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Game Design and Organization

Now with King Con 2013 over and done with, it's time to focus more on D4: Basic. To be quite honest, a lot has changed with D4 since it's creation.(soooo… if you've downloaded the quick start and tried it, it might be a tad bit outdated, although it still captures the essence of what we're trying to accomplish). Just to list a few things, D4 is now completely based on the 4-sided die, no other die denominations are needed any longer. I've also revamped how dungeons work with D4, they're not so…straight forward... any longer. I'll try and have a new quick start that shows off some of the new concepts as soon as I have time...

and speaking of time, where does it all go? I seem to be always in need of more. This is even more true now that I've dedicated myself to bring D4: Basic to the SCARAB Gaming Convention this January. I was really hoping to that I was going to be able to run a few D4 games at King Con, but who am I kidding? Who has time to play games, or even prepare games, for their own convention?

So I've done a lot of work today to try and organize my D4 efforts and get myself on a timeline. I've installed Mavenlink on the Two Kings Google Business Apps and I went to town creating and assigning tasks to myself, Ammar and Ashton (my wife). I'm hoping this will keep my motivated and on task, because brother, January is right around the corner and there's soooo much to do still to get this game to demo level (now, some of you that have been following this for a while might think to themselves "wait, weren't you really close to being finished with D4 already?"…I was, but really with the changes I listed above the game went over a major overhaul, for the better. The game stands more on its own now and I really think the direction the game is moving will really allow it to shine.)

So here I am, tweaking the D4 monsters while trying to blast through season 7 of Doctor Who (so the whole fam can go watch the Day of the Doctor in the theaters together). The monsters, I gotta say, are really starting to get interesting. I've added in "triggers" for their special powers. These triggers add a strange almost CCG element to the game. These monsters start to feel like Magic: The Gathering cards, but ones that have fallen into an RPG so you can use your wits and teamwork to take them down. 

Game on!

King Con and Other Things

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. A lot has happened since my last post. First, Two Kings Games business. As most of you can tell, we’re trying to get a local gaming convention started here in the MIddle Georgia area. We’ve dubbed it King Con to go along with our name “Two Kings Games”. As you’re reading this, you may or may not know that we’ve actually had a Kickstarter to try and raise funds for the convention. It failed.

That might seem like a bad thing, but strangely enough, it hasn’t been.  Since the initial Kickstarter failure, we’ve been seeing more and more interest in King Con. My only guess to why this is, is that our first Kickstarter was much like one of those first conventions that always seem really rocky. It’s almost as though we were given a pass on that and allowed to start at our second convention.

Since our failed Kickstarter I’ve had a number of people approach me with events that they want to run at the convention. Because of this, the  King Con effort will not just end quietly. We’ve started a new Kickstarter and added in the details for all these great events, which include a Magic tournament, a Heroclix tournament, a WarHammer 40k tournament, a HeroScape tournament and a Settlers of Catan tournament. This is not to mention, that two well-liked board game groups have volunteered to run our board game tables. We’ve even signed on a guest of honor to come game with us during the con. With all of this new support I don’t see how we can fail now.

I have to admit, with all the work going into the convention, there hasn’t been a lot of time spent on the D4: Basic development. It’s not a dead project by any means, but there has been a large gap in production. I do plan on having a nice looking, full fledged demo  of D4 at King Con for people to try out.

I’ve also started running Gamma World 1E at Heroes & Villains (the local gaming store here in Warner Robins). It’s been a fun and different ride. This is the first time I’ve ran any version of Gamma World and it took me a little time to get the hang of it completely. My biggest pitfall was that since I have so many players who played a miutant (probably upwards to about 12) that almost every major mutant power is owned by someone in the group. Another tough thing that I battle with, is that I have 2 players with the “giant” power. It’s hard to keep in mind how this effects things such as surprising and how NPCs would react to these giant players.

One thing I liked about the system was the whole “discovering artifact” mechanic. I think it’s a neat mechanic and a wonderful idea. The only beef I have are those stinking little charts are so hard to use, especially in the book. Because of this I came up with my own system. I feel that it does a good job at capturing the randomness of the old system  and uses a simple enough mechanic that you can use it without looking back into the book.

Here’s a download link.

What dost the future hold?

Welcome back traveler. Long time no see. Sit down and let us talk a while. A rousing conversation with an old friend is good for the heart and helps strengthen the soul. A lot has changed since we last had a chat.

Let us discuss the Hero Guide you will soon hold in your hands. Last we talked, I had passed you information that is no longer viable. The Two Kings have converged. and in their council have decided that the tome you will use to bring heroes into being will not be on a system in which you expend points.

Instead, as you will see, it will be quite the opposite! Instead, the rulings used to fabricate our lands' champions will mostly be a random affair! The decisions of the Two Kings were not taken lightly for they understand that the balance of all that is known is at stake. 

Some jongleurs might have you believe that the Kings' reason for this change is due to the process of picking and choosing the qualities of a hero might prove to be a lengthy affair, and they might be right! But I know the more fuller truth. As it is known, the Kings believe that whisking a hero into being should be viewed as part of the game itself, not a pastime to be loathed in a dark damp corner while sitting in a stuffy lonesome room. The Kings are also wise enough to realize that by leaving adventurers of the land's attributes to fate and not to overly calculated decisions will not only make the whole affair as quick as a frightened hare, but will turn every die roll into an exciting happening. 

Oh the fun that will be had as bands of freshly made heroes are pitted against a dungeon of tricks, traps, and evil wizards!

But this is not the main point I wish to convey to you this eve. Oh no, not at all.

Another decree has be declared by the Kings, in the way of heroes.

Two skills not normally ranked among those viewed as general, have been inscribed to be so.

Sense Magic & Sense Good/Evil

So do you think our Kings mad? Well that may be, but listen to their reasons before throwing such harsh judgements. Just as not every hero will be created equal, not every hero will begin with all the vast skills. One must choose what to practice and earn proficiency, for a hero can not do ALL earthly things well. So one must chose to have a heightened innate sense of deciding if magical properties are about or the extra sense of being able to determine if the being before the hero is of maligned or benevolent nature.

And even then, success is not guaranteed!

Oh, I've grown tired old friend. I must rest, for these bones are ages old and my head swims with mead. But I leave you with this. A portrait found deep within the Crypts of the Unclean. They say that not a single ounce of treasure was left in the deep crypts, the only thing found was this...

D4 Thief

 Cheers old friend.

D4 Hero Guide

So, like I stated on Facebook, I've been brewing up a D4 Hero Guide. There's not much planned for this little guy yet, or where he'll fit into the D4 universe. But essentially it'll allow folks to create their own D4 Heroes.

Some key points.

  1. It's 100% point buy
  2. It doesn't change the core of D4, as in it doesn't add any more mechanics to the game.
  3. It will offer more power spell/power options for players. (Yes, this will probably include healing of some type...)
  4. These spell/power options will be left pretty vague, intentionally, in order to keep the game rules light as possible.

As of right now, the plan is to still release pre-made heroes with scenarios, and to build scenarios with intended heroes. This is done to continue to facilitate the "open and play" mentality.

As it stands the Hero Guide does not offer leveling, but can in an essence offer a way to scale the power of heroes, with hopes that we might be able to match up scenarios to a power scale.

I can really see this as an additional item, sold separately from the core rules and bundled with a booklet of tear away, blank, hero sheets. Although, I'm not sure if it will be cost effective to sell it this way, since the end document  probably won't be very long....depending on how descriptive we get with the spells/powers/items/weapons. (Although I can -so- see it as a digest item bundled with the hero sheets and a D4 pencil...maybe even a tool to help you track how many points you've spent so far! Hmmmm.)

Happy Gaming!

Now, THIS is D4! - Thanks to the Game Hermit

Everyone here at Two Kings Games has spent the last 3 hours of their life watching and excitedly chatting back and forth, like the bunch of gaming nerds we are, over something really exciting shown to us by a fellow D4: Basic enthusiast.   Jack Berberette, better know as the Game Hermit, after getting his hands on the D4: Basic beta set,  Referee'd the introduction module--Trouble in Treaton-- with his local gaming group. But he didn't stop there...

As to help promote D4: Basic, he taped the whole session! Not only that, he taped his intro to the game (which I have to say, explains the game to a T) and then follows up the session with a feedback interview with his players.

I can't imagine a better way to relay to everyone what this game is about, how it works, and show the amount of fun a group can have with the system. I personally watched all 4 videos from beginning to end and I didn't stop being entertained the whole time.

Kudos to Jack's group at completing the scenario! (something only 2 other groups alive can claim, since the birth of the scenario).

I have to say that you would be hard pressed to find anything else that fully explains, shows, exemplifies and relates to the viewer exactly what D4: Basic is and what it's all about.

Cheers to Tyler, Sorena, Kat, Pete and of course Jack for a game well played!

Below you'll find the intro video, explaining the game, but I strongly suggest watching the whole series. Not only does it help explain the game, but it is highly entertaining. You can find the whole video series here.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Game on!

 

 NOTE: The videos showing the game session include major spoilers, so if you plan on being a player running through the Trouble in Treaton scenario, you might want to skip over the game-play videos.

Games, Games and Games

Evenin' adventurers. I see you are weary from your travels to the small hamlet named Treaton. Sit down, sit down, tell us your tale. What horrors were lying in wait for you as you entered the abandoned peasant town? What evils were hiding in the shadows behind the small homes of the missing townsfolk?

The first wave of the D4: Basic Beta invites have been sent and it's only a matter of time before the vileness that awaits your group of unsuspecting gamers comes crashing down onto their fragile heroes...and we want to hear about it!

Tell us about your first experiences with D4: Basic and the Trouble in Treaton scenario. Better yet! Even tell us about any homebrew scenarios you might have pushed your friends through. You can brag about your session on our forums here.

You can share on our Facebook or Google+ page as well!

If you look below you'll see a, much requested, "short" snippet of the first online Trouble of Treaton game. The video starts at the last battle that took out the players. Hopefully this will give you an idea of how the game is designed to be ran.

Cheers!

D4: Basic hits Google Hangout

The title says it all. Starting a week from when I'm writing this post ( aka on April 20th) Two Kings Games will be running it's first scenario for D4: Basic, named Trouble in Treaton, via Google Hangout. This will be one of three original D4: Basic scenarios that you will get when you purchase the core rules.

Unfortunately the game only supports 4 players at a time. So in order to try and make it fair we're currently hosting signups on Facebook. You can sign up here (as well as see more details about the game). The first 4 gamers that sign up will get a chance to play. (You give up your slot if you're late!). Also if you don't get a chance to play we plan on running future games as well. You can check out the www.twokingsgames.com homepage for a feed of future gaming events. We'll also post events on our Facebook Page and Google+ Page so feel free to like/follow/stalk those as well in order to keep in the loop.

This should be a barel of fun folks. We'll be using the built in Google app Cacoo to run the game. It's pretty versatile and doesn't require any installs prior to showing up. The only thing it's missing is a dice roller. (Which we'll be rolling physical dice at home if you have them...on the honor system...). Note that I do know about the new gaming table app for Google that is in Beta. I tried it out and it has real promise. It was really hard to decide which to use, especially since the gaming table included a dice roller. But Cacoo won out because of it's ease of use and less cumbersome interface.

I can't wait to see all of you there!

Cheers.

Scenariwhat?

One thing we here at Two Kings Games have been doing is trying to recruit writers and artist to help get out new scenarios once we go live.

I'd like to point out one particular developer we're bringing on board by the name of William Wigg.

William, a good friend of mine, has been playing tabletop games frantically and religiously since around the year 2000. I've never seen anyone as passionate about the game than Will (well other than myself maybe). You can always count on at least a 2-3 hour discussion on gaming, the ins and outs of gaming, different games, what we played last, why we liked what we played, how it could of been better, etc etc when we get to meet up (to the disdain of our wives of course.) 

Will is one of those guys that has to or has played everything and anything he can get his hands on and is always looking for those rare games that no one's ever heard of. He's the kind of guy that wants to take a game, flip it upside down, shake it all up in a box, put it all back together, sideways, and still have it work.

Two Kings Games is going to tap into that.

I'm excited to give Will the creative license to take his scenarios to the limits of gaming. I've already seen his notes for his first scenario and I can tell you it's going to be completely different than any tabletop game you've played. (or at least I haven't seen anything like this).

Will will be taking the foundation of a traditional tabletop RPG adventure and rewrite it to a more static step-by-step structure. But it'll be more than simply that. There will be factors along the way that will decide the fate of your heroes. You'll have options and decisions to make. Options and decisions that will seal your fate or will end up being the secret to victory. All of this, with an added hint of unbudging chance to add to the chaos. 

The coolest part is that even with everything mentioned, he's staying within the walls of what is D4: Basic. Amazing.

I can already tell that as we get deeper into the woods, things are going to get more and more peculiar...

I can't wait.

Game on!

Breaking the Barriers

So I've been busy. It seems like I only post these things when I am...

Anywho, there's a lot of things stirring around the ole Two Kings Keep. One of the biggest things is our new forums. Tada!

Might as well register for them now, so you don't have to take the time to register for the site when you go to buy your first D4: Basic product. 

There's not much there as I'm typing these words, but I'll be adding more soon.

I also have another big surprise on the horizon that I'm hoping will get a lot of things stirring. We're just about ready to unleash a full on public beta test of D4: Basic. This is very exciting to me and I'm hoping for a huge turn-out to help us test the game.

We have a lot of our ducks already in line and we're just cleaning up a few last things before we go live. Keep a look out for it soon! Get onboard and help us shape this wonderful game.

I'll leave you all with a delightfully intriguing sample of Ammar's art intended for the initial release of the core rules. Cheers!

D4: Basic Vampire

Artwork is Copyright © by Artist Ammar Al-Chalabi and may not be copied, linked to, distributed, downloaded, modified, reused, reposited, reproduced or otherwise used without express written permission

Treasure Card Craziness

Welcome adventurers. Welcome to the land where D4 is tip-toeing it's way into completion. First I want to rant and rave some more about Ammar our artist. He's furiously working on getting the cover the D4: Basic done. I've seen it, I've fallen in love with it and I promise you will too. I want to show it to you right here right now, so bad (oh so bad!). But I feel it would be providing you with a diservice by showing it to you this early on. Instead be patient my friends and just wait a little bit longer so we can fully knock your socks off.

Another piece of news is that we've decided to consolidate all of the books we we're going to release in the initial box set into one book. By doing this we can focus on releasing one very polished product instead of trying to scramble to get out different pieces. Also, to add to the excitement, as a bonus goal to our soon to come kickstarter we're going to shooting to do a small print run of hard back books to sell along with the soft back version and box set of the rules.

Finally, to validate the title of this post, today I've printed out, put together, and laminated my first card prototype for the game. I've been carrying this little puppy around my house and dreaming of the moment I get to lay one of these bad boys out in front a player. I'm going to post some teasing pictures I took on the fly here. As you gaze upon this greatness keep in mind two very important things:

1. This is a prototype card and far from what the finished product will look like. The final product is not completely decided on how it will be printed but it probably won't be laminated either way (as this card is) and might even end up on playing cards depending on production costs, etc.

2. The picture doesn't match the card and isn't even a final piece of art that we're using from the game. It's just a picture I threw in there. Looking back I guess it's silly that I didn't grab a picture of a ball to put in there, but oh well, what's done is done.

Prototype Treasure Card: Front

Prototype Treasure Card: Back

Enter Ammar Al-Chalabi

Two Kings Games has just placed a large puzzle piece into place as we bring on Dutch artist and heavy metal rocker Ammar. Bringing the D4: Basic efforts to a trio, we're excited to have the talents of this astonishing artist on our side as we push closer to production of D4. 

Next step to the release of D4: Basic? Other than finishing up some layout and getting the release scenarios complete, a kickstarter for the initial release. We're hoping that with this exciting look we'll be able to raise enough funding to be able to run a modest print run and start selling this amazing game to you all.

That reminds me, the rules are finally done! Wooo! They're in their layout and they're ready for some talented editing eyes to try and zap all those pesky typos. Ammar is going to be offering some help on some of the finishing touches on the layout as well. 

I'm going to end with a sample of one of Ammar's pieces to get your mouth watering. Enjoy!

 Dwarf Berserker

 Artwork is Copyright © by Artist Ammar Al-Chalabi and may not be copied, linked to, distributed, downloaded, modified, reused, reposited, reproduced or otherwise used without express written permission

Authors and Designers

We're super happy to announce that Two Kings Games will be producing work, mostly in form of scenarios, from game designer Spencer Wright.

Spencer has done work with Gary Gygax and the rest of the Lejendary Adventure team before Gary's untimely and sad passing. Notably, he had a hand in Gary Gygax's The Hermit and also had a hand in Eldritch Traps for the Eldritch Roleplaying System as well as other countless contributions to the gaming industry.

There is a mutual excitement from both sides as we team up to help make D4 a reality. I'm going to take the liberty to share with a quote from Mr. Wright in regards to D4: Basic:

Wow, you are really on to something here. Congrats., Jason. This is one of the more original OSR products I have ever seen. 

and trust me Two Kings Games is just as excited to employ the help from Spencer.

Spencer is bringing some interesting things to the table. Things I can't wait to see and things that I feel will expand on the D4 mentality for the better. Due to the openness and bare-bones style the D4: Basic rule-set incorporates, there is a lot of freedom and a variety of direction a D4 scenario can take. I believe Mr. Wright will be pushing those freedoms to their limits and expanding on the franchise nicely. I'm expecting good things from Spencer's line of work, good things indeed.

Although exciting, this raises some questions on how Two Kings Games is going to handle freelance authors. I'm going to do some out loud musing with all of you so bare with me.

Nothing I say here is going to be written in stone. As things move forward we'll start officially accepting freelance work and along with that there will be terms to that employment. But until then here are some thoughts, ethos, and ideas of where I want to go with Two Kings Games.

My thoughts are that the core of any good RPG product is the author. Sure art is important as well as layout, etc. Really, even as silly as it sounds I've known people or talked to people who will shun a product solely based off of things like art and layout.

Because of this strong belief in the importance of the actual creator I want to make it where when you produce a product for Two Kings Games you feel as though you're are producing your own line of work. I want Two Kings Games to simply facilitate the outcome of that work.

I have plans on presenting items in our online store categorized by author. In other words I want our customers to fall in love with the writer and not just buy another D4 scenario. I want players to be excited about the next Jason Hurst or the next Spencer Wright release and not just our general releases as a whole.

I've also done a little (nowhere near enough at this point) research on freelance author payments for game design and what that entails. I believe I just read today that as a freelance author you can expect about 2 to 8 cents a word for your submitted work.

I have to admit at this point that I need to do more legal research before this comes to fruition but Two Kings Games wants our authors to have a stake in what they're producing, I want authors to feel that they own their own line of products. To do this I'm going to push that our authors receive a percentage of sales instead of a flat $ per word rate. In the long run I'm sure this means less profit for the overall company, but I have to say, Two Kings Games isn't about turning the highest profit, it's about producing games and that's the way it'll always be!

Game on!

This is probably boring to you

But it's not to me!

Although I love creating and writing RPGs and I can't wait until D4: Basic is complete, there are a lot more things that go into getting a game released then just writing it.

I'm talking about things like company management, creating this website, creating this very blog, setting up finances, find suppliers, a printing company, etc, etc.

Luckily I find a lot of these things almost as fun as writing the game itself. For instance today I used Google Apps to establish our companies unified email and calendar. Behold! my new E-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Along with this This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. can be used for general info (this will be posted on the site very soon)

I'm just happy things are constantly coming together and getting done.

What's next? Finish the main rules. I'd say I'm about 80% done writing them and getting closer everyday. The general layout is also complete for the rules. Once they're edited they're good to go. At that point we'll be looking for play-testers. 

Keep a lookout soon for a way to sign up. (I'm sure it'll be fun to compete against 5e D&D play-testing, haha!)

Cheers.

www.twokingsgames.com is born!

Things keep getting exciting.

 
Two Kings Games now have their own website as well as a fancy new URL. There's not much there but check it out: www.twokingsgames.com

 
The online store is prepped and ready to go for production even. That's probably one of the most exciting things. Once production of the game is finished, in at least PDF form, we can start selling it. Heck, we can even put up some pre-orders as production gets closer and closer to being complete.
 
But there's still a lot to do before we're to that point. 
 
In the meantime keep an eye on the site because we'll be adding more and more content. There's some whispers of forums even, although that's far from a priority at this point.
 
Things keep chugging along and I'm sure you'll all be holding your very own box set of D4: Basic before you know it.
 
Game on!
D4: Basic Web Logo

Going to pieces over The Game Crafter

I'm excited. I got in some game pieces today. Ones that are going to be in the box set of D4: Basic.

I'm not sure why these makes me so happy, I guess it's the solidification of seeing the game come together. Watching all the pieces work and fit together. 
 
So freakin' exciting.
 
I have to give props to The Game Crafter. I'm not planning on using their amazing looking publishing services since they don't fit what I'm trying to do completely. But I have to say after a good amount of online research their parts are very well crafted and the best prices I can find on the net. In fact after seeing  the pawns I got in today I've decided to switch out another material (glass bead) I was going to use for a slightly more expensive pawn of a different type. 
 
I fear the day The Game Crafter is no more.
 
Game on!
D4: Basic Dice and Pawns

Teetering on an edge

Here I am.

I'm probably less than a couple of months away from having a real good prototype in my hands.

I definitely have more then enough to be able to run multiple D4: Basic games.

I know I have something great on my hands.

Gary Con is right around the corner.

I feel like I'm on an edge of a cliff.

Looking down below I see a wide crazy chasm of uncertainty and I can feel a both fear and excitement welling up in my throat.

Looking backwards I see the safe level plain I've been traveling on for the last 30 years of my life.

I'm convinced that there must some point in a game designer's life where he or she has to decide to take that step and throw themselves fully into it all.

Now, I know that someone doesn't have to do this in order have at least some level of success. But I suppose the decision that needs to be made what level do you want to strive for? And if this level is strived for will it be worth it in the end?

Can I picture myself in that role of the struggling game designer/publisher? I would love it! But right now my life wouldn't be to handle such a huge change. Three kids and a wife to take care of and my income keeping it all afloat.

Now, with that said, how well can I walk that line, the edge of the cliff, without either running away from it screaming or accidentally falling off the other side?

I feel this huge pull to make it to Gary Con this year and try and get a round of D4: Basic going in order to show it off. To attend it'll cost me roughly $500-$600 and that includes staying with a friend. That's not to mention using hard earned vacation time that should probably go toward to more family oriented affairs.

When bringing this up I usually get the answer: "Get your whole family involved!"

Not as easy or cheap as it sounds.

Can I get things shaking and moving and stay part time forever?

I guess only time will tell.

Quick update: Spent some time tonight revamping my rough draft of the rules for D4: Basic. The hardest part of it all so far? Answering "What is a Roleplaying game?"

I think I'm going to share that answer with all of you. Enjoy.

 What is a Roleplaying Game? 

There is no one way to define a roleplaying game.  Since the creation of the genre and the entire length of it’s lifespan the label ‘roleplaying game’ has been molded, messaged, switched, changed, used, abused, flipped inside out, turned upside down, analyzed, dissected, defined, re-defined, redone, mutated, shifted, discussed, argued over, and most of all loved by millions to even billions of fans in one medium or another. 

Even with all these modifications and changes the true essence of the roleplaying game has always been the same. A synergistic and imaginative way to share, not only a good time with friends, family and strangers alike, but also warmly pit your intellect, wit, and even luck against offered happenings. A cooperative game of going against set odds and matching the player’s mental skill with dangers offered by the creator. 

Among these writings you’ll find another set rules needed to play this particular blend of cooperative roleplaying game. Ones we hope you’ll enjoy for a long time to come.

Scenarios

I've been trying to find any time I can to work on these scenarios for D4: Basic. I have to say that writing D4 scenarios are some of the most fun to create. It might be hard to explain why without giving away too much but I'm still going to try anyway.

By design D4: Basic is played one scenario at a time, much like a board game. You open the box. Get out the pieces. Pick you characters and then just start playing (in fact I don't think I've ever had the rule book at the table once so far). Once play is over, it's done.

What does this allow you to do? A lot. But I'll cover only a few things here.

First, it let's you be as brutal as you want to be. There's no life long attachment to these characters so killing them is no big deal at all to even the most sensitive non-gamer alive. They're characters are not going to miss out on anything since when the scenario is done, it's done.

I understand that this might seem like a bad thing to some people and that some folks might even say "hey, if you don't care about your character, then what will make you strive to want to survive."

Well what I say to those people are what makes you want to keep playing Monopoly or Sorry! or Risk or any other game. To win!

Now I'm not saying D4 is going to be competitive in regards to players competing against each other. It's competitive due to the fact that it's a grit iron gauntlet of pain to get through. You're going to feel like a god among men if you actually succeed one of these bad boys.

Let's just say that I've been play testing my first and second scenario for the initial release of the game and I have yet to have all 4 characters make it to the end and I have yet to have a group completely succeed the scenario. I don't know about you other gamers out there but this gets my juices going. To me this speaks back to the golden age of Nintendo where you can strut down the street waving your tail feathers that you actually beat a game like the original Megaman. Not everyone in the universe can say this.

It also adds a level of replayability to the game. Players will (I'm hoping anyway) will want to dive into the scenario again after finding out that they might have only experienced half of what they could or that there might be a better way to beat the scenario. They can do this over and over without having any down time to have to do character gen.

I've seen the look of desire in the eyes of my players that I haven't seen since I was in junior high school when playing D4: Basic and this how I know that I'm creating something worthwhile.

Game on, friends, game on

I'm a Layout Lunatic

I just spent 2+ hours or more tweaking the layout for the character sheets of D4: Basic. What a pain!

Hopefully it's not all for naught.

I have to say though, that the character sheets have gone through about 4 or 5 renditions and I haven't even released the game yet! Hopefully they're done forever (ha, yeah right) but I'm going to bed tonight happy with how they look. So that's a plus.

Here's a small sample, enjoy!

D4: Basic Hero Sheet Layout

The exploits of the unnamed heroics

Met 2 more successes last night as far as D4: Basic is concerned.

I got a chance to play-test the first scenario I'm writing for D4 with a group of people who really don't hate TTRPGs but really have no real opinion on the gaming genre (or gaming in general at all).

I took these 4 unlikely, unknowingly new, gamers into the deadly town of Treaton. Result? Success!

From the seat of doomEvery player admitted that they really enjoyed the game. The magic is in it's simplicity. All players sat down and started playing. No reading, no in depth explaining. Just fun.

The scenario went perfectly and in my opinion was perfect in regards to how challenging it was. The whole scenario took maybe an hour and a half and 2 out of 4 players made it out alive. They didn't quite meet all the objectives but they did stop the infamous witch with their lives intact.

I really hadn't had time to add up the total points that players could earn in the scenario, but with a rough estimate of 50, they earned about 15. In other words there was a lot more they could of done better or more things they could of found but they made it through and had a ton of fun and at the end of the day that's what matters.

So, I did say earlier in this post that I had 2 successes and that's true. I hadn't mentioned above that everyone playing was either drinking or drunk at the time. That's including me, the Referee.Check out that awesome Lejendary Adventure LM screen

Now, I've GM'd my fair share of games and gaming systems and sometimes it works (drinking while playing) but a lot of the time I run out of gas while trying to GM. It takes a lot of brain power to GM in my opinion. Math, creativity, narrative, role-playing, descriptions - all of which having to happen on a whim.

But with D4 it didn't even phase me. Again, the simplicity of the game shone through as the mechanics flowed flawlessly. The only thing I had to concentrate on as the Referee was to narrate, read, and focus on what was going on in-game instead of worrying about what was going on, on the table.

We plan to bring the New Years in with the second D4 adventure which I started today. A lot of it is going to be improvised but I'm not worried, it's D4 after all.

Note: Just because I started the second adventure this doesn't mean that the first is done yet. It's getting there and I should be done shortly, but we need something new to play tonight and I don't see how I can ignore the call of my newest fans.

The story of Treaton continues

I have to admit I was getting a little nervous last night as I sat down with my wife to continue to work on the first adventure (which still needs a title by the way!) for D4: Basic.

I ran into 2 little problems.

The first was almost what most would call writer's block. I just couldn't concentrate. I really don't know if I 100% believe in writer's block. I have a feeling that it mostly stems from starting an idea that you don't really strongly believe in mixed with not really wanting to perform the writing task at hand.

But needless to say I was having one heck of a time concentrating on what to fill building 5 with on the adventure. What really happened though was that I came up with an idea but didn't like it all that much. It was "ok" but it wasn't enough to make me happy. It wasn't "amazing" per se and that was frustrating to me. So I had to step away from it all together.

I hated doing that though. My time is very precious and if I want to finish this game in any kind of time that matters I can't really waste any free time I get to work on it.

But this morning I was elated! As I stood in the shower getting ready for my real job (the one that ensures that my family doesn't starve) it hit me out of nowhere. Somwhere swimming in my half asleep mind a great idea for area 5 came swimming to the surface and the ideas started flowing again like a water hose.

After that I've been working on the adventure again steadily and things are getting to the last building (which will be the easiest building to fill considering that's where the plot unfolds).

Now I know I mentioned 2 problems.

The second problem that slapped me across the face last night was that I couldn't stem my hyper active imagination. Well that part, and which ever part of the brain feeds the other parts of the brain that impulses it to be as logical as possible. That one was on full blast as well.

I know that seems to contradict the first problem but hear me out. As I'm writing my first D4: Basic scenario I've come to realize that when I write and adventure for a tabletop game I don't just write an adventure but I naturally want to create a universe! Every item I drop I need a name, to get a name I need a reason for that name. In order to get that reason I need a story! To make that story I need characters of that story!

I was about half way into creating a whole orc god pantheon when I had to slam on the brakes and ask myself "What in the heck am I doing? This is D4!".

Although I find all that stuff exciting and it I have to fight myself to try and stop that part of my brain from taking over my thought process, D4 is designed not to be that in depth. D4: Basic isn't meant to be anyway. So now that I've been weaving a web of danger for the players of our first adventure I've been meeting my imagination half way. Although I've been putting in ideas and hints of gods, goddesses, legendary items, and wonderful back-stories, I'm at this point, stemming myself from embellishing too much on that part of the game and keeping focus on making a fun adventure.

I have to leave something for Steel & Staves after all, don't I?

I can't leave this post with at least one thing concrete, right? Something that's not just mindless rambling but instead shows some exciting progress? Well if you have to have, here's this. Here's a sketch I did of the door of goddess Lialin's temple found in the hamlet of Treaton. Enjoy.

Door the the temple of Lialin. Found in the Hamlet of Treaton

 

Map madness continues (aka Treaton is born)

Currently I'm working on the first scenario for D4: Basic (we're calling them scenarios instead of "adventures" or "modules" in D4: Basic. When you get to play the game, you'll probably understand why).

The first scenario is going to take place in a small peasant hamlet found in the lands of Baron Brin Torrell that goes by the name of Treaton . You'll be tracking down Lord Torell's "runaway" daughter and I have to tell you my friends, time will be of the essence.

Right now I just got done pumping out my second attempt of the map for the scenario. I'm feeling saucy so I'm going to post the map for comments, ideas, suggestions, etc.

(At the time of writing this I notice that a compass would look nice on the bottom right. I'll have to remember to add that in...)

Cheers. 

Hamlet of Treaton

Mazes, Maps and Mayhem

I've been trying and scrambling to familiarize myself with the art of game mapping.

I've been trying to develop is a certain style for D4: Basic maps and one thing my partner and I agree on is that we want to keep things simple. This is a double bonus as far as I'm concerned.

One, I don't have to learn the crazy in depth secrets of "professional" maps seen today in wide spread gaming books. Two, I believe a simple easy-to-use map that's clear, precise and minimizes to what it really is (a map) not only helps players have a ready tool to use but also by giving them the bare-bones necessities on the map allows players to fill in the rest of the details themselves.

In a way this allows the players to take this map and make it their own style in their own imagination in contrast to a over the top graphic image that leaves nothing for players to ponder.

I'm going to dare to post a few samples of maps I've been messing around with. Like I said above these are nothing over the top or special. But that's what we're going for folks.

Also keep in mind that these are my first few attempts so things can be viewed as pretty raw and they're not intended for production. I'm sure as I keep at it I'll come up with new ideas and new tricks to add to my maps, but until then, this is the future face of the D4: Basic map.

Cheers.

Grey Map 1 

Grey Map 2

The Time is Nigh

What am I thinking? I'm not sure what compelled me to start a new game in the middle of writing my first major RPG...but it feels so right!

D4: Basic (D4 for short) is going to be amazing. It's going to be something new and anyone's that played it is crazy excited, including myself. 

So how did this happen? Well fate really. D4 is basically spawned from my horrible attempts to get my children to be excited about tabletop gaming. Although one daughter is showing some interest, I at least have a game in the works that I can be really proud to have created.

The beauty is in it's simplicity. It moves away from leveling but yet still finds a way to drive players to want to succeed. It's as hard as nails, yet rewarding. A 4 year old can play it but not anyone is going to be able to master the game. 

This game is going to speak to people. It's going to appeal to the common person, yet draw in even the most hardcore gamer. 

Oh man. Everyone should be excited.

I need to get to work though. It's so hard to find quality time to work on it. Time where my mind is free to stop the whole world and focus on the game. It's not a horrible thing or anything. I love my family and I totally want to spend time with them but it still makes it hard.

It's going to happen though. It's going to be sold and it's going to be awesome.

That is all...for now.

P.S. We do have things done. We have rules and we have monsters. We have items and we have ideas and things are getting done. Things are being play tested. But there's plenty more to do and it's just not going as fast as my impatient mind wants.

Cheers.