By The Stars confession — Week Nineteen

Another week without play or playtest in sight. Before the last scheduled playtest fell through, I was getting excited again. Even made some sketches. Maybe I’ll post them some time.

Forgive me, By The Stars, I am on the cusp of failure. It’s been nine days since my last confession.

I think I’m going to have to push BTS to a 2008 release and focus 2007 on rebuilding the actual play in my life. I hadn’t realized just how much I depended on it for design. While working on With Great Power… I was playing a sometimes wonderful, sometimes horrible, but always “System Doesn’t Matter” game of Eden’s Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. In retrospect, I can see how my mild frustration with that game shaped WGP… When play of a broken game isn’t going well, the game designer within can always respond with “but it would work better if we did it this way.”

Which leads me to my crazy idea. I think I might head down to my FLGS and try to set up a game of WEG’s Star Wars. It doesn’t do what I want it to, but it is somewhat popular. If that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll break down and run d20 Star Wars. I need to play, which means I need players!

Nothing is set in stone yet, so I’ll be back with another progress post next week.

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Special Trivia Challenge for Mo & Brand: I write cinematic games. Name me blind film directors.

By The Stars Confession — Week Eighteen

Another week without progress. The playtest got canceled again.

Forgive me, By The Stars, I am frustrated. It’s been one week since my last confession.

Why is my progress so glacial? Why do I get nothing done? Two reasons, the lesser one first:

My Day Job We’ve lost another person in our department recently, which means spreading the work among those of us unlucky enough to remain after this round of musical chairs. And it’s not just the hours. It’s the fact that to get through the hours, I need to focus only on the task at hand, work through my breaks, and switch off my soul. The funny thing with a soul is that its doesn’t switch back on so easily. Even once I return home, my creativity and enthusiasm are nowhere to be found.

I’m Not Playing Since GenCon, I’ve played RPGs seven times. And three of those sessions were on the same day at a convention, so we’re talking 5 days out of the last 126. If I can’t play my game, why am I even designing it? I ask myself. If I’m not playing any games, how can my game be any good? A game designer that isn’t gaming is like a blind painter or a deaf musician. I know that my playtests are going to be horribly unfun both because the game is broken and incomplete (as it should be at this point), but also because I’m out of practice. Role-playing, like any skill, takes practice. And I ain’t getting anywhere near enough.

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In other news, Brennan Taylor and Paul Tevis interviewed me for The Voice of the Revolution. It was quite enjoyable. I think we touched on some good stuff. Look for Episode 3 in the near future!

By The Stars Confession — Week Seventeen

The first playtest is scheduled for this Friday and I’m nowhere near prepared enough.

Forgive me, By The Stars, I have procrastinated. It’s been one week since my last confession.

I have a draft of a character sheet. I have a skeletal outline of the game procedures. I have a lot of things that I just don’t know how they work.

But I have people coming to my house on Friday to play, so we will muddle our way through whatever I have, come up with rules on the fly to cover what I haven’t anticipated. We’ll find a dozen ways that the game sucks and one or two where it’s brilliant.

Ah, playtesting!

By The Stars Confession–Week Sixteen

I had a bit of a stomach bug this weekend, but it’s still been a banner week.

Forgive me, By The Stars, I have been sick. It’s been seven days since my last confession.

The first playtest has been scheduled! On December 15th we’ll start beating on the system in earnest. And what a system it’s shaping up to be!

Rather than skills, I’m compiling a list of sci-fi tropes (robots, interplanetary travel, psychic powers, etc.). Each character gets 3 tropes, one of which is his primary trope. That player is final authority over what exists in the game world related to that trope.

The conflict resolution mini-game involves capturing one another’s dice. So, after the conflict, I’ve got a pile of your dice (each die linked to one of your Oaths) and you’ve got a pile of mine. What next? Well, we each need to play out scenes to reclaim our dice. The best part about this is that it requires the game to start in media res–you start with a conflict and play it out from there!

I’ve got a pile of writing and thinking and designing to do. I’ll see you in 7!