Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Slogging & Bobbing Along

Well things are making progress steadily with the Elthos Project. I'm also, as it happens, taking Aikido and Wudan Boxing six days a week (most weeks). So that's going great too. I'm really loving it. As I learn more about the very esoteric yet superb and powerful martial arts of the body-mind, I'm slowly adding elements to the game from the fonts of ancient and modern Asian wisdom.

The ODS Rules are being Analyzed by my old friend, and game designer comrade-in-arms, Evan Jones. So that's extremely cool. Evan is a consumate analyst and game designer and player. Getting a review and analysis from him is just about as good as your going to get. And to my even greater good fortune he is being project managed by none other than David Kahn himself. And that, as it happens, is both fortunate, and probably quite necessary, as without David it is possible, and even not improbable, that I would be otherwise unable to get Evan to give me what I actually am asking for. David is good that way. And so between them I've recieved some very good feedback and advice. Right now Evan is working on some analysis concepts which we will add as excel sheets to the website.

That's another thing I want to do with Elthos, is provide some really cool analyses of the system and how it works. It should be really interesting overall when you step back and look at the totality of the project. It's definitely big. I would say that most people can not see it at once, but only one level or realm at a time. It really is a large project, actually, even though I started with the smallest most discretely finite piece, the "One Die System" Core Rules Book as a PDF. But the PDF is sitting on top of a veritable mountain of material, concepts and systems that I've developed over the past three decades.

There is, for example, the web application that supports the rules. There is also a much more complex version of the rules. And another client computer application that supports the larger rules. That program is much more sophisticated in ways than the ODS Web Application. It comes later.

Then there is the Cosmology System of the World Weaver's Guide. That's big even by it's lonesome.

And so on. There's a lot to it, but then again there should be by now. I've been chipping at this here stone for about 30 years and accumulating as I go. Which is, as things begin to come together, pretty great to step back and take note of.

So that's how things are going. Not bad. I am working toward having the ODS Rules ready for release hopefully by mid summer. If all goes well I should then be able to finish the application and hopefully have that ready for release by the winter.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Big Apple Con - Success

The Big Apple Con was a lot of fun! I had two players, Phil and Miguel, and it seemed that they enjoyed the game. I know I did. The feedback about the Elthos Setting and the ODS Rules were both positive. It was a fast paced and exciting game. Here's the synopsis:

I created a group of six characters who are members of the Adventurer's Guild and already an Adventure Group named the Oakenwode Brigade. These are the Characters (all human):

Eric Redford, Male Paladin
Allen Galloway, Male Outlaw (Thief-Fighter)
Carmen Whitestone, Male Fighter
Delilah Galloway, Female Witch (Fighter-SpellChanter)
Ellen McFearson, Female Warrior-Mage (Fighter-SpellChanter-Cleric)
Bernard Oakenwode, Male Fighter

Notice the evocative names. That was enough for background, actually as the players used the names to fill in the blanks for themselves. Background was discussed but only in reference to the town, and that was brief: A tiny pioneer farming village named Lentilsville on the edge of the wilderness. They've been having mysterious troubles with strange creatures doing odd things lately, and so an outpost of the Adventurer's Guild was formed and one group initiated - the Oakenwode Brigade. I let them pick the characters they wanted to play, and so the split the party into two groups of three (I had two players).

Their first mission: To help farmer Jones protect his "unblemished" Black Ox from an old hag who came to buy it for a bag of sticks, stones and crushed up leaves (it was in fact a fair deal as the bag's contents were all magical, but Jones didn't know that). As she left the old woman cursed him and marked (black crescent moon on the left horn) his Black Ox, and this worried him. So he went to his nephew (sister's son), the young Paladin Eric, and asked if he and his group would guard the Ox for a week. They agreed and we launched off into the adventure.

The adventure entailed three parts:

1. 3 kobolds came to steal the Ox at midnight, and used a shrinking spell to vanish into the grass with it. Amber, an NPC, who happened to hear the commotion and knew what happened, came to their aid and agreed to shrink the party down to ant-size so they could track the kobolds with the Ox. They followed them through the grass forest to an Ant-Hill and had a battle there where they killed one kobold, let one escape, and captured the one with the Ox. They returned to normal size with the Ox and their Captive and went to farmer Jones. 1 hour.

2. They interrogated the kobold captive and made him spill his guts on the location of the witch. He agreed (with little choice) to take them to the hut, but could not remember the way at his current size as he had few landmarks he could recognize. However he could only shrink one person. The party chose Ellen. She was shrunk with the kobold down to ant-size and they took a tiny leaf-boat down stream to a rock. They climbed a tiny stairway to the top where they found a moss maze with hovering mosquitoes, worms, and pill bugs. They came to a pillar-stem on which was created a spiral stairway going up to the top of a dandelion where they took one seed puff each and parachuted the rest of the way across the stream to the other shore. There they found a group of dragonflies tethered to a rock by spider web ropes and rode them into the forest for a far distance till they came to the witches hut. Ellen reconned a bit and then decided to head back to her friends to report. She erred in growing to her full size at that point instead of flying back via the dragonfly to the stream, and accidentally alerted the dog who started barking and woke the witch. Ellen, who has a flying spell, cast the spell and flew away, but the witch persuaded on her broom, and was a tad bit faster (being a two levels above Ellen). Ellen was captured by being polymorphed mid-flight (witch has a wand of polymorph) into a small white mouse, just before she was able to make it across the sream to he waiting friends on the other shore. The witch, with Ellen-Mouse in
hand, went her friends and engaged in a negotiation with them for the Ox. 1 hour.

3. The witch agreed to give them Ellen in exchange for the Ox, if the witch would agree to replace the Black Ox with another one of equal value to Farmer Jones. The witch agreed and with a wicked cackle flew away with Ellen back to her hut, the whereabouts of which the party still did not know. Amber again helped them by following the spoor of the witch's flight and gave them magic ointment of silent walking for their shoes. They went to rescue Ellen, and arrived at the hut. Two went in, three remained outside. Inside they tried to pilfer Ellen-Mouse from the sleeping witch's bony hands, but fumbled and woke the witch who put them into a Sleep. Meanwhile outside the party distracted the dog, who attacked them after eating a magical bone from his collar-pouch which polymorphed him into a savage dog-beast with steel teeth and leather fur. They managed to defeat the dog, and rushed the house, ran up the stairs to the bedroom in the nick of time, and in a blaze of good luck scored a critical hit on the witch with maximum damage and chopped her head off just before the witch's black cat could pounce on Ellen-Mouse. All the spells were broken and the party rescued Ellen and saved the day. Farmer Jones was well pleased and Amber received a magical mirror that the party took from
the hut for her. 1 hour.

And so concluded the first adventure of the Oakenwode Brigade!

Note: At several points in the adventure I improvised, and made
extensive use of the Spiral Method.

Overall, I give the experience an A++!

I would definitely do it again. Best sign that the ODS is working: My brain did *Not* feel like mush after the game (which it usually would due to excessive numbers crunching).