Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Purple Mountain - Prisoners (Part I)

Within the Temple of the Locust Lord there are five prisoners at the start of the adventurer. They are Tith-Tor (female half-cyclops oracle 1), Armin Carl (male human ranger 1), Querig (male gnome sorcerer 1) and Beatiz Vace (female half-elven rogue 1). Each will be detail here over the next week or so, on the Purple Duck Games blog, should you need their full stats for use as replacement characters while exploring the depths of Purple Mountain.

All characters are created using the 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 ability array and are considered player characters.

Beatiz Vace (Female half-elf rogue [bandit] 1)
N Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +2; Senses low-light vision; Perception +3
AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+2 Dex)
hp 11 (1d8+1)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +1; +2 vs. enchantment
Immune magical sleep
Speed 30 ft.
Melee by weapon +3
Ranged by weapon +2
Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6
Str 17, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +0; CMB +3; CMD 14
Feat Skill Focus (Disable Device, Intimidate)
Skills Acrobatics +6, Appraise +4, Climb +7, Disable Device +9, Intimidate +6, Perception +5, Stealth +6, Swim +7, Use Magic Device +4
SQ keen senses, multitalented (rogue, witch)
Traits dangerously curious, dirty fighter
Languages Common, Elven

Beatiz grew up in a community of bandits, anything she has wanted she has taken by force. Recently after a stint within prison, she discovered that a good living could be made bashing head and taking treasure if you were an adventurer instead of a bandit. The rewards are greater and you don't have to sleep in the filth as much. She has never had a group to rely on before but if all of these adventure go as well as their raid on Purple Mountain, perhaps banditry is not so bad after all.

Beatiz favors studded leather armor and bludgeoning weapons.

Death Race

On my drive home from basketball, I had a revelation about a new game mode.

It’s been something I’d had kicking around in my noggin for a while, but something just kind of crystallized and it reached a tipping point where I thought it would be worth doing.

Here goes:

The mode is called “Death Race”.
A bunch of characters start out lined up along the left side of the screen.
Each player controls a single character.  The rest are NPCs.
At the right side of the screen is a finish line.
Players can move their character to the right by pushing “A” to walk, or “Y” to run.
The NPCs move randomly to the right, starting and stopping randomly, but always moving directly right (think lanes on a racetrack).
NPCs always walk.  They never run.
The first character to reach the finish line wins!

So why not just run from the start?

Each player also controls an aiming cross hair.  Pushing up or down on the Dpad will select the next character in the race.  (You don’t need to aim, you just select the character by their lane, and the aiming is done for you).
Pulling the trigger will kill the selected character (either NPC or player).
Players only get one shot.

So, here’s how I picture it going:

The game starts, and the players and NPCs start inching forward.  Everyone wants to get to the end first, but no one wants to stand out from the crowd and risk getting shot.  However, everyone KNOWS that no one wants to do that, so actually doing that might not be a bad idea.  Someone starts to take too big a lead, and a player shoots them dead.  As people get closer to the finish line, someone makes a break for it by sprinting, but is quickly shot down.  All of a sudden, it’s a mad dash to cross the finish line first, and laughter and pandemonium ensues.

Friday, 23 September 2011


When I released my last game, my old high school friend Aileen contacted me.  She said that her husband is a musician that has been trying to break into the video game business, and to let her know if I make another game.  I’ve met her husband once at our high school reunion, and knew that he did actual music for actual TV shows.  Way out of my league.

Anyways, now that I’m actually getting some work done and getting closer to creating a finished product, I emailed Aileen.  I made no bones about what kind of project this is (amateur), and exactly how much I was willing to pay ($0).  There’s plenty of “good enough” music out there that can be had for free.  And I’m all about “good enough”.  Really, the only reason he’d want to participate is if he wanted to be able to tell someone “I made music for a game that a couple hundred people played.”  A pretty raw deal, for sure.

Aileen forwarded the email to her husband, who we’ll call “Jim” (because that’s his name).  He wrote back and said that composing music was his sole source of income, and he wasn’t able to provide any original music for free.  Totally expected.  He normally does paid work for TV shows and commercials and stuff.  Fine, I fully understand.  No worries.  But then he goes and says “But here’s my WHOLE CATALOG OF 28 HOURS worth of music of all kinds of genres… go ahead and choose whatever you want for your game and use it for free.”



I’ve only had the chance to peruse a bit, but I don’t think I’ll have any problems finding some great stuff.  I’ve already downloaded some likely choices and used them as stand-in music, and it’s great.  It’s amazing how music can really set the mood of a scene.

So, a bit thank you to my new best friend Jim.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A question of scale “True-32”

Indulge me in a slight rant.

Please be aware the new plastic line is 31 mm to the eye of a FULLY ERECT figure, posed, they range from 28-29.75mm to the center of the eye. As the bases are thinner than most, the figures are roughly the same height as most of the major manufacturers.

-Example of scale comp-

The subject of scale is one that many sculptors wrestle with, I am no acceptation. The use of digital technology to sculpt a miniature provides a certain amount of freedom, the miniature looks the same to me at 15mm or 50mm scale, I can make last minute adjustments on the fly and scale the miniature to my heart’s content.
Ultimately, gamers want miniatures that look right with their other minis from manufacturer A, B or C. This is not as easy as it sounds. Place a true scale 28mm mini next to many manufacturers product and it will look small and emaciated by comparison. The whole 28mm scale convention is garbage if you ask me. Scale creep has made it useless and “heroic” scale doubly so.
I like my miniatures to be fairly well proportioned, at least looking like they could actually be humans in armor. With this in mind, I settled on 32mm scale (A man standing upright is 32mm to the eyes). I jokingly called my miniature 3B scale, “3 Bears Scale”, not too large, not too small… just right :) A nod to Goldilockss and the three bears

I call them True-32. This may be a slight misnomer, as some proportions such as shoulder width have been slightly bumped but the vast majority of the figure is a reasonable approximation of true human proportions.
 WHAT?  32mm scale? But that’s too large to work with my other minis!”

 Yes and no… They are very slightly taller 33.5 total height from foot to top of head, but the proportions work well with most miniature lines and when they are in a pose that is not completely erect; they scale very well by comparison.
Here is one example of a 32mm Strumtruppen next to a “heroic” scale. You can see the arm and leg length look comparable and the body mass works well. Will this be true when compared to true 28mm scale figs? Sadly no… they will be too tall and slightly too thick by comparison.  If I was making miniatures for the historic gamer, I would take a VERY different approach. As many of the Sci-fi games have opted for 32mm true scale or “28 heroic scale, I.e. 32mm with 34mm heads, hands and feet”  I needed to make my decision based on what the customers overwhelmingly demand.  I choose 32mm true scale. It satisfies my need for some sense of proportion while allowing the miniature to be used alongside the vast majority of Sci-fi and Weird Wars games.

New plasic minis!

One moment please…. We are experiencing technical difficulty….

As a Dakkite pointed out, I had the legs on the cannon backwards. I was thinking about the old wheeled gun carriage when I put the single leg to the rear. These are aimed turned by turning the complete carriage.

As this is a pintle mount it would have fallen over when shot with this configuration  :- P It’s always good to have another set of eyes on these things…
Here you can see the revised model and gunner position.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Fleshing out the unit choices

Now that the basic troopers are completed, I will turn to fleshing out the other troop choices.

The basic unit org. will have:
·         Riflemen (done)
·         Support weapons (SAW) (done)
·         Grenadier (done)
·         Weapons specialist (Sniper) (done)
·         Medic
·         Communications
·         Forward observer
·         Command (officers)

Here we have a heavy support AT weapon (PAC38 Short) with a coaxial MG53

Here you can see the mods for Support (SAW) and Grenadier.

Monday, 19 September 2011


I had a couple playtests this weekend, and things generally went well.

The first night, it was just me and Mike.  We played through each game mode a couple times.

Ninja Party seemed to work really well.  I think aside from adding some scoring, it’s basically good to go.

Catch A Thief was ok.  Seems like it needs some tuning.

Assassin, for some reason, was better.  I had a hell of a time when I was Sniper, but Mike seemed to have no problem picking me off when the situation was reversed.

Knights vs. Ninjas didn’t seem to work well at all, but that was ok, since it was just added that morning and still pretty rough.

Then, on Sunday evening, I got the chance to play with Mike and Iwan and Justin for a full four-person session.

Again, Ninja Party worked well.  Catch a Thief, again, was just kind of ok.  Assassin was ok.  Knights vs. Ninjas was surprising good.

In general, I just wanted to get some feedback that I was on the right track, and that the game mechanics (once they are figured out) would actually work, and I think I’m on that track.  So that was pretty satisfying.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Hidden in Plain Sight...

In a burst of inspiration, I've put the broad strokes on a new game.  Actually, I have so much reusable framework stuff in place, it really didn't take too long to put something together.

The working title is "Hidden in Plain Sight", and it is a game (actually a couple of different game modes) that revolve around the theme of accomplishing goals while trying to remain hidden.  The original impetus was learning about SpyParty, by Chris Hecker.  That is a 3D game which pits one person (the Spy) against another person (the Sniper).  The Spy wanders around a cocktail party, trying to accomplish goals, but he tries to ACT like he's a computer controlled character.  The Sniper watches carefully, and tries to figure out who the Spy is and kill him.

In my own mind, I questioned if the complicated 3D'ness of the game was necessary.  Could the game be boiled down to its essentials, and be a simple 2D game?  I whipped up a quick prototype (which I called "SpyParty2D", and thought it worked pretty well.  I showed it to Andy Schatz (of Monaco fame), and passed it on to Chris Hecker himself, who thought the idea was pretty cool (I don't think he ever actually played it).  Andy, however, did play it with his wife, and thought it was a lot of fun, and encouraged me to make a full game of it.

So after some time off, I've decided to press forward with a similar game.

There are three game modes.  All of them are local multiplayer (that is, all players are in the same room watching the same TV).

Ninja Party

This is a free-for-all multiplayer.  There are a bunch of ninjas in a room.  Most are controlled by the computer (aka "non player characters" or NPCs).  They just wander around aimlessly.  Each player also controls a ninja, but at the beginning, they don't know who they control.  So the first part of the game is trying to figure out who your guy is.

Each ninja can do an attack, which will knock down anyone who is in front of them.  NPC ninjas will stand back up again after a few seconds, but player controlled ninjas will die.  So the object of the game is to figure out who the other players are and kill them, while trying to not be detected and killed yourself.

This is a pretty straight rip off of a flash game called "Puji".

Catch A Thief

In this game mode, players are either a Sniper or a Guest.  In the game, there is a room full of characters (not all ninjas this time, but lots of random character types).  There are also little coins strewn all around the room.

When a Guest walks over a coin, a sound is played, but the coin doesn't immediately disappear (that would make it obvious who was picking them up).  However, when the Sniper moves his crosshair over a coin that has already been collected, it fades from view.

The object of the game is for the player controlled Guest to wander around and collect the coins.  The Sniper (who is just an aiming crosshair), is looking around and trying to figure out who the thief is.


Like "Catch a Thief", again, there is a room full of guests, some of whom are controlled by players.  Also, there is one or more Sniper (controlling an aiming crosshair), who is trying to figure out who the player-Guests are and shooting them.

This time, however, the Guests are able to kill other computer controlled Guests.  They do this by walking over them and pressing the attack button.  A small sound is heard, but the victim doesn't immediately die.  Instead, the victim dies only when seen by the Sniper (think of it like a slow acting poison).

So, the Guest is trying to kill as many people as possible, while the Sniper is trying to figure out who the killer is.  Kind of like the game "Mafia".

Like I said, the broad strokes are all laid out, and each game mode is playable, but it needs to be refined.  There are no win/lose conditions coded in yet, nor any scores or countdown timer or anything.  But it's in a state that I'd like to get some playtesting and feedback.  Let me know if you're a Creators Club member and interested in giving it a shot.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Shilling for Open Design

Divine Favor: the Paladin begins a series I wrote for Open Design meant to expand the options available to divine PCs. This includes new archetypes such as the Templar who carries a piece of the divine within himself, and the Metropolitan, a defender of the urban world and who possesses a sacred link to cities, but also alternate class abilities such as divine aspect. Divine Aspect allows the paladin to infuse his very flesh with the power of his deity, granting him greater strength, resilience and combat prowess.

There's also suggestions on to build a paladin PC with regards to ability scores, and spell and feat selection.

The series will also cover the cleric, oracle, druid and inquisitor.

(By Stefen)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Making a good miniature even better

Mark over at Dropship Horizon once said, “To hell with your fluff, tell me a story with your miniature” That stuck with me. Having built my fair share of 1:35 scale dioramas, I completely agree with the statement.

Here we have a Sturmtruppen but how can I tell a story with a miniature?

Options!, lots of poses and accessories to make each miniature unique. Let’s start with how the miniature breaks down. Having separate heads arms and chest will allow you a great deal of freedom when posing each model.
Here are six leg poses, I can mirror many of these and easily come up with ten different leg poses.

Here are some weapon options, some hip fired some shoulder fired and some are both.

 Here is an accessory pack, LOADS of options to customize your unit. Arm raised in halt, throwing a grenade, pointing, double gunning with pistols or SMG’s. Hand replacement options for knife fights, carrying rifles, ammo boxes, etc. Items such as pistol holsters, combat knifes, ammo pouches and med-packs.

All of this will cost a fair amount of cash….I will be going to print with a few samples and starting a Kickstarter project to help funding
Kickstarter is a tool for creative types to get start-up funding; almost like a crowd sourced venture capital system, a great way to get a little cash infusion for a starting venture. You, as a participant will receive a discount on the miniatures, but more importantly, you will be supporting a small indie company to succeed.

When I have a master in hand I will announce the project and provide a link. I hope to see you there and I look forward to your support. When will all this happen? ASAP! I will be sending out to have a single Strumtruppen and Kriegsmarine printed, so that I have something to show you the quality of the actual miniature. Unlike the Leviathan, these will be white metal and should be very quick to turn around from a master model to production metal minis.
All the best!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Eisenkern Sturmtruppen

Here are the finals for the Eisenkern Sturmtruppen. Some details added, some changes and proper field grey coloring.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Building Legendary Treasure

When working on the Legendary Treasures series, Stefen and I used the following guidelines to control our design. We did not always stick to these guidelines but they are framework for building legendary items.

Each legendary weapon, armor or shield has a number of requirements that the character must possess in order to attune the item and gain access to its legendary abilities.t

Generally this includes:
- one or two feats
- one or two skills at 4 ranks or less.

Race is sometimes included as requirement if the item has a strong racial enemy or origin. Additional class abilities are seldom used unless multiple options are available. Such as one of specific domian, mystery or bloodline. We never wanted to pigeonhole a legendary treasure to strictly one class.

- All legendary treasures begin with a +1 enhancement bonus. By the time the character has reached level 20 the treasure's total enhancement bonus should not be more than +5.

The 10 levels of progression generally it look something like this

1) +1 weapon/armor/shield
2) A spell-like ability (3/day; 1st-2nd level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
3) A spell-like ability (3/day; 2nd-3rd level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
4) +2 weapon/armor/shield (may have property)

5) A spell-like ability (3/day; 3rd-4th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
6) A spell-like ability (3/day; 4th-5th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
7) +3 weapon/armor/shield (may have property)
8) A spell-like ability (3/day; 5th-6th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
9) A spell-like ability (3/day; 6th-7th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
10) +4 weapon/armor/shield (may have property)

Other patterns are allowable but these give us a good starting point.

Kevin Video asked on the Purple Duck Games forums:

Finally, I don't see it on the weapon pdfs (correct me if I'm wrong) where it says whether or not you pay additionally for a weapon to be upgraded. For instance, at 20th level, you have a +4 weapon (eg +3 flaming greataxe). What if I want to make that a +5 flaming burst greataxe? How much does that cost me? If I get it done early, and it's a +3 keen flaming burst greataxe at only level 10, does it become a +5 greataxe when I hit level 20?

In my campaign I have not had this come up. I think if my players wanted to do it I would allow it on an enhancement cost basis. 

So let's say they are currently at level 14 and have attuned the heartwood staff from Legendary II: Legendary Weapons. At there current level this weapon is a +3 revitalizing quarterstaff; revitalizing has a +42,000 gp addition and the +3 has it costing 18,000 gp. So this weapons as of right now would be worth at least as much as a +5 weapon. If my player wanted to upgrade it to +4 revitalizing then they would need to come up with 22,000 gp to move it from an effective +5 to and effective +6. When the weapon would have naturally leveled up to +4 vitalizing it would instead become a +5 revitalizing. 

Since the weapons level up naturally, I've never had a player ask this but I think that is how I would handle it.