Friday, 12 August 2011

Zombie games

OK, to kick off my links here are some interesting diversions


This game is particularly good, take a small team of survivors in a fortified town and try and stop the hordes of zombies and expand the fort while keeping everyone happy. Thankfully (for me) this isn't a RTS game, rather a turn based one. Heartily recommended.


The second one is a different take on the zombie apocalypse. This game involves taking the part of the evil genius and trying to take over the world. A very fun game, which is well worth whittling away a few minutes with.

If you know of any good zombie online games, perhaps let everyone know in the comments section.

Until next time


Tuesday, 19 July 2011


As you can clearly see I have not updated John Regent's progress for some time, this is not through lack of enthusiasm, I have just not had the time to sit down and dice out the last few encounters.

I am hopefully that I will find the time soon and things can pick up again but until then I feel I am letting everyone down.

To compensate for this I am planning on posting a link every few days at the least. Some of these will be of course known by some people but I'm hoping others will not. They will cover a broad range of topics all related to gaming (in one form or another).

If I put out a link let me, and the other readers (if there are any!) of any related ones. I will be sure to visit these as soon as possible and post a response as soon as I can.

I may throw in the odd random thought now and again just to execise my grey cells.

Until next time

Monday, 20 June 2011

Regent Scene 4 - Sestriere

Regent got out of the taxi in Sestriere, making sure that he hadn't been followed from the train station in Oulx. Moneypenny had booked him into an apparently decent hotel in the centre of the town, the Palace Residence.

It wasn't the snow season and Regent looked wistfully at the slopes wishing he had a chance to ski.

After a wander around town, and a delightful meal at Osteria Barabba Regent knew he needed to locate Claire and find out what had happened. While eating at the Ristorante Regent had overhead other diners mention The Grand Hotel several times. Regent decided that was the best place to start his search.

Approaching the hotel Regent saw police bikes and cars outside with several officers milling around, as Regent made to go inside one officer stopped him and began speaking in Italian. Italian was something Regent wasn't fluent in, although he knew a few words. After the officer appeared to ask him a question Regent replied, "Sorry old chap, I'm not fluent yet, I've only just arrived from Budapest, do you speak English?"
"Uno momento Signor," the officer replied before shouting, "Marcello!" Eventually a young officer approached and conversed with clearly the senior officer.
"OK Signor, what business do you have with the hotel," Marcello asked.
"Ah, I'm sorry, I'm James Thomas from the British embassy," Regent said while holding out his hand.
Marcello shook it and spoke to his senior again. "Signor Thomas, we have already been visited by the British Embassy."
"Ah yes, well I was just up the road in Oulx is it? Well anyway, I got a call from the embassy asking me to come here, to see a Claire Jackson I believe. You know just to see how she was shaping up, if we could do any more for her."
More conversation between the officers and eventually Marcello waved him through, "Sorry Signor, we have to be careful in the circumstances."
"Oh of course, I understand completely, grazie," as Regent nodded and made his way into the hotel.

Regent discovered the whereabouts of Jackson but suffered a complication. At this point I rolled on my new "Tasks chart" to find there would be two additional tasks. I decided the first task would be to talk my way through the police cordon using Bluff (a similar skill) with the appropriate complication penalty. Eventualy I managed it leading to my second task:

Reception directed Regent to the Jackson's suite on the top floor, after knocking on the door Regent was greeted by an English woman.
"Miss Claire Jackson?" Regent enquired.
"No, I'm her fathers secretary, Claire doesn't want any visitors, please go away."
As the Secretary tried to close the door Regent put his foot in to stop it. "Excuse me, but she really needs to see me."
The secretary hestiated before deciding he must have passed the police cordon and opened the door, "Come in, who are you and what do you want."
"I can't really say who I am, but I can help find Mr Jackson. Will you let me speak to Miss Jackson?"
"OK, but I'll be listening."

Here Regent tried to Influence the secretary succeeding with one success. I decided the next was another conversation as anything else at that point didn't really fit.

The secretary led Regent to a lounge suite, there looking out of the window was a statuesque woman with long blonde hair.
"Excuse me Claire, this, er, gentleman says he can help find your father."
At the secretary's voice the woman turned. Regent was surprised by the young age of the woman, no older than 22 he estimated. She put her whisky glass on a nearby table and sat down.
"I would prefer this to be private, " Regent said.
"It's OK Susan, I'm sure this gentleman means me no harm, you can leave," Claire's voice had a slow sad quality and Regent noticed she found it hard to look directly at him, it appeared she was already suffering from the effects of grief. Regent decided that truth was the best option.
"Miss Jackson, I'm from the British Government, I've been sent to find your father and put a stop to these kidnappers."
"I'm grateful, Mr ..."
"Regent, John Regent."
"I'm grateful Mr Regent, but I am not sure how I can be of assistance."
"I'm looking for details of any contacts your father may have, especially recent ones. He's not the first to be kidnapped, although he is the most high profile."
"Do these others not warrant rescue Mr Regent," snapped Claire.
"Of course Miss, but others are dealing with those. I've been specifically tasked with finding your father, and I believe you may have information that would help in that search."
"Well I can tell you that I don't, are you accusing me of being in with these kidnappers?"
Regent realised that she must have been drinking heavily, and put her belligerent mood down to the effects of alcohol.
"No, of course not, but you may know of some contact of your father's that may have any information."
Claire shook her head. Regent was getting frustrated now and stood up, as he did so he noticed a letter on the table next to the whiskey glass.
"Do you mind if I read that letter Miss Jackson?" he asked, recovering his composure.
"No, you cannot."

Here Regent lost his battle of Influence by one failure with the accomplished actress, following in her father's footsteps. Now at a disadvantage Regent needed a new tack.

"Miss Jackson, anything you have may help to save your father," after a few moments had passed, "I need to see that letter whether you let me or not. Am I making myself clear?"
"Do you need to threaten me Mr Regent?" Claire answered back, a note of steel in her voice. For once she was looking directly at him. Well at least I have her attention now, thought Regent.
"Miss Jackson I need to see that letter to save your father."
Claire stood up and turned away, allowing Regent to pass her and read the letter.

Dear Claire

I have been contacted by a group who have not revealed their name. They say they are holding your father and will only release him if certain political figures are released. Please tell me this is not true, your father has been a great bastion of our work here and to lose him would be a great blow to our children's future.

Please contact me.


Behind the letter was an apparent list written in what looked like Arabic.
"Have you shown this letter to anyone else?" Regent asked.
"No Mr Regent I haven't."
"This Ahmed, where is he?"
"He works in a children's centre, saving lives, my father helps them to raise money."
Regent realised she still wasn't thinking clearly, "I'm sorry, I asked where he was?"
The silence lingered in the room a few seconds.
"He's in Pakistan, but you'll never find him. I'll have to take you to him."

Using a bit of coercion it's success at last for Regent, and a potential love interest (in the best Bond and LTL tradition!). I've twisted the format here somewhat, getting information from a person implies they hold that information, but thinking about it I guess that was just my interpretation, which I've subverted already! Now onward to Pakistan!

Until next time


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Regent Scene 3 - Vienna

Regent stepped off the train into the cool autumn day. While on the journey Regent had managed to read all available data on Johan Ternitz it seemed he was something of a recluse so getting close to him was going to be something of a dilemma. Once he'd ariived it wasn't hard to track down where a multi-millionaire like Ternitz was, getting to him was going to be the trouble.

Regent pondered this while stood outside Ternitz's townhouse. He was still pondering the possibility of climbing the ten foot wall at night when the gates swung open and a black limo pulled out and drove down the road. Immediately hailing a cab Regent ordered it to follow the limo until it reached a small café where it stopped and Ternitz went inside. Regent paid the driver and sat at the café on the opposite side of the street ordering an Americano from the fresh faced young Parisian. After a quick sip Regent knew why Ternitz had choosen the opposite café.

Half an hour later Ternitz emerged from the café to talk to his driver. Seeing his chance Regent tucked his newspaper under his arm and walked to the opposite door of the limo staying low. As Ternitz' chauffeur closed the door Regent slipped in the other side to sit next to him.

"What?" Ternitz blurted out.
"Shh," Regent said his finger to his lips, glancing down he showed his gun hidden under the paper. "Just carry on as normal," Regent whispered.
"I'll call security Englishman," Ternitz spat.
"Well, you could but they'd get here to find you dead. I suggest you listen to me. Where has Jackson gone?"
"Oliver Jackson? What's he got to do with anything?"
"Just tell me."
"OK, I saw him last week as part of a delegation about a new film."
Regent twitched his gun.
"OK, I don't know, um let me think. He - he left for the Alps if I remember. What is the matter?"
"Where exactly?"
"Ah, Sestriere, I told him I have a place there."
"Who did he go with?"
"I don't know."
"I think maybe you do, come on," Regent said firmly.
"Um, er, OK, er, some girl I think," Ternitz was beginning to sweat, "his daughter, I think it was his daughter."
"And her name?"
"I really don't know - er, Claire. Now leave me alone, why are you asking me these questions?"
"Don't worry about that, and thank you," with that Regent slipped out of the car again and away into the Vienna crowds.

Here I had a DF 3 search and got 2 more successes finding him easily. I decided that Intimidation would be the appropriate skill with the aid of the PPK of course so had 3 dice (2 for similar and 1 for the pistol). The millionaire had Influence so had 2d6 for similar, not that it helped as 2 to 0 revealed what I needed to know.

Here's something I may change about LTL, as it stands you only need to find someone and get info out of them. I've brought this up on the THW Yahoo group and it is basically a chart for rolling the number of tasks required to get to speak to someone, for example breaking in and turning off the alarms, or persuading another to let you see them. I'll implement this on the following posts and see how it goes.

Until next time


Memories of: Advanced HeroQuest

This is a new category for games that I think have been overlooked despite there being at least a nugget of true greatness, even if it has bypassed the general community, I'm starting with:

Advanced Heroquest

OK, so quite a few people remember Heroquest, a simple boardgame by Milton Bradley with plastic miniatures and plastic/cardboard furniture. It introduced quite a few to the world of Games Workshop (well it introduced me!). Not many remember its grown up cousin Advanced Heroquest (or AHQ).

AHQ took the simplistic Heroquest concept (dungeon delving) and slapped on a 'Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing(WFRP) light' system onto it. Yes that's right, the somewhat clunky WFRP rules stripped down to bare essentials and slapped onto a boardgame. So you have Weapon Skill, Bow (Ballistic in WFRP) Skill, Strength and Toughness etc. that WFRP had but instead of 1-100 and 1-10 ranges you have 1-12 ranges and a d12 mechanic.

If it's so good why was it missed?
OK so you have a random dungeon delving system, and a few other boardgame conventions, but you do still have a WFRP-light system underpinning it all. As someone who loves the WFRP (at least the 1st ed) background, but who doesn't want all the complication of the WFRP system AHQ is a great substitute.

One of the things I like about some of the changes are a comparative rather than roll under mechanic, so a Weapon Skill 6 versus a Weapon Skill 8 opponent needs a 9+ to hit (basically 7+8-6). In WFRP when opponents frequently have skills in the 30s and 40s you can be swinging for quite a few combat turns before anyone hits anything, and while this may not be totally eliminated in a comparative system it does speed things up.

Another thing I like about a comparative system is that equal opponents are equally like to win, whereas in a roll under system (take high level GURPS for instance) you can literally be having a war of attrition, where unfortunately it is my will that is being reduced and not the combatants. In AHQ have a fight where there is a skill disparity and it is (generally) reflected in the results.

Don't get me wrong, it had its flaws:

Plastic doors on hinges that broke very easily (we used the Heroquest doors instead)
Plain room tiles that only had different tiling patterns on them
Poor-ish selection of minis, one Skaven model times about 40, but the henchmen and heroes were good
Some daft rules about monsters not being able to open doors (how the hell did they go to the toilet? Not that there were toilets anyway, are there ever?)
Flat terrain pieces, when you're used to 3D furniture from Heroquest it's a little let down (but again we just used the Heroquest ones we had)

Chuck in a few other interesting details like being able to hire henchmen to follow you into the depths, a random event chart that can affect you between adventures and the modular dungeon pieces so that no two dungeons are the same (at least design-wise) and you have a very good game that was sadly usurped by a showy relation and then a market that GW abandoned totally. I believe that those of you who want to investigate further that you can find a scan of the original rules on an Italian Heroquest site. For those of us that picked it up when it was around (and its one and only expansion) I think we have been truly fortunate. At some point I will look into it's usurper Warhammer Quest.

Until next time

Monday, 6 June 2011

Piratety foolishness!

Little did I know while I was typing up my Lego Pirates post there was the very imminent Lego Pirates of the Caribbean!

If I had posted that over a year ago when I first had the idea (while playing Lego Star Wars on the DS) I would have appeared entirely prophetic, rather than simply pathetic.

But it does go to show it was a flipping good idea in the first place!

Until next time


Regent Scene 2 - The British Embassy in Paris

A few hours later in the British Embassy on the Rue de Fauborg de Saint-Honoré, Regent was waiting patiently for admittance to the Secret Service attaché posted to this luxurious location. Regent was getting bored, and was just mulling over talking again to the severe matron sat at the desk when the door opened. Regent was surprised to see M, stood in the doorway.

"There's no need to look pleased with yourself, Regent," M said, "it could take weeks to repair the diplomatic damage caused by your little shennanigans this morning."
"Well that's a nice hello I must say, but I did get that film back," Regent replied suavely.
"And what do you want, a medal for doing your job?" M snapped back.
"Actually, that would be quite good," Regent nodded.
"Don't delude yourself o-thirteen. Now there is another matter I've called you in for."
"I didn't think you'd come all to Paris to ask how my French lessons were going."
Ignoring the last comment M beckoned Regent in and carefully shut the door. On a projection screen was a picture of a middle-aged man, "this o-thriteen is Oliver Jackson, leading British actor and personal friend to the Prime Minister."
"Well, lucky him!"
"He's gone missing, he was last seen in Austria with well known film financier Johan Ternitz."
"What are we a Secret Service, or a missing persons bureau?" Regent enquired.
M shook her head, "Regent, this is troubling the Prime Minister and isn't the first case of a close friend going missing. Someone is trying to undermine the PM John and I need to know whom and to stop them. This is a priority case and many assets have been redirected in searches."
"So, I'm not the only agent in the field?"
"Just find out what we need. Ternitz has a townhouse in Vienna I suggest you start your search there, and don't raise any suspicions!"
"As if I would," Regent smiled back.

Now into the Larger Than Life story structure proper. Being a jack-of-all-trades I roll Rescue someone from Slavers (5) which I've interpretted as kidnappers as I could worka round that possiblity better. Next I intended to use some flavour and whipped out The NAGS Society Adventure Starter (designed for pulp games of Terra Incognita using the excellent Fudge role-playing rules) I role for person and get Famous actor (11). Returning to LTL Iroll for the villain and get REP 4 (Passed 2d6), for now I haven't rolled for the specific villain, I'll leave that until necessary.

Rolling on the Advance the story table I unsurprisingly roll Get info from someone, I again decided to use the Terra Incognita Adventure Starter (TIAS from here on!) and got Obsessed millionaire (30) for my next contact. I then rolled Metropolis and Train and decided a quick trip to Vienna seemed in order.

By the way, the Terra Incognia Adventure Starter is a free download from the NAGS Society website, go and get it!

Until next time

Friday, 3 June 2011

Regent Scene 1 - The Paris streets

I have decided to veer away from the LTL story framework slightly, as I intend to use it just for that, a framework and not a rigid straitjacket.

So I'll start with an action scene:

It was a quiet autumn day, brown and gold leaves had blown from the park onto the adjacent broad Paris street. A sleek sportscar screeched around the far end of the street sending its back end fishtailing into the middle of the road, straightening itself it shot down the road its engine roaring scattering the leaves.
Just as the leaves were settling back and the quiet of the street returned two black cars came around the corner in obvious pursuit, they too shot down the road sending the leaves scattering before disappearing from view.

Inside the sports car John Regent, agent of Her Majesty's Secret Service, looked in the rear-view mirror and raised an eyebrow.

OK, we have a car pursuit per the download from the Yahoo group. I figure the cars are 5 bands apart (I haven't stuck rigidly to those rules either), Regent in the lead car being followed by one car of REP 3 goons and one of REP 4. All drivers have the Driver skill.

The rolls (John's always first) are 1, 4 and 3. Everyone activates but the bad guys first, the REP 4 goons decide to close the distance with a DF3 manoeuvre (5,5,5,5,4) v (2,6,3) Fail 2d6. 1 vehicle wound plus 1 further wound (1,2,4) and lose 2 range bands falling back to 8. The driver fares badly (1,1,4) suffering two wounds and OOF.

The lead chasing car tries to cut a corner to catch up, unfortunately there are cars parked around the corner and they plough straight into them, the horn sounds loudly as the driver lays slumped over the wheel. The second car meanwhile tries to accelerate to keep up with the secret agent.

The driver rolls (5,5,1,6) versus DF 1 (3) Pass 0d6, maintain the status quo 6 range. Regent plays safe (2,1,1,3,3,3) versus (5) Pass 6d6!

The other black car's engine whines as the driver tries to accelerate to catch up, Regent just shakes his head and puts his own foot down, pulling away easily.

Activation (6,5) no-one activates. Again (2,2) both activate.

Regent sees a chance to shoot down a narrow lane and jerks the wheel to the right.

Regent rolls (4,5,6,2,1,3) versus (4,2,4,4) scoring 2 more successes and sending the pursuers back to band 10. The pursuers roll (5,4,4,6) versus (5) 0 successes.

Expertly handled the racing car slides around the corner and disappears up the narrow lane, unable to match the manoeuvre the black car is forced to slam on its brakes and reverse back to take the turn.
Regent lets himself have a small smile, "Amateurs".

Both activate (5,2) and Regent pulls another DF3 manoeuvre (1,6,1,3,4,5) versus (4,4,6) 3 successes.
Range now 13 and tail lost, but it has to be more dramatic than that!
Seeeing the end of the narrow road coming up with the Seine in sight, Regent puts the car expertly into another skid. Bursting onto the riverside road Regent checks his mirrors again to see the pursurers shoot out right across the road and hit the kerb which sends it flying over the safety rails and into the river.

"Au revoir, mon ami," Regent says before adjusting his tie with a smile.

Oh, and try this

Until next time Steve

Regent - John Regent

OK, so it's Bond with the name changed a bit (UK Monopoly players will realise the connection), but I think this will be a good character to test drive all the solo gaming systems. These are his stats in Larger Than Life:
Role - clearly the Star (he's the only player character!)

Reputation - 5 (this is incredibly important in LTL, everything really revolves around this)
Primary Attribute - Brawn
Secondary attributes - Brain and Bravado
Advantage - Strong Willed
Disadvantage - Distinguishing Feature
Skills - Melee, Shooting, Influence, Interrogate (count as 3), Drive, Stealth
Crisis table - Adventurer
Weapon - Pistol
Profession - Spy
Employer - Her Majesty's Secret Service
Home - Military Intelligence 6 Headquarters

As John will be alone almost for the entirety he needed to be capable enough to deal with whatever is thrown at him, therefore Reputation 5 is really a minimum.

I selected Brawn because this is the combat stat, and without that he could get into all sorts of trouble, it really is quite hard to decide between that and Bravado, but Brawn seemed a better choice.

I chose his advantage because it should be helpful when we get into opposed tasks, which I know come up a lot.

Distinguishing Feature was a stroke of luck (it is random) some of the other disadvantages are crippling it seems.

Skills were selected from the law enforcement and adventurer packages as per the jack-of-all-trades description, so granting an additional skill from those on offer. In addition I selected drive because I intend to use the fan submitted chase rules, plus Bond Regent is guns, fast cars and faster women! Stealth was added to help him get around without incident, again this was a tough pick, I could have chosen Seduce, or Gambling but Stealth seemed to have the greatest utility, only time will tell...

As a jack-of-all-trades I had to select a crisis table, I decided on the Adventurer table as it seems to portray a more independent minded character, i.e. less affected by allies actions.

Weapon was obviously going to be a pistol, a Walther PPK to be precise, of course!

Profession is clearly spy, with his employer also being easy, I selected rather than rolled.

So that is John Regent agent o-thirteen (just so you Yanks don't get confused how to say it), he's good but not quite a double-o yet.

Until next time


Friday, 27 May 2011

Missing In Action

I have no idea where the last few weeks have gone, but I do know they haven't gone into the blog! This will be rectified with the plethora of posts I have hanging around ready to be copied in, I just don't seem to have got around to doing it!
I intend for the next few posts to be about my forays into the solo gaming scene, I have abandoned my attempts for the time being and want to try the commercially successful ones instead.

I have just bought Larger Than Life by Two Hour Wargames and want to compare it to Mythic, and Danger Patrol, a fantastic ruleset by John Harper where failure drives the plot more than success so it should be ideally suited with a few tweaks for threat generation.

I think to compare them properly I should stick to the same genre, and as much as I'd like that to be pulp sci-fi I think the work required to make Larger Than Life fit a sci-fi background will be too much for a beginning project. It is therefore my duty to annouce - John Regent, special agent for Her Majesty, licence to kill. I'll stat John up in LTL soon and let you see the result, ever a tinkerer I'll try a different beginning to LTL than stated in the book.

So as they say on the BBC, 'we apologize for the interruption but your normal service will now be resumed (Or words to that effect!).'

Until next time


Friday, 18 March 2011

Plot a course for adventure

OK, so a little while ago I had the idea of creating a Starblazer Adventures plot point campaign. Now a plot point campaign is a Savage Worlds idea, which is basically that you provide a series of adventures that can be completed in almost any order as the player's wish, usually each tied to a specific or type of location.

For example an adventure could be that some information the player's need is to found on a rundown space station, but details beyond that are sketchy, or while on a jungle moon orbiting a gas giant there is some equipment that will prove invaluable to the coming mission.

These adventures can be dropped in as the players move around the galaxy, indeed some can be relocated so that they occur wherever the players happen to be. This avoids the common 'railroading' complaint of many published adventures, and a clever Story Teller with a few helpful Aspects can pull the characters around the known galaxy to places they need to be and for it not to feel like a heavy handed technique (or the players will hopefully just decide to follow the clues!).

So what is needed for a plot point campaign of your own? Well here are some guidelines, which I hope to follow as I create a plot point campaign of my own.

An ultimate goal
This is the thing which will drive the campaign, if it is interesting enough the players will want to pursue it and will chase around the galaxy to unravel the mystery or defeat the evil villain or organisation.

An introductry adventure
Sounds a bit obvious really, but you need to use the introductory adventure to bring the players together (again in SBA) and reveal a tantilising amount of the overall campaign peril so that the player's start to chase after it. Ideally you want the players together by choice or duty, heavy handed pushing is to be avoided if at all possible!

Planetary Gazette
Details of all the known planets in the galaxy (however vague at first), these will provide the locations for your adventures, it is up to you if the location or the adventure comes first, but there are merits in both and sometimes one automatically begats the other.

Some unconnected adventures
These are adventures that do not drive the campaign plot forward but give a side track that enriches the players experience or lengthens the campaign so that it is not complete within a few short weeks.

For example:
The characters are all members of the Galactic Patrol (or on assignment from somewhere else) onboard a smallish patrol craft. They receive a signal to investigate a distress call received from a diplomatic vessel close to minor planet.

Once they arrive they find the ship inoperable and deserted, any traces of recent warp ship activity are negative. A wider search reveals a ship landed on a nearby moon, which then contacts them (or contacts them should they think of slipping the system).

The other ship is a diplomatic ship from a rival alliance, which informs them that the ship was attacked by an unknown enemy and that they have some survivors aboard their ship. They say that they arrived a short while after the attack and found the ship almost destroyed, they immediately sent out a team to get survivors from the wreckage. They did however pick up a warp signature and will provide the co-ordinates to the Patrol.
The mission was to be a diplomatic mission to discuss the current cold war between the two galactic alliances, things have been escalating recently and it was hoped a peaceful resolution could be negotiated.
That hope is somewhat lost now as the main negotiating team appears to have been lost.

I think I'll stop there, hopefully this provides a number of avenues for enquiry, namely the attacker's identity, the survivors of the attack, the wrecked ship etc. If I ever get the time I may well finish this mini adventure but feel free to take it whereever you please.

Until next time Steve

Monday, 14 March 2011

Modular Space Board

I had the idea over the weekend of creating a modular board for space battles using Starblazer Adventures. Now in SBA you move and fire according to 'zones'. These aren't like squares on a board exactly, being larger and irregularly shaped depending on the environment. So a small system might have a few open space zones, an atmospheric zone or two and maybe a couple of moons, also zones.

Now in effect these zones do function like squares being used for range etc. but they are not 'squares' per se, if you see what I mean?!

I had a go at hand drawing some, and they were pretty awful, no actually very awful, art really isn't my strong point (otherwise I'd have other projects I would have a go at, good grief!). So I've put a call out on the SBA forum, hopefully some helpful sole will point me in the right direction.

Funnily enough I've just twigged that I could use stock space art, maybe even from the Hubble telescope. This is something to pursue if nobody comes back perhaps, mind you even if I got the art required I lack a decent program to create what I'm after (MS Paint is it unfortunately!).

I don't know, maybe some SBA angel will heed my call and do the hobby a real favour!

Until next time Steve

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Argh! Thar be Lego on the horizon

OK, so stricly speaking this is not an indea you can steal for a game, but I do feel that I should 'get it out there'. This thought came while playing Lego Indiana Jones on the DS with my youngest, it is (in case you haven't guessed) Lego Pirates the video game!

It's character building

So, most of the Lego games have been about using different characters to solve puzzles, well this is what I came up with:

Captain - has a parrot, or a monkey (like Marion in Indy)
Rower - needed to row a boat, rather than them moving themselves as in Indy
Bomber/Grenadier - can throw bombs, or set them
Rope monkey - can use a grappling hook
Digger - uses a spade
Musketeer - can fire a rifle
Local guide - can unlock 'secret pathways'
Vooduns - can levitate Lego objects, or use magic in some other way

So what about the bad guys and other characters?

These are the most obvious to me:
Naval officer - British/French/Spanish
Soldier/Marine - as above
Governor's daughter - definite love interest!
Native chief
Native savage
Skeletal/ghost captain
Skeletal/ghost pirate

Gunpowder, treason and plot

OK, so you've got characters, what about plot and locations? How about:

Marooned on an island - the character has to find enough items to start a fire
Rapids - has to row down rapids avoiding rocks and natives firing things from the sidelines
Governor's mansion - infiltrate the governor's mansion and rescue the pirate's sweetheart
Fort - breaking into, and or out of, a fort
Docks/port - chasing around a port trying to get to your ship or reach a contact
Boarding action - obligatory fights onboard ship, clashing with the authorities
Ghost ship - onboard a ghost or being attacked by one
Aztec ruins - perhaps looking through ruins with traps etc. to catch the unwary, maybe even Eldorado (definitely no giant gold eagle/plane though!)

Possible Plot

The character is marooned by his own navy for insubordination. He has to find his way off the island by raising the alarm, a big bonfire ought to do the trick, of course there are natives on the island...

Once onboard the ship engages in a ship to ship action against the French, the character meets the French Governor's daughter (he does not know who she is) and they fall in love. She is left on the French ship after another ship turns up and chases them away, the character moons for a while.

The pirates bury the treasure on an island, and are attacked by natives.

The pirates head into port and have a good time in port. Eventually they are captured by the local militia and taken to the fort.

They break free from their cell but have to get out of the fort, and then out of the fort's grounds and to the ship. (This section probably split in two)

Once onboard they set sail, and one night when the character is on watch they are attacked by a ghost ship. They fight an onboard action against the ghosts (on both ships, both above and under deck, and possibly in the rigging and top masts)

They attack a port and the character sees the governor's daughter from afar but cannot reach her.

Once onboard again the captain argues with the character and he becomes the new captain. The captain leaves with his treasure map and some of the crew, forcing the character to go to port and recruit some more men, while avoiding the local soldiers.

They sail to the treasure island and find the previous captain there, after a fight the character gets the treasure, now he just needs to get the girl.

They attack the governor's manion and have to get inside, once inside they must find the girl and escape.

I'm sure there's a million other things that could happen and there are some plot weaknesses (perhaps the ghost ship had a map, which led to the port, which leads to another map, which leads to a lost city, which the ghosts want back etc.), I haven't included a rapids scene for instance (this could come in the ingress to the lost city), and swashbuckling characters are often captured more than once(maybe once by a ghost pirate)!

Divvying the loot

Well, there's no extra licence fee unlike Star Wars, Indy et al.
They have a great range of minifigs that it could all be modelled on, including Brickbeard
It could tap into some Pirates of the Caribbean vibe, with the fourth instalment on the way
It's pirates for God's sake!

It may not have the same pull as the licensed properties (but make it good and they will come!)
A new play method - ship to ship combat would have to be developed

Personally I think it's a prospect with a lot of merit, OK it may be a little rough but with a tiny bit more work it could be developed into a workable swashbuckling/romantic/ghost pirate/lost city plot.

Until next time Steve

Friday, 4 March 2011

O solo mio!

Recently I lost my gaming group, a bit careless I know, I'm sure I left them round here somewhere...

Anyway, that got me thinking about solo gaming, and dicussions on the Fudge mailing list led me to look into Mythic, however, never satisfied I continued to look into solo gaming and thanks to an unremembered source also found Larger than Life by Two Hour Wargames, actually designed for very small pulp skirmish games (in fact almost an RPG it seems).

Now while both are relatively cheap, Mythic in particular, I'm one to never be happy with anything as first presented, perhaps that why I never finish anything!

There's only one possible solution

So with my brain churning, as it always seems to, I thought 'could I create one of my own?' and of course the simple answer to that is 'Yes!'.

So, with what I can infer Mythic, appears to be about answering Yes/No questions, with occasional extremes and random events. Meanwhile Larger than Life takes a different approach, assigning locations, people and an aim for every scene with occasional random events.

For a start I couldn't see how a simple Yes/No gave you any details unless you asked a million questions so the random events must be the main drivers, and I knew that Larger than Life gives you scene details, people etc. so what would a system that melded them together look like?

Now I can die happily

OK, so I've got the idea, what dice should I use, percentile dice seem a good idea, but then I usually shy away from these because they seem a little clinical to me, 'a 67% chance of there being guards' vs '4 or less there are guards'. I don't know, the more abstract numbers just seem easier for some reason, I guess for me percentiles detract from the atmosphere.

So what choices do I have:
d4 - too little probability and obscure, unless playing a Mummy game!
d6 - the industry 'standard', maybe roll 2 compare to a chart (I don't want a bell curve, I think you need the extremes) it's a possibility
dF - as used in Fudge, again either a bell curve or a chart, plus really only three sided, so sorry folks!
d8 - a bit negelected, but then it still seems to have too little sides
d10 - a possibility
d12 - funnily I like d12, maybe it's got something to do with Advanced Heroquest, a game that brought me further into the hobby (maybe it's because it's a d6 in disguise!)
d20 - a love the d20 mechanic in Pendragon, but it's also in my pet hate system, can I forgive it?
d100 - as I said, already discarded for being too clinical

Finally I settled on the d6, it is such an industry standard it is hard to ignore, it will require a little table but nothing too onerous hopefully.

So now I've decided on the die, what next...

Until next time Steve

Thursday, 3 March 2011

It's a start!

Well, this is my new blog, so how about introductions?


I'm Steve, I've gamed for most of my life, first with things like the much loved Milton Bradley boardgames HeroQuest and Space Crusade before Space Hulk and Advanced HeroQuest and books like the Fighting Fantasy series. Around this time I was introduced to role-playing "proper" with a wide variety of games, systems, and settings from the traditional to the indie, to Games Workshop war and skirmish games (never really got introduced to any others, I guess that's what comes from living in a cul-de-sac the UK).

This blog

If you're anything like me (and I sincerely hope not!) then you have a multitude of competing ideas swirling around your head at any given moment. This blog I hope is going to be my cathartic exercise. The reason I want to do this? Well, beyond the fact this will hopefully free my brain for certain endeavours, I think some of my ideas are good, and though I cannot make use of them myself, someone else out there might take them and polish them up a bit (OK a lot!) and get some real use out of them.

So what sort of thing can you expect? I'm not exactly sure at the moment, musings, links, adventure, campaign, and character ideas, RPG design thoughts, solo playing and a thousand other things possibly. Hopefully it will be the sort of place to drop by now and again and see just what has disgorged from my game addled mind.

If for any reason you use some of these ideas, particularly if they go well or not, or you are so inspired you'd like me to assist with a related project please get in contact, I'd be delighted to help where possible.

Until next time Steve