Monthly Archives: September 2007

Random Game Idea

Half wargame, half roleplaying game.

You’re mercenaries.  Play a wargame.  Then play out some scenes between the characters involved.  Some Lehmanesque mechanics with love and hate between members of opposing mercenary bands.  Then play some more wargame.

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The Words Around the Game

I’m taking a break from Warriors from the Mystic Mountain to work on a smaller, less ambitious project:  Awesome Adventures, an OGL adaptation of Spirit of the Century/Fate 3.0.

One of the things that I’m impressed with is the ammount of writing about things outside of game rules: techniques, explanation, clarity- once you’ve got the rules, you still have to put them in a communicable format.  I have a renewed respect for anyone who’s ever written a game.

The Willow Character Challenge, Part Two

The Challenge Continues!

Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Chesterfield
System: World of Darkness

Why He’s Challenging:
It’s been a long long time since I’ve played a male character, and it’s something I really don’t like doing if I have the option. (There’s a certain oddity to this, since I GM often, and therefore often roleplay male NPCs.) He’s a fundamentally male personality, the sleaziest of the sleazy, the trashiest of the white trash, with the sideburns, ratty goatee, and pinup mudflaps to match.

Why I’m Excited to Play Him:
Partially because the character is so far out there, partially to experience a cathartic scuzziness. He’s also a cunning bastard.

Intelligence: 2
Wits: 3
Resolve: 2
Strength: 3
Dexterity: 2
Stamina: 3
Presence: 1
Manipulation: 3
Composure: 2

Skills:
Crafts (Hardware Store) 3
Occult 1

Athletics 1
Brawl 2
Drive 2
Firearms 1
Larceny (Keys & Locks) 3
Stealth 2

Animal Ken (Dogs) 1
Intimidation 1
Streetwise 2
Subterfuge 3

Virtue: Fortitude
Vice: Lust

Merits:
Allies: The Boys Down at the Junkyard 2
Danger Sense
Iron Stomach
Resources 2

Health: 8
Willpower: 4
Morality: 7

Size 5
Defense: 2
Initiative Mod: 4
Speed: 10

Stuff:
Gun
Toolkit with big wrench and lockpicking supplies
Pickup trucks with pinup mudflaps
‘Hitler,’ my big-ass dog.
Trailer home.

Hook:
Something’s killin’ the hookers and drinkin’ their blood. Jose says it’s El Chupacabra or some shit, but I’ve seen this before. Round up the boys, we’ve got a vamp to burn.

The Willow Character Challenge, Part One

Over on  Grumbling Dwarf, Daniel Challenged me to write up some characters outside my usual comfort zones.  Check out the full details of the challenge over there.

My first character:

Mindy Caruso
System: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Kid Sister to the Slayer
White Hat

Attributes:
Strength: 1
Dexterity: 2
Constitution: 2
Intelligence: 3
Perception: 4
Willpower: 5

Qualities:
Attractiveness (1)
Luck (8)
Nerd (3)
Psychic Visions (1)
Sorcery (5)

Drawbacks:
Adversary (In the line of fire) (2)
Showoff (2)
Teenager (2)
Tragic Love (4)

Skills:
Computers 1
Influence 2
Knowledge 1
Notice 3
Occultism 4
Science 4
Wild Card: Useless Trivia 4

Drama Points: 20

Why This Character Is Unusual/Challenging for Me: I hate playing kids, and I hate it when others do so. Yet there’s a genre-appropriate reason for plucky high school students in Buffy. Also, the character is designed to be second fiddle, something I have a hard time doing. Sure, she has her moments, but she’s really a ‘support character.’
Also, I did the math a long time ago. Slayers are the most effective characters by a longshot, pretty much no matter how you spend your points, and I assumed I’d never play anything else. Note the lack of that advantage, or any combat skills at all.

Why I’d Be Really Excited to Play This Character: There’s a great dynamic to be explored here, and it’s apparently really fun to be a White Hat- you are mediocre most of the time, but when you really need to, you can succeed in a big big way.

Situation: Mindy tries to help her sister with research and magic… when they let her. The group found a powerful yet risky magical artifact- which Mindy just knows she can figure out. What dangers will the gang have to confront?

The Nietzsche Family Circus

http://www.losanjealous.com/nfc/

A random Family Circus panel.  A random Nietzsche quote.  Hillarity ensues.

I Can Tell I’ve Been Surfing the Net Too Much

I mispelt my name as wwwillow.

Peeling Back Layers

Game design is kind of like an onion.

Take my game, Warriors from the Mystic Mountain.  There’s a whole lot of stuff going on.  I can’t really playtest it effectively at this stage, since the core rules and the special abilities are simultaneously in flux.  What I really need to do is nail one down, get a stable core, and build outward from there.

Chi powers, and chi itself?  Key to the game, but built upon the combat rules.  Same with passion.  What I really need to do is dig in and make the Ebb and Flow positioning really grabby and tactical, and go from there, and then build out- adding layers back in, testing each one of those, to make sure it works.

The resulting playtest probably won’t be fun, and it won’t look like roleplaying at all, but more like making a board game.  But it really needs to be done.

I Hold Spambots In Contempt

I fear them not.  My shiny new personal email address is hidden somewhere on this website.  See if you can find it!  (Hint- it’s on the About page!)

The Great Iraq Swindle

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/16076312/the_great_iraq_swindle

I have little to say to this, the rage is so strong.

Institutionalised government waste and corruption is hardly limited to communism any more.

Top Ten Shadowfist Cards

Over on the Shadowfist mailing list, Daniel Greico is compiling people’s picks of the best ten Shadowfist cards.

Of course, all he had to do was ask me.  I AM the world champion, after all.

#10-  Dangerous Experiment
Why It’s #10, And Also The Best Alternate Power Generation in the Game:
It makes 5 power.  Every time.  No other event can match that.  Also, with help from the other player, it can foil and attack.
Why It’s Not Higher:
It can be hard to ramp up to that many resources, the toasting can be a drag.  Caution is advised in exercising Dangerous Experiments.  It also doesn’t directly win you games.

#9- Shield of Pure Soul
Why It’s #9, And Also The Best Edge in The Game:
Getting a power and any card of your choice for losing a site is a fair trade off, and this wards off attacks more effectively than any other card I’ve seen- the power of giving a player exactly what they want is strong.  It’s also very easy to get out, and hard to get rid of.
Why It’s Not Higher:
It doesn’t win you games.

#8- Whirlpool of Blood
Why It’s #8, And Also the Best Feng Shui Site in the Game
Everyone plays Feng Shui Sites.  Many of those sites turn, in ways designed to help your opponents win, or stop you from winning.  Whirlpool cancels them, and serves both offense and defense.  It is also a counter for the #8 card on this list when you need your own plans to come to fruition.
Why It’s Not Higher:
You can’t win games with just sites.

#7- Iron Monkey
Why He’s #7:
Superleap is great, but the real kicker is the power stealing ability.  If timed right, Iron Monkey can pay for himself the turn he comes out, and more than that over the course of the game, feeding off those who burn for power.  He can also take poorly defended sites.  Also combos well with Rigorous Discipline.
Why He’s Not Higher:
At 5 fighting, he needs some help to take sites regularly; he’s not likely to win the game for you, but he sure gets you going.

#6- Brain Fire
Why It’s #6
Because having your characters killed by denial events sucks.  This cancels that, puts the whammy on someone else, and is free.
Why It’s Not Higher:
Clogs hand against some factions, notably Dragons.

#5- Dr. Amanda Snow
Why She’s #5
Because she’s got a built in personal Spirit Pole that allows you to take states from anyone’s smoked pile- my favorites are Amulet of the Tortise and Shurikens, but there are many many fun states to pull out there and reuse on her.  Also, Guts and site immunity are good.
Why She’s Not Higher:
No (built-in) evasion or event immunity, which would take her from a very cool ability to a character that’s nigh unstoppable.

#4- Gold Lion
Why He’s #4, And the Best Character in The Game
5 for 8 is a good ratio.  He only needs 1 faction resource.  Superleap against most opponents, and a built in healing effect.  Two good abilities, at a very competitive price point.
Why He’s Not Higher:
His faction doesn’t see much play; imagine if he were a Dragon or Hand.

#3-  Shadowy Mentor
Why It’s #3, And The Best State in the Game
Even at 4 power, you’re still getting a hitter… for 4 power.  While denying your opponent one.  And sometimes getting states or other goodies out of the deal.  Generally, my opponents play good cards, and many factions have better hitters than the Ascended.
Why It’s Not Higher:
There’s quite a bit of Mentor denial out there.  4 power isn’t the easiest to get, but the swing’s still worth noting.

#2-  Nerve Gas
Why It’s #2, And Also Better Than Imprisoned
Most characters cost more than one power.  Nerve gas kills them for one.  Also, they generally can’t come back, whereas they might with Imprisoned.  Tech and Magic requiring characters are certainly out there, but they don’t seem to dominate the game.  This stops attacks for the win, and kills interceptors during your own attack.
Why It’s Not Higher:
Sometimes you run into a pesky Magic or Tech character.

#1-  Golden Comeback
Why It’s the Best Card in the Game:
Characters are how you win.  This lets you play a game-winning character for 2 power- one that would quite likely cost 5 or more otherwise.  You can reuse your favorite hitters, and it lets you bring back the one most suited towards the current game state.  It can even be used on defense.  At only one resource, it’s certainly worth splashing (as I did to win GenCon.)