Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shock and Awe

I completed my first 5k run today so what better time to take up blogging again.  I'll be keeping it short for right now as I get back into the swing of things.  Today I'm going to talk about Shock and Awe which I was originally planning on tackling in the A-Z challenge but unfortunately had to cut due to time constraints.

Shock and Awe
The Spy reduces the Morale of common monsters/men and forces a morale check after performing any action that will shock, inspire fear, or awe their opponent.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A to Z Catchup: Z is for Zelda (The Legend of)

It would appear that after the very long and cram packed, but still very well done Avengers movie I have very little time left to write up a post.  That's ok though, since today is my last A-Z post I'd like to spend a little bit talking about what it's been like doing this challenge and where to go from here.

First off it struck me today that I wasted a perfectly good opportunity to talk about running an eXiles themed campaign in the Marvel Super Heroes RPG for the letter X.  Which is a shame since it's been a long while since I've blogged about my stints in Superheroic roleplaying systems and eXile is a perfect setting for people who want to play established characters without mucking around without the overbearing continuity (it also fits the murderous transient mould so many games devolve into which may or may not be a good thing.)

Onto the A-Z Challenge.  I had a lot of fun doing this, although I must say it was quite a challenge.  Trying to put out quality posts full of meaningful or at least interesting content takes a lot more effort than I was expecting.  Those first few posts were easy because I had them already worked out, I just need to transcribe it to a blog post, after that things got pretty difficult and down to the wire at times (like right now for instance!)  This difficulty was compounded by my new hours at work, a sleep schedule that witnesses the crack of dawn and numerous social obligations that soared into prominence.  In short it was hectic, it was draining, but coming home everyday and trying to think of a relevant topic and quickly hammering out the details was quite a rush and it was all the more fulfilling with all the comments and remarks that accompanied it.  So thank you all for that.

Now what to do from here?  First off, I'm taking a much needed break!  At least a week, possibly more.  Writing and design take a lot of inspiration to get going and I don't have as much as that flowing now that most of my day is spent working rather than idling and daydreaming.  On the bright side I will be able to devote more time and focus to individual posts, possibly even fleshing out a few ideas I touched on in the A-Z challenge (if you have any suggestions let me hear them.)

Then of course there is also the final topic.  The Legend of Zelda.  A wonderful eries that has stayed the same in many ways but its gameplay and especially its design has changed drastically between iterations and especially console generations.  In the future I'd like to take a look at Dungeon design in the Legend of Zelda series.  In fact, I'd like to replay though my collection starting all the way in the NES, analyzing key features and framework presented by the designer and how they can be applied or at least understood in our own games.  This is a design blog after all.  Of course, there are always fun little puzzles to examine and steal for our own games.  I plan on doing a series on analyzing other games as well, Etrian Odyssey immediately comes to mind, especially a detailed analysis of class structures and and their thematic components within the setting.

In the meantime I'm going to try and catch up my backlog of A-Z posts written by other people.  You all did splendidly and I regret not having enough time to browse through them all.  Thank you all for reading and stopping by and have a good night.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A to Z Catchup: Y is for Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil is the world tree in Nordic Mythology whose roots extend to different worlds and whose branches extend far into the heavens.  Yggdrasil and many bit and pieces of Norse Mythology have been co-opted by and recycled by numerous games, books and assorted fiction over the years.  An interesting take on this is the World Tree in the science fiction book Hyperion.  Where the world tree produces saplings which templars traveling on living tree ships take across the star system hoping to plant them on planets which will bloom their own world tree.  My personal favorite incarnation is in the Etrian Oddysey series.

Etrian Odyssey if you're not familiar is a game published (and created) by Atlus on the DS.  It's a first person dungeon crawler, like Eye of the Beholder, but is turn based and has incorporated a number of modern design influences from typical CRPGs (skill trees, non-linear advancement, streamlined yet incredibly dangerous/useful status effects, party diversity and interdependence).  The plot revolves around a world destroyed and the survivors aiming to reclaim what was lost.  To do so they venture into the one thing that survived it all.  The world tree.  An entire dungeon of 25 or more floors lies in its depths, starting with the roots you move down each strata entering gorgeous new vistas each and every time.  A waterfall grotto, a forest in autumn, a volcanic sea floor and if you are brave and lucky enough you may reach the ancient ruins at its depths that give clues to the civilization that existed before then.  Etrian Odyssey takes the sword and sorcery staple of lost and forgotten civilizations and works it into something as fantastical as a Tree teeming with life stretching across the heavens and reaching deep into the abyss.  You could set an entire campaign here, and if you're looking for inspiration pick up any of the Etrian Odssey games and prepare for a tough trip into the labyrinth.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A to Z Catchup: X is for Xylophone (Cursed)

I've been trying to think of a good X topic since the start but I've come up with nothing.  So let's have a little fun instead, and as Dungeon Masters what could be more fun than a peculiar cursed item.  This time we have the accursed Xylophone, stashed in any decent horde it stands out from the rest of the mundane treasure.  This Xylophone has absolutely zero effect unless someone decides to play it using the mallets attached to its frame of petrified wood.  Once they do they'll be in for a surprise.

Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing:  1
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: Inanimate
Armor Class: 9
HD: 1
Special Attack: Curse of Perfect Pitch, Curse of Perfect Melody
Magic Resistance:  Immune to all magical effects excluding dispel magic, disjunction and flame or wood properties.
Size: Small

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A to Z Catchup: W is for Weakness (Damage Types)

The last thing I explored in my Damage Types series were the three generalized and conventional ways of dishing out damage with melee weapons.  This time I'd like to look at elemental effects for a bit.  Weaknesses and vulnerability have cropped up from time to time but for the most part in games systems this translates into nothing more than a flat damage bonus or damage multiplier and that's boring.