• Random Movie Quote

    Chili Palmer: So you make movies, huh?
    Harry Zimm: I produce feature motion pictures. No T.V.

    — Get Shorty (1995)

No Fudging

I am cautious about making announcements for a game design when its this early in the process. In my last post, I announced that I would be using Fudge dice for the Luna System. My apologies to those of you that got excited about the prospect of being able to use your Fudge dice with another system than Fate or Fudge, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

What started this excitement was that I had run across some old notes concerning my failed Dresden Files campaign. After it fell apart, I discussed things with my players and we agreed that the game had some holes in it and just didn’t meet our style of play. I still wanted to play in the Dresdenverse, so I looked about and discovered Unipool on the The Forge. However, I never restarted that campaign.

I re-discovered the Unipool recently and thought that would be a good starting basis for Luna. It used Fudge dice and fused with Universalis  I’ve been in love with that game since the demo I participated in back in 2002. The rules allow for pure creativity to occur. For someone like me, it’s perfect. However, the rules are somewhat complex and encourage frequently creating a new stories with new characters. I want Luna be a game that allows for a quick start using only the written rules, and allows for continued growth within a continuing story.

After going over Unipool and attempting to add my own ideas to it, I’ve come to the conclusion that what it is and what I have in mind are not really compatible. In the interest of making the best game possible, I’ll need to drop the Fudge dice. I have some other ideas that will do better. More to come. . .

The Death of a Poll. The Rise of Luna.

lunaIf you haven’t noticed, the “How Do you Feel About Dice”” poll is now gone.

This has been the first time I’ve been accused to being an internet troll. It’s especially odd since It happened on my own web site. There were enough complaints about the poll on the poll itself, that I decided to delete it. However, I did learn a few things from the experience.

I created the “How Do you Feel About Dice?” poll in a fit of whimsy, and the language I used was cutesy. Some people didn’t like that. To them, I extend my apologies. I had not intended on stirring up a controversy for its own sake.

I phrased the poll in such a way because of the odd attachment I have seen some roleplayers develop toward their dice. I’m certain I am not the only one that has noticed this.  It is regularly lampooned in the Knights of the Dinner Table comic.

I have had some interesting conversations about the importance of dice on the RPG.net and StoryGames.com forums.

What have I leaned from this, outside of being more serious when I invite people to participate in a poll? That  have learned that roleplayers prefer a random element in a game since it can add Surprise to the story. Nobody likes a predictable story.

So, I have made a couple of decisions. First, that the upcoming Luna System will use Dice. Second, they will be Fudge Dice. Why? Because they seem to fit in with the feel that I want the game to have. There will be more on this later.

Dream Palace Conflict Resolution

DP LogoIts taken me a while to describe this accurately. Dream Palace has a unique and elegant system for resolving conflicts within the game. I’ve had to do a lot of “unlearning” when it came to game design when I came up with this.

I got into roleplaying games when I was barely out of my teens. At that time, roleplaying games had to be a near mirror of Dungeons & Dragons in order for it to be considered marketable. Things have changed over the years, though. Computer and console roleplaying games have taken the top spot over tabletop games in popularity. I’m hoping a fast and easy to learn roleplaying game will help bring players back to the tabletop.

You can read about Dream Palace’s Conflict Resolution mechanic Here.

The Crazy Brain Won

If you are a regular reader of this site, you may have already read the epic struggle between Me, my Crazy Brain, and my Perfectionist Brain.

If you haven’t read it, go here and do so. I’ll wait.

You’re back? Good.

Personally, I don’t mind the Crazy Brain at all. When it gives me an idea I can work with, I can get positively euphoric as I play with it in my head. However, it can also lead me down some tangents when I am working on a project. I can be quite the idea machine, but if I don’t spend any time actually developing them, they go nowhere.

I can get so bad that in our last gaming session together, Ralph Mazza wanted to show me a game that is somewhat similar to what I am doing, but then told me it was probably better that he didn’t because it might give me ideas.

I have been working diligently on Dream Palace for the last few weeks, but the Perfectionist Brain had been holding the project hostage. “Is this a Competitive game or a Cooperative game?” it kept asking me. Actually, this was an important question since it would affect how the game ends. Dream Palace has major elements of both. It is Cooperative since all the players are striving to come up with an entertaining story. However, it is also Competitive since all the players are jockeying to influence the story.

Miraculously, my answer was delivered to me. I have been reading  The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses by Jesse Schell. There is a section in there that addressed the question and allowed me to come up with an answer. There are some already established games that can be played both Competitively and Cooperatively!

A primary example was the old arcade game Joust. It has a “Survival Phase” in which both players need to live through in order to get 3000 bonus points, and a “Gladiator Phase” in which on must kill the other to get the 3000 bonus points.

Being able to play either way made sense for Dream Palace. A movie is primarily the combined effort of those involved, but there is always the possibility of a single star rising from the ashes or a poor movie. So, the Crazy Brain’s idea about Star Power tokens will be added to Dream Palace.

Star Power tokens will be awarded to active Cast members by members of the Audience for actions in the story that entertain them. It’s given me something to think about for the endgame, but should slow down the development of the rest of the it.

Thank you, Crazy Brain!

The Greatest Movies Never Made!

DP Logo

I am pushing forward with the development of Dream Palace. Like to know more about it? This is the Story Game of Hollywood Cinema. You can read about my goals for the game on its new page.

And the Winner Is. . .


DUNGEON WORLD! with 85 Votes.
FATE followed behind with 31.5 Votes.
EABA with 26.5 Votes took 3rd Place.

I thank everyone that participated in the poll for your interest and participation. The Feylands adventures are currently in the writing stage. More to come.

Only 3 Days Left in the Adventures! Poll

VoteThere are only three days left in the Alternative Game System Poll.  If you haven’t voted for the Open Source game system you would like to see adapted to the Feylands fantasy adventures, now is the time!

It has been an interesting measurement of popularity so far. When I first put together the poll,  I chose those systems that I had been fairly certain would get plenty of votes. But there have been a number of games that have suddenly popped up from the Other category that have become unexpected contenders. The Top 4 games at the time of this writing are:

  1. Dungeon World – 84 Votes
  2. FATE- 30.5 Votes
  3. EABA (End All Be All) 25.5  Votes
  4. Archmage System (13th Age)- 25 Votes

Our latest surprise is EABA v2.01 from BTRC. It’s only half a vote above the Archmage system from Pelgrane Press. Thank you all very much for the current feedback. It’s good to see what my audience would like to see come out of this company.

So if you haven’t voted yet, or you know some friends that would be interested, pass the word along quickly! Vote!

Fey World?

VoteTo Recap: I am making plans to publish some Fantasy Roleplaying Adventures using one of my own systems, but also wanted to make a plug-in that would allow them to be used with another game system. Naturally, I can’t do it for all of them, so I wanted to see which is the most popular of the Open Source Roleplaying Systems by running a poll on my web site for a month.

The twists and turns in the Alternate Game System Poll just keep coming. FATE  by Evil Hat Productions was in the lead for several days, but was soon overcome by a sudden surge of Dungeon World and 13 Age fans. At the time of this writing, the top three are:

  1. Dungeon World- 82 votes.
  2. Archmage System (13th Age) – 23 Votes
  3.  FATE – 16 Votes

The setting that I will base the adventures in is The Feylands. If this trend continues, I’ll hack Dungeon World into Fey World. But you never know. I may still end up making The Fay Age (Yes I know it sounds horrible, but I can’t think of a better title now) or FATE of the Feylands if things turn around.

The poll is still far from finished, so you still have time to vote for your favorite Open Source Gaming System before December 4th!


VoteLately, I have had the itch to write some adventures, mostly updates to adventures I have created for my own personal use. They are mostly Fantasy, and set in the Faerie realm of The Feylands. Think of it as the Arthurian Legends combined with Faerie Lore.

The initial plan is to make them so that the raw adventures are systemless. I also want to create system plugins for one or two of the game systems that I am working on. I would also like to make a system plug-in for one of the Open Game Systems that are out in the market.

I want to know what you want! I’ve included a poll with some of the more popular systems that have Open Licenses, so that you can vote for your favorite! The poll will close December 4th!

[yop_poll id=”3″]

A Tale of Three Brains

Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. The closer I get to the end of a project, the slower I seem to go. As I reach completion, the crazy little part of my brain keeps coming up with new ideas. It can’t help itself. It gets bored with real work. However, it will take the entire project hostage until I address its demands. It nags at me until i either include the new ideas or lay them to rest.

In this case, I am trying to finish up the beta of Dream Palace. For weeks, the crazy brain has been trying to convince me to include a point system in Dream Palace to determine a winner for the end of the game. I decided that it was unworkable and unnecessary. The Crazy Brain countered by asking me what the objective of the game was. I knew I was in major trouble now since it had gotten help from the Perfectionist Brain.

The problem with the Perfectionist Brain is that it actually wants evidence when I tell it that it is wrong. The problem with that in the case of Dream Palace is that the game system is a brand new concept. When a conflict arises in a story, it doesn’t ask, “Did you succeed?” It asks, “Who has control of the story?’ This new concept makes it extremely difficult to come up with prior examples. So, I had to logic it out. ME versus the Perfectionist Brain:

ME: I can’t use that point system. This is not a competitive game. :

PB: It’s not cooperative, either. You have the players competing.

ME: Only because movies have a Protagonist and Antagonist. Conflict drives a story.

PB: Then you need a winner, don’t you? You must have a winner, or you are not making a game. You are making a toy. You need that point system to make it into a real game. (I could sense it smiling evil at me.)

Me: Hold on. In roleplaying games, who are the players playing against? Who is the opponent?

PB: The gamemaster, of course. Duh.

ME: Wrong! The gamemaster cannot be the opponent since he is primarily a referee. He cannot win a game. The opponents are the fictional ones in the adventure itself. The players win by overcoming them. Dream Palace has its objective – to overcome the opposing side of the story, whether it be Protagonist or Antagonist.

PB: (Flaps its mouth uselessly, trying to think of something to say.)

So work continues until I finish it.. or have another idea.