Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving tradition: Play a RPG with the family!

So this Thanksgiving I have a new obsession.  I remember the old days of going to grandma's house for Thanksgiving and after we ate the "men" collapsed on the couch to watch football and the "women" sat and talked in the kitchen.  The "kids" played ancient board games in the den, ones like these  These old days of the turkey, leather and cigarette smoke have me thinking about how cool it would be to have a tradition for my kids at Thanksgiving.

Truthfully, my entire family does not care about football in the least.  The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and following Dog Show have much more appeal.  But those old days?  How about the card table in the den or basement with a large grid map on it?  Dice and character sheets littering the table and the sound of people having fun accompanying the smell of turkey?  I write this, but my day was making the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes then sitting to eat the turkey followed by everyone sitting and watching television together with a common feeling of illness due to too much food.

Wanting something more seems to come after the fact because at the moment my mind was on deciding if I was too full for pumpkin pie.  I was not thinking of "Thanksgiving 2010" and the memories I'd make.  I was missing an alternate past I had wanted to exist, but not at the time.

Next year?  I'd like to say I'd have room in my life to pull out a AD&D book with the kids on a card table and folding chairs.  Maybe it is something I will do when I am a grandpa and the grandkids come to our house.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Latest changes to my simplified game system

Now let me say first, my interest in simplifying my game system predates my knowledge of the fantastic RPG Kids ( ).  It was not my primary goal to create a RPG to play with kids, but I think the need is there.  RPG Kids is a great place to start for that, I give NewbieDM the props for his idea.  In fact I mandate you all who are under my influence to purchase a copy of his excellent work, should you fail to do so I will regard you as hypocrites to the cause of Independent role playing games.

Now that the elephant in the room has been mentioned, it should be of no bother.

In my last impossibly long post, I pasted the draft of a simplified version of my game system.  As I looked at it and ran it past some RPG buddies, I got some valuable feedback and have applied it.  Rather than another unreadable control+v of the latest version, here are the highlights:

- Attributes: 
     In my full game system, learned skill augments natural talent.  The learned skill component is time spent with a teacher practicing a skill.  The natural talent portion of the skill is the controlling attribute.  Skills can be used in contest and non-contest situations.  In a non-contest situation you take half the controlling attribute and add the skill, then roll under that with a d20.  In a contest situation you use the learned skill and add it to a d20 roll vs your opponent's roll, the highest roll wins the contest.
     This is a bit heavy for a "simple" system.  So I threw out the non-contest rules as this simple system is all about crunchy combat.  In the latest draft, there are two skills which are treated as attributes: Attack and Defend.  As you take damage, Attack and Defend go down until they are so negative that even the highest roll would be beat by a low roll.

- Weapon Ranges:
     In my full game there is a simple formula for calculating the cost of a weapon in character points.  But the formula was not simple enough, I wanted a 8 year old to be able to GM a game and following formulas might be beyond them.  Another issue was the way I deal with extra effort as well as point blank damage, it was all just too confusing for young newbies.
     Now in the current draft a weapon's damage is made lower for each square a target is from the attacker.  Rather than spending points on a missile weapon's range, they just do a lot of damage up close and less the further away you are.

I look forward to more playtesting with my kids as well as making some art for this project.  I hope to have a free edition available by Christmas and a more retail oriented version by spring.  The biggest problem at this point is coming up with a name for this mess... I am not good at that.

If you have an idea for a name or would like to see the latest draft please let me know!

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