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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Clarity

I think some clarification is in order.  As I go back through my posts here and on my Facebook page Fantastic Doom Magic I realize things are getting confusing.  Sorry, I don't know what I am doing.

The facts are that I have been designing games since I first played Rifts when I was nine.  Then came D&D, and many others.  I also write stories.  The things that interest me are horror, fantastic adventures, dark stories about the evil people do, action films, pulp, bad movies, philosophy, my Heathenism, and games (role playing and others).  All that has a tendency to get all jumbled up together when I do anything.  When I started this page it was going to be about a very specific game I was running.  It slowly became about all my "game stuff."  More than anything else I am a storyteller.

I write all the time.  Getting this blog was just another place to do it, and it has gotten a little jumbled.  At least I have stuck to games on here.  Sometimes I write something, then catch myself before I post.  "This has nothing to do with Land of Fallen Idols."  Sometimes I don't catch myself.   Today, when I went through it all, I decided the best course of action was a compromise.  Between this and the Facebook page, I would just talk about game stuff, in general.  I just had to make it clear what I was discussing.  I am currently working on two game systems, and they need to be distinguished between, or else this is going to stay confusing.

Fantastic Doom Magic is about very a specific game.  It is about the "main" game I am working on.  It is a system I started a long time ago.  The current iteration is called FAST (Fantastic Action Story Telling).  It was my attempt to make a narrative based game.  There were other narrative games out there but I needed mine to do something differently, and my experience was that no matter how flexible any game seems there are breaking points.  It is a lot like cookie cutters.  A person wants to make dragon cookies, but there are no dragon shaped cutters.  They go get the closest thing they can find and reshape it.  If it has to be shaped too much it will just eventually fall apart.  Then you get deformed dragons.
FAST began as a narrative D&D.  Characters had attributes that were very basic and trimmed down.  They also had traits that described them.  An action started with what kind the character was taking, and then what traits they had that made them better at it.  "I'm a 'Big Brute,' so I can hold the door shut."  "I am an 'Undead Archer.'  I bet I can hit him from here."  All this stacked a bonus that was then added to a die roll.  Seemed okay.
I introduced it to my regular gaming group first.  We played a one-shot I designed called Goblins & Gunslingers (G&G) with pre-made characters designed to push the system.  It was shocking how well the session went.  The system did exactly what I wanted it to.  The players weren't just looking at their character sheets.  They were describing how there characters did things and then building their bonus.  It was a year later that I would buy Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LOTFP) and stumble across a line in that book that explained why I liked this.  These words had been escaping me, and James Raggi expressed them perfectly.  It was not "what" the characters could do; It was what they were doing that mattered.  Maybe he got it from somewhere else first, can't say.  When I read those words, I highlighted them.
Currently we are up to session four of G&G.  The last session felt like there was something still missing, or wrong.  I noticed it a bit in session three, but for some reason it was very present in the last one.  Now I think the system needs a complete overhall.  More on that later.

The other system I am working on is called D&D6.  I mentioned LOTFP earlier.  It was the system I started using for my sandbox game that this blog is named after.  Let me say this before I move on so there is no misunderstanding.  I love LOTFP!  I adore it.  I got the PDF, then I got the hardcopy.  I love James Raggi.  He is proof that in some hotel room in the past Gary Gygax, H.P. Lovecraft, and Glen Danzig had an orgy.  The sheet from that room's bed later birthed that hardcore mo-fo.  He gets everything I am passionate about when it comes to D&D.  The game he made is dripping with it.  It inspired me to think about D&D again, in a way I had forgotten in the fog of 3, 3.5, and Pathfinder (which I think is stupidly called 3.5x).  All good stuff, but not my D&D.
What was my D&D?  What did I like about it?  These questions led me to try and craft my own retro-clone, more of a rethinking.  I have seen it tried a few times by others now, so why couldn't I.  The system it has become is currently being used by a friend I trust with his old-school group.  So far so good.  If it keeps working for him, I am bound to give it a shot myself.  It is just right now my other game is a priority.  

My two systems are always on my mind, but I am currently in school and have a daughter who lives with me.  That plus work eats up a lot of time.  They get as much loving as I can spare.  That is my way of saying that this blog might go unused for a bit, here and there.  When I do post from here on out it will be made clear what system I am talking about.  I apologize for the confusion, if there was any.  It isn't like my list of followers is too long.    

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