Monday, June 27, 2011

Plotting a Return to the Age of Legend

I'm sitting here at my cube on lunch, finishing my meal, and flipping through my old 1st edition, well loved, spine split and peeling, corners rubbed to near nothing copy of Earthdawn (by FASA!). 

I haven't picked up this book in over fifteen years.

Why am I picking it up now?  because some crazy-ass friends of mine picked up on the fact that while I love running Star Wars SAGA edition, I'm hankering for a different flavor to supplement my favorite sci-fi game.  Their argument was that back in college I ran a MEAN Earthdawn* game, and my friends who still love the system and it's latest incarnations wonder what I could do with an Earthdawn game.  With my current capabilities and experience in running scores of enjoyable campaigns, they tempted me to see how it woudl go. 

Now, I'd successfully held off their advances and pressure for several years now.  Not sure why, because really the system was solid.  Maybe it was because I did play Earthdawn a lot back in the day.  I had three campaigns going; Fitchburg State College Prime, the Keene Game, and Fitchburg State College Two (after Prime went away).  I played the hell out of that game, and it was my main game until D20 rolled out with D&D 3rd Edition, and OCR Star Wars.  From there on, WotC was my master, and they got my money.

The fact that FASA folded didn't help either.  I was in a very "No company support, not interested in the game" mentality, and when Living Room Games took over the franchise I didn't want to "start over". 

But now it's been over fifteen years.  I've learned a lot, and I've really refined my style of storytelling and gamemastering.  Is it time to return to the land of Barsaive?  A time of Adepts, and Dragons, and the Horrors of the Scourge?

Maybe it is.

* As a funny side note, thanks to the bombardment of Cialis and Viagra commercials in recent years I can no longer abbreviate Earthdawn to "ED".  Damn you, Pfizer!  Damn you!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Star Wars Art: Woken

Here we go again.

Just a start. 

Put some pencil down on paper, scanned it into the computer, popped it into Corel Paint Shop Pro X to play with the Levels until I ended up with a black-and-white line drawing, and then moved it into Painter 11 to start the rendering.

This is the rendered pencil image with paint laid-down on a 50% transparent layer of color.  Once I have everything blocked out for color, I'll go to 100% (no-transparency).  Trying to decide if I want to render this one like the Stratt and Moff Anitlles, or if I want to do it with more line art.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Longshot Development: Websites

Soon after I decided to document the development of the Another Longshot campaign, it dawned on me that there were simply many things I wouldn't be able to document on a public forum.  Let's face it, depending on his roll, documenting the development of Moff Fulton Antilles could be a severe spoiler for anyone who reads the campaign.  I can't go over the stats of NPCs, or why I'm giving them the abilities I'm giving them, else when the PCs encounter them they'll know what to expect and ready countermeasures for them.

So does that mean I can't talk about developing Another Longshot?  Does it mean I can't share what's going on in my head about it all?  The thoughts I have?  My creative process?  Hell no.  It just means you won't get the crunch, but you can get some of the fluff.

Obsidian Portal; Obsidian Awesome

To start off with, Obsidian Portal; once again I shall heap on praises for the website and services they provide.  If you're a gamemaster preparing and/or running a campaign, and your PCs are not only tech-inclined but also willing to contribute (or can be bribed to, I'll explain later...), "ObPort" is for you.  I now have 4 campaigns up on their own Obsidian Portal pages.  Now, I'm a subscriber to their service, so I'm not capped at two, but if you're just running a game, and want a neat online page to store campaign info, and be accessible from wherever you find the internet, this is it for you.

Bribery is the Best Policy

One thing I do is bribe my PCs to contribute something meaningful to the website.  If they contribute art, a character write up, a session summary, or something else like that I give them one of two benefit during the next game session; a free Force Point or a free D20 reroll.  It must be used that game session, so they can't save them.  This has gone very well with some of the players in my Brothers in Arms campaign, and has resulted in some very nice write-ups of my sessions.  It's also resulted in some massive hits from a certain Togorian Privateer with a love of power hammers.

One thing I'm considering is a sort of "Above and Beyond Award".  If one of my PCs goes the extra mile and updates something for the website with something great, I'll award them a Destiny Point.  I'm unsure if it would be a "Must use this session" condition, or if it can be saved.  I'll ponder that further, and announce it to them if it becomes and option (or if I'm so amazed by something done for my game website).

Map Quest

I keep finding new things in Obsidian Portal.  Awesome things.  Apparently, they have a Maps tab on their campaign pages.  These map files can accept a file up to 1028x1028 pixels, and put it into an browsing engine like GoogleMaps, where you can zoom in, move around the map, and even make markers and notes on it.  I've added the Arcaster Sector to the Maps page for Another Longshot.  The Arcaster Sector will be at the edge of known space in the Star Wars Galaxy, along the border with the Unknown Regions.  I took the eight planets presented in the Unknown Regions sourcebook for Star Wars Saga Edition and put them all into one sector.  They all have a unique feel to them and offer the potential for many poltlines and unique developments in the campaign.  I also added in a few other systems, like Arcaster itself which will serve as the Capitol of the sector and the home base of Moff Antilles.

Nuts, I think I may have just given something away.

I'll keep updating here, and on the Obsidian Portal page.  If you're a GM, check them out.  I feel it's an investment of time that pays off in the long run.