Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Plan B

There is going to be a lot of new stuff here in the coming months. The V1 version of C-N-C is currently being upgraded to V2.  I have been saving old grocery bags for years to make the pages:

Text is nonsense
This is a sample page layout. There will be a couple dozen different page backgrounds. I have a very sophisticated method for generating these:

I draw designs, print them on the bags..

...and use this rig and my phone to photograph them. I want the game to look like a Hobo's notebook. Some of you have seen the art that is being created, here is a typical example of a Gargo-Rat:

"Want us to open some doors?"
Because I am also a model builder I am building physical models of the illustrations, that will become images in the book.  Here is a worshiper of Ishtar that's next up to get photo-shopped:

She's 1/12 scale, I'll make some sort of background and "work my magic".

So, imagine these guys, but bigger and (I was going to say "cooler", but stopped myself). I made these way back.  I really like Manitoba on the far left.

I have lots of stuff to do...here is a "Rending Sucker" that will get turned into a model and photographed.

This is the Lulu cover...Absolutely no stupid character groups on the front. The gist is, there will be V2 coming (I apologize if your a Londoner). A whole new section on Pith, the sandbox stuff will all be rewritten and put in to make campaigns and I have a system worked out I call "Thumbtrixes". New substance and the fluffy bells and whistles, but I PROMISE ON A STACK OF BIBLES it will still be the game you have always known and loved.

Let's not forget the great adventures coming out of Gary Con.

There is also The Game With No Name. Normally I don't get excited (I have people for that), but I am excited about this. Making this has opened a very interesting door. 

All of this will be in print. End of message. That is all. Carry on.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Game With No Name

IMAGINE sitting down, character in hand and starting an adventure with no knowledge of what genre you're in. 

Maybe you’re Orphan Black watching herself jump off a train platform. Or Agent Cooper dreaming your first visit from the Giant. Or John McClane stepping out of the room to change your clothes on Christmas Eve.

In the beginning they had no idea what kind of story they were in. And neither will you. 

Your story could be like any (or none) of these and just like them you won’t know what game you're in. Conspiracy? Magic? Espionage? Pulp? Adventure? Sci-Fi? Super Hero? Cthulian? Thriller? Super Science? Time Travel? Horror? Something New? My lips are sealed. 

Are you up for a challenge? This will be the most interesting game you will ever play.

Welcome to The Game With No Name...

The Game With No Name debuts next March at Gary Con. Once I reveal the setting and play commences it’s up to the players to figure out what they're up against. Can they prevail? 

The print version will be released during Gary Con and will include the game system and three unique game experiences.  Each is designed for a group of 6 and will play out in 2-4 game sessions. (Note, the G-Con version is a 6 hour tournament styled event).

UPDATE: Stat-less Characters for The Game With No Name

These are prototypes, basically a test run of the layout and form factor. One of the concepts of this game experience is the rules are kept hidden from the players. As such, character information will be presented in this format using text descriptions instead of stats and percentages. The colored chips indicate how character damage will be represented. Players will need to rely on the referee's descriptions to decide just how wounded they are. The rules part of the game is shaping up nicely, but to insure secrecy I have no other comments on that matter.

I am in the process of writing a number of modules, these will also be getting a similar card treatment. There are a number of advantages. A key one is that because they are not being presented in a linear narrative, it will be easier to rearrange them, thus increasing player agency.

The Game With No Name debuts in a few short months at Gary Con and in print.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Clogs of Poop: God's Workbench Part 5

Igor, Mundo and Chum
I make images to create my fantasy world. Sadly the use of images in RPGs is oft reduced to the color-matched mountain landscape over the proverbial plastic-wrapped couch. It seems the default method of RPG design is the written word. Text is generated as a primary source and then an artist is rustled up to embellish the words as an afterthought. As a visually creative person this is backwards thinking. Many concepts start as images and are developed further in the same format, much like an artist’s sketchbook.

Don't be afraid to use images as a primary source. Draw your own, appropriate them, or create them in your head like Stephenie Meyer. She dreamed about a vampire glistening in the sun like diamonds which became Twilight. Tomb of Horrors would be a verbose monstrosity without images. Maze of the Blue Medusa uses images as a primary source material. Think about Da Vinci's* sketch books.

Grant Wood probably would have lived here.
Let's talk about Doi. It’s just north of the Moot of Fooglie. I always imagined Doi as the world's most boring place. Much in my milieu is appropriated from our world. There was this girl I used to work who was not too bright and earned the moniker “The Duchess of Doi”. When I needed a name for this place of gently rolling fields, Doi immediately sprang to mind. Doi is not a great place to start an adventure, but to the north is Pewlon. Pewlon is home to everything magical, sparkly, rainbow colored, Zwinkies, grotto's and magic mushroom patches and so on. My players needed to get through Doi in order to reach Pewlon. So I sat down with pencil in hand and my sketchbook and started to think about this boring place. I started with a typical dwelling and imagined it to be a large communal homestead. It would be large enough for an extended family that worked the farm. I wanted the building to be a little bit more interesting, so I sketched it as a truncated mud silo with an angled roof and little triangular windows. This led to thoughts about harvesting machinery (which are common around here). What would be the equivalent in Doi? I try not to overthink it, so I sketched an enormous beast. This would become “the docile beasts of Doi”. I had created an non-player crypt opener from Doi called Hannah as an adventure hook. When it came time to write down the stuff on her equipment list one of the things she wore were traditional Doi clogs made out of hardened docile beast poop. This led to the idea of using excrement as a building material.  So, yes everyone’s house is clad in stucco made from poop. The “docile beasts of Doi”  became walking raw materials factories. Special millstones were implanted into one of their many stomachs.  Raw grain in, specially processed grain out. Individual farmsteads would be grouped together into Noobs. Each Noob was responsible for sending processed grain into a wind powered network of pipelines to be tran-shipped to other countries (like the Moot of Fooglie). I made various drawings of different grain types. I created a number of unique professions linked to the docile beasts of Doi. I got all of this from a few rough sketches. Doi went from nothing to a very odd form of interesting. All this stuff becomes essential fodder to create the player narrative of the campaign. I intentionally leave things open for further embellishment. The drawing is easy for players to digest.  And, because it’s a sketch, it’s not locked in. This is essential to further the narrative of the game.

The Magic never sleeps...
I knew right away after drawing the first sheet this would be a method to create the world. I made “Klogg Narr” and His companion “Gargo-Fu”, travelers of the Urth who publish a Traveler’s sketchbook. This could be given to the players one page at a time, getting them up to speed on Urth. Each sheet covers a specific region. As the Crypt Lord these become the starting point for the written part of each country’s mechanics, the encounter tables, culture, geographical features, and the intelligent denizens that live there. I do not treat it as a one-sided thing, as players react to these I incorporate things that they either do (in the game or out) into the design. This makes everything way more interesting and relatable to them. It also immediately makes them a part of the whole. Even if I am mocking them in the process.

Skeevwil Skrunchscroat
of the Moot of Fooglie
Next time...these things I call Thumbtrixes...

*Yes, I am putting my work in the same slot as Meyer and Vinci.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Achtung! Secret Hitler!

I found a game about Hitler on my porch today.

Peerless quality.

Any game that has Ja! and Nien cards is a winner in my book.

Just so you know, I have not had a chance to play it yet.
I'm taking it to work to play with my fellow schweinhund.
I'll let this part of my world how it turned out.

He had a dog...with no nose".
"How did he smell?"

POSTSCRIPT: This arrived the day before:

This is a 70's era Rummikub game...note the similarities in terms of proportions, materials and quality...
Fascinating to be sure.