Genres: Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Dungeon Crawling, Martial Arts. Themes & Ideas: Conviction Has Power, Magic Corrupts (for Good or Evil), Oaths Have Power, Purity vs. Corruption, Rituals Have Power, Unexplored World. System: GURPS 4th Edition. Who: You! Anyone, regardless of knowledge of the system. When: Sunday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. Eastern to 4:00 p.m. Eastern, though longer sessions may happen at the group's choosing. Where: IRC + Google Talk. Why: To have fun! This isn't intended to be a super-serious, in-depth epic drama. It's people getting together to have fun, laugh, and explore a system they might not be familiar with. How: Choose one pre-generated class (below) and post interest.
Welcome to humanity's twilight. Crouched between dark wilderness and the bright light of civilization, the boarderlands are a region where roads end, frontier towns are born, live, and die by fortune, and homesteads struggle against the primeval forces of nature and the corruption of the Maelstrom to survive. In that dim world, a few brave souls stand between the darkness and the light. In their hands rests the ultimate decision: Will this twilight bring the light of civilization or a night ruled by darkness and ruin?
Players will choose from among the following pregenerated characters who will be one of those brave souls facing down the darkness in hopes of spreading the light of humanity. Beyond the last roads lie uncounted leagues of wilderness. Untamed and untouched, they certainly harbor dangers the likes of which only the heroes of old ever encountered, and if legends are true, unfathomable riches as well. Each pregen is created with a strong foundation in combat, but also is capable of serving at least one other role in the party (possibly excluding the Weapon Master who is frightfully good at his trade). Please choose one character that appeals to you and post your interest in a reply.
The Archer: You are the dashing archer who charms women and wins contests of wit alongside those of archery. You are use to a more urban life, but can still live by the land as well as anyone if the need arises. After all, hunting is an archer's forté. Truly, though, your strength lies in interacting with people. You are the life of the party; people just seem to like you. And your dashing feats hardly dampen their opinion of you!
The Assassin: You are the blade in the darkness. Your surprise attacks are crippling, and your poisons beyond lethal. Furthermore, no location is too remote or too secure to prevent your egress – no one is ever safe. Your tools include the use of short blades for close-in work, poisons for more clandestine killings, and a shadowy celerity to gain and maintain the tactical advantage should a "fair" fight ever break out.
The Monster Hunter: You have honed your talents for investigation and analysis to a fine edge chasing down horrors of the night and beheading them before they can harm innocent bystanders. You are adept at recognizing clues, chasing down leads, interrogating people, researching events, and, after the investigation is complete, beheading the culprits. While you don’t have the breadth of knowledge the sage enjoys, you know how to find what you need to know and apply it to maximum effect.
The Sage: You are probably the smartest person in a group – any group. Few have the mental faculties you boast, and you've set yours towards being the wisest person around. To say that you dabble in a wide range of knowledge is to sell you short. Indeed, you are well versed in everything from occult folklore, law, history, and geography to literature, poetry, heraldry, and medicine – the lattermost of which earns you a valued place as the only truly competent healer in the group.
The Trailblazer: You really know how to get around! Whenever the party needs to get from one place to another, you are the go-to person, regardless of terrain, climate, or means of transportation. Your survival skills are unparalleled, allowing you to keep the party warm, safe, and fed in the wilderness while ever marching, riding, sailing, or climbing toward your destination.
The Weapon Master: You are a master of the quarterstaff, a fast and versatile weapon that allows for a multitude of strikes, parries, and armed grappling techniques. So long as you refrain from using bladed weapons, your dedication to your convictions armors you against your foes and grants you impressive combat prowess. Where the assassin relies on stealth and surprise to inflict grievous wounds, you do so through sheer skill.
Combat Maneuvers should include the following possibilities:
Trade defense for offense (in terms of one of accuracy, movement, or power)
Trade offense for defense (in terms of number of defenses or effectiveness of defenses)
Trade time not-attacking for some sort of aiming bonus to your next attack against a specific opponent
Set up If-Then statements, like "I wait until he tries to attack me to launch my attack against him". This would let you delay your own action in the initiative sequence in exchange for potentially interrupting another person's action with your own.
Move further than you normally could if you also attacked
Move far AND attack, but with penalties to accuracy and defenses
Do Jack Squat.
Take a round to execute a non-combat action during combat
For the sake of spellcasting, probably some sort of Concentration thingy instead of an attack, with potential penalties or different handling of defenses (or the effect of distraction, at the least).
I think a trick system should be able to let you take various penalties to skills to perform tricks. Frex, roll Acrobatics-4 to slide down a banister without falling off. Buying up a trick should eliminate the penalty. It is totally okay if it is cheaper to buy up the underlying skill than buy up every trick based on it; people tend to specialize in tricks anyway. It's sort of a signature thing.
Executing tricks should take various numbers of rounds based on the trick. Performing a backflip might be a one-round action, but sliding down a bannister will take various lengths of time depending on how long that bannister is. This will generally use the Non-Combat-Stuff maneuver above.
Combat tricks may involve exploiting the geometry of your weapon (using the hook on locherbe axe to snag someone's clothing or using the prongs on a spontoon to bind an opponent's blade). These will likely use some form of an attack maneuver.
I'm interested in joining in, too, and 8 pm sounds doable any day. I'm also good with any adventure you want to run. I'm more curious about how the system handles than what sort of muck we are arunnin'.
I can see why they went with monster design. It involves most of the major skills they'd be looking for: familiarity with the system in question, writing ability, and overall creativity.
Not to mention following a fairly complex template with lots of specific instructions. I can see why some would be turned off by the nature of the test submission, but if you can get past it, they'll know you won't be a headache for the editor (which is probably about 90% of the point, anyway).
All of the tryouts look to be based on a monster submission. My guess is that they are testing your ability to write and follow a house style more than anything. I wouldn't be put off by the tryout criteria. Heck, it's freelance. If they pick you, you don't have to do anything if they don't want what you have to offer.
Xeviat, that's really funny. You should totally do it! >8|
The way I roll with divine magic is extremely freeform. In d20 terms, it boils down to a heavily GM-adjudicated system of asking for miracles combined with a bunch of class features chosen based on how often your god listens to you (not necessarily how often he grants them). I provide lots of benchmarks for miracles to help guide how things will be adjudicated.
ADENDUM! I should be hit. I forgot some. Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep by Philip K. Dick A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 1984 by George Orwell A Brave New World by Audrey Huxley
Also, check out the planetary tour books from Ben Bova (Mars, Jupiter, Titan, Mercury, Venus, etc. Yes those are the titles...). They do a great job of describing just how different other worlds are, even in those tiny, easily forgotten ways. Frex, on Mars, the horizon is a third as far away as it is on earth. It would look like the world drops off a giant cliff, probably, because we aren't use to that at all. The sunrises are blue and noon is red - the opposite of Earth! He's great at picking up on that sort of thing we take for granted.
More Fantasy-ish-ness Illiad Odyssey Beowulf Ivanhoe
I'll admit my fantasy reading is relatively limited, so my list there is pretty short. On the scifi front, I can give you a nice reading list for sure.
Fantasy The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tokein Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tokein The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tokein Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tokein A Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A __ of __s, etc.) by G.R.R. Martin Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein
Science Fiction Barsoom novels (Warlord of Mars, Gods of Mars, Thuvia Maid of Mars, etc.) by Edgar Rice Borroughs Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein Okay, anything by Robert A. Heinlein, to be honest. I've read all of his books and can't say I disliked any of them. Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (All seven of them!) Empire trilogy by Isaac Asimov I, Robot series by Isaac Asimov The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov Again, most scifi works by Asimov are awesome. He wrote 600+ books, from textbooks to novels to dictionaries, so you'll need to sift through his works for the fiction ones. Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clark Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clark Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clark Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clark The last of the Three Greats of scifi, Arthur C Clark is my least favorite. I find his writing a bit dry and have omitted some of his most famous works because I really didn't enjoy them that much. My mother LOVES him, though. So he's worth checking out. Dune Trilogy by Frank Herbert Helstrom's Hive by Frank Herbert
And Steerpike will kick me if I don't mention this next guy. He is definitely in the realm of scifi, especially considering the time when he wrote and that he innovated a lot of very standard and well-worn traditions in use today. His works are also broadly applicable across nearly all genres. So go read everything ever written by H. P. Lovecraft.
Honorable Mentions Ray Bradbury Harlen Allison Poul Anderson
And another suggestion: Go look up the nominees and winners of the Hugo Award. It is specifically given for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy in a wide variety of categories. Check that out and then research authors from there. That's what I'm starting to do.
What about the Cleric? That's the current problem I'm having. I can't figure out a play style influencing feature for the Cleric. Traditionally, they are like the wizard; a primary spellcaster. Their difference with the wizard came down to their spells. Their spells were less focused on outright offense and more focused on buffs and debuffs; the trouble is the cleric has plenty of direct damage spells and the wizard has plenty of buffs and debuffs. Having different spells doesn't seem to influence their play style.
Now, as primary casters, if the Wizard and Cleric were to access their spells differently (like how a Psion plays differently because they use power points instead of spell slots), then they'd definitely play differently. This is a distinct possibility, but I've been too close to the material to see it objectively. The cleric is granted their magic from a deity, while the wizard wields their own powers. How this can be translated into a difference in the mechanics they use, I don't know. The traditional "clerics have access to all of their spells, and wizards have to learn them" doesn't seem like a difference so much as an outright benefit for the cleric.
So, what are your thoughts on differentiating clerics from wizards? How have you seen similar classes differentiated in other games?
Firstly, welcome back!
Secondly, what I've seen toyed around with is giving free access to cleric spells (for their level, of course) without daily limits with the caveat that the cleric must uphold certain values espoused by their god, partake in various rituals sacred to their god, and not abuse their god's favor in any way. It basically amounted to a pact between the player and the GM that the player would act like a cleric and not run amok in the game world. With the groups that used this rule, it worked. It wouldn't if the players were more unruly and less interested in roleplaying, just as it wouldn't if the GM didn't keep hold of the reigns and enforce the "if you don't do these things, God will hose you" end of the deal. I'd call this approach highly optional, but perhaps you can squeeze something out of it. It definitely creates a different feel for clerics. They tend to be much more restrained in game because they have to consider their vows, their god, and if using a spell in that situation is suitable.