The Neological Naga Demon and the Franken Game

That sounds like a terrible B movie but right now I am preparing to spend a lot of time on Nagademon, or more correctly NaGaDeMon, and having never heard the words Franken Game until recently I have found myself using it twice this week.

What is a Franken Game?

A Franken Game is a game put together our of parts of other games. Originally Character Law was a bolt on replacement for must of the Players Handbook, Arms Law was a replacement combat system and Spell Law a drop in magic system. If you decided to take HARPs scalar spells and dropped it into RMC then you are now playing a Franken Game.

I once took the vehicle rules from Car Wars and converted them to d100 and used them as part of Spacemaster. It makes a lot of sense. How big a part of Spacemanster are 21st century cars trucks and motocycles going to be? The answer is tiny so the developers could not justify spending hundreds of hours perfecting rules for them. How big a part of Car Wars are cars, trucks and moticycles? Probably 95% I would say so dropping Car Wars into Spacemaster boosted that aspect of the game in an area I needed for the campaign I wanted to play.

This is insanity!

The best rules for insanity has to come from Call of Cthulhu, so why reinvent the wheel? Just make the minor changes needed to make it look and feel like Rolemaster (think of that as the surgical stitching) and there you go. you have sown together your own Franken Game. Most of us have shelves of games you have played int he past but are not playing now. All these games have elements we really liked when we played them and bits that we didn’t necessarily like. Using them as a library of body parts allows us to customise our own games to fit the worlds we want to play in. It is also great fun and as long as you don’t break the rules too much in doing the conversion to d100 OE (open ended) then the original games play testing should safe guard your Franken Games balance.

NaGaDeMons Ahoy!

I mentioned this in my last post. National Game Design Month. It is the NaNoWriMo of the gaming world. Let me digress for a moment.

There is an old joke about a school caretaker bemoaning the throw away culture of today and how they don’t make things like they used to where you could repair things rather than just throw it away and buy a new one. Take this broom for example, they don’t make brooms like this any more… Its had 5 new handles and 7 new heads but it is still going strong!

If you had a game you loved but you thought you could swap out the combat system for something ‘better’* and then you think “hey I like these scalar spells!” so you swap out the magic system. After a while you think there has to be a better way to handle all this profession bloat and skill bloat. So if you replace character law, arms law and spell law are you still playing Rolemaster?

I think the answer is yes you are. If you have magic structured into realms and roles are open ended and combat is driven by criticals, these are the hallmarks of the rolemaster system.

On the other hand what if like the broom with the 5 new handles and 7 new heads, there is nothing left of the original system? I think at that point you have crossed the line from Franken Game to a completely new system. If you then make sure it all works together and covers all the bases then you have a new game on your hands.

Most GMs feel we could write our own game

Most of us [GMs] feel we could write our own game. Equally most of us never will. This is where the Nagademon comes in. It focuses the mind into a single month of effort to actully write up all those ideas you have about how to create a perfect roleplaying game and get them down into a document. One month to break the back of the project. You can take as long as you like with the editing afterwards and that sort of thing. you could even go one step further and put your game on RPGNow or Drivethru. Afterall what have you got to lose?

*better is in inverted commas as your better and my better could be completely different!

D&D 5th Edition SRD and 5ex5

D&D 5th Edition SRD

I have had quite an intersting day today working as part of a two person team converting all of the D&D 5th Edition SRD over to D100. The project is called 5ex5 as in 5th Edition x5, th emost obvious way to get from d20 to d100.

What is interesting from the Rolemaster perspective is that it will make any future products based upon it very easy to convert to Rolemaster and many will pretty much be able to be used off the shelf.

Free content for RM GMs

If you consider how much is published on Drivethru or RPGnow for free or Pay What You Want, this could explode the amount of free content for RM GMs.

It sounds pretty easy just multiplaying everything by 5 so d20s become d100s and a +1 bonus becomes a +5 and so on. The reality is that in the Monsters section alone there are over 10,000 edits to be made. You would have thought that one could just find and replace to change one thing to another but it doesn’t work that way as you have to check every reference as no one wants a dice rolls for durations or areas of effect multiplied.

The inner workings of D&D 5th Edition

What I have learned to day is a lot about how D&D 5th Edition works. I had only read the free basic version rules before but today I have read in detail then entire combat section of the SRD and I am quite impressed. If nothing else I should walk away with a pretty good knowledge of the inner workings of 5e!

So how long is this going to take?

I have no idea but I hope it is only going to be a few weeks as I have decided I want to have a go at NaGaDeMon (National Game Design Money) in November and there is only so much of me to go around. I am not sure I will have the time spare to do both.

Rolemaster Weekend Roundup July 23rd 2016

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Welcome to RolemasterBlog’s first “Weekend Roundup”. Here we will feature interesting links, stories or news items that might be of interest to RPG’ers or curious minds!

The price of fashion. Getting around in ARMOR.

What a bunch of NERDS!

Celebrities aren’t the only ones PLAYING D&D.

What every growing boy needs…the CRATE OF DOOM!

Cryptonomicon…I don’t think so. Try the CODEX SERAPHINIANUS.

Interesting article on PROTO LANGUAGES.

The Gods of Death in Shadow World. RESURRECTION discussion.

You call that a KNIFE?

Till next time!

The Ghost of Christmas to Come

Right now I am holding on to a handful of monsters statistics I have converted over from D&D to Rolemaster. The reason being that I am converting them as needed for my game but my players have not encountered them yet. Some of these will be a real spoiler if the players knew they were around the next corner. It is a little frustrating as I really want to share them but cannot yet.

I was thinking about these creatures the other day and I had a cool idea. What I am going to build is a sort of (depending on which side of the fence you are looking in from) Monster Manual or Creatures and Treasures addendum. D&D monsters but Rolemaster stats but just for the creatures found in the Forgotten Realms and missing from the existing Creatures and Treasures.

I looked into this and as long as I do not intend to sell it then as I am promoting the Forgotten Realms then I would be covered by the Wizards of the Coast Fan Site license to use their intelectual property.

The descriptions I could take from the Forgotten Realms Wiki. I am more than happy to give attribution to that site. I think that site needs as much support as I can give it.

The rules for moster conversions are available on page 92 of the the RM2 Creatures and Treasures or as a seperate download from the Iron Crown website ‘vault’

My only contribution will be the time and effort to actually do the conversions plus the page layout and hosting. I will give the document away for free. I am not in this to make money off of other peoples ideas.

I am going to play around with some page layouts this weekend and share them on Monday. I will welcome any constructive feedback.

 

It is now officially unofficial!

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.

I made a few changes to the blog today and here is the story why.

I woke up this morning to an email from Colin @ ICE which was a pleasant surprise.  He asked for a few things, They wanted a link to the rpgnow site on the blog (you can see it to the left now) but more interestingly they asked if I would make it clear that this was an unofficial blog and put a link to the official blog (also on the left now).

As Colin put it “They thought this was the official ICE blog”. I am not out to masquerade as anything I am not so obviously I was more than happy to make the changes. What is interesting is who ‘they’ are? I kind of hope it was some completely new people first discovering Rolemaster for the first time. That was sort of the reason for starting this blog, to spread the word about Rolemaster.

The really cool thing is that Colin has offered to share pre-release copies of products for review. I really hope this turns out to be possible as I could then give you all my personal take on the new products.

Watch this space!

Roleplaying software review Rolemaster Character Utility

Rolemaster Logo

One of my favourite pieces of software as a GM is the Rolemaster Character Utility or RCU. This is a piece of freeware (you can download it from here Rolemaster Character Utility full) that you can share and anyone can use. This is the windows version but I have run it under WINE on linux boxes without a problem.

What the programme does is allow you to step through the character creation process from name and profession, race, stats and skills in a wizard style interface. Every time you make a choice it eleminates things that no longer apply, so chose a mentalist and all the channeling and essence spell lists drop off the lists. Chose a halfling and all the height and weight charts adapt to give sensible results for halflings.

Once a character has been created it can be saved and recalled to do the leveling up including stat gain rolls, spell aquisitions and hits and skill. It automatically calculates level bonuses, stat bonuses and updates the spells available.

You can when developing a character go back and keep the same basic character but change their profession or race to see if they would be better as a different realm, profession, race etc.

It is easy enough to set the GM specific optional rules such as if you allow characters to reroll paticularly low stats, whether to add stat bonus on to spell aquisition rolls and such. Everything is optional and you can just skip things that do not apply to your game. When you are buying skills it shows you just about every possible skill with the correct costs for that class. The programme was written back in 1999 and seems to include every profession, skill, spell list and background option from every book published up until that point. In my case this inlcudes many skills and spells that I do not have in my game but that is not an issue.

Creating a 1st level character takes about 15 minutes for a spell user, slightly less for a realm of arms character and then leveling up takes about 5minutes to 10 minutes depending on the level as I find some are more significant than others especially 4th level and 9th.

The only thing this doesn’t do is spend the points for the coming level, the ‘learning’ development points.

The output is clear and simple to understand and all the ‘DruTam’ character sheets in this post were created using this programme. If you are playing RM2/RMC and you have not used this before then I would seriously consider giving it a whorl. It looks dated because it is but it will save you hours upon hours in creating interesting and fully developed NPCs in any ongoing game.

 

Rolemaster blog gets it social media accounts

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.

I have just created the Facebook and Twitter accounts to compliment the blog. If you like or follow these then you should get the automatic notifications on your phone or whatever when I post something new.

The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/rolemasterblog

The twitter feed is https://twitter.com/RolemasterBlog

Of course you can use either of those to contact me directly and I promise to reply as soon as possible.

Getting PBP notifications

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.

As I wrote earlier, this is my first full weekend of PBP (Play by Post) and Spacemaster. The game I am playing is being played out via the rpol.net. One of the weaknesses of the system or so it seems so far is the lack of notifications. You can enable email alerts up to every 15 minutes, but that took a couple of false starts to get going, the conf email went straight to junk and then it insisted on sending alerts for every single forum on the site and then I eventually tamed to to only show alerts from the game I am in. It is not the most intuitive interface I have ever come across.

Since setting up the alerts I have had one email about two hours ago and then nothing so that doesn’t seem that promising.

Rpol does offer RDF, RSS and atom feeds. I thought maybe I could add the feed to feedly and then have that notify me whenever there was an update but yes technically that works but you have to manually make it go and refresh the feed. I am after something to tell me as soon as GM Joe updates my game thread. Every 15 minutes doesn’t sound very long but there is only a limited window when we are both awake at the same time. I would kind of like to make the most of that time but also not be having to hit F5 refresh every two minutes to see if the game has moved on.

If I find a solution to this then I post an update.

Why?

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.

There has been a bit of a discussion on the ICE forums recently about blogging, official blogs, fan blogs and the pros and cons of blogs over static sites such as the Guild Companion.

You can read it all in full here in the original blogging thread.

As a result of this I thought why not set up a blog and see if there was a genuine appetite for the content. I am also open to allowing other Rolemaster fans to guest post here or become regular contributors.

First and foremost though I will be blogging about issues and thoughts that come up via my own gaming.

Regarding the image at the top of the pages. This is the property of Aurigas Aldbaron LLC and used with their kind permission.

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.