The Seven-Sided Die

The odds & ends of roleplaying

Entries in the Category “Miscellanea”

The D&D 4e rust monster is a bag of stupid

written by d7, on Jun 4, 2009 12:16:04 PM.

People have said that 4e is no different than previous editions in preserving verisimilitude. I beg to differ.

Edit to add: The comments there are a microcosm of the edition wars. What I don't get is the people who say, "If you don't like 4e, don't write about it!" Has criticism suddenly become the sole province of the loyal fans? That doesn't make any sense at all. Should Roger Ebert only review movies that he likes?


written by d7, on May 31, 2009 12:25:27 PM.

Ben Robbins of ars ludi and lame mage productions is working on a game tentatively called microscope. It sounds entirely awesome.

You start by laying out a brief sketch of an interesting era. You might start with an idea for "the Imperial Dark Age, which began when the wormhole network collapsed, and ended when the fractured civilisations finally reconnected the network after centuries of rediscovery and war"; or it might be "the era of adventure and villainy on the high seas before the Ur-Kingdoms back home declared peace." Once you've got what happened on a large scale, you dive into the history and play out the how, and why, skipping around history to the interesting, pivotal moments in whatever order you like.

Ben has a pile of posts about microscope at the lame mage blog, but the capsule explanation of play that caught my imagination is in an ars ludi post about the implications of microscope for record keeping:

Once you do decide where in the history you’re looking, you focus there and it does become "now" for all intents and purposes of play and excitement. When you are playing out the scene where the civilian cargo ship suicide-rams the alien dreadnought during the last attack on Earth, you are playing in the moment, live or die. But then a minute later, when the scene is done, you step back ten thousand feet, look down on all creation, and decide where to look next. Zooming in and out and then in again. Like, um, a microscope.

That makes me want to play this game. It makes me want to play it so hard.

Needless to say, I'm going to be watching to see where this goes.

Learn from TSR's history, lest ye repeat it?

written by d7, on Feb 10, 2009 1:20:03 PM.

Years ago, TSR releases D&D and supported it under the guidance of its creator and a lot of creative designers. They encourage players to create and share. The company and D&D boomed. That was phase 1.

In phase 2, TSR changed leadership, put out a new edition, stopped allowing third-party publishing, laid off a lot of talent, increased quantity of products while decreasing the content quality, and TSR began harassing D&D fans on the Internet. The company died and the D&D IP was bought by Wizards of the Coast.

A new age of D&D begins...

Phase 1: WotC released D&D 3 and supplements with a lot of talented designers. They encourage players to create and share. The company and D&D booms.

Phase 2: WotC has a change of leadership, puts out a new edition, jettisons the OGL, lays off a lot of talent, the company begins harassing D&D fans on the Internet

Will history repeat itself? Since I don’t like what WotC is doing with 4e, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the D&D brand and worlds go to someone else.

Purely as a "what if" exercise, even if you think it's a snowball's chance that Wizards would lose D&D (or be forced to sell it by Hasbro accountants), who do you think would be best positioned to pick up the brand and continue it, if anyone? Paizo? Green Ronin? Another big non-RPG company?

Comment policy

written by d7, on Feb 10, 2009 10:47:22 AM.

d7 (the Proprietor) does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on The Seven-Sided Die (the Service). However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service, including without limitation comments you post to the Service, you grant the Proprietor world-wide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty free, non-exclusive, fully sub-licenseable license(s) to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other works in any format or medium now known or later developed.

But what does that mean?

Most importantly it means that I can do the usual day-to-day blogging things involving comments: I can publish your comments in my blog and edit comments that contain seriously problematic content like flamebait or huge layout-breaking images. You retain your copyright over your comments, so you can still do whatever you want with your comment elsewhere.

The "perpetual license" part means that the copy of your comment that you submitted here can, for example, be archived elsewhere, translated into Sanskrit or DoubleSpeak, included with a post in a print blogging anthology, or appear in the hypothetical relaunching of this blog as The Eight-Sided Die With Extra Awesome, and you can't remove or restrain my ability to do those sorts of thing once you've submitted your comment. The point is to make it possible to do new things with the whole content of this blog, comments included, without tracking down each and every commentor for permission first.

(License text thanks to Jonathan at The Core Mechanic.)

Savage Elder Scrolls

written by d7, on Dec 29, 2008 3:37:00 PM.

This old post has been getting more hits since Skyrim was released, but I’m not planning to update the document. TES fans might want to look at this conversion that appears to be complete and well-made, though: The Elder Scrolls: A Savage Worlds Conversion by the Journeyman GM.

I’ve seen a few hits in my logs from people looking to roleplay in Tamriel using Savage Worlds rules. The Elder Scrolls conversion I’m working on isn’t finished, but it’s finished-enough that I can use it to run games and I have other projects taking precedence. I figure even unfinished rules would be more useful than nothing to those people coming from Google, though.

So: Savage Elder Scrolls.

Note that my experience is mostly with Oblivion, so there’s not much in there that reflects Morrowind or earlier games in the series. However, since I’m not interested in just playing Oblivion with the CPU replaced with a human GM, I tried to avoid re-creating Oblivion’s game mechanics. That was my biggest objection to Advanced Dungeons & Savages, and I didn’t want to make that mistake myself.

Note that there’s a lot that’s just skeleton, especially around the Edges and Hindrances, the Bestiary, factions, and non-combat Gear. Alchemy is only half done, but an enterprising GM can fill in the blanks. Restoration spells are barely touched as well, but Savage Worlds provides Healing and Greater Healing for now. Also note that the contact form referred to at the end doesn’t yet exist here because I haven’t had the time to test out the various contact form plugins.

Feedback and suggestions are more than welcome. This is only around the level of an alpha, so major rewrites might happen.

In transition

written by d7, on Dec 12, 2008 8:08:19 AM.

The RPG Blog Carnival topic for December is transformations and transitions, hosted by Critical Hits. That's very pertinent to me right now since I'm transitioning from being a working student to being either a plain ol' worker or a stay-at-home dad. (We'll see in January which it will be.)

That partly explains the sudden quiet here at the Seven-Sided headquarters. The other part is that my Elder Scrolls conversion for Savage Worlds is coming along swimmingly. I should have Magicka (as magic is called in TES lore) and character mechanics in general done this weekend, and some templated NPCs and monsters done next week. Wednesday the group will hit it with sticks and put it through its paces for a one-shot session.

For Magicka I was tempted to model it after the mechanics in TES3: Morrowind and TES4: Oblivion, but while chatting with Fimmtiu I realised that that way lay madness and I should take my own advice to just trust Savage Worlds' system to work well. I'm tweaking it a bit—the Power used determines which Skill test is needed and there is one Skill for each of the six Schools—but otherwise I've just been putting SW-style mechanics to classic TES spell effects. There are some easy equivalents like telekinesis and dispel which need no name change, and command humanoid which is just puppet renamed. Others are a bit tougher, but I have about 50% of the Powers worked out already.

This hasn't really been a Carnival post so I'm not submitting it, but it did get me to update, so there's that at least.