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Character a Day 2021: Dungeon Crawl Classics – Day 3

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-dungeon-crawl-classics-day-3

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

TL;DR



This is definitely a hail back to older ages, and some things I discarded even then. I suppose the fast character creation is a nod to the funnel that the characters have to go through- why waste time on a character that probably won't survive. But it's a lot different than the qualities I look for in a character creation system.

On to the system itself, since I'd never seen it- the dice chain is a novel idea, at least on paper. Basically, you have the dice ordered from smallest to largest, and though there are modifiers, when they become high enough, you promote to the next die in the chain. So if I was rolling a d20 to attack, and had enough modifiers, I'd roll a d24 instead. That brings me to the problem- I had a hard time telling the difference between some of the dice, so I think it would get to be a bit much in play.

But even more to deal with- the tables. There are tables for everything. That's an exaggeration, but not by much. I really don't know how you'd deal with that in play. I guess a good screen would help, but with so many spells having tables, there's no way to fit them all on a screen.

Reading a bit more about the funnel, I'm not sure there's a way to solo it. I'm also not sure that I'd ever actually run it, though I might play in it. The material is awesome, but not so sure about the system.

Final Build



Name: Alin Bexley

Strength: 11 (+0)
Agility: 14 (+1) Ref: +1
Stamina: 13 (+1) Fort: +1
Personality: 15 (+1) Will: +1
Intelligence: 17 (+2) Languages: Common, Dwarven, Elven
Luck: 14 (+1) Bountiful Harvest: Hit Points

Hit Points: 4
Wealth: 38 Copper
Experience: 0 XP
Occupation: Outlaw (Shortsword, Leather Armor)
Alignment: Neutral
Equipment: Flint & Steel
 

Character a Day 2021: Dungeon Crawl Classics – Day 2

From https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-dungeon-crawl-classics-day-2

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

Name, race, and gender are three of the things I can pick... but I'll generate them randomly, coming up with Alin Bexley, Human Female. I'm not generating a background for a character that is possibly throw away.

Step 1: Generate Stats



Going oldschool- 3d6 in order of stat. And I see that this character will definitely be a sacrifice to the funnel, as all of the character's luck went into the stats.

Strength: 11 (+0)
Agility: 14 (+1)
Stamina: 13 (+1)
Personality: 15 (+1)
Intelligence: 17 (+2)
Luck: 14 (+1)

Step 2: Roll on Luck Table



Luck roll – d30 –> 25 = Bountiful Harvest: Hit Points

I think this means that she gets to add her Stamina bonus to her hit points each level, but I don't see it explained anywhere.

Step 3: Other Stats



Hitpoints – 1d3 –> 3 + 1 = 4.
Wealth – 5d12 –> 38 cp
Occupation – d100 –> 82 = Outlaw.
That gives me a shortsword and leather armor.
Random Item – d24 –> 8 = Flint & Steel
Alignment – Neutral (Again a pick, but might as well go for the middle)
Languages – Common +2 more (Int mod). Dwarven and Elven

Step 4: Record Saves



Ref +1, Fort +1, Will +1
 

Character a Day 2021: Dungeon Crawl Classics – Day 1

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-dungeon-crawl-classics-day-1

#rpg #Tabletop #writing #characteraday

Introduction



I just picked up Dungeon Crawl Classics as an add-on for the Empire of the East Kickstarter. I've never played it, but heard a lot about it, so considering that I wanted to get Empire of the East for background information, along with Lankhmar, I figured I might as well get the base game too.

From first glance, it's a lot different than other games that I've played- a lot of it is random. And not just in a 'roll your stats and class' kind of random way- but a 'default character creation is to create many characters and send them through a funnel' kind of way.

This one, I think is going to be a bit different because of that- I'm going into this not knowing what the end character will look like. I'm just going to create a character for the funnel, and see how it turns out.

I have an idea if I like the game, I might run some for myself solo just to see how it turns out.
 

Character a Day 2021: Waste World – Day 3

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-waste-world-day-3

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

TL;DR



The character turned out exactly the way that I'd envisioned him. However, this is one of those cases where you revisit an older game that you played when you were younger, and realize why it's on the shelf. It definitely has some serious 90s aesthetics in the crunch. However, I will say that you can't put all of these in the same box; the section on description, personality traits, and story hooks were additions that really help flesh out the character and put him into the world he inhabits.

Final Build



Name: Takeshita Yoshimi
Occupation: Ronin
Metrozone: Shogunate

Background



Takeshita was a loyal servant, and he was loyal for loyalties sake. Not because he was a great warrior, though he was. Not because his family was pre-eminent in the Toro clan, though it was. Not because his own star was on the rise after a glorious death bringing down a plot by the Kobara clan, though it was apparent. Only on his second incarnation, his name was spoken in tones with the great samurai of old, and he was stationed far above his age. But then it all came tumbling down. Not because of anything he'd done. It turns out that even though he was too high profile a target, his father was not. He knows that his father's shame was manufactured, but it was within his Overlord's right to force his father to commit seppuku, plunging his own blade into his karma chip- bringing real and lasting death. Takeshita was supposed to do the same, and in going to the great void, it would have restored his family's honor. But the Overlord instead came for his family, not allowing him to do so. Takeshita fought back, but in the end was captured, along with his mother, sister, and brother. The Emperor himself stepped in, sparing Takeshita of a dishonorable death in favor of banishment and Ronin status. But he would not overturn the ruling, and so his family and all of his father's wealth was taken by the Overlord. On that day, Takeshita found out that his loyalty had its limits, and vowed to tear down all that he'd helped to build up.

Physical Description



Wiry, with a runner's build, Tak is graceful in motion. He's tall by Shogunate standards, standing at 180cm, and weighs 70 kg, with every inch of his upper torso and arms tattooed in a gorgeous painting of a tiger stalking through a fantastical background. He keeps his black hair messy- he used to keep it perfectly coiffed, but since his queue was cut at his banishment, he hasn't worried overmuch about it. With his glittering black eyes, he'd be handsome if his features weren't so haunted. He was allowed to keep his armor, so he is well kitted for a Ronin, though he's painted it muted colors as he's not allowed to fly Toro colors, though his mask still bears the image a proud tiger, betraying his origins.

Personality Traits



He borders on obsession with three tasks: finding out how and by who his father was betrayed, finding and freeing his family, and taking down the corrupt overlord that he knows had something to do with his fall. He's still unsure of the Emperor, and teeters between cursing and thanking him for the burden that lies on his shoulders. He seems serene, and holds a tight rein on his emotions, but when stirred out of that, the emotions that simmer beneath the surface become like a raging fire, burning any that come close. Because of this, he walks the line between suicidal and determined, depending on how heavy the burden lays on his shoulders. In those few times he finds peace, he is introspective and gracious, but soon enough, the memory returns to ruin any semblance of a normal life he might reach for.

Story Hooks



There is the obvious of the corrupt overlord, finding his family, and finding out how his father was betrayed. Less obvious is why the Emperor spared him and those few friends sympathetic to his fall. There is also the House of Tremontaine in Hydra- during his height, he was the cause of their fall when he foiled an incursion of their experimentation in the badlands. They've not been able to directly strike at him because of the simmering cold war between the City-States. However, he's not under the protection of the Shogunate anymore, so is at risk.

Characteristics



DX ST IN PW MR CC LF
+3 +1 0 0 5 100 15

Advantages



Ambidextrous, Karmachip (Disabled), Lightsleep, Charismatic

Disadvantages



Ronin, Samurai Code of Honor: Total, Obsession: Hatred of Katsunosuki Hiraka, Hunted: House Tremontaine

Skills



Acrobatics +2, Blade +3, Climbing +2, Dodge +3, Driving (Skimmer, Wheeled) +1, Forceblade +4, Martial Arts +3, Quick Draw (Force Blade, Blade) +4, Handgun +3, Ride (Horse) +3, Stealth +1, Swimming +1, Awareness +2, City Lore (Shogunate) +1, Courtier +2, Intimindate +1, Leadership +1, Lore (Tactics) +2, Navigator +1, Survival +1

Special Abilities



Way of the Tiger
–> Techniques: Tiger Strike +1, Tiger Spring +2, Tiger Claw +1, Claw Swipe +1
–> Bugei: Tiger Roar, Blazing Tiger Spring

Equipment



Medium Ceramic Armor (AR:6)
2 Force Blades
Blaster Pistol
Heavy Horse with Dermal Armor (AR:1)
 

Character a Day 2021: Waste World – Day 2

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-waste-world-day-2

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

Build



Step 1: Concept



Shogunate, Former Toro Ronin

Step 2: Physical Description



Wiry, with a runner's build, Tak is graceful in motion. He's tall by Shogunate standards, standing at 180cm, and weighs 70 kg, with every inch of his upper torso and arms tattooed in a gorgeous painting of a tiger stalking through a fantastical background. He keeps his black hair messy- he used to keep it perfectly coiffed, but since his queue was cut at his banishment, he hasn't worried overmuch about it. With his glittering black eyes, he'd be handsome if his features weren't so haunted. He was allowed to keep his armor, so he is well kitted for a Ronin, though he's painted it muted colors as he's not allowed to fly Toro colors, though his mask still bears the image a proud tiger, betraying his origins.

Step 3: Choose Personality Traits



He borders on obsession with three tasks: finding out how and by who his father was betrayed, finding and freeing his family, and taking down the corrupt overlord that he knows had something to do with his fall. He's still unsure of the Emperor, and teeters between cursing and thanking him for the burden that lies on his shoulders. He seems serene, and holds a tight rein on his emotions, but when stirred out of that, the emotions that simmer beneath the surface become like a raging fire, burning any that come close. Because of this, he walks the line between suicidal and determined, depending on how heavy the burden lays on his shoulders. In those few times he finds peace, he is introspective and gracious, but soon enough, the memory returns to ruin any semblance of a normal life he might reach for.

Step 4: Story Hooks



There is the obvious of the corrupt overlord, finding his family, and finding out how his father was betrayed. Less obvious is why the Emperor spared him and those few friends sympathetic to his fall. There is also the House of Tremontaine in Hydra- during his height, he was the cause of their fall when he foiled an incursion of their experimentation in the badlands. They've not been able to directly strike at him because of the simmering cold war between the City-States. However, he's not under the protection of the Shogunate anymore, so is at risk.

The next steps are where we spend character points. I'll go with 150 points.

Step 5: Characteristics



I'm remembering now that this game is a bit more chart heavy that I normally like. Stats are rated from -3 – +5 with 0 being average. I'll make him faster, and a bit stronger.

Dexterity (DX): +3 (60)
Strength (ST): +1 (10)
Intelligence (IN): 0 (0)
Power (PW): 0 (0)

Total Characteristics: 70

Step 6: Special Characteristics



Your base Characteristics help determine your special characteristics, though you can increase them within limits. I'm just going to give him increased life to fuel his Bugei abilities.

Movement Rate (MR): 5
Carry Capacity (CC): 100 kg
Life Force (LF): 15 (6)

Total Special Characteristics: 6

Step 6: Advantages



Pretty standard fare here- spend points on advantages. I'm figuring that even at his worst, he still has the regal bearing that made people follow him. He'll also practice Niten Ichi-ryū, so ambidexterity helps there. He has a Karmachip and is on his second life- though the Lords of Karma will judge him harshly if he goes before them now, so that's 0 points. He also sleeps lightly.

Ambidextrous (10)
Karmachip, Disabled (0)
Lightsleep (5)
Charismatic (10)

Total Advantages: 25

Step 7: Disadvantages



He is, of course, a Ronin, but still follows Samurai principles. He's obsessed with the Overlord that ruined his life, and is hunted by House Tremontaine, even if not fiercely.

Ronin (-5)
Samurai Code of Honor: Total (-30)
Obsession: Hatred of Katsunosuki Hiraka (-30)
Hunted: House Tremontaine (-15)

Total Disadvantages: -80

Step 8: Skills



This is where the tables get really annoying, as they are a lot like GURPS buy tables, with cumulative costs per level based on complexity of skills.

Acrobatics +2 (7)
Blade +3 (10)
Climbing +2 (3)
Dodge +3 (16)
Driving (Skimmer, Wheeled) +1 (3+2=5)
Forceblade +4 (11)
Martial Arts +3 (10)
Quick Draw (Force Blade, Blade) +4 (11+2=13)
Handgun +3 (6)
Ride (Horse) +3 (6)
Stealth +1 (1)
Swimming +1 (1)
Awareness +2 (4)
City Lore (Shogunate) +1 (1)
Courtier +1 (4)
Intimidate +1 (1)
Leadership +1 (1)
Lore (Tactics) +2 (3)
Navigator +1 (1)
Survival +1 (1)

Total Skills: 107

Step 9: Special Abilities



He will of course have the Tau, Way of the Tiger, and all of the skills, and the Bugei for Tiger Roar (Kiai shout) and Blazing Tiger Spring (Iaido).

Way of the Tiger (5)
Tiger Strike +1 (1)
Tiger Spring +2 (4)
Tiger Claw +1 (1)
Claw Swipe +1 (1)
Tiger Roar(5)
Blazing Tiger Spring (5)

Total Special Skills: 22

Step 10: Equipment



Medium Ceramic Armor (AR:6)
2 Force Blades
Blaster Pistol
Heavy Horse with Dermal Armor (AR:1)
 

Character a Day 2021: Waste World – Day 1

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-waste-world-day-1

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

Introduction



Taking a break from the experiments for my campaign, I decided to make a character for an old Forgotten RPG – Waste World. This is a 90s RPG designed by Bill King, and is gonzo along the lines of Rifts or that sort of game. In a dark future, five great countries prepare for the final war. Each has its own flavor- from the aerialist nation of Ikarus, to the bio-engineered Hydra, they're over the top representations of a particular point of view. The character that I will make will be from the Shogunate (because of course there are cybernetic Samurai and Ninja), which actually doesn't take me too far outside of the Transhuman theme, as the Samurai are reincarnated via Karma Chips.




Waste World and the Supplements

Name: Takeshita Yoshimi
Clan: Toro

Background



Takeshita was a loyal servant, and he was loyal for loyalties sake. Not because he was a great warrior, though he was. Not because his family was pre-eminent in the Toro clan, though it was. Not because his own star was on the rise after a glorious death bringing down a plot by the Kobara clan, though it was apparent. Only on his second incarnation, his name was spoken in tones with the great samurai of old, and he was stationed far above his age. But then it all came tumbling down. Not because of anything he'd done. It turns out that even though he was too high profile a target, his father was not. He knows that his father's shame was manufactured, but it was within his Overlord's right to force his father to commit seppuku, plunging his own blade into his karma chip- bringing real and lasting death. Takeshita was supposed to do the same, and in going to the great void, it would have restored his family's honor. But the Overlord instead came for his family, not allowing him to do so. Takeshita fought back, but in the end was captured, along with his mother, sister, and brother. The Emperor himself stepped in, sparing Takeshita of a dishonorable death in favor of banishment and Ronin status. But he would not overturn the ruling, and so his family and all of his father's wealth was taken by the Overlord. On that day, Takeshita found out that his loyalty had its limits, and vowed to tear down all that he'd helped to build up.
 

Night's Black Agents – Solo Ops – Day 3

from https://write.as/chuckdee/nights-black-agents-solo-ops-day-3

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

TL;DR



I know that One-to-One as a system addresses a lot of the problems that I have with Gumshoe through Challenges, Pushes, and Contacts. However, the character creation seems to fall a bit short. The only real decisions to be made are what mastery edges to obtain (and those for the most part go away when used), and what additional investigative abilities to get. I like a bit more customization in my systems. What I learned from this process is that I want to take some of the concepts of Gumshoe and hack them into another system.

Final Character



Name: Rhys Morales
Pushes: 3

Background



Growing up in Brixton wasn't easy for anyone, and that was doubly so for Rhys. He lived with only his mother, his father dead when he was a young boy. He barely remembered those days, other than the fact that the coast of Spain was a lot better than his life in London. Though his mother tried to shelter him, he knew that they were always skating the line between being on the streets and having a place of their head, and some nights, the eating was spare. Though his mother always made sure they had something in their bellies, she sometimes went hungry. Seeing how hard she worked, he knew it wasn't right for them to be that bad off, so he decided to do something about it.

Only a lad himself, he took to the streets to find his own hustle, settling on communication. Running for the gangs, but never in them, he sold pagers and mobiles to the dealers, and sometimes ran a package or two. It was a dangerous game he played- not wanting to join a gang, he wasn't covered by any of them. That time gave him a healthy dislike for gangs and people that preyed on the weak. When the cellular company caught wind of his source's scam and cut the lines earlier than they were supposed to, he realized he needed to get out, and decided to go for the armed forces. He couldn't get in because of his record, and didn't know what he was going to do. It turns out he didn't have to find out- the special services kept their eye out for promising candidates that had darker pasts, and he was tapped for them. Not having any other options, he accepted the offer.

Though he's been able to provide for his mom and brother, he still wonders if he was given the choice again if he'd accept...

Investigative Abilities



Bullshit Detector, Charm, Cryptography, Electronic Surveillance, Forensic Pathology, Human Terrain, Intimidation, Military Science, Notice, Reassurance, Research, Streetwise, Urban Survival, Tradecraft, Traffic Analysis

General Abilities



Athletics: 2, Conceal: 2, Cool: 2, Cover: 2, Driving: 2, Evasion: 2, Fighting: 2, Filch: 2, Infiltration: 2, Mechanics: 2, Medic: 2, Network: 2, Preparedness: 2, Sense Trouble: 2, Shooting: 2, Surveillance: 2

Mastery Edges



Unstoppable, Ice Cold, You Never Knew Me
 

Night's Black Agents – Solo Ops – Day 2

from https://write.as/chuckdee/nights-black-agents-solo-ops-day-2

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

Build



Step 1: Pushes



Begin with 3 Pushes

Step 2: Investigative Abilities



Record standard Investigator investigative abilities

Bullshit Detector, Charm, Intimidation, Notice, Reassurance, Research, Streetwise, Urban Survival, Tradecraft

Step 3: Additional Investigative Abilities



Choose 6 additional investigative abilities

Considering him to have received intelligence training, I choose skills that would have arisen through that.

Cryptography, Electronic Surveillance, Forensic Pathology, Human Terrain, Military Science, Traffic Analysis

Step 4: General Abilities



Record all General Abilities at 2 dice.

Athletics, Conceal, Cool, Cover, Driving, Evasion, Fighting, Filch, Infiltration, Mechanics, Medic, Network, Preparedness, Sense Trouble, Shooting, Surveillance

Step 5: Mastery Edges



Choose 3 Mastery Edges

Unstoppable – I figure that Rhys pushes past any difficulties because of his background

Ice Cold – Same as the above

You Never Knew Me – because of his background he doesn't trust most people, and prepares for their betrayal.
 

Night's Black Agents – Solo Ops – Day 1

from https://write.as/chuckdee/nights-black-agents-solo-ops-day-1

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

Name: Rhys Morales

Background



Growing up in Brixton wasn't easy for anyone, and that was doubly so for Rhys. He lived with only his mother, his father dead when he was a young boy. He barely remembered those days, other than the fact that the coast of Spain was a lot better than his life in London. Though his mother tried to shelter him, he knew that they were always skating the line between being on the streets and having a place of their head, and some nights, the eating was spare. Though his mother always made sure they had something in their bellies, she sometimes went hungry. Seeing how hard she worked, he knew it wasn't right for them to be that bad off, so he decided to do something about it.

Only a lad himself, he took to the streets to find his own hustle, settling on communication. Running for the gangs, but never in them, he sold pagers and mobiles to the dealers, and sometimes ran a package or two. It was a dangerous game he played- not wanting to join a gang, he wasn't covered by any of them. That time gave him a healthy dislike for gangs and people that preyed on the weak. When the cellular company caught wind of his source's scam and cut the lines earlier than they were supposed to, he realized he needed to get out, and decided to go for the armed forces. He couldn't get in because of his record, and didn't know what he was going to do. It turns out he didn't have to find out- the special services kept their eye out for promising candidates that had darker pasts, and he was tapped for them. Not having any other options, he accepted the offer.

Though he's been able to provide for his mom and brother, he still wonders if he was given the choice again if he'd accept...
 

Character a Day 2021: Ashen Stars – Day 3

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-ashen-stars-day-3

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

TL;DR



Making this character made me remember the one downfall I've seen in Gumshoe- everything is based off of what the character knows, rather than who the character is. I'll follow up with one-to-one, which addresses that in small ways and see if this changes my mind about using it for the campaign. I will also say that making a character is second only to Altered Carbon in annoyances from layout.

Final Character



Name: Kira Ivanov
Species: Human
Ability: Dauntless
Drive: Something to Prove
Warpside: Strategic Coordinator
Groundside: Security

Background



Kira grew up in a mixed-race household – her mother was Balla and her father Human. They seemed to have the perfect marriage, and she was raised in an environment of love and understanding, learning about both sides of her heritage. That was, until 7 years ago. Her father was called up to the local militia, dying in the conflict. After the war, mixed-race pairings became verboten, and being on a human planet, her mother suffered discrimination. She lost not just her husband, but her community. As Kira appeared for the most part human, her mother sent her off as soon as possible so she wouldn't be touched by it. Though she understood why, this still hurt her deeply, and the love and acceptance that she'd grown up with was buried underneath a hard exterior she developed as a mean of surviving the pain.

Investigative Abilities



Cop Talk: 2, Interrogation: 2, Evidence Collection: 2, Kinetics: 1, Forensic Psychology: 2, History, Combine: 1, Law: 2, Linguistics: 1, Bullshit Detector: 3, Downside: 3, Intimidation: 1, Respect: 2, Reassurance: 1, Forensic Engineering: 1, Explosive Devices: 1, Bio Signatures: 1, Bureaucracy: 1, Inspiration: 1

General Abilities



Athletics: 8, Naval Tactics: 8, Scuffling: 8, Sense Trouble: 7, Shooting: 7, Surveillance: 7, Ground Craft: 5, Health: 5, Helm Control: 3, Infiltration: 4, Medic: 2, Preparedness: 6, Battle Console: 3, Shuttle Craft: 2

Tech Enhancements



Amper
Internal Headset
Motobooster
Mr. Gray
Regenerate
Disruption Pistol
 

Character a Day 2021: Ashen Stars – Day 1

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-ashen-stars-day-1

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

My other option for my transhuman game is Gumshoe. I'm going to have to hack a lot if I choose this option, but I figured I'd make up a character in the baseline systems that I plan to hack first. This one is using Ashen Stars. It has a lot of the sci-fi elements I'm looking for, though it couldn't really be considered transhumanist. It does, however, have uplifts, so it touches on the themes.

Name: Kira Ivanov
Race: Human

Background

Kira grew up in a mixed-race household – her mother was Balla and her father Human. They seemed to have the perfect marriage, and she was raised in an environment of love and understanding, learning about both sides of her heritage. That was, until 7 years ago. Her father was called up to the local militia, dying in the conflict. After the war, mixed-race pairings became verboten, and being on a human planet, her mother suffered discrimination. She lost not just her husband, but her community. As Kira appeared for the most part human, her mother sent her off as soon as possible so she wouldn't be touched by it. Though she understood why, this still hurt her deeply, and the love and acceptance that she'd grown up with was buried underneath a hard exterior she developed as a mean of surviving the pain.
 

Character a Day 2021: GURPS Transhuman Space – Day 3

From: https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-gurps-transhuman-space-day-3

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

TL;DR



Having played GURPS for several years, I knew that it would be more than capable of making whatever I needed. I did this more as an exercise in seeing the character prospects from a different perspective, and because I'll be using material from GURPS Transhuman Space for my campaign.

Final Character



Background



Lena Denkova wanted to be a law enforcement officer all her life. It was her family profession, and she'd dreamed about it her entire life. Her father, uncle, and brother had filled her head with tales of their cases. When she finally got her shot, it was different than what she expected, but she adapted. She was good at her work, and very adept at identifying people by characteristics and behaviors rather than appearance. This made her a natural in the AIC (AI/Informorph Crime) Division, and she closed more cases than any other detective of her age. This obsession with her job was at the expense of her personal life, and she made few friends and more than her share of enemies. She was framed for taking money and killing a perp in her custody- a ludicrous charge that any that knew her would know was beyond the pale for her. She knew others that took money for 'favors' and took liberties with the line of the law, but it was abhorrent to her. Seeing how quickly her fellow officers believed the charges against her made her wish she'd followed her conscience when she saw the transgressions of her peers.

But it was too late for regrets- the trumped up charges would have resulted in taking her offline for centuries, if not her own RD. She needed time to figure out what happened. Though she felt like she was in a corner, she found out that she had friends that she didn't know she had, and one of them gave her the space she needed. Putting her sleeve in storage, she cast off-world to the frontiers into a clean sleeve. This would give her the chance to make her way back to the core- eventually- and solve her crime. She just had to hope her disappearance was clean enough so she wouldn't be tracked by someone as skilled as her in finding ego-jumpers. In the meantime, she had to make the money to migrate back to the core without raising an suspicions. And the only thing she knew was law- so she became an ego hunter, chasing down bounties in the badlands.

Character



Name: Lena Denkova
Character Points: 300 pts
Character Type: Bounty Hunter

Attributes

[h2]ST 11 (10) HP 11 (00) Speed 6.25
DX 14 (40) Per 15 (15) Move 6
IQ 12 (20) Will 12 (00) BL 24
HT 11 (10) FP 11 (00) DMG 1d-1/1d+1

Total Attributes: 95

[h2]Advantages



Combat Reflexes (15)
Bioshell (41)
Ghost Mind Emulation (17)

Total Advantages: 73

Disadvantages



Secret: Death (-30)
Code of Honor: Police (-15)
Obsession: Prove her Innocence (-10)

Total Disadvantages: -55

Quirks



Sensitive about being called a liar -1
Always inclined to help those in need -1
Stays away from drugs and drink -1

Skills



Acrobatics (DX/Hard) – 14 (4)
Acting (IQ/Average) – 10 (1)
Area Knowledge (Core/US/Chicago) (IQ/Easy) – 12 (1)
Area Knowledge (Antliae VI) (IQ/Easy) – 12 (1)
Armory/TL11 (Small Arms) (IQ/Average) – 11 (1)
Beam Weapons/TL11 (Pistol/Laser) (DX/Easy) – 15 (2)
Body Language (Per/Average) – 16 (4)
Carousing (HT/Easy) – 11 (1)
Climbing (DX/Average) – 14 (2)
Computer Operations (IQ/Easy) – 12 (1)
Criminology (IQ/Average) – 12 (2)
Current Affairs/TL (IQ/Easy) – 12 (1)
Detect Lies (Per/Hard) – 15 (4)
Diplomacy (IQ/Hard) – 10 (1)
Driving/TL11 (DX/Average) – 14 (2)
Fast Draw (DX/Easy) – 15 (2)
First Aid/TL11 (IQ/Easy) – 12 (1)
Forensics/TL11 (IQ/Hard) – 11 (2)
Guns/TL11 (Pistol) (DX/Easy) – 15 (2)
Guns/TL11 (Shotgun) (DX/Easy) – 14 (1)
Guns/TL11 (Rifle) (DX/Easy) – 15 (2)
Interrogation (IQ/Average) – 12 (2)
Intimidation (Will/Average) – 11 (1)
Judo (DX/Hard) – 16 (12)
Jumping (DX/Easy) – 14 (1)
Karate (DX/Hard) – 14 (4)
Knot Tying (DX/Easy) – 14 (1)
Law (IQ/Hard) – 10 (1)
Leadership (IQ/Average) – 12 (2)
Lockpicking/TL11 (IQ/Average) – 11 (1)
Melee Weapon (Knife) (DX/Easy) – 15 (2)
Navigation/TL11 (IQ/Average) – 11 (1)
Observation (Per/Average) – 15 (2)
Research/TL11 (IQ/Average) – 12 (2)
Riding (Horse) (DX/Average) – 14 (2)
Running (HT/Average) – 11 (2)
Search (Per/Average) – 15 (2)
Shadowing (IQ/Average) – 12 (2)
Stealth (DX/Average) – 14 (2)
Streetwise (IQ/Average) – 12 (2)
Survival (Per/Average) – 14 (1)
Swimming (HT/Easy) – 12 (2)
Thrown Weapons (Knife) (DX/Easy) – 14 (1)
Tracking (Per/Average) – 15 (2)
Urban Survival (Per/Average) – 14 (2)

Total Skills: 90

Cybernetics



Accelerated Reflexes: 1 (85)
Damage Control: Hard to Kill (5)
Optic Readout (5)
Neural HUD (5)

Total Cybernetics: 100
 

Character a Day 2021: GURPS Transhuman Space – Day 1

from https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-gurps-transhuman-space-day-1

#rpg #tabletop #writing #characteraday

So this one is a bit different. GURPS Transhuman Space is a great treatment of Transhumanism, but it was written a bit before some of the concepts I want to use, so I'm going to have to hack it a bit. But I've never played GURPS un-hacked, so it's pretty much business as usual.

Background



For this character, I'm going with an Ego Hunter. I want her to be ex-LEO. Some scandal or her own conscience is the reason that she's no longer that. I want her on the run, so if it's her conscience, it will have to be that she was getting ready to testify and is on the run. I don't like that too much, so scandal it is.

She's not in her original sleeve (GURPS Transhuman concentrates a lot on Uplifts rather than Ego in a Sleeve, so that's the change that I'm going to have to incorporate), but in a borrowed one on the frontiers of space. She's on her own out there, and has little resources, so is trying to get enough money to get back to the core and solve her own case to restore her reputation.
 

Character a Day 2021: Eclipse Phase – Day 2

from: https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-eclipse-phase-day-2

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

The presentation of character creation in Eclipse Phase 2nd Edition is quite clean compared to what I read of 1st Edition. I never made one in 1st Edition having come in on the 2nd Edition Kickstarter, but I've heard horror stories.

For Damien we'll go in order of the steps as they're laid out.

Step 1: Background



Looking at the available backgrounds, Freelancer seems to fit the best. This starts me with the following:

Interface 40
Kinesics 20
Know (Black Markets) 30
Know (Investigation) 60
Persuade 40
Program 30
Research 40

Step 2: Career



I see that they have an investigator as a career, so I take that one giving the following aggregate:

Interface 40
Kinesics 30+20 = 50
Know (Black Markets) 30
Know (Current Events) 30
Know (Ego Hunting) 60
Know (Investigation) 60
Perceive 40
Persuade 40
Program 30
Research 60+40 = 100. The cap is 80, so 20 to be spent elsewhere – Infiltrate & Athletics.
Infiltrate 10
Athletics 10

Step 3: Interest



He needs some gun handling and such, so we go with Fighter giving the following aggregate:

Fray 20
Guns 40
Infiltrate 20
Interface 40
Kinesics 50
Know (Black Markets) 30
Know (Current Events) 30
Know (Ego Hunting) 60
Know (Investigation) 80
Know (Security Ops) 40
Melee 40
Perceive 40
Persuade 40
Program 30
Research 80

Step 4: Faction



He hasn't made it where he is by playing it safe, so he doesn't advocate that in any area- including markets and technology. I chose Extropian for his faction. There's also the fact that nothing else seems to fit other than Criminal or Anarchist.

Step 5: Aptitude Template



With the faction and background, I take Thrill Seeker. This gives the following Aptitudes:

COG 20
INT 10
REF 20
SAV 15
SOM 15
WIL 10

Step 6: Skills



I've been doing this all along- but during this step, I realize that the 80 is including aptitudes. I'm going to have some adjusting to do. Final totals:

Athletics: 10 + 20 = 30 + 5 (1CP) = 35
Deceive: 15 (3CP) + 15 = 30
Fray 20 + 40 = 60
Guns 40 + 20 = 60
Infiltrate 10 + 20 = 30 + 10 = 40
Interface 40 + 20 = 60
Kinesics 50 + 15 = 65
Know (Black Markets) 30 + 15 = 45
Know (Current Events) 30 + 15 = 45
Know (Ego Hunting) 60 + 15 = 75
Know (Investigation) 60 + 15 = 75
Know (Security Ops) 40 + 15 = 55
Melee 40 + 15 = 55
Perceive 40 + 20 = 60
Persuade 40 + 15 = 55
Program 30 + 20 = 50
Research 80 + 10 = 90 – 10 = 80

Step 7: Languages



I want him to know how to move around several different cultures, so spend 4CP on languages: English (Default), Russian, Cantonese, Spanish, Japanese

Step 8: Flex



2 Ego Points (2CP)

Step 9: Reputation



I figure he's had the most dealings with the underworld, and some dealings in the corporate and police worlds. I didn't want him to have a high rep in any of them, as I figure as an investigator he's 'tolerated'.

Underworld: 40
Corporate: 30
Police: 30

Step 10: Customization



I purchase some Ego traits- I figure that he's agile, quick to adapt to new morphs, can empathize with people, and is relatively well off.

Adaptability: 1 (2CP)
Quickness: 1 (1CP)
Empathy 2 (3CP)
Resources: 2 (4CP)

Step 11: Derived Stats



Initiative: 6
Lucidity: 20
Trauma Threshold: 4
Insanity Rating: 10

Aptitude Checks



COG 20 x 3 = 60
INT 10 x 3 = 30
REF 20 x 3 = 60
SAV 15 x 3 = 45
SOM 15 x 3 = 45
WIL 10 x 3 = 30

Step 12: Starting Morph and Gear



Most of the morph just seems to be picking, writing down info, and buying traits.

Damien starts with a Remade Morph (30MP)

Derived Stats



Wound Threshold: 9
Durability: 45
Death Rating: 68

Pools



Insight: 2
Moxie: 2
Vigor: 2
Flex: 2

Morph Traits



Quickness: 3 (3MP)
Fitness: 3 (3MP)
Pain Tolerance: 2 (3MP)
Toughness: 2 (6MP)
Skill Artifact (Guns): 2 (3MP)
Skill Artifact (Fray): 2 (3MP)

Also included in this step is gear:

Anonymizer
Armor Vest (Light)
Fake Ego ID
Medium Pistol Firearm
Smart Clothing
TacNet App
VPN App

Step 13: Motivations



Personal Career
Exploration
Mental Challenge
 

Character A Day 2021: Eclipse Phase

from: https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-eclipse-phase

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

After Altered Carbon, I figured I'd contrast it with Eclipse Phase, as I'm going to be hopefully running a transhumanist science fiction game of some sort soon.

This time I figure I'll go with an investigator that enjoys the mental challenge of chasing down X-risks.

Rolling a name, I come up with Damien Kinnear, and sketch out a background.

Damien Kinnear was a private investigator- he considered himself a good one, able to find things that others overlooked or missed, constructing narratives that led to results for his clients. So, when he received a call from a wealthy client asking him to find a sensitive package, he was not suspicious of the motives behind the ask. Unfortunately (or Fortunately depending on your outlook) his assignment was a smokescreen for a Firewall cell. The person he'd been asked to track down was had been co-opted by a nanovirus, and was actually a ticking timebomb. It was hoped that Kinnear's probing would draw the attention of the entity that had infected him, and indeed it did. But everything went sideways, and the cell had to bring Kinnear in for true. And once you're in, there's no way out.

The threat of the X-Risks, the nature of Firewall- it appealed to Kinnear's sensibilities. The chance to get off Earth? To explore and find things that are threats to the human race? That was tailor made for him. He wasn't an investigator for the money, but the challenge. And this was more of a challenge than anything he'd ever been presented with.
 

Character a Day 2021: Altered Carbon

from: https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-altered-carbon-h09j

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

Conclusions



Character creation in Altered Carbon took a bit to wrap my head around; there's way too many special cases for them not to have included an example. They did include their *'Expedited Character Creation'* rules, but creating a character is one of my favorite parts of roleplaying. The little icons that they use for everything and the fact that the explanations are all spread out in the book are not really useful either. And it shows something that I'm still not sure if my character is legal.

That said, the character turned out pretty much how I figured, other than still having the Praetorian network... there is probably a way to get around that and have a more appropriate network, but I figured it could also fit, as he was still in the military, so military might be more inclined to still talk to him.

Final Character



Name: London Tian

Description



Physically, London's sleeve is in good shape. He is tall with fair skin, blonde hair and green eyes. Though handsome, his face is cragged, and he looks older than his actual age. He has a tattooed sleeve up his right arm, going along his back- black roses, near death, intertwined with a lattice of thorns. Another on his left bicep depicts barbed wire wrapping up from the elbow to the armpit. Strangely there's nothing on his trunk, except a small cross above the place where the DHF is implanted.

His original sleeve was quite different, him being of mixed Asian-African heritage. His last memories of it was a wiry build with a dark cast to his skin, and blunt features. Not as perfect featured as his current sleeve, but still handsome in his own way.

Background



Tian was born offworld on the frontier- a backworld planet Gui Xiu VI. He was recruited young, and trained into CTAC. He had an aptitude for getting into places he wasn't supposed to be, and more importantly getting out. In his relatively short life, he's inhabited many sleeves, casting anywhere they needed inside information. He was good at his job, and though he had no real long term aspirations, it was easy to see that his star was on the rise. On a pretty routine mission for the Protectorate, he was debriefed- then he doesn't know what happened. He woke up in a new sleeve on Earth in a re-sleeving facility. 50 years had passed since the last time he was spun up. He was cashiered out of the military, and he doesn't know why. For a re-sleeve, he was given a decent sleeve as his severance, so he was very suspicious of the circumstances. But with no contacts and no way of finding out what happened, he's done the best he could, taking odd jobs putting his skills to use as he tries to amass enough contacts and resources to find out what happened to his career, his life, and his own sleeve.

Archetype: Military, Infiltrator
Wealth Lv. 1
Requisition 1
Tech Points 4
Network - The Protectorate Military
DHF Age: 57
Stack Points: 30
Ego Points 39
Influence Points 5

Sleeve



- Synthetic, Mid Range
- 39 years old
- Baggage 4d6, 1 Roll
- Mistaken Identity. As a result of cross-sleeving or by some happenstance, the sleeve a character occupies is someone with an extensive list of enemies. They will either be victims of the sleeve’s past corporate espionage, or they will be rival gang members or criminals.
- Military Neurochem
- Combat Neurochem
- Carbon-Fiber Skeleton
- ONI implant

Equipment



Blade (concealed, monomolecular)
Steyr M9-A1
Tool Kit - Stealth - Professional Grade, Tools
Tool Kit - Survival - Tools
Tool Kit - Weaponsmith - Professional Grade
Flak Coat - Environmental Repulsor, Broadcast Blocker

Traits



- Small Arms - Basic Training
- Martial Arts - Martial Arts Training
- Urban - Streetwise

Sleeve Attributes



Strength 41/50
Athletics - d8, Melee Combat - d8, Brawl - d8, Toughness - d12, Endurance - d10

Perception 30/50
Detection - d10, Search - d10, D. Energy Weapons - d8, Stealth - d8, Firearms - d6, Throw - d12

Stack Attributes



Empathy 30/50
Diplomacy - d12, Expression - d12, Read Person - d10

Willpower 40/50
Composure - d8, Discipline - d8, Intimidation - d10

Acuity 41/50
Data Analysis - d12, Mechanics - d12, Data Engineering - d12, Navigation - d10, Digital Networking - d12, Pilot - d10, Investigation - d8, Survival - d10

Intelligence 30/50
Bureaucracy - d12, History - d12, Cultures - d12, Science - d12, Engineering - d12, Medicine - d10, Geography - d12
 

Character a Day 2021: Altered Carbon

From https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021-altered-carbon-nrj1

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

Step 1: Choose a Character Archetype

I've already said that I wanted an ex-military, though all things considered, I could choose a criminal. I go with military.
This gives me the following:

Sleeve: synthetic, mid-range sleeve
Wealth lv 1
Requisition 1/4
Gain 1d10 Ego (+8)
Protectorate Military as a Network
Traits: Combat is common, Business and Society is Anomaly. All others Uncommon.

I choose a package, though I plan to play around with it- just a starting to see where I stand.

Infiltrator

Kit: Directed Energy Weapon (1 tech), Tool Kit - Stealth, Survival (+1), Another Tool Kit (2 tech), Flak Coat (2 tech)

Traits: Energy Weaponry - Basic Training, Martial Arts - Basic Training, Evasion - Concealment.

Sleeve Attributes

Strength
Athletics d8, Melee Combat d8, Brawl d8, Toughness d12, Endurance d10

Perception
Detection d10, Search d10, Directed Energy Weapons d8, Stealth d10, Firearms d6, Throw d12

Stack Attributes

Empathy
Diplomacy d12, Expression d12, Read Person d12

Willpower
Composure d8, Discipline d8, Intimidation d10

Acuity
Data Analysis d12, Mechanics d12, Data Engineering d12, Navigation d10, Digital Networking d12, Pilot d10, Investigation d10, Survival d10

Intelligence
Bureaucracy d12, History d12, Cultures d12, Science d12, Engineering d12, Medicine d12, Geography d12

I can tweak the levels - switch 3 skills by 1 level, or 1 skill by 2 levels

I'm choosing to switch *Read Person* d12 -> d10, *Stealth* d10 -> d8, and *Investigation* d10 -> d8.

Then I check out my attributes.

Sleeve
Strength 35/55 (+3), Perception 30/45 (+3)

Stack
Empathy 30/50 (+3), Will 30/50 (+3), Acuity 30/50 (+3), Intelligence 30/50 (+3)

DHF Age - I'm choosing 67, which seems a good time for him to have time in the military- if he went in at 18, then that gives him 49 years in the military before he was put on ice.

This starts to get to the point that annoys me- they use a lot of icons to represent stats rather than just abbreviations. These icons are not necessarily the most readable in small form on the page. It's not as big a deal here, I realize, as all stat bonuses are based off of the tens digit in the stat- so all are +3.

At 67, I get

35 Stack Points + 3 = 38
30 Ego Points + 3 = 33
2 Influence + 3 = 5
4d6 on Baggage table with 1 roll -
15 = Mistaken Identity. As a result of cross-sleeving or by some happenstance, the sleeve a character occupies is someone with an extensive list of enemies. They will either be victims of the sleeve’s past corporate espionage, or they will be rival gang members or criminals.

That's pretty doable. I'm going to spend 8 stack points to increase Will (4d4) and Acuity (4d4)- Will is now 40, and Acuity is 41. I'm going to spend 2 Stack points on Strength, adding 6, bringing the final total to 41. My stack points are now 28, but increasing Acuity brings it back up to 29. That seems strange, but it does say it in the rules- I just can't use it again to increase stats.

As far as age of the sleeve, I'm going with 39.

The sleeve has the capability for 4 tech points. Usually you split them with the group, but as this is just an example character, I'll use them- Military Neurochem, Combat Neurochem, Carbon-Fiber Skeleton, and Oni Implant.

On to Traits. From the package, I get Energy Weapons, Martial Arts, and Concealment, but looking at Concealment, I don't see this guy having that. I'm going to change it to Urban - Streetwise. Also looking at the tech, I'm switching to Small Arms - Basic Training.

Moving on to equipment, I take what is offered, adding only a blade (concealed, monomolecular), and changing out Directed Energy Weapon (2 tech) for the same in Small arms, picking up a Steyr M9-A1.
 

Character A Day 2021: Altered Carbon

Character A Day 2021: Altered Carbon

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

I know I want to make someone that has a lot of trouble, is good in a fight, and not afraid to get his hands dirty. Protectorate, I'm thinking, but more in an infiltration behind the lines type of way instead of CTAC. Not on good terms with his unit, though he doesn't know why. Old enough to have a bit of experience in different conflicts, but still pretty young comparatively.

Rolling up a name, one that catches my eye is London Tian.

Tian was born offworld on the frontier- a backworld planet Gui Xiu VI. He was recruited young, and trained into CTAC. He had an aptitude for getting into places he wasn't supposed to be, and more importantly getting out. In his relatively short life, he's inhabited many sleeves, casting anywhere they needed inside information. He was good at his job, and though he had no real long term aspirations, it was easy to see that his star was on the rise. On a pretty routine mission for the Protectorate, he was debriefed- then he doesn't know what happened. He woke up in a new sleeve on Earth in a re-sleeving facility. 50 years had passed since the last time he was spun up. He was cashiered out of the military, and he doesn't know why. For a re-sleeve, he was given a decent sleeve as his severance, so he was very suspicious of the circumstances. But with no contacts and no way of finding out what happened, he's done the best he could, taking odd jobs putting his skills to use as he tries to amass enough contacts and resources to find out what happened to his career, his life, and his own sleeve.

I had to make up the planet name, as the base rulebook only gives info about Earth. Disappointing, but I figure I can wing it.
 

Character a Day 2021

Character a Day 2021

#rpg, #tabletop

I found out about this Character a Day challenge- it was to make a character a day in the month of January. Of course, I didn't find out about it until January had already started, and I'm also not sure I could even do a character a day. But then I got the idea to just make characters for some of the games I haven't been able to play, or am thinking about using for campaigns, and it struck a fire under me.

So, you'll be seeing a lot of characters posted here for various games. The format I'll try to stick to is to (a) visualize the character and background, (b) walk through the character creation steps to give a feel for how you make the character, and then (c) show the final result, and evaluate if it embodies the concept I visualized.

First up: Altered Carbon

From - https://write.as/chuckdee/character-a-day-2021
 
Image/Photo
Finally a bard which uses his skills for something else than seducing!

#dnd #meme #game #tabletop
#bard #revolution
 

Interesting article from Pelgrane about the state of the RPG Market

#Tabletop, #RPGs

View from the Pelgrane’s Nest – June 2006
The following article about the state of the roleplaying industry in the mid-2000s originally appeared on DyingEarth.com in June 2006.

Is the RPG Industry Screwed?


When you depend on live game designers for sustenance, the health of the ecosystem which allows them to thrive is of paramount importance. Whilst everyone has an opinion on this subject, I asked people who make their living from the roleplaying games – publishers, distributors and retailers – how they think the RPG industry is doing. A polite-worded request is often misunderstood (many of them are brain-addled from an excess comics and food additives) so I screamed “Is the RPG Industry Screwed?” in their ear and suspended them over my squawking progeny as usual. The responses were interesting, varied, and inconclusive.

I’ll start with a successful company, running a business on a fairly traditional model, Mongoose Publishing. Without the irritating self-effacement and modesty typical of the British, co-owner Matthew Sprange said:
At Mongoose, we believe that a good RPG book still has the potential to blow through entire print runs and that sales of 10,000+ units are still achievable with the right product. Because of this, we are still expanding in terms of both sales and staff (we now employ over 20 people worldwide), and plan to support RPGs for at least the next five years. Many companies are being squeezed out of the market at the moment but we take this as an indication of a customer base that has become more refined in its choice of product, rather than one who will buy anything that has a D20 on the cover. At the end of the day, if you produce the right kind of book, people will come to you.

Hard figures, I said. Hard figures. He told me as an example that Starship Troopers blew through 6000 copies in 3 months. That’s a large number – greater than the total sales units for each of the majority of RPG companies in a year.

Aldo Ghiozzi, who represents a number of RPG publishers as a consolidator and marketing agent has been selling through distribution for a number of years. He has a lofty perch – I respect any creature with a lofty perch – above the three-tier distributor model. He said:
Technology has come around to make book publishing easier for the common writer. Between PDF purchasing and Print-On-Demand (POD), the barrier of entry has dropped considerably. One would think this would create a new Golden Age of RPGs; it has done the opposite. With the barrier of entry being so low, there are more options for consumers to spend their dollars on. The flood of the D20 market was just the beginning; now, RPGs are for every genre, system and an endless number of people creating their own systems. Imagine a consumer that spends $10 a month on RPG books. Five years ago their choices were between the 100 products on the store shelves, thus, a publisher would have a 1 in a 100 chance for that $10. Now, there are so many choices for the shelves that retailers cannot carry them all so it spills into online stores and PDF download stores. The 100 choices turn into 1000 — now that publisher has a 1 in 1000 chance for that $10. The dollars are being spread thinner; that is the reality.

Personally, I believe the best chance for publishers to survive or come into this market with a chance is with proven brands and even licenses. Licenses, like Serenity or Starship Troopers instantly breathe recognition with the consumer and influences the dollars to that product. Proven brands, like a new edition of Paranoia or the mimicking of Keep on the Borderlands through the Dungeon Crawl Classics series are great examples.

It’s all about being heard over everyone else and the only way to do that is to scream louder.

His views are supported by the Starship Troopers sales figures, although we don’t know the terms of their license (for reference, the Babylon 5 license was $65,000). I asked Mr Ghiozzi if he thought the size of the market was the same. He was sceptical.
…we are not seeing 50K unit sales as before, but there are a ton more choices now so for all we know, the same amount of dollars are being spent (proportional to the economy) but just spread thinner. I truly doubt that though.

Green Ronin have been publishing RPGs since 2000, and use a combination of traditional print and PDF publishing. Chris Pramas, the CEO said:
You have to put RPGs in their historic perspective. Really, they have been in decline since the creation of collectible games in the early 90s. It’s hard to remember now, but in the late 70s and early 80s RPGs were a good business to be in. They eclipsed wargames and dominated the market for many years. Since then we’ve seen significant events in our own industry, the two most important being ‘Magic: the Gathering’ creating a whole new category of game, and Games Workshop hitting upon a business model that redefined miniatures games. In the same period we’ve also seen computer/console games become increasingly sophisticated and immersive, and the development of MMOs. In light of these events the old RPG business model has a tough time competing. Once players have a core rulebook, they don’t need to buy anything else to enjoy the game. Contrast that with the collectible games, where not only can you sell people the same product over and over again, but also they have to keep up with each new expansion to stay competitive. Or MMOs, where players pay each month for the privilege of continuing to play.

The d20 boom made some folks think the glory days of RPGs were back. While that was indeed a good time for RPG publishers, it could never last and now the gale has blown itself out. One might even argue that it did more harm than good, since most game stores now have hundreds of d20 books that will never move and this makes selling them new RPG product even harder.

So is the RPG market screwed? Well, certainly it is harder to harder to make a living doing traditional RPG publishing. The market decline that was paused by the d20 boom came back with a vengeance in 2003. Since then the successes have been fewer and farther between and more and more RPG publishing activity has moved online. I suspect that the future has already taken shape. There will be maybe 10 RPG companies that will do well enough with traditional RPG publishing to keep forging ahead. The rest of the market will be PDFs and Print on Demand, largely sold direct to consumers. Until someone comes up with a way to radically redefine RPGs anyway. That may be a long wait though.

Chad Underkoffler of Atomic Sock Monkey – creator of the award-winning Dead Inside, slipped through the “makes a living filter” – he has a separate day job – but he is representative of large part of the RPG publisher market.
I wouldn’t say that the RPG Industry is “screwed” so much as “challenged.” For many small press publishers — and I mean “small” in relation to other RPG companies, because nearly all of them could be considered “small press” compared to mainstream publishers – there are difficult issues to surmount in acquiring an audience of customers. Even access to the distribution system is little help, since the number of retail outlets seems to be shrinking. So you have more companies (some with fantastic games to compete with) trying to reach fewer shelves, and therefore customers.

The costs of production are up, the discounts on MSRP for distributors and retailers are substantial, and the customers are reluctant to spend money on unknown or new products. And while PDF-published, Print on Demand (PoD), and direct sale methods help put more money in the publisher’s pocket, the overall amount of profit is low. Truth & Justice is my best selling game, at roughly 525 copies (mostly PDF, but some PoD and distro) sold in under a year. I’ve made around $4,000 profit from it, which is definitely not enough to live on in my major metropolitan area. However, it is enough money to handle a car payment, take care of the phone bill, and roll into a new product for sale.

I doubt that the game industry can support many publishers as their sole employment under the current state of the market, and the outlook isn’t much brighter for distributors and retailers unless they diversify heavily into other product lines and related-but-different types of products (books, comics, toys, etc.). However, as a second job (or a hobby that pays for itself then a little extra, or even a method of artistic expression), the game industry is an admirable fit. If you adjust your expectations of what the industry will do for you, it will not seem totally screwed, but simply a challenge.

The ubiquitous Gareth-Michael Skarka of Adamant Entertainment, and Phil Reed of Ronin Arts, both big players in the PDF market, produce ePublishing 101 e-zine for their fellow publishers. In the latest issue, they bemoan the status of traditional retail.

From approximately 2000 game stores in January 2004 to somewhere around 1200 stores in December 2005 represents an overall loss of at least 40%. Not a good outlook for retailers in this industry.

They also estimate that the total size of the RPG market is about $25 million, with PDF publishing representing between 8-14% of the market – but that proportion is growing. With the relatively low barriers to entry mentioned by Aldo Ghiozzi, and the legs that such products have, pdf publishing is a good way for publishers to connect directly with their customers without pawning the family silver.

In contrast to Aldo’s lofty view, Ben Lehman , creator of the Polaris RPG, comes at the question from down on the ground. He is a new model publish with roots in the Forge – a forum dedicated to creator-owned publishing, with lots of useful RPG game theory. Some of the best games of recent years have come out of the Forge. With typical Forgeite thoroughness, he unasks the question, one which was begging to be knocked down:
I think it’s really strange how people talk about the RPG Industry as if it, and its screwedness or unscrewedness, were somehow the most central or most important thing about role-playing. To me, that’s turning the entire world upside down. It’s such a bizarre way of thinking about it that I can’t even twist my mind into a position where I can see that as the world at all. So instead of talking about what’s actually important to role-playing – the activity itself. Let’s talk about a bunch of people getting together to imagine things together, because that’s what interests me. From my immediate perspective – which is to say my personal play-groups – role-playing has never been better. I and the people I play with are having absolutely thrilling times with basically every single game we play.

Looking out further, I can look into the play-groups that I see from the Actual Play forums on the Forge, RPGNet, ENWorld, and other community sites. Again, I think that over the last 5 years (and I think this trend extends back almost a decade, but I can only talk from my own perspective, and I started hanging out on online forums five years ago) we’re seeing an across the board increase in actual, enjoyable play. I’m seeing a lot less of “fix my broken group” and a lot more of “man, our play rocked.” Further — and more importantly I’m seeing a glacially slow but nonetheless constant movement away from the periodical/collector/fandom model of enjoyment, and more towards creative focus and real play. In this respect, and that’s what matters, I think that role-playing is at its healthiest state since the 70s.

So where does role-playing text and materials production (the ndustry) fit into this? The role-playing business – like any other hobby business – should exist as long as it can boost and support the hobby around it, and no further. Fortunately, and I think not coincidentally, given the upsurge in enjoyable play, we’re seeing a decrease in the periodical “must buy the next sourcebook” model and an increase in texts and materials focused on supporting real people and their real play. To be clear – I don’t think that this is a Forge only or Independent only phenomenon. I think it is spread wide across games like: Breaking the Ice, Nobilis, Eldritch Ass-Kicking, Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 and up, Ganakagok, Hollywood Lives! and so on.
Literally, there are too many game texts to list.

Now, traditionally, RPG text publishing has used what’s been called the “three tier model” although I actually think its six-tier: Designer -> Line Editor, Publisher -> Distribution Company -> Retailer -> Game Player, where each arrow is representing “sells to.” In the 70s and 80s and even into the early 90s this was the most financially sound model of game sales, and so it prospered. But these days it isn’t doing so hot, for several reasons. The one that I have the strongest grasp on is the growth of internet forums, internet commerce (and the PDF), and digital printing technology (AKA print on demand). In the six-tier system, there is economic and creative compromises at every level. The end results is that both the game player and the designer get screwed — the designer has to make artistic compromises and gets paid no money and the game player gets a watered down product and has to pay a lot of money, because each level in between needs to take their cut. By using modern technology I as a designer (to use an example — there are dozens of other folks like me) can sell directly to the game player. The chain becomes Designer -> Game Player. This is not only massively more profitable on both ends (I make more money, the game player saves more money) but also it brings the two creative ends of the spectrum closer together, allowing for game texts and game play which contains astounding creative content.

The role-playing industry, if we evaluate its success based on how well it facilitates awesome play, is healthier than it has ever been, period. The role-playing industry, when we evaluate its success based on facilitating awesome play, is as healthy as its ever been, period. The only possible view I have of role-playing being in trouble is that certain aspects of the role-playing distribution chain are being eclipsed by an economic model that is more effective in both creative and monetary terms, and as a player and designer I just can’t see that as a bad thing.

Eric Gibson of West End Games says that the RPG-only publisher as a mainstream company is effectively dead, and that publishers must diversify.
Absolutely. Without a doubt. But, before you think I’m being a pessimist and over-dramatic, I must expound.

The RPG industry is “screwed” because the question demands it’s so. You ask in the “RPG Industry” is headed for disaster. As long as we force ourselves into the narrow classification of “RPG Industry” then we the publishers are screwed as well. The successful publisher or manufacturer will see the ever evolving tastes and desires of our customers and change with them to bring new types of products to market. We are not a part of the “RPG Industry” we are apart of the “Game Industry”, or, if you will, the “Entertainment Industry”. As long as there are firms that continue to look at the broader market, we’ll survive. If others continue fly the flag of “RPG Publisher” solely, they have a choice, embrace it as merely a cottage industry, keeping costs as low as humanly possible, but never expecting to be financially successful OR continue to pump massive-a relative term, I know-amounts of money into a behemoth that doesn’t want to come back, and die!

This certainly does not mean RPGs will cease to exist as a viable product. Not for some time anyway. What it does mean is that you must acknowledge the scale that the RPG business has taken and embrace it.

Basic economics tells us that as long as long as a product’s revenues equals ALL its costs (don’t forget all your opportunity costs, of course) then the product is making “normal profits” and should be produced. The bite is, that is growing nigh impossible in RPGs from the perspective of a normal industry.

As I tend to do, I’m going to ramble on far longer than I should to try to make my point. Let’s first start by not using the term cottage industry. We have nearly always been, by and large, a cottage industry, and with the advent of the Internet, a cottage industry does not have to equate to small, struggling, or profit-less. Instead, RPGs is becoming a purely hobby industry-pun not intended. A hobby industry is an industry where the primary source of compensation, for the proprietor, is something other than money-love of the game, I guess you’d say.

In order to make “normal profits” within any business model your revenues must equal the costs associated with the business. Again, ALL COSTS. Not simply the break even point on printing. Not just the overhead. By you must also factor in salaries for executive positions and-this is very important-you must cover the opportunity costs for the owner(s), such as the cost of not working a second, paying job, not having more time with family, and not being able to invest the money you’ve put into the business on other gainful investments. All these costs, and many, many more, must be recognized and paid for by the business’s revenues. In a normal industry, a business that fails to meet these costs must logically cease business (given the time to exit fixed cost responsibilities). The current and foreseeable state of RPG publishing means that it is almost impossible to meet these fairly valued opportunity costs and thus make “normal profits”. So, instead we have proprietors who choose to ignore these opportunity costs and often forego monetary compensation and do it instead for the “love” of the industry. I’m not suggesting this is an invalid reason to do it, but that certainly makes the RPG industry a hobby industry and not a “normal” industry.

So, the question asked, “By this, I mean the market for table-top RPGs. I’m not asking if a small cottage industry will continue to exist – just whether it’s in decline and will continue to decline.”

Sadly, the answer is, “almost certainly.” But again, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. To know it up front, it’s actually very good. If you want to simply make RPGs and sell them as a hobby, by all means you should do so.

Likewise, if you want to run a game company as a normal industry would, you should also be aware that you’re not likely to be able to do so as a dedicated RPG publisher. Diversify. Realize that the business and the market have changed drastically since the late 90’s.

The market wants something else. Provide that “else” and you can stay in business and do just fine and may even have a good chance of making normal profits (or even super-profits).

Is the industry screwed? Only if we fail to see the writing on the wall.

Now we here from a different tier of the industry, a major retailer – Marcus King of Titan Games. He’s having to adapt, and like Eric Gibson, suggest that diversifying into entertainment is the way to go.
As a retailer in a very small town (60K population in the city, with 100K TOTAL in the county) I face some unique problems. First, Michigan has a working class slump like nowhere else – the economy is depressed, young people FLEE this town in search of jobs elsewhere. Second, I have a competitor across town who sells everything for 20% off MSRP. Third, I derive 100% of my income from this company. No outside job, no retirement supporting me, my wife works IN the store with me. I can NOT discount, and support my family.
So, we have two ebay sellers working pretty much full time, two websites (titangames.com and 3FREEgames.com), and we have a retail store, do conventions, and some “liquidation” sales.

Now [our stock depth], was designed to make us a destination store. But, that just does not work. Destination stores no longer compete with everyone within driving range, they compete with everyone within clicking range. Every single thing we sell is available on eBay and/or Amazon, for less. So, though we do well online, our main in store categories are used DVDs, CDs with games come in a distant 4th or 5th

We are going to start stocking fewer RPGs in the store – moving from 1400 or so books today, to perhaps 50 titles, and perhaps 200 books total. I am going to stop buying one or two of everything, and start selecting what we carry in the retail store more based on the idea that 80% of our sales come from 20% of our stock, so stock that 20%, and eliminate about 75% of the rest of it.

What will that leave? D&D, True20, Conan, Traveller, Serenity, Star Wars (if it is ever available), Babylon 5, most supplements by Troll Lord Games, and Goodman Games, some stuff by Mongoose and Green Ronin, and everything White Wolf makes. L5R and Spycraft, and a few others. My store is literally morphing OUT of being a game store, and becoming more and more an entertainment store – with books, movies, music, comics, games and some collectible stuff.

However, I could likely fire my retail staff, shrink my store by 70% floor space, eliminate 90% of my games inventory, just carry the DVDs, CDs, Video Games, and keep one rack of Graphic Novels, one rack of Comics, and one rack of games, and run the retail counter with one person, and never miss a beat as far as sales go.

As a business person first, and gamer ninth or tenth, I look at ALL the options for my business – and it may indeed come to the point where I completely redefine my store around a smaller selection, smaller square footage, and smaller staff on the retail floor – and just carry games as a sideline. Then what do we call the store? Titan Games sure won’t fit.

Jeff Tidball, a long-time award-winning RPG freelancer gives a straightforward answer:
Yes, the RPG industry is more-or-less screwed. You can divide roleplayers into two general camps based on style of play, with smash-and-grab-and-level-uppers on one side, and everyone else (storytellers, world-builders, wanna-be novelists, etc.) on the other. The first, much larger, group is now — with current network and console technology — much better served by computer RPGs than tabletop RPGs. The computers are just plain better and faster at the game experience they want. As those customers stop buying tabletop RPGs, it stops being economically viable to produce them professionally for the second group. Tabletop RPGs won’t go away, but yes, the “industry” that produces them is screwed.

So the D&D crowd will moving over to MMORPGs and the rest will be indulging in a little bit of narrativist theatre? Perhaps.

Mark Simmons, founder of National Games week and publisher of Games Quarterly Catalog & Games Quarterly Magazine thinks that the industry is still suffering from the d20 glut:
RPGs got seriously glutted. Worse than the glut of ’79-81. Worse than the small glut of early ’90s. The d20 boom ran it course with so much product that gamers got enough resource materials to last years. It eclipsed nearly every non-d20 title, killing many good games. It will take time for these circumstances to be overcome. It will take getting RPGs back into stores. R Talsorian is doing decently with Cyberpunk’s new edition, FanPro is doing well with Shadowrun and BattleTech. It’s going to be grim for a while though.
The specialty game stores won’t be stocking and selling enough, so book stores and other types of stores must be courted.

Matt Goodman of Heliograph says:
Table-top role playing is a niche hobby, and like many other niche hobbies (wargaming, pulps, r/c planes, model railroading) over the long haul it is only sustainable as a cottage industry. Die-hards may pass along the bug to their kids–a friend’s 7 and 9 year olds are really enjoying their Star Wars game, and the very best player I had at my Zeppelin Age games at Gen Con last year was in high school–but that isn’t enough to sustain the hobby in the mass market.

So, is there anything coherent to be gathered from these disparate views?

The game store is facing hard times, and none can rely on RPGs alone. An online mail order presence which is able to compete on price is pretty much essential. Leisure Games in the UK is an example of this model. The three-tier system is on shaky ground when it comes to RPGs. Some publishers with well established brands and main stream licenses can still shift sufficient books to make the margins needed to keep going. I think this will continue, but such publishers are not solely producing RPGs – Mongoose Publishing for example relies on RPGs for only 40% of its sales. So what stops new publishers from getting to market? I call it the litho barrier. Unless you have the up-front costs for litho (standard) printing, and the certainty of selling through the print run, you can’t do a litho print run, and your per-unit cost for low-run printing means you will make low or even zero margins through the usual channels. The typical volume of sales of an individual title has declined below the litho barrier following the recent glut of d20 titles an explosion in the number of publishers, and a reduction in the number of players due to improvements in the computer moderated online roleplaying experience.

Hybrid publishing, offering PDF and print-on-demand roleplaying games offer a scaleable model for getting RPGs to their customers without the high risks of attempting the litho barrier. They can sell directly, at conventions, and through specialist online mail order retailers. Forge publishers typically follow this model, and make a very big internet footprint, interacting directly with their customers. Such publishers are actively seeking out players to “tell them about their characters” through Actual Play postings. The idea of signing an NDA when doing a play test is an anathema – they are more likely to publish the beta version of their rules online for anyone to try. PDF-only publishers are on the increase, with rpgnow.com, drivethrurpg.com, enworld.org, e23 and paizo.com all channels to market. Their products have low overheads, can be small, and have decent legs. Still, few people other the etailers are making a living out of this so far.

Paradoxically, it’s never been easier to get an RPG published, but never harder for a new RPG company to support full-time endeavour. The scalability of the new publishing model means that although it is very hard to make money, you are much, much less likely to lose it through an expensive litho print run. If you read that someone you haven’t heard of is about to print 3000 copies of a new RPG, by all that’s holy, stop them.



Which view held out? (And pretty strange to see Skarka listed as an industry icon given what has happened in the interim)
 

RPGaDay2020 Prompt 31 - Experience

Reposted from https://write.as/chuckdee/rpgaday2020-prompt-31-experience

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#rpg, #RPGaDay2020, #Tabletop

**Prompt:** Experience

I've tried to do these before, but have never kept up with them past the first few days. With the exception of the last couple of days of the month, this time I did it!

1. What does that show me?
It is possible for me to keep up with a blog for an extended period of time.
2. What was different this time?
I've been trying this new method of planning out my day- keeping a [Zettelkasten](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zettelkasten), and having daily notes. I put this, [another prompt that I was working on personally](https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeeyonshim/wait-for-me-0), and my agile board for completing my campaign on it. I also tried to put everything for the day, and as I did things, I moved them to the completed area of the board. I also indicated what I was going to carry over. It's been helpful to me as I have pursued purchasing a house also, as there are a lot of little things that you have to do when going through that process. But for the other two areas it was helpful also- and pretty much in every area, including work. The tags and maps help me to get back to everything later.
3. Why did I miss the last couple of days?
Moving, which I think is a pretty acceptable excuse. But it also lets me know that I can have things interrupt, and because it is my deadline, as long as I'm disciplined enough to come back to it, that's OK too.
4. What about #RPGaDay2020 in particular?
It was a fun exercise. Some of the days were a bit challenging and forced me to think outside of the box. Some were a bit light because of that fact, but I think I made some interesting entries. It might be a bit harder to come up with topics for a blog outside of this, but this experience has caused me to seriously think about continuing, even if just for my sake.

Thanks to all that followed and/or commented! And thanks to the organizers!
 

RPGaDay2020 Prompt 30 - Portal

Reposted from https://write.as/chuckdee/rpgaday2020-prompt-30-portal

Image/Photo

#rpg, #RPGaDay2020, #Tabletop

Prompt: Portal

A strange one. This one first sparked in me a memory of Portal. And from there... well you'll just have to go with me on this one. Portal is a game from Valve. It is a pretty unique game- or at least it was- that had a few things going on. First of all, you didn't know the whole story, or pretty much any of the story starting out. You were a blank slate. It was a first person game, where your only weapon was a portal gun that you learned how to use while solving puzzles. You could point it in one place, and make a portal, then another place, and make another. Then you could travel through them. Or push things through them. There was more to it, but that's not relevant to where this stream of consciousness took me...

... how many times have their been unique mechanics implemented in RPGs that invoke the feel just from playing? I love aspects in Fate, because they can be anything - especially with the Bronze Rule (Fate Fractals). But I'm not really familiar with any other games that even come close to the idea.
 
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