Nov 26, 2013

24 hour RPG Challenge - Wacky Love – The End

Babbling at the Counter #17.5 – Pen and Paper

24 hour RPG Challenge - Wacky Love – The End

Well, now I’m wrapping up my little 24 hour project. I’m pleased with the final result (link at the bottom of the post) but we’ll talk about that later.

Today, I want to say how fun the 24 hour RPG Challenge is. If you abide by the rules, having a set time and working on something completely new, it will surprise you what you are capable of.

I really recommend it to everyone who would like to try his hand at RPG game designing. By working on such a short time span, you can actually see what your design strengths and weaknesses are. And by the end, you’ll have something to show for it.

As a personal example, I’ve been working on 3 different RPG ideas for the last few months. What do I have so far? Almost nothing. I’ve written and rewritten things thousands of times, and now it doesn’t amount to much.

And even though I’ve done the same at the Challenge (and the final result is not as vast or complete as I would have wanted), at least now I see how I actually work.

So, yeah, loads of fun. Try it.

And for video game designers, I’ve read about the 7DRL Challenge. It’s pretty similar to this, only a week long and about Rogue Like games. Just saying…

Will leave a link to a nicer version of the game as soon as I have one. For now, here are the plain rules. Tell me what you think!

- The Storeman

Nov 25, 2013

24 hour RPG Challenge - Wacky Love - Start

Babbling at the Counter #17 - RPG

24 hour RPG Challenge - Wacky Love - Start

Hello, how are you all? I know it's weird to see a post on Monday, but I wanted to make an announcement: I'm working on a 24 hour RPG Challenge.

It works like this (but please, follow the link to read the full ruleset): I have 24 hours to make a complete RPG game. Simple, yes. Easy, no.

My game will be Wacky Love, a romantic comedy parody. It's kind of a competitive RPG, which is something I didn't expect. This is just the way things went.

Tomorrow there will be a post with my experiences with the challenge and the link to download the game. For today, I'll leave a link to the forum thread of my challenge: Wish me luck!

- The Storeman

Nov 24, 2013

Tower of Heaven, Blasphemous Ascension

Review #17 - Free Video Game

Tower of Heaven, Blasphemous Ascension

Keeping with the divine theme from last week, for today I have Tower of Heaven, a puzzle plataformer with a few unique twists. You'll guide your character in his/her ascension towards the top of the Tower, while avoiding the wrath of a deity.

The graphics are simple, with a Game Boy-like feel. The game is short, but death is easy, so it will keep you entertained for a few hours. And if you are up for the challenge, there are a few secrets to unlock. Be warned though, it's not easy.

You may like the setting or not (even though the game is not exactly "deep", it seems to make fun of the arbitrary way of some religious rules, for example), I'm not going to defend it.
Tower of Heaven is here because of the way it deals with challenges. It's really interesting to see how the game develops, mechanically speaking, adding a lot of obstacles but not changing the scenery much. It's weird, You'll understand when you play it.
What are you waiting for? Go play it!
- The Storeman

Disclaimer: I didn’t upload any of the content in the following link. I have downloaded and checked it as I always do. I have even executed it in my own computer and did not experience any kind of problems. But I can’t ensure that it is free of virus and/or malware that my anti-virus programs couldn’t find. That’s the author’s responsibility.
(This links leads to an online version of the game. On the lower part of the page you’ll find the download link)

Nov 19, 2013

Having a Clear Agenda

Babbling at the Counter #16 - Story Structure

Having a Clear Agenda

This is something video games are great at (and both writers and GMs can benefit a lot by learning from them). The question is: What's the protagonist/player (or players) supposed to be doing? Because, sometimes we all forget about it.

For example, each episode of "Mighty Morphin (sic) Power Rangers" follows a simple script: The evil guy tosses the Rangers around for a while, a lot of Troopers fight them, monster starts losing, they make a ridiculous superweapon, the bad guy grows, megazord, it dies. Say what you want, but they are consistent.

Now, think. In your story, who are the Troopers? Do your characters have a signature weapon? How are they supposed to defeat their enemy?

The Troopers (a.k.a. "Mooks") are the cannon fodder; the kind of obstacle that you send to shave away some hit points and other resources. They are not really a challenge, but successive encounters can weaken the protagonists. In a game, you see them all the time, everywhere in a given level or zone. In a story or RPG, they are the easily identified creatures that the heroes eat for breakfast. You can get some character development or set up a mystery in a scene with them, but most of the time they provide "danger" in a familiar setting with an easy solution.

The signature weapon is how you expect the characters to end an encounter. It's a sure way to get things done, and unless they cannot use it, why the heck won't they use it? If you want to keep some level of suspense, using this weapon should require that the characters "soften" the enemy first. Think the Ghost-trap from Ghostbusters: first they shot the ghost with some proton pack beams, and then they trap it.
Now, do your characters kill their opponents? Or they just capture them for the police? Yeah, you'll want so shake things up now and then, but most of the time it's useful to have a "formula" or procedure to follow.

There are a lot of other "fixed points" you can have to help you organize your ideas (like, "where do the missions came from?", for example) but I'll save them for a future Babble.

It's not about limiting your creativity, it's about setting some guidelines to help yourself (and your players). As a game designer called Mark Rosewater (maybe you've heard of him) says: “Restrictions breed Creativity". Have fun!

- The Storeman

Nov 17, 2013

City of the Condemned, Holy War!

Review #16 - Free Video Game

City of the Condemned, Holy War!

In this mass-combat roguelike you get to choose between the Heavenly Host and the forces of Hell to fight for dominance over the city. On one side, the demons try to possess and kill every human, while the angels want to bless them and eradicate the demons. In theory the demons can also win by killing all the angels, but, good luck with that.

The interesting fact is that demons and angels aren't evenly matched. As each angel is much more powerful than any given demon, they get fewer fighters. Demons usually have over fifty units, and angels no more than twenty. Angels can heal themselves and disguise themselves as humans; demons can't attack unless they possess a human body (which can still rebel against the evil spirit).

The only downside is that, as random generated games usually do, bad luck can make you die very early or get stuck with only one demon left somewhere in the giant map for hours.
Still, great short game, with a lot of replayability.

- The Storeman

Disclaimer: I didn’t upload any of the content in the following link. I have downloaded and checked it as I always do. I have even executed it in my own computer and did not experience any kind of problems. But I can’t ensure that it is free of virus and/or malware that my anti-virus programs couldn’t find. That’s the author’s responsibility.
External Link:

Nov 7, 2013

Tiny d10 – My First Playtest

Babbling at the Counter #15.5 – Pen and Paper / Tiny d10 Playtest

Tiny d10 – My First Playtest

What’s Tiny d10? Well, it’s a free RPG system that’s in its early stages of development. As such, its author is asking for some feedback about what’s been published so far.

As the game is “Absolutely free… forever”, it’s right up the Warehouse’s alley. I, as the Storeman, had to give it a try. So here are my impressions with the system, after testing it with a friend.

Note: This isn’t a weekly review because the game is not complete yet, but it’s actually playable. If you give it a spin, please let the author know your opinion, so the game can continue growing and improving.

Tiny d10

Core Rules: The rules are well-written and are easy to understand and follow. They are simple right now, but I expect to see more specific rules when the Setting Supplements are published.

Character Creation: It’s fast and simple. Once you get it, it takes a minute to create your character. You have four stats, and between them they cover every kind of action: Power (physical strength), Reflex (quick feet and readiness), Intelligence (mental ability and knowledge) and Aspect (social skills). You choose what you are great at (+3), good at (+2) and the rest gets +1. There will be character classes, but they are incomplete right now. As my player didn’t used the special abilities we made (following the guidelines on the site), I can’t say how they would have worked.

Conflict Resolution: Here’s where I fell in love with this system: single d10 + Stat + Skill (if you have a useful one in the situation). The target numbers used are 6, 8 and 10, and they work great. You easily know which stat to use and then creating a difficulty is fast, too. Combat is treated exactly the same way (redundancy in rules is good design, as it helps learning and remembering them).
The game offered a lot of creative freedom. My job as GM was very relaxed. It was obvious which stat we should use and it was better to play to your strengths, but the character wasn’t crippled if he tried something weird.

The Luck System: This is one of the weakest points of the system. I loved the idea “ask for something and see if the dice give it to you” but, as the chances of luck actually happening were so low (1 in 10), there was no suspense. When he used his luck ability, neither one of us was expecting it to succeed. And it didn’t.
I’d rather give players a more direct control over the narrative, like “Destiny points” or “Plot points” if you’d like. Something to “spend” to catch a break instead of a gamble that will most surely fail.

Action Points: Something like this (read Luck System if you skipped the paragraph and have no idea what I’m talking about). Action Points can be spent to increase your odds of success on any given throw. They are simple and nice. I just would offer the chance to use them as “plot tools” instead of relaying on the separate Luck Mechanic.
One unexpected twist here is that your Action Points come from the same pool that your Health Points. At character creation you have 10 points to split between the two. It’s not a bad twist, though. I see it as having two polar opposites: a lucky bastard that can make explosive moves but goes down with one hit; or a tank that plays it safe. You can make anything in between, favoring Action or Health, or maybe looking for a balance between the two. It’s new and unusual, but in a good way.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed Tiny d10 and plan on playing more of it. It’s the kind of simple game we look for here in the Warehouse. It gives both players and GM freedom to work with, and its rules are explicit enough that no one feels cheated.

I can’t wait to see more from it, and you can expect to see more here. I’ll try to keep you updated, but don’t forget to check the official site, too.

- The Storeman

Nov 5, 2013

Know when to stop and how to get back

Babbling at the Counter #15 – Pen and Paper, Blogging, Game Design, anything really.

Know when to stop and how to get back

I don’t have the time to make a complete post today. It's been harder to squeeze my hobbies between my obligations. Is that so bad? Not really. Sometimes, life gets in the way. Be it your blog, your campaign or the game you are working on, sometimes you just have to stop.

Just don’t let the spark die. If you miss a deadline, make completely sure to hit the next three ones. Even try to make up for the time lost if you can.
It’s easy to get discouraged at the first sing of trouble and throw everything away, but if everyone did that we would have nothing around. Keep it up.

I’ve really got to go now. Be back next week, and the ones after that.

Don’t let the spark disappear. You started for a reason, right?

- The Storeman

Nov 3, 2013

Danger Patrol, Laser Blasting, Sci-Fi and Over the Top Space Action!!! (in your Pocket)

Review #15 – Free Pen and Paper RPG

Danger Patrol, Laser Blasting, Sci-Fi and Over the Top Space Action!!! (in your Pocket)

I say welcome, fellow travelers of the interweb, to the Marvelous Warehouse of Trinkets. This way you’ll see the “Amazing Matter-Displacing Thingamagik”, right next to the “Sub-Atomic Survival Suit”. But don’t dwell on those devices right now; come and take a look here. I offer you, Danger Patrol Pocket Edition!

This game provides an authentic “sci-fi show from the 50’s” feel: danger all around the dashing heroes, who must try and execute risky maneuvers to prevent a catastrophe.

Throwing lots of dice (more the more dangerous the action is) and hoping to stop the menaces before the Danger-meter reaches 10 but without getting your hero out of combat makes a very fun, very fast paced experience.

Fair warning though: This version of the game doesn’t have a non-combat resolution system. I roleplayed them and only used dice in combat or high tension situations. It’s not so bad, but can surprise some people.

Still, great material for a wacky one-shot.

-The Storeman

Disclaimer: I didn’t upload any of the content in the following link. I have downloaded and checked it as I always do. I have even executed it in my own computer and did not experience any kind of problems. But I can’t ensure that it is free of virus and/or malware that my anti-virus programs couldn’t find. That’s the author’s responsibility.

(I’ve only tried the Pocket version; I can’t say anything about the others)

And here are some more fan-made random tables: