in non-historical air-ships and steampunk features showed me the joy of mash-ups. I still think vikings through an American lens is just corny. But magic, swords, Napoleon, cthulhu, intrigue and lost treasures actually goes just fine together in the soup! One reason I liked the movie was those elements which were contra factual. Hey, what was it Dave had done again?

I'm thinking about revisiting 7th Sea, and this time I'm not going to take things out. I'm going to put more gonzo stuff in! There are still issues with the game system I will address, like a hack to limit the amount of skills you get. Maybe even eliminate the fact that there are skills and knacks. That was a bit fiddly. More of that will be posted here, shortly.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The caller - a man with many hats?

I listened to a podcast some weeks ago, and no longer remember which one. It brought the idea to the fore to do something with the Caller. You remember the role of the Caller? Personally I have never used it, and it sounds very boring to those of us who love to talk in character and do the immersion thing in roleplaying. But, maybe it's a necessity when running parties of 12+ individuals. I've heard voices both agreeing and disagreeing on that.

Now the idea was that even if we no longer seldom have those clearly defined roles in the party, we often still see specific individuals do certain things. If you have played one of the later editions of D&D, you have probably quite soon found out who in the player group is most engaged in the tactical details on how to move around on the battle mat. Probably you have also found that when it comes to charming a guard to let you get by and take a peek at the cardinal's papers, a specific individual is always there to do it. I bet that's true regardless of whether you act it out or just roll and die.

Maybe sometimes you might as well have a Caller? Maybe you could have three or four of them, for tactics, interpersonal conflict or for summing up the revenue and planning the mortgage payments on that starship? I know for a fact that some of those activities leaves me cold, while I know some people love them. Maybe that's the way to make some games work, when there's some activities that might hold the group off a game because one player refuses to do that part. Maybe it might be a good idea to have multiple "Callers" for those roles?

Maybe that old idea does have some legs after all. What do you think?


This Easter weekend I was able to stay home and enjoy some time with my family, even though I was on call and had to work way to much. But, when it was calm we watched a movie. Guess if I suddenly felt the urge to game? It was the 2011 edition of The Three Musketeers, which was rollicking fun. Airships, dashing sword fights and some witty banter. What more can you ask for? Well, maybe some female characters that are not victims or scheming bastards, but I guess I have to blame Dumas for that one.

I'm breaking out my 7th Sea books tonight!
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