Reading and Writing

My game is becoming a cut and shut.


I really need to stop buying games for a while. I’m desperately trying to write my own game and at the same time I keep wanting to read all my new purchases. Pelgrane Press have got me on the hook for Nights Black Agents, Mutant City Blues, Ashen Stars, TimeWatch and loads of supplements. There’s the new and final Next packet. And there’s the 13th Age Bestiary.

They’re all great. They all have something innovative, or at least steal able in them. And that’s the problem. My game keeps wanting to incorporate the best bits of my latest reading.

War Stories started life as a riff on Gamma World mixed with B/X D&D (of all things). Since then it’s morphed and evolved into a DCC clone. Then it got stripped away and given the Owl Hoot Trail treatment. Now I’m revamping it (ha!) off the back of some great stuff…

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War Alpha

Feeling good about my progress with War Stories at the moment. I was getting tied up with layout and flavour when I didn’t actually have the core mechanics nailed down. I set to writing up a skeletal rules document this weekend. Having it bare bones helped me to see a few things that were obscured before. I’m now confident of where I’m headed and how to get there.

Recent revelations?

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Skills, and why I struggle with them


When I started in RPGs, there were really no skills, not as we know them. Well, there were what the thief got in AD&D, but you’d have to be crazy to rely on those. Seriously? Pick pockets at less than 15%? I never really noticed the lack of a skills system in play until just about every game published thereafter contained one. Sometimes they were a call to ‘realism’ with pages and pages of the things, and in the case of Rolemaster I’m just talking about the character sheet. Sometimes they were pithier, but still, a laundry list of things you could now do with your PC.

My personal sweet spot for the skills list has topped out at about 15 or so in the past, but actually I’m increasingly looking to get that down to sub 10 where possible. Better, lose skills entirely and put the onus back on…

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Knee Deep to date

Really gratified (and somewhat surprised) to see that my Adventure Environment for 13th Age has been downloaded nearly 600 times since release early this year. Given that I got it out there six months before the game itself became publicly available, I’m kind of expecting it to keep going now a wider audience is there.

Obligatory link.

Now, it is free, and under the fair use/fan policy I’m going to keep it that way, but I wonder how many I would have shifted if I had charged for it? My guess is that I’d lose 80% of that number if I’d charged even a pound. On a Pay What You Want basis? Who knows.

War Stories

My game is called War Stories for now. Only because I can’t think of anything that alliterates with Sten guns. It’s a straight ahead WW2 game, with the rather unique twist in that it contains absolutely no zombies at all.

The central conceit is this. D&D came from Chainmail, a fantasy miniatures wargame. D&D is (still) essentially a wargame at it’s heart, but with all the cool RP stuff layered on top of that. It has people who fight, people who are skilled, people who support, and people who control the situation.

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I remain…

I’m Baz Stevens. I go by the name Baz King on the internet. It’s an old story, ask me about it at a Con.

I’ve been roleplaying since the first big flush of D&D in the late 70s, and have been the GM pretty much since then. There aren’t many games I haven’t owned or played in that time.

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Initiative thoughts

The very concept of initiative seems to be hard coded into gaming. To play a game without it feels unusual. I like it, and want to see it used in my War game, but I also want to keep bookkeeping for the GM to an absolute minimum.

To do this I’ve started experimenting with using different systems in my regular fantasy game. This is perhaps the simplest hack I’ve ever been able to pull off. The initiative roll sits quietly in the mechanics, and with the increasing prevalence of cyclic initiative (you do it once and keep the results all the way through the conflict) it’s almost invisible in the game as a whole.

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