Monthly Archives: October 2008

Skills in War for the Throne

So, with playtesting for Escape From Tentacle City starting up (email me if you’re interested)- I’m turning my design attentions to War for the Throne, a FATE game inspired by a number of sources, primarily L5R and my attempt to run a high-level play by post game of it.

So, in War for the Throne, you play the potential heirs to the empire.  The whole game is about the sibling rivalry struggle, and whether the heirs can peacefully choose one of their own, or whether they’ll tear the empire apart fighting for it.  I’m pretty excited about it.

Mechanically, the heirs are badass, but they aren’t on the level of SotC or Awesome Adventures heroes.  They have a skill pyramid topping out at Great.  Like Awesome Adventures, I want every skill to be on the character sheet, which means 15 skills total.  And I’ve rounded the list down to 14.  I need one more.

Here’s what I have right now:


Athletics, Endurance, Fighting, Stealth, “Outdoors”


Mystic Lore, Perception, Resolve, Scholastic Lore, ????


Charm, Contacts, Empathy, Intimidate, Leadership

Obviously, these skills are quite a bit broader than those in SotC, or even Awesome Adventures.  Stealth, for example, includes Stealth, Burglary, and Slight of Hand.  Might is rolled into Athletics.  Fighting includes all kinds of fighting.  I’m pretty happy with this framework because it means the heirs will be very well-rounded and very generally competent, especially in their area of expertise.

What I need it a punchier name for Outdoors, and a suggestion for the missing Mental skill.  Outdoors includes Wilderness Survival, Wilderness Lore, and things like hunting, riding, piloting boats, etc.   I’d call it ‘Badass Outdoorsman,’ but that doesn’t fit the naming scheme.

For the mental skill, I’ve been pondering things like Finance (not broad enough), or Cunning (too broad- what do you use it for?)  I’m sure the perfect skill is out there, but it’s not popping yet.

Any ideas?

Escape From Tentacle City: AP Post!

Sweet!  An AP post for Escape from Tentacle City!

A Man After My Own Heart

During last night’s Al Smith dinner, a comedy post-debate political dinner thing, Obama said the following words:

“If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility.

Greatest weakness, it’s possible that I’m a little too awesome.”

(You can read the whole transcript here.  It’s pretty funny, though it loses the timing and presentation, which was excellent from both candidates.)

Shaking Up the Community

Ron Edwards posted a trifecta of posts on the Forge I found fascinating.  If you’re a publisher or consumer of indie games, you may want to read these threads, and think about how it might affect you.  Feel free to read them in any order you like.

The Forge Booth 2009, where Ron talks about how the Forge Booth will change next year at Gencon.  Maybe I’ll try to be a part of it next year.

Independence, Adept Press, and IPR, where Ron talks about why IPR isn’t fulfilling his needs anymore.

The New Thing, where Ron talks about a new, non-centralized fulfillment model.

D&D 4th Ed: The Tengu

Ability Scores:  +2 Strength, +2 Intelligence

Speed: 6 Squares

Vision:  Low Light

Languages:  Common, Tengu

Skill Bonuses:  Athletics +2, Perception +2

Tengu Weapon Proficiency:  You are proficient with all Simple and Martial Light Blades and Heavy Blades.  You may reduce the Dexterity requirement for the Two-Weapon Fighting and Two-Weapon Defense feats by 2.

Keen Observer:  You gain training with the Perception skill.

Tengu Battle Cry:  You may use Tengu Battle Cry as an encounter power.

Tengu Battle Cry

Encounter * Move Action * Close Burst 10

You and all your allies in the area may Shift.

Play a Tengu if you want…

*To look like a Raven.

*To be fight with two swords.

*To be an enigmatic servant of the Raven Queen.

*To be a member of a race that excells at the Fighter, Ranger, Swordmage, and Warlord classes.

If there’s enough demand, I’ll do a whole article, with feats and monsters, & stuff, and sell it as a cheap PDF.  This is a teaser to whet your appetite and gather some feedback.

Can’t Find a Good Mercenary

Somehow, the best co-op partner for me to get the ‘destroy 200 items from the gunner seat in co-op’ achievement, was a random 8 year old who just wanted to blow stuff up.

Everyone else I played with was either too egotistical, too unfocused, or just too plain stupid to be able to work with me.  Not this kid.  As soon as I jump into the co-op game, he’s like “hey there, I just want to blow stuff up.”

And I’m like, hells yeah.

(The best way to get it, of course, is to have a friend drive one of the badass vehicles while you fire away at targets, and call in replacement vehicles as necessary, then switch who drives and who shoots.  But none of my Xbox friends actually have Mercenaries.)

Let’s Play Dressup!

So, a random game idea I had.  It’s kind of like Bandu, but with clothes.

You have a box full of strange, bizarre, potentially embarrassing clothes.  But nothing that requires someone to disrobe to put on.  Silly hats, silly glasses, gaudy costume jewelry, maybe some scarves and belts, that sort of thing.

You go around the table offering clothes to other people.  Maybe they can refuse, maybe they have to put them on.

At the end, maybe you do a catwalk presentation with your silly outfit.

How do you win?  Hell if I know.  But it sounds like a strange idea, and one that I’d play.