Sunday, February 21, 2010

Following the Guide ... Finally!!



So, if you haven't done so in awhile go read Rob Lang's Free Guide to Organizing Your RPG. Go ahead ... I'll wait. I had orginally started working on the project now called, Xceptional several months ago, and at the time I was determined to follow Rob's Guide as I created.

Rob's guide was helpful in the creation of my RPG. Mostly it was nice to be reminded of the kind of content that an RPG should probably contain.

Originally Rob's Guide had me spending more time worrying about trying to fit my creative process into a particular mold and less time actually creating. So, this is what I have learned and what I will personally advise from my experience.

"Organizing" as in Rob Lang's Free Guide to ORGANIZING Your RPG, is an editorial process. Creativity is rarely organized and when inspiration hits you should follow it and organization be damned.

Read through Rob's Guide. Read it a few times. Get comfortable with the information it contains. Then ... forget it, and create your game. Create in whatever wonderful wacky process works for you. Carve your dice mechanics into the sides of carrot sticks, if that gets the creative juices flowing.

Do whatever you need to do to get the words down on paper, and don't worry if it only makes sense to you. Rob's Guide is an editor's tool, and it comes to the rescue after the creative work is done ... that's what I have learned.

I finally finished Xceptional, the UNGUIDED version and presented it here in the Playtest Version linked above. In days past that might well have been "all she wrote" for me, but I started this whole project with the intent to use Rob's Guide to produce the final version of an RPG and so I'm not done yet.

Looking back at the Guide we see the components we need to present ...

COVER - The one I have is guide compliant as is ... check!

CONTENTS PAGE - Uh, err ... my version of the game didn't even have one. I always try to keep my page count small, so I have rarely bothered with one of these before. But, adding one is easily done ... so, presto! Page 2 is now, Table of Contents!

DEDICATION - This got added under the TOC. It got a bit scrunched once I added the Creative Commons License (see below) but, it's there and this seems to be the perfect place for it.

INTRODUCTION - Had to write one of these too. My playtest is apparently pretty sparse. But, it's okay, now that the playtest document is completed, I know what information actually goes here, so writing the introduction becomes pretty easy.

CHARACTER CREATION - Ok, I am again adding content to become Guide compliant, but after a basic introduction the rest was simple reorganization of stuff already written. I kept the lists of Skills and Xceptions in the Character Creation section; they're brief and as character creation makes use of random die rolls, I felt they were necessary, but I moved all the descriptions to the back of the book in Appendixes for easier reference during play per Rob's advice.

THE GAME MECHANICS - This bit I was able to keep pretty much unchanged.

THE SETTING - This information was in the playtest and was transplanted easily enough, although admittedly it would not have existed at all if not for Rob's Guide. I wrote it for the playtest specifically because I knew the Guide would call for it.

GM SECTION - Oops. Don't have one of these either. Had to write all new material for the GM section. Rob mentions the importance of a sample adventure, so ... I had to write one of those too. This proved to be a sizable addition to my document and I am glad that I took the time to do it.

APPENDIXES - Moved Skills, Xceptions, Equipment, Advancement Tables, Character Creation Summary and the Character Sheet here, also added some Example Characters to help round everything out.

The document jumped from 28 to 36 pages. I tend to favor small concise tool kit sorts of games over massive volumes and I am very happy with the 36 page final count.

All in all, looking at the versions of my game both before and after the guide I am very pleased with the result.

The last thing that I did was remove my copyright and change it to a Creative Commons: Attribution - Share Alike License. If I am going to offer my game for free, I may as well make it really free. I also updated the game version from 1.0 to 1.1.

I have posted the finished game as well as the "playtest version" (made prior to Following the Guide) so that folks can compare the change in content if they like. (Again these look better if you download them and view them with Adobe rather than using the Google Docs Application.) Eventually the playtest version will go away but I'll keep the final version available with the rest of my Free RPG's.

Regards,



Jeff Moore

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Done!!!

I know that I promised to present Xceptional's Skills rules next, but in the past few days I have been more motivated than usual to see this project in some sort of presentable form and to that end, I offer: Xceptional version 0.1 playtest edition!

That's right, it's finally done. At least the rules text and a basic presentation has been completed. I have not taken the document through Rob Lang's Guide to Organizing Your RPG yet, this is more of a "stream of consciousness" version, featuring a linear presentation of my ideas as they came to me. I believe the document flows well enough and at 28 half pages it shouldn't be too hard to find what you're looking for.

Please take a look and let me know what you think! The document looks better if you download it and read it full screen with Adobe rather than reading it with Google Documents Reader.


Regards,


Jeff Moore

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Xceptional rules on Healing and Recovery




HEALING

Each successful application of the Healing Skill will remove the effects of one Hit. (Increase the current value of the lowest valued Ability Score that has had its value reduced through damage by +1.)

Healing Conscious Characters

The first time the Healing skill is used on a conscious character in a given day, resolve the test normally. The second time the Healing skill is used on the same conscious character in the same day, the skill test suffers a negative rank shift.

No more than two attempts at using the Healing skill on a single conscious character can be made each day regardless of the success of these attempts.

Healing Unconscious Characters

Only one attempt to heal an unconscious character can be made in a day. This attempt suffers a negative rank shift.


An unconscious character who has had all Ability Scores restored to a value of 1 or greater will regain consciousness immediately following the successful application of the Healing skill. -- No further use of the Healing Skill can be applied to this character for the rest of the day.

A character can still benefit from Recovery ( Guided or Natural) even if the maximum number of attempts to heal the character have been reached for that day.

RECOVERY

Each night a character can recover from damage through rest. There are two types of recovery: Natural and Guided Recovery.

Guided Recovery

Any patient who has been successfully treated with a Guided Recovery (Healing) Test will benefit from Guided Recovery. A character that has not been successfully treated by a Guided Recovery Test will recover according to the rules for Natural Recovery.


Guided Recovery for Conscious Characters

Guided Recovery can be attempted on each patient once per day before sleep. (This is independent of the limit on Healing Skill Tests listed above.) Guided Recovery is a Healing (Precognition) Skill Test. Successful application of the Guided Recovery test to a CONSCIOUS patient restores 1 Hit to the character's lowest damaged Ability Score over night.

Guided Recovery for Unconscious Characters

Guided Recovery for Unconscious Characters works the same as indicated above, but the skill check suffers a negative rank shift.

Natural Recovery

Without benefit of skilled healing, a character's body still struggles to recover and regenerate itself naturally.

Natural Recovery for Conscious Characters

Conscious Characters who have not benefited from the successful application of Guided Recovery (Healing) can attempt Natural Recovery by rolling a Survival (Rage) Skill test.

This test suffers a negative rank shift (Guided recovery is easier on the body.) but if successful, Natural Recovery restores 1 Hit to the character's lowest damaged Ability Score over night.

Natural Recovery for Unconscious Characters

Unconscious Characters who have not benefited from the successful application of Guided Recovery (Healing) can attempt to Fight for Life by rolling a Survival (Rage) Skill test.

If the Fight for Life check is successful, the character immediately attempts a Natural Recovery check as if they were a Conscious Character. (See: Natural Recovery for Conscious Characters above.)

If the Fight for Life check is failed, the character is Dead.

An Unconscious character, who has all Ability Scores with values of 1 or more, will regain consciousness following Natural or Guided Recovery.

________________________

That covers Healing and Recovery in Xceptional ... Next: Skills!

Regards,



Jeff Moore

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Xceptional Combat


COMBAT SEQUENCE


Initiative

Combatants roll Initiative on 1d5. (Roll one six-sided die and count the six as a zero.)

Combatants take turns in order from highest to lowest Initiative roll.

In the event of a tie, Player Characters act before GM controlled NPC's (Non-Player Characters.)

Movement

On their turn a character can move up to their Initiative roll in inches on the tabletop.

If a 0 was rolled for Initiative the character can still move 1 inch.

Following Movement a character can attempt an Offensive Action.

Offensive Action:
MAKING A HIT!

After moving a character can attempt an Offensive Action (Strike, Aim, Focus) if they have a legal target.

To succeed at an Offensive Action, the player must roll:

"Combat Rank in Offensive Action" X "Ability Score relative to the Combat Rank" or less with a 5x5 roll.

Success is referred to as Making a Hit.


For example: To Make a Hit with a Strike Rank of 2 and a Rage Ability Score of 3, the player would need to roll (2 x 3 =) 6 or less on a 5x5 roll.

Once an attacker Makes a Hit, the target must roll to Control the Hit.


Defensive Action:
CONTROLLING THE HIT!

Controlling the Hit is a Defensive Action. Defensive Actions (Parry, Dodge, Resist) are attempted after an enemy has successfully Made a Hit against a character.

To succeed at a Defensive Action, the player must roll:

"Combat Rank in Defensive Action" X "Ability Score relative to the Combat Rank" or less with a 5x5 roll.

Success is referred to as Controlling the Hit.

For Example: to Control the Hit made against them with a Focus Offensive Action, the player with a Resist Rank of 1 and a Precognition Ability Score of 2 would need to roll (1 x 2 =) 2 or less on a 5x5 roll.

Defensive Actions are paired with their Offensive Action counter parts. Defenders must use the Defensive Action relative to the Offensive action that Made the Hit when attempting to Control the Hit.

Use Parry to Control the Hit from a Strike attack.

Use Dodge to Control the Hit from an Aim attack.

Use Resist to Control the Hit from a Focus attack.

ASSIGNING DAMAGE

A character who has been the successful target of an Offensive Action has Taken a Hit. A character that has Taken a Hit must reduce one of their three Ability Scores by 1. An Ability Score reduced by Taking a Hit is: Damaged. If any Ability Score is reduced to 0 the character is rendered Unconscious.

When a character succeeds in a Defensive Action, they Control the Hit. If the Defender Controls the Hit, they choose which of their Ability Scores to Damage.

If the Defending character fails in their Defensive Action, they do not Control the Hit. If the Defender does not Control the Hit, the Attacker chooses which Ability Score the Defender must reduce.

ATTACK SUMMARY

Attacker rolls to Make a Hit.
Is the attack roll equal to or lower than:
Offensive Rank X Ability Score?

NO: The Attacker's turn ends and the turn passes to the next player in the initiative order.

YES: Defender rolls to Control the Hit.


Defender rolls to Control the Hit.
Is the defense roll equal to or lower than:
Defensive Rank X Ability Score?

NO: Attacker selects which of the Defender's Ability Scores to reduce by 1.

YES: Defender selects which Ability Score to reduce by 1.

CRITICAL SUCCESSES

If an Offensive or Defensive Action is successful AND the 5x5 roll shows DOUBLES (both dice show the same number) the action produces a Critical Success.

Offensive Critical Success

If the result of an Offensive Action is a Critical Success, the Attacker has Made a Double Hit.

The Defender of a Double Hit must attempt two Control the Hit rolls as though they were the target of two simultaneous successful attacks.

Defensive Critical Success

If the result of a Defensive Action is a Critical Success, the Defender has Blocked the Hit.

If a Defender has Blocked the Hit, the Hit is completely eliminated and no Ability Score is reduced; no Damage taken.

The Effects of Damage

When an Ability Score is reduced by a Hit, this immediately impacts the Damaged character's effectiveness in combat. When rolling Offensive and Defensive combat actions always multiply the Combat Rank by the character's current (damaged) Ability Score.

UNCONCIOUSNESS AND DEATH

If an Ability Score is reduced to a value of 0, the character is rendered Unconscious.

If any single Ability Score is reduced to a value of less than 0, or if any two Ability Scores are ever both equal to 0 at the same time, the character is Dead.

Instant KO

If any one Ability Score suffers the Damage of two Hits from a single Offensive Action, the defender is rendered Unconscious even if no Ability Score has been reduced to 0.

COMPLETING THE COMBAT

After a character has made an Offensive Action, and the target of that action has had an opportunity to perform a Defensive Action in response, the current player's turn ends, and play is passed to the next character in the turn order.

After all characters in the turn order have had an opportunity to take Offensive Action as described above, the Combat Round ends and a new round begins.

Return to the top of the Combat Sequence and roll new Initiatives for all participants. Continue this pattern until all combatants on one side or the other have been eliminated from the combat.

Once the Combat Encounter has ended all participants on the WINNING side of the conflict gain an immediate Victory Rush.

Victory Rush
Characters (Not Unconscious) getting a Victory Rush instantly regain 1 point to a Damaged Ability Score of their choice.



___________________________________


That covers the basics of combat. Next is Healing and Recovery.


Regards,






Jeff Moore

Friday, February 5, 2010

Doctor Who Love


This is just a quick post to share a recent discovery. A collection of DOCTOR WHO LINKS. Always nice to share the Doctor Who Love.

Jeff

I Helped!!

Got this bit of news in my INBOX this morning and I felt the overwhelming need to share!




We Made History, and We'll Save Lives

As far as I know, and as far as anyone I've talked to knows, there's never been anything like this accomplished before.

We raised $178,900.00


That is the amount we wired to the fine folks of Doctors Without Borders. When I spoke with their representative about this recently, she was literally moved to tears (as was I). And now I want to point out each and every one of our incredible publishers who contributed to the package that accomplished this incredible feat:

4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, A Terrible Idea, Adamant Entertainment, AGES Gaming, Applied Vectors, Arc Dream Publishing, Art Fantasies, Bards and Sages, Basic Action Games, Berengad Games, Better Mousetrap Games, Black Snake Studios, BoxNinja, Brave Halfling Publishing, Cellar Games, Chaotic Shiny Productions, Crafty Games, Creative Conclave, Dane of War, Day Dreamer Interactive, Dork Storm Press, Encompass, Erisian Entertainment, Evil Hat Productions, Fabled Worlds, Fat Dragon Games, Fiery Dragon, Fire Ruby Designs, FJ Gaming, Flames Rising Press, FSpace Publications, Fuller Flippers, Game Monkey Press, GameVein, Generic Universe Publishing, GMC, Grasshopper Games, Green Ronin, Greg Stolze, Gun Metal Games, Hex Games, Highmoon Games, HinterWelt, Jessup Games, Jon Brazer Enterprises, Justin Achilli, Kallisti Press, Keck Publishing, Knowledge Arcana, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Machine Age Productions, Magique Productions, Malcontent Games, Marcus L. Rowland, Margaret Weis Productions, Mesozoic Press, Mystic Ages Publishing, Nevermet Press, Nomadic Delirium Press, Open Design, Open Game Table, OtherWorld Creations, Palladium Books, Paper Make iT!, Pelgrane Press, Peryton Publishing, Planet Thirteen, Point of Insanity Game Studio, Polgarus Games, Prince of Darkness Games, Red Anvil Productions, Rhallen Enterprises, Rite Publishing, Rogue Games, Shield of Faith Studios, Silent7Games, Silver Gryphon Games, Skirmisher Publishing, Skortched Urf' Studios, Sonic Legends, SPQR Studios, StoryWeaver, Sword's Edge Publishing, Tabletop Adventures, The Le Games, Thenodrin Presents, Third Eye Games, Tricky Owlbear Publishing, Troll Lord Games, WorldWorks Games, Wydraz, Ye Olde Gaming Companye

My personal thanks to all the publishers who donated product to make this happen. I have over a thousand dollars worth of electronic RPG documents on my hard drive to read over the next few months. (This whole thing is just awesome!!)

I talk a lot about free RPG's that you can get on the web, but if you decide to spend some money, I urge you to consider RPG Now as your one stop RPG shop. They have proven to be a wonderful source of RPG materials for my self these past years and even if (like me) you spend the majority of your time dead broke, they also have an incredible selection of free products!


Regards,


Jeff Moore

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Xceptional Rules - Combat Classes and Ranks



COMBAT RANKS

Combat Ranks work exactly like Skill Ranks and are used instead of Skill Ranks when performing Offensive and Defensive Actions.

Offensive Combat Ranks

Strike – Use this Offensive Combat Rank to "Score a Hit" when attacking an adjacent target. Such attacks might include use of a melee weapon, or boxing, or brawling.

Aim – Use this Offensive Combat Rank to "Score a Hit" when attacking a distant target. Such attacks might include use of a ranged or thrown weapon, or even projected super powers.

Focus – Use this Offensive Combat Rank to "Score a Hit" with a mental or mystical attack. Any visible figure, distant or adjacent, can be a target of this attack. Focus cannot be used unskilled.

Defensive Combat Ranks

Parry – Use this Defensive Combat Rank in response to a successful Hit scored against you by a Strike attack action.

Dodge – Use this Defensive Combat Rank in response to a successful Hit scored against you by an Aim attack action.

Resist – Use this Defensive Combat Rank in response to a successful Hit scored against you by a Focus attack action.

COMBAT CLASSES

Combat Classes are special designations that define a character's strategic role in tabletop combat.

There are three Combat Classes in Xceptional.

Brawler - Brawlers specialize in close combat. They excel in the offensive and defensive ranks of Strike and Parry.

Shooter - Shooters specialize in ranged combat. They excel in the offensive and defensive ranks of Aim and Dodge.

Mentalist - Mentalists specialize in psychic combat. They excel in the offensive and defensive ranks of Focus and Resist.

To find your character's Combat Class answer the following:

Is one of your Ability Scores a 2?

"No." - consult Table A.

"Yes, and it's Rage." - consult Table B.

"Yes, and it's Precognition." - consult Table C.

"Yes, and it's Grace." - consult Table D.

TABLE A (Roll or choose):

[0-1] Brawler

[2-3] Shooter

[4-5] Mentalist

TABLE B (Roll or choose, on the appropriate sub table):

Precognition is 4
[0-1] Shooter
[2-5] Mentalist
Grace is 4
[0-3] Shooter
[4-5] Mentalist


TABLE C (Roll or choose, on the appropriate sub table):

Rage is 4
[0-3] Brawler
[4-5] Shooter
Grace is 4
[0-1] Brawler
[2-5] Shooter


TABLE D (Roll or choose, on the appropriate sub table):

Rage is 4
[0-3] Brawler
[4-5] Mentalist
Precognition is 4
[0-1] Brawler
[2-5] Mentalist

COMBAT RANK ADVANCEMENT TABLES

A character has Combat Ranks as indicated on the Combat Rank Advancement Table that corresponds with their Combat Class.

As a character Advances their Combat Ranks improve. A newly created character has Combat Ranks equal to those indicated for a character with 0 (zero) Advances.

As the group meets to play the GM will award "Advances" to the players. Advances add up, so the first time the GM awards an Advance the characters will have 1 Advance; the second time the GM awards an advance the characters will have 2 Advances ... etc.

It is recommended that the GM award Advances to the characters in a play group approximately every second or third game session.

A character cannot advance more than 20 times. A character with 20 Advances is said to be: Maxed Out.

On the Combat Ranks tables a "U" is used to indicate a Combat Rank that is "Unskilled."

The Focus Combat Rank is special in that it is exclusive to the Mentalist Combat Class and cannot be used by the Brawler or Shooter Classes at all.

BRAWLER CLASS COMBAT RANKS

Advances
Strike
Parry
Shoot
Dodge
Focus
Resist
0
1
1
U
U
-
U
1
1
1
U
U
-
U
2
1
1
U
U
-
U
3
1
2
U
U
-
U
4
1
2
U
1
-
U
5
1
2
U
1
-
U
6
2
2
U
1
-
U
7
2
2
1
1
-
U
8
2
2
1
1
-
1
9
2
3
1
1
-
1
10
2
3
1
1
-
1
11
2
3
1
1
-
1
12
3
3
1
2
-
1
13
3
3
1
2
-
1
14
3
3
2
2
-
1
15
3
4
2
2
-
1
16
3
4
2
2
-
2
17
3
4
2
2
-
2
18
4
4
2
2
-
2
19
4
4
2
2
-
2
20
4
4
2
3
-
2


SHOOTER CLASS COMBAT RANKS

Advances
Strike
Parry
Shoot
Dodge
Focus
Resist
0
U
U
1
1
-
U
1
U
U
1
1
-
U
2
U
U
1
1
-
U
3
U
U
2
1
-
U
4
U
U
2
1
-
1
5
U
U
2
1
-
1
6
U
U
2
2
-
1
7
1
U
2
2
-
1
8
1
1
2
2
-
1
9
1
1
3
2
-
1
10
1
1
3
2
-
1
11
1
1
3
2
-
1
12
1
1
3
3
-
2
13
1
1
3
3
-
2
14
2
1
3
3
-
2
15
2
1
4
3
-
2
16
2
2
4
3
-
2
17
2
2
4
3
-
2
18
2
2
4
4
-
2
19
2
2
4
4
-
2
20
2
2
4
4
-
3


MENTALIST CLASS COMBAT RANKS

Advances
Strike
Parry
Shoot
Dodge
Focus
Resist
0
U
U
U
U
1
U
1
U
U
U
U
1
U
2
U
U
U
U
1
1
3
U
U
U
U
1
1
4
U
1
U
1
1
1
5
U
1
U
1
2
1
6
U
1
U
1
2
1
7
U
1
U
1
2
1
8
U
1
U
1
2
2
9
U
1
U
1
2
2
10
U
1
U
1
2
2
11
U
1
U
1
3
2
12
U
2
U
2
3
2
13
U
2
U
2
3
2
14
U
2
U
2
3
3
15
U
2
U
2
3
3
16
U
2
U
2
3
3
17
U
2
U
2
4
3
18
U
2
U
2
4
3
19
U
2
U
2
4
3
20
U
3
U
3
4
4



_____________________________________


That's the basics of the three Combat Classes and Combat Ranks ...

Next time: COMBAT!


Regards,


Jeff Moore

More Rules Xcerpts from Xceptional ...


Ability Scores


These are scores that measure a character's physical and mental aspects. The same three Ability Scores are used to define every character and creature in the game.

Rage (R)


● force, physical energy, power, strength, vigor

● frenzy, passion, fury, blood lust

Rage is the representation of a character's physical power, strength, and lust in battle. It is the key Ability of Brawlers.

Precognition (P)


● forethought, canniness, caution, intellect, perception

● psychic power, clairvoyance, intuition, second sight

Precognition is the representation of a character's mental power, intelligence, and psychic potential. It is the key Ability of Mentalists.

Grace (G)

● agility, nimbleness, dexterity, finesse, suppleness, balance

● allure, beauty, comeliness, elegance, dignity, refinement

Grace is the representation of a character's physical presence and control. It measures coordination and manual dexterity as well as general physical appearance and charisma. Grace is the key Ability of Shooters.

Ability Scores and Skill Ranks

Ability Score / Skill Rank Descriptors

1 – Decent (Basic Skill, Average Ability)

2 – Capable (Skilled, Above Average Ability)

3 – Brilliant (Expert Skill, Excellent Ability)

4 – Amazing
(Highest Skill, Unequaled Ability)

Player Character Ability Scores begin above the average with a score of 2 (Capable) and may increase from there to a maximum score of 4 (Amazing.)

Character Profiles

Character Profiles are composed of 3 Aspects. These Aspects help to define the character's strengths and weaknesses in the game:

Aspect 1: BUILD

Build is a reflection of a character's body type. Player Characters come in one of two Builds:

Quick - the character is more agile than strong;

or

Powerful - the character is more strong than agile.

Aspect 2: PROCESS

Process is a reflection of a character's approach to problem solving. Player Characters come in one of two Processes:

Theory - The character takes a cerebral approach, processing information more internally than externally;

or

Practice - The character takes a hands on approach, processing information more externally than internally.

Aspect 3: TEMPERAMENT

Temperament is a reflection of a character's personality type. Player Characters come in one of two Temperaments:

Bold - the character is more impulsive than careful;

or

Cautious - the character is more careful than impulsive.

PROFILE CREATION

The combination of Temperament, Process and Build forms a Character Profile.

Players can simply choose a value for each of the Aspects in their Profile, or they can roll a d5 to determine the Aspects randomly.

A player's Character Profile grants bonuses that will increase the values of their Ability Scores.

Finding Ability Scores (and Random Profile rolls)

Based on Character Profile find the scores for each of the three Abilities (Rage, Precognition, and Grace.) Every Ability begins with a score of 2 and is increased from there.

BUILD: Quick or Powerful?

[0-2] Quick (+1 to Grace)

[3-5] Powerful (+1 to Rage)


PROCESS: Theory or Practice?


[0-2] Theory (+1 to Precognition)

[3-5] Practice (+1 to Grace)


TEMPERAMENT: Bold or Cautious?


[0-2] Bold (+1 to Rage)

[3-5] Cautious (+1 to Precognition)

After adding the bonuses to the three Ability Scores as indicated by their Character Profiles, characters will have a total of 9 points assigned to Ability Scores with no score smaller than 2 or larger than 4.
___________________________________

And there you have a look at Ability Scores and Profiles and how they are generated.

Next: Combat Ranks and Character Classes

Regards,


Jeff Moore

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blake's Dollhouse


The news that FOX is working on an American version of Torchwood (and maybe Doctor Who) is weeks old now.

But, it got me thinking ... if FOX really wants to bring a British science fiction series to the American small screen. Why do Torchwood that everyone in America has already watched (and the British version will always be better?) Why not choose a series that NEEDS a relauch and that would be unfamiliar enough to the American public to avoid the danger of a comparison?

In the interest of geeking out for the sheer pleasure of geeking out ... I share my dream British Scifi series remade for American Television:

Blake's 7!

Personally, I would approach Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions and beg them to take on the project. Joss tends to favor actors he's worked with before so going this route will give us a head start on a cast too! Since the cast of Doll House are out of work...

Blake - the rebel leader - Tahmoh Penikett (who played Paul Ballard)

Vila - the cowardly thief - Fran Kranz (who played Topher Brink)

Gan - the gentle giant - Harry Lennix (who played Boyd)

Avon - the arrogant genius - Alan Tudyk (who played Alpha)

Jenna - the bombshell space pilot - Eliza Dushku (who played Echo)

Cally - the psychic - Dichen Lachman (who played Sierra)

Servalan - the evil seductress - Olivia Williams (who played Adelle)

Travis - the vengeful arch enemy - Enver Gjokaj (who played Victor)

Zen - the ship's computer (voice) - Alexis Denisof (who played Senator Perrin)

Tah Dah! Welcome to my Americanization that I call: Blake's Dollhouse!

(Yes, I am a geek.)


Regards,



Jeff Moore

Mini-Six


Mini-Six is a super condensed free version of Westend's D6 game system that was originally created by Greg Costikyan for the Star Wars RPG in 1987. It does a good job of keeping things simple and concise and packing a lot of information into a small page count. These sorts of projects tend to excite me as a game player more than others as I like to work from RPG tool kits. I like a quick rules over view. I want to be able to digest a system's concepts without reading a novel and Mini-Six gives me that.

Greg Costikyan is a my kind of game designer. He created Toon (and the 'template' nature of attribute/skill assignment seems to be carried over from Toon to Star Wars.) He certainly seems to understand the concepts of accessibility of system and quick game play. His dedication to "playability" is evident in Star Wars, and it is retained in the small playable Mini-Six. The d6 system is a good one. It works. It is easy to teach and quick to play.

Interestingly, Westend's D6 core documents, D6 Adventure, D6 Fantasy, and D6 Space are all available for free download over at RPG Now.

This may seem to make Mini-Six obsolete, but I personally prefer the small package in which Mini-Six is presented. It's got everything you need and nothing you don't. I say download it all, take Mini-Six to the table with you to use as a reference while you play and keep the rest to read when you feel the urge.

Realizing my preference for the small and concise Mini-Six over the fluffier, prettier, official D6 Documents (which are fully illustrated, nicely detailed and quite attractive) has got me thinking. Both are free. Many would argue that the larger more attractive volumes are the better choice. Why don't I think so?

I am curious about the kinds of game information that GM's and players take to the table top when it comes to actual play. I want things that are easy to remember and reference, and that won't get in my way. That's why I like RPG's in small packages. I also think this is a big part of the OSR. Old School is familiar and simple and easy to deal with at the tabletop. The problem with this is that game systems don't sell games. A good clean easy game system will sell a copy to a group who will then play the game for years.

Fluffy games with loads of information and juicy setting details and all the trimmings will be sold and read and then put on a shelf. The gamer goes back and plays the familiar game he already has. The reader having read fluffy game "A" goes to the store and buys fluffy game "B." Gamers will buy a game to play, but readers drive the market. Readers are the ones who will buy games returning to the store looking for the next interesting "read." All the fluffy, juicy bits are what grabs the reader, because reading a game is a different experience than playing a game.

Game players do not drive the industry. Game readers do. Game readers purchase more product. But game reading is not game playing and that is why we have things like Mini-Six available for free. As I look back at the games on my shelf that I love the most, it's not the game with the most clever genre twist or the most clever setting that grabs my attention. It's the game with rules that are easy to play or to mentally envision "in play" that are the ones that speak to me. This is an important distinction because it reflects what drives me as a game designer and helps me to stay on point as I move forward in my own endeavors.


Regards,




Jeff Moore