Category Archives: Random musings

Some Thoughts on Technoir

Technoir, Jeremy Keller’s cyberpunk roleplaying game, was one of the first Kickstarter projects I supported back in 2011. The video he created to promote his game blew me away, and I was excited to get my grubby little hands on a modern cyberpunk game with easy to learn rules.

The Kickstarter was a moderate success (compared with the ones we saw later) with 622 backers pledging $24,255. This was almost 10 times the initial goal of mere $2500. During the Kickstarter several bonus goals had been unlocked including MechNoir (Mechas etc.), HexNoir (Magic) and MoreNoir (which was meant as a toolbox for GMs). Alas only MechNoir was released and the last official update on both the KS page and the official Technoir site is over 2 years old. Obviously the official support is dead.

Overall I don’t regret backing Technoir at all. The game itself has some interesting rules, the book looks good, and it’s the first game of its kind I’ve seen which focuses on story instead of combat, weapon stats and long lists of cyberware. Alas this can be seen as both a good and a bad thing. Technoir feels terribly generic. On the one hand that might be great if you have a strong setting in the back of your mind, but if you don’t, you’re basically on your own.

One of the plans I had when I finally got my hands on the book, was to run a Shadowrun game with it. But instead of creating some house rules for Shadowrun’s fantasy elements I waited for HexNoir instead – which never showed up. So Technoir ended up on one of my “looks-interesting-but-I-can’t-use-it-right-now” shelves.

I pretty much forgot about the game until recently. I’ve been playing in a Shadowrun 3rd Edition campaign which made me interested in all things cyberpunk again. So I checked the Technoir KS page for updates, only to notice that there are none. I still think that Technoir had and has a lot of promise but the lack of official support – please excuse my language – sucks!

Musings of a D&D 5th Edition DM

Last year I started playing D&D 5th Edition with one of my regular groups. Actually we just created characters and did a short introductory adventure set into a campaign setting of my own creation. Things went pretty well, everyone had a lot of fun and it was very easy to run D&D 5th Edition.

But my homebrew setting caused some issues. Initially I wanted to create an open sandbox for the characters to explore, but in the end things turned out differently. The frontier town turned into a metropolis and all the ideas I came up with were of the “save the world” variety. And the worst problem of all: it didn’t feel like D&D. I can’t really put my finger on it, but the setting just felt wrong.

My players didn’t mind changing the setting, since we just started, and I thought starting with “Lost Mine of Phandelver” would be a fun idea. Heck, I could even run them through the whole Tyranny of Dragons campaign.  So I did some research and found a lot of less than flattering reviews. Especially Hoard of the Dragon Queen seems to be pretty bad. Continue reading Musings of a D&D 5th Edition DM

Why there will be no 2nd Edition of WR&M

Over the last years I have thought several times about creating a 2nd Edition of Warrior, Rogue & Mage. No game is perfect and WR&M is no exception. The combat rules need fixing, some talents don’t work as intended, several of the monsters in the bestiary need to be looked at. Most people don’t seem to mind, but I look at the Wyrm System and see its flaws in every little detail. I guess it’s true that the worst critics of any game designers are themselves.

Fixing some of the issues would probably be doable, but whenever I start working on WR&M I get the urge to change more than just the problematic parts. Perhaps a new dice mechanics would be fun! Why not make weapon damages static? Let’s remodel the whole magic system! I guess it’s a sign of what I call game designer ADD. I just can’t help myself, I just have to mess with my own designs.

Recently I released the WR&M SRD under the very open Creative Commons Attribution license. So WR&M is now basically in the hands of the community. I am confident that they’ll treat “my baby” with respect. In a way that helps me not to turn all George Lucas on it and totally mess it up in the long run.

A new edition of WR&M would probably be very different to the game you all know, just because I like to come up with new solutions to old problems just for the heck of it. The same thing happened when I started working on WR&M Pocket Edition. At first I tried to simplify the rules even more, so that I could fit it into Pocketmod format. But then I read about dice-less RPGs and decided it would be cool to make it dice-less as well. What I finally came up with might have worked as a system, but it just didn’t feel WR&M anymore.

Long story short, the reason why there won’t be a 2nd Edition of WR&M is that I just can’t help myself changing the game beyond recongnition. So instead of doing that I should just take the elements I like and create something new with them. WR&M is better off in the hands of its fans. I don’t want to become the George Lucas of the RPG industry. Zwinkerndes Smiley