Saturday, August 10, 2019

New Direction? (JOESKY Tax at the end)

I need to find some new blogging inspiration.

I've got a great face-to-face game going on (The West Marches).

I continue to play in Dean's 5E Eberron game, plus occasional games run by others via Hangouts.

I run two play-by-post games (my Megadungeon and a newer Isle of Dread game).

I'm playing in multiple play-by-post games on the same site that hosts the two games I run.

I've run some Caverns & Cowboys play-tests via Hangouts, and the system seems solid so far.

Chanbara continues to make a handful of sales every month, with occasional paper miniature sales as well. Definitely not going to get rich from DriveThru ever, but the little bit helps.

The only area of my gaming life right now that doesn't seem to be engaged is my desire to write stuff for the blog.

I could just continue to write posts about my actual play experiences, and posts to try and get more people to buy the stuff I'm selling. But that's not the most engaging, for me or the reader. At least for the play report stuff, Dean awards everyone bonus XP.

When the blog started up, I was writing all sorts of posts. Gaming nostalgia. Riffing on ideas in the OSR or other gaming circles. Creating content (Beast of the Week). Spitballing ideas and getting feedback on house-rule ideas. Discussing all sorts of gaming inspirations.

Then I started working on Flying Swordsmen, and promoting it. That led to working on Chanbara and promoting it.

And I had some serial posts, like my re-reads and reviews of TSR's Endless Quest books. And my Mentzer Basic Cover to Cover series.

I tried to get into game design theory discussion here, as it dovetailed with some academic research I was doing. But until I get back on that academic horse, I doubt I'll be doing much blogging about that stuff.

I need to figure out what to do with the blog relative to my current gaming situation and non-gaming interests, and time constraints. I'll keep you all posted. And when that inspiration hits me, I'm sure all my regular readers will know!

And since you sat and read through that navel gazing, I'll pay my JOESKY tax (is that still a thing?) and give you some juicy tidbits of Caverns & Cowboys.

Based on the classless, d% resolution Star Frontiers system, C&C (yeah, Castles & Crusades already cornered that acronym, I know) divides skills into three Primary Skill Areas: Interaction, Combat, and Magic.

All characters choose one of the three PSAs for their character. They then start play with three skill-sets. One skill-set must be from the chosen PSA. One must be an Interaction skill (so Interaction PSA people must have two from that group of skill sets). The final skill-set can be anything.

Interaction skills are the most varied, as they cover pretty much anything outside of magic or combat. Each skill (really a skill-set) grants access to three or more subskills, each with a % chance of success that improves with more skill levels (from 1 to 6). Interaction skills are the cheapest skills to raise levels in.
Interaction Skills: 
Culture Lore
Law & Justice

Combat skills are mostly for improving chances to hit with various sets of weapons. Only one, Fisticuffs, grants a few subskills (Rasslin' for wrestling, and Wallop for more frequent knock-outs) in addition to increasing chances to hit (and is the only one that increases damage).
Combat Skills: 
Long Arms

Magic skills are the odd-balls, not conforming to the standard Star Frontiers rules. Gaining a level in a magic skill grants access to four spells. Spell points are determined by an appropriate ability score, as is the chance of casting the spell -- which does not increase with level. Instead, gaining levels in the magic skill increases the potency of the spells. Magic skills are the most expensive skills to raise levels in.
Magic Skills:
Faith Healing

My play-testers really like the evocative nature of the magic skills, and say that they think the interaction skills cover most things they'd consider important in a Western themed RPG. Combat was also praised by them, since at low levels it's hard to hit your opponent (fairly realistic in that regard) so our shoot-outs in the games we've run have mostly been ended by clever use of Mesmerism from Dean rather than battles to the death.

It's coming along. I just wish my schedule made it easier to run more pick-up games (actually to plan for sessions so I can run the game) more often.