Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Final Fantasy Tactics A2

For a game with such simple graphics, it's done a very good job of keeping me interested.

This latest mission was in the bag once I got my sniper up on the roof of the local tavern. The fact that I wasn't allowed to harm any humans made things interesting, but I managed.

Why aren't there more games like this? A series of tactical engagements that allow you to train, customize, and improve a 'stable' of characters... Mech Commander, Pokemon, Final Fantasy Tactics, these are all games that are fun for the whole 'stable' aspect of play, where you can specialize some characters, promote them, improve their abilities, and your motivations for any of these things can range from what is the most mechanically viable, to setting a vague role for each character and training them to fulfill it (my usual method) or even getting into some roleplaying, trying to give each character some kind of motivation for learning the methods that they use.

One of the things I like about FFTA2 is the MVP system. After each battle, troops who have fought especially well are given an MVP award. The more of these they have, the more able they are to lead Dispatch missions. I like to see the little stack of MVP awards as a sort of command eligibility scale. The ability to sort troops in your barracks according to their MVP rank allow me to view my 'trusted lieutenants'. For reasons I've been unable to determine (and I like it that way) most of my MVPs are ranged attackers. Hunters, snipers, archers, fusiliers. And that suits me just fine.

Another selling point of the game is the uniqueness of most (not all) of the classes. As listed above, I have as some of my best men an assortment of hunters, archers, snipers, and fusiliers (working on getting flintlocks as well, but haven't done anything with them yet.) Each of them has a special role in my combat operations. Archers (actually a prerequisite class for sniper and hunter both, and my sniper and hunter both have supplementary archer skills) have a mixed bag of tricks, most of them focusing around debuffing the enemy from range. They have a ranged Sanctify ability, which keeps undead from coming back, and a Focus ability that increases the damage of the next ranged attack, which works very well with sniper and hunter abilities. Hunters are excellent against monsters, with abilities that improve the critical attacks of their comrades, attacks that deal extra damage to monsters, and special abilities that can confuse and remove monsters from the field. The sniper is excellent against other characters, with the ability to Focus, Vanish, and sneak up behind the enemy for a Doubleshot to the back of the head ( a favorite tactic of mine. I usually just call it the doubletap.) as well as destroying their weapons, stealing their money, and poisoning them.

If more money went into gameplay instead of graphics, the gaming industry might be a bit better off. And I know I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Starting a new game...

So, I haven't posted in a bit, but I'm all settled in at school now and can resume a more normal posting schedule.

Our usual GM is starting a new game. The party is a group of FBI agents in 1948. Because the last game run by this GM was the worst game I've ever been in (the first session devolved into OoG violence between two players, and we never had a second) and more than a few of us are getting a little tired of this guy's usual tricks, we're commited to messing with his head this time around.

I stereotypically play the Operative. Stealthy, skilled, most likely to take on a solo adventure (and have, in every one of his games I've ever played in), and able to take the keys off a guard's belt as he handcuffs me. This time, I've decided to play Heavy Weapons Guy. Less Russian, but just as much heavy machine gun, shotgun, and face-punching. I've even gone through my books and found just the right weapons for him... the Browning M1919A1 Heavy Machine Gun, the Ithaca Model 37 Pump Shotgun, and His Fists.

Our resident Paladin junkie is playing a Sherlock Holmes type, and our resident chemist/technician who has no charm and blows things up all the time, usually with a naval background, is playing an Air Force ladies' man.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Something I've thought of doing before... I have some slightly better recording equipment, so I may look into how to do it soon.

Also, considering getting myself the Starcraft War Chest for my birthday, so I can play on Battlenet.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Risus Chess

Pawns have the cliche Pawn (1), and roll an additional die in combat for each adjacent pawn.
Bishops have the cliche Smiter (2), and the ability Bless, which allows them to declare a loss a tie once per game.
Knights have the cliche Charger (2), and three Lucky Shots.
Rooks have the cliche Castle (3), and Cannon (2), which is a ranged cliche, allowing one attack in place of your normal move, and Cannon (2) does not lose a die if it fails to cause damage during a ranged attack. Cannon may only be used on the Rook's normal line of movement.
Queen... Is complicated. I want to make her more than a Cliche (4), Cliche (4), Cliche (1), which is what she currently is, and it's rather boring, not to mention devastating.
King has the cliche Royalty (4). When it is reduced to 0, the game is over.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Side Project: Ants for Risus

Based on this...

My apprentice has suggested, rather than making a globe-spanning colony a threat in a game, playing as the ants.

So... Risus seems to fit the ticket. I'll putter around and see what I come up with.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fallout 3 Roguelike

I really want to play one... I think a Roguelike is the perfect sort of platform for the Fallout series of games.

If I wasn't code-illiterate, this would be my summer project. As it is, I may try to fiddle with Tome2 and see what I can come up with (Maybe Furyband, since Tome3 was supposed to be more mod-friendly but never fully developed...)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back, and work will continue.

Ragnarok was fun.

A friend of mine recently discovered Steampunk, and is getting really into it. I might collaborate with him on this setting.

I have a bit of a problem in that I've read plenty on world and setting design, but when it comes time to put it to use, it tends to desert me. Lacking a framework, my writing suffers. So let's see what I can do to correct that.... (Also, any links to guides or resources on worldbuilding are appreciated).

Here it is up... the Bakkar Empire. The first of what I think will be three major powers. I also want a slumbering power, something like WH40K Necrons, and a fifth faction, details yet undetermined.

The Bakkar Empire

The stereotypical 'Overwhelming Empire'. For reference, see the British Empire, the Galactic Empire, and the Dune Imperium.

The Bakkar do everything big. Big cities, big fortresses, big factories, big fleets of big airships with big racks of rockets braced on armored gondolas, land-faring dreadnoughts that function as mobile fortresses to project the will of the Empire... While not often the aggressors in conflicts, when the Bakkar go to war, the sight is impressive.

Despite their impressive might, the Bakkar Empire is not without troubles. Insurgents and smugglers plague coastal areas where the Bakkar Navy lacks projection (their insistence on enormously powerful warships leaves their shallow-draft arm somewhat laughable, and they use very few nautiloids), and bands of rogues, highwaymen, and organized criminals lurk in caves and wooded hollows across the landmass. The devil is in the details, and the Bakkar are bedeviled by deadly details.

Most citizens of Bakkar are human. There are some dwarven settlements, but they are kept under close watch and are mostly treated as an immigrant race, despite their continuing contributions to Bakkar industry. Elves have long since been wiped out... During the Great Emergence, when the elves tried to re-establish dominance over Bakkar from their hideaway in the wooded east of Bakkar, Bakkar airships met the threat with a blanket of incindiary rocket fire, leaving the elvish stronghold a smoking ruin. Any standing structures were demolished by a unit of Bakkar land dreadnoughts that leveled the ashes in preparation for agriculture.

Example Cliches
Dropliner - A member of the Bakkar Air Marines who specializes in rapid deployment from ground assault airships. Named for the fact that they deploy by means of long lines dropped from the assault hatches.
Artillerist - Specialist crewmen on board the Bakkar sea and land dreadnoughts. Trained in rangefinding and artillery pinpointing. Artillerists control the firepower of the variety of cannons, mortars, and howitzers mounted on the Bakkar mobile fortresses.
Interceptor Pilot - Captain of an airship designed for air-to-air combat. Adept at calculating the trajectory of an enemy airship and figuring out the best way to ensure that his one salvo of rockets meets it in the air.

Sample Character
Sergeant Adrian Tetsin
Slightly Unstable Veteran Dropliner (4), Arbitrarily Confusing Poet (3), Badass Motivational Speaker (2)
Sidekicks: Tetsin's Sinners, 3rd Squad, 2nd Battalion, Dropliner Division (3)
Hook: Developing a fear of heights.
Commander of a small squad of Dropliners, Adrian has been at this for some time, and has grown a little jittery at the prospect of sliding down a cord into combat. Despite this, he's always game for a drop (even if he has to close his eyes on the way down), and enjoys a bout of stirring oratory in the assault gondola just prior to insertion.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vacation to the End of the World.

So I tried writing a few entries on my Steampunk world, and it got eaten by the browser.
More will be forthcoming once I'm back from my Ragnarok vacation.

Getting some armor this year, and I'll hopefully have the time to put together some more arrows before I have to leave.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rockets: The Secret to Airship Dominance

I was having some brainstorming today, and I hit upon an idea.

I knew I didn't want my airships to carry cannon; the idea of that much recoil in a lighter-than-air vessel strains credulity a bit. Machine guns would be a possibility, but rare, cumbersome, and not terribly effective against other airships. Maybe for a ground-assault airship, to 'sweep the deck' prior to debarking troops, but again, a very expensive, specialized device (Clockwork repeaters, or else primitive water-cooled weapons) not suitable for extensive dissemination.

What, then, could be used in airship-to-airship combat? Something recoilless, with the firepower needed to scuttle an enemy armored airship?

Rockets. Specifically, the Congreve and Hale models. The Congreve style will probably be launched from racks, and can't be reloaded in flight. They will lack accuracy, but are easier to load and use, and more can be fired faster. The Hale will be fired from interior tubes, venting fore and aft, similar to torpedoes. Thus, a Hale salvo is far more accurate, but requires a larger vessel, and can't fire as many torpedoes as a Congreve-equipped airship.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

*punk begins!

Going to get started on my *punk module (steam and clock), and I'm facing my first decision.

Do I want to use standard fantasy races?
Do I want anything nonhuman at all?
Or do I want to make my own races?

After that, I have to decide on system. (Unless I try to do a systemless modular type of system, but I don't think I work well that way. I need some kind of framework.)

Do I write a whole new system? That sort of thing makes me twitch, wondering how imbalanced my outcome is...
My options (as far as my present knowledge of the free-for-use RPG community allows) are Risus, 3.5 OGL, and Myriad.

Risus is tremendously simple, and allows me to focus more on setting than on mechanics. Unfortunately, the mechanically lite nature of Risus might prevent some of the things I'd like to codify in the system as they come up. But I can't think of any examples offhand, so it likely wouldn't be a problem.

3.5 OGL requires a lot more crunchwork from me, particularly in terms of classes and their features. Not sure I'd look forward to that. Risus allows for much simpler characters and mechanics. Even if I import the Arcadomai class system, or the Dao Sheng combat mechanics, Risus is still far and away a simpler writing experience than 3.5. My last 3.5 project (the Oculus Dei and Ehud prestige classes for 3.5 Modern) is still languishing somewhere on my external.
Probably not using 3.5 for this project.

Myriad.... The middle ground, I think. I need to sit down and spend some time reading through it again, but from what I remember, it will require some extra work for making SFX's, but less than making whole classes. Almost like making feats.

And as I pondered this and watched The Pretender, I found this. That might be another option that bears investigation. I'll print it out Monday and look over it.

Anyone (I know, the only person who follows this right now is Rob Lang, but hopefully I'll eventually drag in some more people who know more about this sort of thing than I do) with any ideas on the systems I list, or any better suggestions, is welcome to leave me a comment.

RPG Blogs, oh my!

There are so many out there I can't possibly keep up with them...
If I knew which part of things I was most interested, I'd probably have an easier time narrowing it down, but as it is...

Well, free RPG's was an easy one. For now I'm just trawling around, Campaign Mastery seems good, and Gnome Stew has a place in my bookmarks for the Modular Campaign Settings article.

Any suggestions on things to watch?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

List of things I want to do...

Something Steampunk (This is the most nebulous.... I could just do a Steampunk Risus addon and be happy, I think. Steampunk doesn't require as much crunch, for me, as some other concepts like....)....
Something Mech-based (With a Mechwarrior feel rather than a Gundam feel... I like my mechs to look/function like military equipment, not mythical creatures)...
Something Western (Started with Fistful of Frenchmen, hopefully to be revised)....

Something for simple, modular combat, in the vein of Animalball: Melee.

Up on 1km1kt!

Here it is, in all its barely-finished glory.

Feedback is welcome, as I start pondering improvements for the beta.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


A Fistful of Frenchmen can be downloaded here.

I can definitely improve. Not just this in particular, but my writing in general. It came out fairly well, about a page an hour. There's things I wish I had the time/clarity of thought to include, and issues that I'm sure will come up in playtesting and judging, but I think this isn't bad for a first-ever finished product.

Example Character Preview

The final character looks like this…

Charles Keeton

Guts 2: Reflexes 3: Intuition 2: Tact 1:

Wounds [] [] [] [] [] Defense 11

[] [] [] [] []

Skill Rank Quality Misc Total

Perception 3 2 0 +5

Ranged (Revolver) 2 3 0 +5

Riding 3 2 0 +5

Stealth 2 2 0 +4

Tracking 1 2 0 +3

Talents: Slap Leather (+2 during a quickdraw contest)

Oh, dear...

Home from work, and less than four hours until my 24-hour period is up. I'll only have nine hours of work altogether on the project in that time.... (should've done it on the weekend...)

Having never done this before, I also don't have much idea on the limits time places on your design, and what corners I should be cutting to get out a finished product. Oh, well.

Off to type as fast as I can.


Came up with something good for this, I think.

Guts - Health, Melee, Carrying
Reflexes - Defense, Ranged, Initiative
Intuition - Defense, more Skill points, affects the most skills
Tact - Mostly just affects skills, haven't come up with any derivations for Tact yet.

GRIT. Do you have it?
8 points to buy, max of 3 at first level, 1 point per rank (Or else 15 points to buy, cost goes up each rank [1 point, 2 points, 3 points, etc]).

Great. Now I've got another decision to make. I'll probably just go with the simplest option and look it over again in the aftermath of the contest. Maybe even start writing version 1.1 while I'm waiting for it to end.

If anyone can reference me to a resource for compare/contrast of point buy systems, that would be amazing, since I'm pondering a similar choice for Skills and Talents.

24-hour RPG Contest

Taking part in this little contest here, and I'm about five hours into the process. I'll keep track of how much time it actually takes, but I'm stopping work around 11 tomorrow night, which is when I started tonight. I don't know if the 24 hours refers to 24 hours actual work, or 24 hour time period, so we'll see what I get done.

Balance is a real bugbear for me. I try to make sure there's no obvious best build, and that draws out the process... Sometimes I have to look past mechanics and just get things done.

On that note, I think I've settled on 2d6+stat+skill+bonus, with the Holy Trinity of Resolution (Opposed, Single-Contest, Target Number).

Working on putting my notes into solid format now, then going to bed.