Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On procrastination and good reads

Well, I've come the point where I know exactly what I want to do with Chanbara, and I seem to be putting off actually doing it since it involves throwing out a fair chunk of the work I've already done on it.

See, when I revised the game last, I had the realization that most "ninja" skills were really covered by what I term exploration rolls.  Last edition they were x in d6 rolls similar to demi-human search rolls in D&D, but the potential increase from using a skill die made it seem too easy.  I want ninjas to be good at what they do, but not ridiculously so.  So the new edition uses a 2d6 roll, more like Cleric Turn Undead (again, in Classic, not AD&D).  Gone are the % Thief skills of D&D/Dragon Fist or the d20+modifiers of Flying Swordsmen.

Anyway, if you want to be stealthy, just roll 2d6 + your Constitution related skill die, vs. a target number set by the DM (or the 2d6 + Wisdom skill die roll of an opponent actively trying to spot you).  The same goes for dealing with security devices, acts of theft, bluffing or fast talking, and all that.

So, in the previous draft, the Tricks, special abilities mostly for shinobi types, ended up with a lot of combat powers, even though they're not mainly supposed to be about combat. 

Yet, even though I realize I need to scrap some and move others to the Maneuvers list in order to make room for actual special abilities related to acrobatics, infiltration, escape and sabotage, I keep putting it off.  Well, it's a 4 day weekend here in Korea thanks to the Chinese Lunar New Year, so maybe it's time to set Chanbara aside for a few days and focus on something else with my gaming time.

And that brings me to my next topic.  I have been taking advantage of our local English language library to read some classic sci fi novels that I somehow had never read.  In the past month I've read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, Card's Speaker for the Dead, and now I'm reading Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz

I'm still in the first section of Leibowitz, and already I've seen how big of an influence it played on the creation of Gamma World, especially the Cryptic Alliances.  Groups that want to preserve the old knowledge of the Ancients, groups that are threatened by that knowledge and seek to destroy it when they find it, groups that worship (the idea of) computers, etc. 

All of this sci fi reading is making me itch to play some Star Frontiers, Gamma World, or something similar (Mutant Future, Stars Without Number, something...).  Or maybe to run something myself.  I've still got a good idea for a Terminator post apoc game.  Or something set in Stephen King's Dark Tower universe.

It might be the sort of palette cleanser I need to get to work redoing the ninja tricks in Chanbara!


  1. Heiro's Journey is another one youvshoukd look at RE: Gamma World. Also it is kinda magical.

    1. Yeah, it's on the "to read eventually" list, but the local library doesn't have a copy. It's in my wish list to eventually order for myself!