A busy weekend

Jump Temp went live on DriveThru RPG on Friday Woo!

My son and I attended Queen City Conquest and I got to run a game of The Artifact and Jump Temp. We had fun and I got to run through some pre planned scenarios. I almost never plan out a game, but I figured I should come with something in mind for a convention game. I have never run a convention game before and I was super nervous until I actually started GMing at which point it all felt very normal.

Still, I’m a bit exhausted by all the excitement. Exhausted but happy about it.

World Door Chapter 6 – Answers

Answers

“I’m not going anywhere.” I said. “None of that matters if everyone in my family dies in the plague. The one I could have stopped!”

“Mechal, listen, this plague might kill them or the next or the one after that. The only real solution is to end the plagues. You are the only person that can do that.” Ashlyn said.

“How? How am I supposed to go through this door. Don’t you think they had Tows when the village was founded?” I said.

This actually took Ashlyn back a bit she seemed rattled by it.

“I see. You really haven’t thought this through. You just hope it will work.” I taunted.

“You think you’ve got things figured out? Turn off your pet and I’ll tell you what you really are.” Ashlyn said. Continue reading “World Door Chapter 6 – Answers”

Jump Temp – AI Proliferation

The question comes up frequently, can an AI simply copy itself a billion times and make itself more powerful?

By necessity, there would have to be a system in place that keeps this from happening or malicious AIs would just take over everything, just because they could means someone at some point would make one that did.

It’s possible that AIs are actually constellations of programs that really do copy themselves all the time and that’s just how they function.

But how would one prevent an AI from copying itself onto billions of computers? Maybe they operate like crypto-currencies that can be transferred but not copied.

It may be that there are special requirements to copy an AI. It could be that the program simply won’t allow itself to be copied. If that were the only safeguard though, someone would make an AI that would turn itself into a virus.

There has to be something about the architecture of the AI that will not allow it to copy itself. A blockchain validation would fit this bill. There could be something in the neural network that prevents copying too.

Jump Temp – Proc Coins

In Jump Temp there are dozens if not hundreds of currencies. Shady governments may offer payment in their own currency that they know is almost worthless anywhere else due to bad credit.

One solution is to use a crypto-currency, of which there are many. These currencies are data packages that can be transferred but will not allow copying. Forging a crypto-currency is very difficult and most competent AI’s can sniff out a fake in short order. This makes them very handy for independent operators without a reliable data connection.

One feature that some crypto-currencies have is that they can be traded for a real world thing. Proc Coins are one such currency. They can be traded for the use of a distributed net of AIs. For every money agent die, a character can “rent” time on this AI net to solve or help solve information based challenges. Each money die spent in this way becomes 1d of an AI assistant.

Using Proc Coins this way requires a working data connection and the AI cannot be influenced to do anything illegal. The AI assistant is available until it’s dice deplete.

Jump Temp – Caretaker AI

So if I hire you to take a gold brick across town to the bank, how do I ensure you won’t just run off with it?

This problem comes up in star travel frequently. By definition the cargo has to be at least as and preferably much more valuable than the resources it takes to transport it.

Because of this, many high value shipments require a ship to have a caretaker AI enter their computer systems.*

Caretaker AIs come loaded with some powerful software that can disable a ship and even fight against another AI with dangerous attack programs.

Energy Pool 4d

Trait – Attack Program 8 steps

*Even if a ship does not have a special system designated as a computer, all ships have computers, they’re just unmentioned because their capabilities are limited. A starship would not be able to function without computer control.

On a new webhost

I haven’t had a chance to write because I’ve been migrating to a new web host. I’ve had to pear down the what I have available here. The discussion forums are gone (but backed up) and I’m dropping the Steampunkfitters website. The game will just be a page on Store32 now.

Player Narration

The Energy System allows the players to narrate or better yet interpret, what the results of their rolls are. Some players have a bit of trouble with that and understandably so, since in most games they are passive when it comes to narration.

Because of this, I’d like to give the players some simple processes that would help them think through narration (or interpretation).

GMs do narration all the time, they’re used to it. Fill a table with players that have been GMs and I think there would be no problem. Some players think they could never GM. It seems magical to them how this person comes up with all this stuff.

To make the choices simpler I thought about introducing a list of ideas to develop the players narration but it ended up being either too vague to be useful or way too long and overwhelming.

So I need a different strategy. It needs to be concrete as possible for the players to easily absorb the advice.

I actually have a goal for player narration in the Energy System and that is for the narration to explain the dice roll as much as possible. That, I think, is key to this effort.

Of primary importance are dice depletions in this system and so I think that should be the focus of the players “interpreting” their rolls. Encouraging the players to say how each die depletes and why would be a great step forward.

In their early stages, with a player struggling to develop their narration skills, the GM can readily help out at this point. I’m thinking of something akin to Archipelago’s ritual phrases are in order. They don’t have to be as robust, they just have to be functional for the prompting we want to do. If there are phrases that are standardized, they’re less surprising when said, they are much more likely to be supportive than unintentionally demeaning and are probably easier for the GM to recall and use. This also conditions the players to expect GM intervention in their narration which is occasionally needed if the player is narrating something that contradicts known facts (even if it’s only the GM that knows them at the moment).

As the player gets more fluid in their narration, they will need less and less prompting. I can imagine a rules lawyer player using their narration as a weapon to suss out secrets from the GM, but that’s a problem for a different day.

Here are some prompts to help the players interpret the events connected to their rolls.

What made it go that way? – Prompting the player to start off a description.

What mistakes were made? – When the player hasn’t described a depletion.

Keep going – When you want the player to add more narration either because they’re doing well or they’ve stopped before fully explaining the roll.

Think of other ways  – When the player uses the same description again.

That can’t be – When the player contradicts facts that they may or may not be aware of.

I’m not sure if these are the best phrases to use, I’ll try using them in our next session and see how it goes.

Glyph becomes World Door

I’ve been working on a novel that I’ve been calling Glyph. Originally I thought I’d have to tell two separate stories about the world. I resolved the issues I had with telling it in one. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the title.

It would be more appropriate to call the story World Door.

I’ll be changing the titles to match this.

Relationships in the Energy System

I realized today that relationships in the ES should be their own agent. This gives a relationship actual mechanical power in the game. It could be rolled against by any person in the relationship and like any other agent, it can be depleted.

This makes things really interesting because you can use the relationship to influence the people in the relationship, but using it too much (abusing it) can make it fall apart.

It could also be used to explain what happens if an NPC has their energy depleted via social attacks. They would essentially be “reborn” as a relationship to the player character.

The GM could bestow a relationship agent to a character if they think the situation warrants, the players could also use an advancement phase to build their own.

There’s a bunch of different types of relationships that would be interesting. Love interests could be used to fight aggressive actions. If you had a Hate relationship, it could help with tests of endurance when going after your enemy.

You could even model a Mentor relationship with this because the mentor can help with training rolls but when the relationship depletes the Mentor has taught all they can, or all they’re willing to teach.

I’m debating if I should formalize this in Jump Temp. On the one hand, it really should be a function in any game, but I’m not really sure if it fits in the Jump Temp story.

World Door Chapter 5 – Error

Error

We packed slowly in the morning and started on the trail. We hadn’t gotten far when we spotted the sisters heading towards us. They actually looked worried.

“Ho, sisters.” Thain called.

“Ho.” Janna called back.

They approached us quickly. Something had to be wrong for them to show themselves to us. I thought to run ahead, but my blistered feet would not allow it.

As they got closer Janna stopped and raised her hand in front of her. Ashlyn started to circle.

“Behind you!” Janna said.

I we turned but saw nothing coming up the trail. We all looked back for clarification.

“The tigerwolf!” She yelled.

I tried to laugh but nothing came out. “That’s Melsa!” I called back.

Continue reading “World Door Chapter 5 – Error”