Going out of alignment

Because tires should be aligned, not people

Loyal reader Isaac sent me an email with a simple question indicating that I may still have much to do to eliminate pointless rules from D&D. With a single sentence, he demonstrated that I’ve missed at least one targeted low hanging fruit in my redesign.

As a result of this, perhaps I should go back to the books looking for more ridiculousness to remove.

Of note, here’s the sentence Isaac sent me:

Did any of your redesign ever tackle the now-classic 3×3 D&D Alignment grid?

…blink…

Yep.
Facepalm material there.
Seriously, how could I have missed that?

Its been a while since we addressed a D&D redesign, so before we get to work realigning the game, let’s go back and recap what we’ve accomplished so far, the methodologies we’re using, etc.

For reference, let’s take a quick look at what we’ve already proposed:

Phew, that’s a hefty list… and apparently we’re not quite done.

Once again, today we’re going way back to the very nearly the core of D&D again to remove something from the beginnings of the game.

But first, let’s review the usual ground rules:

Try to remember that this is just an exercise in what I would have done. Everything here is opinion. Feel free to disagree, consider me an idiot, whatever. If some edition of the game works for you and your gaming crowd, then by all means play it to your hearts’ content. I applaud all fun had in this hobby. However, as I’ve stated numerous times, D&D at its core no longer works for me or my gaming crowd. As a result of this, I would not have made the same changes to the game that WotC did. What follows is another path where I would have focused my changes and where I would have gone with the intellectual property.

Methodology

My methodology in the process will be guided by a short list of principles:

  • Rules should be simple guides, with options to be expand by the DM.
  • Rules should lead to interesting options.
  • Rules ignored should be rules removed.
  • No Rule is sacred.
  • No inspiration forbidden.

The Starting Point

For this process I’ve decided that my jumping-off point with be trying to turn 2E into a better version of 4E by removing the bloat of the 3.xE versions of the game. However, today we’re once again going to go all the way back to the roots of the game and remove something unnecessary.

As referenced above, this post is about ethics and morality and how they’re quantified in D&D. Namely, this post is about:

Alignment

I’m not gonna…

So I considered creating a rather lengthy dissertation on the roots of the system we’re discussing today. But instead I’m not going to bother to delve into the history of where the 3-fold (or expanded 9-fold) Alignment system came from.

Why?

Because its boring and irrelevant. Go do an internet search and listen to the rambling of those who have little better to do with their time than to do so… or don’t and thank me for saving (at least some small part of) your sanity.

Nor am I going to also take the time to host a heady discussion on how to fix the system by bothering to try to shoe-horn my personal opinions of how Law = Ruled and Chaos = Free-form and Good = … well good while Evil = … uh… evil.

Why?

Because Alignment is supposed to be about personal motivations and responses of characters and creatures. As a simple result, my own personal opinions don’t belong in this discussion. Also, go do that internet search again if you need to see the ranting. Personally I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Nor will I bore you with a simplified/modified/fixed version of Alignment.

Why?

Because at its core, Alignment is unnecessary and absurd. It offers us no options, it leads to no interesting options, and is often ignored for non-aligned classes.

That means Alignment violates 3 of the 3 reasons to eliminate a rule.

Impressive in that it gets a hat-trick in the reasons to be removed. Equally impressive that I failed to address it earlier.

And what do we do with rules like this?
We remove them.
And in this case we won’t be replacing it with anything more useful.

Why?

Because at its core Alignment is a lot like Charisma.
Its a role-playing choice masquerading as a statistic.

Realigning D&D

I propose Alignment be left on the cutting-room floor in our D&D redesign.

Instead of pigeonholing characters and creatures, instead of quantifying the actions and outcomes of acts of said characters and creatures, instead of trying to so order the universe that we place blinders and limitations on the nuances, I say we unshackle the options by empowering players to role-play a character as they see fit, not as some classification dictates.

Feel that?
Feel the freedom?
Feel choice creeping back into the game?

Doesn’t it feel good?

First, thank Isaac for reminding me I have more work to do.
Then, breathe deep my friends, for the air of freedom is magical.

Posted in Game Design, Roleplaying game (RPG)
by Kevin Oedekoven
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KORPG

How to: Stat a Bigfoot/Yeti/Sasquatch in Modern d6-lite

d6 goes Squatchin'

Patterson Bigfoot

Patterson Bigfoot

The Sasquatch.
The Raksha.
The Yeti.
The Bigfoot.
The Menk.

They’re all one and the same.

From as far back into history and oral tradition as our collective memories can take us, this creature has been a shadow in the wild places just beyond the borders of the civilized world.

Only when humans enter into the wilderness alone, traveling off the beaten path, do they glimpse signs of these massive, but elusive creatures.

But we know they exist…
We know they’re out there….
We know because they leave clues… and tracks.

Thirteen elusive facts about Sasquatch:

  • These creatures are reported on every continent (barring Antarctica, but that doesn’t preclude their existence there.) They are known to the indigenous peoples in a variety of ways, but nowhere do tales not speak of wild giant ape-men.
  • Depending on the region they’re called by many names: Bigfoot, Yeti, Menk, Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, Yowie, Raksha, Mapinguary, etc. are but a few. And while legends and tales distinguish each type of creature as being distinctive in some form or fashion, all carry the hallmarks of being similar enough for us to know they are the same.
  • The Bigfoot is an incredibly elusive creature. They are shy and avoid humans and human settlements at all cost. Only juveniles are known to venture into the edges of human civilization.
  • The Sasquatch is typically described as a woodland “primitive human-like” creature or a giant sized ape-man bearing similarities to both hominid and large primate.
  • The Bigfoot is covered in matted hair that camouflages them in the environment. For example, in Northern America they are described with dark brown or reddish-brown fur, while in the Himalayas they are reported to have white and grey hair.
  • The creature stands a minimum of 6 to 12′ and is estimated to weigh in presumably at around 500#.
  • While little direct evidence of the creatures has been verified, the actions and presence of the Bigfoot is documented from other evidence such as: footprints, hair, “tree stacks”, etc.
  • A common report is that the creature stinks. Bigfoot and their kin all have about them a musty, musk odor that permeates areas in which they have been present. In some cases this has given rise to their name (i.e Skunk Ape.)
  • It is conjectured that the Bigfoot either bury their dead, consume their dead, or collect the remains of their dead to prevent their presence being confirmed by humans.
  • A scientific theory has been postulated that the Bigfoot and all the sub-variety of creatures are related to Gigantopithecus, the largest primate known to walk the Earth.
  • Bigfoot are reputed to attack humans who dare to invade their territory, but only late at night. They use primitive weaponry such as thrown stones and sticks, never demonstrating a capacity or desire to employ technology of any sort in their choice of weapon.
  • Many cultures believe the creatures are demonic and tales tell of the creature leading followers astray from the path and into regions of extreme danger.
  • Finally, a recent theory places the Bigfoot as a creature outside our reality, either as an aliens race or perhaps even as extra-dimensional creatures. While this may seem fantastic, such a theory does explain many of the questions surrounding the nature of the creature.

So how would we stat such a creature in a d6-lite framework?

Bigfoot

Statistics:
Strength: Strong
Stamina: Tough
Smarts: Average
Speed: Average
Sneaky: Sly
Notes:
Bigfoot is elusive and cannot be tracked. Only when the creature chooses to make its presence known will it be encountered. However, signs of the creatures existence, such as footprints and the like, will be present in the area.
Bigfoot employ no technology preferring to use primitive tools such as broken trees and stones.
Because of their thick coats of fur, these creatures are not affected or adversely impacted by ambient weather and temperatures. However, their hairy exteriors also harbor the musty odor that belies their presence (or recent presence) in areas. At times this heavy smell is so strong as to be almost debilitating to other creatures (including humans.)

There you have it folks, a representation of Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch, Giant Ape-man, etc. in a d6-lite framework.

Posted in d6-lite, Roleplaying game (RPG)
by Kevin Oedekoven
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Disaster Themed Event Cards for Mad Scientist: the Game

Best laid plans...

Sometimes things just don’t go your way in a game.

When things go awry in Mad Scientist: the Game players are required to put parts of their monster back in the laboratory. This is evident from the creature themed cards, but also in the cards Oops and Super Oops.

Once again I asked joshuanimation to work up some imagery for the generic “disaster” cards and this is what he created:

Mad Scientist: the Game Oops Event Card

Oops!

Mad Scientist: the Game Super Oops Event Card

Super Oops!

As usual, the artwork he created was just as I described.

Now I’m just waiting for responses on card names for the generic “beneficial” event cards and then I’ll ask him to create something for them.

That done, I’ll be ready to finish up the prototype game.

I’ll need to:

  • Get Superior POD to do another set of cards with the new artwork
  • Find a good place to get the Lab Sheets printed and laminated
  • Perhaps get another Laboratory board with the imagery on it faded out a bit more.
  • Find a good place to secure glow in the dark d6 dice.

If all goes well, I expect to have a completed game ready for sale in about a month or two.

Posted in Board Game, Card Game, Mad Scientist
by Kevin Oedekoven
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Are these the right card names?

Last night during dinner I was talking to my family about the current progress of the Mad Scientist game.

The game is close to completion and I’m excited to get it done.

In light of the artwork I’ve received for the event cards, I was discussing how I was struggling with coming up with some concepts for the imagery for the Growth, Super Growth, Oops and Super Oops cards.

As we talked about it, and came up with ideas for Oops and Super Oops for which I will be requesting artwork soon, I offered up the comment, “Maybe Growth and Super Growth are the wrong names…”

The card results, which I like and don’t want to change, are:

  • Growth: You may add any one monster part card in the laboratory to your monster
  • Super Growth: All mad scientists may add one monster part card in the laboratory to their monster

But I wonder at the names…
Are they wrong?

We considered:

  • Lend a Hand
  • Everyone Needs Some… body

And those are good.
In fact, I like them a  lot.
What’s more, it will be a great deal easier to conceive of concept art for cards with those names.

But I don’t want to simply jump at the first alternate solution.

So I’m opening this up to you. What names would you call the cards?

Posted in Board Game, Card Game, Game Design, Mad Scientist
by Kevin Oedekoven
5 Comments
KORPG

Swampman Themed Event Cards for Mad Scientist: the Game

Pack up your trunks, card creation is goin' swimmingly!

I’m pleased to announce that Joshuanimation finished the artwork I requested for the Swampman Event Cards for Mad Scientist: the Game a couple days ago.

As a result, I now have artwork completed for:

With the completion of the Swampman images, that’s a wrap for all the monster themed event cards.

Here’s the completed cards:

Mad Scientist Swampman Event Card: Fish Sticks!

Fish Sticks!

Mad Scientist Swampman Event Card: Swim Trunks!

Swim Trunks!

Now on to the generic cards Growth, Oops, Super Growth, and Super Oops…

Posted in Board Game, Card Game, Mad Scientist
by Kevin Oedekoven
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