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Showing posts from December, 2020

Reaching a Threshold

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Picture by Dakota Naramore, Facebook Group: Abandoned Louisiana The current edits are resulting in fewer and fewer mechanical errors. Most corrections are grammatical errors caught with Grammarly and other editing software packages. We have made a few changes from the original version, which change how gameplay. During combat, characters received damage as LP (or Life Points), and weapons received damage only on critical fails as IE (Item Efficiency Points). The system was clunky and prevented an easy transition from item to character damages. Questions often arose when a character decided to wail away at a wall to knock a hole in it. How did was damage dealt? At what rate did it accrue? At what point did the weapon damage convert into IE damage? Items still receive damage on critical fails. The Item LP serves a function similar to that of IE. Now, attachments require the Item LP of the host item and are lost when the Item LP holds them in place. Specific Status Effects can now del

New Game Company, Interviews, oh my.

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Despite the best-laid plans, there always seems to be some interruption that steers me away from my chosen path. Of course, such are the holidays. Family, friends, and plain ole' laziness conspire to provide tempting distractions from writing and designing. And it's ok.  Now, it's back to the mission: editing. The bombing in Tennesee has knocked out most of the internet in the Monroe region. I have a hotspot, so I shared it with Kevin to get some basic editing completed. We are reviewing the book's GM portion and making sure it aligns with the Player's Guide. Some elements were overlooked and are now being corrected. Due to the internet issues, Kevin is now taking a portion of the book and moving forward with grammar review and mechanical notations. I will branch off and start working on the creature manual. That will be rough at first. The manual has never really been reviewed. A few days ago, I started looking at the player species and found several structural and

Realization of Magnitude

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One of my former convention workers stopped by today for a visit. Normally a rather mundane exercise, the visit brought to light several interesting things. First, on the realizations list: I need to put more effort into maintaining contact with friends. Over the course of a year, not only has my young friend traveled a rough road, but he'd grown considerably in the interim. Despite all he'd been through, the changes in his self-awareness were refreshing. At the end of the visit, we parted with a heartfelt hug and promises to make a better effort on both our parts. A large part of his visit was spent with him flipping in amazement at the new Tortured Earth edition. Over the past year, only a handful of people have seen pieces of the project. To date, he was the first to see the entire scope of the new edition. With each page turned, he seemed to glow with anticipation of the next page. It was quite a show. After spending nearly a year burrowed in balancing mechanics, formatting

One milestone within sight.

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Source: Dakota Naramore, Abandoned Louisiana Today, we reviewed the first 13 chapters of the GM Guide. The goal was to make sure each was grammatically correct and mechanically sound. Although we covered 13 chapters, it does say something to the refinement of this review. It is nearing the final stages.   The process is actually sped along by various types of editing software, our ability to align the items we've written with those we are currently checking, and the nearly wrote familiarity with the document. Finding repeated information and previous references is far quicker than it was at the start of the process. Barring any unforeseen disasters, I'm hopeful we will wrap up the GM and Player's guides by the beginning of the new year. This leaves January and February to complete the Creature Portfolios and launch a Kickstarter. The ultimate goal is to have the source material ready by the opening of Convention Season and promote the new version of the game heavily over th

What makes an apocalyptic story? part 2

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As a writer, what draws me to the apocalyptic storylines is the wealth of storyboard material. Stories hinge on points of conflict. Apocalyptic scenarios abound with conflict. What makes an apocalypse so disruptive is the sudden deviation from the normal to a volatile nature. I live in a rural setting. During hurricane season, we can realistically expect at least a week without power at some point. Even indirect hits from hurricanes can cause major disruptions to fuel, food, and power supplies. Most people in this region prepare for the season months in advance - stockpiling food, basic house supplies, and fuel. I see similar community behaviors in rural areas regarding winter seasons in my travels through the American mid and north-west. An apocalyptic storyline takes this mentality and extends it over months and years. Depending on which time frame the writer is focusing on, the struggle will either be one of struggling to reconcile the previous norm's loss and attempts to establ

What makes an apocalyptic world?

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By definition, apocalyptic refers to a sudden and abrupt end. The mechanism from which the event emerges becomes part of surviving lore of the world while the survivors are left struggling with the remnants of the old way of life.  As a writer, this simple description provides a tremendous amount of material to craft a story. With the placement of a specific moment of the apocalypse, three-time frames emerge: Before, During, and After the apocalypse. Each time frame creates a powerful setting from which character development may be facilitated.  Before. In the events before the apocalypse, the world operates pretty much as normal. Animals are tended, fields plowed, people go to work, and all the things we attribute with normalcy predictably occur. With the simple introduction of unusual or out-of-place elements, tension can build. Depending on the writer's intent, this segment may last a moment or for several series. In terms of story building for a roleplaying game, this time fram

Hopeful Plans for the Holiday

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NOTE: It has just be brought to my attention the links in the earlier versions of this blog have been corrupted. I've updated the links, so all are working. I am so sorry for those of you who have tried to access the links. If ever there are errors in this forum, please notify me in the comments below. As a teacher, the holidays are a mixed bag. We have two full weeks off. In the south, most of my family works offshore, so our family Christmas is earlier than most. My sons are older and undoubtedly have their own plans. The people I would normally game with will be out of town or meeting with their own families. This leaves me with a lot of time and not many people to make plans with. What is a game designer to do? Write and edit of course! Yep, I get to spend two fun-filled weeks in the cold and dreary plains area of Louisiana creating. It isn't really all that bad, actually. The weather should be miserable enough to discourage outdoor adventures and the house empty enough to

The Eternal Balancing Act

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Original Image by: Zoe Dauser Group: Abandoned Louisiana Tonight was spent aligning Magic, Psychic, and Weapon abilities, ensuring their descriptions fell into the current rule set, and tweaking abilities to refine their effectiveness and viability as mechanics within the Tortured Earth multiverse. Although this part of the editing process is tedious, it is also refreshing. A majority of the mechanical errors and inconsistencies are fixed. The remainder of the project is refinement, editing grammar, and formatting issues. Hopefully, before the first of the year, the Game Guide will be completed and we will be into the creature descriptions. The goal is to have all three books released for March (the opening of the convention season) and immediately pick up module writing. Naturally, now that the rule book is being finalized, the next major fix will be the mechanical aspects of the creature descriptions. Creatures, wrapped up at the onset of the COVID outbreak, represents the oldest fil

Tortured Earth Advancement System

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  Tortured Earth is a game powered by status effects. All abilities, combative and non-combative have status effects integrated as a key component of the ability. A character swings a sledgehammer, it deals 1d8. The damage is fixed by the weapon and non-adjustable. What is adjustable, and the main reason a player wishes to cash in points, are the status effects. Based on their investment pattern, the character may cause Bleed, Bludgeon, Stagger, or Befuddle. These effects are directly tied to the rank of the ability.   I have posted in forums like Reddit and Facebook about the advancement system. Of course, you must sift through all the flash judgements to find the kernels of discussion and interest. Those players having tried the system really like the adaptability and flexibility of the character builds. This flexibility is largely due to the activation and customization of status effects.   Unlike spells having fixed descriptions, the direction Tortured Earth takes is one of

Introducing players to Tortured Earth

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A few days ago, I friend called saying he was ready to start writing for Tortured Earth. His concern was he really didn't have a solid foundation in the base mechanics of the system. He was wondering if I could run him through the basics. He was looking to start a new group and wanted to convert everyone over to our system. Fair enough. Aside from running playtests, it's been about a year since I've actually run a full blown campaign. With Kevin and I almost wrapping up the rulebook, I'm more than willing to roll some dice. I've got the alpha test completed for the follow up to Mountains of Mists and Mystery and can definitely use a few more runs to refine the story elements. So, I'm in. Apparently his group is a little larger than what I was expecting. Personal groups and playtesting usually requires groups of about 3 to 4 players. The numbers are smaller, information a little more manageable, and juggling personalities with smaller numbers is far more pract