Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creature design talk, part 6: The Look!

We've reached the last installment of our creature design talk, and I've saved my worst for last: What does this thing look like?!

The Look

Seriously, this is my absolute weakest area of creature design. It drives me up the wall, but I fall into the same ruts over and over again. I'm not the only one. If you look around at gaming manuals and sourcebooks, you'll find that this is actually one of the more difficult parts of design, at least if the goal is to be creative and innovative.

Ultimately, there are a few different approaches that I try to use when designing the "look" of a creature.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Creature design talk, part 5: Layers

Welcome back to our continuing discussion of creature design for your RPG. So far we've discussed creature motivation (part 1) and creature encounters (parts 2, 3, and 4). Today the topic is how we as game designers and Game Masters may layer our creature designs.

Layers

Layers are what I call the different levels or phases of an encounter with a creature (or any encounter, really). It usually comes into play when dealing with "boss" level challenges, but can work well in random or lower-tiered challenges as well.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Response to a new Palladium Books podcast

Hello, one and all. Happy Friday.

Just a quick post today to discuss a great new podcast centering on everything Palladium Books. Take a quick break and head over to Radio Free Palladium, produced by the great Zachary Houghton. Zack, as you may remember, formerly had a blog known as RPG Blog 2 (was just RPG Blog before some cyber-squatter snatched up his domain during a sabbatical), and founded the Megaversal Ambassadors program for Palladium.

Zack's format is different than other podcasts we've seen, in that it's less than 30 minutes (perfect for your commute), and he is looking to tackle some very specific things about Palladium's games, and gaming in general.

For his first episode, Zack discusses the perceived lack of game balance in Palladium's various RPGs, particularly Rifts. He then goes on to discuss some of the overlooked utility of the Rogue Scholar O.C.C. I wanted to touch briefly on that first issue, regarding game balance.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Creature design talk, part 4: Even More Encounters

Let's talk some more creature design! We've already been through creature motivations and two rounds of discussing types of creature encounters. Today we'll go through the final phase of discussing creature encounters, then move on to some new monster-related business.

Even More Encounters

So far we have discussed Hunters, Trappers, and Giants. Each brings a different type of game play to the table, and a different type of challenge for your players. While this list isn't in any way exhaustive, it hits a lot of the high points of types of encounters you might have. One thing that these doesn't address, which I think is important to consider, are non-combat creature encounters.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New logo for Jason Richards Publishing

Well, this is exciting! Just received my new logo. I love it! Don't you love it? Tell me how much you love it!

I'm going to get this same artist to do my Breachworld logo, based on some concept sketches I dreamed up. I'm psyched, as this was a big step, marketing-wise, before I could launch the Kickstarter. Check that one off the list!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Creature design talk, part 3: More Encounters

Welcome back to our discussion about creature design for your game, whether that be a classic pen-and-paper tabletop game, a game utilizing minis, or even a video game. We have previously discussed the motivations of creatures, and then continued with types of creature encounters. Today we continue that last subject where we left off.

More Encounters

So far we have talked about two types of encounters: Hunters and Trappers. Next up is a favorite for gamers who love nothing better than to haul a suitcase full of carefully-packed minis to their games, but works well in any valor of role-playing.

Giants

Taking a step back, I suppose I could call this encounter type a Solo, but I think that term is a little broad for these purposes. For those who may not be familiar with the term, a Solo is typically some sort of a boss battle for a party of characters, especially in miniature gaming. A Solo is a badass that can take on a whole party at once. But, a Solo can take many forms and isn't usually strictly speaking a creature or monster, but is usually more sophisticated and adaptable. (By the way, if you want a great discussion of creating Solo battles, check out this old post from The Angry DM.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Creature design talk, part 2: Encounters

Let's pick up our discussion on creature design, shall we? Part 1 dealt with the motivations of creatures and why they might come into conflict with your characters. We talked about malevolent creatures, those that react to the characters, and then those that are so alien that conflict is inevitable.

Encounters

I think it's only natural to follow that up with what that conflict might look like. How do animals, creatures, and monsters engage the player characters when it's time to throw down? I can't possibly cover every possibility, but I think there are some high points worth emphasizing.

Hunters

This is the easy answer, and probably the most common. The monster might just be evil and looking to cause some pain, or may be hungry and see a character as food. Maybe the party has wandered into its territory and it feels threatened. Whatever the motivation, the encounter turns on the creature actively hunting the player characters.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Creature design talk, part 1: Motivation

Creature design is an important part of any RPG experience, whether you're designing for a video game, using tabletop minis, or doing it all in your head (which is my default when I game). They can be equal parts mood material, random encounter, and a puzzle to solve. Each beastie can be classic, weird, nostalgic, or even comical. There are few better ways to add variety to your game than designing really good monsters for your player characters to throw down with. It's something that's been on my mind lately, so I thought I would spend a few blogs going through some of my thoughts.

Motivation

I thought this would be a good place to start, as it is one of the very broadest ways to classify your creature encounter. If we think about the real world and the abundance of variety provided to us by mother nature, we can see lots of good examples of different things that motivate animals into having some sort of encounter with humankind. We can also refer to some classic examples from movies, video games, and other media to provide examples.

We examine the possibilities below the jump.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Breachworld RPG page previews

I'm not sure if people are generally interested in nerdy layout talk, but I really enjoy it, so I'll blog away.

I'm sitting here, doing some layout work on my day off, and I think I've finally locked down my boilerplate for a lot of the text and headings, seen in the following three images (click for a bigger picture). I kept looking for something with more "pop" for the top header, but I think this might work out okay. With the graphical page background, I think there is enough going on so that the layout isn't too boring. Plus, there are advantages to staying relatively vanilla if people are going to be using tablets and e-readers to view the book.

These pages are the first three of the Character Creation section (obviously) and includes some bonus information in that it contains the skill list. The colored headers and footers of each inset box will vary with each section, to help you pick out what you're looking for as you flip through. I still might try to add that color tag to the top heading, somehow, or include a colored tab on the side of the page for reference.

These images are generated from the book layout, so they still have the gutter and the trim edges included. If the page size looks a little funny, that's why.

Think I'm going to move on to the Player Races section next so I can showcase something with some art!

Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kickstarter Video Preview!

I told you things were happening! I reviewed the first version of the Kickstarter promo video today, and it shows a lot of promise. A few edits here and there, and it will be hot to trot. Check out a screen grab from the video and see for yourself (you can click on the image to get a better look):



And, if that's not enough, I also just got off the phone with the great Chant Macleod, genius voice actor and all-around kick-ass guy. He'll be doing the voiceover track for the video. Win win win.

More to come! Get the word out! Tell literally everyone you know! This is going to be great.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Great article for small publisher pub: The Play-and-Win

I'm not going to steal the thunder so rightfully belonging to Jamey at Stonemaier Games, but the concept that he's pushing here is a great one. Basically, at a convention, small publishers submit free copies of their product. Attendees can then check it out to give it a trial run, and then turn it back in. If they liked the game, they put their name in the hat. At the end of the day, a name gets drawn and the winner takes the game home! Brilliant!

So, check out the whole post, which is masterfully done.

http://stonemaiergames.com/an-open-letter-to-small-game-conventions-from-a-tiny-publishing-company/

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Signs of Life

I'm not claiming a triumphant comeback quite yet, but seeing as this is the first post in my blog for longer than I would care to admit, it's at least something. I may have been absent from this corner of the web, but I have not been idle. Big new developments are imminent.

If you don't keep up with me on Facebook, you might not know it, but my new RPG is about ready to launch its Kickstarter. I'm developed enough to do the thing today if I really wanted to, but I'm sorting out some minor details before I get started. Getting logos created (or recreated), pulling together some preliminary art, and generally arranging all of my ducks into tidy little rows.

"Soon soon soon!" is the cry of the procrastinating hobby writer and blogger, I know. But seriously, soon.

In fact, you can now bounce over to www.breachworld.com and see that there is progress. It will just redirect you to this humble, neglected blog for now, but that's a start.

This blog will get a facelift and maybe even a slight reformat. I'll also be culling out some old stuff that's not-so-great, but the gaming and geekery materials will remain mostly intact.

I give you permission to maybe get your hopes up, just a little bit. Start telling friends. Follow on Facebook and keep an eye for some new stuff on Twitter. I'm gonna tease the hell out of this thing and by watching closely, you'll get a good preview of what's to come.

Soon.