LunarShadow Designs now on DrivethruRPG

Correction: Ok, so my below post was rather premature, it seems that there was an issue with the file that neither I nor the preflight software at DriveThruRPG spotted. That resulted in a corrupted file which I also failed to spot before I put this post up. So it’s been a learning experience, if only in why not to jump the gun with files. I’m currently trying to resolve the issue but that’s taking longer than I’d like, once it’s sorted I’ll make Tower Fall available again.


Another quick update but I didn’t want to hold this one back. Following the release of Tower Fall, my first micro RPG, I’m glad to announce that LunarShadow Designs can more be found on DriveThruRPG! You can find my publisher page at http://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/10032/LunarShadow-Designs while Tower Fall is available to download from https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/183370/Tower-Fall-Micro-RPG

I’ll still be releasing material here on my main site but where possible the final products will also be available at DriveThruRPG. While Project Cassandra remains a priority I’ve a few other pieces outlined, including another one page game and an adventure collection for the Demon Hunters RPG.

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Demon Hunters / Faith Corps: Tonal Conditions

Just a quick post to highlight a hack over at Spirit of the Blank, where Mike Olson has been sharing some details about using the Faith Corps system (aka the Demon Hunters system) for running Star Wars. One of the aspects he’s tweaked is the way conditions work, introducing the idea of predefined, character specific mild conditions. It’s a hack that I really like, especially for convention games where it provides players further insight into their character. This is especially emphasised by the fact that Mike has eschewed from the approach of describing physical harm but instead favours emotional responses to stress. For Star Wars it really fits with the tone of the films, where characters tend towards taking only a small number of moderate (or greater) injuries while also being constantly stressed by the scene or antagonists.

All in all it’s a compelling tweak and one that I’m likely to incorporate in future, both when running Demon Hunters and when designing my own systems.

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TowerFall Micro RPG

Following on from the 200 word RPG challenge I decided to expand upon TowerFall and flesh it out into more complete micro-RPG, limiting myself to a single page. The extra real estate allowed me to do two things, rework the main rules to clarify areas I wasn’t too happy with originally and to add in an entirely new section: character classes. My intention with the classes has been to add a mechanical depth to the characters while, hopefully, evoking the classical fantasy genre.

So here it is, TowerFall by LunarShadow Designs.

I’ve still got a final round of proof reading / error checking to do but want to put it out there now (if you spot any glaring issues please let me know). The final thing that comes with this first game is a new name, LunarShadow Designs and a logo to go with it. I’m still getting used to it but LunarShadow.net, while fine for my domain name, just doesn’t work as a name for publishing under hence the change. Next up, redesigning this blog and setting up a drivethruRPG publishers account for another place to share what I produce.

logo

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Tower Fall: A 200 Word RPG

The 200 word RPG challenge is an interesting take on micro-games and one that I didn’t get around to participating in last year. The level of creativity in the submissions is really high, as is the level of diversity. The contest, and most of the submissions, seems to be very much orientated towards focused single scene descriptive games. For mine I’ve tried to the other way, with a bit more traditional narrative and use of dice to overcome challenges (though you stack rather than roll them). I’ve also got the initial outline of a 200 word supplement for the game which adds special class abilities, expect to see that posted soon.


 

Tower Fall

The Wizard has been vanquished but can you escape before the Tower Falls?
A game for 3-4, each requires 3d6, 1d8, 1d10 and 1d12.

Together: Name characters equal to the number of players – 1. Describe them.
Roll 1d12, highest narrates the first scene.

Narrator: Describe the current floor. Let the characters explore, as they do describe challenges equal to the number of characters. In order assign difficulties of 3, 2 or 1.
Next player clockwise: Pick a character for the turn, attempt to overcome a challenge.

To overcome a challenge:
Create or add to your dice tower by stacking a number of dice equal to the difficulty. The tower must be only 1 die wide.
If you run out of dice steal them from another tower.
If you collapse a tower remove dice from your pool (and the game) equal to the difficulty. Try again.
If a player runs out of dice their current character dies.

Once the challenge is overcome play moves round clockwise. At the end of the round the surviving characters escape to the next floor. Narration moves around 1 player, play continues for a set number of levels or until all but one character has Fallen.

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State of the Conspiracy: Artwork!

Today I received a preview of the nearly finished first piece of character art I’ve commissioned for the game. To say it’s great is a massive understatement. Getting to finally meet the character is always a special moment, it makes them real in a way that a simple character sheet can’t and I can’t wait to see how the rest stand out.

My aim with the game is to have 8-10 images for the game, using a mix of commissioned pieces and stock art, all by the same artist. Should I ever move onto a second game I’ll look into using a wider range of stock art. While I’ll always aim to produce as professional a product as possible I’m very much aware that I’ll never make much (if any) money from them. Like many people though that’s not why I do it, this is and always will be a hobby to me.

Now I realise that this post teases some artwork but I’m going to hold off on posting the preview as I want to present the final image in context with the finalised character sheet. Hopefully that won’t be too far off.

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State of the Conspiracy: Character Layout

One of the areas of Project Cassandra I’ve always been unhappy with is the layout and presentation of the game. While I’ve always liked the typewriter style font I’ve been using the document as a whole has always looked like something thrown together in word, for the obvious reason that it was. Over the last few weeks I’ve been slowly learning how to use Scribus, a desktop publishing program that is available for free. I made the mistake of assuming it would be similar enough to word and dove right into it, trying the layout the entire game all at once. Suffice to say that didn’t really work so my focus of the last few days has been on laying out the character sheets, the initial result of which you can see below.

Character sheet comparison

The new sheet, on the right, is a vast improvement on the old one. It makes much better use of the space, with the individual sections more clearly defined than before. Most of all it feels (to me) like it is closer to something you’d find in a published RPG. There are, obviously, still aspects that need work with spacing being the main one. That’s something I’ll properly address once I have the character art in place, as I want be sure of the final dimensions of those images.

Speaking of art…

Something that drastically improved the look of the character sheet was the inclusion of some proper artwork. The piece included in the new sheet is stock art created by JEShields (who also has an RPG art Patreon here) and can be purchased from on drivethruRPG. Eventually this will be moved to within the main rules and replaced with artwork commissioned specifically for Project Cassandra, again drawn by JEShields. The first piece, of intrepid reporter Samantha Dawes, is already underway with the rest to follow once funds allow.

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Inspirational Artwork: Visions of the Future

grand_tour

Stylised posters always seem to get my GM imagination going, when they’re well done they serve the same function as a good book cover – to set a scene that you want to know more about. Some of the best, in my opinion, are those that recreate early sci-fi books focused on exploration and the colonisation of the solar system. They provide not only a sense of hope for the future but also one of exploration, perfect for any light hearted sci-fi games. The ‘Visions of the Future‘ set from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory provide a perfect example of this and after only a few minutes I already have a half dozen ideas bouncing around my head for the next time I run a game.

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Pre Vis Action

While things have been fairly quiet on the Project Cassandra front (I’m currently playing with layout and am awaiting the first piece of commissioned artwork) I’ve been focusing my attention elsewhere, namely playing in a Rogue Trader campaign and rekindling my interest in Legend of the Five Rings. The latter of these has wedged itself quite stubbornly in my thoughts through the Fallen Mountains campaign that I’d started designing. Should the fortunes smile on me again this year and allow me to attend Strategicon once more my hope would be to run a series of linked games in the setting. I’ve been working on a rough three part outline, with each segment influenced by the earlier adventure. Ambitious, especially given the skin chance of attending the con again but there it is.

Helping keep that plan moving has been flicking through various Samurai scenes and shorts on YouTube. The one below is a particularly good example. Shot by the director of The Raid as a test sequence it succinctly expresses the flow and feel of a samurai fight without any need for gratuitous violence.

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Project Cassandra: Looking for an artist

Looking for an artist. So Project Cassandra is now at the point where if I’m ever going to publish it I want to consider artwork, at this point specifically character art. So if anybody is either an artist or knows somebody that is please let me know. 4 characters with the possibility of male and female versions (so total of 8) in Cold War era clothing (anything from 1950’s-1980’s). The basic outlines can be found on the character sheets over at http://www.lunarshadow.net and I can provide a fuller brief for each on request. I’ve got a small but hopefully reasonable budget for it, plus possibility of needing a few additional pieces (cover and/or interior art) once I know how my post Christmas finances look.

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JFK assassination: Photo showing Lee Harvey Oswald with same type of gun used to kill JFK ‘authentic’

One of the results of working on Project Cassandra is that I’ve been trying to learn more about the central events of the Cold War. Being born in the early 80’s I only vaguely remember the tail end of it, such as the Berlin Wall coming down but the bulk of it is something that I’ve had to learn about. The JFK assassination was something that I studied in school but I’ve avoided diving into while working on the game as I specifically didn’t want to focus on that tragic real world event.

Even so this coming across this article – Photo showing Lee Harvey Oswald with same type of gun used to kill JFK ‘authentic’ – got my attention and has set thoughts moving again, specially this time about the ideas of conspiracies and secret plots while I expand on a few sections of the game, most notably scenario advice for the GM.

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