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Showing posts from November, 2020

Magic Chapter - Rescaled Goals

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Photo by: Baccus Giacone, Abandoned Louisiana Despite the madness of yesterday's issues, today worked out a little better. After I pecked out my post using my phone, I managed to work on some of the editing in the magic section. Actually got a good bit accomplished.  As a means of balancing certain abilities, their status effects have been locked into one of three categories: instant, countdown, and duration.  Abilities operating over a short, fixed time frame usually have damaging abilities labeled 'Duration'. Their damage or effect remains fixed at an unchanging level and vanish once the spell effect disperses. Suppose a character casts a Sappy Spray at Rank 4 and delivers Hinder to the target of that spell. Hinder will occur at Rank 4 for the fixed 3 rounds of that spell's duration. The effects of Hinder will not vanish unless the character manages to break free of the spell's effect. With certain skills, the effect occurs as a single blast of damage and are r

Technological Frustrations

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I hate that I can say I'm living testimony to my own advice. As mentioned yesterday, we often set milestones which may or may not be attainable. We have to continue working and plow through the material if we ever hope to finish whatever we start. In short: I couldn't finish the Magic chapter today. I live in an area which does not have the modern convenience of stable internet. As a result, in the middle of my editing session, the signal became so terrible I had to call it a day. Once Kevin signed out, I continued to work on my own realizing I was going to miss a lot of errors. I did get a significant portion further and will end up editing with Kevin tomorrow. Fortunately, my phone signal was workable. I managed to take care of social media replies and posts. I even got a little school work done.  The internet connectivity does bring up an issue with future projects. Eventually, we are hoping to launch a podcast featuring the Tortured Earth game. My plan is to write 1 hour

Getting into the heart of Magic.

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This afternoon, we are looking at delving into the actual magical abilities. The plan is to make final tweaks to the damage dealt by each, adjust the Status effects to make sure they are aligned with other abilities, and clarify the descriptions of the ability. This is the part to which I actually look forward. I know there are modifications within the set. Now that we have worked on spell fusions and developed a clear endpoint to the skill, we have a guiding light to lead us forward on this endeavor. In the last blog, I talked about goals and milestones of achievement. I guess a little needs to be said about setting those goals. When you are creating a 300+ page technical document detailing ways of having fun telling a story, you can easily get lost in the process of creation. As fun as the writing of such a manuscript sounds, we need to keep in mind focus is often a waning attribute. It becomes increasingly important to set little goal posts letting us know when we've actually

Milestones to keep me going.

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We have finally reached some major milestones in Tortured Earth. With the non-combative skills and weapons under wrap, we can actually say we are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel - at least for the GM guide. The magic skills themselves will require some editing though the actual mechanics haven't required a major revamp like other elements of the system. Psychic skills will slow things down a bit. This is the one component requiring the most love. From a developers standpoint, it is an odd bag of game mechanic horrors and roleplaying elements. In our attempt to remove some of the load of governance from the GM, we undoubtedly have some interesting discussions on roleplaying elements such as Astral Projection and Telepathy. However, like Shadow Magic, I have no doubt we'll be able to develop a framework allowing GMs freedom to construct their storylines while not worrying about overpowered abilities. My current project is pulling the material options available f

The Curse of Promoting

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Before I even begin this blog, I would like to open with, "I am old". So old, in fact, that I remember days before social media when you went out into the public and talked to people. Coaxed them into trying new things, sold them on the benefits of a new product, and even ran a demo or two to show off the highlights. Of course, the alternate to the dog-and-pony show would be the constant bombardment of advertisements in every available location. This is not the path I want to follow. For one thing, it is costly. Printing fliers, placement of ads, billboard space is all extremely cost ineffective for games and work best in a localized region. We are not going for a localized region. The other factor to billboards and posters is the expense of developing one. Sure, you could throw something together that looks half-decent. To make a good impression, you really need to hire a graphic designer - and Wowzers! That is costly! Online advertising is the alternative to the bill

Magic as a new Physics

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One aspect of Tortured Earth making it different from other systems is the ability to fuse magic spells to create new combinations. Although the concept isn't new, the application is a bit novel. The concept has been built into the game system from its inception. Mechanically, the system has been a bit vague. However, the work in the new version will hopefully iron out some of the mechanical issues and provide GMs solid guidance as to how these fusions are to take place and maintain balance within the system. Our current proposal is two fold: Formula Spells and On-the-Spot fusions. Formula spells represent new areas of point investment once certain critical thresholds have been met. Once a player has attained a specific rank in two abilities, a formula ability will unlock. This ability does not demand point investment if the player doesn't wish it. However, the opportunity for new abilities will become available.  Suppose a character has attained Rank 10 in Acrobatics and c

Progress!!! Weapons have been completed.

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Today has to be an editing milestone! A complete chapter has been edited in a single session. Most notable is the lack of any mechanical changes. Tweaks and restatements but actual changes to the mechanical operation of weapons were not necessary. It's a relief to know at least one thing goes unopposed - at least, operation-wise. This afternoon, we start on magic. This one will more than likely have changes. There are a couple of spells I put into operation with only vague descriptions on mechanics. I'm sure those will be either gutted or fused with other spells. Oddly enough, I'm okay with this. Part of the editing process is looking at the big picture confirming that the smaller components are in line with all other components. I have no doubt that as some elements are fused together, others will be broken apart.  With such a large section accomplished at once, and the remaining sections becoming increasingly smaller in size, the game guide can realistically be finishe

A Personal Adventure

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Rare is it I make comment on my personal life. This blog was set aside specifically for the discussion and development of Tortured Earth, its revision, and expansion of worlds. However, a little off topic discussion does well to break up the monotony. Many of the pictures I use to open the my blogs are actual pictures I've taken while traveling. I've always held a fascination with nature, wildlife, and the reclamation of abandoned buildings and structures, so the use of that imagery in Tortured Earth is almost second nature. Getting those pictures requires a little effort on my part, but the travel makes it well worth it. Couple this with the fact I live in Louisiana and suddenly I have yet another hobby.  This weekend, my wife and I are planning on traveling around the area taking pictures of buildings and objects in various states of abandonment. Hopefully, our trip will be productive and I'll have a whole new batch of imagery to add to my growing collection of apocaly

The Power of Redundancy

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Last night, I finally closed the Attachment file. Added all the little bits and bobs that made it work, double checked everything and made sure it fit into the established mechanics. I closed it with satisfaction. As I opened the next file, I realized it was a duplicate. Fortunately, the original was in the email buffer and I was able to retrieve it. Once it was downloaded, I noticed the file name had been changed. I renamed it the previous file and, yes, managed to overwrite the Attachment file I'd just finished. So, as a prize, I got to redo the whole thing all over again. Take away lesson: Make frequent backups. Buy a good solid state hard drive and back up your project folder like the paranoid fool you should have become by now.  This is specially painful when considering I had a computer crash and take with it all files while we were constructing the first edition. It took nearly a month to restore all files and reconstruct the point at which the data was originally lost. N

Finishing attachments - thoughts and considerations

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Last night I worked on the revisions of attachments - making sure the mechanics of both using and creating the items fit within the parameters of our gaming system. Although the concept may seem rather dry, the work is actually quite entertaining. It gives me a chance to review the overall mechanics of item creation and gives validity to the point investment of our crafting skills in general. In the years leading to the creating of Tortured Earth, many of the game systems we played treated non-combative skills more as an afterthought than an actual game mechanic. The mechanic usually fell into one of two categories: 1. At certain levels, you could add a skill giving you a static bonus. As long as the check fell within the general parameters of the skill name, you could use that bonus. 2. As the skill increased in potency (through either skill investment or level advancement), the skill increased in potency in all applications of the skill. In the first scenario, the skill use operat