Streamlining Hammercalled

I’ve been hard at work on Hammercalled recently. The real goal of this is to make up for some flaws I’ve noticed in playtesting, and moving toward the actual design objectives of the game. One of the problems was obvious over-complexity, and I’ve already talked about how I handle that in combat, but I’m going to be talking about some other changes I’ve been making.

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Hammercalled Design Objectives (Or “Why You Should Play Hammercalled”)

I’ve become a bigger fan of planning recently as a way to prevent mission creep, and it was very effective for velotha’s flock, which released (mostly) on-schedule without any sacrifices to its core content.

So, as we move into Hammercalled entering regular testing by April and potentially being available to the public in its first wave release around that time, I want to share what my design objectives are for the game.

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Music for Spire

I reviewed Spire a while back, and it’s the sort of game that’s managed to stick with me since I first discovered it on Kickstarter and then played it with my local gaming group.

It’s a good time for everyone, and its setting is delightful (and sublime) in its weirdness and darkness. It’s punk done without self-indulgence, and it’s beautiful.

So, here’s some music that I suggest for Spire. I’ve selected a handful of artists whose work I feel fits perfectly with the aesthetic and mood of the game. Before I begin, I should point out that I am considering this both for reading and playing the game to, so some of these songs are definitely more for ambience than persistent listening.

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The Power of Love

As I’ve been branching out into creative writing, I also have felt a pull to move toward other sorts of writing. I’m going to try my best to keep these essays non-political and positive, or at least not negative and spiteful.

Since this blog is no longer strictly about games, I feel that it’s a good time to diversify, since a lot of the work I’m doing on my game projects is strictly in the background.

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Topple the Giant, Part I

He felt the cold breeze settle into his bones as he stared out at the neon lights of the city. His ears tuned out the noise, listening for the music that underpinned the bustle and life.

Soon, he thought, they would have their chance.

He returned to the apartment, and his lover. She was caught in repose, sleep having taken her hours earlier, head on the armrest of the sofa that he’d purchased when he moved into the apartment.

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Next Week’s Goals (March 12-18)

Because I often find myself sort of directionless throughout the week, I often have thought about making a short checklist of the week’s goals. Since i also want to increase my transparency with my audience, I figured I’d share the items on that list that pertain to Loreshapers and this blog.

I’m also going to go through and add markers to each of the points that I finish up over the course of the week.

So, with that said, let’s get to the list:

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Violence in Games

I don’t usually do a whole lot of talking about things that border on the political, but every once in a while I feel that there’s something that needs to be discussed in an open place by people who have a stake in it from all perspectives.

I’m an (admittedly amateur) game designer, and I work on tabletop roleplaying games. So far, this industry has not (typically) been targeted by moral panics, at least not as far as violent content goes.

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Title Release Dates for March 2018

I put off writing today and I want to go to bed, so I’m going to just toss out some quick release dates for stuff.

I’m having writer’s block on Oskan’s Prophet/Rediscovery/The Legacy of Eight novel. I’m going to go back to drafting and keep what I can, but I’m putting it on the backburner for now.

The advanced player’s guide for velotha’s flock is due March 20 to DriveThruRPG. I don’t have self-publish privileges yet, but that should make sure that it gets up before March 23.

I’m also working on a combat/gear test for Hammercalled. That will take the form of its own independent mini-setting and game. The name is still in the air, but it’s a post-apocalyptic take on political intrigue. Or, alternatively, a vehicle brawler set out in the desert.

The four core mechanics I want to test here are:

  • combat
  • characters
  • gear
  • vehicles

Plus the very basic frameworks needed for a playable game.

Once those core mechanics are finished, I’m going to move to Street Rats. The setting will be somewhat different from the old Street Rats, but it will maintain a lot of the core feel. That’s to test:

  • super-technology
  • cyberspace (maybe?)
  • non-human characters
  • advanced talents and traits

Then we’re going to have an Othenar release, which will focus on:

  • magic
  • well, pretty much just magic, really, but that’s a heck of a beast

Once that’s done, we’ll bundle up the system and attach it to the Hammercalled system.

Is this a good idea?

I don’t know. It’s never been done. It gives us more time to build word of mouth before our big release, but it’s also going to be an adventure.

I hope you’ll stick with us through it.

Hammercalled Combat Revised, Part 2: Attack Actions, Move Actions, and Reactions

Yesterday I talked about how Hammercalled was getting a simple-but-fulfilling action system, today I want to go into more detail about how each of those actions can be used in combat.

One quick thing to remember is that actions can be used in any order, and can be used simultaneously, or split apart to different parts of the turn. This impacts my decisions in some of the defensive rules, since I want Hammercalled to be quick-playing and not get bogged down.

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