Monday, 27 July 2009

Less Fill, More Force

I talked with theLoneAmigo about my previous post. He articulated a niggling feeling I'd had all the way through writing it.

It's filler.

Or, more specifically, most of the results it produces are bland, generic, and not really something you actually need a random table for. You have random tables to give you results that are either too complex or gonzo to quickly come up with yourself (if, like me, you have imagination lapses), to give you results that you wouldn't have thought of yourself, or else to give you a result when you can't make a choice between a variety of options because they're all cool.

The first two uses for tables are what I personally call Idea Forcers. They give you a bunch of data which you can, and hopefully will, turn into a cool concept with just a little interpretation. Unlike Filler, they make you be creative, rather than take the need to be creative away.

So, having been a bit nebulous with my definition of an Idea Forcer, I'll give you a few examples:

Essentially, each of the above Forcers features either fully-fledged ideas which require interpretation to integrate with a game or each other, or a wide assortment of small nuggets of information which you need to weld into a cohesive whole.

Now, jumping back to an earlier paragraph, remember where I said the other purpose of tables is to “give you a result when you can't make a choice between a variety of options because they're all cool.”? Well, that's what Jeff's Miscellanium is, as an example. Each table features an assortment of gonzo ideas, none of which are boring. He shows the unspoken wisdom that, just as you shouldn't roll to see if the characters succeed if failure will ruin the game, you shouldn't roll on a random table if it will give you results that are boring.

May the Force be with you.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Beware the... uh... what did you say those goblins were called?

I had hoped to start off with something a bit more meaty, but nothing meaty has sprung to mind the last few days.

Mmmm... bacon...


Anyway, inspired by the myriad awesome random tables that can be found on Jeff's Gameblog, and his cool Miscellanium of Cinder, I present:

The Mildly Amusing Random Goblinoid Tribe Name Generator:

Tribe names are usually in the form of "The [Creature/Body Part] [Action]ers", or "the tribe of the [Colour/State][Creature/Body Part]", but other combinations are possible.

A - Colour (d10)
  1. Red
  2. Crimson
  3. Green
  4. Blue
  5. Brown
  6. Purple
  7. Black
  8. Gray
  9. White
  10. Pick an obcurely-named or embarassing colour. Examples: Chartreuse, Asparagus.
B - State (d12)
  1. Bloody
  2. Bitten
  3. Chewed
  4. Dead
  5. Moldy
  6. Screaming
  7. Slavering
  8. Hunting
  9. Broken
  10. Splintered
  11. Angry
  12. Pick your favourite culinary term. I'm partial to "Marinaded", myself.
C - Creature (d20)
  1. Dragon
  2. Wolf
  3. Wyvern
  4. Spider
  5. Crow
  6. Squid
  7. Demon
  8. Dwarf
  9. Elf
  10. Halfling
  11. Mimic
  12. Bat
  13. Ogre
  14. Orc
  15. Rat
  16. Ooze
  17. Flumph
  18. Pick a farm animal
  19. pick an entertaining bird name. Examples: Lesser Bitterns, Penduline Tits, Russet Mud Warblers.
  20. Flick to a random page of your favourite monster book, and use that monster
D - Body Part (d20)
  1. Eye
  2. Ear
  3. Nose
  4. Knuckle
  5. Fist
  6. Hand
  7. Knee
  8. Spleen
  9. Elbow
  10. Tooth
  11. Toe
  12. Foot
  13. Buttock
  14. Spleen
  15. Kidney
  16. Liver
  17. Gut
  18. Finger
  19. Lip
  20. Pick a specific bone or muscle. The more medical it sounds, the better.

E - Action (d20)
  1. Slay
  2. Bite
  3. Kick
  4. Chew
  5. Rip
  6. Kill
  7. Bruise
  8. Bash
  9. Spit
  10. Trick
  11. Eat
  12. Mug
  13. Zap
  14. Lick
  15. Cook
  16. Knee
  17. Poke
  18. Chop
  19. Wrestle
  20. Grope

What can I say? I was bored on the train.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A little intro

Hello. I'm Jarrah. Myself, TheLoneAmigo, and Altharis are three young(ish) gamers, who all constantly have ideas for RPGs. These ideas usually get mulled over and developed for several hours, often get shared with the others of our triumverate, and then mostly get squirrelled away in our memory banks, never to see the light of day again.

Bit a shame, really. I like to think some of those ideas have at least a nugget of promise in them.

So, TheLoneAmigo made us this blog, so that we can leave our ideas out in the open, for the whole internet to view, judge and use, as seems appropriate.

That's why we're here.

Rock the Underdark

The crowd is a shrieking, moaning, roaring mass of flesh and bone. It roils like an angry sea beneath the cavernous roof of the Pit, orcs jostling with gnolls for shoulder room, goblins climbing and scuttling everywhere. The troll bouncers make no attempt to control the crowd as it turns upon itself in anticipation. In the midst of the chaos, a single beam of light streams down, illuminating a circle on the stage.

A single dark elf steps out into the light, clutching an instrument that mixes a bass guitar with a dying baby. His hand is poised to strike.

A black, unearthly wail echoes out from the stage.

The crowd goes silent.

The band has begun to play.

Spark of Genius

I've been punting the idea of a game about a rock band since Guitar Hero first hit my living room. It's a simple formula - nearly everyone feels the desire to be a famous musician at some point in their life. Yet it never quite clicked for me, until I stumbled upon a children's book by Graeme Bass, The Worst Band In The Universe. Somewhere among the images of weird aliens wailing away on bizarre, impossible instruments I found the seed of an idea: monsters in a rock band.

And where better to find monsters than the Underdark?

The question is, where do I go from here?
I can't quite find a game that lets me tell the stories I want to tell in this world.
I want a game that emphasizes the way that the flaws of the characters drive the power of their music, and the difficult struggles within a band made up of orcs, elves, and ghouls. Traditional games are right out, and I can't quite find the indy game that hacks in the way I want it to. I may have to build one myself.


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