Sunday, January 20, 2013

Not a Roguelike

Well, it turns out I'm not developing a Roguelike, but rather, a Darklands-like. See it here: http://code.google.com/p/unmapped/

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Repurposing of the Blog

Long time since my last post. Anyways, if the whole "trying to not be totally broke" thing doesn't work out, this blog will see a lot more posts - mainly related to development of a roguelike, or at the very least, a game heavily influenced by roguelikes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dethen Bolrak, Dwarven Rogue

This character went a lot farther than I expected, so I decided to actually do some of the details of his background. Normally I don't do this for D&D / C&C characters, but this is a special occasion.

Dethen Bolrak
Male
Dwarf
Rogue
Chaotic Good

=== PERSONA ===

Age: 162

Languages: Common, Dwarven

He is from Grundliche Hohle (upper right of the Cradle of the World). He was born into a family of poor trinket crafters. He was drafted for a war against a lesser goblin tribe, who were discovered to have hired a number of kobold mercenaries. Dethen thusly found himself having to disarm a lot of traps, carefully sneak around the tunnels and map them out, and be ready to fight at any time. The battles were very long and very vicious as Dethen became intimately familiar with stakes, pit traps, barbed wire, labyrinthine tunnels, networks of trenches, under-mountain fortresses, mechanical decapitators, and other goblin and kobold machinations.

One experience that Dethen will never forget was a battle that few remember except for him and his comrades. A new guy got caught in some barbed wire, and when he tried to pull himself out, he just kept on getting more and more tangled. Then, a goblin came over and stabbed him in the thigh, then left him there. Dethen and his team saw the whole thing happen, but they could not lift a finger or else the goblins would come down on them. The new guy cried out in pain and begged for help for a whole day, while goblins who were just on the other side of that barbed wire taunted the dwarves and brandished their long spears. Finally, Dethen decided enough was enough, and crawled through to the barbed wire line. He quietly snipped it at strategic points, while feeling hot goblin breath on his face, then crawled all the way back to his comrades and yanked on the barbed wire in order to drag the new guy along the ground. One of the goblins took notice and stabbed the poor guy in the other thigh. By the time the new guy had been retrieved, he was dying of blood loss, and there was nothing that could be done for him. This battle was ultimately unimportant as the main army decided to use a different route to attack the goblins and kobolds, and thus, all this work was for nothing.

After the war was over, Dethen found himself in need of adventure and coin. He paid for his travels by crafting trinkets and artistic items made of metal and stone. It was slow going, and although he became very experienced in the ways of the world, he still had little more than his old military gear and some extra rations.

Eventually, he met the rest of the party, and the rest is history.

He is eligible to be Doge of the local guild, serving a guild councillor directly. However, he is actually more interested in the art of fortress design, trenchworks, and trap-crafting.

Although not faithful to a specific deity within the pantheon, he is gaining respect for Corthain after seeing what Sir Samuel can do. The dwarven beliefs were not deeply ingrained into him since he is from a lower class.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Doing D&D as a Transhumanist Game

Nothing needs to be changed, except for the mindset of the Dungeon Master and the players. All the key ingredients are already there:
  • Post-Scarcity: Create Water, Create Food, Fireball and Lightning Bolt for energy needs, Ice Storm for terraforming
  • Immortality: All of the various Cure Wounds, Reincarnation, and Resurrection spells.
  • Bodily Modification: Books of attribute gain, intentionally doing Stone to Flesh and Flesh to Stone to do other changes, and Wish for everything else.
  • Insurmountable Gaps between Haves & Have-Nots: Only those who can use magic will be part of the new transhuman order.
  • Breakdown of Traditional Morality: In addition to magic enabling all of the above, the only real reason to adhere to an alignment is to gain benefits from deities of that alignment.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The influence of an accountant on role-playing games

Equipment - machinery and tools needed to conduct operations, such as chainsaws, drills, printing presses, cutting machines, copiers, etc.

Item - a line on an accounting sheet, or a specific thing on a tax form

Class - a category or group of people or other things. See also: "class-action lawsuit"

Experience Level - a quick way of gauging whether or not someone can be trusted to handle some difficult task, such as handling complicated retirement funds. Seriously, I once walked in on two money-manager friends talking about the experience level of one of their coworkers and it sounded like they were talking about a role-playing game.

Simply using these sorts of terms in a role-playing game can strongly influence the types of games and players that will come about. Perhaps the "narrativist" revolution is not so bad after all, because of how it has challenged the existing language and terminology of role-playing games which so many people have become complacent about.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Character for Eclipse Phase

Very hastily-written and unpolished, so read at your own peril.

---

I was born and raised on Phobos, and was just finishing up middle school when the Fall happened. To this day, I still remember seeing all those refugee ships passing by, a few of them landing and disgorging loads of hungry, dirty and impoverished folks. I will never forget how I met my first boyfriend: I was volunteering to to help take refugee children on walks around the inside of Phobos, helping them to get to know the area. He, a fall evacuee himself, started volunteering too, and we found ourselves head over heels in love. I was so naive then, thinking that we would get married, buy a thousand square feet of floor space, get a pet octopus, take cruises amongst the stars. When I found out he was seeing four other girls at the same time, oftentimes only interacting with them through virtual reality, I think I must have broken about 23 different objects before some people grabbed me and held me down.

Advanced school was pretty rough-going. It was an endless rat-race of buying the latest clothes, discovering they were out-of-fashion, buying more clothes, trying to figure out the latest slang, competing for the attention of the brightest and best-coordinated boys, trying not to fall asleep while doing water purification system design homework, passing messages in fusion reactor design class. The longest relationship I had lasted about six months. I don't want to reveal his name here, as I am not that cruel, but I think I was only able to keep him that long because of how spineless and inept he was. Don't get me wrong, he was intelligent, and the star player of the cylindrical-hockey team, but there was always something missing from him. Every time I wanted to talk about our future together, or tried to define the relationship, he just laughed it off and talked about the latest XP star to hit the mesh, or some funny things he had read on other peoples' profiles an hour ago. He would also always try to perform moves that he learned from pornographic XP, which did not enamor me or make me feel excited at all. I decided to break it off after six months, and he cried and squealed like a baby. I was having a hard time feeling any pity for him after seeing that.

Getting my B.S. in Habitat Design was not much easier. I took up the hobbies of painting and violin to cope with the sheer isolation that I felt. All of my classmates were spending most of their free time pretending to be vampires in VR, or talking about the hottest and latest XP. I gave up on trying to follow along with them, it was just too much for me. Things starting changing when, one day, while practicing violin in a park, the man who would become my husband approached me and told me how beautiful my style was. I remember how I stood up, tried to walk forward a bit, and tripped and fell flat on my face - but he helped me up. We talked about just about everything - philosophy, politics, art, religion, and even habitat design. He was a young ambitious businessman living in the Jovian Republic, visiting Mars and its surrounding habitats to close a few deals. When I showed him some images of my paintings, he insisted on seeing them in person, as that was the only true way to appreciate art. That night, he treated me to the first cooked meal I had ever had in my whole life - whole-wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce, chopped grilled garlic bits, fresh-ground black pepper, beef meatballs, and soy-bean sprouts. He even had a few scented candles made from real wax.

Alas, he had to return home the next day, but we kept in touch up until the day I graduated. I spent all the money I had saved up from my internships with various hypercorporations in order to move to the Jovian Republic and be with him forever. All the propaganda about how the Jovian Republic is oppressive is quite false - I had a fairly easy time getting a full-time job as a habitat engineer and got a starting salary double that of typical hypercorp rates. My husband and I are now happily married with two daughters and a third on the way, and we are part of a tight-knit community of dedicated families who we can trust with our lives. My name is Lex and I am a citizen of the Jovian Republic.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Thematic System, optional rules

PREMISES

The premise of the game can optionally involve special rules in order to flavor the game. Some examples of such optional rules are:

Dungeon Crawl - The possible player roles are: fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard. When roles win conflicts against non-player roles, they acquire "treasure points." These treasure points may be spent to automatically win conflicts, e.g. "I snap the rod of lightning over my knee and thusly invoke its power, thoroughly frying the brains of the orcs before me. I found the rod of lightning from my last adventure." They may also be spent to establish strongholds. For every five treasure points spent on a stronghold, the stronghold gains a level. For each stronghold level, the player gains a new role who may act in the stead of the role who owns the stronghold.

Heroic Fantasy - Roles get "heroic reputation" for accomplishing difficult feats, such as slaying powerful monsters or surviving difficult journeys through hostile terrain. Heroic reputation may then be spent to either win conflicts of soul traits or to put the role's heroic exploits into written records. When a role has stored at least twenty points of his heroic reputation into written records, he is effectively immortalized and becomes a mythical god of legend.

Romantic Drama - When a role wins a conflict, the player of that role chooses to either add or remove a "relationship point" between her own role and any other role in the game. When two roles reach ten relationship points and have a lead of at least two points above all other relationships, they get married and the game ends.

World War - Each role is a whole nation, and soul traits are expressed through culture, economy, military vehicle design, military doctrine, propaganda, etc. Each role begins with ten "victory points." When a role wins a conflict, it chooses to either gain a victory point or cause the opposing role to lose a victory point. Victory points can also be spent to automatically win conflicts, i.e. stall for time. When a role has no victory points left, it may choose to either surrender, or keep on fighting to the bitter end in the hopes of winning future conflicts. Roles who lose conflicts while having no victory points left to spend must sacrifice points from their soul traits.