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Archive for the ‘Traditional RPGs’ Category

Heroic Sacrifice

Posted by Doug on June 24, 2009

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working intermittently on writing up a rules document for a second (or ninth, depending on how you’re counting) version of the Mecha Monogatari RPG. One of the concepts I’ve borrowed from the Bliss Stage RPG is that of character ownership, an understated concept that resonates with what I want the Mecha Monogatari RPG to be (a cooperative storytelling game with randomized task resolution).

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Imperator Tempestatium, Prologue

Posted by Doug on June 10, 2009

And so, as if I did not have nearly enough projects on my plate, I trade a small, short-term project for a large, long-term one…my cup overfloweth, and yet I continue to pour…

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The Mecha Monogatari Second Edition, Playtest Report #1

Posted by Doug on June 1, 2009

Two significant issues presented themselves in the first playtest of the Mecha Monogatari RPG.

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Shichinin no Nezumikishi, Part I

Posted by Doug on May 19, 2009

I’ve been working on a thorough write-up for my revamped Mecha Monogatari RPG system, which will draw heavily from the ruleset, language, and design of the Fourth Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons RPG.  It’s not a straight conversion, as I am doing away with the core concepts of class and level and even of experience points in favor of a more fluid system.

Part of the style of the write-up is a series of short stories that will appear at the beginning and end of each chapter, bookending the description of the game mechanics and helping to set the mood of the game world.  The short stories will focus around a legendary group of titan pilots from the “past” generation (as compared to the generation of Seki & Company): the Shichinin no Nezumikishi, or in English the “Seven Gray Knights.”

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Designing the Mecha Monogatari RPG

Posted by Doug on May 16, 2009

What follows is a series of thoughts and design ideas for the new version of the Mecha Monogatari RPG that I am currently working on.  The gameplay mechanics are still nebulous, so don’t be surprised if very little of this makes much sense.

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Heroics Writ Small

Posted by Doug on May 13, 2009

Off and on over the last week, I’ve been playing—for lack of a better word—the Dungeons & Dragons Tiny Adventures Facebook app.  The “gameplay” is simple (almost to the point of being nonexistent): you pick your character, name it, and then send it out on adventures.  In each adventure, there are between six and fifteen encounters, during which one of your character’s skills will be tested by generating a more-or-less random number between 1 and 20, adding whatever relevent modifiers your character has, and then comparing that to a target number.  If the target number is met or exceeded, you succeed in the encounter, and gain a good chunk of experience, gold, and sometimes an item; if not, you fail in the encounter, you take a significant amount of damage, gain a little experience and a little gold, and rarely an item.  Once you start an adventure, the only control you have is over when your character uses the potions they have (if they have potions).  There is no strategy, no tactics; if you have friends who are also playing, they can “buff” your character (giving a bonus on the tests).  It’s like a slightly more sophisticated version of Progress Quest.

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Limit Break

Posted by Doug on May 3, 2009

Your players have fought every listed encounter group in the Monster Manual, plus all the solos….plus everything from the Draconomicon, and the Dungeon and Dragon magazines, and the other splatbooks, and the homebrewed stuff you made…and the homebrewed stuff you found on the internet.  The PCs have all passed the 1,000,000 experience point mark a long, long time ago.  You’re at the point in your campaign where the well-intentioned Dungeon Master’s Guide recommends ending the campaign, and starting anew, but nobody in your group wants that.  They want to keep going.  The thirty-level limit of the Fourth Edition just rankles them; they want to reach level 31, 32, 33, 40, 50, 60…

Well, I suppose one way to deal with this situation is for the Dungeon Master to simply follow the advice of the  DMG and say “Sorry, level thirty is it.  New campaign!”

This post is not about that option.

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I Just Hope They’re Not Talking About Me

Posted by Doug on April 27, 2009

The possibility exists that I might be serving as Dungeon Master for a player new to Dungeons & Dragons, and so I have been trawling the official D&D Fourth Edition forums, partly for general inspiration, and partly in the hopes of finding some nuggets of wisdom relevant to the task of DMing a new player, and partly just to pass the time.

Posts like “1001 Worst DMs to Ever Have in a Game“, while generally long and whiney, do speak to an underlying truth: some DMs, simply put, suck, and quite frequently the individuals in question are utterly unaware that they do, in fact, suck.  The worst part of it all is that as I read the comments in threads like those, I inevitably start finding descriptions that are eerily familiar, almost as if I’m looking at a mirror…

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Tiefling + Zweihander

Posted by Doug on April 24, 2009

The Dungeons & Dragons Character Builder is a very useful program for anyone interested in the most recent edition of Wizards of the Coast’s flagship roleplaying game (whether or not it is worth subscribing to Dungeons & Dragons Insider to access is debatable.  I think it is, but your mileage may vary).  It is a fairly straightforward interface that can step you through the process of making a playable character and whenever you gain levels, it can guide you through that, too.  You make all the choices, and the Character Builder does all the math, adding up your attack bonuses and defenses and whatall, and outputs the end result to a slightly customizable character sheet…which is one of the weaknesses of the program.  At best, it is an inefficient, disorganized layout with lots of unneeded and/or redundant information.  At worst…well, needless to say I organize my character sheets differently.

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A Long-Winded Rant About Homebrewing a Roleplaying Game System

Posted by Doug on March 16, 2009

This post is exactly what it says in the title.  Writing usually helps me sort out my thoughts, and lately my thoughts have been consumed by the task of rebuilding the Mecha Monogatari roleplaying game.  There is a strong possiblity that this post will make no sense whatsoever.  You have been warned.

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