Sunday, April 18, 2021

GOZR Chaos Doodles

I made a little collage of snips from GOZR pages in sketch or doodle stage and the other random bits that go into this project. Since it is a hand-to-pen-to-canvas creation, I can't really script or "write" it in the traditional sense. I can and will change everything as it hits the canvas. I change what I might have noodled out because I realize it is bad or I don't have physical space for it all or I want it to look differently.

I know. Who the fuck creates a game this way? It's a game. You play it, with people, probably at a table or online or whatever. It needs clarity, rules, clarity of rules. The answer to your question is I don't know. This is an experiment.

The chaos of creation!

One of the design principles I adopted at the start was repetition of important ideas. So maybe there's a key rule about how armor works and instead of having it explained in one place I repeat the rule 2 or 3 times throughout the text. This reinforces it but also makes it much easier to find the rule if you need to be reminded.

An outgrowth of that idea was to embrace happenstance elements. For example, there might be a little table of artistic skills your PC could possess. It isn't on the actual character creation pages because I didn't think of it at that time. So instead it might appear on a random ref page or just off to the side somewhere. If you, as a player, find this table you can roll on it. If not, nothing is really lost. It's just there if you want it.

I did that with gooz names too. I have multiple gooz names tables scattered through the book. This helps players find a cool name (or a lame one) and definitely will help the GM name random NPCs the characters bump into.

Let's test it. "The twisted alley seer scoffs at your comment and says [clattering of dice roll] 'Fools! I, Tadd the seer, cannot be intimidated!'". Yeah. So Tadd says.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Gooz Bravos

I have this page for GOZR with stats for a few common types of gooz you might encounter in Goozer City. I had the common gooz and the alley wizard and then it dawned on me I needed the common scoundrel, the gooz who is kinda like a PC but not. I decided "bravo" was a term I never used before and it fit. A bravo could be a thug or a thief or a merc.

Quick rundown of what the actual fuck I'm talking about:

GOZR is a hand-lettered, art-heavy RPG project I've been working on here and there for about a year. The core inspirational nugget are the goons that Den works with in the Den sequence of the movie Heavy Metal and Richard Corben's generally awesome weird looking characters. My idea was what if these guys inherited the earth and all the pretty people were dead? Sci-fantasy.

Regarding the stat block:

Threat = Pool of points the GM can spend to let the enemy circumvent the rules, such as taking extra actions or resisting magic.
DEF = Defense, soaking damage.
HP = Hit points.
Size = Duh. "G" means gooz size, or human if you will.
Pack = How many you might encounter.
Dmg = Damage.

I came up with this stat block early in the process and I like it. It's simple, six items you can easily remember. And it covers all the necessary bases for a game like this to function.

More on GOZR as it unfolds I'm standing at around 40 finished pages right now. The original target was 32 and there are still a few more things I need to get around to so this might end up in the 48 page range. Which... is kinda nice. Short enough that you find shit easily.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The RPG Folder Was Too Hot

Continuing this intellectually-mindthrobbing series.

Dallas: the Television RPG: I snagged this by way of piracy out of pure curiosity. I needed to understand. I was largely underwhelmed by it but hey... what did I expect? An incredible storytelling revolutionary RPG that somehow nobody is talking about? Nah.

The game is bland as all hell, like many or most early RPGs. This came to us in 1980, a mere 6 years after the publication of D&D. So at this time a person with a little bit of pocket money could own all the RPGs in existence and actually play them. Wild, huh?

This game is about Dallas and nothing else. The rules are fairly simple. Everything is framed as episodes with scripts (script = adventure). Mechanics are kind of interesting. You have a few stats such as Coercion and Persuasion, which have two numbers. The first number is your strength and the second is your resistance. To see what you need to roll in order to Persuade someone, subtract their resist number from your Persuasion strength and roll under that number on 2d6. Kind of cool, but perhaps we could have come up with a slightly simpler way. Still... this is 1980 and at least the designers were experimenting.

For pete's sake, this game doesn't even have any combat rules. That is a HUGE departure from virtually all other RPGs of the time. All of the game mechanics are about social interaction, mostly negotiations. Which... makes sense, given the subject matter.

It is an object of it's time. The writing is just yawnworthy, like many older games. No flair. Nobody expected flair, I guess. Just stereo instructions.

I kinda wanted to play this but now I'm thinking not really. No shade intended. This was a cool experiment and I applaud its existence.

Feral RPG: Character Samples 2.0: By Jez Gordon.

I have seen Jez' work around for years but haven't really interacted with them nor closely followed the work. Which is weird because look at this cover and tell me this isn't my jam? I love it.

Honestly though I've seen Feral RPG stuff for years I just didn't know what it was. Seems that it is compatible with D&D 5e and you play mutant critters in a punk mutant future world. Cool. The word "gonzo" definitely comes to mind.

This book is a collection of characters and their awesome character sheets, such as Jimmy the Thing and Nyuk Nyuk the Knife. I have heard of this game project for years but I don't remember ever seeing a finished book. Check the website to see what's up with this awesome jam.

Hack & Slash Compendium I: by Courtney Campbell.

This is a collection of blog posts by Courtney. The art is by Courtney too, including that delicious cover. Not much to say about it because I haven't read it all but this is indeed where you can find the famous quantum ogre.

Another famous book that I have managed to not really look at until recently, despite the fact that I am a huge fan of both Chris and Luka. First, the cover is lovely, as expected.

This book is based on Labyrinth Lord, like all the other Hill Cantons books in Kutalik's series. I love me some Lab Lord. I sometimes have a sad because the wonderful Old School Essentials line seems to have killed Labyrinth Lord's influence for now. I mean... how cool is the name Labyrinth Lord alone? Badass.

Anyway... this is a setting book that is relentlessly focused on adventuring. You won't find any tedious boring histories of duchies or wars that nobody cares about. Instead, you'll find gamable rumors and plenty of hex encounters.

Did I mention the maps are by none other than Karl Stjernberg? Nice.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

GOZR: Gooz Enforcers

Goozer City has laws handed down by the Magistrates and the Enforcers police the people and beat the shit out of them to enforce those laws. It's fair, right?

 Check this post for details about the GOZR stat block.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

GOZR: Angry Sun

Several drawings of the sun in GOZR because it was allegedly the sun that destroyed the world of the Pretty Ones. What did they do to incur the wrath of old Sol? Rampant use of magic and super science? Probably.

Cutty Sark: Die Tonight

 I don't know shit about Cutty Sark. Are they still active? (edit: doesn't appear so)

Die Tonight was a good listen. For me. But hey, if you didn't grow up in the time when this kind of album was being made then maybe this will sound like hot garbage to your ears. It isn't clean or exceptionally produced. It's rough and basic and I dig the shit.

So I'm not a music expert. In fact I'd call myself a music IDIOT. I like stuff, I don't like stuff, and I really struggle to identify why. I also struggle to compare music or talk about it in a meaningful way. That being said, this album reminds me of metal groups from the 80s such as Mercyful Fate and maybe Accept or Running Wild. If you like that shit, you might like this shit.

The cover is interesting. The name "cutty sark" is a ship, right? So this is a stark contrast to the art.

Gaming it: A band of madness-plagued desert warriors ravage the land, burning stone monuments (?). The PCs must track them and put a stop to their evil! The leader, Cutty Sark, has a demon sword that possesses his soul and the souls of his band mates.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

GOZR: Recent Events Table

In this post I showed a full page table of recent events to kick start a GOZR game. Somehow I fucking lost the page. I know, how in the actual FUCK do you lose something you spent hours working on? I dunno. But I damn sure did. I've scoured my files and backups and came up with nothing. So I must have not named this file correctly to begin with, then I deleted it thinking it was junk.

Shoot me.

Anyway, I did have a fairly robust JPG of the file and I managed to blow it up, tweak it, and added some cool bg graphics to spice it up. I think the result is better, though I'm still pissed at myself. As a general rule, increasing the size of a raster image is a shitty idea and you should never do it.

Kids, don't do as I do, do as I say.

Monday, March 22, 2021

GOZR: Unique Items

 More on this topic right here.

Another design choice I made on GOZR was to make items unique. Like... there isn't a catalog of magic items. There are random lists of magic stuff on tables but not a section of "magic items". This is carrying on the spirit of games like DCC RPG wherein we're encouraged to make everything in our adventures unique to that adventure.

That isn't to say stock items or stock monsters are bad. I absolutely disagree with that take. And in fact many of the creatures for GOZR are standardized. Because they're not necessarily weird magical weirods, but savage primordial species. This is sci-fantasy and since the PCs are already weirdos with a wide variety of physical appearances, I'm making the monsters more akin to what you'd find in an Edgar Rice Burroughs planetary romance than in a D&D monstrous tome.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Messiah Force: The Last Day

I love finding old metal albums I haven't heard before. Messiah Force is a band I had never heard of until recently. I love the shit out of the album cover! A good cover can sell me on a record that might actually be just OK.

Is this a good record? Well... it's a record of its time. I think it's pretty good. I didn't turn it off, I finished it. I like the female lead vocals (?), and it's got some nice 80s crunch (date on the YouTube upload says 1987). If you're into 80s thrash and metal then you probably can't go wrong here.

I'm guess the theme of the cover and album is nuclear winter, like so many 80s metal albums. Man... I used to live in fear of nuclear annihilation. Thanks, Cold War. Fuck off.

Messiah Force: The Last Day

GOZR: Towers

GOZR time! For more about GOZR, check here. For further more about GOZR, click here too.

It's been about 1 year since I started working on this project. In that time I have put a lot of hours into it, off and on. I put it down for a month or two, then I pick it up and work on it relentlessly for a few weeks, then I put it down again. Such is the way until I reach the point of no return.

Current page on the drawing board is about towers.

The land of GOZR is a far-future sci-fantasy wasteland in which the Pretty People angered the Sun and were wiped out for their affronts. Now only the lowly gooz remain... the ugly ones who served the Pretties so long ago. The ruined world is full of ruins. Gooz, poking their heads out after all these years, are bold enough to explore them.

The ruins include a lot of towers. Any party of PCs wandering the wilds has a 2 in 6 chance of spotting a tower on any given day. Of course the GM is free to pre-populate the setting with towers as they wish. This game is not proscriptive about how you play, it isn't terribly procedural, though it does include lots of procedures for generating randomness. It's a god damn romp, after all, not VCR instructions.

So right now the towers page is just a few random tables to determine height, thickness, and general traits. I might include an example tower too. We'll see.

One of the things that sparked my imagination while doing this page was a little table I included about the tower's vertical situation. One possible result is that it is already fallen over, so you could have a little tower crawl through a fallen tower where all the inner space is agog.

I could cap this at one page, and probably will, at least for now. Just a simple page of random tables for tower generation. I went a bit over the top on magic (10 pages) so I'm already swollen bigger than my intended 28 pages (I'm at 33 and not finished yet).

Far too soon to say, but my hope is to publish this as a "issue one" and then get into a second floppy that has more options. Like... you can just use the first floppy and be fine but if you want more fun shit you get the subsequent issues. We'll see how it pans out.