Delays & A Shift of Focus

Hail & Peace!

Due to sickness, doctor appointments, overtime, and a concert, I’ve had little spare time the past few weeks to get much of anything else done.

With all this time away from working on items, my mind has been running around with several ideas. With all of that, I’m putting Gavins on the back burner to focus on world creation and system decisions.

As far as systems, I’ve discussed retro-clones in the past. I discussed them with a friend of mine recently, and I came up with this:

Retro-clones exist for two reasons.

1: To publish adventures using rules under the OGL.

2: Rewriting the rules with tweaks like Paizo did with D&D3.5 for Pathfinder. (No, Jason Bulmahn, you did not design Pathfinder. Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams did. You tweaked their D&D 3e / SRD design into Pathfinder. If you had designed it, Pathfinder products wouldn’t need the OGL in the back of them.)

With that in mind, I’m likely to do some tweaks for Abish while using one of them for the core of the rules.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 4: Races of Abish

Humans: like pretty much every RPG Setting, humans will be the majority. Their languages and skill sets will vary depending on their homelands and backgrounds.

Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Gnomes: all will be present, but sub-races will be replaced with backgrounds. Dwarves’ abilities will vary by their clan. Instead of ‘hill dwarves’ or ‘mountain dwarves’, there will be <clan name 1> dwarves and <clan name 2> dwarves. Elves will be named form their forest (or other) homelands, Halflings by their shires, and gnomes by their clans/homelands. Some abilities will be the same across the board for each race, but some will vary by background.

Half-breeds will have commonalities of their physical & mental statures, but skills will depend which society they are raised in.

Half-Orcs will exist; but unlike some RPGs, their births won’t come from humans (or any other races) offering up marriages to form peace treaties. While I can understand the political correctness of that in today’s real-world society, orcs don’t exist in our modern real world and don’t look for peace or offer love. They’re savages and uncivilized. Even our past wasn’t always politically correct, especially the medieval era that most fantasy RPGs emulate to some degree. All half-orcs are conceived by violent means. Even full orcs within their tribes are done in such a manner. Orcs (and most of the evil humanoids) don’t form relationships. Females are for breeding and other chores the males don’t want to do. Most half-orcs born outside of orc society are killed at birth. A small percentage of them resemble the mother’s race enough to be spared such a fate. Even then, the mother likely wouldn’t want to keep the child due to its heritage.

Most of the evil humanoids will be like this to some degree.

That’s it for this week!

 

I’ll touch base again next Friday!

Peace out…

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Move along… nothing to see today

Hail & Peace!

Unfortunately, nothing has been accomplished since Monday. Two of the past three days were spent at doctor appointments and a day at the ER. A few follow up appointments are required, but all is well.

I’ve had some things bouncing around in my head but nothing more.

I’ll touch base again next Friday! Hopefully, I’ll have more to say.

Peace out…

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Retro-clones

Hail & Peace!

It’s only Monday, but I’ve got some thoughts to get down.

Tonight is the first session of an AD&D 1e campaign where I’m actually a player instead of a DM/GM. It’s been about ten years since I’ve been a player in a face-to-face campaign and even longer for a good first edition campaign, 1988 or so I think. First edition was left behind when second edition was released. Also, AD&D 2e has been calling to me. These along with some of my publishing goals have retro-clones on my mind.

I mentioned systems to support in my January 4th blog, New Beginnings II, and that various editions of D&D comprised most of that list. Although a final decision hasn’t been made, I plan to support a few different editions. As a third-party publisher, this would have to be done through the retro-clones and the OGL; or I could write a retro-clone myself. That’s more than I want to chew now, so here’s a potential list of retro-clones I’m considering using to support these editions.

  • D&D (0e) White Box: Swords & Wizardry or White Box Edition.
  • D&D (B/X, BECMI, RC): B/X Essential or Labyrinth Lord.
  • AD&D (1st edition): Advanced Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC.
  • AD&D (2nd edition): For Gold & Glory.
  • D&D (3rd edition): PathFinder SRD.
  • D&D (5th edition): D&D 5e SRD.

I’m not planning to do all of these, but I’ve not eliminated any of them. D&D (4th edition) isn’t on the list for a few reasons. I have absolutely no experience with it, and I’m not sure how many even play it these days making the effort not worthwhile.

There’s also an entire line of retro-clones called Microlite. I’ll have to take some time to compare these to the others. I’ll report more on this as decisions are made.

I’m considering two other systems that I have familiarity: HackMaster and Castles & Crusades. C&C is sort of a retro-clone itself as a 1e/3e hybrid. It uses the OGL and has added to it considerably.

HackMaster (the new version, not the 1e/2e retro-clone) was redesigned from the ground up using A&D as something of a minor template. There’s no licensing or SRD/OGL with this, so I’ll have to talk with Kenzer & Co. about doing this.

Again, none of these are set in stone but are only ideas I’m considering.

I mentioned a few side projects Friday. The proofreading/editing job has been completed and turned in. I’ll be doing another pass on it prior to release. The other is a written adventure for a new company/RPG system & setting. I had a video chat with the project lead yesterday. The end of the month deadline for the first draft has been pushed back, so I’ve agreed to take this on. He and I will be collaborating on the writing, and I’m hoping to start writing on it this week.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 3: Religion

My wife and I watched part of Thor: Ragnarök this weekend, and it got me thinking about the world pantheon(s) for the Lands of Abish. How involved are the gods? How many are there? Do they live on the planet like the Greek gods from Mount Olympus? Are they actual gods or just another powerful race like Marvel’s take on the Asgardians living elsewhere in ‘space’ or even one of the moons like Mystara’s Immortals? Is there one pantheon to rule them all like Kenzer & Co.’s Kingdoms of Kalamar setting, or does each race have its own pantheon like most other settings? These are all questions I’ll need to answer early in the project.

I’ve considered a trinity of gods or ‘forces’ with servants like powerful Angels, Demons, and Devils receiving actual worship with priests receiving their powers accordingly. These three would be Light (good), Darkness (evil), and Nature (neutral). The servants would each serve certain aspects such as mercy, disease, hunting, etc.

Along with this goes the cosmology of the heavens. I think the wheel of planes from the days of AD&D aren’t for me or this setting, so I will have to come up with something else. I’ll research some real-world mythological cosmologies and find something I like to salvage for ideas.

That’s it for this today. I’ll touch base again on Friday!

Peace out…

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A Slow Week

Hail & Peace!

This will be short as things have been slow going this week, but I want to stay in the habit of posting weekly. I’ve added a few things to the list for a future date, but I’ve done little else (see Diary below).

My breakfast meeting with a few for discussing the mega-dungeon was postponed due to the weather.  We’ve yet to reschedule.

Unrelated to GeoCentric Designs, I have a few other offerings. One is a short proofreading/editing project for a futuristic/space RPG. I can probably get through this one in an evening and have decided to take it on.

The second is to write an adventure for a yet unpublished RPG & setting. I’ve got everything thing I need except time. I’ll be talking with the project leader via video chat on this within the next few days to see if the first draft deadline can be pushed back a few weeks.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 2:

As stated earlier, not much has been done.

I worked a bit on the calendar by naming the days of the week. I’m going to use 8 months of 28 days and 4 months of 35 days. Every 4th month would have 5 weeks with the equinox/solstice falling in the middle of the 3rd of 5 weeks. I have yet to determine the month names, but they would fall as follows:

  • Month 1 (4 weeks), Month 2 (5 weeks with Spring Equinox on the 18th), Month 3 (4 weeks)
  • Month 4 (4 weeks), Month 5 (5 weeks with Summer Solstice on the 18th), Month 6 (4 weeks)
  • Month 7 (4 weeks), Month 8 (5 weeks with Autumn Equinox on the 18th), Month 9 (4 weeks)
  • Month 10 (4 weeks), Month 11 (5 weeks with Winter Solstice on the 18th), Month 12 (4 weeks)

I’ve started an excel file for equipment as well. I’ll be looking through several RPG books to compile a comprehensive list.

That’s it for this week. I’ll touch base again next Friday!

Peace out…

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First update

Hail & Peace!

It’s a week later, and here’s what’s going on:

I’ve spent at least 30 minutes almost every day doing something related to this venture. Some days were spent looking over and modifying (see below) my plans. I was able to spend some time writing Monday. I’ve got about 750 words down for the background/intro to BD1: The Village of Gavins.

The ten-part adventure path has been altered to eight parts. Nothing is being removed. I’m rolling two of the installments into the previous one. Two of them just seemed better suited as one product. The other because I decided one wouldn’t really be large enough for a stand-alone item.

A five-part mega-dungeon has been added to the long-term list. This will be something of a homage to Ruins of Greyhawk, Undermountain, and Rappan Athuk. I’ll be recruiting some help when this gets past the initial planning stage. I’m meeting with a few potential helpers tomorrow to pitch the idea to them.

This isn’t the only homage planned. The Slaver series, the Desert of Desolation series, and a few others are favorites of mine that I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ll give a nod to them sometime in the future.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 1:

The Lands of Abish haven’t gotten much attention thus far. I do have a few items planned to include a religions book, a book of races, and an equipment guide (I’ve started an excel file for this). I’m planning to get away from the gold piece standard that most RPGs have as it seems unrealistic. Silver will be the standard for most common, middle-class folk with copper being more plentiful in the hands of the peasants. Most peasants will rarely hold more than a dozen gold coins in their hands during their lifetime. Barter will also be a major part of a peasant’s life.

The first release will be a systemless primer (Book 0). This will contain a planet overview with basic notes on eight sections: 0°-90° / 90°-180° east and west in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Most of this will likely never be developed beyond continent maps with names of geographical topography, kingdoms, and a few major cities.

Other than these maps, a brief description, and a timeline, seven areas may be opened for third party or freelance development. That’s assuming any success with this project.

I’m considering taking the lazy route for the world map by using Earth but rotating it and using another location as the north pole. I’ll keep mountains, rivers, and lakes; but forests, plains, and desert areas will be changed. This isn’t completely decided; but if I decide to do this, the north pole will likely be the approximate center of the real-world Bay of Bengal southeast of India.

Gavins is in the southern hemisphere about 40°S, 25°E. This allows me to use my local climate for the area. This quadrant of the southern hemisphere will be the focus of the setting books. It seems most settings I’ve read are set north of the equator, so I’ve decided to focus south.

I’ve been scouring my PDF library this past week as well. I’m compiling a list of files to help with this endeavor. I didn’t realize just how much I have, so it’s taking some time to go through.

A few things I’ve yet to investigate are layout, editing, and artwork. I’ve never done any sort of layout, so that may be outsourced while I learn some ins and out of it. I’ll likely self-edit, but I’d like to get another set of eyes to look at things and then give it a final pass myself. I’m not an artist, so all of that will need to be outsourced.

Another is the PDF, PoD, print decision. PDF is standard these days, so that will be the initial release for everything. PoD will likely come once I’m comfortable with everything; but actual print jobs will depend on the success or lack thereof, so that’s down the road.

Box sets? Yes? No? Some like them, some don’t.

That’s it for this week. I’ll touch base again next Friday!

Peace out…

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New Beginnings II / My Final(?) Attempt to Self-Publish

Hail & Peace

It’s been over two years since I’ve made a post here, so here we go again…

I’ve begun an outline of a product line that currently includes a campaign setting and a ten-part adventure path.

The items in the adventure path all have working titles and basic notes. The first, ‘BD1: The Village of Gavins’, opens the series in a small farming community with a handful of minor adventures not related to the main story arc with one final one leading into it and the follow-up adventure.

Four of the ten titles (including BD1) will detail villages with local adventures that don’t deal directly with the main arc but allow the PCs to gain much needed experience for later events.

These and other adventures will take place in ‘The Lands of Abish’ setting. Some details of Abish will appear in titles released before a world book is written.

I’m still deciding which system(s) to support. Various editions of D&D and some of their derivatives comprise most of the list of possibilities.

In the next post, I’ll give an update on any progress and anything new that comes to mind.

Peace Out…

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GeoCentric Review #1: A Forgotten Evil

GeoCentric Review #1: A Forgotten Evil

Publisher: Mischief, Inc
Author: Alex Karaczun
Game System: AD&D1e / OSRIC
PDF Page Count: 40 (2 cover pages, title page, preface/table of contents page, 2 map pages, 28 adventure pages, 5 pages of pre-generated characters, and a DM Notes page)
Price: $9.99 at RPGNow ($0.25 / page)
Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/183885/A1-A-Forgotten-Evil?hot60=1&src=hgrs

‘A Forgotten Evil’ is the first in the ‘Ancient Evil’ series by Mischief, Inc. It is for a group of 6-8 characters of 1st-3rd level.

In this, a group of goblins has released a half-demon that has been in stasis for centuries in an old tower and placed him in a dungeon for their worship. Hoping to lure help to release him, he has commanded the goblins to begin raiding surrounding towns.

The text opens with some background of the Twelve Kingdoms and about the war from the time the half-demon was imprisoned and moves into the present with the actions of the goblins in the area.

The format of the encounter descriptions is reminiscent of the early AD&D1e days as are the maps. One of my favorite things about this adventure is all the rooms/areas are there for reasons. There isn’t anything there ‘just because’. The only possible exception is the final room in the dungeon (a story twist I didn’t expect!), but it’s explained within the room’s text.

Another interesting note is that all magical weapons and armor/shields found are given names and short backgrounds to add more flavor to them. Also, coins are given regional names such as ‘silver wyrmlings’ and ‘silver regents’ depending their kingdom of origin.

Overall, I like this adventure. It isn’t overly long and can be completed in a few sessions. If you’re using another setting, it would be easy to replace the names and drop it into any area with hills and mountains.
Also, reworking this to fit almost any system would require very little work. Depending on the system, you might have to substitute a more appropriate creature in a few spots; but the work to do so would still be minimal.
The adaptability to settings and system make this more valuable to those outside the target audience.

On the grammatical side, ‘grammar patriots’ such as myself will find typos, spelling and punctuation errors, and grammar syntax errors to be at a minimum. The editor for this project did a fine job.

If you like the old-style AD&D1e adventures, you should get this. It’s great for kicking off a campaign.
It give the GM what he needs without bogging him down with things he just doesn’t need.

On a scale of 1-5, I’ll give this a score of 4.

Also, sold separately is an illustration book weighing in at 8 pages (a cover page with an illustration included plus seven more page sized illustraitons,) for $4.99 makes a nice companion for the adventure.
Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/183886/A1-A-Forgotten-Evil-Illustration-Book?manufacturers_id=5493

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