Nov 12, 2011

Dungeons & Dragons 4E - Race/Class Synergy

I've been gaming since 1982 or thereabouts, so it should come as no surprise that I began with D&D, then in its first edition. Although it's not my go-to system (that would be Hero System, the mechanics for the Champions RPG), I've tried all of the editions since. The most recent iteration is not my favorite flavor of D&D, but I have to admit it works mechanically better in some ways than the editions that came before: the combats move faster, and an attempt is made to balance player options.

May 23, 2011

Thousand Year Game Design Challenge

Here's an interesting contest: design a game that will still be played in a Thousand Years, interesting in a number of ways. For one, they give three examples (Chess, Tag, and card games), but card games played the way we know them are relatively new.

Still, an interesting challenge. Society changes so much over the course of a thousand years, how can you anticipate what's going to be popular?

Apr 5, 2011

Wilderlands of Dire Omen Supplements 1

As I said in my last post, I'm a big fan of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy setting from Judges Guild. I also loved the old Arduin setting by Dave Hargrave. Both of these settings were classic fantasy settings created by big fan readers.

In the old days, we didn't have the kind of exclusivity of setting you get nowadays -- you could easily imagine Luke Skywalker setting foot in Middle Earth and going toe-to-toe with Elric and Stormbringer, or some other gonzo conglomeration of properties. Eventually, the lucrative aspects of licensing properties became important to the rich guys, and they made it difficult to create this kind of thing. But for a while, you could see it happen. Anne McCaffrey's Pern series got this treatment a lot; if you've ever wondered why they never did a movie or TV show, it's probably because they saw that licensing the property would not be exclusive, since Anne was nice to her fans and let them semi-officially publish derivative works.

However, now we have the Creative Commons, and can be assured that, if it seems profitable to publish, you can eventually get some return for your investment. That being said, I worked up some supplementary material for my submission, the Wilderlands of Dire Omen. It seems a shame to do the work and keep it all to myself, when I don't see it being immediately useful to me. So, I figure why not share online? If it makes my submission that much more useful to others, even better!

Mar 31, 2011

One Page Dungeon 2011 - Wilderlands of Dire Omen

Well, here's a link to my submission for this year's One Page Dungeon contest: the Wilderlands of Dire Omen. NOTE: This is the updated version that fixes the problems I had with formatting the PDF. This is what I had intended to submit to the 1PD website!

Mar 30, 2011

One Page Dungeon

The year before last, I became aware of an interesting phenomenon known as the One Page Dungeon. The idea is simple: instead of a whole book of keyed encounters and a suite of maps, a 1PD tries to make do with just a simple map and key. Most of the text in a standard adventure is superfluous, goes the argument -- monster stats, historical background, and the like can be found in various supplements or generated on the fly, and usually change with campaign or gaming system. At its core, the 1PD tries to distill the essence of an adventure scenario to its essential elements: the map and a key.

The idea originally came about during the development of one of the megadungeons in the 90s. A forum member proposed that the contributors should produce their dungeon section on a standardized 30x30 graph with a key on the same page. The idea evolved quite a bit, and then a few years ago a contest was announced. I didn't manage to get in on it in 2009, and I missed the cutoff in 2010 by days, but I was bound and determined to make a One Page Dungeon for the 2011 contest. I almost missed it as the website wasn't updated with recent info until the beginning of the month, but April 1 is the deadline this year, and my submission is almost complete. When it's done, I'll post it in this blog for commentary.