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FANTASY GAME STRATEGIES: Now Open

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Re: FANTASY GAME STRATEGIES: Now Open

Postby Anderas » Friday April 19th, 2019 12:29pm

Just read the posting. That's a nice variant of "the heroes journey" indeed. Something innocent leads to some evil because the evildoers use what you were about to do for their own purpose.

Like with Adam and Eva. :D


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Re: FANTASY GAME STRATEGIES: Now Open

Postby torilen » Friday April 19th, 2019 6:22pm

Have you ever watched the movie Legend? I have always found it very interesting that no one ever seems to connect
the goblins to what actually happens. It seems for the whole movie, the bad stuff happening is blamed on
Jack and Lily. Sure, they made it EASIER for the goblins to find the unicorns - but it was going to
happen either way.


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Re: FANTASY GAME STRATEGIES: Now Open

Postby torilen » Saturday April 20th, 2019 7:50pm

I have two new posts on the Fantasy Game Strategies Blog. If you would like the check the blog out,
the link is here:

https://fantasygamestrategies.com/blog/

Otherwise, I'm going to go ahead and place the two new posts right here. They deal with changing
Questing Heroes (and, really, Heroquest) into something other than a fantasy-set game...particularly,
a science-fiction-set game. The two posts follow, together:

QUESTING HEROES IN NON-FANTASY SETTINGS, PART 1 AND 2
We have been wanting to publish a conversion for Questing Heroes that would allow gaming groups to play in different types of settings, most importantly a futuristic setting involving space ships, other planets, laser blaster, and other such cliches.

This is extremely difficult to do, however, with all of the other projects going on, and with the fact that the term "we", for the time being", really just means "me". Despite this lack of time to devote to Questing Heroes Space Adventures (or whatever the future title for that setting may be), we would like to offer a few tips and ideas of how to use Questing Heroes for a futuristic setting, if you are really dead set on it.

First off, one of the most important things you can do to convert Questing Heroes into a futuristic style game is to get rid of the fantasy setting (that being The World of Suntarynn) and create a home world for the characters to inhabit. This home world could be inhabited by a single race, or it could be a mix of races, both "normal" and alien. Then, create other worlds for the characters to visit. These could be worlds within the same solar system - our solar system has nine planets - or they could be from different solar systems near one another in the same arm of a galaxy. Don't worry so much about WHY more than one planet would be inhabitable. That's science-y stuff that we don't need to deal with so much with role playing games. Just make sure the worlds are mostly believable, and you'll be just fine.

With a plethora of planets, you might now realize that the regular Questing Heroes races - Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, and Gnome - will work just fine as species of "alien races". Just give each race their own home planet, with the proper types of terrain being the most prevalent. If you want, you can change each race just a bit and add sub-races on each planet, just like a real alien planet might have. Perhaps Humans and Elves have different colorings of skin, just like we do here on Earth, and these groups of peoples are divided based on the cultural backgrounds from which they come, just like here on Earth. Perhaps Dwarves lives in hills and mountains AND in forests, and their hair and eye color is different based on where they live, and there have historically been great battles fought on the racism between the two groups. Maybe the Halfling homeworld is the most primitive and wild of all, because - well - Halflings just sit around telling stories, fishing, and having parties.

Once you figure out how many planets you want to start with, and how far away they are from one another, add in some spaceships. You can get as technical as you feel comfortable with when it comes to design. Some of you may want to get into how they move, how they're built, and why they don't simply bust apart in the vacuum of space. Some of you may simply want to draw out the floor plans so your players have a place to move their characters within, and leave it at that. Either way is just fine. Decide how fast the ships can move, so you can determine how long it takes to get from planet to planet.

Now comes the harder parts of the conversion.

First, weapons and armors. Of course, you can create a fantasy-future setting which has all of the technology of space exploration, AND all of the medieval weapons, armors, and magic. This could get a little hair with whether the players believe it, and would drag everyone out of the game and into the gaming session often. You can say, instead, that there is little armor outside of robes and leather armor, and create laser guns and other similar weapons. You could also say that there is heavier armor available, something like Kevlar (or rename it to fit your campaign).

We have had plans to several different types. Each type would provide the same number of Attack Dice, based on the size of the weapon, but each would provide a different type of attack. Plasma Blasters would offer laser/fire damage; Electron Blasters would offer electricity damage (shock batons would also be included in electricity damage); Acid sprayers would do just that - spray acid for acid damage; Frost Blasters would offer cold damage. The sizes would be Blasters (2 AD), Rifles (3 AD), Mobile Cannons (5 AD), and Mounted Cannons (8 AD)...or something similar to that in terms of sizes and attack dice offered. There would also be the normal, plain old knives - Ballistic Knives; spears - Ballistic Spear; Ballistic Guns, or the more futuristic sounding Rail Guns.

Monsters could, for the most part, stay somewhat the same. The biggest different would be that instead of all different monsters being found scattered throughout a single fantasy world, the monsters would be considered alien races and would be found, for the most part, on a single planet to alien race. This offers some significant benefits and drawbacks. One great benefit is that the characters can decide what sort of alien they wish to encounter and plan better for it.

This is a great drawback, as well, as it limits the GM in what they can throw at the adventuring party. The GM is, of course, more than able to make changes to each monster, creating many different creatures for the characters to encounter (trolls with wings or orcs with four arms, for example), but this still limits the types of monsters to a single type to each planet. One way to get around this is to pay more attention to the groupings of monsters: Goblin-kin, Orc-kin, Dragon-kin, etc.

In part two, we'll talk about religion and magic and all such topics as that.

=============================================================================================================================================

As promised at the end of part one, we're going to take a look at how religion and magic might work if and when Questing Heroes gets converted into a futuristic set of rules with a futuristic, space-exploration-style setting in which it would be set.

Before we get to that, there is one thing we forgot to get into under the subject of monsters. The immediate topic needs to be that of undead creatures in a futuristic setting. The typical thinking for a futuristic setting, or a setting in which science and space exploration plays the greatest role, is that magic and supernatural occurrances simply do not happen. There is always some sort of rational explanation behind anything that might happen. And so, we would have to come up with a rational explanation for why seemingly undead creatures might exist in a Questing Heroes Space Adventures setting. The solution for this is fairly simple: The Nature of being Undead is the result of a virus. There are several different strains of the virus, some of which causes the flesh to rot and decay, creating zombies, while some cause the flesh to drop off completely (horribly disgusting and painful to enure, I assure you), creating skeletal creatures. Some strains would create the undead state, but would inspire a great hunger for brains and/or flesh, creating other, hungry types of undead. It would be up to individual GM's and their gaming groups to decide whether there is any cure for the undead state, or if the virus is permanently fatal.

Okay, now that the last little bit on monsters is out of the way, we can move on to other things.

As you either already know or might have guess, Questing Heroes is based in a fantasy world. That is, there are adventurers, elves and dwarves, dragons, monstrous creatures, and magic. Some of these things - elves, dwarves, monstrous creatures, and in some small cases, even dragons - can still fit nicely into a futuristic setting. Magic, however, is one of those things that doesn't always fit well in science fiction. It can, of course, but that is an entirely separate genre. What we are looking at, specifically, is putting Questing Heroes into a more science fiction setting, and so we're going to have to figure out a way to get rid of the quote-unquote magic.

Now, it is probably no surprise that we game designers might cheat when it comes to designing, and that's what we've done in this case. Instead of having Magic Users that cast magical spells, we decided that, if Questing Heroes gets turned into a futuristic, science fiction set of rules, the magic will be replaced by something we call Tech Casting. That's right, we kept the term "casting" and simply added "tech" to it. I told you, we like to cheat. It works perfectly, though. Imagine a magical spell that translates languages. Now there is a small device that fits around the ear of the user and translates the languages. We haven't come up with a great name for this yet, but we know that it can hold a few different chips, which determines how many languages it can translate - the chips determine the languages. Is there a magical spell that can place a silence over an area, allowing someone to walk through without being heard, or that can keep another spell caster from casting a spell properly? Now there would be a device called a Son-Disrupter (short for Sonic Disrupter). It disrupts sound waves, creating an area of silence around the device. Instead of healing spells, there are now Med Units. These inject a liquid filled with nano-sized robots that move through the body fixing bodily damage.

All of these futuristic equivalencies for magic would be called Tech Units. They come in three sizes, based on what they do and how much of that action they perform. Some could be the size of an injection needle. Some could be the size of a small paperback book. Larger Units would be there size of a backpack or a suitcase with wheels. And just like Magic Users in Questing Heroes, the knowledge of Tech Units has required levels of learning and required fields of learning, so that not just anyone can make use of them. It takes a trained Tech Caster to use Tech Units.

That leaves only one final subject that would need to be addressed, really, and that is the topic of religion. Many fantasy role playing game systems make use of large numbers of deities, and Questing Heroes is not so different. There is one over-all powerful god, there are five minor gods, and there are mortals who have been granted god-like powers. There is no reason this couldn't be left as is in a futuristic setting, though it might be more difficult to explain how the truth about these gods is spread to all of the different planets in a solar system or galaxy, however large you wish to make your futuristic setting. You may desire to have each solar system have its own set of gods, and that is just fine, but it would require a good deal of work coming up with the names for all of them and making sure their spheres of power are outlined properly. You could treat religion as something akin to the ancient Greek Pantheon, where there are many, many gods, and they are very human-like in their attitudes and actions, and so each planet could a set of human-like, petty gods that fight over power.

You could simply go the route of some modern science fiction settings and say there are no gods at all. People within the setting might follow powerful alien beings as a god, or they might follow a philosophy and way of thinking, but none of these means are able to give them any benefits or powers. It is simply a way of living their lives...it gives them a guide to follow, perhaps a set of rules that lets them bond together in groups who follow the same way of thinking.

So, as you can see, changing Questing Heroes into a futuristic, science fiction set of rules would not be that hard. As I stated, we actually have plans for doing that, one day, when we have more writers and more time to do so. Now, if there are any really ambitious individuals who would like to work with us on this, feel free to email us at fgssubmit@gmail.com, using the subject "Questing Heroes Science Fiction" and let us know you'd like to work on this conversion. We'll give you all the information you need, we'll give you some freedom, and we'll give you credit and royalties on the finished product. Until then, anyone who is anxious about using Questing Heroes for a futuristic campaign will have to make due with what we've provided here.


Rewards:
Hosted a Play-by-Post game. Played a turn in a Play-by-Post game. Wrote an article for the Blog. Created a Hot Topic.
torilen

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Re: FANTASY GAME STRATEGIES: Now Open

Postby Anderas » Sunday April 21st, 2019 1:17am

Just having the same gameplay in a sci-fi world won't be the way. You'll have much more firefights and less sabrefights for a start. Then there are equipment and board modifications sneaking in to accommodate that... things that used to be spells are grenades now or drones and everyone can use them.... You'll end up with a completely different game.

But that's not a drawback, it's an opportunity.
I am missing a game that gives me a kind of enter ship, a little shuttle and it's mother ship.... Then in the first part you try to get into the other ship or station or asteroid or whatever, without being shot by the target. It's here where the mothership can help, drawing attention and hunting the other one so he can't concentrate his fire on you.
This part shouldn't be more than maybe half an hour.

Second part is the enter fight itself. Go aboard and try to find and shut down the main computer before the other one realizes what's going on, otherwise he might blow up the ship.

Yeah I know that's just one mission of many possible. I had rules already for the mini game upfront and tested them. Problem is the logic barrier: You need a lot of narrativium and must turn off lots of logic in the players brains in order to make it work even remotely. You know that first question.

What? No remote controlled or autonomous weapons who take out your puny soldiers on sight?
That sort of stuff.


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Re: FANTASY GAME STRATEGIES: Now Open

Postby torilen » Sunday May 5th, 2019 5:34pm

Anderas - don't worry...I've been mulling over how to respond to what you wrote. Good thoughts! I like it...
you make me think more.


==================================================================================================
New Lessons From The Classics: Alien and Aliens
You can find it at our blog, but I'll post it here for your convenience.

Two of the best horror-sci-fi movies ever made, in my opinion, have to be Alien and Aliens. You know, the space creature that starts out as something that latches onto your head, shoves an egg down your throat that eventually claws out through your chest and becomes a big, blackish-green hunter with acid for blood and a tongue that is, in fact, yet another mouth with teeth. Yeah, those two. These two movies offer a nice model for gamers and writers looking to better their adventure-design skills (for gamers), and for gamers and writers who are trying to improve their setting and atmosphere design, their monster choice and design, and their NPC creation (or secondary and supporting characters, for writers).

1 - Isolation
A lot of adventures take place in or near some civilized area. That's all fine and dandy. Sometimes, that's what characters need. Sometimes you need just some simple role-playing, social interaction at the local tavern or inn common-room. Sometimes you need a conflict with the local thieves' guild or a run-in with the town guard.

That shouldn't be the only rabbit in your hat, however. Never discount the joys and thrills that come from sending your players' characters into the wilderness, a few days travel from any help, and dump them into the deepest, darkest hole you can imagine. For that, we’ll look at the movies for just a moment. In the first of the series, Alien, the characters find themselves, first, on some barren rock out in space, with no other living soul around. Then, they find themselves floating through space on their ship. However, the ship now carries not only the characters, but also the horrible monster that wants to eat them for lunch. In the second of the series, Aliens, the characters find themselves back on that same barren rock out in space. Only this time, there is a colony where people settled, lived, and were summarily eaten by the horrible monster's brothers, sisters, and cousins.

Oh, yeah. They also find the horrible monster's even more horrible mother, who becomes quite agitated when the heroine of the movie decides to use a flame thrower on the eggs she worked so hard to lay.
Isolation was a key in both of these movies. Why was this so important? If there original crew of the space ship wasn't all alone, so far out in space, there's a pretty good chance that the alien eggs would've been found and destroyed a lot sooner, and then there wouldn't have been a plot for the second movie. If they hadn't been so far out in space, perhaps near to a military installation, they would've been able to destroy the horrible monster, and there wouldn't have been much of a first movie. Aside from that, the isolation of the barren planet, the bad weather, and the fact that their communications on the planet kept going in and out, as well as the isolation on the space ship, the closed in space with the maze of corridors and ventilation shafts - all of this builds up the suspense of the movie. Those watching Alien begin to feel the heart-wrenching fear of the characters, knowing that the alien creature could be waiting around any corner, or above any room in the ship. The audience begins to feel the claustrophobic stale air within the ship, begins to feel their heart race and their mind boil with the urge to scream and tear at the walls in a desperate attempt to get out before the thing finds them and devours them. The same can be said for the second movie, Aliens. Sure, there is an entire planet upon which the characters find themselves; but there is no one else around, and they have no idea just how many of those monsters there might be out there. Sure, they have a supply of guns and ammunition to protect them from the monsters; but the supply is finite, and there is no superstore on LV-426.

2 - The Monster grows and evolves
There's nothing more terrifying than finding something that attaches itself to your head and wraps a tail around your neck. It shoves a tube down your throat, keeps you in a coma, breathing and alive. No one can figure out what it is doing to you, and no one can think of a way to help you. When they try to remove the thing, it wraps its tail tighter around your neck to choke you. If they try to cut it, they find it has acid for blood. All they can do is sit and wait. Well, there might be something more terrifying. You find out that the face-hugger (as it has become known – I do not take credit for that nickname) actually lays an egg inside you. The egg grows and turns into a creature that bursts out through your chest, then runs off, screeching. That new monster grows very quickly, soon becoming the size of a adult male, with long, sharp claws on each hand, a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth, and a tongue that is also filled with razor-sharp teeth. This new monster goes on a rampage through your space ship, killing everyone it meets - it is a hunter, a predator, a monster.

Of course, this doesn't matter. You died when it burst through your chest.

Sometimes you ought to pick a monster that your characters aren't entirely familiar with. Make sure it is something that can cause quite a bit of havoc with them. For a low-level group, a simple troll can sometimes do just fine, as the regeneration ability makes them very hard to kill. After the characters have fought one or two of these monsters, and have become used to it, find a way to change it. Make it bigger, make it meaner, make it better. In the case of a troll, perhaps you want to make it smarter; maybe it is some freak of nature that can read and write, and it now knows a few magic spells - maybe an anti-fire spell (NO! Not That!)

Here is another way to look at the situation. Instead of having one monster turn into another monster, or having one monster become bigger and meaner and harder to kill, just take that same, simple monster and add more of them. Suppose your players are playing first-level characters. A few goblins are going to be an issue at such a low level. Let the characters get used to fighting a few at a time. Then, enter the whole tribe. Goblin after goblin comes rolling toward the village in which the characters live.
Oh, wait - someone just peed all over themselves.

(An aside here: Another way to go with this is to have a necromancer in the back of a small group of bandits. When the characters kill one of the bandits, the necromancer casts a spell and that dead bandit stands back up as a skeleton or zombie. Just a thought - that would probably scare the pee out of a first-level character, too.)

3 - The Monster is not invincible - just dangerous to kill
The main problem that the characters had in both Alien and Aliens is that they couldn't just outright kill the monsters. Even though they had guns and bullets and such in Aliens, the environment itself made it difficult to use such equipment; at one point, flammable gasses could have exploded with the use of projectile weapons. In both movies, the characters had to bust out the trusty flame-thrower in order to fight off the monsters. Of course, we all know just how well that worked out for the heroes and heroines, right? This is an excellent lesson to pull from a classic movie. Perhaps you want to give your monsters acid for blood. Perhaps your main villain possesses a magical ring that reflects the spells of your magic user back at the characters. Perhaps every time one of the characters hits the monster, it absorbs that energy and stores it for a super-powered, knock-out swing for later. In fact, two great examples can be seen in fantasy work, as well. Dragons are well-known to harbor poisonous blood, and draconians (from the DragonLance series) are known to turn into solid stone upon death, trapping its killers weapon within its body, and then some even explode afterward (if I remember correctly).

I should make a special note here that this idea is completely different from giving the monster a special defense or immunity, such as the regeneration of a troll. A special defense or immunity simply makes the monster harder to kill, but it can still be done eventually, and the characters have no reason but to keep hacking at the creature until it falls. It is an entirely different matter when killing some monster creates a dangerous situation, maybe not just for the characters but for a village of innocent bystanders, as well. Not only do the players have to think and possibly come up with new ways to deal with a monster, but there could be moral implications, as well, which could prove disastrous if the characters lose their abilities if they do something against their moral code. Perhaps killing the monster ends in some large cloud of poisonous gas being released over a 100 yard x 100 yard area. Of course, the characters might not know exactly how big of a cloud would be release, at first. That could mean a lot of innocent villager lives on their conscience.

4 – Antagonists and/or supporting characters grow and change
There is nothing worse than reading a book in which the main character stays the same, static individual throughout the entire book, especially if several great events take place that would cause the character to learn, to grow, and to evolve in his or her thinking and beliefs. Let's take a look at Aliens for a moment. Ripley, at the beginning of the movie, finds out that one of the crew members of the ship is an android. Well, it was an android that caused one of the major problems in the first movie. It almost caused her to die. In fact, because of the situation that android created on the ship, she was forced to jettison herself out into space in a tiny escape craft. She had no idea if she would even be found and rescued; she just knew she did not want to be in the ship any longer. Needless to say, she wasn't real happy when she found out that Bishop was an android. By the end of the movie, she came to trust him, even to like him. And let's not forget about Newt. She tries to run away from Ripley when she is first found, and doesn't seem to trust her (or the other Marines) for a good while. She doesn't talk much at first, either. One of the best scenes of Aliens, though, is after Ripley has killed the Queen Alien and Newt grabs a hold of her, throws her arms around Ripley's neck, and calls her mommy.

There can be no excuses offered if your characters do not learn and grow. Especially if that character is a main villain in your story. I know, I know - villains do not normally change all that much. Actually, villains might grow and change quite often, we just would not normally see it. Perhaps the players' characters attempt to keep the villain alive, instead of just killing him/her/it outright. It might be for questioning, it might be for torture. The villain might not ever find out why. If not, then he or she might think the characters have some sense of morality, and might begin to see them in a different light. They’ll still want to go through with their plans, but they might put out orders to not kill the characters, if possible.

The same goes for the players' characters. Give them plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. That is one of the main purposes of writing stories or playing role-playing games: To get into the life of a character and live out that life, a life we normally would not be able to live. In the case of role-playing games, give your players incentive to really role-play their character to a great extent. Perhaps you might give them extra experience points (if that is the game system you use). Perhaps you hand out more gold or treasure. Maybe you allow them to develop new skills and abilities that they normally would not. However you decide to do it, it is very important to help the players' characters grow and change. Live and learn, one might say.

The same idea can be used when writing, as well. Get deep into the mind of your character: How would they act, talk? What do they like and dislike? Get to know that character inside and out. As that character grows, what will you give him or her for growing and learning? How do they grow and learn? Do they have to find a teacher, or is it some sort of god-given growth? Do they gain extra abilities only through magical jewelry or enchantments, and the more the find the more they grow?


Rewards:
Hosted a Play-by-Post game. Played a turn in a Play-by-Post game. Wrote an article for the Blog. Created a Hot Topic.
torilen

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