Friday, 13 July 2018

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Vote Trollish Delver Games for fan favourite publisher at the ENnies

It's ENnies season and once again I humbly request your vote in the fan favourite publisher category. Please take 10 seconds to give Trollish Delver Games a 1 ranking

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Some things you can do with SHATTER6

SHATTER6 is designed to be flexible so I wanted to talk a little about some things you can do with it.

Imbue items with shatterdice

Shatterdice help you achieve the impossible, but your pool is limited. So why not have magic weapons with shatterdice? These could be refreshable daily, or one-use only. For example, a sorcerer uses starlight to forge the Celestial Hammer. The GM says that the hammer is so awesome that it has 5 shatterdice assigned to it, but once the dice are used they don't replenish for another week as it recharges.

Include hordes as single enemies

SHATTER6 is all about cinematic coolness, so having a warrior cut through hundreds of demonspawn is just the type of thing it should be enabling. Create a horde as a single enemy, like:

300 demons
TR: 18
Damage: 4
A horde of 300 slavering winged demons weilding sickles.

Make cutting through them a real challenge - it may take a few really good successes to destroy them all.

Escape from the otherworld 

Losing all wounds doesn't necessarily mean death. In fact, death should only come if the player is cool with it being an integral part of the story. But what if you do die? Maybe the GM decrees that your soul is trapped in the otherworld and it must fight its way out. Failure means it's gone forever, but therest a chance you could cheat death in am awesome way.

Go big or go home

Bigger is better in SHATTER6. The GM has license to go completely epic to challenge the players to come up with novel and exciting ways to tackle them. They should battle giant gods, ride city-sized dragons and attempt to cut planets in two.

Make magic volatile

Having a freeform magic system means players can pretty much do anything they dream of with it. But don't be afraid to make it backfire if the player is unsuccessful in casting. Come up with novel ways of making things go wrong.

SHATTER6 available to download

SHATTER6 is a new system I cooked up early one morning after my cat woke me up by jumping on my back. I've been thinking recently about creating a new open system that encourages players to do really awesome things. SHATTER6 is now live on Drivethurpg as a PWYW PDF.

What is SHATTER6?

SHATTER6 is a totally open roleplaying system, free for anyone and everyone to use. The mechanics are lite and designed for collaborative roleplaying where the golden rule is the Rule of Cool.

How does it differ from other systems?

SHATTER6 isn't about book-keeping and the minutiae of combat. Rather, the game is about telling mind-blowing stories and empowering players to do really awesome things. Enemies don't have hit points, whether they perish or not is up to how much effort players put into their actions. There are no classes, so players are free to concoct wild characters with few restraints. NPCs are easy to create on the fly, meaning those who value less prep time will get to the table quicker. The shatterdice let players attempt the impossible to create memorable gaming moments that you will be able to talk about for years to come.

The tag system

In SHATTER6 the players are encouraged to build their own classes by mixing and matching tags, skills that provide broad bonuses to their actions. For example, mixing the charming, crafting and streetwise tags might give you a Forge Thief who specialises in crafting thieves tools and sweet talking their way into the houses of the rich and famous before stealing their stuff. Invent your own tags for truly infinite possibilities.

Flexible combat that puts awesomeness first

If you want to fire off three burning arrows into the eyes of the demonlord while backflipping out of danger, you're free to do it with a roll. Using abilities, tags and shatterdice, SHATTER6 empowers players to dream up awesome actions and carry them out. This isn't about how many hits an enemy can take - the greater the challenge, the greater the reward.

A system that begs to be hacked

As an open system, anyone is free to take SHATTER6 and do what they like with it. Create new settings or alter the rules and publish for others to play.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Quill has been updated

I've never really been happy with the layout of Quill, so yesterday I fixed this by uploading a new file on Drivethrurpg. If you already have Quill, you can go and download the fresh new look right now. I've also taken this opportunity to make some rules clarifications I get frequently and add some bits and bobs.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Review: The Gates of Death (Fighting Fantasy)

Praise be the gods, the Fighting Fantasy gamebook legacy continues with The Gates of Death, the second new title in the series since Scholastic took on publishing duties (an effective move to ensure that the new generation of whippersnappers get to experience the books), this time written by FF newbie Charlie Higson (British actor/ director/ writer). But is it good?

In the book Allansia is being torn apart by the Evil Dead. Well, pretty much. People are becoming flesh-hungry demons, turning others into demons and generally causing chaos. Early on in proceedings there's a scene where, ducking through the streets of Salamonis, you witness the titular king of the city in demonic form. It was here it was clear Higson was more than happy to shake up the status quo, and not just with the FF universe. There's much more freedom with weapon use here, with different weapons having varying effects - from axes to bread knives to the khopesh gifted to you by Lord Azzur of Port Blacksand (or, rather, his 'eyes, ears and mouth'). Unlike previous entries, you don't start with a weapon or a batch of trusty provisions, which makes every victory worth something in the early game. Late game, however, you could find yourself a bit overpowered depending on what you pick up, making most fights a doddle, though this entirely depends on your SKILL attribute. Make no mistake - this adventure isn't afraid to pummel you and drain your stats.

The Evil Dead comparison isn't inaccurate. Higson essentially flings a load of deadites at you, including a girl in a cellar and emotionally-manipulative demons. While the theme is based on these films, the story itself is one of the better ones in the series. You're looking for an invisible city where priests will manufacture a cure for the demon plague, but also much dive head first through the gates of hell.

If that sounds a little too adult for a Scholastic book, rest assured there are lots of moments of levity. Case in point - a bum-faced demon. That's right - it's a bent-over warrior exposing his arse that happens to have a snarling face on each cheek. Higson doesn't shy away from moments that make you remember that this is for kids. This is an aspect that didn't really play out in previous books, which sometimes got a little grimdark.

On the subject of a new generation of readers, we need to talk about the art. At the Scholastic reveal at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2017 Jackson and Livingstone commented that the art has had a massive overhaul, pretty much in line with what kids expect from those phone apps they have these days (get off my lawn). It was a shock. Fighting Fantasy, in a large part, comes alive with its intricate illustrations. Russ Nicholson, Iain McCaig, Tony Hough, John Blanche - these are the names that brought Titan and other worlds to life. Now in their place we have, well, muddy digital sketches. To be fair, some of the illustrations aren't half bad, but the majority are simply off-putting in comparison to those classic pieces.

While we're talking negatives, I've noticed some bugs in the book. From having characters referenced to you as if you've previously met them, despite never having done so, to a weird time travel loop that occurs after flinging yourself into a demon portal, which I can't imagine is intentional. There's even a paragraph that gives you several options, but if you can't perform any of those actions you're stuck there for eternity. These all amount to being irksome, but nothing that totally ruins the enjoyment of the game.

The Gates of Death is a fun enough ride, with lots of weapon options, some nice characters and a great premise, let down by sub-par art and needless bugs. Higson doesn't mind laying on the fan service for older readers and doesn't shy away from violent descriptions, but doesn't forget that he's writing for youngsters. So yes, to answer my previous question, it's good. It's worth your time, but it probably won't be a fan favourite.