Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Games Part 1a: Major Projects

At last count, I'm working on 20 role playing and war games, and a few game related projects. (Theories and guides) Obviously, I should give you an over-view of what these are, though for easier reading, I'll be splitting the explanation into a few parts. Many of these games are available through my collection at 1km1k.net

XenoExodous (Formerly D.A.N. - Dramatic Action Now)
The is the first game I started, back in 2001. I had just started college, working on an English degree, and I wanted to try a project that would put my writing skills to the test. I thought it would be interesting to write a game at the beginning of my school career, and then see how my style changed by the end of it.

For the last several years, I had played "Rifts" by Palladium Books, and my head was full of house rules, and many of these influenced the design. For example, there were multiple levels of damage, just like SDC and MDC - but in my game it was in powers of ten, and there were far more levels. Personal Grade was you standard hit points, then Military Grade (x10), High Grade (x100, for tanks) and Vacuum Points (x1000, for space ships). Due to the way multiple action melee rounds dragged out in Rifts, all characters were limited to only two actions in a combat round - with a dodge imposing a penalty rather than an active complication.

However, the system is not related to Paladium's, indeed its rather unique in having two means of resolution. First is to add the number of tic-marks in an attribute and skill to the roll of 2d6 and compare to a target number if you only need yes/no outcomes. (ie do I hit the target or clear the chasm?) The second turns the tic marks into percentages (a different amount for attributes, amature skills, or professional knowledge) and is used when you need a margin of success. (Ie, doing an exceptional job of flying your aircraft makes it much harder for the enemy to enter a firing position.)

For those of you who are wondering, the original name is a nod to my three friends named Dan - Holman, Flaherity, and Eisner. The later title reflects the setting better.

XenoExodous is grounded in a hard SF universe facing the lifeboat problem. Space technology is limited to ion engines or VASMIR Plasma drives, and take weeks or months to traverse between planets. However, an alien artifact - dubbed the Hyperfoil Gate - has been discovered which allows travel to other solar systems. Unfortunately, this also unleashed the Xeno-Former, which is rendering the Earth uninhabitable. Thus there is a race between various power blocks to evacuate the planet and find new homes for Humanity.

Although the first to be written, more likely than not, it will also probably be the last one I finish. As stated above, the scope of the project is massive, and I continue to be just one person.

Octal (Formerly Neg(0)Eight)
From the start, I realized that XenoExodous was a major project, that would take some time to complete, and be difficult to publish. Neg(0)Eight was created to be sort of my "gaming resume" or my first step into the business. Unlike the former game that I had invested so much though into, this was to be a fairly basic system I was unattached to. The idea was to contact some company that already had an interesting Intellectual Property (Westwood Studios' Command and Conquer was my first thought) and point out that a pencil and paper game would increase their fan base.

In hindsight, that probably wasn't a great idea, and i never acted on it. However, Octal is a functional system, looking for a setting. Most tests are resolved via 2d8-9 yielding a negative (fail), positive (success), or a zero - which means different things depending on if you're a hero or a mook. Altering difficulty is by altering what is subtracted from the 2d8, hence altering the the likelihood of the three outcomes.

Due to length, I'm splitting this into two posts - part Ib follows immediately.

No comments: