23 March, 2017

Another background image for the Law

This is starting to get closer to what I'm after

Still needs more layers though.I want this to remind me of my trip to Tokyo, massive density, things going everywhere, elevated motorways and mass transit systems, this is meant to be a city for half a billion people to live in...and it needs to look like it. Not only that, it needs to look like the people in charge of town planning have the same level of regard for the general populace as Donald Trump does....and people like that have been in power for decades. This setting is dark, mean, might unclean.

More image experimentation to do.

21 March, 2017

Here are the images

The following images were meant to accompany the previous post.

Here is the raw render of the test buildings

And here, it is after fiddling with it in Photoshop a bit.

Here is the raw version of the Law Agent's badge that I'll probably be going with...

Here it is filtered to look like it is appearing on a low quality vid-screen...

And this version is grittier still, but verging on illegible. Some days I think this is exactly what I'm after, some days I think that this has pushed things too far.

Depicting the Urban Blight

While I've been busy working on university stuff, I've had backup computers rendering collections of buildings that I've made in 3D modelling software.

I think I need more building types to add into the mix...many, many more building types,...because everything is looking a bit too regular at the moment. Sure, there need to be some areas of regimented order, but the setting isn't about that...the setting is about a world contstantly on the brink of anarchy and rioting. There needs to be more chaos.

19 March, 2017

Law Imagery

A few days ago I shared my current work in progress, The Law.

It didn't have any images in it, so it's time to start remedying that situation.

The first images I've started on are the badges of the Agents of the Department of Law. I'm not sure they're quite right yet, but they are close to what I'm after.

The armoured uniform is giving me a few more issues. I'll post those images soon.

17 March, 2017

Crossover Potential

One of the things I liked about the World of Darkness was the specific potential for telling very different stories in the same world. I guess that D&D was doing that for years previously, where you could cross dark stories into any setting by applying the Ravenloft rules to whatever setting you regularly played (or Spelljammer if you wanted pseudo-spacefaring, or Planescape if you wanted something a bit more metaphysical). But the World of Darkness claimed to produce distinctly different urban fantasy horror stories all set in a single rich world that didn't require jumping between worlds or planes to change the tone of each story. In this alley, werewolves were ripping apart a corporate executive who had greenlit a gas-mining exploration plant in a delicate ecosystem, while two alleys over a pair of vampires were delicately settling a blood feud that had been ongoing for centuries (by similarly pounding the crap out of each other).

In theory, you could run alternate weekly games with different sets of protagonists and different genres of story, but the same rotating roster of NPCs. In this vampire game Old Zeke is just a homeless guy who happens to have useful information about the local city blocks...in that werewolf game he's actually a kinfolk shaman who doesn't mind the vampires because they serve a role in the local city's ecosystem, and as long as they don't step out of line or become to powerful, he doesn't have to call in his big furry family members to put them back in their place.

It only ever got messy when the two genres actually did come into contact. What takes precedence, extra actions from Rage or Celerity? This power says it works against that attribute, but the other guys don't have that attribute... Every book seemed to have a new way of translating things between games, which worked well in tandem with another book, but contradicted two or three others.

The nWoD tried to remedy this with a core book, then making all of the creature games spin-offs from that basic structure. In that way, I thought it was good (in every other way, I found something to dislike about it... "WHAT NO KITSUNE! I'm outta here" [slams the door] )

My basic point here is that this new project "The Law" is basically very close to the direction I was heading with my earlier project "Familiar". Where one deals with keeping the peace in a crime ridden city, while the other deals with keeping magic alive in a city where the very essence of mysticism is dying. Agents of The Department of Law deal mainly with criminals, their goals are to maintain the peace and ensure the safety of citizens; this is done through investigation, establishing relationships with the local community, and dealing immediate justice when necessary. Familiars deal mainly with mystics and outsiders, their goals are to find artefacts and tomes of magic, containing them when dangerous, and releasing the energies within when the metaphysical balance needs realigning; this is also done through investigation and establishing relationships with the local community, but often needs to be done in a subversive manner to avoid the attention of the authorities.

Both games are about keeping the world in balance, one maintaning a balance of law, the other maintaining a balance of magic. Both try to keep dark things from spilling over into public view, but when one is a game about police, and the other could generally be considered a game about heists, it's easy to see how they could come into conflict. It would be just as easy to throw a few other types of games into the mix... perhaps a noir story system about private eyes who live in a grey area between the authorities, the criminals, and the metaphysical outsiders... perhaps my Tom Waits inspired game about gritty and rusted morality, focused on angels in a world where belief is both a cherished treasure and a sign of insidious insanity.

But the aim at the moment is to get one game working right.

14 March, 2017

An analysis of a text

+Paul Stefko has put together a series of blog posts describing his reflections on reading the original Vampire the Masquerade book, now over 25 years old.

At this time of writing this blog entry, he is up to the fourth installment and has basically finished the core text, with a promised post to reflect on the whole book, and where it basically went after that point.

It's one of those things I've tried to do a couple of times here, I can't remember if I actually completed it in any depth, but I know I've done a few cross comparisons of how different games are laid out. It's interesting to see so eone else's take on the subject matter. 

I never managed to get a copy of the first edition Vampire book, I have copies from second edition onward, and most of the other Storyteller Core Books from first edition. There was something fun about those early editions, where there was more scope for changing the game to suit a group's needs, and a lot of little jokes in the text, or elements that were simply removed from late editions of the game because they didn't fit the grim dark narrative of the setting. It's a bit like the Warhammer products from Games Workshop in that regard. This is an analysis of a book that was written as an experiment, before it gained critical acclaim and reshaped gaming for a generation of players. With all the OSR stuff that has been going on for the last decade or so, it might be interesting to see new products replicate the games of this era. The purchase White Wolf's intellectual properties by a new and enthusiatic game producer might see some of that revitalisation, but I doubt it.

Either way, it's an interesting read.

13 March, 2017

Image Free Player's Guide

Here's a copy of The Law.

It doesn't have images in it, but just imagine dark-gritty-noir-cyberpunk-2000AD-Dredd inspired images all through it.

I've thought long and hard about the extra things I want to add to it, but most of those things are probably better suited to a GM/Dispatch guide. Such things include...

  • details about how to actually guide agents through a patrol
  • ideas about different types of scenes that could be played through (vehicle chases, interrogations, negotiating with kidnappers/terrorists/corporate-management, etc)
  • twists in the story that could be inserted when agents cause certain situations to unfold (eg. discovering later in the story, that killing a certain gang member a few scenes ago was a bad move)
  • ideas for the Department of Law R&D labs, and how they can offer untested equipment to agents if a requisition roll is made
  • ideas about linking multiple patrols into an ongoing story
  • ideas for developing quirky gang members and citizens who aren't necessary threats but are instead fun story elements in their own right.

These are things that players don't really need to know.

There could be a whole lot more to add to this. But I need to stop somewhere, and this basically works as a core concept that's really close to where I was aiming with my "Familiar" game, so it's won't take a whole lot to adapt the work here back into that game idea.

For the moment, back to University work.