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Heh. Don't get me wrong, the cover is not a priority compared to getting the game done and playtested, but I'd like something better than a blank page with a logo on it. I'm getting stuff worked out for the moment anyway.

Stuff like this is about the best I can do by myself, but it will do for now I think:

'Cept of course, it will be coloured for the cover.

Anyway, work continues apace thanks to the kind efforts of some of my club members.
If anyone else is interested though, I'll send them what I have so far. It has been improved a fair bit, but I've still got a way to go.

Re: Ninja Mom: REDUX! by oresooreso, 20 Dec 2007 20:32

I think the cpver looks great as is.

Re: Ninja Mom: REDUX! by Joe McDonaldJoe McDonald, 20 Dec 2007 17:03

So, I'm gonna carry on developing Ninja Mom and hopefully have it done by Conception (a UK con at the end of January). I'm not planning to sell it by then in any major way, but maybe play a few casual con demos and people can buy a copy if they are interested.

At the moment it stands at 16 pages. One bad illustration. The rules are only minorly playtested. The text is about 50-60% complete.

Hopefully, it will become 32 pages. 2-3 full page illustrations. 8-12 smaller illustrations. Rules thoroughly playtested. Text 100% complete.

This is gonna be a lot of work, and it's gonna be a tough call, and if it isn't done in time then I certainly won't be too broken up about it. It just gives me a target to aim for.

I'm going to be using Lulu to publish it, since it seems the easiest to work with, even if it is costly. You can check out a preview from here, and I have a couple of sample pages to peruse.

So, any help with playtesting, artwork (particularly a cheap commissioned cover) or criticism would be great.

I have a couple of problems though. Perfect bound (glued) is much cheaper than saddle stitch (staples). Even at 48 pages perfect bound, it works out 50p cheaper than a 32 page saddle stitch (£3.50 to £3.00). But, perfect bound has a tendecy to fall apart, and apparantly, it doesn't do smaller books too well (hence I should probably use 48 pages rather than 32). Is there any strong feelings, experience or advice I can have about what to go with?

If I go with 48 pages, what shall I fill the rest up with? I was thinking it would be nifty to have a lengthy example of play and a comic about it side by side, but I think I'm getting ideas way above my capabilities here. Anything else?


Ninja Mom: REDUX! by oresooreso, 09 Dec 2007 14:37

Just in case you are interested in seeing what folk think of your game, and maybe develop it in a more active forum, there's a mutal review thread on right now at

Review thread over on by oresooreso, 04 Dec 2007 22:52

"Do you think that's something I still need to focus on?"

Yes, I do. Take a game like Shock. From what I've read, it has some of what I'm speaking of, laying out the themes of the story and setting down a few ideas of how they manifest ahead of time. The Presidents are one area where this happens in your game, but I think they're a bit too open. The PCs are a more detailed source of themes, but they're not necessarily shared themes. Working through all this may seem easy to you, but I think you're underestimating just how much skill at gaming you and your friends really have.

Where this whole idea really becomes useful is with gamers who aren't quite so experienced. I would even go so far as to say the themes should have some mechanics attached to them, so that players can see the advantage of building upon what has been done so far, rather than trying to run over the work of others or go off on a tangent. How more experienced players feel about this sort of system will depend on how you structure it.

Of course, its your game, so you're free to do with it what you want. I've got some pretty strong biases in game design, and most of the gamers I know think I've gone off the deep end (but the looks of horror on their faces make it all worth it).

Re: Argentine Wolf Boys by MadUnkieGMadUnkieG, 21 Nov 2007 04:07

Wow, that sounded really oppositional. My apology, I didn't mean it to be.

Re: Argentine Wolf Boys by Joe McDonaldJoe McDonald, 20 Nov 2007 19:57

[Having rotating GMs is very hard on storytelling because it is hard to build up meaning. As the GMs change, each situation is reinterpreted in the story as a whole, and the narrative breaks down. There almost needs to be a character called "story" that gets passed around, but has certain characteristics/themes defined on it. The players acting as GM have the responsibility of upholding those themes.]

Hm… I have never experienced this with rotating GM games, personally. Polaris, Capes and Shock: (my GMless or rotating GM experience) always seem to maintain thematic unity pretty well. The key is that people aren't thinking about "my guy" in exclusion from "the game". They're all shaping participants in the story, and thus all have a vested interest in how the tone progresses.

But, I grant that there's the possibility of "narrative break down" without a central GM. I tried to address this with:
-Picking a President, which defines central mission conflicts
-State of the Wolf Boys write-ups
-The possibility to re-use ("quick burn") past NPCs
-shared, collaborative opposition on missions

Do you think that's something I still need to focus on?

Re: Argentine Wolf Boys by Joe McDonaldJoe McDonald, 20 Nov 2007 19:51
Re: Results?
MounrouMounrou 20 Nov 2007 11:18
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?

I've been meaning to rework my own, but lately just can't bring myself up to it.

I ain't much of a reviewer, but I'll take a look at whatever I can find…… sometimes next week. (As soon as I finish housecleaning.)

Re: Results? by MounrouMounrou, 20 Nov 2007 11:18

Argentine Wolf Boys was the first entry I read, but it's harder to review because I had to mull over how it compared to a similarly structured game I tried to make many years ago.

The premise is a good one, but I feel it needed to talk a bit more about the society, circling back to the topic after the action bits were done with. I would have liked to know what sorts of rituals the society has to ward off these scary creatures and what sorts of taboos and festivals arose.

You take good advantage of traits' ability to be defined on the fly. I get the sense that you had something in mind, but your categories (boy, spite, nature, etc.) were written without being completely clear in your head, resulting in the instructions being a little too vague.

Having rotating GMs is very hard on storytelling because it is hard to build up meaning. As the GMs change, each situation is reinterpreted in the story as a whole, and the narrative breaks down. There almost needs to be a character called "story" that gets passed around, but has certain characteristics/themes defined on it. The players acting as GM have the responsibility of upholding those themes.

Character secrets are another trick. Currently, all players should know everything about every character, but a story like this would work well with secrets. Perhaps give your "secret" to just one other player who can then play it up while GMing/NPCing?

The different Presidents was a great idea. I like being able to change what age the game is set in: giving overall story variations without altering the fundamental premise that is formed within the rules.

Re: Argentine Wolf Boys by MadUnkieGMadUnkieG, 20 Nov 2007 03:20
Re: Results?
Joe McDonaldJoe McDonald 20 Nov 2007 00:57
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?

I've already got my entry hosted online, here:
My email address is: joepub88 (at)

I'd welcome and love people reviewing or critiquing the game. Since I did reviews of all the other games for my prize, mine is the only game which hasn't seen some reviewing yet. (Okay, Kirk Mitchell's didn't either because I omited him from my reviews).

I'm going to be playtesting it in two days, but feedback before or after would rock.

Re: Results? by Joe McDonaldJoe McDonald, 20 Nov 2007 00:57
Re: Results?
MadUnkieGMadUnkieG 19 Nov 2007 22:52
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?

Well, I know Ash has been posting on the forums, so hopefully whatever life got in the way has been letting up a bit. Still, it would be nice to bring this contest to some resolution. I hope that some more people might be willing to share their games afterwards (maybe by posting them to the contest entries page I added).

Re: Results? by MadUnkieGMadUnkieG, 19 Nov 2007 22:52
Re: Results?
MounrouMounrou 16 Nov 2007 08:48
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?

*shrug* yeah, it's been long enough. 5.

Re: Results? by MounrouMounrou, 16 Nov 2007 08:48
Re: Results?
vulpinoidvulpinoid 15 Nov 2007 07:15
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?

Me 4.

Re: Results? by vulpinoidvulpinoid, 15 Nov 2007 07:15
Re: Results?
JamfkeJamfke 14 Nov 2007 14:18
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?

Me three!

Re: Results? by JamfkeJamfke, 14 Nov 2007 14:18
Re: Results?
oresooreso 14 Nov 2007 12:44
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?

I concur. :)

Re: Results? by oresooreso, 14 Nov 2007 12:44
Joe McDonaldJoe McDonald 14 Nov 2007 09:18
in discussion Competitions / Entrants Chat » Results?


Will the contest winner be declared soon? I'm dying to know who won, and it seems like it's been quite a while since we heard from you.

Results? by Joe McDonaldJoe McDonald, 14 Nov 2007 09:18

Good points…

At the time when I was writing this through a process of "semi-edited stream of consciousness" I hadn't considered the shuffling of the deck as a potential mechanic to be used in the game.

I'm currently working on some stuff for a "Serenity RPG" campaign that uses the mechanics of Chinese 21, as this is a fusion of east and west. If it works, some of it could translate back to this game with minimal fuss.

The reason I've avoided the traditional four elemental affinities associated with cards is due to an eight-fold elemental system based on a fusion of kaballah and the i-ching. The notion of light, darkness and harmonious balance is something I wanted to incorporate into the mystic side of the game, but since there wasn't enough time to really sink my teeth into this, I left it alone and just touched on powers briefly as a potential "feelin' skill".

You're right though in that the attributes as they are currently described are a bit restrictive in what they seem to allow from the characters. I tried to get out of the usual "Strength"/"Dexterity"/"Intelligence"/etc. type of rut that a lot of games get into, but a bit more thought and development in this direction would really help.

There is certainly a lot of extra work to do on the time travelling side of things as well, and I've since generated a few dozen pages for mechanics to cover this sort of thing. Now begins the process of refining and sorting…

Thanks for the input.


Re: The Eighth Sea by vulpinoidvulpinoid, 04 Nov 2007 23:03

Sorry for taking so long to get around to going over people's games. I'll start with a bit of a system review while I mull over the setting bits for a little longer. Time travel is tough.

I love card mechanics, but they're different from dice in a number of ways. You've made use of both suits and ranks, and the skills changing a card's suit makes seemingly-useless cards very usable, avoiding a common pitfall in card-based rpgs.

Unfortunately, you're using the cards a little too much like dice without accomodating the other major difference between cards and dice: cards change the odds after every use. I didn't notice anything indicating when to reshuffle the deck. To do it between each draw is annoying and time consuming, but if you wait too many draws, the odds can shift dramatically, especially with so many cards being drawn. This is a force that should be used in the mechanics, but the categories chosen for the game fight against this. It would be better if they represented different approaches that could be taken to any situation, rather than covering different situations. For examp, think of air, earth, fire and water. Fire is aggressive and active, earth is stubborn and solid, etc.

Elements probably aren't right for your game, but it's something to get you thinking.

Skills will still govern which types of situations the characters are good in, so that aspect of character design will still be present in the game.

Re: The Eighth Sea by MadUnkieGMadUnkieG, 04 Nov 2007 16:55

Having Urges instead of attributes would certainly simplify it, no argument there. Unfortunately, if I use my urges as the basis for all my die rolls, then I loose on one of the basic premises of the game. The character can remain in control and calm, and therby gain an advantage as well. If someone wants to play restless as a gory zombie game, they will have little to no use for the skills and attributes, however, as I expand the timeline and description of the setting, the 'human' skills are found to be more important. In fact, I am providing some alternate explanations for the Restless that indicate they actually might be or might have been human at one time.
At this point, I reduced my attributes to three, and my skill lists have been put in three categories teid to one of the attributes. Since the attributes relate to the senses of the character, they affect the degree to which he or she is affected by the environment and how difficult it is for the character to resist his own urges. So the attributes are more focused and interact directly with the urges yet remain powerful in aiding a character perform 'mundane' skills that expand the characters abilities if the game makes use of them. This is a tactical aspect of the game, but that tactic represents both the sacrifice inherent in the urges and the choices available to the player. It is meant to reflect reality you and I experience everyday. You may disagree with me, you mentioned that trying to simulate reality was a impossible. You are certainly right, still, I want to simulate a specific aspect of reality within a larger scope, from that perspective, I believe it is very possible and beneficial.

I figured out how to upload files to the wiki. We've got about 100MB of space to play with, which should be fine, considering none of the games have artwork. Coils of the Orinoco (with 1 item fixed, but no other rules updates or edits) is already uploaded. Ash, would you be willing to add the page to the sidebar if you get the chance?

The page for uploading is called Contest Entries.

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