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.
I’m feeling good, I have my new art tablet, a Monoprice 14481 and I’m really enjoying it. Setting it up wasn’t easy because there’s very little documentation to go on, but I eventually found enough little snippets of information on message boards to get it working properly.
I’ve done some pictures for Eat the Meappets as a warm up and I’m working on pictures for Protector right now. I’m thinking that I want to go in a different direction with the art in Jump Temp. I’d like to try a different style that I’m not really sure I know how to pull off. It’ll be interesting to try though.
I’ve already finished around ten pieces and I’ve been trying to get in one every two days. Jump Temp and Protector are both around 80 pages, so they both need around 20 pictures minimum.
After that, I’ll start working on the last sourcebook for The Artifact. This is going to be a busy year.
On the non-artwork front, I’ve halfway put together my beginner friendly RPG that doesn’t use character sheets and tracks things on a board (or one sheet of paper). I have something of a story to build to, but I’m looking for that little something, a twist or other element that makes the setting come alive.
I’ve got way to many pans in the fire. I need to select a target and finish it off one by one so that I can clean up my backlog of projects. The following list is more for me than for anyone else to read through. I just thought it’d be fun to share.
- Artwork for Protector.
- Artwork for Jump Temp.
- Edit and finish Eat the Meappets and then make artwork for it.
- Re-write the last sourcebook for The Artifact-Imbalance of Power and update it’s art.
- Write another chapter for The Imbalance (An Artifact based novel)
- Finish my goofy shark tank like game Apparatus Dominant
- Make an expansion pack for I Didn’t Do It! murder mystery card game
- Work on my sci-fi random story generator, a project I dropped a while ago but looking back, made some real progress on.
- A revamp and clarified version of Bubs the Robot.
Honestly that list is shorter than I expected it to be. A lot of it is waiting on artwork that I just haven’t felt like doing, but not all of it. There’s a bit there I can get moving on without art.
Although I do have a bunch of non-Store32 things I’m trying to do, I’m taking programming courses, I have two books I want to read, etc. The point of this is to try and tick off a few of these items so that I don’t feel like I’m so far behind in all my projects.
I’m hoping to buy a new digitizer tablet for art soon. I’ve recently discovered that there’s a lot of options that are far less expensive than I thought. I’m hoping that the art malaise I’ve been feeling is due to my underperforming Fujitsu tablet making art less than enjoyable to produce. I guess I’ll throw $400 at the problem and hope it goes away.
I still don’t have a name for it, but we playtested a new card game the other day and had a lot of fun. The players get five cards that say what their invention does. Some cards are good, some are bad.
The players show off the good things their invention does and hide the bad. They do a little elevator pitch for their invention and try and describe it. The fun part is the descriptions are really goofy when they’re all mashed together. We were giggling through the whole playtest.
Next the players pick if they want to be an early adopter and invest heavily in someone else’s invention, make a small investment in an invention, or not invest at all. Early adopters get to see all the bad cards, investors only get to see one bad card of the inventor’s choosing (naturally the least bad card).
Now everyone votes what invention they would actually buy. There are monetary rewards for having your invention picked and rewards for investing wisely, but bad cards cut down on the rewards. The player with the most money at the end of the game is the winner.
Except. . .
There is an “Ends Civilization” card. If an inventor can get an invention with this card in it’s stack to be purchased by the other players, they automatically win the game!
I was leaping down the rabbit hole that the internet is, and found a comic called Drive that has some very similar ideas to the game I’m working on Jump Temp.
The comic story and the game story are actually very different, but there are key elements that show a similarity. The drive tech is discovered by accident and while it can be modified and recreated, no one knows why they work. The other is a class of characters that are very short lived, are big and strong. And there are no shields.
Okay so other than that, the two stories are very different. I just thought it was a little weird. And you should check out Drive if you haven’t already because it’s funny and well done.
The majority of the game is written. I’m adding NPCs here and there to add some big shot heroes for the different ages.
I started doing art, but only have one piece that I want to use at the moment. One big thing I’ve run up against is that most super hero stories only go as far back as World War 2. Protector goes back to World War 1 and that ends up having significant impacts on what heroes would look like. For one, most men had beards. Women wore big skirts, how do you use your powers in a skirt? If anything, the early age is going to have a more steampunk look than a normal superhero story.
It gets easier to go back to capes once you get past the first World War. There are a bunch of super hero inventors and it’s almost like the 50’s happen in the 20’s. The spandex suit could be invented during this time and be popularized by super heroes. There would then be a backlash against it.
This sets up some interesting cultural precedents. Supers after WW2 that wore spandex would be people that see that age of supers as heroes while the majority hate them. It would almost be like saying you were a neo-nazi.
Then there’s the WW1 look, that supers might try and evoke to remind people of the time when supers were saviors.
Steampunk equals saviors.
Spandex equals monsters.
I still can’t figure out what look women supers should look like. I do have one sketch of a mech like hero shooting lasers out of it’s eyes. Maybe I could put a nice lady at the controls, or maybe it’s autonomous and the lady is it’s master.
It also occurs to me that nurses were pretty active in the trenches, starting with their simple dresses may get me somewhere.
Protector, our new superhero RPG is coming along. So far I’ve been concentrating on the character generation as this is a big part of getting the game off to the right start. I’m focusing on a light life path system. The character gets “Decades” that define a few skills and attributes. Then they get “Events” that happen within that decade. The events are major turning points in the character’s life. The player then uses one or more of the character’s events to define and sculpt their powers.
At the moment, this is very open ended, very story focused. It seems well suited for older more experienced players, but so far my young son has trouble with it. I’m hoping to nail down the process a bit more so generation is flexible and powerful for experienced players, but fills in almost all the blanks for newer/younger players.
To do that, I’m going to need a bunch of examples of heroes and villains for the book and a glossary of super powers. I think this will lead newer players to follow the examples by wrote but that’s ok. As they grow, they’ll learn to use the story to drive the character generation.
I’ve wanted to make a Superhero game for a long time now. I don’t want to just make another Supers game though. I’d like something that stands on it’s own. While making the Energy System, I finally had something that I felt would fit the kind of Superhero story I like. But a system by itself is not enough.
I want something that captures a few core concepts of the superhero genre.
I want super humans with a life before powers. This implies a life path system of generation.
I want the super human’s life to have some bearing on their powers. Their angst or desires should influence the way their powers are used or appear.
I want random powers, but to not be limited to random powers. Theres something really enjoyable about a super that has unexpected elements. I don’t want to be stuck with totally random though.
I want a world that is easy to understand, but one that shows the effects of a world of superhumans. A world that has superhumans for any length of time is a very strange world. The world will react.
I’d like some explanation for the superhumans other than “mutations” or “radiation”.
There’s something to be said for misfit supers and low power settings that are uniquely enjoyable. I don’t want to limit the game to misfits though. I’d like high and low power settings.
I’ve started work on all this already. I have the story already worked out. I just have to work out the lifepath elements and how to tie the powers into them.
My name is The Visionary. I was a young boy when Earth first needed a protector. The great nations of the world were on a path to greater and greater glory until The Great War, or as people call it World War I now.
That was when the Slavers came down from space and landed on the border of France and Germany. The European nations had been building up armaments for decades and mutual defense pacts were called upon and all the world went to war against the Slavers. But it was not enough. Tens of millions were gathered up. We could not defeat their air ships and all their technology.
Then, when all hope was nearly lost, a great stone fell from the sky, it looked like it would impact the Earth and wipe out all life but as it neared the Earth, but it stopped and floated above the ground. It had settled near the point of the original Slaver base. Without warning, men and women from all nations of the Earth felt a new energy inside them. Abilities beyond the realm of man were bestowed upon them. I received the gift of immense strength, resilience and the ability to fly. We became superhuman.
I was known as the Crusader in those days. We drove off the slavers and freed some of the many that were lost. The whole world rallied around us, we weren’t only superhuman, we were super heroes. It was the golden age.
Some of us were granted gifts of great intelligence, so naturally humankind rallied around them and they were promoted to leadership of many countries. The whole earth benefited for a time, but other super humans became jealous and seized power for themselves. Even this the world tolerated for a time, but when many of the celebrated heroes became despots and tyrants, mankind rebelled.
The war against the super humans as you know, eclipsed the war with the Slavers in it’s destructiveness. Millions more died in World War II. Humankind realized that to rid the super humans of their power, the great stone, our protector, would have to be destroyed. I myself took up a position in front of the stone and barred it from any harm. Many joined me, many died. As they fell, I began to feel their power flow into me. I became stronger, and stronger until there was nothing that could harm me.
From the beginning, I had not wanted to hurt any man. I also could not allow mankind to destroy their protector, the great stone that came from the heavens. I picked up the great stone from it’s resting place and carried it into the sea. I took it down to the deepest depths of the ocean where mortal man can not tread. There we stayed for many years. In that time, I was the primary vessel of the Protector’s power. In times of great need, I could see man’s groaning and I would emerge to set things right. Even then my presence was only tolerated.
The Protector still tried to help humanity. Although most of it’s energies were locked up in me, I could see across the globe many that were given small gifts that they had to conceal to survive. Super-humans were still feared and anyone showing a gift could be locked away in vaults to be studied.
It has been many sad years that I have sat on the ocean floor. I see through both space and time. I am The Visionary. I can now see deep into space. I see that once, there was chaos and suffering all throughout the galaxy until a great and mighty race took up the job of protecting any peoples that were being oppressed. People, not able to protect themselves. They heard our cries for help when the slavers came and they sent a member of their own people to rescue us.
I still cannot talk to my friend, our Protector. I do not know it’s thoughts. I only know that this great race has come to our rescue when the galaxy was about to turn it’s attention on us before we were ready.
There is one more call I have to answer. I can see it coming in time. A greater threat faces man and I do not know if we can overcome it. I see world after world fall to them. They are monstrous and terrible. I will go out to meet them in battle one more time. I see my aged frame falling to the Earth.
I see my own death, but when I die, the power stored up in me will again flow into all those that have gifts. You will get a portion of my power. You will grow strong. Then my responsibility of saving the Earth will fall to all of you.
They are now coming and I go out to meet them. Goodbye.
Players can star their game in any of the ages, depending on the super hero experience they want. Players may also choose to play at the transition between ages.
The war against the Slavers.
The Golden Age
The reconstruction and the rise to power of many super humans.
The war against the supers.
Misfits and Margins
The age of hiding, when any powers are weak and supers are feared.
The Coming Menace
A new alien threat comes to enslave Earth.
I’m taking Skree and Thrum and putting it on DriveThru RPG. It’s a short game of 25 pages, so it’s a digestible size. The setting is a jumping off point for the players instead of a locked down, fully formed world. I hear from a lot of players that they really just want to take a world in their own direction and not be locked down to an author’s ideas so I’m taking that to heart and trying it out. Think of it as an experiment.
This is the first RPG Store32 is offering for sale. Now, before you complain that the sky is falling, I’m pricing it at a dollar. I’m still interested in free games, so the game is Creative Commons licensed. Unfortunately there’s a lot of disregard for free games by the general gaming public. I’d like to see if simply by putting down a bit of money, a player is more likely to see the game to the table. I only have free options at the moment so I can’t really compare. Now I have something that I can put my theory to the test. Think of it as an experiment.
I stopped working on Skree and Thrum for a bit, but I’ve returned to it now and fixed up the setting and the instructions on how to play it. In all, the setting is a jump off point. I would really like to see how players might take it in wildly different directions.
So far reactions to the Energy System that the game uses has been very positive. It plays quickly but also has a lot of visual and tactile appeal because you get to roll a ton of polyhedrons. You feel awesome when you can fill your hand with d20s and chuck them because it’s an accomplishment.
The system deals with a lot of difficult situations very smoothly. Things like, fatigue (obviously, it’s the Energy System), healing, encouraging role play and allows the players to very organically build a character they really want to play.
So on the whole, I’m really happy with the game. It’s short, easy to read and get started on and offers a lot. I’d like to do a Supers game with the Energy System, along with a space opera but I’d like it to be something with a cool twist.
I have the cover to do. The other artwork is already done. It’s not much, but the book is only 20 pages so I don’t need dozens of pieces. The cover is about a quarter done. If I can sit down and get some time, I should be able to put it up on DriveThru soon.