Thursday, October 20, 2011

L5R to AW: Wealth

I was meaning to post this last week, but life got busy! Here's the next installment of the Legend of the Five Rings to Apocalypse World hack.

Apocalypse World is a setting of scarcity. A lot of what happens in that setting is based on the fact that resources are few and there are people competing for them. In Legend of the Five Rings, the player characters are part of the aristocracy. Want is not something that they need to worry about (with a couple of exceptions). Because of this, wealth works a little differently in my hack. Almost all characters get some wealth to play with every session, and I put together some tables for the cool things you can do with it.

Characters' uses of wealth can be found in this PDF.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

L5R to AW: Something New

Monday I covered the Basic Moves. As you saw, I added a bit to the list, but for the most part I stuck pretty close to AW's main set.

This time, I put together a little something extra, available to all samurai (not ronin, usually). These are Staff Moves. You can have several kinds of staff as a samurai:
  1. Soldiers, if you have a military rank.
  2. Bodyguards, for people who need assistance for defense.
  3. Servants, for anyone of sufficient importance.
  4. Aides, if you have been awarded a political position.

The various effects of Staff, as well as a quickie mechanic for Favor at court, can be found in this PDF.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hacking Apocalypse World to Legend of the Five Rings

One of my favorite games in the last 15 years has been Legend of the Five Rings. I had a lot of fun with it when the first edition came out, and recently I started a new campaign with my regular game group. Sadly, the recent campaign ran into trouble. System trouble.

4th Edition Legend of the Five Rings really rewards system mastery. If you can figure out how to optimize your character build with skill, stats, and advantages, you can really create a powerful, or possibly overpowering, character. The makeup of my group is two players who love this part of the game, and three players who could care less about character builds. This led to a very unbalanced play group and some serious problems for my game.

After playing some Apocalypse World, I decided to hack it to L5R, because AW is right up the alley of at least one of my players. I'd like to share the hack here on the blog. This is a completely unofficial hack, I have no rights to either AW or L5R. Enjoy and share.

The first step is to convert the stats. AW has five: Cool, Hard, Hot, Sharp, and Weird. I decided to stick a bit closer to AW for this, but conveniently, there are five stats and five rings. I changed the names to fit the L5R flavor better:

The Fire ring stands for Bold. With Bold, you can defy danger and duel. Defy danger comes from Dungeon World, but I just loved that term, and it fits with Bold.

The Earth ring stands for Strong. With Strong, you can threaten violence and fight.

The Water ring stands for Elegant. With Elegant, you can seduce or manipulate or engage in a battle of words.

The Air ring stands for Sagacious. With Sagacious, you can read a person or read a situation.

Lastly, the Void ring stands for Blessed. With Blessed, you can commune with your ancestors or commune with the kami.

These actions all map pretty closely to actions in AW. I added a few, and now each ring has two actions you can undertake. I think the duel is the weakest of the new ones.

For the full Basic Move writeups, here's a PDF.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shelter In Place: A Game of Zombie Survival Horror

Well, it seems zombies are popular these days. My good friend J.R. Blackwell wrote a little game, a live action thing where you take turns being zombies and survivors. And then she asked me to publish it. I agreed, quickly!

Now we're doing a pre-printing fundraiser to cover our initial costs. If you get in on it now, you can get little zombie toys, extra material for the game, and other cool stuff, including J.R. to come and run it for you.

Check out our Kickstarter campaign for Shelter In Place.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Geeking in Public

This week is Speak Out with Your Geek Out!

This post is about being a public geek. Back when I was in Middle School and High School, and even in college, I used to be a bit embarrassed about my hobbies and geeky taste in movies and books. I would only talk about them to people I knew were fellow enthusiasts. With everyone else, I'd pretend to be 'normal.'

I love role-playing games, and fantasy and sci-fi movies and books. These things are a part of my life, and one of the parts where I get the most of fulfillment and enjoyment.

Hiding this is actually a pretty lame way to live. Who wants to feel guilty and ashamed about the things they like? As I got older, graduated and started my working career, I slowly became less and less shy about discussing my hobbies.

At this point, I'm pretty open about gaming with everyone. This isn't to say I bring it up out of the blue or try to force it into conversations on completely unrelated topics. It's just that I mention what I'm doing if people ask about vacations when I'm headed off to a convention, or about what I did over the weekend. I talk about all this with confidence and a lack of shame. Coworkers and other interested parties may not follow your hobbies, but I've never had anyone judge now that I'm an adult.

So, I say read an RPG in public. Play one in public. Don't be afraid to talk about what you like and what you do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Metatopia and My New Game

I've been working on a new design here and there over the last year or so. After How We Came to Live Here, I really threw myself into Bulldogs! to get that finished, and I've been doing a lot of editing of Mortal Coil supplements, Bulldogs! supplements, and other people's games. I definitely let my own game design take a back burner.

One of the issues is that a lot of what I'm interested in doesn't have a big market appeal. Bulldogs! is obviously an exception, and if I'm going to be making a go of it as a publisher I should be thinking about the larger market. That's something I'm always wrestling with. How We Came to Live Here is a beautiful little gem that I poured a lot of myself into, and it's my worst-selling game to date. I would hate to have never done it, though.

My latest is again something I'm not sure has a ton of mainstream appeal. I'm toying with ideas about fantasy and politics, and about card-based mechanics. I need to sit down and get cracking, though, because I want at least an early playtest version by November. That's when Metatopia will be held and I want to go with game in hand.

If you haven't heard about Metatopia, please check it out. It's a convention specifically created for game designers, and I'm hoping some of the local designers will go. Dreamation and DexCon have always been really friendly to the indie game designer, and Metatopia is meant to truly cater to that market. We'll see how it goes, but I'm willing to commit. I think an entire con devoted to the idea of building your own games is exciting and awesome.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Due to Circumstances beyond Our Control...

Livejournal is dead and seems to attract lots and lots of spam. It also serves up obnoxious ads.

The Galileo Games web site seems best suited to only business-related updates.

My old Blogger blog was registered under an e-mail address I no longer have access to, and was not hooked in to my Gmail account and general Google identity.

All this is by way of saying, welcome to my new blog! I thought I'd get this started up because next week is the Speak Out with Your Geek Out event and I'm planning to participate.