Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mutants & Masterminds Review PART 1

First time I did read Mutants & Masterminds I did like it. I already had played Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 so I knew the basics how D20 system works and before that played simplified True20 system of Blue Rose. M&M is kind of between those two in complexity and above in character possibilities and customization. Still there are things I don't like about this D20 rules set.

Characters Without Class Nor Alignment

Classes I am ok with. But in this kind of game where heroes are all unique classes wouldn't work that well. But if you don't want to make a character from a scratch there are hero archtypes you can slightly custom to your own taste.
They aren't equal to classes which are base you create your character on but almost ready-to-play. Still, for those who don't want to use whole toolbox or are short of ideas there archtypes are welcome.

There is no alignment but somehow I feel that it (good, evil, lawful) could determine where character stands. BUT what else alignment does except being a part of game mechanics? You can write in your character description lawful evil superhero. Isn't that the same without mechanical use in game? Yes it is. I think D&D alignment system - even though somehow confusing - describes easily both character's moral and order.

True D20 Game With Only 20-Sided Die

This game only uses D20. Well, Dd20 system basically only uses D20 when determining successes but effects are simulated with different dies for example damage.
Which is more simple? In D&D roll to hit then roll damage what is exactly what die shows plus/minus something. In M&M:
"Characters in Mutants&Masterminds do not have hit points based on their level and Constitution bonus, and damage is not rolled using other dice. Instead, each attack has a damage modifier used to calculate a Difficulty Class. The character makes a Damage saving throw against that Difficulty Class and the result of the..." blah blah blah. Roll, calculate, roll against. How does that differ from actually rolling damage and settling for that? Or if you don't like hit points make damage steps. Light, moderate and heavy wounds. Damage dealt between 1-4 points is light, 5-9 moderate etc based on constitution. Character can take more lights but when those are used/marked they convert to next step. Well, check out Kult 1st edition.
Point is that this system in my opinion is too complicated. I didn't like it in Blue Rose either. But more about damage later and when you think about it, is it that bad?

Attacks of opportunity I didn't use in my D&D3.0 game (no minis extra complication) so I am pleased it isn't used here.

Character Creation

I did create a test character some time ago. It was ok. But there is a problem when I think harder. The problem is same I dislike GURPS character creation. You get a punch of points you must use for EVERYTHING. Its really hard to allocate points to abilities when you are not sure how many points your concepts powers will take. And then you try to balance your character so he can fly - well. Or he has this cool megacannon he is shit shooting with. So, you carefully allocate points here to get basics, move to powers to get core and continue jumping back and forward to balance with your points. And don't forget restrictions on max attack bonus etc. I do like point buy system for customization purpose but I prefer different areas of character having different point pools. Makes things less accounting and less mathematics.

The Abilities are same from other D20 games. I think those six cover really well characteristics although I always had a problem making difference between Intelligence and Wisdom. Skills I think work well in this genre.

Feats I am not so sure do I like them or not. They do give this little extra touch for character but they are way too mechanical in nature. I'd like more descriptional use-your-common-sense types and probably when I play I treat them that way. Less I have to open rulebook during the course of the game the better.


Then what makes superhero game a superhero game; the super-powers. This would take ages to review. Let's say. You have tons of powers you can custom. And by custom I mean Xzibit Pimp my powers custom. You take energy say. Decide do you shoot it from your eyes, fingertips or mechanical cannon. Does it explode etc. Point is that you have basic power listed which you can custom for your character from it's origin to flaws. This is the super-power toolbox and it will take most of the time of the character creation. I have to admit this is the first and only supers game I've got to know so I am not sure how big the power section in this game is compared to others.

Back To Character Creation

Earlier I used therm "characteristics" when I actually meant abilities (dexterity, charisma and those). But actual characteristics chapter reads "filling in the details". It contains both writing fiction for your character. About his appearance, origin, motivation and so on. But also gives mechanical details for character sheet for example saving throw values, carrying capacity, hero points and so on. Hero points you can use to re-roll dice, improve defense, eliminate stun hits and other short-term advances for a certain situation. According to book hero points character has are meant roughly to last four hour session. If sessions are shorter GM may consider to award them back slowly or if sessions are longer than six hours more often. Basically hero points are replenished after a certain time mainly determined by GM.
In this chapter you can also choose weaknesses. For every weakness player is awarded 10 extra points for his character to spend in character creation. Weaknesses are common what you find in other games labeled "disadvantages" or "flaws". Those also contain rules how they work and what penalty they give in which situation. Yet again I like to use them when I see appropriate instead of reading when to use those. You know, yet less rules to remember. Particularly when you have several players who might not know or remember to use them right.

Devices are basically part two to super-powers. Super-powers are within character when devices are gadgets and mechanical items giving those super-(like)-powers. Devices can be anything from weapons to headquarters. You can also make super-powers devices just applying device flaw on them. That way you don't fly on your own, but fly with a device; rocket backback for example. Nice additional touch is random powerful device name generator. Roll D20 for first word and D20 for second word to combine with. And you might get a device called "The Kinetic Repulsor" or "The Anti-Matter Nullifier". Deal with those!

For those familiar with D&D 3.X combat rules are easy to learn. To attack roll D20 and add base attack bonus + strength modifier + size modifier. Ranged is similar but with dexterity modifier instead of strength modifier and subtract range penalty. Easy as it is.
Defense is 10 + base defense bonus + dexterity modifier + size modifier. That is the number you try to roll over when attacking to hit and wound your opponent. Lots of calculation but luckily you have already written those down in your character sheet. So just check out the number for your melee or ranged attack and add it to D20 roll. Same way skills work. Roll modifiers to your skill what you try to do, roll D20 and try to score over difficulty number determined by situation or GM.
What is really different from D&D 3.X is damage. This is when my brains crack. So when you hit with your attack you potentially deal damage instead of just rolling damage. Each attack has a damage bonus. Melee attack damage bonus is strength plus possible modifiers from for example super-powers. Ranged attacks use power level of weapon or attack type as damage bonus. If opponent is hit he must make damage saving throw with damage save bonus. Damage save bonus is constitution bonus + power bonuses + modifiers. Roll D20 and add damage save bonus against difficulty of 15 + attack's damage bonus. Then based on your success or failure determine how much damage is dealt. Success means no damage, fail means injured, fail by 5+ means stunned and fail by 10+ disabled. And there are two types of damages: stun and lethal with slightly different effects.
I think when you fight a few fights you get the gist of it but still to make some of the rules more simple why damage rules are this complicated? It does take several problems from hacking hit point per time away though. But still I am not happy with this. But it's similar to other D20 rules. Add this to that and bonus and modifier + D20 against this with that modifier or DC of this plus modifier. When you think about it and go deep enough damage works the exactly same way as other rules. It makes sense, but still I am not 100% convinced.

But there is alternative way to roll damage. After hitting opponent attacker makes roll D20 + damage bonus against opponents constitution bonus + power bonuses + modifiers + 15. Consult the table what type of damage is dealt based on success. I actually like this more somehow. Attacker rolls when attacker attacks. But still it basically is the same mechanics.

Another thing I hate are different types of actions. Free, half and full. Luckily there is a list of these and they most definately are print-to-sheet material for quick access. Other combat rules naturally cover initiative, movement and position, modifiers from situations and surroundings. Lots of tables to check on. Personally I am the GM who strips these and goes with the flow. Depending on what happens in game I give or reduce penalties and rule myself what modifiers take place. Thanks to World of Darkness games I don't need too detailed combats. I want my combat turns to go like this:
Player: "I jump over the cover and shoot him."
Me as GM: "Okay, from jumping and shooting you suffer penalties. It's hard to aim when in movement. Oh, and your opponent is in partial cover. Hmm take -7 to your roll."
Someone might argue that my style is not fair as penalties and modifiers are not written in stone and after few weeks similar situation might only be -5 or even -9 penalty to attack roll. Stable rules, people say, what work same way every time. I partially agree. Rules are good so situations have a norm what player character follows. But I want fast action. Instead of spending tens of seconds calculating every modifier and determining situations by the book I keep action fast and just say it. That is my style and basically rules wise it is wrong.
Breaking items is easy. Substance hardness + 15 is difficulty. There are also other little bits what are nice and easy to deal with. But what about grapple rules what commonly in roleplaying games are clumsy or even hard to understand? Attack roll is basically same as melee attack roll. After initiative grapple when you decide to hold your opponent make opposite checks next turn. You win, you keep your grip. Opponent wins and he breaks apart. There are also different things you can do in grapple like do damage or just pin. You can also make a group grapple... visualizing it makes me laugh out loud.
Also basic hazards and conditions are covered like starvation, falling, disease and radiation (you might re-allocate power points if radiation is exotic, or it might work like poison). I think rules cover in only 18 pages everything needed and personally for me half of that is gibberish. Not bad at all. At this point of rulebook roughly only one third left most of the material has been about character. Character creation, powers, devices etc. and at page 143 only 18 pages of hard rules. Not bad at all again.

Unfortunately, this is where I have read the book and will continue to read from this point. Gamemastering - Creating and running the universe is the next chapter. I will continue this "review" when I finish the book.

Adding flaws to YDIN

In character creation you have three points to share for gifts. Gifts are those specialties what make difference between player characters, powerful NPCs and normal people. Gifts cost between one to three points depending on how powerful they are.

At fists I didn't include flaws. My opinion on forced flaws is that I need to take them to gain something. Sometimes I even forget to play my characters' flaws because of this. That's the reason I originally included gifts in character creation and forfeited flaws.
Flaws and quirks I ment to be only for character description without any penalty.

But then I started to think why would anyone want to play drunk or blind character? For the sake of story of course but it's not fair to be a good player making flawed character what is weaker because of it.

So, there are flaws as an option. You are free to use maximum of three points to buy flaws if you want to. Taking a flaw you get equally points for gifts of 2x points for skills.

It is not forced to balance character's gifts with flaws as gifts in character creation are freebie. But if you think your character concept needs a disadvantage, you can take it and get a small refund.

Naturally there are players who will abuse the system getting flaws to get more gifts or higher skill values. But I don't want to force normal players with flaws. No flaws for player who doesn't want any means no gifts. Flaws for player who wants extra doesn't matter. So anyways he would take flaws for slightly better character.

So my character creation decision is, that every character gets gifts. If you want you can take flaws to get small bonus for gifts and/or skills. Unfortunately it is up to player and gamemaster to execute the flaws. But that's the way it is in every game where you get bonuses from taking flaws or disadvantages.

Planning FARP. Using YDIN. Planning char gen

In forum people were asking for gamemaster to run forum roleplaying game. I thought I could possibly run one. But first I have to be sure I can commit on it.

Started planning game. Setting will be fictite victorian England. Started planning from the basics. Character creation.

YDIN has six attributes for characters ranging 1 to 6. I restrict buying 6th level in the beginning though as it basically is human limits. There will be two options to determine attributes.
1. Place numbers 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2 where you like.
2. Share 19 points between attributes one point equals one value.

Second is skills. First I made a skills list looking like this:
Shadower, riding horse, driving cart, lockpicking, sleigh of hand, acrobatics, athletics, first aid, crafts+, intimidation, empathy, leadership, subterfuge, animal handling, charming, streetwise, expertise+, science+*, speak language+*, read/write language+*, medicine, legends and mysteries, finance, survival nature, brawl, weaponry, firearms, dodge, parry.

Skills with + contain sub categories. For example craft wood or speak language latin.
Skills with * cannot be used skilless.

There are 30 points to share to skills (generally points to share equal number of available skills). Skill point cost is 1 point for level 1, 2 points for level 2 and 4 points for level 3 which is maximum. With experience you can get skill level up to 4 though.

Mother language starts with 2 and 1 to read/write.

Gifts you get 3 points to share and they are:
Charismatic - 1 point
Athletic - 1 point
Alcohol resistance - 1 points
Confident - 1 points
Street person - 1 points
Good dark vision - 1 points
Special - 3 points (get value 5 attribute to 6)
Hawkeye - 1 points
Lithe - 1 points
Military background - 2 points
Wealthy - 2 points
Lucky - 2 points
Beautiful/handsome - 2 points
Extremely good sense - 2 points choose one
Medium (to supernatural) - 2 points
Talented - 3 points (+5 points to skills)

I think many of those are self explaining but for the game I will detail them. They both add aspects to roleplaying and game mechanics. I might also write more gifts.

And naturally there are 3 points for hobbies what are skills out from skill list like chess playing, playing an instrument, poetry, cooking etc.

I am quite happy with the skills list. I think it will cover victorian game. Of course there could be skill for mechanical devices but I think it goes under science and is relatively rare.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Quick update on M&M plans

My girlfriend is a student but currently he is working for 8 days. We both have lunch hour now but we work in different places. I got this text message where she asked:

"In Mutants & Masterminds can you create a character what is like super strong and can throw opponents for some distances?"

What is a better way to spend your lunch hour (I think it's 45-60 minutes there) than planning your next roleplaying game character? I have put some pressure on her to make a sketch about her character. I told that at this point I only need some history and who the character is. Why is s/he superhero or has these powers and what will s/he do with those powers. After she has this concept ready we start to go through how to make it happen in character creation.

Mutants & Masterminds has this power level thing. It's basically like D&D levels. Normal characters start in 10th level but you can add or subtract levels according to your campaign. I am going with that 10th level thing if her character doesn't need more to happen. Or if she wants her character to be more down to earth I will adjust the starting power level lower.

Great thing about Mutants & Masterminds is that with just only the core book you can create unlimited amount of character. Basically if you imagine it, you can create it. But there also is a problem (you can find my report of M&M step-by-step test character creation here). When I created my first character without a plan the variety of choices was overwhelming! So with my gf's character I decided that first she decides her characters concept and overview of powers then we find from character creation rules what will suit her idea. Way much easier than starting character build from a scratch without any idea what the character will be.

If she gets her character concept done I will try to create the character with her this weekend (gotta print some sheets). Then when current game ends the new character for new game is ready to go without any delay.

The world? It will be a city inspired by movies Sin City and The Spirit. I will just roughly sketch it and add elements during the course of game.

5 plots. Fantasy swamp tavern

Usually when characters go to pub or tavern, it's generic. If they want rumors or drinks or place to stay I describe it and give usually description for owner. But I haven't designed several pubs with plot hooks. Well, I have designed adventures what you get from pubs (who hasn't) but haven't made these pubs characters stumble in to find something more interesting than just a place to rest, spend money and hear rumors.

So, here are 5 different pubs with plots to use.

Drunken Toad
Location: Next to a road in remote marshlands. Place smells rotten vegetation, mud and swamp gasses. It is always misty and you can hear the ballad of toads in the night. The pub is one day travel from next civilization.
Owner: Owner is old toad hunter. He captured toads some for food, some for wizards and alchemists to use in their experiments or extract poison. When he got old travels to swamp got harder. It's not easy to move in there. He got some wealth and opened this tavern. Today he is thin but in relatively good shape. He has some back problems what sometimes makes his movement a bit stiff. Biffron the Toad he is called because of his severe skin condition on face. He is not social for his time spent alone in swamps.
Outlook: Dark wet boards what smell a little rotten. Somehow the building hasn't collapsed but manages to stay together. Inside is warm and smalls incenses to keep rotten swamp smell away. Downstairs there are four tables with four chairs each. There are no wine but spirits and ale instead manufactured in the backroom. Fireplace is big and smells like urine. Stairs go up where are four simple rooms with two bunkbeds for total of four visitors per room. Behind the desk are three rooms. One is kitchen, one storage and one owners room. It is locked and there are no other valuables except money.
Assortment: Food is stew made with some mud tasting vegetables, herbs found from swamps and toad meat. Also some old bread is available when owner bakes it. Cheese is hard and old also. There is no wine available but ale is brewed and spirits distilled in the storage. Prices are high because of the location. Those who need place to rest in the swamps must pay the price to dry their clothes and seek a dry place to rest their head.


1. Owner Biffron the Toad is sick. He has caught swamp fever (-1 constitution or similar each day until none is left and contaminated is dead. Roll medium resistance test for characters not to get sick). He asks characters to find this rare toad to get remedy. If one of the characters is contaminated the motivation to find the frog might be higher.
2. Nightly robbery. While characters are resting they might wake up in Biffron's yells or hear racket downstairs (50% change which one). There is robbery going on. Biffron might be wounded (75% change he is). Robbers are mediocre for characters to beat. Maybe there is warrant on the robbers or Biffron might need medical help.
3. Biffron the Toad decides to join characters for a drink. Even though he is not social person he still enjoys listening to the stories. Especially when there haven't been customers for a long time. If characters refuse to let him sit with them, he insists even offering free meal or free stay. When listened enough and getting drunk he tells about a treasure in the swamps. He has seen the old ruins himself but never got there because of "strange swamp evil". He can tell the location of these ruins the treasure is but won't talk about the "strange swamp evil". He is uneasy about it.
4. Hooded figure is sitting in corner table. He greets fellow strangers and is willing to serve them drinks. He wants to hear fellow adventurers' story or wants to tell something he knows. What ever characters are interested in. After drinking nothing really important was revealed and characters eventually go to bed. Next morning they feel really sick and hooded figure is waiting for them downstairs. He tells he poisoned characters and before they can get the antidote they need to do what he wants. Hooded figure doesn't have antidote with him but it is in safe place. Hooded figure's condition is that characters escort him out of the swamp area. Actually hooded figure is just a lost traveller who is scared. The poison is mild what only enchants hangover. If characters escort him out of the swamp hooded figure will reward them kindly for their effort. He also tells a rumor he heard what characters might want to pursue (dungeons obviously ;) )
5. After resting the night in tavern and leaving characters notice that the tavern is not next to road but in the middle of the swamp. Asking Biffron about this he doesn't know or think anything unnatural has happened. He just says: "It's always been like this". If characters venture into swamp it is really hard to walk and they encounter giant ugly dragonflies (average combat encounter based on characters might. Flying monster, 20% change attack to paralyze for D4 turns). When all monster dragonflies are dead corpses just disappear. Continuing travel they are back to tavern. If they try again no matter what they do or how they navigate or what direction they move they eventually get back to tavern. (Every time characters walk away from tavern to "circle" back there is 25% change for dragonflies... or even nastier monsters of GM's choice). Tavern owner doesn't say what's going on. But when characters threat to kill him with physical pain he tells, that there is a man eating banshee witch who alters tavern's reality when there are customers. Banshee comes in the second night and eats travelers. That way he lets tavern keeper be alive for providing meals. But banshee told that if tavern owner tells about this trap he is as good as dead. Banshee is really powerful creature what lives in alternate dimension in this swamp. He is really powerful opponent and worth a lot of experience. No gold is gained but banshee body parts might be valuable items to sell for wizards or alchemists.

Naturally you can use these five tavern plots in other taverns also.

Picture of inspiration:
Picture from  Deviant Art. Artist AndreeWallin

Walled in - Horrible movie, one idea to use

Watched the movie Walled in. Oh man it was so bad. But at least I got one inspiration I talk about later in this post.. If you haven't seen this movie this post might include spoilers. Not digging too deep though. But in my opinion if you missed this movie you you didn't miss anything. (Layout in this post is a mess, gotta try to fix it later!)

In 1993, sixteen bodies were found entombed within the Malestrazza Building, a mysterious apartment complex built by one of the worlds most renowned, yet eccentric, architects. The killer was never caught. Fifteen years later, newly graduated structural engineer Sam Walczak (Mischa Barton of THE O.C.) arrives to prepare the site for demolition. But this massive concrete crypt is not entirely empty: Its halls are lined with secrets. Its rooms are filled with fear. And behind its walls, the ultimate horror has lay waitinguntil now. 

Above text is from the Youtube video description. Wow, movie actually looks okay. But no, movie sucks.

There were few residents left who were more or less strange. I think that strangeness was a bit forced and the characters were actually dull.
There was also random haunting what didn't suit in the movie at all. Dead girl whispering. But it was not a ghost story even though I almost thought it would be. No. In the end the story turned and was about this deranged boy who fell in love with Sam (main actress) and captured her. Oh, he also had earlier captured that crazy architect. What the heck?

The movie was a mess.

What a beautiful apartment and such a nice neighborhood.
Anyways, key features in the movie:
- House walls don't sync with blueprint. The house must be "hollow" in the middle.
- Boy is a kidnapping deranged little prick.
- Some people who live there are a bit strange, but nothing special about them.
- Old lady has architect's books held and oh wow Sam grabs one of them what contains the information she needs out of hundreds of books (I call that a lucky roll).
- None of the houses architect built has ever destroyed even though the whole city around them is smashed.
- Architect isn't actually dead what was official report, but deranged boy held him hostage.
- Architect forced Sam to murder him so he will be sacrifice for the house.
- Murdered ghost girl whispers and then is forgotten in the movie.
- There were hidden passages, so pervert architect could spy on people's bathrooms and deranged boy used it also to spy on Sam.
- Blah blah boring.

But the main element is this I could use:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

nWoD has been intimidating. My solution

New World of Darkness has been intimidating to play because of you need at least two rulesbooks to run it. World of Darkness core rules book and a book what you are running (ie. Vampire: the Requiem or Werewolf: the Forsaken). Even though in old World of Darkness similar set of rules took unnecessary space from each of the books it was handy because you only needed one book for rules. In the other hand another problem was that rules where slightly different from setting to setting so crossplaying was a bit hard.

Anyways... in World of Darkness core rulebook there is lots of fluff and rules hidden in there between walls of text of setting fluff. And White Wolf's style of writing is putting so many extra words everywhere it is hard to quickly find a rule you need.

I have got World of Darkness core rules in PDF when they were shared for free at Drive Thru RPG. I got this idea from James Edward Raggi IV who modified Basic Fantasy in A5 format manually from PDF. So, yesterday I opened my World of Darkness PDF and Open Office. Started to go page by page and copy paste essential rules and sometimes re-write them in shorter form. I also got Fineprint to easily print this hand made World of Darkness rules in a booklet.

Not ready yet, but I will make a booklet where are only the rules in simple way to run World of Darkness. Cover will be World of Darkness rulebook's cover with additional (photoshopped) title: Basic Rules Compedium. Maybe that will make it more simple to run the game. Unfortunately because of legal stuff I cannot share the file, but when I print it I can take few photos to show what I made.

You can get Fineprint for free but in each printed document there will be a banner what tells what program was used to print it. Buy it to get rid of it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How I improvise games?

In pelilauta there was a topic about "GM improvisation" and I posted my response there. I decided to roughly translate my thoughts and blog it also. You can find the topic from the following link (in Finnish, but Google translate can help):,459.0.html

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

[V:tM] Monster: Vicissitude enchanted albino crocodile

This creature is directly related to this post in Cradle of Rabies blog. Even though it is created for my game it is easy to adapt to other chronicles as well. Vicissitude enchanted albino crocodile uses basic stats for crocodile in Vampire: the Masquerade Revised page 302. Although because this creature is not natural the stats are altered radically. Also this creature is statted like monsters in other games to make it a combat encounter. Some of the information provided is for my chronicle but you can easily alter it for your own needs.

What Is This Creature?

It was a normal albino crocodile before the discipline of Vicissitude was used to alter its form to make it a guardian of vampire's haven. It is bigger than any normal crocodile and has more in strength and stamina. Also it has some special qualities what are dealt like disciplines (found in V:tM Revised edition).

The creator is Tzimisce who used both flesh- and bonecraft to create this monster. It also has parts of human brain merged into it's reptile brains to make it more intelligent and calculative rather than just operating by disciplines. Vicissitude enchanted albino crocodile is embraced and also blood bond to whom ever its master is.

It will rather die than escape protecting its master's territory or what ever location it is meant to guard. Crocodiles are ancient beasts still excisting but this one truly is a living monster.


Five to ten times bigger than an ordinary crocodile. It's armor like skin is pale white and deformed to look more a battle armor than something natural. Eyes are in shade of red. From shadows it looks like an ordinary crocodile but huge but when it steps out its true unnatural monster form is revealed.


Strength: 5; Dexterity: 3; Stamina 5; Wits: 2*; Intelligence; 1*
*For partial merged human brain
Willpower 4
Health levels: OK; OK; OK; OK; -1; -1; -1; -1; -2; -2; -5; Incapacitated
Attacks: Bite for 7 dice (aggravated); Tail slap for 6 dice bashing
Abilities: Alertness: 4; Athletics: 1; Brawl: 2; Stealth: 4
Blood pool: 8
Special powers (Disciplines):
Auspex: Heightened senses
Fortitude: 2
Obfuscate: 1
Potence: 2

[V:tM] Fake prince is back - chronicle this far

So, first Vampire: the Masquerade chronicle with this character ended when they got rid of this fake prince. Prince was not what he claimed to be nor member of either Ventrue or Camarilla. So, prince blown up chronicle ended.

Few gaming sessions before the worksite where new Elysium is built on the ruins of last one night there was a hole in the middle of it. Marks that someone dug himself from the ground. Cameras don't show anything but blur. Amanda (player character) got lead on this person to an really old and lousy apartment buildings cellar floors.

There was a big and nasty guard but it was dealt with. Unfortunately this time Amanda didn't catch this digger person. They got this Gangrel (possibly) antitribu for Nosferatus' to hold prison for later interrogation.

Later though leaders of the city Amanda included were summoned to sports stadium (current Elysium) because someone wanted to introduce himself. John Smith he told his name. Amanda was suspicious and got private time talking with him. John Smith didn't deny he's the prince who somehow survived the exploding assasination. Instead he offered Amanda and her sire Anthony something more...

Of course once Cammy always Cammy. Or maybe Amanda didn't like the fact that resurrected fake prince is only interested in subservients and tools...

Now new plan to destroy false prince. For good. Only problem is he is good at disappearing.

City Gangrel antitribu was useless. He didn't know that much about his new master. But he was willing to flee the city if he was let loose and he told everything he knew (or wanted to tell). Amanda didn't get permission to loose Gangrel but she made a promise. Amanda decided to help Gangrel escape but was caught.

Crocodile in my game is bigger, uglier and nastier than this cutie.
Not obeying rules and helping prisoner to escape is not good. But Amanda is elder. His punishment now was to take care of albino crocodile lurking in sewers at lower end of the city. There are eyewitness accounts and of course lousy media feasting with the topic. Amanda needs to cut the wings from the rumors or actually deal with the crocodile - if it is real. Scar (Nosferatu prince) doesn't care as long as people stop paying too much attention in the sewers.

Actually that albino crocodile was supposed to be Halloween game but my gaming style... it will be like 2 more sessions. Can't focus, put more and more interesting things. Find out during playing how things can be more exciting... introducing new NPCs (even those character will most likely not meet again) and start interesting conversations etc. etc. Well, I don't mind as long as player has fun!

So, next session is crocodile hunting what Amanda finds really boring and stupid. But actually...

  • The albino crocodile is enchanted withVicissitude* (bigger, tougher, nastier, uglier).
  • During Vicissitude there was human brain merged in crocodile brains so it is more calculating instead of just working by instinct.
  • It has these "special abilities and powers" what basically are disciplines
  • It actually is (one of those monsters) guarding Jon Smith's haven!
So, dealing with this giant albino monstrosity is actually tied really close to main plot.

*Vicissitude is vampiric power most likely possessed by Tzimisce what crafts bones and flesh of others and self to monstrosities from insane experiments and clawy fingers to monstrous battle machines of several bodies merged together.

My projects suck - your opinion on rules?

Where to start... let's start from where I got this idea. Blogs. I read blogs whenever I have got time. I like to read about projects or homebrew extra material (new monsters, rules, locations, powers and magic etc.). For a Gamemaster experiencing roleplaying in my opinion is also creating something new.

These blogs are full of material. OSR stuff particularly (or that is easiest to find). People have these rules they like to use. Maybe houseruled but they have this basis what they use. So as the rules are pre-made by someone else they can focus on writing the extra material.

Me, I wanted to create these rules to create material for. But there is these problems:

- My time is limited. I don't have got that much time in my hand always so my creation and advancement can be slow even though I get speed bursts every now and then.
- Creating rules and core for a game is wholesome project. Creating other things you can do in bits but still finish something (ie. finishing combat rules is not same thing as finishing lvl 7 mage spells list or finish an crystal-ogre stats).
- My focus is bad. I jump from projects to projects. Today I write 20 pages of YDIN rules but tomorrow I am thinking how to make console J-RPG syled mechanics and day after that I do random table for orc encounters (everything in this blog). Focus wouldn't be that bad if I just could do different things always... like a portfolio for different games and genres. Today I want to create this vampire family with powers, history and plots for adventure but today I want to create full set magical armor and weapons for high level paladin.
- Because I have stress in finishing something relatively long instead of small short projects, my effort and creativity is wasted. I would enjoy more doing these little things than wasting my time creating this big thing.

Problem with my main project YDIN is that I don't have time to finish it. I have waited for the day I can make these little bits of material for it. But before I can do it, I have to finish the system. Naturally I planned that I just make very basics of the system and with these little bits I can grow it with details. But I need that core done.

I also am looking too high. Somehow even though I just need this YDIN core done, I want it to cover everything and it makes it never ending project. I must write down what I want it to do. Create characters, task and combat resolution, character advancement, wounding, death, healing, enviromental hazards (electrocution, falling etc. basic stuff).
In combat how much I need detail? How to hit. How damage is dealt. Special conditions (crippled, dust in eyes etc., shooting partially covered target etc.) but do those actually need rules? I mean when I think about it there are thousands of special conditions in combat. Can a Gamemaster adapt this:

"There are two difficulty levels for positive and negative enviroments and situations. It is Gamemasters job to determine if there is modifier needed, or is the situation:

  • Remarkably harder/easier than normally (1 positive or negative modifier)
  • Extremely harder/easier than normally (2 positive or negative modifier)
Negative and positive modifiers can overrule each other."

Then examples about normal modifier and overruling modifiers. I like examples because in my opinion they are like pictures worth of 1000 words (I have learned many rules from examples).

Problem is, I do want to share my game. And I'd like to have a printed version of it. But focusing on making it printed eats you inside. Art, layout etc. take focus from the actual product.

Problem is, I remember old times some of these really amateurish products. They were dirt cheap also. But today when everything is fancy, shining and full of glittery 4 color pages who wants to buy this 50 pages print copy for 4€ or few bucks? Those who already know:

  • Those who already know what the product is about so they A) buy it because they will like it or B) support it
  • Those know who you are so they A) buy it because they know what kind of stuff you do or B) support you
What about PDF? World is full of PDF's. Countless free also. Who is going to pay 1€ to get my YDIN basic rules what work with things I create?

But why do I want money? Reason is, that I have got kazillion of free PDF products. I never read them. I see something free, I get it and forget.
If I pay for something even a small price it is more meaningful because I actually chose to get it and payed it. So it is more important for me. It was interesting enough to toss away that few EUR (what is not much) and go through all the hassle ordering it (what usually is more painful than loosing few coins).

So, I'd like to have that nominal benefit so I would know people might appreciate it. Why I want money:

  • To show I am in earnest making these things (I have seen awesome products what are free though but )
  • To see that someone actually appreciate what I am doing
  • Get more accurate readings (I can see how many downloads files, but I could see how many actually ordered)
Maybe those are stupid reasons, I don't know. But I would do it this way:

  1. More simple version you can download for free
  2. For small price you will get cooler version or additional material (more time spent)
That way I could spread my gaming material for everyone (what is main purpose) but those who really like the product(s) could "donate" some money. To show they like what I do.

I am inspired. But I think I would be more inspired if people actually sent me like email: "I downloaded your free [Insert PDF title] and it was cool. Thanx!" Problem is, that nothing is ready. I am not competing with others but somehow now as I read other blogs I have set my goals too high. I couldn't finish anything to this day and I propably can't in a long time.
And I am afraid that some day when I finish it my thoughts have changed and I need to rewrite some parts... what will basically start again. Instead of just letting people to play version 1 and later doing version 2. Phew.

And heck I want to use my imagination. Enough with writing rules. So, should I just fart out YDIN (lite) finally? Forget all fancy layout and cover but focus on making it as short and easy to adapt as possible? Then share it free. Then start to do what I really want to do: Write material and my random ideas as actual gaming material?

What you say?

And some day after years when I have done lots of print-ready PDF supplements for free I might be ready to charge people that 1€ for better version. That's an idea?