Sunday, September 25, 2005

Strange Lands

I started looking at Strange Lands again, aka Odyssey. My bud Andy Rau emailed me and asked me if I'd done any work on it, and I hadn't. But I'd been vaguely thinking of doing so since Joe bugged me about it at GenCon. "You could be pimping a game at the forge booth too, dude!"

So I got it out and looked at it. Started rewriting it in LyX, for ease of PDF creation. I'm not sure about this "writing it as a generic system for a certain kind of game" thing. It might really be better done with a default setting, esp. a grabby one. But we'll see how that goes. Rules first.

I was talking to (namedrop) Paul Czege on IM the other night and I realized -- just as he was about to suggest -- that I might already have too many rules in it. I was thinking that what I needed was to add some really good "conflict resolution" rules, maybe something spiffy like Dogs has, you know. But what if I only need the rules for the stuff that directly matters in the game -- Identity and Qualities and Distance and how they go back and forth, and what the Lands are.

What if I had something with the level of focus, and rules complexity, of something like Breaking the Ice?


Saturday, September 10, 2005


I'm pondering running Sorcerer again. I've had a hard time "getting" Sorcerer in the past, but reading this review of Charnel Gods (I don't remember why I was reading it, but I was) awakened my interest again. I thought it might be interesting to run Charnel Gods, or if not Charnel Gods, Sorcerer and Sword, but if I wanted to play Sorcerer and Sword I wanted to try vanilla Sorcerer first.

So I'm reading through it again. I remember why it was so frustrating to read before -- the important game mechanics are all at the end of the book, but the beginning of the book is written as if you already know them. So it's pretty much impossible to understand on first reading.

The Sorcerer Wiki is a good reference.

The most frustrating part has always been trying to understand what the scope of the powers is supposed to be. They're written in ways that sometimes seem highly specific and sometimes hopelessly open-ended. Bopping around on the Forge and reading other people's questions to Ron and other Sorcerer players is helpful. This thread for example, specifically this post, suggests that the answer to the question "can I make this power do that???" should usually depend on answering the question "is that what the game is about?"

For example, in a necromantic game, it might be appropriate to hijack the Boost Stamina or Vitality powers and declare that they can be used to animate corpses. In a different game that might be completely inappropriate. And the players & GM work together to establish those parameters.

Cool. That actually makes sense to me.

And almost nothing the demons can do in Sorcerer just willy nilly makes the world different. Demons are virtually always tools you can use to get what you want, not wish granters which just make things the way you want. Think of demons as a means, not a shortcut to the end, and there you go.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Free Book of Wonder PDF

Via Uncle Bear, a free PDF of stories by Lord Dunsany from Creative Mountain Games.

Vital inspiration for Polaris games!