State of the Union
Posted by Nathan P. on June 8, 2005
Time to clean house. Here’s the current state of affairs of everything to do with Hamsterprophet Productions, basically.
Still my number one project, and I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My goal is still to release it by the end of the month – the date in my head is the 29th, I don’t know why. Sounds like a good date, right? I have one more (very important) section to write, then a final proof, then putting together all the packages, then setting up things with lulu and RPGnow, which I’m sure will end up being more difficult than I want it to be.
Anyway, it’s been such a learning experience for me, and I wish that I had tackled this project later in my design career, because I’m not sure I’ve done it justice. Well, that’s what second editions are for, right? Still, it’ll be nice to have seen a project through end to end, and I think it’ll be a good base for my future efforts. Which leads me to…
Iron Game Chef rocks my world. I wrote Carry for it, and am way pleased with how it came out. In a nutshell, the game is about exploring people under stress, in the specific medium of a squad of Marines in the Vietnam War. It’s all about changing psychological state and coping with disaster, and aims for an endgame where nobody walks away unscathed. I got a very nice Peer Review (my reply is further down in that forum), and I’m pretty excited to see what the judges thought of it.
I’m not sure why I’m so happy with it – something about how I managed to pick a scope that worked perfectly for the competition, and how the ingredients got integrated so well, and how I want to play it and see if it actually works. I mean, it totally needs more work (what doesn’t), but I think polishing it up, finding some quality artwork and releasing it as a free PDF download is in the pipeline. Speaking of the pipeline…
If anything, this is my Great White Game (thank you, Ben Lehman, for the terminology…), and I’ve been thinking about it and brainstorming it for…a long time. It first saw the light of day when I did it for my high school Senior Project – basically, all the seniors get five weeks at the end of the school year to do some project that they were into. I wrote this RPG, my first serious one, about a city at the crossroads of everything, where magic and technology mix and any combination of anything is possible. It’s totally a D&D/WW/Shadowrun techno-fantasy heartbreaker, but it hasn’t let me go. There were some good seeds in that first draft that I’d like to pick up and recenter the game around, but if I handed someone everything that I have written for it and told them to play it, it would be a goddam mess.
My ambition is to somehow bootstrap my original setting and cool ideas into a lean, sleek, simulationist-aimed game about how your core beliefs and prejudices (literally) shape you, set against this decaying cityscape. Is it ever going to happen? I hope so.
Best of the Best
A game I’ve been tinkering with, and actually playtested a couple times, but that I’m not feeling too good about. It’s based on the action-adventure-with-a-mystical/creepy-bent genre, like the Blade films or the series Witch Hunter Robin. It has a cool thing about slowly revealing the characters through play, instead of generating backstory and such, and the very cool feature of literally sitting down and starting to play. No prep required is the goal. Unfortunately, actually playtesting felt really clunky and awkward, and I think I need to go back to the drawing board for it. This may be my next big project, but it may not.
I really, really, really want to write a political game where the players play entire countries, and you play through the development of civilization. I have no idea if it’s even possible, but I want to make it work. I think I’m going to try to do some actual work on this game in the near future, and see how things develop. It’s so hard to break out of the anthropomorphic paradigm for RPG characters and not have it feel like, or actually become, a boardgame.
And I have a bunch of notes on other things that I may pick up or not. I am going to try to post here more often and use this blog as a development journal, if nothing else. I’m also going to try to do more “system doodling,” just throw around ideas and systems on paper to see how they click. I’m not going to lie, when I try to talk about Theory I get all inarticulate and messy, so there’s probably not going to be a lot of that on here. I dunno, I’m just wierd that way.
Anyhow, good times.