Archive for category Group Prefs

New Hydra Character Sheet, Playtesting Update.

I have been working on character sheets, and they are now at version 1.1.2.  I’ve skipped putting up the intervening versions as this would indeed, be pointless! This has taken into account some initial character rolling feedback and reflection on my part. So you will see that there have been some changes to terms used in the character sheet. Fear not these are merely term changes and the mechanics underneath remain as is. Words have merely been changed to protect the innocent and better reflect the meaning of the stat/mechanic. My gratitude to the Hydra playtesters (Jordan, George and Vincent) for letting me try out my mashed up RPG with them. I will make sure my netbook has some power next time I bring the thing along so I don’t have to use ANY brain power or calculators at all. Hope you guys are enjoying designing your characters further. I have had to make some minor corrections where I got things wrong – will let you know what they are next time I catch up with you.

There are .DOC and .PDF versions of the hydrasheet available to download from the fusion site as of, about now. I have some printed off copies available for those who want them and will bring them along this week to WGH. I’m going to be around onWednesday evening when I should be finishing off the rolling of Jordan’s character with him if that works out to be possible. Be there about 8pm ish. Big thanks to WGH for being the ideal place to recruit players, talk RPG, have a laugh and so forth. If you don’t know what WGH is – check the link in the blogroll for wargames heaven. It does what it says on the tin.

All PlayTester’s I’ve asked have agreed for their initial PC character sheets to be published online, so I will have PC versions up in due course, and there will be the DM versions, but I’m afraid not available to public eyes they will be in the DM’s journal. (I’m such a tease :).

Feedback so far – generally well received. Positive comments about the overall character generation – categorical nature of the system, flexibility, and roleplaying within the character creation phase. I like Vincent’s point about re-rolls. I am a re-roll fascist these days – we used to have games where stats were conflated by re-rolls or extra dice and then I thought – why bother having stats less than 12 if that’s the case? Why have 3-18 if no one is ever a 3? Why not just 12-18. Hence – no re-rolls. his suggestion – 1 re-roll and you have to take it even if it is worse then the original. This way it is just another dice-roll. I think this could be a DM’s option. For myself – everybody rolls stats as is, once, and that’s that. Then Hydra let’s you, if you keep them alive, develop them up from their humble roots into a truly heroic figure. At least, that’s the plan and we shall see what happens from play-testing, rules revisions and subsequent Lankhmar campaign.

Now, excuse me I have to get off and do my day job. Science is a harsh mistress.


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Another Round of Player Preferences and My Own

Finally I’ve stopped slacking – here are more of the player preferences for the game-world system, and mine as well tacked onto the end.

My fellow player provided me with a summary of his highlights/lowlights of past systems we’ve played, which proved useful.

Tunnels & Trolls: The saving throw in T&T (20 + 5Xlvl)= Target on 2d6+ attribute being tested). (This kind of roll is applied in CoC V in resistance rolls and characteristic testing so a version will be used in the fused game!).

No racial stereotyping. A non-humano-centric world. (Ok, so the world I’ve chosen isn’t as non-humano-centric as he would probably like, but its not as racially stereotyped as past campaign worlds – e.g. middle-earth).

D&D good feel for fantasy – too class bound. (Getting some inspiration from AD&D 2nd Edition for the world-setting, and from other AD&D materials for the world development so I think this ticks this box to some degree). And we’re not having a class based system but a more flexible HM-like skills-based occupational system.

RQ(III) – can’t remember too much about it now but the magic system was lousy as I recall – too complicated. Combat good but could be quite involved. (Fortunately I’ve gone with RQII rather than III, to up the mystery component. Our combat is largely CoC with some minor RQII twist for bits that CoC can’t handle so less involved than RQIII or II. I have drawn from RQII for the magic inspiration – RQIII magic was a pain.  RQII is pretty different though so hopefully this in conjunction with the fact that I’m also merging the RQII magic system into the AD&D type world-setting will change it up a lot. I considered using the HM system – but, he knows it too well – and I want that air of mystery and need for discovery. Also RQII and CoC are better in terms of compatability.)

HM (All editions) – beautiful character development – perfectly paced skill enhancement. Combat dragged the game down to a morass. Very powerful and flexible magic system. (Agree with all of the above and have therefore only taken minimally from HM. Not combat. Bits of CD that are compatible with CoC. Have used the CoC skill development which is HM like – not so well crafted but less to administrate which is a pragmatic concern for the GM. Besides – all players know HM too well!).

CoC like RQ but allowed guns. Hated sanity rules. Quick and fun combat. (Ok – so I dropped the Sanity stuff like a hot potato!).

So, loves: quick but sufficiently detailed combat, detailed character
development, rich gameworld, sense of adventure and wonder (like Tim).
hates: power gaming (min/maxing), mechanic heavy combat, arguing over
minutiae (especially in combat), no danger
wishes: to have that sense of tingling excitement when you  start an

My own preferences/dislikes are:

a rich world, highly detailed, preferably in advance that affords short, medium and long-term story-telling opportunities, exploration and fantasy escapism

potentially far-reaching campaigns, but also with short and mid-term group-shared (if possible) goals

overall a developed capacity for inter and intra character group conflict/cololaboration i.e. dynamic social expression, where it affords good story-telling, drama, exciting combats (with less mechanical drudgery and mental effort), narrow-escapes and dramatic deaths.

mind-numbing tedium of calculations to the nth degree and endless debates about bloody rules

power-gaming for whatever reason that leads to campaign destruction

not being able to ‘wing it’ and go ‘off-piste’ at any time for any reason.

So there you go the round of preferences is over.

Hopefully it’s fairly obvious how the preferences have influenced the system choices, and weighting of various system-parts with each other.

As I mentioned in the previous blog post, I’ve got to the point of the second draft with attendant mutations. I’ve got a gaming framework sorted which I’ll publish seperately. For now I can say that I have a working title for the system – yeah it’s about fusion, but more specifically for this little beast its a Hydra (because it’s multiply headed so to speak and more than a hybrid).

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Post ‘Kick off’ Round One – Developing Fusion Ideas

So, we’ve had our usual ‘wouldn’t it be good if we had a game running again?’ conversation, instigated if I recall correctly by me as usual, and now we’re committed to getting something off the ground.

I suggested we all write down our three top love and hates of RPG’s and use that as a springboard for discussion via an e-mail group. I’ve collected the preferences and have begun constructing a system, well, melange of systems, based on the preferences so far – including my own as GM.

I’m using the game-systems I already know to form a mash-up for our fusion rpg. We’ve done similar things before in adapting our previous favourite game system – Harnmaster. (Many Harnmaster websites exist – and I can heartily recommend as a good ‘un for resources, expansions, articles and what-not).

So it looks like from what I’ve got from the players so far, we want a fusion of systems that affords us:

  • a quick/not overly complex or laboursome combat system – it’s not going to all grind to a halt as soon as somebody waves a sword or knocks an arrow. (sp. armour profiles)
  • hidden mechanics/story + roleplaying paramount
  • flow – fast-moving story
  • risk – mortality and potentially terminal costs
  • PC’s/Players know what you know about the world and no more

There are still more preferences filtering in through the e-mail group, it’s all a bit sporadic and sluggish (as per). Did have a chat with another member of the group – and got an idea of his thoughts/wishes, which I’ll plug in to this blog in the next post. I’m dedicating a post to each of the ‘kick off’ ideas circulated by the players.

Initial thoughts in terms of game-systems I have and know well are:

Not Harnmaster for combat then – it’s a pig slow system even at the best of times. However I know this player still enjoys the character creation and involvement and enjoyed that process. So somehow, hidden mechanics but still involved in character creation. PC’s to know what they know about the world and what they can do in it no more. Hmm.

So my thoughts turn to CoC (Call of Cthulhu) – another %-ile based system, of the RuneQuest type (I also know and have run RQIII), with a significantly faster combat system then CoC. Ok so maybe a combination of: Harnmaster character profile development, CoC game engine for combat and skill use, with the descriptions being a combination of a merger of the HM skill set and CoC.

Then – ping! how about a FUDGE-like coating over the top. So, the players have character sheets that describe their characters in a qualitative categorical way, with the actual figures hidden underneath and revealed only to the GM? The players can guess the skills/percentages and what is a success/failure based on their rolls – if they really want to. The GM abritrates all the rules and the PC’s can pick them up if they want to from the descriptions that overlay them.

Sounds groovy and more than meets the initial requirements. But how to generate such a character and keep the figures hidden. And character professions/classes – what of those? Well I’ve come up with some solutions for those issues and I’m building the amalgamated game engine in a spreadsheet on my netbook. So far the game systems being mashed are: HarnMaster 3rd Edition, Call of Cthulhu 5th Edition and FUDGE.

I’ll plot out how this looks in the next post, wherein we’ll discover the next players preferences and how accomodating to those needs swerves the fusion design somewhat, and introduces that age-old problemette for FRPG’s – magic. Oh and world. Oh and races. Some ways to go – but at least there’s some reactions in these fusion chambers! (Groan).

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Getting Fusion Started

So, not so long ago our old role-playing group got together, chewed the fat, caught up and played some pool. As inevitably happened I recounted my on-going currently un-met desire to get a new RPG up and running. I love running games and will pretty much do anything to get it back on the road. This is not an unprecedented situation – it usually just turns out to be a lot of talk, but this time it’s different because I’m actually writing a game. And a game system.

Roughly the formula for the Fusion RPG approach is born out of our groups playing preferences, the systems I have in my head, and about 20 odd years of roleplaying game experience. Although I think if we summed our total experience it would be about 80-odd years. Which is a scary thought in of itself. We have one fusion system already under our belt, and now it’s time for another – to fit in our 35+ (cough) something lives. That’s a tall order.

This is just by way of an initial placemat for the fusion rpg blog. I’ll be along shortly to put some dinner plates of content down on top of this. Caution! they’ll be smokin’ hot because this development is still in the oven of progress. In the meantime, carry on – as you were.

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