22 April, 2008 at 3:08 pm (meta)

Within a month the following shall happen:

  • I will take on a summer job that involves cleaning factories with heavy machinery.
  • I will not study in university before autumn.
  • I will live in Hämeenkyrö (with mother, stepfather, sister and dog) or Tampere (with father), neither of which is exactly close to Jyväskylä.
  • I will not roleplay as much, if at all. Maybe this shall be the time to try some more roleplay via the internet, either with friends or in Roleplaygateway.
  • I may play board games or card games, especially if there is no or too little roleplay.
  • I will not spend as much time on the internet. Particularly I will probably not read forums or use stumbleupon. Also, I will blog less if at all. This all is quite probable (P({this all}) = 7/10), but not certain, where “this all” means this bullet point.
  • I will read more. Interesting material: Fantasy (preferably not direct D&D derivative and preferably not Eddings), philosophy (ontology, philosophy of mind, epistemology, whatever else is interesting), logic, mathematics (particularly game theory is of interest), mythology and old poetry, rpg books.
  • Take a dog, walk somewhere, anywhere. Good fun. Run once a while to keep it interesting. Great for thinking and designing rpg settings and calming the mind. Grab a friend if one is nearby. Remember to take water.

The more exact date of my departure is between three and four weeks from today.

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Thulen’s got a blog

22 March, 2008 at 11:02 am (meta)

Thalin a.k.a. Thulen (since Thalin was taken) has a blog, Something beneath the sky…

Thulen is better a writer than I am (and he uses a lot of parentheses (even more than I usually do)) and all-around smart guy. His only flaws are that he studies physics, which is kinda like math except physiscists imagine that their research has something to do with the way world works, and that he larps. It is commonly known that larpers are evil and sacrifice puppies to their evil cat gods. Or to vampires. Or kitten vampires.

The feed for the blog is and the comment feed is

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21 February, 2008 at 10:18 pm (meta) (, , , , )

All blogs (possible also ones) have a feed:

All of them also have a comment feed:

Just replace the url with whatever is relevant.

If blogger/blogspot or livejournal-hosted blogs have something similar, do share. I know how to access their normal feeds, no problem with that, but do they have comment feeds available?

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15 January, 2008 at 7:27 pm (meta)

Boring writing about the lack of posting schedule and other miscellany.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Not a design blog.

21 December, 2007 at 12:11 pm (meta) (, )

You know all those blogs where random indie designers post about their own projects? I find them utterly boring. Even if the projects are interesting. I won’t be doing that, hopefully, by starting a small design project here. If I ever get it done, it will be available for free under creative commons. I do it mostly as an exercise and because the damn thing has implanted itself in my head.

Design goals

The core idea: Dungeoncrawling and generic adventuring. Genre: Somewhere between D&D and sword and sorcery. Core story: One or multiple characters select a goal and succeed at it, give up, or perish trying to achieve it. This works best with a self-balancing game.

The game will be full of exact rules. Every skill shall have a clear and explicit use. In addition to that, and to avoid the problems inherent in exact rules, adventure/dungeon designers are encouraged to expand the use of skills for specific situations. The game will be very much a game; players take on goals (GM can design quests or players can decide to do something else within the offered setting) and receive rewards for completing them. If they try too hard, their character may get killed or permanently maimed, or get other trouble. The game will work with only one player and one GM. If I manage it, the might work with only a single player, but it will have a different nature when played that way.

Structure of the game

Characters start at a safe place (a point of light, if you will). They gather information and set an objective for themselves. They equip themselves for the quest. They travel to adventure location (by default, a dungeon). Quick or stealthy travel means no or few random encounters, which potentially deplete the resources of the characters. Once they arrive at the adventure location, the characters must navigate it to their final destination. This is essentially navigating a flowchart. Moving too slowly or carelessly will cause random encounters. Rushing in too quickly will cause missing useful shortcuts and other secrets. Once the objective is reached (or characters too exhausted to effectively go on), a way back to safety must be discovered and the journey survived. Once back, characters will face the consequences of the quest they took and those they didn’t (though some will only manifest given a longer period of time and some won’t be urgent at all). They will have time to recuperate from their wounds and weariness, will usually spend all their hard-won loot on booze and whores and other entertainment, take on new quests, and the process begins anew.

On actual crunch

Core mechanic is stolen from Ville Vuorela‘s Praedor (a Finnish rpg) and a forum  thread by Jim Bob (Kyle). That is: Roll nd6, try to get below relevant skill. Sometimes the number of dice/difficulty is fixed, but usually the player gets to decide it, with greater number of dice giving greater benefits. Also, most rolls are player-initiated. Also, players roll all the dice (as a default assumption). Opponents have fixed results.

Why not just play D&D or Rune

D&D has too much cruft and extra bits. Rune is too competitive, has at least one significant balance problem and has far too much point-counting to be enjoyable to me. Besides, I’m doing this as a design exercise and as an excuse for playtesting and fun dungeonbashing every now and then.

Why not make it electronic

I don’t have the skills for that, nor do I find it equally interesting. One or both of these may follow from the other.

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About theory

20 November, 2007 at 3:30 pm (meta) (, , )

I am a theoretical person.

For me, the value of theory is in the new patterns of thought it provides one with. For this purpose, math is a way to think. This particularly means that theory can be useful without a clear practical application or even a tie with the real world. Academic theory is generally of value due to there being some standards of publication. In the field of roleplaying theory, hobby theories are of value because the people who develop them usually are both passionate about and familiar with the subject. This is not always true of academic rpg theory.

Anyway. My approach to theory: Semantic debates are boring. The actual meat of the arguments and the form the arguments take are interesting. If you really want to argue semantics with me, do go ahead, but don’t be surprised if I refrain from engaging. If I misuse a word or a concept, informing me of that is appreciated, though.

There will be a theoretical point of view on practically everything, but little unexplained and unlinked jargon. Scientific referencing is a bit too much to expect, though.

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