30 June, 2013

Nine Games

In redesigning the Vulpinoid Studios website, I started working on the page for RPGs that I've produced. At this stage there are nine full RPGs that I've written, plus almost two dozen supplements and a few works in progress. That's a lot of games that are hardly being played by anyone.

http://vulpinoid.com/rpgs.html

I've narrowed the assortment down to six games, two of which are works in progress. These are the games that I think have the most potential for expansion in the future. The games that I'd like to see played by a wider variety of people.


29 June, 2013

Heroine Supplement Review Coming

After my review on Heroine, I've been sent a copy of the supplement.

This is looking really good, and seems to address some of the concerns I had about the core rule set.

There will be a full and comprehensive review soon.

Boffers

So, there's a new boffer LARP starting up in Sydney next week.

In my 20 years of live roleplaying, I haven't been to a good boffer LARP. I've been to some half-arsed events that weren't good at all. I've seen medieval re-enactment groups who've tried to tell stories between their battles, but most of them ended up no better than fan-fic with a dozen collaborative authors all complaining about who is telling the "true" story.

So, if this work it's got me curious.

It seems to be using the same system as a failed boffer LARP that died out four to five years ago (something I was going to join with a group of friends, but which collapsed just as we were getting interested).

Now that it's starting again fresh, let's see where it heads. Hopefully, they'll be open to some suggestions about how to make a dynamic storytelling ecosystem...maybe the world has learnt some lessons from MMORPGs (which can be similar to big LARP events in many respects).  

28 June, 2013

Exploring Hashima Island

If you want some fun exploring a post apocalyptic wasteland, you could do worse than visiting Hashima Island. A former coal mining island off the coast of Japan. I've posted about it here on the blog before.



If it's too far, you can always explore it using Google Street View.

Price Reduction


I've just lowered the price on Town Guard...from $49.99 to $39.99

At this stage I don't care about profits, I'd just like to see a few more people playing it.

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/town-guard

27 June, 2013

New Site Live (or Undead..sort of)

The first stages of the new Vulpinoid Studios website are online.

Finally.

Now to connect up all the pretty bits to my various online stores, and maybe build a central online store for the Studio.

Have a look, tell me what you think.

Town Guard is back in stock

There have been some issues keeping 'Town Guard' in stock, the miniatures in the game have had a low stock level and The Game Crafter has had issues with replenishing them.

Hopefully, this has been resolved in the short term by swapping out some of the out-of-stock figures.

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/town-guard


26 June, 2013

DNS and Hosting and other complications

Now I remember why I haven't bothered to update the website for a while.

Firstly, I haven't looked at the site for a while, and that means certain parts of the free hosting service have gone into stasis on me (theoretically, taking 24 hours to awaken). It's now been more than 24 hours and they haven't been activated.

I've looked at a couple of other places to host the website and they just seem to lead round in circles without providing the necessary details for actually getting a site online (being evasive about where to redirect DNS paths and other annoyances).

But enough of my rant, I'll get back to game related stuff shortly.

I don't know what it is, but I think I like it.

I've just been alerted to the presence of Kcymaerxthaere.


It seems to be an artistic project that reflects a parallel world onto our own.

There must be a few people involved with it, because it claim to have artistic installations across five continents (one of which is Australia)...personally, I find this hard to believe because the details for Australia on the map page are very sparse. It's obviously run by a North Amercian because there are paragraphs of text detailing each of the five North American subregions.

The quality of the work involved with this project looks good, with cast metal plaques detailing aspects of the other-realm, Kcymaerxthaere, and it's leaking osmotic relationship to our own.


You can buy kits associated with the world, and that's something that I'm finding really fascinating when I'm thinking of ways to market Walkabout. It's a clever idea, well executed.

25 June, 2013

The new site is almost ready

I've finally gotten to that point where the new site is basically ready for public consumption.

I'll try to upload it shortly.

24 June, 2013

Working on the website

It's been a while but I'm finally getting the change to work on the website again...We might actually have a nice looking site in a couple of days rather than just a placeholder with a funky gimmick.


There's a web store in the background which is basically ready to go, but I've created quite a few new products since the online store was populated with products. So that will need reworking as well before I hook it up.

Great LARP Costume ideas

Sorry, I'm in a bit of a "visual inspiration mood" today. This is one of the best costume ideas I've seen in a long time.


Have you seen any others?

Post Apocalyptic Building Inspiration

I've been working on a few more illustrations for Walkabout. This round of images is focusing on the look of the world, most notably the buildings and the places where people live.

I thought I'd share some of the images that have been inspiring me over the past couple of days. 















23 June, 2013

Town Guard Geomorphs

In response to many requests, I've released the raw Town Guard geomorphs. These are the hexes that are used to build up the town at the start of play.





A few hours to fill

Time to get back to some things that I've been putting off for too long before the rush starts again.

I'll be sending off the Free RPGs for those people who got in contact with me last week, and I'll be starting some work on the long overdue redesign of the company website.

It's so tempting to start designing another game, but the last thing I need is yet another unfinished project.

More Board Games

After a bit of work developing Town Guard, I found that I really enjoyed that side of game design. There's a long tradition of games that inhabit the grey realm between roleplaying and board game, so why not develop this further.

I'm thinking of pushing Ghost City Raiders, Voidstone Chronicles and a few other unfinished concepts toward "professionally finished" boardgame products rather than free PDFs. Or maybe I create a boxed kit which includes all of the components necessary for play in addition to the free PDF model...this way players can freely acquire a sample to determin if they want to go through with the purchase (and they could spend their own time and effort gathering up the pieces), or they could purchase all of the components with a printed copy of the rules for a reasonable price.

11 Ways to be a Better Player

So, there's a few local game designers in the Sydney area, one of these is someone I've been meaning to play with, or run a game for. His name is Darren Bulmer, and he's just written this great little piece on how to be a better gamer. It's been doing the rounds among Aussie game designers on Facebook over the past day or so, but I thought the piece was good enough to share with a wider community.

Yes this is a blatant copy-paste. I hope he doesn't mind.


I think there are a lot of RPG players out there who could learn a lot from this article. I know I certainly did. Do yourself a favour and take the time out to read it.

11 WAYS TO BE A BETTER PLAYER

I have read a LOT of articles online about how to be a good Gamesmaster. It’s something that fascinates me. I get a really good buzz off a game gone well that’s hard to replicate without sex or drugs, and getting hold of those both often involves more effort than I’m willing to put in. I want to get better at running games; I strive towards it. It is a passion. I have read more books on Gamesmastery than I have on, say, the subject of my degree.

But it’s incredibly rare to find an article that teaches you how to play, and surely that’s more common? Surely for every GM there are, on average, four players? There’s this weird disconnect, that the responsibility to entertain lies squarely with the person behind the screen, and that the players just turn up and absorb it. And that’s bollocks, clearly.

So this is a thing I have written, because there is not enough of it online. It is a handful of tips on becoming a better player. I have absorbed and stolen it from a few sources, such as this thread that I started on Reddit and from my friends on Facebook, this video on Improv and Graham Walmsley’s book Playing Unsafe. Thanks to everyone for your wisdom.

A note: I am not perfect! Obviously. Looking at my face would tell you that. But I cannot pretend that I embody all of these things all at once all the time; they’re just advice, I guess, extrapolated from more than my fair share of time spent playing RPGs on both sides of the screen, and looking at players and seeing what I like and what I dislike. Hopefully you can get something useful out of it, if you play a lot of games.

ONE. Do stuff.
Job One for you as a player is to do stuff; you should be thinking, at all times – “What are my goals? And what can I do to achieve them?” You are the stars of a very personal universe, and you are not going to get anywhere by sitting on your arse and waiting for adventure to come and knock on your door.

Investigate stuff. Ask questions. Follow leads. No-one needs you to point out that this is an obvious plot thread while you do it. Mix up scenes, talk to people, get up in their grill. If you’re not playing the sort of character that would do such a thing, find something you can affect, and affect it.

If you keep finding yourself pushed to the back of scenes and twiddling your thumbs – why is such a boring character hanging around with the sort of people that Get Shit Done?

Be active, not passive. If you learn nothing else from this article, bloody learn this.

TWO. Realise that your character does not exist outside of the things you have said.
You can write as many pages of backstory as you like, mate, but they don’t factor in one bit to the game unless you show them happening. Are you a shrewd businessman? Cool. Do some business, shrewdly, in front of everyone else. Are you a hot jazz saxophonist? Play the saxophone. Are you a wild elf struggling through social interactions with civilised people? Struggle through those interactions! Don’t go off and sit in a tree, you prick!

This ties back into the first point, really; you only exist through your actions. It is not the responsibility of other players to read your backstory, and their characters cannot read minds. Well. Some of them can, but you know what I mean. They shouldn’t have to.

So display your talents, your traits, your weaknesses, your connections. Take every opportunity to show, and not tell, the other people at the table what your character is about.

THREE. Don’t try to stop things.
Negating another player’s actions is fairly useless play; it takes two possible story-changing elements and whacks them against each other so hard that neither of them works. For example, your fighter wants to punch some jerk, but your monk’s against it, so he grabs the fighter’s hand. In game terms, nothing’s happened. All you’ve done is waste time, and we don’t have infinite supplies of that.

Instead, go with the flow. Build. If the fighter wants to break someone’s nose, what happens after that? Does your monk rush to help the jerk up? To admonish the fighter? To apologise to the jerk’s friends, before shit really kicks off? To save the fighter in the big brawl that ensues, even though he was going against your will? Or to throw the biggest guy in the tavern right at him, to really teach him a lesson? Those are all examples of interesting stories. Stopping him from doing anything whatsoever isn’t.
Don’t negate, extrapolate. (See, that rhymes, so it’s easier to remember)

FOUR. Take full control of your character.
“My character wouldn’t do that” is a boring excuse, a massive NO to the game’s story on a fundamental level. It’s a point-blank refusal to participate.

Instead of being bound by pre-conceived notions of what your character would and would not do, embrace complications and do it, but try to work out why. Why is your Rogue doing this mission for the church? Does he have ulterior motives? Is it out of a sense of companionship with the rest of the party? Characters in uncomfortable situations are the meat and drink of drama.

(Do you remember that great story about that hobbit who told Gandalf to fuck off, and sat at home picking his hairy toes all day before his entire village was swallowed up by the armies of darkness? No. No you bloody don’t. So put on your backpack and get out there, Frodo)

If you keep finding yourself having to explain your actions, or not wanting to go along with group decisions because of your character’s motives… well, sweetheart, maybe your character’s motives are wrong. They’re not written in stone. The group’s the thing, not your snowflake character, and if they’re not working, drop them off at the next village and maybe try playing someone more open to new ideas. Maybe work with the group to build a character that fits in.

Your character is part of the story; this is not your character’s story.

FIVE. Don’t harm other players.

Oh ho, here’s a jolly thief that nicks stuff from the other party members! And their Sleight of Hand roll is so high that no-one will ever notice! Gosh, what a jape.
Fuck that guy. No-one likes that guy. (That guy generally plays Kender, and I am fully of the opinion that Kender should be promptly genocided out of all RPGs. I don’t think genocide is a crime if we’re talking about Kender.) If you steal from other players, you are exerting power over them in a really messy, underhanded sort of way. If they find out, what are they going to do? Are you going to force them to escalate? Is it fair if they kill you for it? Is that fun for them?

Similarly, attacking other players is awful, too. I’m okay with this where systems fully support and encourage this, of course – something like Paranoia or Dogs in the Vineyard – but, Christ guys, give it a rest. I am hard-pressed to think of a way where such a thing improves the game; if your group is fine with it, discuss it beforehand. But keep me out of it.

There are a whole load of things out there to steal from and beat up and kill that won’t get offended when you do it to them, so go bother them first.
SIX. Know the system, don’t be a dick about it.

If you know a system, you are easier to GM for, because you know your character’s limitations. You can calculate the rough odds of a particular action succeeding or failing, just like in real life. You can make prompt assessments of situations and act accordingly, because you understand the rules of the world.

(New players, of course, get a free pass on this one. But do make an effort to learn the rules, obviously, if you’re keen on sticking around in the hobby.)

But for the love of God, don’t rules-lawyer. Do not do that. It is not hard to work out, because here is a simple guide – if you are arguing over a rule for more than twenty seconds, you are a rules lawyer. You are the Health and Safety Inspector of roleplaying games, and you need to stop talking, because you are sucking the fun out of the game.
There are times when the rules are wrong, and that’s fine, but I’m hard-pressed to think of that time the guy remembered the rule and we all laughed and had a great time because he made the GM change it.

SEVEN. Give the game your attention. If you can’t give your full attention, step away from the table.

Hey! What’s that you’re playing, on your phone there? Oh, is it Candy Crush Saga? That’s funny, all these dice and character sheets gave me the impression that we were playing Dungeons and Fucking Dragons, I must be terribly mistaken.

It is hard to think of a way to be more dismissive of someone’s game than playing a different game during it. If you find yourself getting so bored by what’s going on you’re resorting to playing a game on your phone, or reading a book, or checking Facebook, then step away from the game. You are draining the group with your very presence. I would rather have an empty chair than someone who wasn’t paying attention, because I
don’t have to entertain an empty chair.

And of course, it’s up to the GM to offer an entertaining game. This is not one-sided. But going back to point one, act whenever you can. Give them something to work with. Unless you’re paying them money to do this, they are under no obligation to dance like a monkey for you just because they’re behind the screen.

EIGHT. If you make someone uncomfortable, apologise and talk to them about it.
I have a rule in my games, and that rule is: “Nothing fucks anything else.” Simple. Clean. Elegant. No sexual conduct; it’s weird, often. I’ve had seduction attempts, obviously, and that’s fine. I’ve had characters deeply affected by rape. I’ve even had someone negotiate time with a skin-thief alien to reanimate a cat for the purposes of sexual pleasure as part of a heist. But, and this is the crucial thing here, nothing fucked anything else “onscreen.” And if you’re thinking, “Ha ha, okay then, but is fisting all right?” then fuck off out my game, sunshine.

And that’s the point; in situations like the ones we find ourselves in on a weekly basis, it’s easy to make people feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s as blatant as discussing dead babies or bestiality; maybe it’s something much more benign, like being rude or chatting them up in-character.

If you think you might have upset someone, then ask ‘em, quietly. And if you have, apologise, and stop talking about that particular thing. It’s not rocket science; that’s how existing as a functioning social human being works, and somehow because we’re pretending to be a halfling for a bit, we often forget how to do it.

So, you know, be nice. Be extra nice. No-one’s going to think any less of you for it.

NINE. Be a Storyteller.
The World of Darkness books call their GM a Storyteller, because they are very obviously unable to call a spade a spade. But they have a point; a GM is telling stories. It’s easy to forget that the players are doing that too.

So put some effort in, eh? Say some words. Develop a character voice and stance. Describe your actions. Work out a level of agency with the GM so you can chip into wider descriptions, or just make assumptions and describe it and see if it sticks. A good GM should go with what you’re saying, anyway, unless it really goes against their plan.
Similarly, brevity = soul of wit, and all that. A good GM doesn’t monologue, or have their NPCs have long discussions, or make players sit back and watch while their world plays out. So know when to shut up, and to keep your descriptions short – unless you’re an incredible storyteller, of course. But short and punchy is always better than long and flowery.

TEN. Embrace failure.
Failure can be embarrassing. I know that I get pretty het up when the dice don’t favour me – when I’ve spent ages waiting to have my turn in a large game, say, or when I’m using some special power, or when I’ve been talking a big talk for a while or described some fancy action – and I use some pretty bad language, too. And not “fun” bad language, like we all do when we’re gaming. Like threatening “is this guy okay” bad.

And that’s not cool. I need to learn to treat failure as a story branch, not a block. Why did I miss? Why didn’t my intimidation roll work? Why didn’t I pick the lock? Why was I seen? Who worked out that I’m the traitor? What other options can I explore?

Some systems build this in by default – Apocalypse World, for example – and they give you the ability to somehow affect the world whenever you roll the dice, not just fail to affect someone’s Hit Points. That’s great! We need to get ourselves into that mindset by default. We need to view failures as setbacks and explain why our character didn’t achieve their goal, and we need to understand that failure is not the end of the world.

ELEVEN. Play the game.
This is a game. This is not a challenge that exists solely in the head of your GM. This is not your character’s personal story arc. This is not your blog. This is not an excuse to chat up one of the other players. This is not a table to sit at in silence. This is a game.
We have signed up to play a game together. We are all telling a story with each other, to each other, and the story comes first. Step back from the heat of combat; step back from your character’s difficult relationship with their half-Drow mother; step back from the way that the Paladin’s player keeps stealing your dice.

This is a game. Respect the other players. Respect the story, and act in service of it. Respect that you will not always get your way, and that not getting your way can be interesting.

Do what is best for the game. Do what is best for the story. Be active! Be positive! Be interesting! Change things! If you can’t walk away at the end of the night with a good memory, with something that you could talk about in the pub in years to come, then everyone at the table has failed.

22 June, 2013

A Query on Formatting

I'm really torn regarding the formatting for Walkabout.

I've already decided that I'd like the rules to be generally separate from the majority of the setting material. There will be bleed between the two. For players, the character creation section in particular needs links to the setting. For GMs, the rules for creating story will need to link to the setting from a meta-perspective.

I'm finding that there is a bit more creep of setting into the rules than I had initially anticipated, especially once I start including play examples...and the book is starting to bloat.

I know I've been down this road before, but I'm starting to wonder again whether I follow the path of separate Player's guide and GM's guide.

That means a minimum of 3 books. One for setting, one for players (including basic character generation, task resolution, story framework and character development), and one for GMs (including details on spirits, developing stories and settings, and how to get the most out of the mechanisms within the game).

With a seperate setting book of 80 pages or so, the all-in-one core book is currently looking at 160 pages. Splitting it might make 3 80 page books (a good split for a boxed set).

 

19 June, 2013

Walkabout Page Layout

I'm getting stuck into the rewrite of Walkabout, especially after learning some great things about it's mechanisms and how they interact with the narrative in the hands of new players. But naturally I'm a visual person, so my mind has shifted toward ways of presenting the rules.

I want this game to look scavenged; pieced together from fragments of the past. I want it to reflect the cultures that will be explored by the characters in their journey across a shattered wasteland.

I want it to look hand-made, without actually being flimsy and handmade.

I'm thinking of presenting the rules as a journal or notebook that has been pieced together by someone. The rules and images will look like they've been stuck into this book by someone who has pride in their work, but doesn't have the tools at their disposal to produce something "professional"...so I'm going for pseudo-handmade, a product so slick that it doesn't look slick.




And some pages (maybe in the combat section), will show the violence and danger inherent in the setting.

 

16 June, 2013

Vote for Town Guard

I don't know how many of you look at "The Game Crafter", or have "Crafter Points", but if you do I'd love for some people to use them to vote for my game Town Guard.

Apparently there is a public voting stage to narrow down the finalists in the contest.


I'll be looking through the competition shortly, any votes heading my way would be much appreciated.

15 June, 2013

Testing a theory

I don't know if this will work, but if you're interested in buying a copy of the new Vulpinoid Studios game "Town Guard", hopefully the link below should facilitate that.

11 June, 2013

Further Phenomenon Feedback

More Rigid 2 Player Game

The same general issues applied in this game that occurred in the first game.

It’s probably a bit hard to get the treachery aspect into play with only two players (the bit where you call on one another’s negative traits). Since it doesn’t work with four novice players, and it doesn’t really work with two, it might be time to consider ditching the concept. It’s odd that the system works fine for FUBAR, but then again, FUBAR is the kind of game where treachery and betrayal are established parts of the genre. FUBAR is also the kind of game that tends to really hit high gear when the elements of gonzo start to manifest.

This game followed a different path to the first one, focusing more on the war memorial rather than the pit in the middle of the tent shanty or the mine itself.

Pacing wasn’t really an issue, but while there were three fairly distinct acts, the game didn’t really differentiate between them. Investigating the town blended into uncovering the problems and gathering allies, with the only distinct act change coming when the climactic ritual occurred. We saw dark justice in this game, and generally it followed the direction taken by the players in a very different way to the last session. Both were valid ways of addressing the situation.     

 Traits became a far more valuable commodity this time, especially equipment and relationships. In this game, we also used Wayfarer Markings as additional narrative traits rather than core traits, and this worked well (it meant that Wayfarers were able to potentially get extra degrees of success on actions). The change created something a bit mystical that gave Wayfarers an edge over the community around them.


Still the issue of not enough narrative traits coming into play either positively or negatively…and those that did come into play tended to be very temporary. Perhaps I need to change the nature of traits from the FUBAR paradigm. Instead of “Situational – Short Term – Long Term – Permanent”, I might need to make traits “One-Off – Limited Activation – Freely Activated – Permanent”. I don’t know, I still like the idea that some traits give immediate advantages (or disadvantages) that are lost once the situation passes. Maybe there needs to be a simple option to give someone else an advantage, much like the “advantage result” in Star Wars: Edge of Empire. This way a player can choose to get something they can keep for a potential benefit in the long run, they can give an assist to their team (extra trait to all members of their team, or penalty to all opposition). Not sure…needs further thought.  

Now on Sale - Town Guard

After positive responses at the convention over the weekend, "Town Guard" is now available for sale over at The Game Crafter.

I'm pretty happy with the way this one has turned out.

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/town-guard

Having trouble with images at the moment...sorry, just follow the link.

10 June, 2013

Phenomenon 2013 Con Report 1

Loose 4 Player Game

Generally, the loose version of the game works just like most other role-playing games…set up a situation, draw tokens, allocate and see how the results feed back into the story.

This group showed that “a different coloured token for different types of action” is a fairly intuitive system. I didn’t get to strict on the way this was interpreted through play, and because I wasn’t too strict on the rules, an odd form of emergent play developed at the table.

The emerging mechanism stated that regardless of the token drawn, as long as it wasn’t white the action basically succeeded, but each colour imparted a certain flavour toward the success or the sacrifice. A black success token could be enhanced through relationships and equipment, but a coloured success token could not. Red successes meant that the successful action required a degree of violence to accomplish, green successes revolved around an improvement or some kind of constructive element in the story, while blue successes simply showed how a new perspective or insight changed the situation; in each case the player narrated how this took place.

Conversely, each coloured token specifically flavoured the sacrifices as well (so the emergent play mechanisms followed the core rules as written even though I wasn’t too strict with their enforcement). A green sacrifice saw an opponent grow in strength, a blue sacrifice saw the tables turn toward the opponent, and a red sacrifice saw the player weaken.

The process of token drawing was pretty fast, at least as fast as many dice rolling games I’ve been a part of. For tokens we used poker chips, they were drawn randomly from old rusty metal cans. Each player drew three tokens, plus one per core trait they could justify, then distributed the most advantageous three tokens among the three categories of success, sacrifice and story. The remainder were deposited back into the can before drawing tokens for narrative traits (or drawing extra tokens to go straight into the sacrifice pool when facing higher difficulties). The whole process took under 30 seconds (while lots of die rolling games take longer than this due to calculating modifiers, referencing tables, and similar complications), the time consuming part came from narrating the results back into the story…but this made the story feel more driven by the actions of the characters and the choices of the players.        

In this game we also went with the notion that equipment and relationships simply grant extra degrees of success (while relationships opposed to the situation automatically cancelled a success or applied an extra degree of sacrifice). I like this idea for relationships because it makes the game more focused around these…but I think for future sessions I’ll be pulling the equipment back to the level of positive narrative traits.

There weren’t a lot of narrative traits handed out during the course of this session, maybe a dozen in total across the three players. Instead we made successes contribute toward eating away the GM’s pool of imbalance tokens. Every time I forced the players to make an awareness check, or avoid the worst of some incoming damage, I’d strip a point from the pool, and every time they made headway in the story, I took away a token or two. This kept the game moving quickly…there were 3 distinct acts (each lasting roughly a day of game time), each act was divided into at least half a dozen scenes (each of which resolved over the course of an hour or so of game time), and each scene typically involved three or four challenges. If we take off half an hour at the start of the session for explaining the game, then allowing players to choose and read through their characters, there were probably 70 or more challenges (15-20 per player). Spending the time to write out traits would have slowed things down, I’m not sure if this would have been for the better or worse.

Without many traits floating around it also meant that there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for players to call out one another’s negatives in a given situation. But, on the positive side, the players role-played to this anyway (eg. The player whose character had a dislike for Nomads made sure to steer clear of the scene when everyone else went to discuss an alliance with the Nomad encampment, the inhuman mutant character made sure to say out of sight or simply look like hired muscle when introductions to pure-blooded humans were underway). The lack of negative narrative traits to call on meant players had less opportunity to gain edge tokens, but a lack of positive narrative traits meant that the players didn’t have to spend edge tokens to keep them in play. It basically balanced out…the only thing it didn’t allow for was the drawing of new Wayfarer Glyphs on one another. Since new Wayfarer Glyphs are a pretty important part of the ongoing story structure, I’ll need to make sure there is an easier way for players to call on narrative traits during later sessions. Perhaps some index cards with clear writing on them that everyone on the table can read…or maybe in free-flowing low trait games I’ll just award edge points to players who act accordingly with their own negative traits.

One down side from the preparation work was the size of the scenario sheet. The scene points were simply too small to put my intended imbalance tokens on. So I basically used the scenario sheet as a guide to storyline and little more…all of my imbalance tokens were used from a central pile (the way I typically run a game of FUBAR).


As a structured version of FUBAR, Walkabout works. It is clearly a direct evolution of the mechanisms in that game, honed toward a specific style of play. Playing a far stricter version of the rules might push it even further toward the notions I had originally envisioned, but the loose version played in this first session was certainly playable and enjoyable.

07 June, 2013

It has arrived.

You may have seen the arrival on my social media profiles, but the game prototype has arrived. "Town Guard" is now a thing. Now for some intensive playtesting.


05 June, 2013

The Other Components

With an expectation of no more than 6 sessions, and a maximum of five players per session, I've printed off the following...

For the players...

30 pocketmods containing the core game rules for Walkabout
30 pocketmod character booklets
(Based on experience, roughly half the players like to keep mementos of their games, while the other half leave their stuff behind...with this in mind I could probably handle another session or two)
and
10 sets of Oracle rules (for those players who might be interested in learning more about what 'm doing as the GM)

For me...

10 pocketmods for assorted survivors and spirits to be encountered along the way
2 story charts (I only need one, the second is just a back-up)
2 local maps (again, I only need one, the second is just a back-up)

I already have a hundred (or so) trait cards from earlier game sessions of FUBAR, these will be fine to use since the basic game mechanisms in FUBAR and Walkabout are generally the same (one uses dice while the other uses tokens), the trait cards are interchangeable.  

What else do I need to run the game?

Each character requires an assortment of 12 coloured tokens to draw during their challenges...a specific 12 tokens based on their character type. So generally I need about 30 tokens each for white, black, blue, green and red. I've got poker chips that can handle this.

Next I need some kind of opaque receptacle to hold the tokens/chips. I'd like a small bag for each player, but I don't know if I'll be able to get these (funds are pretty tight n the lead up to the convention), I have a selection of old tin cans that will work just as well, and they might be a good immersion element since the game is about scavengers dealing with problems of the past and using whatever is at hand to forge a new future.

I haven't printed the sheets that players would use to show their success, story and sacrifice allocations. I just forgot about them and have run out of ink in my printer...I might draw something up.

I need about 60 tokens to use for imbalance chips and edge tokens, they might be different types, or maybe the same (since only the oracle uses imbalance chips and only the players use edge tokens). I've got some plastic toy gold coins that can be used in this capacity.

A few pens and pencils never go astray, nor do a few sheets of blank paper. If I get ambitious, I might take along my whiteboard and a few whiteboard markers (I don't know what facilities are at the Phenomenon convention site).

Anything else I take along will just be ritual componentry to help set the scene and add to the immersion factor. Candles, bits of costume jewellery, a few crystals, maybe some kind of trinket the a single player can hold to indicate who the "active wayfarer" is. When presenting the debut of a game, it's nice to keep things memorable.

04 June, 2013

Getting Walkabout Ready

Not much time for blogging lately.

I've been busy getting Walkabout ready for the annual Phenomenon roleplaying convention in Canberra.

I'm booked up for three sessions so far, but one of the games with 60 players has pulled out due to GM illness...so I'm possibly going to get a few more players and a few more good sessions to really hone the game before I get to work on the final rule set and start the final layout work.

I've got dozens of pictures, maps and charts to put into the game, thousands of words to edit and layout. But generally, the game should be ready for publication by the end of the year.

I'm generally pretty happy with the current status of Walkabout. I hope other people get excited about it over the course of the convention.
 

01 June, 2013

The line between simple and complex

It's a tough line to draw on a slippery slope. Every has their optimal place to put the line, some place it near the complicated, crunchy end...others place it near the free-flowing, loose end. Most people seem to wiggle the line a bit, preferring different levels of simplicity or complexity depending on what specific types of scenes they are dealing with. Traditionally, we've seen complex combat systems with overly simplistic social systems.

I like consistency across the board rather than a strange assortment of bits and pieces that have to be glued together in an awkward fashion to make a barely coherent game.

So, now I'm really starting to pick apart Walkabout again...before its debut. Probably not a good thing to do at this stage of the game, but I'm torn between displaying something that I know to work, but it's a bit rusty...or something that is experimental and will either be brilliant, or will crash and burn.

I'm erring toward simple, but I don't want to strip out too much of the flavour.

I've got a few days to consider my options.