Friday, October 31, 2014

Starting Up a New Project

Klaxon and I started work on a new project this week. It's called _The Necklace_, which I have talked about before, and it's a setting for StarCluster 3. It may include a ruleset - very little overhead, and people can use it without buying the main book - but it definitely with have specialized chargen.

_The Necklace_ is a gas torus around a neutron star, conceptually based on Larry Niven's Smoke Ring, but containing lots of differences. We came up with three separate settlings of slowboats from Earth, which will result in three major options for Humans. The first humans to settle the Necklace - about 450 years ago - went in for genetic engineering their offspring to survive quite well in the vast zero/microG torus. They are now called Altisherpas, and they settle all sorts of places in the Necklace. The second group of settlers came in about 250 years ago, and were the victim of shoddy construction. Their slowboat's society disintegrated, and they were flown to the Necklace by the ship's AI and released before the ship fell apart. Their society remains scattered and rather primitive. The third wave of settlement came in about 100 years ago, and settled on various asteroids along The River, in autonomous towns.

Some of the asteroids were set with grav plates by The Seeders, who built The River long ago, and the natives have grav-paved more since. There is an earth sized world in the torus, the core of the gas giant that provided the gas for the torus, as well as substantial agglomerations of asteroids at the leading and trailing trojans - L4 and L5. There are former moons stripped from the gas giant in the torus, as well large asteroids. And uniting it all is The River.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lowell Was Right! Available From Amazon

Looks like Lowell Was Right! is finally available in print from Amazon. Took them long enough! :D

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blast From The Past on High Strung!

I tripped across a post over on the RPG Site about a rock 'n roll RPG, and in a comment, I stated how I would go about it...

This was in 2006, eight years ago!

What I said was "I'd do it as a straight historical game. Since I know the subject - I was a rock'n'roller - I'd pick the period, research it, describe the conflicts that defined the era, and hinge the game on that. I'd set up metrics for internal tension vs. personal satisfaction - basically internal tension is the drive and ego of each of the bandmembers, while personal satisfaction is fame, money, and artistic worth. So long as personal satisfaction is greater than internal tension, the band stays together. If the reverse happens, it triggers problems. The group can kick out a PC, the PC can voluntarily leave, or the group breaks up and the campaign ends."

That's not too far from where I actually ended up, basing everything on the Hope mechanic. Huh! Thank God I had eight years to learn how to write RPGs in between, though! :D

Kitbashing for Fun and (no) Profit

This weekend, on a camping trip, played a rough cut kit bash of our  WWII Paratrooper game. We had a lot of fun, and kicked ass doing so! I do not anticipate smoothing this into an actual game package. We played out the awful drop against Oran in North Africa against the French - everything went wrong, and only 12 planes dropped their paratroopers anywhere near Oran - many planes ended up in French and Spanish Morocco, and one landed in Gibraltar.

The PC's squad, led by a PC Corporal, was sent off to screw over the airstrip in La Senia, just south of Oran, while the rest of the 12 plane drop went off to attack the more important airfield at Tafraoui. The PC paratrooper squad, using a combination of stealth, explosives, sniping, and mortars wrecked the airfield with no injuries to the squad. They ended up using Luck and cover rolls - they made every single cover roll they attempted - to prevent injuries and deaths, and generally kicked ass. In real life, La Senia was attacked from the air, and eventually taken by an armored company.

Ah! That PC glow! Apparently this game is not deadly enough! :D

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

High Strung - Random Blurbs from Non-Entities

I've included some ersatz reviews in High Strung, including these "Random Blurbs from Non-Entities:"

"Random snatches of mere ugliness sunk in a vast
miasma of yawning horror"
"A sullen, brutish ignorance hammering in vain anger at
the gates of music."
"At times I almost didn't want to eat a shotgun"
"Like the sound of 20 zombies fapping into roadkill, full
of sound and fury, and signifying lobotomy"
"To take the edge off the taste, I stuck my tongue repeatedly
into a nearby socket"
"All the grace and delicacy of a pig on quaaludes lap
dancing in a clown suit."
"I sadly realized I could've been puncturing my testicles
with a power drill instead"
"A buzzkill four lines of coke couldn't dent"

I want to put three of them on the back cover, but which ones would have the biggest impact?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Music Critics for High Strung

Music critics show up at a gig on a d20 roll with a result of 1. They can show up at any club at any time, and it's hard to notice them among the band's following, casual strangers, and bar-hopping groupies. Music critics look like any other person - they don't dress in a suit and tie or little black dress. They might have tats, or piercings, or strange hair, just like any other patron, and can be of any gender, race, and orientation. For every gig, roll a second d20. On a roll of 1, someone in the band will 'see' the critic, whether or not a critic is actually there. If they *do* roll a 1, and a critic is there, the critic will be properly identified. Otherwise, they are deluding themselves.

If a critic is in the audience, they will write a review, so take the raw Performance and Show scores for each aspect of the gig. For every 3 scored, the critic will write something positive, and for every 1 or 0 scored, they will pan that aspect in their review. If there are more positives than negatives, the overall review will be positive, and the band will gain 40 points of Notice, and each member will gain a Hope. If the negatives outweigh the positives, the overall review will be negative, and the band will lose 40 points of Notice, and each member will lose a Hope.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

High Strung out for Beta Testing

I've sent High Strung out to the first Beta Testers today. I think it's all basically there, it all works, and now I need reaction to how it is worded and explained. This should be out finally by the end of the year!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Princess Doodad and Barf Dribble review High Strung (Podcast Transcript)

(Barf Dribble) Tonight we are doing a playtest review of High Strung by Flying Mice Games.
(Princess Doodad) Right Barf! We ran a game with Chicken Eatza, Macho Pizza, and Earthworm Jim - and me of course - taking the parts of the various characters. Barf was the Game Master, and came up with the scenario.
(BD) Yeah... they guy who wrote this piece of crap didn't bother writing an adventure.
(PD) So I made this awesome character, Stephie Dildo, who is like 17 and really cute. She plays like this guitar shaped like an axe, and made of steel. Her costume is this awesome black leather armor  with lots of spikes. Her Race is Jail Bait, Jail Baits get +2 to Cute, and her Class is Headbanger.
(BD) Chick made a Beatnik Soulman named Bob Chick, Machie made a Elderly Funkmaster! named Fred, and Jim made a Hippy Blues Brother named Sunshine Moon, cause he's this hippy. The Races and Classes in this game are totally stupid! Like who wants to be Elderly? But you randomly Roll your Race, so we played it RAW.
(PD) (Giggles) I liked MY character! Stephie was ultra awesome!
(BD) So anyway, Bob Chick's weapon was a bass guitar shaped like a sword, Fred had two drumstick wands that he used to cast his songs, and Jim played a tabla, which is some kind of Hippy drum.
In this game, the idiot who designed it makes you draw Hit Points and Magic Points from the same pool, called Hope...
(PD) Yeah, like they have anything to do with each other!
(BD)... which is another thing that bothered me, along with the no module thing. The designer keeps naming stuff wierdly. Like the Race names are weird, the Class names are weird, and the stat names are just fucked! Like VOIS for casting Songs, or FNGR for fighting. Just stupid!
(PD) I liked CUTE for, y'know, being cute!
(BD) Well, one outa... a lot isn't too good, Princess! Why do designers always gotta change names for stuff that already has perfectly good names? I just don't get it, and it irritated me.
(PD) I think I liked the game more than you, Barf!
(BD) Aaaanyways, The party was, like, totally poor. A total Zero to Hero trip! We had Crap Jobs, Crap Clothes, and Crap weapons... I mean Instruments. See? Why change the name? I had to ask them all these stupid questions about their families and shit. Nothing at all about fighting. I suggested everyone just be orphans who just quit their crap jobs, and everyone was cool with that.
(PD) Remember, the Hippie and the Elderly guy had decent stuff!
(BD) Yeah, but the Hippie sold his stuff for weed, and the Elderly dude was old so he forgot he was rich or something. What kinda stuff you got was tied into your age for some reason, so the guys who couldn't do anything got all the decent swag!
(PD) Yeah, right! I made Stephie's costume, though, so that was cool!
(BD) Yeah - she had the most useful skill there, making costumes!
(PD) She made +2 Costumes!
(BD) Pretty swank for a Jail Bait!
(PD) Thanks, Barf!
(BD) So anyway, you gotta get a gig. A gig is like an adventure...
(PD) And you lose HP between adventures, and gain HP from doing them.
(BD) Totally numb! Why? It doesn't say. I just said you guys all have wounds that didn't heal good.
(PD) Which made sense. That was some sweet GMing there, Barf!
(BD) Ya gotta know when to improvise, Princess! The designer just forgot to explain it, so I had ta improvise.
(PD) So Barf came up with an aawesome gig!
(BD) (Laughs) Yeah! Totally! They went to the tavern and were like dicking around with their weapons, and I had this old geezer...
(PD) ...He had the most awesome songs!
(PD) Then when the Party jumped to their feet, the bottom of the  tavern like opened up and we slid into a pit! Us and all our groupies too!
(BD) Groupies are what this dickhead calls henchmen.
(PD) Stephie had like the most hen... groupies...
(BD) See what I mean?
(PD) ... cause she was so ultra cute!
(BD) And she had the Groupies skill too!
(PD) So we fight the orcs in the pit, and found a door that openend into the dungeon! Oh! There was treasure too! New +1 instruments and armo... i mean costumes.
(BD) Yeah - there was no treasure even mentioned anywhere! I just made it all up!
(PD) So we fought these undead, and like we were wailing with out weapons, and Fred cast a Song. We all had to sacrifice HP to power the song, which was awesomely dark! I was imagining Steffie cutting open a vein to let out the blood! Cool idea!
(BD) But there was no actual songs! We looked through the book and found squat! It's like they dicked around with the formatting and lost like half the rules, and didn't notice! So I made shit up again! Gotta keep the game moving! We allrolled our skill dice, like the RAW says...
(PD) And we rolled AWESOME! We all almost maxed out!
(BD) So I looked up the result on the charts - I'm doing this completely RAW, like I said before - and the party gets some treasure deal with multi albums and creative control. I was like what the fuck? Then it says game over. GAME OVER? REALLY? Totally LAME! LAME OVER I say!
(PD) Yeah! That was weird!
(BD) I fugured multi-albums was like the games gold pieces, and creative control meant something like controlling other people like zombies, but why was the game over? We had jusr STARTED!
(PD) I really liked Steffie too!
(BD) What's the use of getting treasure when you can't use it because the FREAKING GAME'S OVER? That was just NUMB! So I just had the gang make characters for D&D 5, and we started that. So, my verdict? PIECE OF CRAP! Stay away from this insane dogpile of a game! It was incomplete, confusing, and just pretentious as shit!
(PD) I liked it better than Barf, but I still don't know why it ended!
(BD) Talk to you next week, when we'll review another new game!
(PD) See ya!