Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Trying out a blog.

I am making this blog to add my voice to the infinite garble of the internet. My main problem is that, as I'm researching various RPGs and working on my own, I keep making searches to see what other people think. And my perspective is completely unrepresented on the greater internet. For instance, recently in all of the internet, I could only one person who vocalized distaste for Amber diceless, and they were profoundly idiotic, offering but lame insults and vague justifications, rather than genuine arguments.

For some basic information on me; I am 26 years old and male. I have been playing RPGs since before I knew what they are.

My first conscious encounter with RPGs by name was with a makeshift game of D&D in grade 9, when a new friend of mine who had actually played it decided he was really bored. At the time, I didn't know D&D was an actual thing. I thought it was, like, a genre, or a myth, or a media joke, or something.

Up until then I had already been building rules to manage authority in make-believe games. It's a hobby I've had since I was very small. At the time of my encounter with D&D, I had basically run out of people to play with, everyone was too busy with "reality", (which I still feel is horribly overrated) and I was toying with various electronic means of playing alone, even trying to learn C++ to create procedurally generated text adventures. (I never got anywhere near that goal- I am a TERRIBLE programmer)

Discovering tabletop RPGs and the hobby in general was like taking a mountain off my shoulders. Until then I felt alone, empty, confused, and strange. Then I played that makeshift D&D and my whole world changed. I was free. Suddenly, I wasn't alone any more. RPGs still hold that charm for me, and I don't think I'll ever escape it. It's something fundamental, intrinsic to my very being- it's not just part of who I am, but what I am. I just can't help it.

Since then, I have studied, researched, and designed RPG-style RPGs for eleven years. Prior to that, I had been designing imagination games for as long as I had been alive and infused with an imagination. I think my first written rules were made when I was 11-ish? I used to actually have the old scribbler I wrote it all down in. Three pages seemed like a lot back then.

I am always working on designing something. I enjoy playing games for sure, but design has always been what I do. I like creating new ways of playing all the time, but I get bored of playing any one way rather quickly.

In general, I have four ongoing projects:

1. Millstone: This is my conceptual laboratory. It has no fixed form, has never been played, and is unplayable. It is the environment in which I test systems and content against each other. I tweak and fiddle and swap parts out, and see how different things interact.

2. SD&D: (Simple Dungeons & Dragons) The premise is simple: All of the D&D rules can be written on a single sheet of paper, and the books are disgustingly padded. SD&D is my attempt to prove that. (In a way, it is a sort of distantly related cousin to D&DR) However, I have never been able to complete or release it, because every time I get close to reconciling all of the systems into one, they release a new edition! 5e is especially frustrating, because they're hiding stuff. Whole sections of the rules won't even be available until the third publishing season!

3. FFC: (Final Fantasy 100) This is an on-again-off-again project between me and my close friend, NJB. The objective is to create a system which mechanically evokes the feel of Final Fantasy such that literally ANY content can be thrown into it and come out with that FF flavor. Recently, a bit of stylistic disconnect between the two of us, and a campaign of 5e, has put a damper on production.

4. MECH THING: It has gone through a million names, including Left Wing, Total Fiction, Heavy Gear, Ironside, and ACFA. Basically, all the names I like are already taken. Rather frustrating. This one is actually pretty stable, and has changed very little over time. It is a tabletop wargame combined with an RPG emphasizing giant robot combat. It is VERY strongly inspired by Armored Core and Front Mission. The biggest change to the system came after I read Mekton Zeta... And even then, it still looks and feels the same, the rules just got more efficient. If I ever get into the mood for it again, it might actually be my first publishable finished game. I haven't been big into giant fightey robots for a long time now, though.