Archive for category CSIHC

World Building 303 – Timeline

Welcome to the last post for 2018. Not a bad place to be talking about the timeline for your supers world game setting.

Picking your timeline is similar to the 302 subject of Which Earth. But it remains distinct. Because even if you have a setting that is in the future, or past, or on another world you need to know when things happened. Like who was the first superhuman? When did they first appear? If there have always been super-humans then how has that impacted things?

If you want a good example of the differences that can come about take a look at DC Comics original multiverse. The golden age version of characters became its own earth. With events having started around World War 2. The silver age versions had their own earth and had characters with backgrounds going to WW2 but most of the starting events were in the Vietnam War era. And then you stacked up other earths on top of that. Now then this is a reaaaaaaaly over simplified statement, and a big time DC Comics fan would likely pick it to pieces but I am not trying to give a history of the DC universe, just use it for an example. Both of these starting worlds had their own Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. But the timelines that they came about in were distinct. Their morals were slightly different. They interacted with the world and the characters around them differently. And that made the stories different.

Another good example would be to compare the Marvel Comics 1602 storyline to the regular modern world story setting. The characters are the same overall in regards to their powers, but with the difference in timeline it makes a massive difference in how their interactions play out.

So how do you go about picking your timeline? Well in the end that is all part of the main question of – What do you want to run a story about? Followed up by – How much work do you want to put into this setting?

If you want to use a historical setting then you really should research it so you can bring all the flavor of it to the table. You will also have to recognize though that by adding supers to the flow of history you are going to need to change it. Such as if the Roman Empire had super-humans in it, would it have been noticed? Would they have been seen as children of the gods? Would the empire have fallen when it did? Or might it have fallen sooner? Or maybe even still be going on today?

If you want a modern or near future setting then you have to think about when super-humans came into the picture. Mostly due to the fact that they will have an impact on everything from popular culture to technology. And if their power levels are really high then their fights might have given the world something like World War 3. A great example of this can be seen in the White Wolf game setting for Aberrant. The game was published in 1999. And the setting was in 2008. But the level of technology that was available to the world in that version of 2008 was quite high due mostly to the contributions of super humans.

If you want to go into the future, or be on a ‘not earth’ setting then you can go pretty wild. But your timeline is still going to be very important. If you want a great example of the impact that could be had on a future setting then I would recommend taking a look at a very specific version of the Legion of Super Heroes. This version is very much a young supers versus the establishment setting. And the impact of super-humans in the everyday world is rather well told.

Another aspect of the timeline is that it will help establish what the everyday person in your setting sees in regards to super powers. Have they been around long enough that they are now kind of mundane, “Hey Bob, yeah someone on fire just flew through the office so we have to shut down for the day again. Yeah third time this month.” Or are they so new to the scene that every time they are seen it makes international news headlines, “HEY BOB! I just got interviewed by the BBC. Yeah its about that guy that was on fire who flew through the office! You can see me on the security footage gaping like an idiot sure, but what else are you going to do when someone is flying past your desk on FIRE!” Now modify those statements based on the timelines placement in history. What would that sound like in the 1300’s? Or maybe in the 2200’s?

So some of these possible settings will take more work than others. Unless of course you are already a hobbyist/enthusiast/big geek for, any of the elements that is going to make the timeline easier for you to work with. Altering history can actually be one of the hardest to work with as you have to build your NPC’s into the context of actual history. The morals, values, methods of speech and expression, all come into play. And I can promise you that you will have players that look into world history and try and prove you wrong so they can get away with something. If you go modern you will have all he basic challenges with a timeline. Everyone will want to know when and how things changed. If you go future you can get away with just about anything because even taking Moore’s Law into account, predicting where technology, and social culture will be in two hundred years is really not all that feasible. If you are going onto another world then you end up facing all of these challenges and then some. And in that you can truly make everything your own, but then again you have to convey that to all of the people gaming in that world and help them get their grounding in that world.

Even though all that can seem intimidating you need to remember the biggest question in all of this.

What do you want to have fun with? 

Answer that question and all of these world building steps should fall into place fairly easily.

So on my side I already mentioned that I was going to go near future. My plan was to take things forward to about 2040 to have my event that adds supers. I have some details worked into that but those are for another time. Then to have the game setting active I was going to push that to about 2080. That means the world has had forty years to come to grips not only with the event and its impact, but the presence of super-humans and what they can do. It even allows time for cultural, and social bias to build up. Because fear and prejudice make such awesome story telling elements. Just ask the X-men if you don’t believe me.

Anyway so thats it for now, for 2018 really.

So keep up the gaming, keep up the fun and keep your mind open. Gaming is here for your enjoyment, so make up your own mind as to what works for you and have fun.

Now gimme the dice, I have to see where in 2019 things will go crazy…er

 

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World Building 302 – Which Earth?

Hey there readers…

So when you are building a super hero world for gaming in you need to really establish which if any earth you want to be playing in.

Just to give you a few options to think about…

  • Current Earth. History and everything else up to the start of the game is exactly as everyone knows it. This sort of world was established in Marvel’s New Universe in the 80’s.
  • Alternate Earth. Like in the Freedom Fighters by DC in which WW2 went the other way and the United States is occupied by enemy forces.
  • Fantasy Earth. My favorite version of this kind is in the Morgan Le Fay stories in the Avengers. Specifically
    • MORGAN CONQUEST: Avengers #1-4 (Vol.3)
    • Script: Kurt Busiek
      Pencils: George Perez
      Inks: Al Vey with Bob Wiacek (#4)
      Colors: Tom Smith
      Editor: Tom Brevoort
  • Future Earth. A personal favorite here is the Legion of Superheroes by DC. Pretty much any version of them as long as they have Timber Wolf.
  • Not Earth. One of the best examples of this I have would actually be not in comics, but a published game setting called Scraypers. Unfortunately it does not have a wiki of its own that I could find, so I may have to do a review later to give it more exposure.
  • Comic Book Earth Standard (CBES). SO the majority of comic books set things up so that at some point in the past superpowers became a thing. So Earth is similar to what we usually see, but there are supers in history as well. Oh and maybe gods are real too. And no I am not going to put a link in this one… you can wiki it yourself for just about every major setting.

So why go through this step at all?

Because with this simple step you can give everything you do in the rest of your world building a serious level of flavor.

Some feel that this step should come before the origin of power. And if that works for you then go for it. I like making this the second step though because the origin of power can limit or enhance your choice of Earth.

For example, if you want all powers to come from aliens granting powers to a certain portion of the population. Lets see how that shapes up with the types of starting Earth.

  • Current Earth. This gives you a pretty convenient event to start the setting up with. It also gives you a great explanation as to why there have not been powers around before. And it gives you a mystery of WHY did they do it to explore.
  • Alternate Earth. So maybe the grant of powers came in the past and from that event history changed. There could be a serious why in the story. But it could also be interesting to explore what would have happened if historical military cultures had developed powers and how would culture have changed.
  • Fantasy Earth. So who says the aliens have to be from space. Maybe they are the Fae, or Angels and Demons. Half the powers are seen as sorcery and the rest mean you have the blood of some creature in you, like a giant if you are big and strong. Then again they may be aliens from space and the local culture just refuses to understand that and goes with the magic thing as an explanation anyway.
  • Future Earth. So, maybe humans traded with another species for the way to grant powers. Or it is part of some military draft. Or maybe the gift of powers is how the aliens set up their chosen to rule the world for them.
  • Not Earth. I am way to into the weeds of this idea to really flesh out examples other than to say, what if humans were the aliens that granted powers to a culture not on Earth.
  • CBES. In some ways this fits into existing settings like in the standard Marvel continuity the Celestial’s are responsible for tinkering with genetics that develop into the mutant gene, wayyyy back in prehistoric times…. or at least in one version of the Marvel continuity that is how it happened.

So I will freely state that you can get to this same conclusion by going either way first, origin of power or choice of world. But this method works better for me. Just as I say in almost every review I do, dont just take my word for it. Think for yourself and make a choice as to what works for you.

So in the world that I am building out as an example in this World Building series I have decided that I am going to be using a celestial event for the origin of powers. A solar flare of significant proportion. Something that science as we know it says should not have done what it did to humanity. I am putting that as an event in the past of a slightly future Earth. That way technology has taken another few major steps. This way I will have genetic mutation and higher tech as potential power sets. And it is in a world where I can have some freedom to do things like having flying cars or AI and have it up and running in the same way that Gene Roddenberry had envisioned in Star Trek, if the technology is common in the setting you dont really have to talk about it until it works to do so in the story. I would not have to tell you why there are flying cars or spend ten chapters in a book explaining how and why it works. They are there and as a part of the setting you accept it because it is common place.

I also have a system picked out that I want to use, but we will go into that later.

So not that big of a post this week, but I hope you are having fun rolling forward with this version of world building.

Game on, game loud.

Now gimme the dice, I have to see how many power sets I can overload in one character at once.

 

 

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World Building 301 – Origin of Power

Hey there readers

So I cant find an image that really supports what I want to say here, but maybe you can. After reading the article, if you can find something please forward me a link to it in the comments.

So what are we talking about when we say what is the origin of the powers of superheroes?

Well lets look at a few examples…

  • The X-men all gained their powers by a quirk of genetics.
  • Green Lantern gained his powers because someone gave him a ring.
  • Superman gained his powers because he was born on another world
  • Hellboy has powers because he is a demon.
  • Hulk got his powers from radiation.
  • Doctor Fate got them from a helmet and study.
  • Batman got what counts as powers from training and cash.
  • Deathlok got a ton of machinery added to him.
  • Red Tornado got powers by being built that way.

There are tons of others out there too. So why should that concern you at all when setting up your game? Well as it turns out a lot of existing game engines come with pre-generated worlds with some interesting backgrounds as to how the powers came about. And while you do not have to use them at all, it can actually make things a lot easier on your players if you set some specifics in place.

A few examples from game engines include…

  • In GURPS Supers from GURPS second edition, the timeline for the world says that 99% of superhumans come from genetic manipulation done on humanities genetic ancestors.
  • In Champions 5th edition all of the available supers, no matter the style, stem from the fact that magic came back into the world allowing physics to be broken in some very serious ways. That’s right even super science is because of magic.
  • In Godsend Agenda powers came from alien races that could use energy called Ka, or had a genetic disposition to shape shifting (over simplification)

While in others it does not really matter because you can do just about anything for any reason as long as you pay the points or follow the classes.

Ok so again why is it important? The answer is because of how easy it can make things on you and your players. If you can literally do anything for any reason with any character… well then you can come up with a lot of things that have no reason to be together and it also can make power gaming all sorts of ridiculous. If you take an example of Grond in Champions. Most of his origins end up reading something like… “prisoner who offer to be in an experiment. Experiment went wrong and he ran. Into toxic waste. Only to get hit by lightning. And run over by a magical super. And got smacked by something cosmic. And then got shot. And then he transformed into Grond.” Not the actual origin of the character but as you can see it kinda got out of control.

It makes it a lot easier on everyone if there are only one or two ways to gain powers. In giving things limits you can have a much easier reason to gather characters together.

However if you do keep things wide open, you can get some really creative stuff out of everyone. Just getting your players to become a team after all the diversity that created them can be a serious adventure in and of itself. It is just going to take more time and more work to make sure everything meshes together well.

If you limit the origins of powers you can also get a fairly concise origin for supers in your world. Timelines are easy to establish and quick to run.

If you go wild you need to figure out how everything integrates together, if it does at all.

Lets go back to a couple of pre published game worlds.

Marvel Super Hero Role Playing Game.

In this game setting you have the entire Marvel Universe at your disposal. And that means that magic, aliens, and cosmic entities have been around forever. Mutants have been around for quite some time but they are relatively new to the scene. Genetically modified races have been on earth since prehistoric times. Since time travel exists it is possible that in some alternate futures superpowers are common to all humans. Alien hybrids are a thing too.

So now you have to figure out how all of those things come together. Or do you even care? In the end that will be up to you.

Champions 5th Edition.

Ok so everything comes from the fact that magic surged into the world. In the past surges have happened and caused human myths. It has also allowed super advanced alien races to defy physics and create ancient artifacts that others can find. And you can learn or have a genetic disposition to magic and just manipulate the raw stuff. Everything comes from magic. The thing is unless you are a mage you wont know that. So you can freestyle origins, but in the end it is all magic.

Both of these game engines allow you to do, well, anything you could want. But one gives you a singular origin for everything and that allows you to tie things up neatly even when the players think they are a mutant, an alien, and a guy in power armor. In fact all of them can do these things because of magic. You take the magic out of the environment, or even tone it down a lot, and everything would start to fail.

For myself I am using a system that comes with a few possible origins. But I am only going to use some of them. That way I can put a real origin point on each one. That will also allow me to create an environment with a few more human characteristics, like bias and prejudice being at the forefront of a lot of stories.

Now then the second reason it is important is because when you take into account the origin of all powers, you can set power limits easier. More on that in a later article, but really the origin, if you think about it… ok lets go like this.

  • All powers come from training. There is no magic. So the most powerful characters would be like Batman.
  • All powers are granted by the gods and so your average character has powers and power levels like Thor.

I think that is kind of extreme but it gives you a very clear picture of the kind of differences that origin of power can influence in other decisions later.

I will start a summary of my choices in my build an article or two down the line. So for now… thats it folks 🙂

I hope everyone is having a great time and gaming the backsides off.

Now gimme the dice, I gotta see if Batman could smack Zeus and get away with it.

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World Building 30X – Game engines

Morning readers

Someone has already reached out to me in regards to the fact that my listings for the questions about supers did not include the usual discussion about game engines. Well there is a reason for that, and it is really tied into a lot of the other topics.

You see when it comes to playing supers games a lot of those other questions end up leading you to the game engine you might want to use. One of the chief things in making that kind of decision is tied up in how much power do you want characters to have.

Let me give you a quick breakdown using a few of the game engines you can possibly use.

There are a lot of other game engines out there. And each of them has their own features, positive and negative, to take into account. And even though I did hit a few of the small press games in this list there are a ton of very unique game engines out there.

The way I broke them down is based not on what your hero’s and villains can become. But instead based on what you will likely have when you first create your characters.

Variable power level game engines have a lot of possibilities right off the bat. Either due to their set up being point based and the person running the game can choose if you want to be lower power characters or higher ones. But engines like 4 Color rely on random rolls that can actually take players in a single game across the full spread of strong to weak.

Lower Tier game engines will 90+ percent of the time get you a character that would keep up with Robin or the New Mutants in their original forms. Not likely to be world breakers by any means but still a lot of fun if you are looking to play at that power level.

Higher Tier means that you are going to be making characters that will usually start out on par with more experienced comic book characters. Not really fully fledged Avengers or Justice League members but you will be at that level really fast. And if you are a power gamer or just get really lucky rolls you can be at or exceed the levels of characters on those famous teams without batting an eye.

While power level is indeed a first consideration you also have to take into account that some of these game engines also pre-define how someone gained their powers. Training, mutations, gifts from on high, and so on. Some are more open than others, but when you look at game settings like Underground (Sci fi, lower tier, dystopian supers) everyone gets their powers via scientific experiment. Now then there is no reason that if someone likes an engine they cant just toss out the world and make up their own reasons for powers to be what they are.

And that note there about the setting for Underground also gives you a hint in regards to some of the other baggage that can come with an engine. The world that it was built to play in.

All of these factors and more are why I will not be focusing directly on the game engines. I will be giving a few hints though in each of the other postings to talk about game engines that might fit what someone could be looking for in regards to that specific need. Like in power level I will talk to game engines that fit the power level. In origins I will talk about pre-published engines that fit that need, and so on.

I wanted to ensure that I had made that aspect of this current world building series clear.

Hope everyone is having a great time out there in the world, playing hard and having fun.

Now gimme the dice… no all of the dice… no really those too… yes even those you have hidden in your bag… I have to roll for effect… a big effect.

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World Building 300 – Supers

So in my series about world building I wanted to hold off on doing one about supers for as long as I could. When you ask yourself why… look back at the other two I have done so far. The level of detail and the number of options there gets pretty big. In a supers setting it can go COMPLETELY off the rails.

Just like building any other setting you have a lot of options available to you in a supers setting. If you want to have a for instance lets take a look at some of the settings that have been used in the comics already. Marvel and DC alone have not only their own main worlds, but alternate earths, alternate time lines, “What If”s and “Elseworlds” that are usually one offs. In these settings you have your standard comic book places where just about anyone can find a way to be a super. Accidents, mutation in genetics, building power armor, gifts of power, objects of power, and raw magic are all in the mix. Other settings they have published make everyone powered by magic, or some sort of event suddenly gives a rare few powers, or it is in space and every race has something superhuman about it save for humans (actually that one is considered part of the main stream but…), cybernetics make supers… and on and on and on.

Lets also talk about the timeline… I mean we have seen things in modern times, future, world wars, the 1600’s, 1880’s, prehistoric times, and tons more.

We have also seen Armageddon stories, world changers, new concept stories, invasions, healings, contests, and more.

Then you start in on all the other options… and well… it can really be overwhelming.

Now then to be honest it does not have to be. Seriously you can just sort of go… yeah its like the Marvel Universe but none of the supers exist. We are going to use all new characters and see what happens. It really can be that easy. Also many supers RPG’s come with a basic world anyway. Something that you can flesh out.

So the very first questions you need to ask are, why in the @#$% are you creating your own supers world? What in the #@!! possessed you to feel you needed to make something all your own? Is this trip really necessary?

And then you need to calm the @#$% down and just go for it if that is what you really want to do. 🙂

Heh.

So in this series of entries we will talk about the questions you will need to be thinking about as you build out one of the most potentially complex worlds you can build.

301 – Origin of Powers is? – What sort of limits are you going to place here to support your world?

302 – Which Earth? – Do you want to use this earth? Another alternate earth? Another planet all together that has nothing to do with earth?

303 – Timeline is when? – Even if you are not using earth you need to know when you are doing this in terms of cultural evolution. So When are you?

304 – Percent of power? – How many have access to what kinds of power?

305 – World perception of power? – How do people react to someone who can fly?

306 – Power level is how high? – Burning paper or planets?

307 – World is how well known? – Aliens? Time travelers? Alternate earths? Sealed system?

308 – What is your story? Do you have a timeline for a story, or planned events or are you winging it?

While each one of these topics will influence the world you are building, you will figure out for yourself what ones are the most important to you. In coming posts I will bring up ideas and further questions to help you figure out what you want, and to give you some examples of a world of my own.

Now then to be totally honest this world is going to be taking a few things from a project that Dan over at Dan on Games and I started tinkering with years ago. The overall idea has changed a lot but I am inserting one of my favorite characters of his into the world in the same type of situation he was in when he was originally created. I hope you remember ‘Dust’ dude. The world is not the same, but that one character is in the same type of predicament.

Anyway. This posting should be enough to give you an idea of where this is heading and start you thinking about questions for yourself.

In the interim gimme the dice… I have to see if I can resist the pets long enough to get the house cleaned up.

Play hard and play fair.

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Random Bureaucracy Generator

Ok I know what you are going to say… there is enough Bureaucracy in the world already.

Well sure… but when you play a game like Paranoia, or want to really mess with your players by making them jump through so many hoops that actually slaying the dragon that kills half the party seems like a relaxing vacation, then you might want to use something like this.

As I said this started out being a part of my preperations for playing Paranoia which is why there are references to R&D in there. However you can change anything and everything in this setup with ease. The format as presented is for requesting dice. Now then originally in Paranoia your game mechanic really did not require many dice, and only had you using one or two at a time… so… yeah anyway there is a long story behind this set up and I really dont feel like telling it at the moment. Anyway here is how it works…

First you request a die…

Request die for roll
1-14 d4 granted
15-20 d6 granted
20-24 Die not avaliable
25-29 Form 24c required
30-35 d8 granted
36-39 d10 granted
40-49 Bribe required
50-58 d12 granted
59 There is no 59
60-69 d71 granted Go see R&D
70-79 Questions raised
80-81 Permission needed
82-89 Ignored
90-99 d20 granted
100 Police called
101+ d100 granted

Ok so… first of all in the game itself d10 were used in first edition. Mostly as d10 or as d100… so why would you need… yeah just dont ask about the others as they are not used in the game unless you come up with a reason to use them on your own…

Anyway you will see that in many cases no die is provided and something else happens… in all of those cases you go to the sub table for that particular item…

Die not avaliable
1-16 File a 24c form
17-22 Go see R&D
23-46 Bribe requried
47-58 Call police
59 There is no 59
60-85 Permission needed
86-100 Questions Raised
Form 24c required
1-29 Form not avaliable
30-42 Ignored
43-58 Questions raised
59 There is no 59
60-63 Permission needed
64-85 Form 24c required
86-92 Bribe required
93-100 Police called
Bribe required
1-5 2 vegitarian tacos
6-31 Form 24c required
32-58 Police called
59 There is no 59
60-71 Go see R&D
72-88 Questions raised
89-100 Permission needed
Go see R&D
1-46 Die when you enter the room
47-58 Questions raised
59 There is no 59
60-68 Permission needed
69-80 Ignored
81-84 Bribe required
85-100 Form 24c required
Questions raised
1-14 Police called
15-30 Form 24c required
31-37 Bribe required
38-58 How did you get dice already
59 There is no 59
60-67 Permission needed
68-88 Ignored
89-100 Go see R&D
Permission needed
1-20 Form 24c required
21-29 Questions raised
30-58 Ignored
59 There is no 59
60-65 Bribe required
66-71 Police called
71-100 Dave is in
Ignored
1-58 Police called
59 There is no 59
60-100 Bribe required
Police called
1-31 Questions raised
32-58 Bribe required
59 There is no 59
60-71 Form 24c required
72-91 You have been detained
92-100 Ignored

Now then you will notice that these other tables feed on each other a lot. And one even feeds on itself. There are a few ways out of most of the tables. The most notable is the ‘There is no 59’. This can mean anything the game master wants it to. It can be an out, it can be a re-roll, it can simply be a moment to go ‘hmmmm interesting’ and make players panic.

With a format like this it is fairly easy to modify and remake it for anything you want to use it for. I have had cause to look it over in some of the places I have worked to wonder about getting anything done at all… in real life… so I know this is not just for games.

The key to using something like this is to remember that you only want to build up, just so much frustration in the players. And you dont want to use it every session.

You may however want to set it at your desk at work as a way to get your co workers to take some time to figure out how to talk to you… If you do such a thing it pays to get other co workers to be the living example for other tables… or even set it up as a maze inside your office for Halloween. Nasty little scary office costume…

Ok so gimme the dice… I need to see if Dave is in…

Game hard and have fun folks.

 

 

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Monster Rights Activism

Yeah ok so this one is a bit odd. But a conversation with my wife got me thinking about this the other day and I wanted to share.

In games, and fiction, we have this long history of establishing a race or species as being evil. And tons of authors and designers end up using the same races. Making them evil over and over again.

On some rare occasions someone will take a race and change things up a bit. Like when Privateer Press created Iron Kingdoms, goblins were a character race up front and had a part of the main-stream culture all their own. Other games have usually settled for adding a supplemental book that says something like ‘Yeah all these is usually monsters, but here is how you can play one. Just be ready to be killed as soon as you go into a city.’

My issue with all this comes from the question, are they really evil or do they just have a culture the writers don’t like?

I mean if you think about it really. If you are a goblin living in the forest with your clan, you and your people have never done anything to any other creature. Because you are all devout vegans and the forest gives you everything you could need. And along comes a group of non goblins. They cry out that goblins are evil and kill everyone in the clan.

Or what if you happen to be a Minotaur that spent forty years learning structural engineering and site planning. All the while working as a body guard and in general labor so you could afford to buy some land and build a labyrinth all to fulfill your personal dream of making something that people could enjoy. When you are doing your final walk through a group of beings comes marching through your pride and joy and as soon as they spot you, instead of letting you tell them about the way you made it and the intricacies of the patterns you created, they scream out that Minotaur are evil and kill you. (I think a realtor or property developer is actually behind this one, knew the Minotaur would never sell, and wanted to have an exclusive property to sell)

I mean after a few years of this sort of unfriendly behavior I would think that all of these other races would start banding together for self defense. Maybe even becoming the force for evil that others are calling them just so they can have a chance to have a life on their own.

You can roll it up under any context you like… but it still looks more like the “heroes” are the evil ones to me.

Lets try this example. The god that gave you your holy writ tells you and your people that while the ‘good’ gods created you and yours, the ‘evil’ gods created these other races and that makes them bad so you should go and kill them. I would have to ask someone in this instance do you really know what is going on between these gods? I mean they tell you their history and you take that on ‘faith’ and run with it and assume you are the good guy. How do you know the ‘evil’ god did not just say no to a night of Netflix and chill with the ‘good’ god, and this is how the ‘good’ god gets their revenge? Getting all of their little minions to destroy everything the ‘evil’ god created. I mean really, who is the evil one there?

I know, I know, shades of grey, the world is dark enough, fantasy lets us get past the weirdness and gives us black and white so we can feel good about slaughtering something evil and not having to worry about consequences.

I will be the first to admit that it is really nice to be able to just step back and say, ‘Yup, that’s an orc so we can kill it.’ It makes things so easy. You can pick something make it bad and everyone can point at it and say it is responsible for all your ills. But I am wondering if anyone really has the nerve to build something from the ground up that asks if we can be more than that.

Rifts came close. Humans, Dogboys, and Dragons right off the bat. Magic and psychic powers vs technology. Open minds against ‘the right way to do things’. However they did their best to say that Humans were the bad guys in that one and that any human that was not part of the problem had to prove themselves a lot. Which still really gave us a ‘bad guy’ it just turned the table on species more than anything.

I seriously think we can come up with something that does it better.

If anyone knows of one let me know I would love to check it out.

Until then I will continue to fight for monster rights.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see what two goblins and an octopus priest walking into a bar looks like.

 

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Die Fighter, no, we are not backstabing the fighter… sheesh

Ok so last week I asked about posting other things that I have done. I got a couple of replies and have decided to dive in with Die Fighter.

If you are wondering about the pic, well that is the type of customizable dice that I originally created the game with. Not really required but it makes it a little easier in my opinion.

Let me jump straight into a copy of the rules so you can see more about what I mean.

Welcome to Die Fighter first edition

Die Fighter is (C) Copyright Tony Johnson 2013 2014

Permission is given to distribute freely person to person but not to be posted on the internet.

This is a game that is trying to pay tribute to the classic two d fighting games of yore. Classic Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, Fatal Fury, and so many others that many of us spent a lot of time and money on in the arcades back when such things were common.

 Tools :

To play this game you need a ball point pen and at least one of these little packets of blank dice.

dice

I would suggest picking these things up at a local gaming or hobby store as you can see if you pick them up at one of the Uncles Games stores they are only 3.99 for a package, but at Amazon online they are 7.19 plus shipping or more.

The game idea is simple really. You use the rules below to design a fighter by marking the stickers and applying them to the dice. And then you and another player (or if you make two sets up then you can play on your own), roll dice to fight and take down the health bar of the other fighter.

Designing a fighter can take a few minutes, running a fight can take seconds to a couple of minutes. Number of rounds and so on will be up to the players involved.

Rules :

Ok so the first bit of the rules is to explain why you need the multicolored dice.

Each color of die represents an area of attack and defense.

Red – Head and upper body

Yellow – Mid body

Green – Lower body

White – Ranged and charge attacks

Initially you select three dice of different colors. This will define your fighters fighting style. Samples of fighting styles would be like…

Grapplers – Red, Yellow, Green

Fire Ballers – Red, Yellow, White

Chargers – Yellow, Green, White

These are just quick ideas. You can some up with your own way to define just what you have come up with.

Now that you have your three dice, you get 50 Build Points, and 10 Health Levels

Ok so what do you do with three blank dice and some points. Well you build a full on fighting style to flesh out your fighter.

Build points can be spent on the following –

(S) Strike – 2 Build Points – 1 Health Level of damage (this can be called a kick, a punch, flashing someone topless, whatever you want)

(B) Block – 2 Build Points – Stops one Health Level of damage against that location

(P) Power Blow – 5 Build points – Does 2 Health Levels of damage +1 Health Level for each other die you have doing damage (so if you have rolled a P, a B, and an S, your S does one damage, and your P does 3)

Strike, Block and Power Blow affect the other fighter on the same color. So you compare Red dice, Yellow dice, Green, and White.

(D) Dodge – 7 Build Points – Dodge avoids ALL damage your opponent has rolled that round.

(  ) Flub – If you have only one blank space on a die this is worth zero Build Points, however if you have two or more on a single die then you get +1 Build Point. This only counts once per die. This is like messing up your joystick command and not getting a strike or a block in.

So you can fill in the stickers that come with the dice with those letters and there you go.

Now you can also do the following items to make more advanced fighters.

Add an additional die of a color you do not have yet – 6 Build Points

Add an additional die of a color you already have – 10 Build Points

Add additional Health Levels – 3 Build Points per Health Level

 

A basic die might look like this

(S) on three sides, (B) on three sides – 12 Build Points

(P) on one side, (B) on two sides, (S) on two sides, (  ) on one side – 13 Build Points

(D) on one side, (P) on one side, (S) on two sides, (B) on two sides – 20 Build Points

 

If I use those three samples to create a fighter I have used 45 build points, with the five left I could add an additional heath level, and put another (B) or (S) on the 13 point die, and push it right up to 50 points. Do not worry if you have a couple of points left over at the end. At least not at first. Get the flow down and have fun with making a fighter or three, and seeing how their style and your luck at tossing the dice go. There are a lot of other combinations past the samples above, and the dice you choose may not be the same as the ones your opponent is using, so you may want to think about the style of fighter you want to create.

Last rules – Roll dice at the same time as your opponent. Compare the dice. Subtract unblocked, or un-dodged damage from Health Levels. If needed roll again until one fighter is out of Health Levels, or both are (and that means a draw).

Closing :

Now then some folks will ask about things like Tag Matches, Taunts, or from Street Fighter Alpha the infamous two on one match, or super boss fights. These things will be brought up in the second edition of the rules. This first edition is just the basics to get things started. There is more coming. 🙂

Addendum :

Dice sets for classic fighting game characters, at least in my opinion.

Guile – (Y) (G) (W)

Ken / Ryu – (R) (Y) (G) (W)

Zangief – (R) (Y) (G) – maybe an additional (Y)

Terry Bogard – (Y) (G) (W) early on then became (R) (Y) (G) (W)

Andy Bogard – (R) (Y) (G) (W)

Mai Shirinui – (R) (Y) (W)

Joe Higashi – (R) (G) (W)

 

So that is the first edition rules of Die Fighter. I have made add ons for Boss Fights, Tag Matches, and Two on One fights. While also adding things like Throw and Taunt moves. It makes for a quick playable game and it allows players to build what they want. During play-test I have had two players set up exactly the same dice, but describe their fighters completely differently. I thought it was completely awesome and could not wait to see more from them. Oh and yes I do have a couple of fighters sitting around here in my dice box. So if you know me in person please feel free to drop a challenge.

So any way, give it some play and see what you think.

Next week I will likely do a review if I can keep the puppy distracted long enough. I have a few I have been waiting to do.

So gimme the dice… I need to see if I can deliver a power move to the puppy for bath time or can pull off a dodge. (actually I did that last night and just wanted to tie this post into a Facebook post I made HAH!)

Play hard, and peace out.

 

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Crazy $#!t I have created

So I seem to be getting a lot of hits in regards to my Random Deity Generator and I have been thinking about posting a few other things I have created to see if folks enjoy them.

Die Fighter – A dice based combat system that I created to replicate 1/1 2d fighting games. But it can have other uses.

Random Bureaucracy Generator – Originally for Paranoia but if you are ever playing a game where you have to go up against big business or any government on their terms it could be useful.

Minion Uprising Chart – Many games have given players the option to have minions, hire legions, or inspire nations. However they get a little iffy on what it takes to not just have them leave your service but totally revolt and try and destroy you. This chart fixes that option.

Sanity Converter – In Call of Cthulhu learning about the mythos costs sanity. Learning magic costs sanity. Surviving physically in tact costs sanity. This handy dandy little table can show you if that would be a cost worth paying. This started out as a joke but when I had a character start at 30 sanity in a game and go up and not down on the first couple of adventures its nature changed.

Goblin Invention Name Generator – This is still very much a work in progress as I keep finding new words that would just work too well in it. I started this when playing Iron Kingdoms as a setting for D20. I have carried it over to other games as well after.

So yeah a really short post. Trying to get the puppy to understand it does not get its way all the time and that requires frequent cleanup.

So gimme the dice, I have to figure out what he destroyed this time.

And if any of these ideas spark an interest give a note/reply and lets see what I publish next.

Peace and play hard folks.

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Cyberpunk to Steampunk a mod story

So I need to start this posting with a little bit of a flashback. The very first review that I posted was for the original Cyberpunk RPG by R Talsorian. A game which I said could be modded to hell and you could come up with a lot of cool things. Well this is where I talk about one of those cool things. Modding it into Steampunk. And by the way Mike, if you see this please note that you should really consider putting this out officially to expand the line while all of us long time fans wait for Cyberpunk 2077 to come out.

I am going to make a big assumption here in writing this, actually three of them.

  1. You know what Cyberpunk is as a genre
  2. You know what Steampunk is as a genre
  3. You have a passing familiarity with the Interlock system created for the Cyberpunk roleplaying game.

So the reason I am tossing this together is that I have a few friends, and my awesome wife who love the Steampunk settings. Hells the wife and I have a Steampunk themed library in our house that we took about four months to build so yeah its a kinda big deal. I have looked into a lot of different RPG’s and several board games but I had not been able to find something that had a clear and easy steampunk setting that I felt was just completely top of the line. So I decided to kitbash one using a game engine that I felt really kicked ass on doing the cyberpunk theme.

What I came up with was basically a double mod. Using the Cyberpunk game as a base I realized that I could use every role in the game with just a few changes to description except one. For example the Rockerboy could become a Presence, the charismatic leader type that runs guilds and unions or even goes into politics. Solo’s become Dragoons while keeping everything that makes them feel like warriors. Nomads can be migrant working families or gypsies or both. Corporate’s stay as they are really, and  Techies, well they were always going to be techies, just now driven by steam, clockworks, and primordial electricity instead of hydraulics and nano-machine interfaces. The hard one is the Netrunner. That is also where the split happens that gives you so many options.

I thought to turn the Netrunner into an Arcanist. Now then depending on if you want to have a Steampunk setting with actual magic or not you would need to either make the Arcanist a fortune teller who knows legends and can be sort of a mystical con man, or if you want magic to be functional then you should pull in the stat Psi from Mekton Zeta Plus and change the psi powers to magic spells. In either case the role skill of Arcana can be used. In one version it is used to try and add mysticism to the world and in the other it allows the Arcanist not only knowledge but it is essential in the casting of spells or channeling the mana that powers magic. If you go with the real magic version you can also do up a Techie who is an Arcane Engineer who’s tech skills revolve around using mana as a power source.

A quick check of monies made it seem like all the gear and tools could be used if we just divided all the starting money by ten and do the same to the costs. Most of the blatant cybernetics could stay, but would have to fall into things that are steam powered and therefore bulkier and have the right look. For things like the neuro enhancements and skill chips we need to have the setting include magic to make it make sense without having everything go sideways.

Next step is to add to the idea of corporate powers. In addition to them you will also have guilds. Groups of men and women who control certain skills and knowledge. Corporations will have to deal with them to get the resources they need to get the advancements they want. This will give players even more factions to work with and fight.

With all these possibilities on the doorstep you can see where the options can roll to. One of the big limits that I tossed in when I made my version of this was to have the Magic stat be opposed by the Empathy stat. By that I mean that between the two of them you can only ever have a score of ten. So an all powerful Arcanist who has a Magic stat of 10, also has no empathy and therefore no humanity. And they then become the magic equivalent of a cyber psycho.

All in all this is a really easy conversion to make.

You will also please note that I did not go into all the details that I could have. I did not put down any lists of Unions or Guilds that I put together for my world. There is a reason for that. This article is about giving others the idea and letting them run with it. If folks want me to flesh it out I could do that, but I honestly think that with what I put here you have enough to drive your own version.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see if a mana powered steamcat can be used to sneak past some lack luster Dragoons to pick up a few things for me…

Have fun and keep playing folks. 🙂

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