Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dreadsands Alpha Test is Here!


I am very excited to announce that my first full RPG based on the G.A.M.E. System is ready for outside playtesting! I have two versions available- both have exactly the same content:

-Dreadsands: With cover and interior layout

-Dreadsands: formatted text only

I am craving feedback on this game. Is the game readable? Understandable? What about the Setting do you like or not like? Feel free to pelt me with any questions you've got. I'd love to talk about my game.



Friday, March 4, 2011

GAME Playtest #1 part 2


As I mentioned in the previous post, we were using a stock fantasy world of no particular origin. Just one we would make up as we went. Brian's starting Faction was The Tower- an organization of wizards and sages seeking knowledge of all magical arts.

So after character creation was done and we discussed our goals for the game, we started playing. Brian's Bang was, "My wife was just killed by a disease. I'm a wandering widower memoralizing her in a bar over some warm ale." That worked. It made me realize, though, that the language around Bangs needed to be clearer. I wanted something more urgent and immediate. But it was enough to get the ball rolling.

I introduced a low level undead attack on one of the patrons at the bar. He was a sailor and the undead were some of his shipmates who had drowned a few weeks earlier. Brian's character fended them off and stuck up a conversation with the drunk. The drunk said there had been all this bizaar magical stuff happening in the North. People disapearing. Strange black mists coming out at night. Rumors of an ancient evil returning to the land. The normal sort of think, you know.

As a member of The Tower, Aehlowen (Brian's Character) was interested in finding out more. He comissioned the owner of the drunk's boat to take him north, upriver. Before they left, Aehlowen did some research at the local Tower affiliate in town. He made his Research roll easialy and earned an extra AP when he was able to hold back from using 3 of his dice. He asked me what he found, and I answered, "Evidentally, there is a rather infamous wizard who once lived in the north named Dasiteesimo. He was consumed with researching birth and death. One day though, he vanished." That suited Brian and he was off to the boat.

This all happened before I caught myself. I really should have turned the question around and asked Brian what his charcter found. Oh well. Brian was happy with the answer and it has supported our play well enough. It was a missed opportunity, though. I fault on my part, not the game's.

He arrived at the next town. He asked around about Dasiteesimo and it led him to a grave marker where his body was buried. One of the wizard's friends came by and told Brian a story about a cave in a swamp full of treasure and magic items. Dasiteesimo wanted to claim it, but the monster's inside killed him and much of his adventuring party instead. The friend then directed Brian's character to another person's house in the town who also knew the wizard.

This person I played as rude and idignant. It forced Brian to use his Pesuade skill against the NPC's Influence Barrier (a 1 at the time). The point of play is to force rolls often. So NPCs necessarily have to be confrontational in this game. Since Brian made his roll, it was easier to ask him what he learned from the man. Brian said, "He says that Dasiteesimo was interested in Undead and getting the power from whoever was at the bottom of the cave." Worked for me. But I think things stalled. Briand didn't really know where to go to next. And honestly, neither did it. Brian decided to go back to the orignal friend asn ask if there was anyone else who knew the old wizard. Sensing Brian was searching, I said yes. There was an old druid lady who went with him to the cave. She ran an apothecary now in the town. So, Brian when to visit her.

And that's where we ended the first night. It was awkward at times. Using iTabletop was a new experience. I have a camera and microphone, but Brian does not. He uses the chat window. It took some getting used to, but we both liked the features the software offers. I wasn't sure how the campaign would go from there, but we made a date to meet back in a week. He emailed me later that he was really excited about his character, so that made me feel better.

And I'll continue my story next time



Monday, February 28, 2011

GAME System Playtest 1, Part 1


In the last entry on this blog I talked about Low Power Fantasy. That game has now morphed into the GAME System. I'll be discussing my work on that system and its offspring here rather than on Socratic Design.

My friend Brian and I have started playtesting the mechanics for my CC License G.A.M.E. System. This playtest occurred about 4 weeks ago, but I am just now getting around to writing about it. I'm calling this version of the game Solo, since it's meant for one player and one GM. I think that the name will have to change since I believe people will confuse it for a Solitaire game, which it is not.

I sent Brian the rules over email and a character sheet. He had to make his character totally in isolation from me. I was so busy during the week that I couldn't call him or email him about the rules. Much to my great pleasure, when we started playing that Friday night, he had made the character exactly according to the rules. Awesome!

We decided to use a stock fantasy world for the Setting. I'm still in the midst of adapting my Blasted Sands setting to the GAME System (more on that later), so we couldn't use that. He chose to play a Human Sage named Aehlowen. I was expecting something like a firght or ranger or theif. I wasn't sure what to do with a Sage character. Aehlowen is the only character, so it would be challenging for me as a GM and Brian as a player to find conflicts for Aehlowen both engaging and challenging. Unlike a wizard or sorcerer type character, a Sage is interested in knowledge and lore, not blasting and burning everything in sight.

Anyway, Brian creates a really facinating Destiny for his character. He asked me not to reveal it publically, but I'll describe it in generalities. There once was a kingdom made up of two distinct cultures that split many years ago when the king was kidnapped. Aeholwen's destiny is to find the king and mend the rift. That's exactly what I had in mind when I created the Destiny mechanic for this game.

Brian chose to have exploding potions be Aehlowen's main weapon rather than a staff or sword of some kind. Again, this is a great challenge to GM. I designed my system to really support tactical and creative combat. Lobbing potions never really entered my thinking. I knew Brian's character would challenge the system to see if it could support such a unique and creative character. But if it can support this, I know it can support just about anything someone would like to play.

We talk about his character for a while and practice using the resolution system. He catches on pretty fast and we start playing. And I'll get to that in part 2 of this play test, which I'll post later this week (hopefully).


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