Saturday, June 25, 2005

Agyris - Maps

As a committed map geek, I have to call Agyris Maps to your attention. I usually hate looking at other people's campaigns. I get bored very easily. But Agyris is so lovingly put together, I can't turn away. Check out the flash interactive map with zoom window. Not only can you look at important points of interest, but you will actually see ships travelling the trade routes; and you can click on them to find out what and who they are. Double thanks to Philaros for calling this to my attention, and to Feng for linking it so that Philaros could find it (and naturally to Daniel as well for creating it).

What is the GM's job?

Universalis doesn't seem to need a GM, and it does just fine.

Consider combat:

As a GM, I was always frustrated when my players were unable to come up with anything more interesting than "I swing my sword at the foe". I felt compelled to come up with color text for combat myself. Yet I also felt I was taking some of the best parts of the game away from my players.

On the other hand, I find it very hard to relinquish control of the game to the players.

I know that John has been experimenting with systems where the players exert more narrative control.

So my question is - what are the core responsibilities of the the GM? When you GM, what do you see as your main job? What do you expect of the players?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

DungeonPunk Report

Last night we ran our fist game of DungeonPunk XD6. Unfamiliarity with the game system led to some fumbling (GM included), but generally speaking the game went very well, with plenty of cinematic action and general wackiness. The players made it throught the gauntlet with only one death and, despite some slow bits, managed to make the final encounter a real crowd pleaser.

Some highlights:
The old adage was again proved true: being on fire may not be good for you, but it's always good for ratings.
When Judaicdiablo used his "throw anything" feat to bullseye a Hobgoblin using the elf maiden he'd just rescued from the villain.

Afterwards everyone was agreed that the game was great fun, but needed some kind of additional resource/award. One suggestion was cash prizes that could be spent on powerups, or perhaps some kind of fame statistic that went up whenever you did something cool.

I did include a dynamic "ratings counter", but more as a story element than an actual game mechanic, and I think that worked well. Rewards were in the form of "magical" treasures, but they turned out to be a bit of let down after all the fuss of getting to the treasure machine.

There was also a discussion of whether an advancement mechanism was required. Nobody seemed to think the game needed it to be fun. On the other hand, it's hard to introduce tougher and tougher monsters without it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

World's Largest Dungeon

For your awe and worship: Alderac Entertainment Group -- World's Largest Dungeon. I always dreamed of creating this but didn't, either because of lack of drive, concern over the size of the project, or perhaps common sense. Check out the PDF.

DungeonPunk XD6 Characters

So far I've got several classes for Dungeonpunk, but I think I'm missing one. What do you think?

Has five slots for readied/active spells (nanoprograms)
Special ability: more flexible than any other class in what spells they can have readied.

Has five slots for body improvement and feat nanoprograms
Special ability: 30% more hit points and heavier armor

A few fighter type nanoprograms and lot of gadgets
Special ability: Trapscanner (stolen from John), a device to remotely manipulate locks and traps

balanced between fighter and spell type nanoprograms
Special ability: CyberSenses giving tracking and life detection abilities

I think the Ranger special ability is only so-so at best. I considered a bard, but I couldn't come up with a special ability that wasn't stupid. There's no cleric because there's abundant healing already and I don't think that a "walking first aid kit" fits well into the game.

Oh, and while I'm at it, here are the styles. Each gets to choose a special ability from a list:

Can hack nanoprograms in interesting ways

Tough and badass in combat

Various physical and acrobatic feats

Crowd Pleaser
Several sorts of dice manipulation through getting the crowd riled up or being such a crowd favorite that the networks don't want you to die.

At a glance, what class/style combo appeals to you? Anything missing? Anything look weak?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

DungeonPunk XD6 Concept

I took a bit of beating on my Matrix idea. I humbly admit that I was a little drunk at the time. Here's a concept I've been working on as a side project. Many thanks to Feng's Savage TV, which provided several ideas for the game. Please provide feedback and help me make this game not suck.


To the teeming millions who inhabit the decaying hive cities of Satycus XD6, the promises of technology have proved empty. Wide boulevards are crowded with shanty's and sheet metal shops selling illegal tech and paltry pleasures. Grand parks have become the haunt of mutants, technoscavengers, and nanofiends. Justice is harsh and life is brutish. Meanwhile, the rich live in monolithic towers, never setting foot on the world below. But the rich, the poor, and the in betweens all share one passion - DungeonPunk.


DungeonPunk is the premier sporting event / reality entertainment of the future. Every planet has its aspiring DP teams, waiting for the pro tour to come to their world so they can compete for a spot on the circuit.

In DungeonPunk, teams of players battle against human opponents, robots, and other players to pass a gauntlet of challenges modeled on an ancient form of drama known as "role playing games." Teams compete to win points and valuable prizes.

Some General Concepts
DungeonPunk players are outfitted with an array of cybernetic implants, special weapons, and hi-tech gadgets to help them complete the gauntlet.

A general map of the gauntlet showing all non-secret areas is provided before the event begins.

Each player has a "class" which determines what sorts of equipment they can bring. For example, warrior class players may have cybernetic powerups and nanotech programs that allow them to do amazing physical feats. Caster class characters have a number of highly flexible but limited use nanotech programs at their disposal. There are also rogue class and ranger class characters (and maybe a bard class?).

Each player also has a "background" which reflects their personal play style and determines what edges they can get. Backgrounds (for now) include hacker, athlete, true fan, crowd pleaser, and grunt.

Periodically in the gauntlet there are treasure kiosks where the players can gain prizes, heal up, and adjust their spell or ability loadouts.

Ever challenge will be "blitzable" (including puzzles). This means that players can attempt to overcome the challenge by pure speed, brawn, or guts, though the price of failure may be high.

The goal is a dungeon crawl environment that includes the classic elements of the genre with a cyberpunk twist. Strategy will be important, but within the context of a single encounter, there should be lots of room for fast and loose swashbuckly play.

System will probably be Fudge, since it's crazy easy to customize and run.

I'll post more details on the character system later.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Riddle In Words and Pictures

At one time, I was fascinated by the book Maze by Christopher Manson. Then I forgot about it for many years, until I ran across it on Amazon. Books are cool.

GeekList: Games that should have zombie expansions, but don't

This one speaks for itself: GeekList: Games that should have zombie expansions, but don't.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Subtle Rules

Vincent is doing his Superman thang... theory-wise. Dag. You have to read this:

The Subtle Rules

And if that is going too fast, then back up and try this one:


Some designers are gonna wander by and pick up all of these little challenges and they're gonna make games and man... I can't wait for that day. But until then, this is stuff we can use in our games today. Right now. No matter how traditional or mainstream. This stuff is the very core of what roleplaying is.