Someone’s been reading my unpublished novel


Actually I think there are two main kinds of cliche fantasy settings. The first, which this map is going for, is probably ultimately derived from Middle-earth. The main cultures are vaguely Dark Ages northern European (although this map has one ‘exotic city’, just as Middle-earth has Southrons).

The other main kind of setting is the ‘kitchen sink’ setting where each area is a different thing that the author thought was cool. The original of this is probably Robert E Howard’s Hyborian Age, where you have one country of chivalrous knights, one that’s ancient Egypt, one that’s vikings and so on. This is a science fiction version of the same idea:


Published role-playing settings seem to tend towards ‘kitchen sinks’, such as Rifts and D&D’s Mystara. I suppose this is partly a commercial decision, so they can keep putting out setting material.

An untested expansion for my non-existent game

Some more rules for my chess/wargame idea:

Pieces that have at least one action can try to taunt or intimidate enemy pieces.

To taunt a piece, they have to be able to take you, and have higher adds (including bonuses for assists). The enemy player rolls one die. If the result is higher than the enemy piece’s Quality, it immediately attacks. Taunting only counts as an action if the roll is lower than or equal to the piece’s Quality.

To intimidate a piece, you have to be able to take it and have higher adds (again including bonuses for assists), and the enemy piece has to have an empty square behind it (behind meaning ‘towards the enemy player’). The enemy player rolls one die. If the result is higher than the enemy piece’s Quality, it immediately retreats one space. Intimidating only counts as an action if the roll is lower than or equal to the piece’s Quality.

In this example position, the white pawn might want to taunt the black bishop so that the queen can attack the king. Similarly, the black rook might want to intimidate the white knight.

Anyway, I know posting ideas and not testing them is annoying, but I’m spending all my writing time on my Gigacrawler game. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back to this.

A game idea.

People on Boardgamegeek told me that the following idea wasn’t commercially viable. Does anyone think it sounds interesting?

An add-on for chess, inspired by Song of Blades and Heroes.

Components are as follows:

  • 32 counters.
  • Markers to indicate pieces that have moved in the current turn.
  • A track and marker to keep track of the maximum number of pieces that can move in a turn, and have already moved.

The players have to provide a chess set.

Each player has 16 counters, each giving numbers for Quality (2-5) and Combat (0-3).

White places one counter randomly beneath each piece, and black copies white’s layout (the counters have letters to make this easier).

The game works the same as Song of Blades and Heroes: you attempt to move a piece by rolling your choice of 1-3 dice. Results between 1 and the piece’s Quality are successes. Each success lets you move the piece once (although if a piece attempts to take, it can’t move any further that turn). Two failures on the same piece mean the end of your turn. You can only roll for a given piece once per turn.

There is a maximum number of pieces that can be moved per turn. This starts at 2, and goes up by 1 each time it’s reached, to a maximum of 8.

When a piece attempts to take, the two players roll 1 dice and add the relevant Combat rating. Doubling the other piece’s total destroys it. Otherwise the losing piece moves 1 square backwards, being taken if that square is occupied or the move would take them off the board. The attacker wins ties, and gets +1 for every piece on their side that could have moved into the disputed square.

You have to declare check, but the other player isn’t obliged to get out of check. The object is to actually destroy the king.

Gigacrawler draft playtest, part 2

I have a new computer now, so I can continue testing what I’ve done of Gigacrawler.

My character is a vampire, with the following (above average) stats:

Agility 11
Charisma 15
Willpower 13
Physique 6
Intelligence 14

Technology 7
Magic 7

keywords: KW2.

10 shells.

I start in a hex with the location code M14 (a relatively tolerant town) and a movement number of 3 (which is unlikely to have much effect at this stage).

I start by trying to get more money. I think I’ll beg. Given several options, I choose to just sit looking downtrodden. An entire month of begging gains me only 3 shells.

I now have to choose how much to spend on food and shelter. I can only afford a hovel, which costs me 5 shells (it would have been 15 shells, but it’s cheaper for vampires, since animal blood is cheaper than human food).

This leaves me with 8 shells. Poverty also reduces my Willpower by 4 points.

As the second month starts, I realize I’m going to need more money. I decide to resort to burglary. This succeeds, gaining me 150 shells. However I lose another 2 points of Willpower, either from guilt or the temptation to become a full-time burglar rather than a wandering adventurer (Willpower is specifically your character’s will to continue wandering).

I decide to look for companions. I spend 2 shells (down to 156 shells), and meet an otherworldly child named Alice Liddell, who claims to be able to teach me magic.

I decide to spend the rest of the month recovering, and to live as well as a prosperous citizen, which costs me 45 shells (leaving 111) including paying for Alice, and brings my Willpower back to its full value.

In the third month, I decide to look for somewhere better. Three months’ rations for Alice and myself costs a total of 54 shells (leaving 57). As it turns out, the journey only takes 2 months, but the destination is disappointing: a village (at least one which is tolerant of wandering adventurers).

That, I decide, is enough testing for today. The systems I’ve done seem to work well enough. However I think getting companions is far too cheap and easy, and I would prefer begging to get you more money, but also carry more risks (getting kidnapped for example).

Gigacrawler draft playtest

I’ve written a bit over 10,000 words of Gigacrawler. This covers the basics of character creation, and stuff that you can do in settlements. However I want to start playtesting it as early in the process as possible. So this is a self-playtest, which I’ll be blogging as I do it.

First of all I roll my character’s attributes. This is done with the familiar 3d6.

Agility 11
Charisma 15
Willpower 13
Physique 6
Intelligence 14

Since I have at least one high (13+) and one low (8-) attribute, I don’t have to alter my attributes.

My highest attribute is Charisma, so my character is a vampire. This means that my Technology score is 2d6 (capped at my Intelligence-1). My Magic score is my Intelligence minus my Technology. I roll 7, so my scores are

Technology 7
Magic 7

I have the keyword KW2 (which just indicates that I’m a vampire).

Like all characters, I start with 10 shells (cowrie shells are the currency of the setting).

Now I roll for the starting hex, and get M14–a relatively tolerant town–with a movement number of 3 (this is relevant to moving around the board, and probably won’t matter much at this stage).

That’s character creation. I was going to go on to the main game, but my computer stopped working and I ran out of time. So I’ll continue this in another post.

Gigacrawler map

As always, looking for feedback.

This is an explanation of how movement works in Gigacrawler.

The player doesn’t have to learn this information before the game starts: it’s presented step by step in the paragraphs as they play.

hexexampleThe Gigastructure can’t be represented in two (or even three) dimensions. Distances may be different depending on the direction traveled. This is represented by movement numbers.

Each hex has three numbers. The top number, pre-printed, is unique to each hex. This allows you to make notes on what you find.

The middle number is the paragraph number. When you come to a hex which already has number you either turn to the paragraph corresponding to that number. When you come to a hex without a paragraph number you roll on a table, fill in the result, and then turn to the corresponding number.

The bottom network is the movement number. When you come to a new hex you roll a dice. 5s count as 2, and 6s as 3. 1-4 are counted as rolled.

When you leave a hex you move a number of hexes equal to the hex’s movement number, in any of the six cardinal directions.

There are three entities who may be entreated when moving:

Yafir, the Lady of the Spaces Between, allows you to move ‘diagonally’, as per the diagram below.
Yiraf, The Exalted Crone of the Far Places, allows you to add 1 to the movement number of the hex.
Yirah, the Infant Lord of the Near Places, allows you to subtract 1 from the movement number (therefore he can’t be entreated in hexes whose movement number is 1).

yafiregExample of entreating Yafir. If the movement number of hex A were 1, the player could move from A to any of the hexes marked B. If the movement number of hex A were 2, they could move from hex A to either of the hexes marked C.