Category Archives: NaGa DeMon

WR&M Pocket Edition–A few Thoughts

During this year’s NaGaDeMon I worked on two projects: rewriting Galaxy Core (I worked on it during another NaGaDeMon) into a d20-based system and on a simplified and dice-less (!) version of Warrior, Rogue & Mage which I dubbed WR&M Pocket Edition.

Alas I didn’t have enough time to get either project done, but I am determined to at least finish the latter one eventually. I never had worked on a diceless game, so that’s a new experience for me, and my current draft actually looks pretty sweet. I even managed to come up with a freeform magic system which could easily be used with WR&M itself.

So, what are my future plans? At first I want to get the rules done so that I can do some playtesting. Then I want to focus on an original setting. Instead of just recycling the work I have done for WR&M, I want something exciting and new for the Pocket Edition (which may actually get a proper name). At the moment I love the idea of a magitech setting which skyships roaming the skies of a world where islands float in an almost endless sky.

You’ll probably still be able to just ignore the setting and use the rules as a basis for basically everything you want, but a proper game needs an exciting setting. Certain design decisions are also much easier if you have a background to rely on.

One question remains: when will it be done? Honestly I can’t answer that question right now. I might be able to put the upcoming winter holiday to good use and get things done, or it may take much longer. I just don’t know at this moment. I need to be in the right state of mind to be creative and with my mental health issues still looming and some stress at work, things aren’t looking too bright. But I’ll definitely keep you informed.

By the way, if you have any  questions, ideas, advice, etc. you want to share, feel free to post them in the comments below!

NaGaDeMon: WR&M Pocket Edition

Over the last few days I have continued working on the project I dubbed WR&M Pocket Edition. Initially I wanted to create something which is to WR&M what Chris McDowall’s Into The Odd is to D&D. Alas my first draft didn’t turn out that great. In some places the rules actually felt more clunky than the old ones. And that’s something I wanted to avoid at all costs.

So I started again from scratch. In the meantime I had an interesting conversation with Chris about diceless games. I’d stumbled upon the core mechanic of the Amber RPG and thought it might also work well in other games. That was the moment when I decided to turn the “Pocket Edition” into a diceless system.

I am currently working on the second draft of WR&M Pocket Edition and it now has six “abilities”: Warrior, Rogue, Mage, as well as Fate, Mana and Health. There are no skills and talents anymore, but at least skills might creep back in at a later date. The rules as they are now in place are even lighter than the original WR&M. The magic system is now completely freeform. Players can create spells on the fly if they wish to do so. At the moment the core rules are less than 3 DIN A4 pages.

So, what is left to do? The task resolution mechanic is still a bit clunky and I have to think about how I want to handle NPCs. I like the way Numenera does it, but I might just follow a more traditional stat block format. I guess, I’ll have to have a good night’s sleep over this.

I also decided that the game needs a setting. Generic rules are nice and all that, but I want this to be something special. At the moment I think about a magipunk, swashbuckling, airships setting. This could be fun and would probably fit the new rules better than a standard fantasy world. But time will tell.

So, will I able to finish the game in time? I highly doubt it. I wasn’t really able to work in it for at least two weeks and there’s still too much time. But I don’t mind. NaGaDeMon is all about the fun you have while designing games. Getting everything done in a month is great, but I don’t count it as a failure if it takes way longer than that.

NaGaDeMon: It’s Full Of Stars!

One thing which makes NaGaDeMon so hard for me is that I tend to read a lot of roleplaying games especially the ones I like while I should be focusing on writing stuff myself. There are a couple of systems I love, and everything I write tends to slowly transforms into a bad copy of those systems. Instead of hanging my head in shame, I decided to share some of these games with you.

The main reason I started to work on WR&M Pocket Edition was that I wanted to create something as simple and elegant as Chris McDowall’s Into The Odd. Chris took D&D, stripped away almost everything and combined it with a very unique and awesome setting. The free version is still available on his blog, while a new version (which will also be available in print) is being worked on right now. Into The Odd has all the weirdness of a game like Numenera while being extremely simple to run and play. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should do so.

Apropos Numenera, Monte Cook’s Cypher system is another rules system I recently fell in love with. It’s fully player-facing, very easy to run, and has a couple of very intriguing mechanics I wish I came up with. One thing I love about the system is the Effort system. The players can lower the difficulty of tasks by spending points from their attribute pools.

This also reminded me of the way General skills in Robin D. Laws’ Gumshoe System work. Like the attribute pools in the Cypher system, the skill ratings in Esoterrorists, Trail of Cthulhu, etc. are resources to spend. Skill checks are done with a d6 and you can add points from your skills to improve your chances. I always wanted to write a system which uses skills/attributes in such a way, so it was no surprise that my updated version of Galaxy Core started to look a bit like a Frankensteinian creation – one part Galaxy Core and one part Gumshoe or Chyper. Not a pretty sight, I can assure you.
By the way, Gumshoe is now available under not one but two open licenses (CC and OGL). If you haven’t done so, you definitely should check out the SRD.

By the way, I also found the perfect magic system to be included in WR&M Pocket Edition or a WRM 2nd Edition.  R.E. Davis recently told me about his fantasy “rule manifesto” Patchwork Fantasy which is partly based on WR&M. It features an awesome spell system, which basically allows players to design their own spells by assigning 3 to 4 tags. Brilliant! You can check it out here.

At the moment I am not sure how I should proceed with my NaGaDeMon projects. I am tempted to put the two projects I wrote about earlier this week in favor of a simplified version of the Gumshoe system. It might even be possible to turn it into a system suited for fantasy games. And since it’s now licensed under CC it’s even perfectly legal now. It’s very tempting to mess with a system written by my favorite game designer, it really is.

Note: The image above was created by Pauline Moss and has been used under the terms of the CC-BY-NC 3.0 license. Check out her DeviantArt site!