Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dungeon Squad and Other Rules Lite Fantasy Games

So yesterday I spent a little bit of time reading up on a game I had downloaded a while back called "Dungeon Squad" but had never taken the time to really look at very closely. It strips the idea of something like D&D down to its essence in quite an interesting way.

The game was originally written by Jason Morningstar, author of such games as The Shab-Al-Hiri Roach and Grey Ranks, as part of a 24 hour rpg design challenge. According to the wikipedia entry on Dungeon Squad the idea came from an unsatisfying session of D&D 3.X which he ran for some kids at the local library. Dungeon Squad tries to cater to younger roleplayers by providing a fun and rules lite system with lots of rolling dice, killing monsters, and getting gold.

It looks like it could be a blast to play and its given me a kick in the butt to actually finish Dungeon Battle!--my ongoing dungeoncrawl boardgame project.

Here's a link to Morningstar's original draft of "Dungeon Squad":

Here's a thread on Dragonsfoot from a while back with some discussion of the game as well as some great links. Meepo's version is quite good as it keeps the stripped down quality of the original with just a little bit of expansion:

Here's are some of the various versions of Dungeon Squad which people have made posted at the 1000 Monkey 1000 Typewriters website:

Here another little fantasy game called "Adventurer" which looks kind of nifty too:

Here's a link to the brilliant Microlite 74 which is a distillation of the D20 system down to its essence so that it closely resembles the earliest editions of the world's most popular fantasy game:

Here's a link to the 1000 Monkeys 1000 Typewriters website which hosts lots of cool free rpgs--poke around I think you'll find some interesting stuff.

Monday, June 22, 2009

9th Division: The Protagonists

Here's a brief description of my character and her aspects:

Name: Dietrich

Description: A bald woman in her late twenties/early thirties with an exotic air. She has swirling tatoos around the back of her head and wears dark forties style suits made out of unusual materials.

Here's her list of aspects as per the questions in Wheel of Fate:

What is your greatest strength?

Her physical superiority to human beings.

What is your greatest flaw?

Acceptance of her slavery (she's an android).

What do you want?

To be seen as the best cop she can be.

What is keeping you from getting it?

Perceptions of other officers about her being an android.

What are you doing about it?

Being a perfectionist/ overachieving.

Here's another of our character-protagonists.

Name: Dr. Victor Choi.

Description: 4'8" weightlifting psionic Chinese-American (2nd generation psion).

Here's his list of aspects as per the questions in Wheel of Fate:

What is your greatest strength?

Perception and analysis.

What is your greatest flaw?

His inability to relate to others.

What do you want?

To understand people.

What is keeping you from getting it?

His intellectual and conceptual remove.

What are you doing about it?

Being among troubled people / Working for the police.

Here's the last of our character-protagonists.

Name: ??

Description: Middle aged detective.

Here's his list of aspects as per the questions in Wheel of Fate:

What is your greatest strength?

Commited professional cop / workaholic.

What is your greatest flaw?

Ambition for promotion

What do you want?

Promotion out of the 9th Division.

What is keeping you from getting it?

Has the stink of corruption on him from a previous scandal which he was made the scapegoat for.

What are you doing about it?

Closing cases at all costs.

The 9th Division: Setting Document

We're gearing up to play this homebrewed gmless science fiction rpg right now. We collaborated on generating the setting: which came together gradually through various conversations (mostly over the phone), and last night we finally sat down to finish tweaking the setting and roll up our characters. Our PCs are members of the eponymous police unit which specializes in investigating crimes of an unusual nature. Influences on the campaign include: Blade Runner, Gattaca, The Wire, and Minority Report.

We're all excited about the setting, we like our characters, and we're all pretty much on the same page. I thought I'd share what we've come up with just because I think its pretty nifty stuff.

Here's the setting document as it stands right now:

Sometime in the late 21st Century of an Alternate Future

Location: The City

Video phones with rotary dials and monographic screens.

Monochrome green screen computers.

Computers used as databases and calculation machines but there is no real internet.

TV and Radio still dominates as major media.

Vinyl is used—no tapes or CDs.

Paper still dominates society—newpapers, phone books etc.

Chunky cybernetics.

Cybernetics are a cheaper medical alternative to cloning.

Androids are being incorporated into various aspects of society (such as the police).

In the last sixty years or so there has been genetic modification of embryos to “improve” them.

Gene-mod children develop psychiatric and psychological problems, various disorders, and even low-level psychic abilities.

Some of these traits (such as psychic abilities) become inheritable—thus the gene modification experiments have permanently altered the human gene pool.

Most people travel by public transportation as duty charges on things like registration and licensing for private vehicles are exorbitantly expensive.

Government agencies like the sanitation department, the police, and emergency crews still use institutional vehicles.

The 9th Division is a specialized unit within The City's regular police department.

The 9th Division’s mandate is dealing in “specialized” crime, but the division is now a bit of an orphan as the people who created and shepherded it are no longer there.

The 9th Division is not a prized division and rumors abound about the division being on the chopping block.

Jurisdiction issues with local cops and 9th Division.

Combination of modern, retro fashion, and future fashion.

Futuristic drugs: Rebirth.

Rebirth rewrites your memories in strange ways—replacing old memories and creating new ones at the same time.
Non-lethal weaponry in commonly used by police units—various stun weapons.

Light pulse based weapons—shuts down your nervous system.

Needle Gun with CO2 cartridges.

Tracking goo from air-gun.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

OD&D Dungeon

Here's a dungeon I made that was stocked by using the rules in The Underground & Wilderness Adventure. For my money the advice packed into those few pages trumps is more compelling than most other later attempts at this type of thing. This method keeps things simple and fun and for some reason fires my imagination.

This dungeon is not as large or as intricate as Castle Dragonscar, but I'm pretty happy with the selections of encounters. You'll notice I placed the slimes and black pudding in the corridors as per Vol. 3 pg. 7: "Note that Ochre Jellies, Black Puddings, Green Slime etc. are generally distributed randomly, usually in passages without treasure."