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Topics - Shadowmourne

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Beneath a More Auspicious Star / An Update (23/05/2011)
« on: May 23, 2011, 07:06:12 PM »
So, uh, I've not done much work on Beneath a More Auspicious Star recently. I've posted even less of that work here.

Actually, that's not *entirely* true - I have been working on my hack, just not directly. I realised that I wanted to explore how various things might interact, what interesting ways and things might be done with mechanics. Of course, Beneath a More Auspicious Star is not the right place to tinker with mechanics in that sense - it's a place where the mechanics should all be polished and sharp.

So I wrote a mini-hack called Escape from Thanatos! to see what would happen if you stripped out basic moves and replaced harm with conditions. And writing and playing it was pretty fun so I wrote a couple more.

At the moment I'm still exploring this format and still enjoying it. I've already decided to use conditions and custom moves instead of harm in BaMAS.

So I've not forgotten about this, or abandoned it, or anything like that. But progress is slow. I don't know how many of you are paying attention or still awaiting this eagerly but the game is still close to my heart and I'm still determined to make it a thing worth of play and enjoyment.


brainstorming & development / A Handful of Mini-Hacks
« on: March 20, 2011, 03:21:59 PM »
So I took the framework of John Harper's Lady Blackbird, and the move structure of Apocalypse World and came up with something new. Three games here that all provide a take on different genres - Space Opera with Escape from Thanatos! Pulp with Terror of the Serpent Men! and Martial Arts with As the Tea Leaves Grow.

A rundown of what you can expect -
  • Basic moves are gone! Each character has their own unique set of moves
  • Consequences (as moves) rather than Harm.
  • Experience moves where characters gain experience when they behave in a certain fashion

Escape from Thantos! is a Space Opera adventure which follows the crew of the Freebooter Porpoise, on the run from the Omegan Empire after rescuing the Merchant Prince Marcus Dunn.

Terror of the Serpent Men! follows Pulp Adventurer Dan Dynamo and his companions as they save the world from the insidious conspiracy of the Serpent Men and their fearsome servants, the Hairless Apes!

As the Tea Leaves Grow is the journey of five Brothers, the students of Master Iron Willow as they seek out the Four Great Tea Masters to replace their Master's rare tea before the Emperor visits in a month.

I hope that these interest people - both to play and from a design point of view when crafting other hacks.


Beneath a More Auspicious Star / Advancement
« on: November 28, 2010, 10:01:44 AM »
This thing isn't dead, it's just playing possum. Meanwhile, after marking enough circles, you get to advance.

I kinda wanted to root the advancement within the fiction slightly more. Part of it was making your House and Philosophy continually relevant - so they take part of the work of providing Advancement Options.

However, I also decided to add in something else to the mix. It's something that's already there in part with options like "get a gang and {MOVE}" - advancements that are baked into the fiction. So I'm cooking up a bunch of "Special Moves" that you can only take if you meet the requirements.

If you've held your own against overwhelming odds, you can take Renowned when you Advance. If you've communed with the First Emperor you can take Destined.

You don't get these moves automatically, and neither do you have to take them but they provide a nice way of making every game different, and every character unique whilst reinforcing the setting.

So does it sound appealing? And does anyone have any ideas for "conditions" for these bonus options?

Oh, and this project is most definitely still on despite radio silence here.

Beneath a More Auspicious Star / Fronts and Threats
« on: September 02, 2010, 02:40:02 PM »
Scarcity is not the issue - for BaMAS threats are born from Vacuums and Abundances. When I got to thinking about how to arrange things, I decided (at least for the moment) that the front sheet would be designed around the I Ching (loosely). With the various "problems" being normal or inverted (Abundance or Vacuum).

In the centre is the Vacant Throne - which is both the Home Front and a variety of problems linked to the absence of an Emperor. I'm currently ruminating over working out the mechanisms for something resembling seasonal threats - though a countdown clock might suffice. In the eight positions around the throne, sit the eight trigrams of problems - based, at the moment on the descriptors of the Houses to which the players (and indeed all Nobles) will belong - Ambition, the Wild, Greed, Honour, the Fallen, Might, Independence, Decline.

Threats are getting a similar reworking to better fit - grotesque mutants are not particularly in theme.

At the moment though, it's all just crude thoughts - anyone who wants to help shape this rough stone is welcome to ask leading questions and make suggestions.

Beneath a More Auspicious Star / A Question of Scale
« on: September 02, 2010, 02:24:11 PM »
Unlike vanilla AW, BaMAS is huge in scale. Estimates/census put the population of China at something like 50,000,000 before the Three Kingdoms Period (the period in question) began.

In BaMAS there are People and then there are Pawns. Pawns are like stuff - they have separate moves for manipulating them. Pawns don't have names - not really. Pawns can't hurt you any more than a bowl or a knife. People have names. People can hurt you - with a knife, or a Pawn, or an Army. Name someone and they're a Person - not a Pawn.

In AW, gangs, large gangs, are still a sensible number of people. You could fit a gang into a large hall. In BaMAS the halls are that much bigger to fit everyone in. It has three scales - Personal, Tactical and Strategic for dealing with large numbers. It has War Moves for dealing with Armies.

What needs work, and fiddling, are the exact numbers. At the moment the Governor and the General are still using AW numbers (and tags) with a few more zeroes. This is high on the list to be sorted.

Tactical and Strategic are not just terms for Warriors, Tacticians and Generals. Courtiers, Governors and Ministers use the same scale for dealing with politics.

So, scale, think BIG.

Beneath a More Auspicious Star / What is Beneath a More Auspicious Star?
« on: September 02, 2010, 02:06:49 PM »
Beneath a More Auspicious Star (under its current title) is my humble attempt to warp the machinery of Apocalypse World to create something in the vein of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

That is to say, Dynastic China (perverted through the medium of turning men into giants). It will be the game about people who are larger than life shaping the course of history. It will be about Bold Warriors, Sly Strategists, Cunning Courtiers who each in their own way force their own vision onto those around them. (In theory anyway).

It is about an Apocalypse. Maybe not the same kind of Apocalypse that Apocalypse World delivers, or that we may recognise as such, but it is without a doubt set after then end of the world. The Han Dynasty has collapsed and thus Heaven and Earth has been shattered. The game will cover the problems (physical and metaphysical) which arise from a lack of an Emperor.

The game is not about history as it actually happened. It is about creating a new history from the seeds of historical events.

It's something that I'm super excited about - and hopefully something you are too.


Beneath a More Auspicious Star / Class Handbooks
« on: September 02, 2010, 01:56:28 PM »
Here are the classes as they currently stand in their variety of completednesses. Still to be written are the Tactician, Minister, Philosopher and Scholar (or maybe Philosopher or Scholar).

I'd like those interested parties to opine on the various contents, point out obvious spelling mistakes and balance issues. Additionally, if anyone has any ideas for any of the handbooks still to be written or glaring omissions from existing handbooks put them here. Some ideas I may have already considered and dismissed or put into operation elsewhere - others I may just have neglected to think on. Whichever it is, it's all good for discussion!

Beneath a More Auspicious Star / Beneath a More Auspicious Star
« on: August 02, 2010, 01:41:02 PM »
At the urgings of those enthused by such things, and inspired heavily by the mythology and tales surrounding the Romance of the Three Kingdoms I'm designing a AW Hack for playing the Movers and Shakers of pseudo-Dynastic China.

Whether a proud Warrior from a Small Independent House who follows the Way of the Clouds or a Governor for the Ambitious Wei House who believes in the Way of the Law, Beneath a More Auspicious Star deals with the passions and personal prides of those who shaped a new Order from the Chaos.

I thought I'd introduce it here. It's still very much a work in progress, as I try design moves that embody the scope and spirit of the actions taken by these all-too-human titans. I guess this is also an open call to here the kinds of people you'd want to see and be, and the actions you'd want to perform. I'd also like to know how close to history you would want a hack like this to adhere.


EDIT - It occurs to me, a glance at the (somewhat messy) bones of the Hack might help people grasp what I'm going for -

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