Posted on : 22-05-2013 | By : Rodney | In : Tips and Tricks
“The Long Earth” is a Sci-Fi novel by authoring greats Sir Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. In the book, a device for travelling between copies of our Earth is discovered, leading to great social change and many interesting adventures for the book’s characters. The novel is a great example of world building and from it we can derive a simple formula for creating our own fantastic realities.
In “The Long Earth”, a scientist leaves behind a device that allows a person to “step” from our world to the next along a string of earth’s. Think of this string of earth’s like a string of beads – you can move “east” or “west” from earth to earth, step by step. Each earth is a slightly different copy of our own, with a different outcome of evolution or global and cosmic events having left their mark. The device and the instructions for creating them (left on the Internet) leads to the mass migration of people from our own earth (Datum Earth) and the colonization of thousands of other earths.
Effectively, the authors have taken our own world, here and now, and added one fact or reality:
There exists a number of different iterations of our earth.
With this reality they add some mechanics to describe how the reality works in practice:
- You can move one earth “east” or “west”, with a device called a “stepper”. This is called stepping.
- Stepping causes nausea.
- Some people can step naturally, without the device or the inconvenient side-effects.
- Readers of the book will be familiar with “stuttering” and “soft spots”, further mechanics of the Long Earth, which describe aspects of how the “reality” works. I won’t go into that now, read the book if you want to know more.
From the above “mechanics” the authors draw conclusions which shape the world (or “worlds” in this case). These conclusions come to light through the narrative of the story:
- People step for various reasons – to explore, to run away, to get rich, and so on.
- Some worlds have dinosaurs, other ancient mammals, others are devoid of life or covered in ocean.
- People have different beliefs about what the Long Earth is, and factions form around those beliefs.
In short – a reality – one single concept that defines the world, is represented by a number of mechanics. These mechanics describe how the “reality” works in practice. From these “mechanics” we can derive “consequences”; repercussions of the mechanics that are visible in the world.
Reality -> Mechanics -> Consequences
Taking these principles into account, it’s easy to see how they can be expanded on or repeated to add more complexity to the world or an aspect of it. I think “The Long Earth” works well, at least as a novel, because it isn’t an overly complex world, yet from the core “reality” an interesting world containing infinite possibilities is derived. That’s what makes this formula so great: it’s simple and limitless. Give it a try in your own campaign, it will give you the framework your imagination needs to run wild.
Posted on : 20-04-2013 | By : Rodney | In : Tips and Tricks
I had my first go at GMing a game using Roll20, a browser based virtual tabletop. Currently I’m kicking off an initiative to get Pathfinder Society going in Japan, starting with the English speaking community of teachers from the USA, South Africa and other parts of the world. Because the community is quite spread out, I turned to Roll20 to connect easily with players and allow for more game time. We’ll see how that works out, but so far so good.
Avernos in Trow-ble
You may have noticed that I’ve reworked the Avernos Campaign Setting here on the site. I’ve got so much in store for you that I needed to rework the structure of the pages to ensure it would all fit together well. I’ve added pages too and the most recent is a look at the Trow, or dark elves. These guys put the “dark” back in being a dark elf.
The copy editing for the Beta is done, so expect more news on that in the coming months. You can keep in touch by connecting to the Claustrophobia! Facebook page.
Super Secret Mystery Projects
Because of contracts and bad tempered gnomes I can’t reveal some of the other projects under way in the lab, but many wonderful things are bubbling away nicely. I’ve decided to refocus my efforts and so you’ll notice less blogging from me and more wonderful goodies in the future.
Till next time!
Posted on : 16-02-2013 | By : Rodney | In : General
Today I get to play with the Blog Carnival topic, “Pimp A Game”, which gives me a good chance to write about cool games. And who doesn’t like cool games…
“Free” is a good thing right? Many games are free in some way or another, like Facebook games, which make their money from those annoying “in game purchases”. But what about role-playing games? There are loads of free ones out there, and a quick look around will prove a universal truth: “Free isn’t always good for RPGs”. Generally, no income means no support and a poor production quality. Players are likely to disregard a game if they think it’s cheap, which impacts how many people even give the rules a spin. Thankfully, some games break that rule, and build a huge fan base around them which keeps it going and growing. Take the Pokéthulhu Adventure Game as an example. The game is possibly one of the simplest free games around, but its strong community of fans means the game is still available for download today. I got to play it at a convention a few years ago, and man, it was awesome. Hands down the best session I’ve played too.
I’m going to look at three games that got my attention recently. They’re all free. You don’t need to pay a cent, give your email address or pay for additional books to make the thing work.
Posted on : 23-01-2013 | By : Rodney | In : General
22 January 2013
This day will go down in the history of role-playing.
Wizards of the Coast (WotC) released most (if not all) of their past Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) print products as digital downloads via the popular RPG download site Drive Thru RPG. Yes, everything from the first ever edition of D&D, through AD&D, 3.5 and even 4th Edition is available for you to buy online, right now. That is if their site can handle all the traffic it’s getting at the moment from fans eager to get their hands on out-of-print books.
Posted on : 19-10-2012 | By : Rodney | In : Adverts
Green Ronin announced today the launch of their first Kickstarter project. The Mutants & Masterminds 10 Year Anniversary Edition! And it has almost reached their funding goals!
Posted on : 18-10-2012 | By : Rodney | In : General
Why do you play games? Do you play because it’s a reason to do something with friends? Is it because you love the challenge? Maybe it’s the pure escapism?
Personally I think it’s a little bit of everything for me, but mostly it’s the escapism. Yesterday I picked up a few Marvel HeroClix figures, including Spider-Man and Iron-Man. Today I played a quick battle by myself and just enjoyed imagining the action.
Posted on : 10-08-2012 | By : Rodney | In : Campaign Journal
These are exciting times for solo role-players, with new ideas on solo story telling being assimilated and shared all over the web. I recently played a solo RPG session of my own and here’s what happened.
The system I used is by Spacejacker of tinysolitarysoldiers. He explains the rules on his website with a play report too. Simply put you use dice to determine how the story progresses, asking questions which the dice and your creativity answer. I played using my Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures collection, Dungeon Tiles and for combat I used the Claustrophobia! rules, since I wanted to play test the combat system specifically. I’ve decided to focus on the story here rather than the mechanics, but if you want me to go into more detail on mechanics then let me know.
Posted on : 06-07-2012 | By : Rodney | In : Review
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box has been around for awhile now but I figure it’s worth a review. Today we’ll crack open the box and look at the highs and lows of this game.
If you haven’t already bought something from Paizo before then let me put you at ease. Today gamers expect quality and Paizo delivers in bucket loads, both visually and content wise. In fact, Paizo polish would be my main reason for recommending anything they sell. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, if you don’t know, is actually an improved version of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. You’re not getting a new game here, you’re getting the next generation of a game that won a place in the hearts of role-players everywhere.
Posted on : 29-06-2012 | By : Rodney | In : Claustrophobia!
Today I thought I’d share some of the concept art I’ve done for Claustrophobia! so far. Its been loads of fun getting out the pencils and brushes for this project, mucking about with watercolours and ink again. When I wrote Claustrophobia! I only had 24 hours for the creation process, so the concept art lets me explore the world in more detail. I’m excited to see where it will lead.
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