Monthly Archives: November, 2012

NaGaDeMon 2012, Status Check November 19

In case you’re wondering about the dearth of posts here this month, I’ve mostly been working on Echelon for the last few weeks for National Game Development Month.

Status 2012/11/19

Given that I am starting from the Revised System Reference Document, the following game elements will be considered.  I might apply them roughly as-is, change them, drop them altogether, or do something else entirely.

RSRD Game Constructs

Game Element Status Date Notes
Ability Scores not started 2012/11/02 Dropped; to be replaced by talents.
Races not started 2012/11/02 Cornerstone Talents.  Lose Level Adjustment, instead just have the LA-causing benefits happen at higher tiers.  None documented yet.
Classes not started 2012/11/02 Archetypes (talent sets often taken by that archetype), probably keystones (cap and corner).  Class abilities will likely become talents.  None documented yet.
Prestige Classes in progress 2012/11/19 Many can definitely be capstones, I have some examples already (Arcane Archer, Dwarven Defender, Shadowdancer).  Examination shows that many RSRD prestige classes, at least, are not particularly good candidates for capstone talents.  I’ve had a look through other sources of prestige classes and found them significantly richer.
Skills not started 2012/11/02 Talents, with 4e-style behavior (bonus plus extra effect); extra effect increases with tier.  Consider mining Epic rules for increased skill abilities, right now the core skill effects are pretty mild.
Feats N/A 2012/11/19 Talent building blocks, early drafts will likely refer to feats directly for effects.  Iron Heroes, Agents of Faith, and FantasyCraft have all been mined for talent material, and I would like to go back and mine the Iron Heroes classes for more.
Spells not started 2012/11/02 Talent building blocks, early drafts will likely refer to spells directly for effects.  Spell-related talents (such as magical traditions) may simply list the associated spells.
Domains done 2012/11/19 Many created from Agents of Faith. Divine powers are expected to be fueled by divine channelling rather than by spell casting.  Many divine characters will be casters, many won’t.
Monsters not started 2012/11/02 As characters, constructed from talents.

I’ve done a lot of work, but don’t seem to have made a lot of specific progress on the items above.  I think that’s a little misleading.

Echelon Game Elements

From the table above, it looks like I haven’t addressed much.  That is misleading, I think, because much of what I have been doing is groundwork for what comes next.  I expect things to soon start moving pretty fast.

Echelon doesn’t have many moving parts, really.

Game Element Status Date Notes
Character Scores done 2012/11/19 In character creation document.
Character Creation and Evolution in progress 2012/11/19 In character creation document.
Task Resolution in progress 2012/11/19 In core rules document.
Cornerstone Talents in progress 2012/11/19 In cornerstone talents document, will cover races.
Common Talents in progress 2012/11/19 In documents according to origin: Iron Heroes mastery featsFantasyCraft featsAgents of Faith domain feats, new talents.  Still want to do “Skill talents” and Iron Heroes class abilities talents.
Capstone Talents in progress 2012/11/19 On web site: Creating from Prestige Classes, Arcane Archer, Dwarven Defender, Shadowdancer.
Archetypes not started 2012/11/19 Will do, not sure about formatting.
Spells not started 2012/11/19 Using RSRD spells more or less as written (may override things like duration and range to simplify, but that can be done on an ad hoc basis for now).  Will want talents for spell knowledge, might go with something like Eldritch Weaver Threads for this pass.
Monsters not started 2012/11/19 To be done much as characters.  Once I finish bootstrapping some talents these should go quickly.

This looks a little more like progress has been made, yes?

Megadungeoncrawl: Session 3, Elves are Jackasses

I can’t prove it, but empirical evidence gathered last night suggests elves in this campaign are jackasses.

Two returning players last night, two new players, and I think none of them had ever played together before.

Erik Tenkar and Gabriel Perez Gallardi were back, joined this week by Charlie White and Jason Paul McCartan.  The latter two were elves and between them changed the tone of the game quite a bit.

“Dungeon crawls are serious business” is a pretty common belief, and these two turned that on its head.

We got off to a bit of a slow start, I think in part because I was still in serious mode.  Exploring, trying to describe what is around them so they can make sound decisions about what to do, what to examine in greater detail, what to…

I decided to shortcut things a bit.  The next few levels are much like the two they’d  just searched, they quickly passed through each.  They found find that the deeper they got, the more of the monkey-sized multi-limbed automatons (they were making their way down the Clockwork Tower and the section they were in had multiple levels simply so the people who had worked here before could access the parts for maintenance) they saw climbing amongst the machinery in the four columns “doing stuff”.

I made this area a stark, just-for-maintenance area that was relatively sterile. In retrospect I could have made each level have a different purpose, all driven by clockwork, with couplings hooking up to the drive shaft running up the clockwork tower.  Instead of metal catwalks around and between the drive columns I could have had levels full of mechanical wonders with obvious, or inobvious because nothing was working, purpose.

Note for next time.  I think this wasn’t bad and it did make sense for what I pictured it doing, but this area could have been so much more than it was.

Gabriel had to leave about this time, one of the hazards of having players in time zones east of my own and playing during the week, which meant he missed the big scene for this session.

The PCs have made their way into the Clockwork Hell.  They found the four drive columns decoupled from the primary drive column that would normally turn all four.  The primary drive column was turning.  Going down the stairs from here they found themselves in a huge smog-filled room housing a massive steam engine providing the mechanical force turning the primary drive column.

This is where I gained evidence that elves are jackasses.


NaGaDeMon 2012 Progress, November 12

Almost halfway into the month, and I’m pretty happy with my progress.

I’ve posted a few articles on design elements of Echelon, I’m partway into my draft of the core rules, and I’ve posted three documents of talents, from three different sources.

My next step is to get the core rules drafted.  As someone commented, “make it exist, make it good, make it better”, and this is the path I’m aiming for.  The talents above are not polished yet, but they are generally usable, and places where they don’t align with the rules (such as mentioning ability scores) I can correct as needed… but right now, they exist and that’s enough for the moment.

Megadungeoncrawl: Session 2, Inadequately Planned

Last week we had our second session of the megadungeoncrawl.  Erik and Michael were unavailable, so Courtney Campbell was joined by James Aulds and Gabriel Perez Gallardi.

Honestly, I’m not as pleased with how well I ran this session.  I’d spent more time preparing specifically for this session, but when it came time to run I ended up relying too much on my prepared material… and ended up overlooking things that could have changed things for the PCs.  Had I been winging it a little more I probably would have thought a little harder during play, rather than trying to find the right notes.

Ah well.  I still have a few hours before the session tonight, I can polish up the notes to cover the sorts of things I missed last time.

That aside, I was pleasantly surprised by how the players handled themselves.  They explored some, but abandoned buildings with nothing really left alive in them are kind of tedious.  When they found a small group of goblins things got rather more interesting.

Do you have any idea how easy it is to manipulate desperately starving goblins?

“Surrender and we will hire you!”

“You give food too?”

“You can earn food.”


Followed a short time later by

“You’re the leader.  Get one of your goblins to search that area and tell us what he sees, we’ll give him bonus food.  And you get food too.”

“Gorn” “Frank” “Right, you call him Frank.  Frank kicks another goblin in the ass and tells him to have a look around…”

In an objective sense they really didn’t do much last session, basically checking out a couple of areas below the Abandoned Tower and finding a way into the Clocktower with what appears to be an easy way down.  They now have paths to follow that lead down below the Abandoned Tower, down into the Clocktower, and some goblins that may be willing to guide them to their warren to help with their wolf problem.

Maybe they got done more than I thought.

Kickstarter: Modest Medusa Coloring Book!

I cannot convey how utterly disappointed I am that I don’t know anyone right now with kids the right age for this.

A small, short Kickstarter campaign — started November 5, closes November 10, already 1,100/600 funded.

Yes.  That small.  The rewards are similarly small, $4 for a digital copy, $7 for a print copy ($12 outside Canada), $23 for the coloring book and Modest Medusa Season 1 ($33 outside the US).

Oh my gods, the Kitty Egg Crayons you can get at higher tiers are cute.

… I don’t gush over ‘cute’ very often.  Don’t get used to it.

This one makes me smile.  Hard.

Modest Medusa Coloring Book!

Modest Medusa Coloring Book!

Kickstarter Status Report, November 4, 2012

Erik Tenkar‘s updated his Kickstarter status report.  My backing list overlaps him to some degree, but we each have things the other didn’t back.  I thought I’d offer some of my own observations for projects I’ve backed that I don’t see that he has (we both backed Tabletop Forge and Adventurer Conqueror King Player’s Companion).

Regarding Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, I was one of the last  backers to be shipped (actually asked, when he said he had something like three dozen to go) and I’ve got my copy. Erik, I think you can mark this one done.

Stuff That’s Late

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places has delivered PDFs but not physical copy; estimated delivery Jan 2012. 660/500 funded Nov 2, 2011

Shadow Days estimated Aug 2012. 20,271/7,000 funded Apr 23, 2012. Latest word (Oct 31) is some difficulties at the factory to do with production.

Dungeon World estimated Aug 2012. 82,879/4,000 funded Jun 30, 2012. Latest word (Oct 31) is “almost done indexing, hopefully off to the printer around Nov 7 for printing and proofing and delivery to North American backers before Christmas”.

Serpent’s Tongue – Become Magi estimated July 2012.  195,101/18,000 funded on May 13, 2012.  Latest update at Kickstarter was August 28, 2012, but they are active at Google+, showing what they are working on.  I haven’t been paying close attention, but I’m told by people I trust that it’s looking even better than it did during the Kickstarter.  Not worried about this, the estimated delivery dates were… incredibly optimistic, let us say.

Tenra Bansho Zero estimated October 2012.  129,640/9,000 funded on September 16, 2012.  I think the estimate was a somewhat optimistic anyway (two month turnaround on set this complex), and I’m inclined to cut Andy a fair bit of slack — this got rather bigger than I think anyone expected.  Pre-print PDFs have gone out, identified corrections have been applied to masters.  We’ve seen it in not-quite-done state.  Latest Update October 30, 2012.

Monster Tokens by Devin Night estimated October 2012.  11,046/6,000 funded on August 30, 2012.  Last update October 30, 2012.  Tokens should be available fairly soon, printable PDFs coming after that.  Working now on the expansion material and has promised weekly updates.  Updates have consistently included samples of what has been done.  Late, but I’m not concerned.  Good communications and progress shown.