The Wheel Spins

So, recently, it’s been a period of nostalgia.  A period to look back at those things I was most fond of and see what I can do with them.

I also read the last book in the Wheel of Time series, finally.  I was entertained, even read all of the sections that involved female characters.  Wasn’t the greatest ending.  Some archery fun between Tam and Birgitte would have been something.  I could go on, but this is not “a beginning”.

Immortal: The Invisible War

This used to be my favorite RPG.  But, I never really understood the actual system.  I say actual because a primary reason this was my favorite RPG was I played it with Ran (the designer for those who can’t be bothered to know these things) running.  No, I didn’t play in his group.  I was introduced to it at Origins the year it was in San Jose.  We would roll a d10 and magic would happen.

I went back and looked to try to understand what the actual rules were.  Yup, they are awful.  They are far more horrendous than I remember, though why I would remember much of rules we never actually used in play is a question.  Multiple hostiles going off at the same time.  If I think 26 skills is poor design, let’s try like 60 skills.  Skills have varying costs.  Abilities exist that just negate hostiles (an interesting idea but painful design when you could have 20 different hostiles at work).

Mechanics were broken up in a way that it wasn’t clear how character abilities worked.  After getting through the mechanics sections, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing to preserve.  I would just rewrite the system entirely to have my attribute + skill + d10 to hit a target number.  As I lost interest in the thematics of the game as well, no Himsati, no Serenades, no rainbow Immaculum.  However, Free Immaculum I would try to find a way to keep, as that’s one of the things that attracted me to the game in the first place when it was previewed/marketed in Dragon Magazine.

Rather than an overly convoluted mythology that not only had too many things going on but also based everything on an alien, I would just build a modern mythological game.  I already have the idea, though ideas are the easy part.  It’s having players not screw up your geniusness that’s the hard part.

Ultimate Combat!

I built a new deck.  Yes, seriously.  That’s how I am.  I playtested my decks against each other and am increasingly coming to the conclusion that the game would be better without the expansion.  Or, better with the rules that existed prior to the expansion, by which I mean a whole bunch of annoying psychic action cards were restricted.  While my Bewilder (you lose a turn) and Suppress (you lose all of your turn except playing a “land”) deck might be fair in that it loses a lot to at least one of my other decks, I can’t imagine anyone enjoying playing against it.  Somehow, I don’t think CCGs were intended to function where one player takes six straight turns.

The post Ancient Fighting Arts of China environment just seems one where every deck has to run four Psychic Delays to stop being shut out from playing the game.  Mix in how unbalanced starts can be based on how many artifacts and Mantras of Power you drew in your opening hand, and you realize that the game isn’t guaranteed fun, even if it is more fun than other CCGs.

Why is this of interest?

In many cases, I look at something old I have and either want to play it or can mine it for material.  In many cases, like the constant fail that is my reading my old AD&D/D&D modules, I don’t get inspired.  As much as I’d play more UC!, I don’t really come away from looking at either game as inspiring.

I actually had more ideas about RPG stuff just thinking about things in a general way, from reading A Memory of Light, and from reading gaming forums.  I certainly am not in the mood to create a new CCG.

It’s funny how many characters I can picture in my brainial region but how little effort I put into NPCs thematically.  Of course, a big problem with my plentiful ideas for scenes is that there are too many, that choosing to run with one instead of another is too difficult.

Even writing things down doesn’t work, as the act of writing down often drains my visions of their color.

Then, so many ideas don’t work as gaming ideas but, rather, are scenes out of short stories or novels.  Suggests maybe I should stop being so lazy and actually work on writing a complete short story (I have a hard time seeing writing a complete novel, I just don’t have that sort of endurance).

On a completely unrelated side note, should I report about playing V:TES recently?  I hadn’t played in a long time.  What of Shadowfist where we playtested Ray’s cards designed to smooth the game out?  Should I get into how it got me thinking of adapting B5 style agenda to Shadowfist?  Maybe when I actually do something about it and don’t just think about it.

The reality is that Shadowfist already has Edges which have similarities to agenda.  Not sure why I capitalized one and not the other.  There’s also doing a league/campaign where winning allows you to make up rules.  Our group is stable enough that we could do that.

I feel like the next major undertaking needs to be figured out.  I’m just not gaming enough.  BattleTech might start back up Sunday, which would mean something like three days out of the week when things are consistent.  Still leaves Tuesdays or Wednesdays free, and Saturdays are a big unknown at the moment.


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