I have created the new Dream Palace Playtesting Group on Facebook. It is an open group and if you wish to participate in the testing of this tabletop game, please feel free to join.
It’s the 80’s all over again, but this time with a heaping bowl of cheese. Mmmm… cheese.
When I saw this trailer, it was so over the top that it had to be a joke. Then I found out it’s a real thing and the 30 minute movie will be available on YouTube for free by the end of March. So, support the Arts. If you can’s support the Arts, support things like this.., they can be much more fun!
For those of you that were anticipating the world’s first taste of the Luna System, I have some bad news. I won’t be able to make the March 14th deadline. Since I made the announcement, I came down with gout one weekend and I’ve been suffering from some kind of lung crud for the last few days. The antibiotics and prednisone are taking care of it, but my urge to design was overwritten by searing pain and the need to breathe. By my estimate, there is no way at this point that I can have the session come together in a way that the players will enjoy.
I am a great believer in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, however. Instead of an Alpha Playtest of Luna System, I will instead be conducting a Beta Playtest of Dream Palace. The files for the session I had originally planned back in December are almost finished and I believe I have figured out a solution to something about the game that’s been bugging me for a while now.
So, those of you that would like to meet me in Peoria at Just for Fun for a session or maybe two of Dream Palace, consider yourself invited! I haven’t established a time that I will be there, though. Please check back later for additional information.
Game design discussion about Luna on Story-Games.com.
I have a deadline. Simultaneously the most dreadful and wonderful thing for me, Mike at Just for Fun Games informed me there would be an RPG day at his shop.n I decided that I wanted to run one of the adventures I am developing for my London by Moonlight setting for the Luna System.
London by Moonlight is something that I’ve been holding close to my chest before now. The elevator description is “Supernatural Secret Agents with a British TV Twist.”
The players get to portray agents of a mysterious international organization called Round Table that investigates and neutralizes supernatural threats to humanity. They want all this done out of the public eye so as to prevent a panic.
The part about the British TV may require a little explanation about what I mean. I thoroughly enjoy the BBC when I can get it. Because they don’t normally have a big budget, they rely heavily on the writing of their shows, and they aren’t afraid to include elements that American TV may consider “too cerebral.” London by Moonlight should feel like a smart British TV show… with a big budget.
So, now I am racing the clock to complete an Alpha version of the Luna System and write the first episode/adventure for London by Moonlight. You can track my progress at LondonByMoonlight.com.
My Crazy Brain is trying to make me die a pauper. First, it led me to try a Fudge dice mechanic for Luna. Then it brought up a mechanic based on Yahtzee. I bought a slew of dice in anticipation of using these new systems, worked out some of the problems that popped up. . . and now it wants me to design Luna so that it doesn’t use dice.
DICELESS!!! For Heaven’s Sake!
So, the challenge is to build a mechanic that doesn’t make use of a randomizer, but will still be fun to play. For those of you not in the know when it comes to game design, there is a general prejudice against non-random games. This has mostly to do with the expectation that there won’t be any surprises. I can understand this. There is a thrill to gambling with the life of your character.
So how do I justify making use of diceless mechanics in Luna? The random element can also lead to a behavior called “turtling.” The player makes certain that their character only performs the safest moves and has as much protection as possible. Or they may put together some unbeatable attack that they use over and over. The risk the players say that they want is almost completely nullified by their actions in-game. This goes against the principle of Being Awesome that I want to encourage.
A non-randomized system would also be a step closer to “Games That Play Like Fiction.” How hard the player works for something should be the determining factor on whether they succeed or fail.
Well, back to work on this. I will keep you informed with further updates. Be sure to leave comments!
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. . .
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.
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.
Its 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.
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!