Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Keeping Myself Busy

These last few months have been not only busy with regards to work, graduate courses, and the home front, but they've been extraordinarily stressful as well. The poor economy, coupled with workplace shenanigans, has everyone around here on edge, and in such an environment it's difficult to get anything meaningful accomplished.

And so it is that when I can't get my mind wrapped around Java code or Group Policy Orchestrator or disk imaging and deployment strategies, I turn to RPGs to find something to keep me occupied. As I've mentioned before, I'm a great fan of Google Docs - wherever I go, as long as I've got a reasonably stable Internet connection, my gaming "workbench" is there with me. I can pull up a project and get a few minutes of my own work done before getting back to my professional duties.

Right now I've got three main projects on the burners. The first is the Tankards & Broadswords Role-Playing Game. Right now I've got a fair-sized working draft that should be more or less complete by the end of the month. Running parallel to this is the T&B magic supplement, which I am explicitly keeping out of the "core rules", since I see T&B as easily applicable for historical gaming as well as fantasy, and to encourage this model I want to approach the game in a more modular fashion - treating things like magic, technology, and campaign settings as "plug-ins" to the core rules.

The third project I'm working on is a campaign setting for T&B - The Ancient and Venerable City-State of Aglos. More of a "mini-setting" than a true "world", Aglos is a big ol' fondue pot of pre-medieval flavors - a little bit of Rome, a little Greece, a touch of Persia, some Egypt, a smattering of Celt/Gaulic barbarism, and a sprinkling of other ancient classical cultures. Aglos is going to be a fairly low-magic setting, more of an "alternate Earth", perhaps vaguely along the lines of the world Gary Gygax created for his Setne Inhetep stories (The Anubis Murders, et al). Depending on how that project goes, I want to look at two other concepts - a Napoleonic Era setting and a campaign setting I've tenatively labeled "600 AD" - a very dark setting of chaos and turmoil in a post-Roman western Europe.

So that's the current list of what's "on deck". Coupled with this is some miniatures work in order to get a couple of small Field of Glory armies ready for the table, and a big push to get my 40K Ork army tidied up in time to take on the Imperial Guard this summer - I'll be "celebrating" the IG's new codex by slaughtering them in the hundreds.

Oh yeah...and there's programming homework and work work and taxes and all that other fun stuff...I'll get around to that sooner or later.


Joseph said...

So is your T&B RPG a retro-clone, retro-inspired, or something new? Sounds like it could be interesting.

Badelaire said...

Definitely not retro-anything.

The T&B RPG will probably have more in common with The Evil DM's Broadsword RPG, or Simon Washbourne's Barbarians of Lemuria, or the Iron Gauntlets RPG.

A few highlights:

* Characters are based around a Trio of Archetypes: Warrior, Rogue, and Scholar. Optional rules for non-archetypal characters are included.

* There are three groups of six skills, each associated with one of the three archetypes, ranked from 1 (Novice) to 6 (Master).

* When characters reach Professional and Master levels of competency, they can take Skill Focuses, which grant a bonus to rolls under certain situations.

* The game uses a Traveller-like mechanic of 2d + Skill, aiming to exceed a variable Break Point (either based on circumstances or an opposed roll).

* Damage is typically 1d + weapon bonus + Balance (how much you exceed the Break Point). This is reduced by armor (a static value), then the damage is applied to health.

* "Experience" is handled through Character Tokens, which allow you to purchase skills, Peril checks (basically saves), Status values (Renown, Infamy, Wealth), and Signature Gear (equipment you have every adventure).

* Money at the system level is handled through Treasure Tokens, an abstract measure of in-game currency. Your Wealth Status gives you Treasure Tokens at the beginning of every adventure to buy gear, and Equipment in the core rules uses Treasure Tokens for cost rather than "GP" or whatnot, in order to separate system from setting currency.

* The game is designed to facilitate episodic adventure play rather than a linear campaign progression. While individual sessions might move along linearly, each "adventure" might be separated by days, weeks, or even years.

* Rules for "Intermissions" can allow for events between adventures to have a direct impact on play - characters can gain skills, status values, treasure, information, and even allies or enemies in between games.

* Eventually various "plug-ins" for magic and/or supernatural abilities will give a number of options for GMs to decide what sort of magic they want to implement in their campaigns.

Feel free to offer up any additional comments or questions!

Ragnorakk said...

Can't wait to see this!