Monday, 30 April 2012

It's a goal!

OK so the other day I alluded to character goals/issues/drives/motives/whatever, and said I had a list for another project. Well I found them and dusted them off and present the following for your use and abuse:

Revenge

Somebody has done something to somebody else, or you, and you want revenge.

Find/Quest

You want, secretly or not, to find a lost thing or person or place.

Rescue

Somebody has someone you want back, and you plan to get them.

Wealth/Land

You want to be wealthy, to acquire the trappings and advantages of wealth, or to own land of some description.

Power/Prestige

You want influence, to be in control, to be acknowledged as a leader.

Skill or Career/Profession

You want to be the best you can be, the top fencer in France, a world leading scientist, or chess player, or even just to attain, or keep, or be accepted in a job of any or whatever kind.

Fame/Glory

You want fame or glory, for your own ends, for your family line, as a stepping stone to something else.

To be normal

Something has happened to you and you want to return to your previous state of mental, physical, emotional etc. well being.

Atonement/Pardon

You did something you feel deeply ashamed of, or you are seeking a pardon and may or may not care about your original misdemeanour, but you need to do something to put it right, if that's even possible.

Enemy

You have a hated enemy you want to destroy, humiliate, or somehow else make them suffer. Or perhaps they are after you, constantly hounding you and forcing you on.

Duty

You signed up for whatever you are in now. Perhaps given the chance you wouldn't be hunting alien beings, but if you desert it's a spell in choky, or even death.

Protection

You feel you need to protect someone or thing, the Earth from Doctor Diabolical, your run away lover Amlie Dacourt the governor's daughter, England.

Romance/Love

Perhaps an extension of protection, maybe your family, maybe Mademoiselle Dacourt has requested to be kept in the manner she is accustomed, whatever it is you do it for love, or even the promise of love.

Relgion/Zealotry

A witch hunter, seeking and destroying demons in the name of God, a paladin striking down the undead, a Catholic hunting Huguenots, even a Professor seeking to stop a demonic ritual with his faith in God.

Destroy

You want to destroy someone or thing, this could be in revenge, but equally could be a pre-emptive strike

Discover/Knowledge

You after something intangible, like the knowledge of teleportation, or anti-matter, or even where your super powers came from. It can also be a remedy for the salvation of man, or your town, or country, or you.

Steal/Acquire

You know where the Whatsit of Doom is, you just need to be able to get it somehow.

 

All of the above are subject to the following additional considerations:

Enemy

Who, or what is trying to stop you. They clearly either the same thing or the complete opposite thing to the character. So you want to protect Danger City, but they wish to conquer it.

Time

Is there some sort of time limit? Has your sister been gone for a long time? Does the ritual to end the world occur when the stars are right?

Other complication

Is the All Powerful Thingy located on the other side of the world, at a polar ice cap, who-knows-where?

Determination

So, you can destroy the Robotic Ravagers leader, or you can find out where the bomb is? How determined are you complete your goal, what will you do to attain it? Personal or innocents sacrifice? No morals or remorse?

Alteration

So you rescued your sister from the evil cult, is that enough, or do you now want revenge on them all, their leader, or the foul demon manipulating them all?

For the solo-ist I find having at least one of these, in addition to a specific mission for the adventure, and often two or more as the character develops, helps to give a reasoning to the character's struggles and makes you think what they may do, and how far they may go to attain them. It also gives great ammunition to throw at the character, those weren't just any thugs, they were Schee Ming's goons!

Until next time Steve

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Poll position

So I have a lot of ideas that I could use for my next solo role-playing session, I really can't decide wihhc one to pick myself so I thought I might throw it open to you lot, my dear readers.

I'll detail each selection below and then attempt to add a poll at the bottom, with my coding skills (even using Blogger) this could go disasterously!

I've included the detail of the main adventuring party, so you get more of a flavour of the game idea. All games will be run using my FU/card based system, and the game mechanics will also be controlled by FU. Anyway here are my current choices:

Blade Runner

Investigating a possible Nexus related murder. One character.


Cardinal's Blades
French Musketeers investigating demons and black magic. Small troupe with favoured character.


Danger Patrol
Another randomly generated pulp sci-fi mission for Tex Butler's Patrol. Small troupe.


Footballer

For something completely different, a young footballer's (soccer) career. One character.


GTA Liberty City
A young ganger returning to Liberty City to find his sister or girlfriend. One character.

ISF

International Special Forces, think GI Joe/Action Force, against The Wolf Brigade. Ensemble.


Lytton PD
Just another day in the fight against drugs in an 80s small town (a la Police Quest games). Rookie cop and his mentor.


Necromunda

A small gang of Necromundan Clan warriors. Small-ish troupe with favoured character.


Pirates
I created the FU Pirates hack, but felt washed out by it straight after, but now I could easily return. Ensemble with favoured character.

Star Wars
Another randomly generated Clone Wars mission. The young Padawan Sev Linus, and their Master, Jo-Sun Wi.

Superheroes

Kensai (sword master), the Illusionist, and The Disc (gadgeteer) against The Skull and her minions. Small troupe. 

Superspy

Continuation of John Regent (although a different story) as detailed earlier in my blogging 'career'. One character.


Swords & sorcery
Standard hack and slash setting. A small troupe with favoured character.


Verge
A young thief in a fantasy/cyberpunk city. The thief and his friend.

Witch Hunter

Think Solomon Kane, Witch Hunter: the Invisible World, Warhammer Fantasy etc, set in Dorset, UK. One man and his lackey.


X-COM
Fighting alien invaders with elite special ops teams and the world's best scientists. Ensemble.

It's quite a list, and probably misses some ideas I've had recently. So now I am totally in your hands, please feel free to select whichever one you want me to tackle. The poll closes in about a week.


Until next time Steve

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Very ResourceFULL

I made a really interesting discovery this morning, and that is ResourceFULL cards created by Paulo Rivas.

Designed to make the GMs job easier for his friends, they are another interesting idea involving cards to develop RPG plots. Never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth I downloaded them immediately and saw some real potential.

If you want to take a look yourself, the link is:
http://resourcefullrpg.wordpress.com/

For my part it lacks the event focus, such as PC positive, but it does have a few neat ideas, like the combat complication/situation. They are somewhat reminisent of the Mythic setup.

An idea I've just had is to perhaps write my current setup on the back of these and then open them like a book, reading the back of the next card, and the detail on the other, I guess this does exclude certain combinations though, and I'd rather avoid operating two packs simultaneously.

While I am on this topic I have also got some other cards going by the name of GM Helper Cards. These are very much D&D style high fantasy based, which simply does not appeal to me, hence my previous silence on them but may be of extreme interest to others. The link is here: http://carjackedseraphim.blogspot.com/

Ahh, so many ideas! Perhaps I should focus a little more, what do I want on each of my cards, as much as possible, clutter free? Should I force myself to concentrate by agreeing to send my "finished product" to The Game Crafter? Perhaps that is my next challenge, any suggestions?

Until next time Steve

Monday, 23 April 2012

Levels in FU

One of the things reasonably often mentioned on the FU Yahoo Group is the problem of "levels", for example can someone be stronger than another "Strong" character? I thought I would lay out the options here, I'm not going to suggest a solution because I don't necessarily think there is one as each can be taken and used in whatever situation they are needed, a bit like golf clubs really.

So there are a number of possible solutions to this (that I have thought of, and probably more than this), a lot of which are not mutually exclusive (there goes the golf club metaphor!) so without further ado:

There is no problem
Simply ignore it for simplicity. One Strong character is equal to another Strong character. This is by far the simplest method but can leave a group feeling cheated.

Add a fixed levelling descriptor
A Jedi Padawan will have less control of The Force than a Jedi Master, at least in theory. These "levelling" descriptors can be of two types, fixed or freeform. A good selection of fixed levels can be stolen/borrowed from Fudge (levelling descriptors stolen from other games are available), these are:

Legendary
Superb
Great
Good
Fair
Mediocre
Poor
Terrible
Abysmal

So now you have a Fair Jedi against a Great Jedi, so it is clear which is better, of course whether this warrants one or two Bonus/Penalty dice will have to be determined by the group (my suggestion would be to stick to one, this is quite a healthy bonus in FU).

Add a freeform levelling descriptor
A freeform levelling descriptor would be something like Padawan in the above example, or Apprentice wizard, or Battle-hardened warrior. The good thing about these descriptors is that they add a certain flavour as well as adding a level, the bad thing is that they are less defined, is a Journeyman wizard better or worse than an Accomplished wizard?

Sacrilige
Of course you could add a number before or after the descriptor. For me this breaks the purely word-based ruleset, but it is of course a very easy option. Be careful of the very slippery slope this represents however, for example now take the situation of someone trying to force a door, a fairly common occurance in fantasy campaigns. Do you grant a Bonus die for a Strong 2 character? Well, is the door also Strong or Protected in some way, if so does it warrant a number itself? Is it an interior door which is flimsy 1? Or a portcullis 7? Or a jail cell door 4? Suddenly numbers can sprout out anywhere, and that nice little narrative system is not so little or narrative anymore.

It can also leave you hidebound as you concentrate on numbers and not on a FLIMSY door, or an ENORMOUS, IMPOSING and HEAVY portcullis, or a KEYCODE LOCKED and SOLID cell door.

Narrowness rewarded
I've stolen this clean from Cartoon Action Hour: Season 2 (it's possibly in one as well, I don't know!), and that is to reward a narrower descriptor. For example a Warrior faces off against a Swordsman in a duel, now in normal circumstances you would grant/cancel a Bonus die to each, but here the Swordsman is more narrowly defined, clearly he deserves to be rewarded for this narrowness which could be a serious problem in other situations. So in this case I would grant a Bonus die to the Swordsman and the Warrior would get nothing. This in itself isn't necessarily a level, but it does show in certain circumstances where a Bonus is appropriate, and how a player can tailor a character to better represent what they want their character to be good at.

Take things to the extreme
I find taking things to the extreme sometimes shed light on the situation at a lower level, take for example The Hulk against a Bodybuilder, both are trying to lift a car. This could be played in a number of ways, the first is in the campaign's norms. By this I mean if we are playing a supers campaign where a Strong character represents a hulking brute then lifting a car is about normal and no roll is required, the "normal" would be required to take serious Penalty dice or just be incapable of performing the task. Now things get a little trickier if normals take a larger part of the action, or the setting is one in which the supers are more low powered.

In these situations you could do just about any of the above, but the cleanest solution if you are happy with "normal" FU is just to add a simple tag, like Super. So Super Speed grants a bonus over a Fast "normal", and a larger bonus over a "normal" with no Speed related talent. Really this is just a two step fixed descriptor, but in FU is much more required?

Hopefully this has helped, if only to clarify some of the available options.


Until next time Steve

Friday, 20 April 2012

Quick, come back, it's starting again!

Ah, the childhood memories, I guess with TV hard drives this phrase will disappear from memory, anyway.

VOICE OVER:

So you rejoin us as our intrepid heroes have narrowly escaped an explosion, but have they just let a Crimson Republic agent escape? How is the mysterious alien tied up in this? What exactly do the Crimson Republic have in store with the banned book? Do they have Trans-Dimensional plans? Is Miss Glenda "Bun" Kendell able to continue the pursuit? Find out and more in the conclusion of this thrilling adventure!


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fate of Danger Patrol

Taking a leaf from Spacejacker's write up I am going to label my questions as either mechanics or Fate questions. This helps to deferentiate where I am using FU and where I am using it as the basis of the story driver. I am going to stick to only allowing events when I am asking a Fate question, my labels will be:

? Fate question
! Mechanics question

What this means is that those using something other than FU for your game will be able to see the parts that apply to you more clearly as I am essentially using FU for every type of question, clearly where I use cards this is to generate a random event and so is part of the story system. I hope this is clear, but any questions please use the comments, thanks.

In this run through I am going to be using my themed deck, I have decided that this is a SECOND card drawn to lend an aid to interpretation, the deck keys as follows:

Spades Action
Hearts Romance
Diamonds Danger!
Clubs Suspense

Characters
Tex Butler
STYLE: Two fisted
ROLE: Flyboy
ROLE: Commando
FLAW: Professor
GEAR: Raygun
GEAR: Rocketpack
SUBPLOT: Revenge on the Crimson Republic for his father's death
SUBPLOT: To make Glenda Kendell love him

Professor Nathan Jakowski
STYLE: Psychic
ROLE: Professor
ROLE: Explorer
FLAW: Warrior
GEAR: Omni scanner
GEAR: Utility belt & med kit
SUBPLOT: To make his old Professor proud of his achievements
SUBPLOT: To make some great new scientific discovery

Miss Glenda "Bun" Kendell
STYLE: Intrepid
ROLE: Agent
ROLE: Detective
FLAW: Daredevil
GEAR: Electro blaster
GEAR: Disguise kit
SUBPLOT: To protect Rocket City
SUBPLOT: To settle down and have a family

Mission generation, done using Starblazer Adventures.
Mission type [4]: Item/Object
Item [4] [1]: Banned book
Complication (used as hook) [1] [4]: Critical item stolen (What a roll!)
Location [4] (again!): Orbital
Orbital location [1]: Orbital defence platform
Who? (For the opposition) [5] [5]: Unusual lifeform

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Round up

I see others have taken up the potential FU has for solo role-playing, in particular Spacejacker on his blog: http://tinysolitarysoldiers.blogspot.com/2012/04/solo-rpg.html

He has some interesting ideas like relying completely on d6s for his random events. I like the simplicity of that, but I can see problems too in that it is a real restriction to the types of events. I see he has added a scene type destinction too, which I believe caused someone to mention Primetime Adventures.

As a man very much into RPG plotting, PTA has some good points, however many of them are reliant on the group dynamic to work (very similar to Fiasco too, a good way to create inter-connecting plot and characters but really group dependent). I will write a blog post on these types of RPG I've come across and their possible uses for the solo-ist if I get the chance.

OK, so to really round up my previous session, to start with I used the following random generation table:

Ace PC or Ally
2 NPC
3 Social
4 Environmental
5 Physical
6 Intellectual
7 Emotional
8 Combat
9 Senses
10 Item
Jack Location
Queen Escalation
King Subplot

Now as I mentioned I got it a little wrong with my suit interpretation, what it should have been was:

Spades Positive (the point goes upwards)
Hearts Negative (the point goes down)
Diamonds Ambiguous (the points go up and down!)
Clubs New/Introduction (just the last one left)

In theory this should have made it easier, but I guess in the rush I just overlooked this (somehow I remembered the Spades and Hearts significance, memory eh?!).

I now need to test the thematic deck, playing through the deck arrangement above I'm not so sure this  will work as well, but it was my first thought and it may have a nugget of wisdom in it (perhaps as a second card draw?). Anyway I could tinker forever and never get anywhere, so I plan to run my next session as soon as possible and post the results.

My next problem is that I need a background that will fully test out the possible themes, for that I'm not sure Star Wars is the best choice as it is so action orientated, so as I have my Starblazer Adventure random tables (which I used just to generate the initial plot thrust in the end) I might just go with pulp sci-fi, or to be more precise Danger Patrol! OK, so I've decided, now, what themes to apply?

Romance
Action
Suspense
Danger!

I strongly suggest you get yourself to John Harper's Danger Patrol website and download the free rules, you won't be sorry I promise! Go here: http://www.dangerpatrol.com

Until next time Steve

Monday, 16 April 2012

Clone Wars: Episode 1

OK, so I promised it so here it is.

First up some pointers. The questions as written were as they came to me, this means that some appear beneficial and others negative to the characters. Whereas in Mythic you tend to try and liven things up by asking negative questions, with this system you simply flip the Bonus and Penalty dice depending on the nature of the question.

For example "Is it dark?" if I thought this likely I'd assign 1 Bonus die. "Can I see?" if I thought this Unlikely 1 Penaty die. These are basically the same question just one requires a Penalty die and one a Bonus die based on the phrasing.

So as you may see there may be a bit of linguistic twister thrown in but hopefully you can follow it.

Another amendment I've made is deciding that matching the result die rolled is pretty pointless, it is so much easier to remember that a 1 rolled on the d20 is an event that I just went with that. To recap a d20 is used to match the probability of an event using Mythic at Chaos Factor 5.

A point I realised part way through was that I was rolling when normally it would just be a skill check, this is an extension of the rules really beyond their remit as a Mythic replacer so some of the rolls should actually have generated a random event.

Final point, a d20 is probably not enough, I might use a d12 next time or d10. I guess this is because in Mythic the CF builds as the adventure reaches a climax, so the chance of a random event increases. This means that sticking to CF5 is probably too low, I'll look into the probabilities and make another post soon.

 

Characters:

Jo-Sun Wi
Female human Jedi
Agent
Detective
Flawed Commando
Lightsabre
Jedi robes
Very calm in adversity

 

Sev Linus
Male human Jedi Padawan
Warrior
Daredevil
Flawed Flyboy
Lightsabre
Padawan braid
A bit brash
Rushes in too fast

VOICE OVER: On the remote planet Kilanna in the outer rim, Separatist forces have subdued the local population under the Command of local traitors. Emergency request to the Galactic Republic for liberation is answered by the Jedi Council, sending Jedi Master Jo-Sun Wi and her Padawan Sev Linus to free the populous.

ROLL CLONE WARS CREDITS (http://www.televisiontunes.com/Clone_Wars_-_A_Galaxy_Divided_(The).html)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Coming to the internet near you - 16th April

OK, I'm not very far with my playtesting, work has just been really busy lately and getting the time seems impossible. In addition to this I have next week off so I won't be posting then (I post around my work times), however this does hopefully mean that I will actually find time to advance my proposed system a lot!

So when I'm back look out for a full play report or maybe even two as I test out and refine the system. For now I've dropped my Cardinal's Blade game, I think so that everyone can appreciate the difference I'm going to stick to that universal background - Star Wars!

I'm going to go for a Clone Wars period as this allows instant conflict, and as is normal, I'm staying away from the canon characters as much as possible. If I encounter a Sith Apprentice then I'll throw in a Ventress-a-like but I guess I should just wait and see, as that's what solo roleplaying's about!

So signing off for now but coming back to the internet near you on 16th April 2012.

Until next time Steve