Monday, November 11, 2013

NaGaDeMon and A Ghost Of A Chance

I have some unfinished business with Unfinished Business.

So here is my idea...wait. I have kind of explained what the idea of this game is already in previous posts. Maybe not completely but I've eluded to it.

So here's my problem...

Very often (though not always of course), when I design RPG systems, the concept and design pops into my head full formed. I'm serious. The theme, rules, the look of it, everything. I then clean up that block of solid creativity into something that I can actually show others.

Do you know the old quote attributed to Michelangelo that goes...

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

That is a bit like my game design philosophy. I think of it as 'Zen Michelangelo' (although by no means do I see myself as Michelangelo). The feeling is, this game already exists, inside of my head, in it's final form, completed. I know all of it but it's too much for my brain to handle. Instead, I am only able to perceive this big mess of parts, ideas and cool stuff and I have to then spend time sorting it out, putting it in order, adding a few pieces that got stuck deeper in my skull, while throwing out extraneous parts from other games and places that got mixed in and don't need to be there.

The Smurfs worked that way. Futurama worked that way. Galaxy Quest worked that way.

The Muppets did not. Not exactly. It popped out ready made but that version wasn't good enough for long term use. Several versions popped into my head after that. Over time I kept adding, taking away, adjusting and modifying until I finally got what I wanted in March of 2011. And the truth is, I'm still tweaking it.

The StoryTeller, a variant of the Muppets RPG system that is turning out to be quite different from the 'core rules' (Oh, so now you're some shot, eh? You got Core Rules for the Muppets do ya?), is half and half. In my noggin' it was basically fully formed but I need a lot of names for things. Like the Twilight Zone RPG, I saw in my mind's eye how to run it but the mechanics needed (and still need) a lot of spit and polish before I could actually run it.

Is any of this making sense?

So what is the deal with Unfinished Business?

Did anyone else hear that in Jerry Seinfeld's voice?

Well, I don't have it fully formed in my head. I've been thinking about it for a long, long time and while, once again, I can see how to run it and what kind of game it would be, I feel that the mechanics for achieving that goal are less formed than any previous project I've worked on.

The question is why? Why can't a lock this down from a rules standpoint?

The answer is 'a lot of reasons'. Among them the fact that real life and other projects have me highly distracted. Why the heck do they run this NaGaDeMon thing in November anyway? I'm busy as all get out in November. I need to be after a hit and miss Summer. Why not make it a Summer project? That would make so much more sense and be so much easier. Gripe, gripe, gripe.

Another reason is I may be trying to hard. Some game ideas come very naturally and the mechanics flow with them and it all follows suit. With this, an idea I had originally hoped to publish professionally , I am being ultra-picky and a perfectionist and as a result making very little head way.

What to do...

Barking Alien

On This Veteran's Day, I just want to say to our service men and women, I appreciate what you've done and I am sorry that you had to do it. I remember and honor those who fought, served and died but long for a of time when your services will not longer be required.


And now for something so freaking cool it's almost ridiculous...

Ryuutama in English on Kickstarter


  1. So what's the difference between "core rules" and "the rules"? I see this "core rules" used a lot. Does that mean you're saving rules for later to sell more books?

  2. I honestly think 'Core Rules' may be marketing slang for 'Rules we need to sell you in order to sell you more rules later'.

    I'd don't believe that was the initial meaning of the term. It's certainly not what I mean.

    Core rules are really just a snazzier way of saying rules but they can also be viewed as the basics. The rules you need to play the game. Everything else is an add-on to the 'core' or an option.

    Perhaps Foundation Rules' is a more accurate term.

  3. I hear ya. I shy away from games like AD&D due to the constant attempts to sell more, more, more.

  4. I am torn.

    In the good ol' days (days when there were many games coming out I really liked AND I had the money to buy them), I would look down on a game if it wasn't 'well supported'. I wanted tons of supplements and sourcebooks. On the other hand, I didn't really want more rules.

    A Star Trek or Star Wars game, even more so than a generic Sci-Fi game like Traveller, is helped monumentally by additional books. Who doesn't want more stats of things we've seen in the movies, the TV shows or the animated cartoons? With so much material generated for these and other such properties over the years (Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, etc.), I guarantee you there is no way the 'core rulebook' is going to be able to cover everything or every possible gaming opportunity. In those cases, I applaud more books that detail things like species, ships, droids, weapons and gear, etc.

    On the other hand, D&D benefits and suffers from that fact that it is fantasy, generic and has everything and the kitchen sink at the same time. You can add classes and races and monsters by the ton, but are you actually adding to the game? One of the reasons I'm not into D&D is because I am actually interested in medieval fantasy. An Ars Magica sourcebook on Viking Norway is interesting to me. So is a sourcebook/adventure set on and detailing the island of Malta. A book on overpowered Elemental races you guys made up with no mythical references whatsoever? No, I do not NEED that book the way a Star Trek GM NEEDS a book on Federation Races we've seen in the films that were never detailed before. I need that.

    I want to know who that metallic looking dude in the bar in Star Trek III was. Give me the book that tells me that!

  5. I'm thinking more of those "Advanced Fighter's Cheatin' Handbook of Ultra Bonuses" and what not. I like adventure modules (if they're any good). That FASA Trek one with the Regula 1 deck plans is a good way to go: you get a story plus some universe info. If I play D&D, it's gonna be in my homemade Sinbaddish world so I have no use for books about regions and people in the Forgotten Realms, or different dimensions, etc. I don't even use Monster Manuals because I don't want players to know all about what a troll or a djinn can do until they actually meet one.