July 25, 2016

Aeon Campaign S3E3 - Mission Impossible, Mission Trivial

Dramatis Personae
  • The Commander (Doug) - telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) - battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) - brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Zephyr (Merlin) - Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster.
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) - smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
Fight, for the Night, to Par-ty!

We start dealing with Our Two Zephyr's, and Eamon trying to build a psych profile to tell the two Zephyrs apart. Yeah, no luck with that. And Zephyr 

About 19 hours after the Commander's sword was broken, he gets a call from Tokugawa, his grandfather, that he's coming to see me. Oh. Joy.

We spend a bit of time bantering about Flash and Reverse Flash with Zephyr and his twin. He points out I'm down half a sword, making me have half a soul. I'm a so man.

The two of them start to argue about who needs to draw a mustache on the other's face, and Merlin crit-fails his roll. He winds up with a giant phallus on his forehead, with Other Zephyr making fun of him for being so slow.

Here we go. They challenge each other to a race. Then the one-uppsmanship starts. Then The Commander steps in, and demands to know what the loser has to do. We decide on an "I'm the Evil One" tattoo.

He loses. Arc Light holds him down and we tattoo him on the back of his legs.

Anyway, we have a sword to reforge and a Scarface to stop. With that in mind, I'd sent a note to the group earlier about plans:

  1. Reforging the sword is to be part of today's game; Christopher said that last week. I'm assuming this is more than just spot-welding, so there's some game to be had there. Might need a new piece of orichalcum, frex.
  2. We should probably pull a data dump of the Blue Sky HQ, which means another infiltration. While that data tap is very very tasty, I think we should consider assuming at some point that it's outlived its usefulness or will be discovered and turned against us.
  3. We should "triangulate" on the Blue Sky Scarface by using our most recent data pull (see above) with external computer hacking in order to identify a few nexuses (nexi? Nexuses.) of possible activity, and then take the fight to them. 
  4. My preferred tactic would not be hitting Scarface directly, but acting to simultaneously make his life difficult in three to five places. Disrupting two of his current operations, making inroads on two more of his bases or depots where he's NOT going to be present, plus an informational and/or psychological warfare trick or two.

With that in mind, I'll suggest the following:

July 24, 2016

Dragon Heresy major milestone - players book complete

The Dragon Heresy RPG player-centric book is finished, at least in complete first draft form. 

Based off of an extensively edited and modified SRD5.1, the player's book consists of roughly 172,000 words, or between 235-275 laid-out pages depending on how that goes.

You can see the raw dump of the Table of Contents below. This represent Chapter and Section Titles (what I'd call A-HEAD and B-HEAD in a GURPS manuscript).

Next step for this one is for +Rob Muadib to pour it into our black-and-white layout format, and then make holes for art. In the meantime, my squad of nearly three dozen playtesters and readers will hopefully be looking at this with a "tweak and fix" rather than "suggest sections to write" eye.

I have also created an outline for the GM's book, and ported the major already-written sections into it, whch means it's over 120,000 words on day one. This is good. Not all of my effort is going into the GM's book, but most of it will be over the next week.

So: a good bit of progress, but more yet to do. I'm still hoping to have a complete draft in a week, but that's a lot of writing in a short time. We shall see.

July 23, 2016

Dragon Heresy Playtest Report: Silent Village

We had another playtest of the Dragon Heresy RPG. It was a surprisingly challenging session in terms of personal interaction. The productive way to look at this is in terms of how the rules and text of the game can attempt to deal with what is usually one of the only real problems in RPG play, which in my opinion is expectations management.

That is, players conflict with each other, and the GM, when their view of what the game world, rules, or (for lack of a better word) mission or purpose of the game is differs from others.


Some of this, in the case of a game that is still being written, with a setting that is being defined, is clearly because the ground rules are not yet fixed. Some of this was not.

Gods and Men, Men and Men

For Dragon Heresy, and specifically the pseudo-Norse setting that is being worked up, I very much need to say something about certain things. These include the Aesir - the Norse gods - and their relationship with humans and dwarves in the setting, and also the relationships that their clerics have with the Aesir, their "flock," as well as other Clerics. 

The Aesir, the Norse pantheon, is interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is that there are people walking the world that have personally had relations with these deities. Some of those relations are of a very intimate nature - when someone says "I got to know Odin personally," or especially Loki, one might be implying a certain amount of superposition.

So there's really no "whose God is real" sort of thing. They all are, at least within the Norse pantheon. My setting is silent on whether other pantheons even exist, much less influence this world - that's a GM decision and could go either way.

July 22, 2016

Blog explosion?

Things got interesting on the stat counter on Blogger the last few days.

I mean, here's what happened:

July 18 - 1043 hits.

That's a solid day. I break 1,000 when I post something interesting, or GURPSDay, or both, typically. My record month ever was about 930 hits per day, though unevenly so.

But then

July 19 - 1471 hits

That's really good, maybe my best ever to date. Blogger doesn't really keep archive stats. But 350 of those were a 1-hour spike in hits that is consistent with some sort of automated software, I think. So that's easily dismissed.

July 20 - 2565 hits

Holy. Crap. This is by far the best day I've ever had. The weird thing about it is that while there's spiky behavior, there's rather a few spike, plus that section where I hit 100-240 hits per hour for five or six hours. That's not the usual hit pulse from a bot.

July 21 - as of 8am 1191 hits

If that keeps up I'll do 2,200 hits today.

Analysis

Well, this is all well and good. Google Analytics tells me my traffic hasn't changed at all. But then, Google seems to very much undercount traffic, where Blogger overcounts. So there's that. 

I do hope I'm reaching more people. Given the number of followers I now have on Google+ (over 1,000!) I think more people are seeing my site. Also, my best traffic days have always been when I post about 5e, and my Dragon Heresy SRD5.1 work is getting close to a real thing (I have 9 days left in my writing schedule and made major progress in getting one of the hardest, most sloggy sections significantly advanced) and I hope I'm getting hits from that.

We shall see - I hope it keeps up, obviously. 

July 21, 2016

GURPS Day Summary July 15 - July 21, 2016

Thursday is GURPSDay, and below you can find the blog activity from the last seven days.

Over the last week, as of 930pmCST today, there have been 31 GURPS-Related posts from our list of 56 blogs that have popped up on the radar screen. So a pretty light week, but then, it's summertime.


Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you're interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line.

July 20, 2016

Sample Dragon Heresy NPC/Foe: the Archmage

A sample NPC/Monster writeup from the Dragon Heresy draft. This started life in the SRD5.1, but has been modified for the new game rules.

Archmage
Medium humanoid (any race), any alignment
Speed 30 ft.

STR
DEX

CON
INT
WIS
CHA
10
14
12
20
15
16
0
+2

+1
+5
+2
+3
Defenses

Wound Thresholds



Threat DC
12
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
24
0-3
4-6
7-12
13+






DR
0*
Control Thresholds
Vigor
99
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
18d8+18
0-3
4-6
7-12
13+
*mage armor adds DR 1 per spell slot level

Proficiency +4

Saving Throws. Int +9, Wis +6
Skills. Arcana +13, History +13
Damage Resistance. damage from spells; nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing (from stoneskin)
Senses. passive Perception 12
Languages. any six languages.
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Magic Resistance. The archmage has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spellcasting. The archmage is an 18th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). The archmage can cast disguise self and invisibility at will and has the following wizard spells prepared:
  Cantrips (at will): fire bolt, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, shocking grasp
  1st level (4 slots): detect magic, identify, mage armor*, magic missile
  2nd level (3 slots): detect thoughts, mirror image, misty step
  3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, fly, lightning bolt
  4th level (3 slots): banishment, fire shield, stoneskin*
  5th level (3 slots): cone of cold, scrying, wall of force
  6th level (1 slot): globe of invulnerability
  7th level (1 slot): teleport
  8th level (1 slot): mind blank*
  9th level (1 slot): time stop
*The archmage casts these spells on itself before combat.

Actions
Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Archmages are powerful (and usually quite old) spellcasters dedicated to the study of the arcane arts. Benevolent ones counsel kings and queens, while evil ones rule as tyrants and pursue lichdom. Those who are neither good nor evil sequester themselves in remote towers to practice their magic without interruption.


An archmage typically has one or more apprentice mages, and an archmage’s abode has numerous magical wards and guardians to discourage interlopers.

July 19, 2016

Glorious Playtester Report: Monster Input like a Boss

This is a shout-out to +Emily Smirle .

I fretted about my monsters chapter for Dragon Heresy. It was 91,000 words long, and a whole lot of problems.

Well, I chatted with Em and +GodBeastX , and they noted that the best way to do this was probably a brute scrape of a text file. Turn it into an HTML table.

Well. I thought about that, and how I would do that if I knew how to write code well (I used to know FORTRAN, PASCAL, a bit of MATLAB scripting code, and dabbled in Visual Basic, but not any of the newer languages).

So I used Word's wildcard files to look for all instances in my Monsters and Foes file that used the "Sub-Topic" style (which is how almost all monster entries are titled), and then replace the monster [Name] with MONSTER - [Name].

That gave a tagged file. I gave Em a format, some rules for conversions based on information contained in the data already (Armor Class converts to Dragon Heresy concepts like so; Hit Points become Vigor; Wounds are calculated like so; etc.).

She went to town, and converted this:

ANCIENT BLACK DRAGON
Gargantuan dragon, chaotic evilArmor Class: 22 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 367 (21d20 + 147)
Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft., swim 40 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
27 (+8) 14 (+2) 25 (+7) 16 (+3) 15 (+2) 19 (+4)
Saving Throws Dex +9, Con +14, Wis +9, Cha +11
Skills Perception +16, Stealth +9
Damage Immunities acid
Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 26
Languages Common, Draconic
Challenge 21 (33,000 XP)

Into this below, with a bit of Excel nudging from me. Ultimately, she has taken days of work and turned it into hours. 











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