Friday, March 29, 2013

First Time to Play House of the Blooded

First time to Play House of the Blooded. Thanks to our GM +Tobie Abad and thanks to the players +Rocky Sunico+mahar mangahas+Rachel Jerilyn Teng, +Erich Lichnock for playing. Sorry we didn't get to have a picture because we were in a hurry to start. 

The backstory of the session can be found at Tobie's Blog Tagsessions under House of the Blooded.  

A narrative mechanic system really is easy on the GM, but requires a higher level of skill in improve that I'm capable off. Tobie's days as my editor in Malate Literary Group in DLSU shows, so is his training as a director for ABS CBN, and his Theater experience. So when tobie suggested that I run MTraveller I happily and subtle declined by just giving a +1 to he suggestion LOL. 

I'm, like Erich, schooled in the Grognard school of gaming LOL, but happy jacks has given me inspiration to try new things and Flex my Rigid tendencies. 

Those who have gamed with me growing up knows that my current RP style is owed to my best man +Henry Vargas whose style of gaming is to All-out-RP and play to all the disadvantages in a mix that is both dangerous and hilarious.  Its so hard to keep a straight face that I burst out embarassingly when I drank and think of what I just did. I didnt get a chance to laugh off my RP and get it out of my system. 

Having an opportunity to talk about the system you really need to filter your players - players who you can trust, and mature enough not to abuse the amount of power the system gives players. Making up the details of the game was rather hard for me, it requires greater Player initiative AND a skill in writing where you have a tool set of plots and complications. 

When X happens you have all the story formulas you can draw from. It really helps that I had about 300+ hours of sci-fi audiobooks in the last four years to help me have a guess, but I've forgotten all the details that goes with those 300 hours. Just a vague intuition of how some stories pattern. 

Even if I were to GM something more my school of gaming, the work, the planning, and the coordination is something I cannot make. It is volumes greater than the player's (thats why I really treat it like a dinner party bringing a lot of food offerings to the game, my contribution for the GM's efforts as evidence by the Pix).  

Game started around 9pm and ended 1:30am. A masterful use of time and pacing. We didin't have AC because of Philippine Holyweek which is the time when buildings can get their maintenance done.

* Finished Half Life 2 and all epsidodes. 
* Started playing portal 

my Samsung np370r4e-s06ph does not have drivers for its own graphics card) #WTFwindows8. 

Can't wait until Linux Steam matures and then I'll switch this laptop to 100% Ubuntu because Windows 8 Deleted my Dual boot >:(( . For now The windows 8 will allow me to buy Cartography Software for my gaming and other gaming software that is Windows only. 
I wish gaming was more Linux ready; there are software venture businesses here in Philippines but given the time and effort it takes to make something as complex it costs about 2 years of a teams salary to start up; and all the logistical challenges that come with it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Loving the A6 format on my phone

Really like the a6 format on my phone. Even it was a hard copy I think the small booklet would be cute. I think I can still embellish the layout with art of weapons and technical sketches. With roll20 there should be a more ready market for pick up games.
Low prep and complexity pick up games. Complete with all the art terrain and characters.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sketches while waiting in line

This is why this is an awesome phone. Making some sketches for my roll20 account and open rpg system. I will try to set up my drawing tablet this holiday weekend. Since they are designed to be small icons this should be easy for someone out of practice like me.
That was an epic wait got three sketches down.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Libreoffice Chapters

Libreoffice Chapters are by Heading 1 (not Heading). So if I want a table of contents or index that is limited to a chapter I have to organize by Heading 1 is a Chapter that deserves its own List.

You track the hierarchy using Navigation F5 (its the 4 pointed star symbol)

So now I can have a List of Elements of a Given Chapter, like in D20 SRD where you have a list of all the feats, skills and page.

Table of Contents (Heading, Insert > indexes and tables > table of contents - entire document)
BASICS (heading)
     Dice Mechanics (heading 1)
          Occasion to Roll (heading 2)
          Damage Roll (heading 2)
CHARACTERS (heading)
     CHARACTER RACES (heading 1; Insert > indexes and tables > table of contents - chapter, formatted so that i can have a brief summary for each race)
     SOCIAL BACKGROUND (heading 1)
          Image and Appearance (heading 2)
          Wealth and Influence (heading 2)
          Language and Culture (heading 2)
     ADVANTAGES (heading 1; Insert > indexes and tables > table of contents - chapter)
               Advantage 1 (heading 3) notes on racial maximums and limitations.
               Advantage 2 (heading 3) etc..
     DISADVANTAGES (heading 1; Insert > indexes and tables > table of contents - chapter)
     SKILLS (heading 1; Insert > indexes and tables > table of contents - chapter, formatted so that i can have a brief summary for each race)
     CHARACTER ARCHETYPES (heading 1; Insert > indexes and tables > table of contents - chapter, formatted so that i can have a brief summary for each archetype)
               Warrior (bullet points, like in d20)
               Rogue etc...
HOW TO PLAY (heading)
     PHYSICAL FEATS (heading 1)
     MENTAL FEATS (heading 1)

I formatted the races in bullet points, like in D20, and its pretty easy for anyone to derive the point costs.
Simplified the Equipment

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Statement size on my note 2

This is statement sized document on my note 2 with liberation sans at size 11. Readable, and so hopefully the gurps lite for fantasy turns ok. Half letter sized booklet should be attractive more readers than the letter size.

Must focus on self editing to keep to as few options as gurps lite but with wold card skills and some essentials.
Essentials for running a lite pick up game like those in VTT like roll20.

The GM just preps in about 4 hours initially (less as time goes by) and all the characters take no time. Easily adopting many DnD and OSR adventures.

GURPS with most of its rules is too heavy for the time available for me, or in comparison to the competition. Wild card skills may be abhorrent but when you only worry about 2-4 skills it's so awesome I'm out of compliments.

Focusing on OSR and being to jump and convert on the fly it to GURPS lite fantasy w/ wild cards or glfw.

Convert my GURPS Lite to GURPS Fantasy Lite

There are important notes for myself in the way my project transformed:

  • Convert my GURPS Low Tech Lite into Fantasy Lite
  • Draw Heavily from Dungeon Fantasy and DnD but keep it much simpler
  • Pretty Much GURPS Lite with Wildcard skills and more starting data.
  • All data and layout should make character creation in a few minutes. Especially since the Templates just do the work and options for the players. 
  • Stays the Pamphlet size of 1/2 Letter. 
  • Sample Monsters and Encounters should be an add on and different booklet. 
Yikes, there is a lot to do. I think I should focus on keeping it very compatible with GURPS Lite. I will add weapons and equipment... I think. 

I guess the best way to go about this is thinking what can I accomplish in my spare time, in about 2-4 hours how much can I fix the system so that GURPS lite Fantasy can be ready? 

There is so much I want to do. I want to add the Half-Giant Template to allow SM+1 characters that have ST15, and doubling the weight of their armor and clothing. I want to make an elf, dwarf, gnome, and halfling that is almost 20-40pts tops. 

Since its wild cards, i don't think Talents would be helpful. The templates would have to follow the usual tropes. Spellcaster - Theurge (a name that means miracle worker or a supernatural agent) and Magus (a mage). Leader - Priest, Noble, and Mastermind. Rogues - Agent, Thief, Merchant, Sage, Bard, and Courtier. Then the warriors - Templar, Knight, Man-at-Arms, Scout, Skirmisher, Assassin, and barbarian. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Castle Falkenstien after so many years

 Thanks Erich LichnockArj BerenguerCarl Michael E. Moullard, Rachel, Tobie Abad, and Rocky Sunico for playing; thank you to our GM Tobie for running Castle Falkenstein.

Castle Falkenstein was one of the first games I learned when I first met AEGIS. I was in an Opus Dei private school in my second year of High School when I was invited by Enrque Syquia who was a Teacher at the time. This is when I first met the legendary local grognards and saw RPing outside that of my friends, brothers, and myself. 

At 16-17 and awkward (1996-1997), I still remember most of what happened. There were GIRLS LoL! (not knowing the gender till only college) and other students my age (they were from the international school) and our Greenminds Clicked! To bad I didn't know how to make good connections and keep in-touch, or else I would have had a larger gaming network and won't be so game deprived. 

I first witnesses accents and character impersonation role-playing there, because as awkward teens we would describe and narrate in the Third Person instead of personalize the response with "I"s and "I will". 

Growing Older and aware of Fudge, Fate, narrative based mechanics I find the system so advance at the time I've come to appreciate and learned to tweak the game system to compensate for the faults. The game is easy prep, and using a Fate based mechanic where I don't anymore resolve a task if they meet the prerequisite ability instead focus on narrative control (Yes And/Yes But) the system would be easier to grasp for other learning strategies. 

I didn't understand it back when I was HS, but 17 years later I really now understand it. I used to play this in GURPS or run it like a DnD Game, but I get it more now. 

Tobie's GM skills are amazing, his improv and story telling is one of the best. His mastery of theater and writing side really shows in how effectively he can spin the story in a clean and unexpected direction. How cleanly he does it and foreshadow it, is what I find hard if not very hard since everyone had to relearn and learn the system and he had to push us to be more initiative-based. I admit I would have been lost playing to my character's personality if he did not make the effort to put the situation that clicked strongly to the motives. 

Offering Castle Falkenstein in the bunch of games I can potentially run. Will need a two week heads up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hang Out and Learned how to use roll20 features

Thanks +James Austin  for hanging out and teaching me how to use Roll20 features. Specifically: Tabletop Tools > Fog of War > Dynamic Lighting. James is another happyjacks listener who consumed much of the

It may help make my GM, +Michael Keenan, job easier since he had to manually remove and put back the darknened areas. The dynamic lighting, along with a prepared  area can allow the lighting to be automated, take note that players can accidentally light up an area when they bring their token into the wrong area. This may happen if the passage is narrow and internet connection is crappy.

Since I finally have windows, the DREADED windows 8, I can finally invest in Campaign Cartographer and other tools. Although except for Qin, I'll start buying more GM tools once I have players and a game ready and interested.

I will definitely try to run GURPS Traveller with WIldcard skills, the skills being MG Traveller Skills.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

GURPS WIld Cards in my GURPS Lite for LowTech

GURPS Wildcard skills definition appears to depend on GURPS regular skills (B175). Does that mean if I introduce GURPS with its Wildcard skills to new players, I distill the definition to its pure archetypal form?
If so, I have a much simpler Skill System and definition! I can just focus on key words now and archetype definition and viola. 

last friday's DF Roll20 and Hangout Game Summary

+Michael Keenan game summary of last friday's game.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Another Take on the Halfling

In GURPS size is a big disadvantage. Its 15 points but there is a logistical burden to it, all other equipment and trappings rely on the default human size. Halfings, Gnomes, Kobolds and Goblins have it bad their damage is severely affected, as well as their ability to take damage. It doesnt take much to knock down or out a halfling compared to a medium sized creature in GURPS.

This halfling is different in the way I exaggerated the muscle and bone strength for someone who is supposed to be 2/3 the size of a human. This is not a child, well they are pretty much the size of human children but their muscles are optimized for their current scale.

Halfings, Goblins and Kobolds are dangerous because they have human intelligence and they can take full advantage of cover. One other unusual advantage is that they move as quickly or faster than a human. Their default Speed is 7 vs a humans 5, reflecting the effortlessness it is for them to travel.

Their super jump ability is what compensates for their size, it allows them to overcome obstacles and reach places a human may not be able to reach. Their fast climbing advantage and jump ability combine to make a very acrobatic and dangerous opponent. Used along with their small stature for stealth, they are expert in ambushes and recon.

They won't snipe humans or other medium sized opponents, but they would be awesome in harrassing and wearing them down. If it becomes a matter off armies, armor and size still matters enough that an army of goblins and halflings won't win because of their special mobility, especially since they cannot bring anything effectively lethal (short of biological and chemical warfare) to bare on a stronger and larger enemy.

Come to think of it, an Army of Giants would have the same advantage over humans.

Game Mechanics Note: Game Balance and Racial Templates

Races are most often more powerful than basic humans, even if they equal to 0 or sometimes negative. This is because they break the Max Disad cap. Technically Gross Point Value (Not counting the disadvantages) they are made up of much more points. GM bias is the biggest factor that can affect the game balance of a race. Even if the GM or world builder builds a deficit character, one will find that emphasis can make a disadvantage irrelevant. So knowing your GM style helps when building a template or race, in fact that a truism in GURPS or many systems.

On interesting take away is that GM's who are aware of their style or emphasis can note how certain Disads work out in their Game and can prepare players or allow them to tweak when the fun is not optimal.


These halfings are not of an idyllic world. Given how intolerance, ignorance, and violence can pervade a primitive world these are survivors. They are small and are valuable as "weaker" slaves. If the Great Slaving Empires and cultures were to stumple on such a folk, they would beaten until they bowed to the natural Order their cultures believed such a people should be. 

Weaker halfling are valued as domestic slaves. The way a slaver would ensure loyalty is to beat it until submission: battered person's syndrome is a classic way of enslaving such. keeping their families within spear's reach and under close control also helps maintain power over these halfings. 

in the Wild they are independent and communal. The halflings are as clever as humans and their better mobility allows them to live in places few humans can reach. They will live on tree tops, cliff-sides, caverns and lime-stone dwellings, Jungles, and other natural formations that grant their size and build an incredible source of security.

Halfings with their diet, are mostly in food production. Their metabolism, especially those who live in the cold regions, focused in their tasks to produce enough food for their rapid metabolism. They favor complex sugars like beans and legumes. Simpler sugars are favored as alchohols, note that they are as vulnerable as humans to it because their small size is a trade-off to their rapid metabolism.

They are naturaly suspicious of non-halflings, but what allows them to push farther into the most difficult of terrains is their curiosity to discover new places and new things. Their curiousity is channeled, for their survival, in pursuits that will allow them to survive. 

Goblins are a close relative of half-lings  but their survival lies in their Hidebound nature. They have the similar survival traits, but have been uniquely adapted to take advantage of the darkness and night time.  


20 points
Basic Attributes [20] : ST-2 [-20]; DX+2 [40]
Secondary Characteristics [2]: FP +1 [2]  
Advantages [13]: Super Jump 0.5 (x1.5 jumping, B89, B352) [10]; Super Climbing 1 (+1 move) [3].
Disadvantages [-15]: Curious (12) [-5]; Increased Consumption (eating 6 meals a day) [-10]
Features:  SM-1 (4'6" average); Weight x2/3.

Notes: Jumping B352
Standing Jump ( (6"x5)-10" )x2 = 40" 3'
Running Jump (6"x10)-10")x2 = 100" or 8'
Standing Broad Jump ((2'x5)-3')x2 = 14' or 4 yards and 2ft
Running Broad Jump ((2'x10)-3')x2 = 34' or 11 yards and 1ft

14 points
Goblins are just like halflings physically except that they have the following other notes.

Advantages [9]: Night Vision 9 [9]; Disadvantages [-15]: Social Stigma: Monster [-15]; No curiosity, instead Hide bound [-5]

Friday, March 15, 2013

First Time to Play Roll20 and G+ Hang out

+Michael Keenan for GMing, +Vaclav Tofl+Jessie Foster, and +Jarad Jones

too bad my brother could not make it, he would have been the barbarian.


This is a great way to learn how the system works. Its prep intensive, I think more prep intensive for a GM who has adopted the "less is more" approach. There are some logistical challenges that have to be considered like back up mediums and strategies if some of the technology stops working.

Despite Prep intensiveness it is VERY easy to stop and pick up after where you left off. Its all there on the screen and if you have Gdocs linked in and everyone is typing on a Gdoc note for campaign notes you can stop very easily.

Its all about getting more practice and systematic about the prep and running. Since its a new medium, one that has very few opportunities because the community is still small, but growing. It really may be the new norm of the future.

Mics are important, because the built in mics on laptops get a lot of feedback. I could hear myself in the GM's speakers. I'm using the Note 2 earphones that came with the phone. its built in mic was very nice and did the job very well.

The GM side looked very hard, a lot of multi-tasking. If I ever did this kind of Game, I would like to borrow another screen and dual screen the game.

I'll try working with my brother to learn of to run a roll20 game, enough that I'll consider run a game sometime in the future.

This is the first GURPS game I've played in almost 7-8 years. Spielmeister was my only GURPS GM, and it seems he is the only GURPS GM all around the metro-manila area I know of. Now that he's living in Canada, it appears that I'm the only GURPS GM left :(

Anyway, we ended about a few minutes ago.

Dramatic vs Challenging Occasion to Roll

Working on my ORP I've made some breakthroughs in definitions, particularly defining Dramatic vs Challenging occassion to roll.

Risk and Consequences  

Both dramatic and challenging occassions to roll very similar because of the Risk and Consequences. if you look at GURPS, the DMG's, or WOD or Fading Suns, etc... definition when to roll they focus on the scenarios. I wont dwell on this since most game systems say the same thing: TL:DR roll when its important.

Overall Story

What story are we trying to tell? Realism or Harsh realism doesnt mean rolling for every step until he crosses the street, but defining the realy decisive challenges in every problem. In order to focus on the real challenges, or the Drama, what can happen is that the "little Rolls" the GM rolls and decides what is more expedient and dramatic for the story. Rolls to Fast Draw, Stand up, trip, Spot a clue, etc... are left to the GM so that he can push the story forward... But thats only half of what is happening, players can speed things up with initiative - condensing actions and questions into their turn instead of waiting for feedback or permission. 

Pacing and Logistics

There is a real logistical problem in Games when it comes to Dice Rolls. Rolling dice, counting, and zooming out to look at the big picture or zooming in to the details, all take time and effort. Ideally the GM spends most of his effort in the narration to build up drama and the dice is complimentary. When we narrow things to when it is dramatic it is easier for the GM, and creativity is the measure of success in the scene. Don't sweat the small stuff, unless wee are near the Climax of the Scene or the Story.

In ORP, DND and Fuzion or game systems that allow averages for the Defense Stat, what can happen is that the GM can just ASK the player to roll defenses and make attacks hit at an random and cyclical pace. You can apply it to GURPS or other Active Defense Game Systems as well, where in the attack doesn't really roll but Hit at an Unknown and fairly random pattern. 

Ask for a Roll during a Focal Point

Sweating the small stuff can change the flavor or direction of the story in interesting ways. We want unpredictability when we try to predict the characters and players, and that's when we look at our dice rolls behind the screen and ask ourselves - is he not being challenged? Can his temperament take a few bad rolls? Can he creatively turn things around, in a scene that didn't go the way he planed?

We really do is measure the Players temperament and energy level. We gauge it, and as they get better and as we get better we throw more mishaps their way now and then to keep things interesting. What if she doesnt draw the weapon fast enough, how does he improvise?

Timer and the Player's Energy and Temperament Level - read them and see if they can take the challenge. If you have a GM tag team we have the advantage of having a better gauge of what they can do, and someone to think off other ways we can spin things based on their assessment of their improv-idea.

TL:DR roll during a Schelling Point.

SIFRP game by end of March 

Since I'm GM-tag-teaming with Ziggy for SIFRP I'm excited to first dissect the Psychology of the Group and design the game for optimal Satisfaction, based on where they liked challenged.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Character Point Inflation

I was going over GURPS martial Arts and comparing martial arts to a mental and complex pursuit. After pulling back and trying to look at the realms of combat and professional, there seems to be a disconnect about how Techniques should be priced.

When Character Point Inflation happens the Value of a character point changes. In GURPS many of the vets know about the 200 hour rule. I'm taking mandarin classes right now and its really hard, in my studies being broken in mandarin needs at least 300 hours of practice. GURPS combat seems to suffere inflation where the hours spent mastering a hard technique (spending 5 points on a -4 hard technique) is like a 4 year course... and there are about a handful of techniques to master, not only that but there are skill levels that need to be reached.

If you start comparing Other skills and Combat Skills, the prices to get something done is so high with combat GM throw Points at it. Take for instance Dungeon Fantasy at 250cp + 50 cp of disads. A combat character has practically 90% of his points invested in combat... and the template builds have very little room for escape strategy - I will allow for this since DF is supposed to be DND, but it just illustrates how hard it is to master certain skills... harder than learning a language, to be a doctor, a lawyer, to learn to think critically, or other fairly complex careers.

My only problem with over inflation of combat skills is that it brings a narrow and super tight focus on combat. Is so focused in combat that problem solving-wise its myopic, solutions that would be economically more efficient are discarded. This is not the way a "warrior" goes, I mean if you follow the 5 rings or Sun Tzu then diplomacy, leadership, management (managing affairs well), is where good warriors spend their points. But I know its DnD, its fantasy and has no connect to reality... the first thing on one's mind is slaughter and the sword, not the High Minded techniques illustrated in the Art of War, 5 rings, Machiaveli, Strategikon or other combat books.

Monday, March 11, 2013

System Design Ideals, some guiding principles

Small Sized Character Sheet

I want all the key information to fit in half the letter size character sheet. I want nice statement sized booklet whose pages I can fill slowly.

Easilly Expandable DIY notebook format, with Cards

I want to be able to have a notebook where I can put in cards that condense details that come up on specific occasions. Details like other entities, contingency plans and maneuvers, and other details that reward development and forethought with minor but tangible game effects. 

Complexity is Simplified in an elegant and telescopic method.
You can easily dig deeper and find more details, or you can pull back and play at a macro level.


Characters can be made complex by the open ended detailing mechanics, but the core system is simple and keeps to a finite amount of elements. Typically characters are made up of 10-15 skills, with 15 a rare type of character that tends to specialize in generalization.
The Character Abilities are simple and keep in mind mnemonics to allow better memory and acquisition of system mastery.


What ever on the charactersheet come into play, (except the cards or the other pages). This goes for disadvantages or drawbacks traits. If you have a drawback it comes up every game, at least coloring EVERY SCENE.
Same goes with skills and other character elements, these all color the character's scene. Because the system does this, characters with subtle differences can stand out more. Anyway the rule of 7 on average skills make a profession, while 3-8 make the personality helps a lot in efficiency.

Character creation takes up 10mins, while character detail is its own game in itself.
Character detailing mechanics is a modular system that allows for the creation of character cards that will help the player in the game, a little bit like a board game. These cards are made with the permission of the GM, and to a certain limit. They detail the character and allow for some feats to be done. It grants tangible bonus on a circumstance.

Traits should only have a max of 7 both good and bad or limiting Traits. These traits should be a list easy to read and easy to recall, so that we don't forget they can be put into play. Note that elaboration and detailing has a system mechanic of its own, that allow for greater detail for these traits without occupying valuable attention unless its needed and makes things interesting.

Make a game for the Gamers and not the Assburgers

Anyone can twist a game to what it is not intended, but you want a well design game to reduce arguments and speed the decision making process, and to make everything more fun. The system should reward role-playing, elaboration, visualization, immersion, and all the activities that make a game a more rewarding experience. This may mean allowing creativity to breach the secure walls of well designed mechanics, but the guiding principle is that the people who will enjoy the game more should not be limited by the problematic people who will try to ruin the fun for everyone.

Similar principle in making laws (a game theory based principle): don't make laws for the Criminals, make laws to protect, empower, and serve the Citizens (thats why policy makers need to learn economics and behavioral economics, and happen to be a person with a lot of common good balance). Empower the citizens so that it would be harder for the criminals to abuse the system. Especially for RPGs, where the states are our free time.

Accept System Growth and Evolution

I guess the way people develop better and better software is a great example of how to develop an RPG. You document you progress and you adopt innovation when you can measure empirically the benefits vs the trade-offs.

I guess in the end, such a game system will be like a Web based comic or Open Source Software - funded by the merchandise and donations, break even when hosting events and major marketing exercises.

Prevent Mechanics Inflation

Discussed in a different post, inflation happens a lot in Game Systems. We don't notice it but in level based systems, additional powers and abilities every level despite rising XP cost actually accounts for a high power level inflation. 
This also happens in game system inflation, with added options in One Sphere (combat, social, problem solving, logistics etc..) all other spheres suffer. I think it should be a balanced approach, when we grow with options in one medium, other mediums are encouraged. 
keep inflation in sustainable levels, options grow over time as new ways of problem solving and simulating or modeling actions naturally grow because of how we form ideas. Its just we need to reign it in. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

My process dealing with young talent

I've talked to some artists and writers regarding work for my game system. I used to be in their shoes, and in their shoes no one ever taught us to price our work or how to analyze risks and protect against them. I use the skillset I was taught at work and applied it to art, skills I wish I learned when I was a young and starving artist.

Step 1 Measure Measure Measure 

(note there are rules of thumb that can be used to tell what is a good value)
Look at the Market Going Rate
Measure your performance per day, how many hours does it take for a Finished work
Measure all your distractions, risks, and failrate.
Measure your lifestyle

Step 2 Now compile, organize, and run the data.

Figure out your productivity in terms of a Month, Week, and Day.
Price according to your Cost of Living, not your ideal cost of living but what is sustainable but keep in mind market rate. You basically adjust your costs to be competitive but not far bellow market rate. Offer value not discount (as for value I would provide the skillset needed for customer service rep).
If your still not confident, you can offer a Discount but this is only temporarily and only IF you get enough business from them. IOW lets say you have if they give you 200 manhours worth of work, you can give them a bulk discount (which is only when you go below market rate). These costs have already been factored ahead of time.
Have a price per visit (i paid for the cab of the artists visiting me, when i get a chance), its like software design.

Step 3 Now organize your plan, and write down your assumptions. 

Have a business plan in the end, think through your profession, ideally aided by an experience professional who can help devils advocate all the contingencies and distractions.
Include the Marketing Plan AFTER you finish all these. By marketing I mean all the activities you do in order to keep visibility and relevant. Marketing is separate because it is the most disposable of strategies when times are hard. If they are hard for an artist, its time to consider part time work for a secure income. This is THE Ideal strategy fresh out of college, for most graduating filipinos who want to be an artist. Ideally they are in an industry that compliments or directly involved in their chosen career path.

Let them make up their mind

Of course I can only recommend and they have to make up their mind. Once they have their act and biz plan together, i'm more willing to do biz with them. I don't care much for the margins, thats the artist business, what I care about is value and what they offer compared to market norm. I am an unusual client as I am more like a patron, but I will prep them for harder clients and muddier business decisions. 

I just want to know that I'm getting good value for what I'm paying. Its not about what is cheaper, the value I can get is what I need at a given price I can afford. If I see crap, I need to know they will fix it. Its not their professors they are dealing with, its me and I need to know that they can take the criticism professionally. 

Building Up a Talent pool 

Right now Im running my hobby like a frugal businessman, only making expenses when I'm about to use the product with certainty and when there is a good ROI. Inspired by /r/frugal I've begun tracking my expenses more carefully and meticulously. But being frugal does mean being a cheap ass, you still spend well on other people, especially when you want them to know they matter. You can be cheap with yourself, but not with relationships.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

ORP Skill Design Notes

Keep it Simple 

Characters should only have up to 3 core skills, 4 secondary skills, and 3-7 background or ancillary skills. A total of 15 skills at the most or 10 skills on average, or as little as 7 skills - typicaly 7 skills for templates since you don't plan to flesh out the personality for NPCs and Mooks.

Consistency and Game Logic in Organizing

 One of the things I learned in work is that, there are some Unimportant skills that surprisingly are deal breakers. Why isn't Vacc Suit part of Spacer, true there is training that specifically in Artificial Habitation survival and safety but why isnt Vacc Suit part of that?

If want to be scientific about this all: A task that may deviate from the skill being used should only be penalized by as much as the performance difference. So If a ARMA swordsman tells you that the difference between a sword that is 36" and 30" is less than 5% and 5% is a value too small for the system to measure (like GURPS or MT) then why place a penalty?

Related Skill Rules - related skills means that you can default at a minor penalty in ORP. Related skills are skills abstracts relationships of skills with each other related to relative to the individual's talents or strengths.

Skills Transform over Time

A person who climbed up his organization to be an officer didn't just gain a new skill, sometimes the skill they have transforms to encompass experiences he was already exposed too but was on the recieving end (and those skills are opaque in use). The Core skill of the Profession, slowly becomes an Administrative/Management skill tied to Profession.  In ORP this means that you can have a profession Roboticist 3 (Administrator +1); a Robot programmer who's been in the business long enough that he has management skills , can manage a team for Robotics effectively raising his bonus from 3 to 4.

Tasks vs Skills

Tasks are collection of activities that can be done with a skills, tasks are not exclusive to a skill it really depends on logic. There are many tasks a Soldier and corporate Bureaucrat can do - give reports, write out documentation requires and standardized by their Organization, and communicate effectively with their team and group.

Skills is not really one monolithic Skill, but a collection of skills which have a strong binding rationale. If it was a Monolithic Skill, going by a Platonic definition, then we would have a Big system problem of trying to define all its aspects and slowly growing the number of skills to system Bloat. Instead as the Game Designers, GMs and Players feed into ORP they highlight how different a Bureaucrat can be in various situations and specialties. One thing people overlook when designing skills is that its Psychology is what stops people from attempting things which is unfamiliar but applicable to their skill, and not a lack of skills. There would be be some unfamiliarity penalties BUT a little practice and planning or improvisation tends to cancel these all out.

Familiarity is the Playground of Storytelling

Familiarity is mental flexibility, imagination, creativity, and character background. This is the key focus when using skills for other things - it is for a moment visualize how a character has used this skill in their professional life and what kind of character this is.

Before you begin to design a system Clarify dice Mechanics. 

Particularly Occasions to Roll, a good foundation makes skills more reasonable in number and reduces system bloat. It is important to make this Foremost when introducing the system, because it sets the stage and character building strategy.

I have a recent break through, and I'm working on the skills section. Equipment and Assets are pretty much thought out, I just need to detail and edit it for consistency and completeness. Once I finish the Skills and test crap out of it, I can move on.

I have the entity, character, and world physics pretty much though out. Its not that hard since I use basic rules of science and convert it to how it should be reflected in the dice mechanics.

Currently working on my mandarin so I'm pretty distracted, other than work being another distraction. Hopefully I meet some people interested to game in Zang4guo2 Shi1dai2 or Warring States when I enroll for Mandarin Class. Seeing the perfectly preserved bronze sword of the Period, the sword of Goujian is really inspiring. Since the era has so little detail compared to other eras I feel liberated to just follow the science.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Testing Out a blogger app for substitute

I know it's just a cheap meal here in the philippines but I'm already familiar with the Google Blogger app for my ipad. I have not been using my ipad. I this is much better than going to chrome on my phone.

Something is wrong with my swift keyboard And this app
Here is updated Dishaan with some few clarifications.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blank male template

A sketch before bed, this is a blank male template for detailing. I plan to use it for drawing armors and hit locations. I should work on or art more often

My Attempt at Traveller's Dishaan

Could not find any art about it so here is my first attempt.
using Note 2. This is an arboreal predator and carrion feeder with lower limbs that manipulate tools and upper limbs that give it mobility.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Open RPG system Update

Going into a little more Detail.

Entity Creation

this is pretty much a set of rules for creating Economic Entities that can be used to model Governments, Holdings, Cities, Villages, Businesses of various Sizes etc... This allows the GM and Players to try to manage them as part of the game challenge or drama; sum up all the resources of the Player's patron; and foundation for Adversarial Entities.  What is important is that this is scientific, and thus can translate to various eras with key notes on the economic, technology, and demographic conditions. 

Background and Skills

I am pretty meticulous when it comes to skills, I try to identify all the skills I learn and those I deal with at work. I've come to appreciate techniques, maneuvers  sub-skills, and specializations but these all are a stronger argument for broader groups of skills. I've always wondered how can a person, like the great people in news and history, have so many skills and the key is really maximizing some core skills that have applications or familiarization with other things in one's life. This deserves its own post, but suffice to say - skills are broad in definition and scope, and dynamic.

Skill Design. 

Holy Crap the amount of skills. I may be meticulous and can handle skill load, but I just spent 3 hours  making a character. I had to reference MA and LT to make my character and read up DF benchmarks. Reading other game systems, there is a tendency for skills to Explode in number as a game develops and in a New version there is consolidation.
I realize that a character should be doable in 7-10 skills. 7 skills maybe the character's Professional core competence, and about 3 skills allowance for flavor.
There is something that is hinting me of another way to model skills that would allow me. Its it falls very similar to Language-based or Descriptor-Based Mechanics like in FATE but with tweaks that allow such a Skill Mechanic to be richly detailed and specific.  
If you can sum up all your work related skills is 7 core skills, and all your other skills in 3 is actually possible, its just that its filled with caveats. I guess where this is going is Broad Skills, that is free to be detailed. The deails work in a way that it rewards incorporation to story, and this story telling aspect narrows down the scope of the skill while allowing for specializations ( a kind of trade-off system: famliarity vs specialization). 

Professions and Work

I've simplified professions to Industry/Field and Role. Role being Officers, Commanders, Administrators, and Leaders; Field Ops and Specialists; and Support. Basically the persons who manages the resource; the resource; and the support for the resource. This methodology has the advantage of condensing templates and roles, being modular where roles are concerned but homogeneous where Industry or field is concerned.


All equipment, food, clothes, shelter, assets, and material, animal and human resources of the character, save for entities which is covered in Entity Creation and entity meta-rules. Most important contribution would be the sample load outs and doctrines, the sample load out can be modified based on doctrine or is ready for player and GM use. What i find exciting is having a checklist template that is usable in both real life, derived from real-life material (Small wars manual) applicable in various eras. 


Saturday, March 2, 2013

GURPS Traveller Character Gen Side Project

Here is my Statement-Sized Google Doc regarding GURPS 4E Traveller Interstellar Wars Character Gen. Basically its all my homebrew rules and considerations regarding GT4E.

I really cannot edit documents on my Note 2 without screwing with the styles, and that is a pain in the ass to fix every time I open the document on my Note 2 with Kingsoft Office.

Features I hope to incorporate over time:

  1. Character Life Path Generation Style - I can roll randomly for my characters like in Traveller. The statistics are conservative since characters can't be too weak, as to give too many problems. when you have an exceptionally weak character, it is rare that you might as well try playing him/her.  
  2. Packaged and Randomized Background and Disads - this is a feature that will allow faster character creation, and a plug in system that uses Disads to influence the Events tables. 
  3. Optimizing Skills list and definition - updated for Transhumanist futures - the future complicates but it also consolidates, consolidating skills and the tasks you can use with them. Removing redundant and pointless skills is a Homebrew, too many options which should be using the Optional Specialty Rules, Related Skill Rules, and Specialization Rules more consistently shrinks the skill list.  
  4. An Events Table. Why the character shipped out or why the character chose a riskier lifestyle.
  5. Notes on Stealth-less Ship Combat.

Plug in notes I am DREAMING to Incorporate. 
  1. Notes how to run a Naval Campaign. include a complete Ships and Ship doctrine similar to Honorverse including, complete with tokens, maps, sample scenarios (if you just want to duke it out) and fleet building rules. I will plug in my Entity Game System so that people can play Dukes/Admirals. A simple Boardgame style system for ground forces encounters.  
  2. Notes how to run it with MECHS (like Mechwarrior/Battletech)
  3. Notes how to run it like Fading Suns or Dune
  4. Notes how to run it like a Warhammer 40k, Imperial Army campaign.
  5. Notes how to run it like a Kitchen Sink Setting (including the variations of a Anime Style Epic Campaign, like Naruto/Bleach).   
  6. Notes how to run it Dis-empowerment Campaign (like Horror or Cthulhu)
  7. Notes how to run it like a Cyberpunk Campaign

Friday, March 1, 2013

What is a well rounded character in RL?

A well rounded character has methods that prevent getting killed, because in RL not all battles are to be fought with weapons - you have diplomacy, logistics, and deception at your disposal. Typically a well balanced character has "Violence", "Social", "Intelligence" (the data meaning of intelligence) and "Operational"abilities. 

The easy way to visualize or simplify these concepts is to imagine Conflict and what happens behind the scenes. Conflict happens in Social and Violence Arena. Social which is one step away from being killed, while in Violence you are in the front line, and at the risk of getting killed. 

Intelligence and Ops is what happens behind the scenes; with intelligence gathering in a greater position of danger the more accurate, reliable and up-to-date the intel. Ops is when we move around resources towards a goal - ops is typically logistics and relatively low risk activities. Just because Ops is several steps away for lethal danger, doesnt make danger not a part of it. Infact people are at their greatest cognitive dissonance when they are several steps removed from danger. 

If you get the 4 spheres Violence, Social, Intel, and Ops you have 4 ways a character can attempt at a problem. A group ideally has specialists in these 4 spheres. You try to solve problems in the ff order: Intel, Ops, Social and violence. Intel being the most basic and rudimentary of solving any problem. 

Intel is not just scouting skills, its the ability to sort noise from relevant data, as well as being able to intuitively note a break in the overall pattern that may lead to a more serious problem. Suffice to say, Intel requires interpretive skills like Analysis or Expertise in the Context or what I call Context Analysis Skill. Like when you use your expertise in Gaming to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, and purpose of a game system (your gaming skill provides context for analysis). 

Next is Ops, you divert resources through management, delegation, bribes, paying for services, etc... to do what needs to be done. Mastery of Ops is doing this as cost-efficiently as possible. The Quartermaster makes sure the army runs, the General is behind the wheel but the Quartermaster makes sure the engine is working, there is a constant supply of gas, and all the parts have still miles to go before wear and tear. You can solve a lot of problems in the Ops level, and in adventures you build yourself up to be able to deal with Bigger problem with Ops (since ops channels resources to allow you or the general to get where you are going). 

Next is Social, but treat social like Trials - they are risky. Ops has the ability to change direction and to divert resource as it adapts to Intel, but Social once actions are set in motion things begin to take a life of its own. There is a trial of public opinion and political perception, and when social conflicts escalate to such "trials" or conflicts you are at a situation pretty much like battle.

Last is Violence, which everyone knows about.... there are also preventative skillsets. I should talk more about the same layers of skills and options for combat but that is best for another post or to reference another expert on the matter who will likely do a much better job than me. 

I use the Intel, Ops, and Soc more often in real life. My hobbies pretty much help in the violence part. 

I'll probably go into what Ops and Intel is in a future post. I can talk about Soc as to how I have gameified my experience at work, but I'm just the average watching masters at work and not an expert.

Note this is a "Well Rounded" character in the context of competence and professional ability. As a well rounded human - with art, philosophy, hobbies, etc... um thats a philosophical discussion that is mostly arbitrary.