Friday, January 13, 2017

I Hate Keeping Track of Stuff in RPGs

As I peruse various articles on old school gaming I come across a certain thread from time to time.  Old school dungeon crawling and hex crawling campaign rules had a definite resource management side of them.  Players and DM alike were supposed to carefully account for every potion, torch, ration, arrow, coil of rope, etc. acquired and expended.  This, allegedly, provided a challenging mini-game within the larger game.

Frankly, I hate having to keep track of stuff whether as player or GM.  It's just a annoying, boring distraction from the fun stuff.

I prefer games which either hand-wave resource management or build it smoothly into the rules.  For instance, in Dungeon World you have the option of losing one "ammo" if you fail a shooting roll.  Outside of that you just assume the character is being careful shooting and scavenging arrows along the way.  The character does need to possess at least one notional "ammo load", but that's it.  Delightfully simple.

This also goes for keeping track of various conditions or effects, particularly spell effects.  In a lot of games when battle is joined you will likely have multiple spells functioning at one time to either buff the PCs or hinder their opposition.  Each spell has a different duration, may allow/require saves each turn, etc.  That's just more crap to have to keep track of--and who really wants to waste mental energy on that?  I'm thinking it would be much better to frame durations in a way which eliminates that sort of micro-managing.  A suggested set of duration frames, which I'm using in my Neo School Hack rules, is:

- Instantaneous (same round as initiated)
- One round (lasts into the round after the round initiated)
- Until end of action scene (some GM judgement on when to call it off)
- Set number of hours/days/weeks/etc. (okay a bit of tracking, but low granularity)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

So I made this Kraken...

My buddy Steve is running a great campaign for us.  In our last session our intrepid heroes boarded a surprisingly small ship and headed across the big ocean to the undead-infested mainland on a quest.  I figured that at some point while we sailed around we'd get attacked by a kraken.  I didn't have a kraken figure so I decided to make one.  I needed something big but something I could do pretty quickly.  I decided to go with foam core poster boards and soft foam sheets, plus some styrofoam balls.

Made several small scale models using stiff card to test out shapes before cutting the posterboard.

Cut a foamcore sheet to make the two sides and positioned on a base sheet.

Messed about with the positioning til I was happy with it.

Used tape to keep the boards in place while I used the hot glue gun.

Cut the styrofoam balls in half for eyes and warty bumps; also grabbed a conical piece left over from a previous project.

Clued on horn, eyes, and small warty bumps.

Decided I needed a tail (or fin) sticking up for dramatic effect, so I sketched one on a foam sheet and cut two pieces.

Tail glued on!

Proper kraken have spiky bits down the back.

Must have scary teeth: soft foam teeth on top, foam core on bottom.  Deliberately made teeth slightly different sizes and added notches and chips for "ooglyness" (yes, that's a word).

Proper monsters are green.

Painted eyes yellow for contrast.  Decided to add appropriately weird tongue; sparkly purple seemed like a good color choice at the time.

Black spray paint on inside of kraken, darkest at the back but light near the mouth for blending later.

Just add water.

Added some watery effect squiggles with markers.  Also carved out horn and eyes to add small wooded button pupils.

Decided the eyes needed edge rings, partly to pop better and partly to hide the gap.  Burgundy goes well with golden yellow. Noticed the base warped due to the dampness of the paint; used books to form back flat. (Knew I'd get some use out of those 4E books some day!)

Tongue shaded with black at back and glued in; red pupils glued in place.

Eye rims glued on and final paint touch-ups.