Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Turns out there's a reason I hate moving

Prior to returning to Fla, I had lived in one place for @10 years. Prior to that, I had had the same apartment for 4 years.

When I moved back home, I initially wanted to stay put for a long time. But it turns out, the trailer I picked on the internet was um... well, I was there 4 months, ok?

The new place is much better, but I did get a nice reminder of why I hate moving, even just moving across town.

I called the electric co last Friday, happy with the new place and ready to transfer power over, when I received a recorded message that they were away until Monday for Easter.

So- first three days in the new place were spent with no fridge, no fans, no AC, no TV- you know, all that good stuff that comes with electricity.

But... all that's behind me now, and the old ceiling fan at the old place has been replaced with Central Air.

And I look out my window and I see horses.

So- huh, maybe moving isn't always such a bad thing even when it means spending 3 hot miserable days in the dark.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Secret Project X-13

So I am currently working on the first ever new RPG I'll be designing from the ground up.

It's called Medical Mystery, and it's an attempt to emulate TV shows like House MD, ER, MASH and Scrubs.

The game has no combat.

Players are the members of a medical team, tackling cases that come their way, using their skills to advance through three stages of a case.

Cases (which are the equivalent of adventures in standard RPGs) are typically one "episode" comprised of three stages: Diagnoses, Treatment and Recovery.

Along the way players will make skill checks to successful tackle each stage. Failure in diagnosis and/or treatment makes recovery harder, and if the patient fails to recover the player suffers personal effects that impede his performance for a number of episodes.

However, Medical Mystery is not all about the current case.

As players move through the adventure, they can bring in complications from their personal lives to give them additional opportunities to succeed at a skill check.

Now, this might sound a bit like a soap opera, and certainly shows like House and ER had elements of that, but the three complications are Drama, Romance and Wit.

In Wit, you have elements of humor, which was especially important to shows like House, Scrubs and MASH (though all of these shows had soap opera drama and romance as well).

It's early goings for the game, but I will be talking about it more as the design progresses.

This is a very different sort of game than my usual, but I think this is a great genre that hasn't yet been successfully tackled in RPG form, and I think I'm up to the challenge.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dry County

One thing writers do that most people don't imagine them doing is nothing.

Writers spend a lot of time just letting their mind wander, looking for that new field to plant a seed.

I suppose there might be writers who don't need to do this, that always have a great idea in their back pocket ready to go. But most of us need to do nothing for awhile until our mind latches onto the next thing.

I'm not talking about writer's block here. For me, that's something that occurs once you already have an idea and can't figure out how to get from the beginning to the end.

I also spend a lot of time returning to ideas that I haven't quite figured out how I want to handle yet.

You've probably heard of some of these, if you spend enough time reading this blog anyway. USHER Dossiers is an idea I was thinking about, and talking about, back in the days of the original Vigilance.

I was talking about it again during my RPGO days, when it became Blood and Secrets, and then a mini-campaign model in Blood and Vigilance. These weren't exactly false starts, but neither were they fully realized campaigns of the sort I always knew USHER could be.

For some reason the ICONS version clicked and bloomed.

Legends of Rome is another. I still think about this idea. I'm still wandering through the maze, looking into corners, looking for the way to handle it that will really feel right.

Prometheus Rising is the same way. I still don't think I've done my definitive work on that setting. I know this because I continue to think about it, think about finding a way to do it really really right.

I know when something is done because I stop investigating it mentally. I don't wrestle with Blood and Relics, USHER, or Blood and Fists anymore. They're complete. They've grown up and gone to college. They're yours now.

Prometheus, Legends of Rome, War of the Roses, Old School Combat and other things whose names I am not even comfortable saying, they're still mine. They're the kids, of varying ages and degrees of self-sufficiency, who still live at home.

Night Ride Part 1

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