Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quick free world maps using GIMP filters and Donjon fractal maps - Preview of Ebook

Quick free world maps using GIMP filters and Donjon fractal maps series:
Part 1: Getting a fractal map,
Part 2: Getting different types of maps,
Part 3: More accurate 3D maps with mountains,
Part 4: Zooming and resolution,
Part 5 Expanding the Zoom Limits.
Part 6: Quick outline maps

[Click on the blog page links above if you want to see the free instructional content I've given out on my blog. This book will include that and new instructions not shown in that content, which do the results below]

I just wanted to update the progress to make an ebook showing the steps to do the ultra zoom elevation maps. I'm still trying to finish up the outline method instruction that I wanted to include.

Here is new content I created to show the step by step, this time looking a tiny island.


In the left upper corner is the original. The middle shows the topographical line version. The lower right shows the tiny island. Compare the lower right to the original in the upper left. I believe it is a phenomenal results. I'm very pleased.

I don't have an ETA on when it will be finished.

Hopefully I can keep the price low. It will depend on the size of the file, since that's how they calculate ebook charges. With all the maps, it drives up the price up the most, more than the text itself. Text is very cheap for ebooks. But I'm trying to keep the images to a minimum when possible.

It will have all of the content in posts 1 to 6 as well put into one ebook as well as the new ultra zoom and outline methods only shown but not revealed in my free posts.

Available from Google Play Books.
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ken_N_Wickham_Quick_free_world_maps_using_GIMP_fil?id=tvZmDAAAQBAJ

Also available on Kindle and RPGNow
https://www.amazon.com/Quick-world-filters-Donjon-fractal-ebook/dp/B01H131XPY/

http://www.rpgnow.com/product/187006/Quick-free-world-maps-using-GIMP-filters-and-Donjon-fractal-maps

Story and Game Structure: Storylines

Story vs RPG Series
Story: Elements
Story vs RPG Part 3: Character Information
Story v RPG Part 5: Personality Types
Story v RPG Part 6: Alignment, Morality, and Ethics
Story vs RPG Part 7: Character Needs
Story vs RPG Part 8: Character emotions
Story vs RPG Part 9: Lies - Our characters darkest secrets
Story vs RPG Part 10: Setting - cultures
Story vs RPG Part 11: Pair Dynamics
Story and Game Structure: Storylines
Story vs RPG Part 12: Larger groups - conformity & deviance

If you like this series support it by buying it today for kindle all in one file and without advertisement. Available in most countries that Amazon supports. 

I'm not sure where this post is going to go. I wanted to explore the structure of stories and role playing games. This may lead to a series on creating stories from ideas to storylines to outlines or sandbox tools and to finally the scenes. It may in future posts focus on plots, acts, chapters, adventures, series, and books. But today I just feel like writing and researching storylines - both for bestsellers and adventure sourcebooks to see how similar and different they are.

Are storylines for bestselling novels and rpg sourcebooks similar? Can they catch the essence in one single sentence, even though they may using several paragraphs to describe the story?

Storline of a Story
A storyline (or story arc) is one of the most basic part of an adventure or story. That is has been called many names.

In writing, these may be called the storyline, narrative thread, plot thread, or story arc.

In gaming, these may be called rpg plots, adventure ideas, adventure types, story or plot hooks, or plot or adventure seeds.

At its core, a storyline can be told in one sentence. Books normally have several paragraphs at the back of the book. I'll try to rip out the three most important parts of the three paragraphs and put them into one sentence.

In gaming, if you have this one sentence, you most likely will be able to run an entire game adventure. All of the maps, encounters, and obstacles support this one storyline. In a sandbox style game, as long as you know the reason for the adventure - the storyline - details can be attached to that basic structure to flesh the sessions out.

Storylines in games can either be pre-bought, pre-made, developed with help of the players, or made on the fly.

What are the three most important parts of a storline? These I think are the prominent characters, the main action thrust, and the opposition of the story or game adventure.

Five examples from current fiction bestsellers and RPG adventure sourcebooks will be spliced.

Book Bestseller Examples

For these I am using for these examples 1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, 2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman,  3. End of Watch by Stephen King, 4. Enemy by K. Eason, and 5. Pines by Blake Crouch.

Who are the prominent characters in generic and universal terms?
A storyline normally doesn't name the protagonists or player characters. If it does name the character, unless the name is widely known readers picking up the book have nothing to connect to the name. The more important part is the description of the name. This is normally an adjective word followed by a common noun.

Here are some examples pulled off of the more recent best sellers.


  1. an ordinary girl
  2. a chatty young couple
  3. retired police detective
  4. half-blood conjuror and smuggler
  5. secret service agent


What must they do?
A summary of the main action thrust of the plot must be written down or hinted at. This also reveals conflict between the prominent characters and the third part - the opposition. This shows what the main characters must do. It tells where the story will go.


  1. she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
  2. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
  3. pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk
  4. must decide whether her partner’s life is worth betraying her allies and damning the Republic to war.
  5. locate and recover two federal agents who went missing


What is the opposition?
A storyline normally hints on who or what the antagonist or opposing force is that is preventing such action from the prominent character from occuring.


  1. ex–Master of the Universe ... , who is wheelchair bound
  2. a curmudgeon ... the bitter neighbor from hell
  3. perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre ... is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room
  4. the goddess is back ... she wants revenge
  5. he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive
Example of making a one sentence summary
I'll just make the first example into a one sentence storyline summary.

  1. An ordinary girl sets out to show a wheel chair bound ex-master of the universe that life is still worth living.
The entire essence of the story is rolled up into one powerful sentence.

You can try the other sentences or do them in your mind like I did.

Gaming examples

For these, I'm using 1. Curse of Strahd by WoTC, 2. Prince of the Apocalypse by WoTC, 3. Curse of the Crimson Throne by Jacobs and Logue , 4. For Queen & Empire by Stephen Radney-MacFarland, and 5. Exquisite Agony by Schwalb Entertainment

Who are the prominent characters in generic and universal terms?

  1. a party of adventurers
  2. adventurers from heroic factions
  3. a ragtag group of heroes
  4. Arriving in the imperial capital, the adventurers
  5. The devils and mortals


What must they do?


  1. has just entered his domain ...
  2. must discover where the true power of each prophet lay, and dismantle it before it comes boiling up to obliterate the Realms
  3. can they stand before the might of one of Golarion’s most notorious villains?
  4. To impress the queen and secure a royal audience, the wicked characters must scour ... to root out and eradicate a secret organization that works to free halfling slaves
  5. must join forces and take a stand against the impossible foe


What is the opposition?

  1. the vampire ... The master of Castle Ravenloft
  2. four corrupt prophets have risen from the depths of anonymity to claim mighty weapons with direct links to the power of the elemental princes
  3. a new queen
  4. Her Infernal Majestrix Queen
  5. a grim darkness cast by the Voice in the Void
Example of making a one sentence summary
I don't really like the first one since it's very vague. I'll do the second one instead
  1. Adventurers from heroic factions must discover the source of the mighty weapons true power of each of the four newly risen corrupt prophets and dismantle it before it comes boiling up to obliterate the Realms.
Although not as straight forward as the novel example, I did manage to muscle in what I believe is the entire storyline of the RPG sourcebook.

Conclusion

I believe most stories, both novel and rpg adventure sourcebook, can use these three chunks of information (who are the characters, what must they do, and what is opposing them) to write one sentence that clearly tells what the story is about.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Microfiction: failed fantasy trope, "Bargain for Eternity"

Microfiction: failed fantasy trope

"Bargain for Eternity"
By Ken Wickham
Copyright © 2016

Jonovan approached his and the world's destiny.

The dark prince stood across the room, fire blazing in his pale extended palm. A chilled wind forced Jonovan into the black marble wall of the forsaken citadel.

He held the recently claimed sword forward, feet inching, fighting ahead despite the impossible situation.

Ahead the figure was draped in darkness, and all he could see was a feint grin. Dark blues, blacks, and deep purples mist swirled around behind the beckoning malevolent force that had threatened him each step of the perilous journey.

His gold and silver ancient runic sword shone bright, a gold flame cutting through the impending doom.

"You will not win," echoed the sly tongued demon prince.

"It's not me you fight. But all of Ea," he said forcing the utter bleak fear from the depth of his soul. A fear that tainted his very heart.

How many lives lost? Brynn's loving sacrifice. Tobert's unseen betrayal. Lamva's sacred guidance. 

Enthralled by lost friends his inching became steps.

The winds seemed to dissipate. The steps became strides.

"Join me young warrior. And we will rule all of Ea," came the silvery frosted words.

Jonovan progress came to a explosive halt. It was as if all the universe's energy had fallen on him. How could this be?

"50, 50?" he asked.

The terrifying lich screamed back, "No. 75, 25."

"Only if it's 50, 50," he said, assured that the prince would give in.

"Okay. You drive a hard bargain. I'm doing all the work as it is," came the pure evil maniacal chuckle.

"Agreed."

Donovan put away the blade and went to the chair indicated by the outstretched open hand of the evil lord.

He felt pleased that he would be moving up in the world. His dying father's wishes was that he would make something of his life.

And now he would be at the top.

Story vs RPG Part 11: Pair Dynamics

Story vs RPG Series
Story: Elements
Story vs RPG Part 3: Character Information
Story v RPG Part 5: Personality Types
Story v RPG Part 6: Alignment, Morality, and Ethics
Story vs RPG Part 7: Character Needs
Story vs RPG Part 8: Character emotions
Story vs RPG Part 9: Lies - Our characters darkest secrets
Story vs RPG Part 10: Setting - cultures
Story vs RPG Part 11: Pair Dynamics
Story and Game Structure: Storylines
Story vs RPG Part 12: Larger groups - conformity & deviance

If you like this series support it by buying it today for kindle all in one file and without advertisement. Available in most countries that Amazon supports. 

In the last post issues discussed are setting, worldbuilding; society, culture, individual; types of authority, boundaries, time; roles, expectations, acceptable behavior, choices, status; evaluation, assumptions, cause of behavior, change in behavior; and consensus control. This post may refer to that last post to build and discus further story issues related to culture.




In this post I wanted to convert sociological jargon for the smallest of the groups and culture - the two person group. For example, a two person relationship in sociology calls a dyad. I'll just call it a pair.

In this post for an example I'll used two character examples. Although put in a modern setting, I do so since this is a fantasy community and so this common series of relationships wont directly transfer to someone else's story. It's a fairly common relationship which has been done before. Everything will also transfer over to any specific fantasy setting with a little changes here and there.

They are George and Martha. You pick which is which in the photo above. It doesn't matter. I'll put their text in italics. So you can skip that text if you don't want to read it.

Pair Dynamics
When two characters come together interesting things can happen. In RPGs, normally the more vocal players rather than the characters they are portraying can sway the team towards group actions and ideas. Someone who is naturally quiet might not shine, unless they are vital characters to the team.

If you bring two characters together both games and stories, at first they might struggle to find out who is dominant and who will follow. They may not be considered a 'pair' until they settle on their relationship dynamic. Two characters may clash, but heads, or fragment apart if the group does not find their gelling pair dynamic.

George is being assigned to work with Martha for the first time. What happens has a lot to do with their struggle to find a working relationship. Until they settle into a comfortable working relationship, no working chemistry or bond will be made.



Using Personality Type systems to find clues
This is very easy if one personality type is an extrovert and one is an introvert, which are shown in the Keirsey and Myers Briggs systems in the personality types post. Other personality type systems may require a moment to think about type comparison. Or you can use the conversion chart at the bottom of the personality type post which I recently added for several popular systems. When you have an extrovert and introvert, the decision is quite easy. Even if the introverted character has more status and rank, the lower status extrovert naturally will tend to try steering the higher status introvert their way using methods discussed later.

George is a INTP personality type person: an architect, theorist, designer, and attentive. He's a thinker. George likes to think things out, coming up with all sorts of ideas. He's most comfortably an introvert.

Martha is a ESTJ personality type person: an expressive, supervisor, implementer. She's a protector & reformer. Martha likes lead, motivate, and spurn her work team to success. She's most comfortably an extrovert.

Getting to know Another Character
1. Physical Description
How a character looks can influence the character's initial meeting. How they initially speaks can also be included in this initial judgement. Characters may prejudge the other character just based off of how the other looks and sounds entirely at first. Their assumptions may be based on past experiences or even something they have heard from someone else. Reputations may proceed their meeting. This may begin to form the perceptions of each of the characters towards each other.

George wears conservative clothing. His style is average and functional. He is well groomed. When he speaks, it is in a low in volume and sometimes a little coarse. He sometimes speaks rambling on about ideas which he learned or thought about recently in grad-school.

Martha wears high end clothing. She wears trendy clothing. Her well put together clothing is brilliant and stands out in a good way among peers. Her reputation that George overhears from HR is that she is tough, hard to please, and a stickler for results. She speaks energetic and full of life. She gets straight to the point.

Martha sees George and immediately is at ease. She senses from his appearance that he will probably go along with the team. 

George is on his toes. He wants to impress Martha with his great ideas, which he is full of. 

Martha hears the ideas and begins to try figuring out if any of it will be useful. She wants him to fit in and doesn't confront him quite yet about the impractical ideas presented.

2. Personality Types
Next, the more social, aggressive, controlling, and action type characters may try getting to know, assigning tasks to each other, or getting them to do something. They are exploring their role and expectation between each other. Fears and secrets my spurn their interaction. The characters are trying to find out what benefit they might get from the interaction.

If they both will gain from their relationship, then the relationship will grow. If they feel that they are losing too much, they will begin to fragment. The actual sought benefit or avoided loss depends on the characters's personality type. Some personality types are willing to sacrifice their own good for the benefit of others. And some would never give into other's wishes.

In fact, one of the pair members may feel they are gaining something while the other may feel they are losing something. These are one-way relationships.

Martha is interested in functional ideas. After a few days, once George is settling in, she begins to compliment him on the good ideas. At the same time for the impractical ideas she suggests maybe they should consider whether on not those ideas would really work.

George thinks his ideas are great. They would improve productivity by leaps. He begins to have trouble seeing why she can't see just how great those ideas are.

Martha is becoming impatient with George. He persistently nags trying to push his unworkable ideas. She kindly tries to redirect his ambition to no avail. George is beginning to drag her team down. She will not tolerate such results.

3. Character Interests
Then character begin to influence each other. What do they like that is similar? What issues separate by the pair members holding so different or distant interests? Can they relate to each other with even a few mutual interests?

Martha was approaching George's area to discipline him about his lack of performance when she hears a loud conversation coming from his office cubicle. He is talking about his uncle, one of the vice presidents of the company. She didn't know this! Martha stays back, pretending to do something else. George is connected to one of the superiors she is trying to impress. He mentions that his uncle is looking for new, challenging, and fresh ideas, which he has been trying to suggest to Martha. Suddenly the dynamic changes. She chooses not to discipline him. Rather she will try to use him to her advantage. She finally finds a common interest helping to form a bond or pair.



ABS12: The anatomy of the combat numbers

All the changes from this page will be added to the complete master game page at A Basic System 12 (ABS12).

For this post, I wanted to look into what exactly the numbers in the formula mean. This is important to help determine how to describe actions.

Minor change

One other change I'm making is removing the PL from PL damage roll, PL Live, and PL defense, which don't seem to make sense anymore.

Verb Skill formula portions


1. Situation roll portion
The first roll 1d12, in every type of roll means the situation roll. Situations can vary from good to bad. The first random roll tells you how good current situation about the skill or combat.

Player should describe exactly how the character does something, not just what a character does. 

If a character uses a description verb to look for clues, then the player should explain exactly how the player will search for clues. Will they look through all the drawers and cupboards? Having explained how the character will search, the roll can then be performed to describe how lucky fate is with the character in performing the task.

Interpreting the numbers
A 1 is so bad that it's a fumble. A 12 is so good that it's a automatic success.

Describing the situation depends upon what type of action is being performed. Once you have that action in mind, you can describe the situation surrounding the action using adverbs and adjectives in similar degree to the the result rolled. The situation may be environmental. It may include actions of opposing characters. It may include the conditions of the character performing the action.

Above six becomes more positive.
Below six becomes more negative.

Here is a general adjective scale denoting quality and degree for the situation surrounding the how the action is performed.



If as in the prior example, if the character is looking through all the drawers and cupboards looking for clues, and the player roll a three - what does that mean?. A three is very bad. What could a very bad situation mean or look like when searching through cupboards and drawers? It might mean that the character rushes through the search doing a poor job of searching. It might also mean that despite ones great skill, something happens to be covering the thing that the character is trying to find. The first explanation is a more method based or quality of performance rational. Whereas the second one is luck based or quality of the environment. Either way, they both explain and describe a the situation that is very bad.

2. Learned description level and power level experience portion
Both the PL and DL portions are fixed. 

The PL represents experience as the character acquires more real world experience. Characters recognize patterns and appropriate methods just by watching life around them. The learn little tricks to help live even doing unskilled and untrained actions easier. They have life knowledge.

The DL represents learned skill. It represents actual study, practice, exploration, teachings, and education. They receive education formally or on the job.

The next portion of the formula appears in combat. It is a special kind of roll called the damage roll.

Offensive roll 1d12 + PL + DL + Damage roll

3. Why is the damage roll added to the offensive roll?
The damage roll represents how viscous and potentially damaging the attack, blow, or strike is. The damage roll is potential damage, rather than actual damage.It represents how deadly the strike could be - how much force and accurate the blow may be. Even with a little lesser luck, a very powerful attack my still do damage if the attack is powerful. Too much of a bad situation will make even a powerful attack miss. Yet a great situation might help a weak attack still hit and do damage depending on the defender's situation.

The lowest damage possible is 1. Even variable damage weapon will at least do 1 point of damage

In damages where even a roll of 1 is made out of 1d12/6, = is all one or the other. There is no fumble or automatic success from the damage roll. Your only trying to find the amount, in this case 1 or 2. It's either one or the 

Damage roll is countered with the armor value portion of the defense. The defender offsets the damage roll with their fixed defense which is made up of skill (DL) and experience(PL) plus any armor.


Damage Table



Sunday, May 29, 2016

ABS12: Test play, Game System combat & skill + Solo Game Engine + Fact Generator

ABS12 Solo Game Engine and Fact Generator
ABS12: Basic Fact Generator
ABS12 Solo Game Engine: Additionals, Branching, & Conditionals
ABS12: Synonyms for writing using the ABS12 Solo Game Engine
Testing the ABS12 Solo Engine and Fact Generator
ABS12: Story Engine
ABS12: Drama Escalator

ABS: Solo Gaming Engine - flexible version It contains 1d6, 1d8, Fate, Fudge, 1d10, 1d12, 2d6, 3d6, 1d20, 4d6 JAGS, and 1d100 columns and modifiers.

Picture I made after the story was written. A collage of three images. In the actual story, Dwima has one elven blade not two

In this session, I want to try planning to test the skill, combat, solo engine, and fact generator all together if possible to see how they work so far. All of them can be found in the ABS12 gaming system.

In the last test I tried a PL1 fighter vs PL1 fighter. In this one I will try a PL1 fighter with a PL0 encounter.

I will set up the game story first. Each step I will show the work of how those ideas were created. Then I will start the story. When I need a decision I'll use the solo game system. For ideas and story, I'll use the fact generator. For combat I'll use the ABS12 combat system.

After the game detailed story I will do an analysis of the game system and story results.

I will end by cleaning up the story and presenting a more readable first draft of the story with minimal editing. This should be easier to read. But first I begin with the story framework.

Genre: I want to this to be a fighter character in a fantasy setting.

Characters:
Dwima the elven fighter PL1

Fighter11Lf 4Sp 5Def 61d12/3SwordRescue+21Speed3
vs

a grunt orc fighter PL0

Fighter00Lf 0.5Sp 1Def 41d12/3SwordRescue +20Fighting0Speed0

Roll for Scene Location
Rolling for setting seeds using the fact generator.

I'll roll 4 and see if it's enough.

1d12 = 3 = Taste; 1d12 = 12 = Suck
1d12 = 12 = Description; 1d12 = 7 = Small
1d12 = 4 = Hear; 1d12 = 12 = Background
1d12 = 3 = Taste; 1d12 = 12 = Sweet

To me these two words fit togheter like tasting a sweet fruit. Small, Sweet
And these means hearing something in the distance. Suck, Background

I roll one more time to clearify.
1d12 = 8 = Time; 1d12 = 1 = Stop

Scene Setting
Okay, the scene is that Dwima is outside in an orchard tasting a sweet fruit - a golden juicy peach - when in the short distance he hears the sound of an orc sucking loudly on peaches coming down the rows of peach trees. That sound stops him immediately and he will go into action.

Note on the orc language
When the orc speaks, I will use some of the orc vocabulary and grammar that I made for Aioskoru several months ago, which will be unreadable to others. That is until I publish that orc dictionary sometime in the future.


It was beyond delicious.

The sweat nectar of the morian golden peach dripped down the sides of Dwima's mouth as he slowly and carefully took bites from the delicious golden goodness.

It filled his stomach and helped ease the hunger pains that he had been experiencing the last few days during the long hot days of crossing the eastern wasteland. Days when all he saw was grey barren flatland sprinkled with burnt oases.

This is most likely the best food I have ever tasted.

He felt his spirits lifted and having nearly lost his sanity.

"Vinun ka ava kiut kokorov," said a deep gurgled voice, just over the crest of the small rolling orchard hill.

[Does Dwima recognized the orc voice words in his hunger? -2 Somewhat Unlikely in his starved state; 1d12 = 4 - 2 = 2; No, also > Not only does he not recognize the orc's words in his hunger + ]
[Rolling twice for other negative seeds. 5 = Scent, 6 = Woody; 8 = Time, 8 = Old; Old + Woody scent > The scent of the old peach tree orchard wood distracts him as well]

The sweet taste and euphoria that the peach together with the old woody peach tree aroma overtook Dwima's mind.

"This is the best place ever," he shouted and began a dance around amount the fruit trees."

It reminded him of last year's harvest feast, among the myrtle trees.

[The young orc heard the shout and chooses to attack the distracted and slightly insane elf Dwima.
The orc is at an advantage due to the distraction. 1d12 = 5, 1d12 = 6, the 6 is higher.
Offensive roll 1d12 + PL + DL + PL Damage roll
Orc Offensive roll 6 + 0 + 0 (3/3) = 7

Defensive roll 1d12 + PL Defense
Dwima is at a disadvantage due to being distracted.
1d12 = 4, 1d12 = 11, the 4 is lower
Dwima Defensive roll 4 + 6 = 10

The orc's roll is only half way of the possible results - not very good, despite having an advantage.
In addition, the damage portion isn't very good - only 1 out of 4. So obviously, the orc didn't attack well and the situation wasn't great

I roll a quick single time to help explain why.
1d12 = 6 = Think, 1d12 = 8 = Observe
Think, Observe > I interpret this then that the young orc is so focused at hitting the elf that it forgets to to watch it's step.

It does hit Dwima because the 6 exceeded the 4 situation and 2 more skill, but the plate armor easily protected Dwima - only 1 damage to the 4 armor.]

Dwima brought the peach up to -.

He felt his armor jolt in a violent chorus. His plate armor rang out like frantic bell ringer. The shock of the blast temporarily shook him causing him to loose his breath for a moment. He shook his head to clear his head and gasped to gulp in some air. He turned his head to see the stone grey features of an orc trying to regain balance.

Removing his long elven blade, he prepared to fight back.

The scent of wood receded as Dwima squinted and sized up his would be assailant.

"You son of a troll," he brought sword sideways in an arc.

[1d12 = 9 + 1 + 1 + (1d12=3/3) = 12 attack roll
1d12 = 9 + 4 = 13 defense]

Despite his well place blow, it wasn't enough to penetrate the black stinking plate armor.


[I'm going to drop narration and continue when something happens, focusing on major battle events.

Orc attack 5 + (10/3) = 8
Dwima defense 10 + 6 = 16

Dwima attack 6 + 2 + (5/3) = 9
Orc defense 6 + 4 = 10

Orc attack 5 + (8/3) = 8
Dwima defense  2 + 6 = 8]

After several clash of blades, the orc thrust at his throat.

Dwima panicked and barely was able to turn, to avoid possible death.

The orc was grinning a ghastly smile, fangs dripping with saliva.

His grip slightly trembled. Taking a deep breath of the air, he tried to regain his focus on the annoying grey beast in front of him.

[Dwima 11 + 2 + (8/3) = 15
Orc 6 + 4 = 10
15 - 10 = 5 > 4 = Spectacular success
Orc Life 0.5 - 5 = Dead
Spectacular Success + Kill!]

Dwima jumped forward, swinging his blade before the orc could respond.

He felt his blade crunch into the side of orc's head.

The orc's smile and grin froze. Slowly its face muscles slackened.

He yanked the blade from the skull, and the orc fell to the ground.

The trembling in his hands, briefly gone for that moment, returned.

He dropped his blade and fell to the ground.

[6 = Think, 3 = Apply, what does Diwam learn from this experience?]

I need to be more careful.

That old woody scent now felt threatening.

Sitting under the peach tree looking up, he saw one of the peaches drop towards him.

Reaching up, he caught it with one hand.

He held the peach in the air strong and steady. His trembling had dissipated.

Sitting up, looking over the peach briefly, he bit into the peach enjoying and replenishing his strength.

The peaches are good, but not that good.

After he gathered what was valuable from the orc and eating several more peaches.

He stared at a map that he found in the orc's pack. The map showed nearby village locations. Strange orcish markings wrote notes across the map. He tensed his stomach as he saw red ink arrows pointing towards the various villages.

A desperate need to answer questions entered his mind.

What was this orc doing? Do they plan on attacking the villages?

And have they already done so?

He looked in the direction of one of the marked villages. He could make out the river on the map in the distance.

Dwima gathered his gear and headed down the hill towards closest village near the distant river.

Analysis of the Tools
The tools performed pretty well, I think.

It takes me a while to write the bracket material. At first I felt the need to write everything out even the little details to explain the process. As time went by, I created more shorthand form.

The entire setting was a surprise. I added details to try to add significance to orchard.

I figured Dwima would fail, but not by that much. When he did, it forced me to explain how he would be caught totally off guard. That's why I fished for another clue and got the woody scent. So that became my explanation for why he was even more distracted.

The battle, I thought he would take down the orc quicker.

I sort of like how the orc almost hit Dwima.

For more effect, I added my own detail of the 'trembling hands' to help shed a little light on his uncertainty and near broken spirit.

Amazingly the next action was an overwhelming success, which received one of the new rules that I added after last test, the spectacular success. I checked to make sure it was a kill, which at PL 0 is 0.5 Life because they haven't received training yet (I don't think I've updated that in the core book yet). Any damage would have killed this orc.

I one more time and got the think-apply which was a great reminder for Dwima to be more careful and apply what he has learned.

For the rest of the scene I added my own interpretation and wanted to end on a somewhat contrasting and returning back to the beginning with the peach.

I wanted to end the scene with a little bad news - the orc's map. That way the story would have fuel to continue.

Main concern
Mechanic wise, I don't like rolling against myself during combat. It slightly feels like I am fighting myself. I will search out a method to help reduce this feeling.


"Peaches and Blades"
a scene by Ken Wickham 
Copyright © 2016

It was beyond delicious.

The sweat nectar of the morian golden peach dripped down the sides of Dwima's mouth as he slowly and carefully took bites from the delicious golden goodness.

It filled his stomach and helped ease the hunger pains that he had been experiencing the last few days during the long hot days of crossing the eastern wasteland. Days when all he saw was grey barren flatland sprinkled with burnt oases.

This is most likely the best food I have ever tasted.

He felt his spirits lifted and having nearly lost his sanity.

"Vinun ka ava kiut kokorov," said a deep gurgled voice, just over the crest of the small rolling orchard hill.

The sweet taste and euphoria that the peach together with the old woody peach tree aroma overtook Dwima's mind.

"This is the best place ever," he shouted and began a dance around amount the fruit trees."

It reminded him of last year's harvest feast, among the myrtle trees.

Dwima brought the peach up to -.

He felt his armor jolt in a violent chorus. His plate armor rang out like frantic bell ringer. The shock of the blast temporarily shook him causing him to loose his breath for a moment. He shook his head to clear his head and gasped to gulp in some air. He turned his head to see the stone grey features of an orc trying to regain balance.

Removing his long elven blade, he prepared to fight back.

The scent of wood receded as Dwima squinted and sized up his would be assailant.

"You son of a troll," he brought sword sideways in an arc.

After several clash of blades, the orc thrust at his throat.

Dwima panicked and barely was able to turn, to avoid possible death.

The orc was grinning a ghastly smile, fangs dripping with saliva.

His grip slightly trembled. Taking a deep breath of the air, he tried to regain his focus on the annoying grey beast in front of him.

Dwima jumped forward, swinging his blade before the orc could respond.

He felt his blade crunch into the side of orc's head.

The orc's smile and grin froze. Slowly its face muscles slackened.

He yanked the blade from the skull, and the orc fell to the ground.

The trembling in his hands, briefly gone for that moment, returned.

He dropped his blade and fell to the ground.

I need to be more careful.

That old woody scent now felt threatening.

Sitting under the peach tree looking up, he saw one of the peaches drop towards him.

Reaching up, he caught it with one hand.

He held the peach in the air strong and steady. His trembling had dissipated.

Sitting up, looking over the peach briefly, he bit into the peach enjoying and replenishing his strength.

The peaches are good, but not that good.

After he gathered what was valuable from the orc and eating several more peaches.

He stared at a map that he found in the orc's pack. The map showed nearby village locations. Strange orcish markings wrote notes across the map. He tensed his stomach as he saw red ink arrows pointing towards the various villages.

A desperate need to answer questions entered his mind.

What was this orc doing? Do they plan on attacking the villages?

And have they already done so?

He looked in the direction of one of the marked villages. He could make out the river on the map in the distance.

Dwima gathered his gear and headed down the hill towards closest village near the distant river.


ABS12: Description Build points, Special Verb Actions

All the changes from this page will be added to the complete master game page at A Basic System 12 (ABS12).

So far, when I added creatures I tried to convert them over from several other open sources games, using an unofficial conversion system that I have in my head, using general rules that I created after analyzing the Open Gaming License (OGL) data several weeks ago for the black bear. I wrote up a comparison chart of common creatures from different systems months ago for Aioskoru world. Equiped with the list and the general rules that were extracted I converted the creatures using OGL data.

Last night I began to build a spreadsheet to help look at descriptions from a point based system. This may lead to some sort of description creation guidelines. I also included my first sets of creature data, removing the bonuses gained during PL increase.

That chart is shown at the bottom of this post.

DL vs Special Verbs
When I wrote the descriptions initially, it began with the concept that being one of the descriptions, such as a thief, would begin with a DL1 in thieving skills. I realized shortly after that it would be nice to have special skill verbs (abilities, stunts, and powers) built into the overall description. And so I added verbs such as covert stab and covert which can go above and ontop the DL1 bonus.

I realized that I've never added the rules for the special verbs yet. I think I need to more explicitly write in. I am adding the following text to the game.

I changed a few of the titles to special verb skill and DL.

Special Verb Skilled action

1d12 + PL + DL + Special Verb

Special Verb Combat action

Offensive roll 1d12 + PL + DL + Special Verb Damage


Special verbs are skills that go beyond the normal DL bonus. They can be thought of as special feats, special abilities, stunts, or special moves. Use the bonus for the special verb on top of the DL for added bonus. For combat, used the special verb damage instead of the standard melee damage for attacks using special verbs.

Skilled Actions
The definition itself is a group of skills defined by the gamemaster or in solo play the player for whatever appropriate for whatever world is being played. Anything that fits in this definition in a game will get a DL bonus. For example. Thieves can do thief skills not mentioned in the special verb skill sections. They may get the basic DL bonus when picking locks - if that is something all thieves do in your game world. Maybe they are good at bar fights. Maybe they have underground connections.



Possible Reduction: 2 covert for the thief
On top I put the 4 character descriptions. Unfortunately for the thief, they may lose one point of covert in order to balance out the descroptions.

[Click to enlarge]

I'm adding this chart to the bottom of the game for future use and comparison. It may change over time. New definitions will be added.



A Basic System 12 (ABS12)
Index of my blog

Saturday, May 28, 2016

ABS12: First PL2 encounters and more

All the changes from this page will be added to the complete master game page at A Basic System 12 (ABS12).

New version number
If you haven't  noticed, I upped the version now to 1.03 including everything changed or added last week. The current version is much larger than the last version update. I've added the solo game engine, rules from second testplay, the fact generator, changes from the testing of both those tools, synonyms for the solo game engine, the character creation summary, and these PL2 creature encounters.

PL2 Creatures

This is the first of several batches of creatures for power level 2, these are creatures that most games have listed. I'll write the new descriptions verbs (skills & powers) in another post.

[Click image to enlarge]


The minor construct although slow is the most difficult end boss type creature.
The giant ant drone and fire drake will be challenging.
Ghostify works with any creature. Non-physical attacks will be removed and one of the 4 special attacks, shown by most powerful to least powerful, will be added. low PL should begin with fear; low-mid drain touch, upper-mid corrupt touch, high corrupt stare. This is because they lack a physical body.

The other two PL charts updated
I replaced the PL0 and PL1 encounter charts with revised charts which have a few changes - mainly adding speed and immunizing some creatures

Note on Zombify
Zombify note change which I noticed didn't match the template. Zombie was going to be a creature, but I decided to make it a template instead but forgot to change the note text.

Zombify works with any encounter. All description verbs are lost in the transformation except physical weapons. This is because they become mindless carnivorous undead.

A Basic System 12 (ABS12)

Index of my blog

Friday, May 27, 2016

ABS12: Character Creation Summary

All the changes from this page will be added to the complete master game page at A Basic System 12 (ABS12).

I just wrote up and added the character creation summary.

I also changed 'PL damage' to 'PL damage roll' in the combat rules, now that I have moved to variable damage. It just reflects the changes already made.

Character Creation Summary

  1. Set power level to 1 unless you want to begin the game at a higher PL or 0 PL.
  2. Pick a description out of the four currently available: fighter, magic user, thief, or healer.
  3. Set your description level to 1.
  4. This game considers all humanoid species equal in ability. Record one if you wish with your description. Humanoid species include humans, orcs, dwarves, elves, halflings, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, or kobolds. No benefit will be given for differing species selection.
  5. Calculate your PL life. At PL 1, this should be 2 + description life bonus if applicable.
  6. Record the PL1 defense which should be 2 + the defense for your description's armor.
  7. Record your description's weapon damage.
  8. Record your character's PL1 speed which should be 2 + any description speed bonus if applicable.
I also added the instructions for offensive roll as:
The attacker rolls twice. Once for the situation (the full amount) and once for the Damage roll calculation. Check the appropriate weapon or spell damage to calculate the PL damage roll amount.

ABS12: Synonyms for writing using the ABS12 Solo Game Engine

All the changes from this page will be added to the complete master game page at A Basic System 12 (ABS12).

ABS12 Solo Game Engine and Fact Generator
ABS12: Basic Fact Generator
ABS12 Solo Game Engine: Additionals, Branching, & Conditionals
ABS12: Synonyms for writing using the ABS12 Solo Game Engine
Testing the ABS12 Solo Engine and Fact Generator
ABS12: Story Engine
ABS12: Drama Escalator

ABS: Solo Gaming Engine - flexible version It contains 1d6, 1d8, Fate, Fudge, 1d10, 1d12, 2d6, 3d6, 1d20, 4d6 JAGS, and 1d100 columns and modifiers.

After test playing and looking over the ABS12 Solo Game Engine yesterday, it came to me that maybe a list of synonyms for the main engine terms might be helpful. It might help explain the different results using different wording. When I write I try to show the decision points using actions and descriptions, rather than noticeable transitional sentences and conjunctions. But still these concepts are underlying those story actions and descriptions.

ABS12 Game Engine System Synonyms

maybe - perhaps, possibly, conceivably, it could be (that), it may be, it is possible (that), perchance, for all one knows, mayhap, there's a chance

if and only if - on (the) condition that, provided (that), presuming (that), supposing (that), assuming (that), expecting (that), as long as, given that, in the event that, believing (that), judging (that), speculating (that), thinking (that), surmising (that), guessing (that), imagining (that)

unless - except if, save, except on the condition that, except under the circumstance that

however - but, still, yet, though, although, even so, anyway, anyhow, nevertheless, nonetheless, despite that, that said, just the same, all the same, for all that, be that as it may, all the same, having said that, notwithstanding, still and all, regardless, in any case, at any rate, anyhoo

also - and, together with, along with, with, as well as, in addition to, besides, furthermore, plus, too, additionally, further, moreover, on top (of that), over and above that, what's more, to boot, equally, and all, likewise, by the same token

yes - surely, certainly, absolutely, indeed, okay, Ok, of course, naturally, affirmative, unquestionably, assuredly, definitely, obviously, beyond/without question, by all means, without doubt, indubitably, undeniably, irrefutably, indisputably, undeniably, evidently, plainly, clearly, unmistakably, for sure, positively, unequivocally, really do

no - absolutely not, (most) certainly not, of course not, under no circumstance, by no means, not at all, negative, never, not really, nope, uh-uh, nah, not on your life, no chance in hell, no way, no way Jose, nay, not for the moment, on no account, nevermore, not in a million years, when pigs fly, when hell freezes over, on the contrary, denied

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Testing the ABS12 Solo Engine and Fact Generator

ABS12 Solo Game Engine and Fact Generator
ABS12: Basic Fact Generator
ABS12 Solo Game Engine: Additionals, Branching, & Conditionals
ABS12: Synonyms for writing using the ABS12 Solo Game Engine
Testing the ABS12 Solo Engine and Fact Generator



These are two tool used to help play a solo game or to help inspire in writing a story. They only help create small inspirational seeds. The author or player's creativity creates the rest of the story or game. Stories created using these tools are your own. I don't have any rights to your story. I just made a tool, much like a dictionary, thesaurus, or word prompts. These are more like word prompts rather than like outlines.

The two tools are generic and can be applied to any genre: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mystery, action, historical, paranormal, romance, etc.

Both of the tools can also be found together near the bottom of my ABS12 gaming system draft just before the Bestiary, Monsters, and Encounter section. I also wrote two posts where they are contained separately:

Solo Game Engine
ABS12 Solo Game Engine
ABS12 Solo Game Engine


and Fact Generator.
Fact Generator
ABS12 Fact Generator

Solo Engine
This will be my first test of the Solo Engine which is used to help determine results based on choosing a degree of chance such as somewhat possible, rolling a 1d12 (one twelve-sided die), applying the somewhat possible modifier (+2) to the dice result, and then finding the result on the game engine chart. Interpret the result in the story writing the details needed to help realize the result.

Twelve-sided dice are available in many hobby stores or for free virtual dice at many online websites or in many dice mobile apps

This allows the story being written to change and go unplanned - much more like a gamemaster giving creating surprises and new content. Or it might be like an author writing in surprises and twists. As long as it doesn't ruin the story it's fun.

I will use it whenever I want the story to check for the answer of one story question.

Fact Generator
The Fact Generator is used to generate sensory and descriptive keywords, also using dice, that are used to help create anything or any event. The words are generic and abstract enough that the genre of the story may have to interpret the keywords according to the setting, events, and other characters that the player is interacting within in the story.

I will use it whenever I need some keywords for inspiration. I'll pick how many seeds that might help. I'll discard any that don't make sense if need be.

Method of Analysis
I'll will write the first draft of a story and include the notes on how the story results from the mechanics are determined. The mechanic notes I will put in brackets so that they are easier to find and see. I will then post directly following analysis and comments about the system. I'll then repost the story without any mechanic details for a smoother read

I plan just to do one scene, cutting when the story sufficiently changes. I'm not worried about editing the story too much. Just a basic spell check and maybe one quick read through for obvious mistakes. This just will show the ability to help generate a first draft story content using the two tools.

In real use, I probably wouldn't add the notes to the mechanical results. That is unless I wanted to know decision points that could be changeable during edits. For that type of story, I would just keep one original copy on file, then remove the notes for my working draft. If just playing a game, I might not write anything down. It might all just be in my imagination. But I like writing things down.
I
Fact Generating Setting Details
First I'll try to find some setting words. I will pick a futuristic setting on a ship in space.

1d12 = 7 = Change Symbol
1d12 = 2 = Decrease

1d12 = 1 = Sight Symbol
1d12 = 3 = Person

1d12 = 4 = Sound Symbol
1d12 = 9 = Voice

1d12 = 2 = Touch Symbol
1d12 = 3 = Sour

Decrease, Person, Voice, Sour: In this setting I interpret the first three as hearing voices in the distance. Sour I will interpret as a sour stomach. I'll make this a sleep time setting (I wont call it night, since it's in space). Time I'll also change from 24 hours to some sort of universal time.


Establishing a scene
The character awakes partway through her planned sleep.


She sat up quickly because something was amiss. Sweat droplets formed slowly on her head. She breathed heavily, the sound of her heart beat and rumble of the star-drive echoed in her head.

What awoke me?

Blurry eyed she strained her eyes to see the atomic clock only reading 45: 90 hours metric time.

"Crap," she whispered.

Carma shuffled in the bunk above her.

Jessan's stomach churned, sour with undigested food from last awake times meal.

The beating in her ears slowly faded.

Then she noticed distant voices. It sounded like an argument echoing down the ship's hallways.

Jessan rose from her dark carbon steel bed. The voices were fading gradually.

She slipped on a standard dark grey corporate shirt and knee shorts. Each deep breath helped settle her stomach.

Then loud shouts echoed out deep and forceful.

Jessan grabbed her .45 caliber Yakima automatic hydraulic pistol. It's balanced titanium grip helped calm the queasiness in her gut.

[Does she notice anything else, 0 half & half, 1d12 = 3; No]

Her ears now fully cleared, with only the hum of the ship, focused in on voice or voices. She stepped outside one step at a time on the balls of her feet.

At the door she stopped and listened.

Carma was muttering words in the bed behind her. She heard the word, " ... grass ... ," a word she hadn't actually seen in several atomic metric years.

She put her index finger of her free right hand into her right ear and turned her left on towards the hallway.

The shouting had ceased again.

[Is the noise to the right?, +4 Very possible, due to my unwritten rule that things are always on the right, 1d12 = 6 + 4 = 10; Yes]

Looking to the right down the hall, she could hear the muffled voices coming from the holo-room.

[What does she notice? 1d12 = 12 = Description, 1d12 = 8 = Round, 1d12 = 7 = Change, 1d12 = Reform ; Round + Reform > a round flashlight beam of light bouncing off of the walls]

A round blue flash light in the distance sends beams of light across the holo-room wall. The light then began to point towards Jessan.

[Does whoever is down in the holo-room shine the light on her quick enough to catch her? Very Unlikely due to her reflexes; 1d12 = 12 - 4 = 8; Yes, however (Branching). I'll generate at least one or two clues to help figure out the branching facts].
[Branching = 1d12 = 1 = Sight, 1d12 = 6 = Location; 1d12 = 6 = Mind, 1d12 = 1 = Remember; Seeing Location + Remember > Jessan will have something come to memory about seeing a location]

The light of the flashlight captures Jessan before she could make it back into the room.

I'm caught. 

The sweat of her brow is now increasing. The thumping of her pulse returned.

"Jessan," she heard a loud booming voice.

It was Credo.

Her hand were growing cold and tingly. She shook them to try getting blood back into them. He is so intimidating and threatening. Credo was one former inmate that she wanted to avoid even if it meant never speaking to him.

She scanned the hallway and then noticed the bathroom doorway. And then she knew what she must do. Her gun slid into the back of her shorts and the right hand came up to block the blinding light.

Jessan stumbled forward.

"Could you quit shining that stupid light in my face!" Her other hand came forward, having secured the gun at her waist. It came to her belly.

"Food not agree with you?" He let out a deep laugh.

Jessan didn't have to fake a retch. Tightening the muscles of her stomach and throat helped to hold back the burning and churning.

The light moved to the side a bit, out of her eyes.

Jessan stumbled into the bathroom. The door closed behind her.

She rushed to the nearest stall, lifted the lid, and aimed. And then she puked.

Analysis of Tools
As you can see, even with the same words and results, you probably wouldn't have written the same story. The tools do not automate writing a story. Rather they spurn an imagination and creativity, to instead of coming up with raw ideas, to use some seeds of ideas to create a more fleshed out story.

At parts in the story, I put my creative hat on and try to make sense of fact clues. At other times I put on my player hat and see what comes my way randomly from the solo game engine.

When I normally write I plan the big picture out ahead of time, the results are determined by my storyline. These story tools can work with outlines, to help flesh out details on a scene level.

Writing my normal method, Jessan wouldn't have been sick. The Sour spurned me to thinking of sour stomach first. Strangely it came into play again when the story shifted sideways and spurned her into the bathroom.

I think if I had written the same scene above without the tools, Jessan would have quietly snuck quietly down the hall to overhear what they were saying. Her being caught spurned me to consider what could happen and still get a similar flow. I actually cringed when she was caught - you might be able to sense my cringe because I had assigned a Very Unlikely. The bathroom was a natural place to go when someone is sick. If she wasn't sick, I could have also sent her there to use the restroom.

Now looking back, I think the story is better because she failed.

It sets up a weird situation where they know she is there, they probably will not talk loud, and she is left wondering what the argument and shouting was about.

I'll give the scene a title and copyright my work.

Anyone using the tools owns their own creations. A quick message to me might be nice, telling me if it helps any.

"Voices from the Corridor"
a scene by Ken Wickham 
Copyright © 2016

She sat up quickly because something was amiss. Sweat droplets formed slowly on her head. She breathed heavily, the sound of her heart beat and rumble of the star-drive echoed in her head.

What awoke me?

Blurry eyed she strained her eyes to see the atomic clock only reading 45: 90 hours metric time.

"Crap," she whispered.

Carma shuffled in the bunk above her.

Jessan's stomach churned, sour with undigested food from last awake times meal.

The beating in her ears slowly faded.

Then she noticed distant voices. It sounded like an argument echoing down the ship's hallways.

Jessan rose from her dark carbon steel bed. The voices were fading gradually.

She slipped on a standard dark grey corporate shirt and knee shorts. Each deep breath helped settle her stomach.

Then loud shouts echoed out deep and forceful.

Jessan grabbed her .45 caliber Yakima automatic hydraulic pistol. It's balanced titanium grip helped calm the queasiness in her gut.

Her ears now fully cleared, with only the hum of the ship, focused in on voice or voices. She stepped outside one step at a time on the balls of her feet.

At the door she stopped and listened.

Carma was muttering words in the bed behind her. She heard the word, " ... grass ... ," a word she hadn't actually seen in several atomic metric years.

She put her index finger of her free right hand into her right ear and turned her left on towards the hallway.

The shouting had ceased again.

Looking to the right down the hall, she could hear the muffled voices coming from the holo-room.

A round blue flash light in the distance sends beams of light across the holo-room wall. The light then began to point towards Jessan.

The light of the flashlight captures Jessan before she could make it back into the room.

I'm caught. 

The sweat of her brow is now increasing. The thumping of her pulse returned.

"Jessan," she heard a loud booming voice.

It was Credo.

Her hand were growing cold and tingly. She shook them to try getting blood back into them. He is so intimidating and threatening. Credo was one former inmate that she wanted to avoid even if it meant never speaking to him.

She scanned the hallway and then noticed the bathroom doorway. And then she knew what she must do. Her gun slid into the back of her shorts and the right hand came up to block the blinding light.

Jessan stumbled forward.

"Could you quit shining that stupid light in my face!" Her other hand came forward, having secured the gun at her waist. It came to her belly.

"Food not agree with you?" He let out a deep laugh.

Jessan didn't have to fake a retch. Tightening the muscles of her stomach and throat helped to hold back the burning and churning.

The light moved to the side a bit, out of her eyes.

Jessan stumbled into the bathroom. The door closed behind her.

She rushed to the nearest stall, lifted the lid, and aimed. And then she puked.




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ABS12: Basic Fact Generator

All the changes from this page will be added to the complete master game page at A Basic System 12 (ABS12).

ABS12 Solo Game Engine and Fact Generator
ABS12: Basic Fact Generator
ABS12 Solo Game Engine: Additionals, Branching, & Conditionals
ABS12: Synonyms for writing using the ABS12 Solo Game Engine
Testing the ABS12 Solo Engine and Fact Generator
ABS12: Story Engine
ABS12: Random Objects & Participants
ABS12: Drama Escalator

ABS: Solo Gaming Engine - flexible version It contains 1d6, 1d8, Fate, Fudge, 1d10, 1d12, 2d6, 3d6, 1d20, 4d6 JAGS, and 1d100 columns and modifiers.

A flexible version of the Fact Generator is now available at rpgnow/drivethrurpg

http://www.rpgnow.com/product/191261/ABS12-Fact-Generator-Flexible-Dice-v-10

Available for dice 2d6, 1d12, 3d6, and 1d20
PWYW

What you need to use this chart

In addition to the Solo Game Engine, here is my attempt at a fact generator which can be used with one 12 sided dice.

A writer might use the lists to help with inspiration.

Directions

  1. First roll a 1d12 to find which row to consider: sensory, element of time and space, emotion/mood, or state of change. 
  2. Roll the 1d12 again to find a detail.
  3. Repeat as many times as needed.
  4. Discard or change as necessary.
  5. Interpret the result using creativity and considering your story situation.


For example. A roll of 1d12 resulting in 4 means something about sound, indicated by the ear symbol. Another roll of 1d12 equaling an 8 would indicate Loud.

Something in the story was loud. 

If you need further details you could roll more.

Lets say that you pile up loud, cold, and move. If in a modern house indicate something about a loud refrigerator vibrating. In space it might be indicate something about a scream from a cryogenic chamber. In a horror story or game it might indicate a chill running down a character's back pushing the character to flee as a loud rumble shakes the ground. In a fantasy story, it might indicate the launch of an ice ball from the trigger of a trap. 

It's just meant to help creativity. So use, discard, and change the results as needed.

[Click the chart to enlarge]


All icons are made and attributed to either Lorc http://lorcblog.blogspot.com or Delapouite http://delapouite.com/ downloaded from http://game-icons.net/ licensed under the CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/. No changes were made to the icon images.


A Basic System 12 (ABS12)
Index of my blog

Story vs RPG Part 10: Setting - cultures

Story vs RPG Series
Story: Elements
Story vs RPG Part 3: Character Information
Story v RPG Part 5: Personality Types
Story v RPG Part 6: Alignment, Morality, and Ethics
Story vs RPG Part 7: Character Needs
Story vs RPG Part 8: Character emotions
Story vs RPG Part 9: Lies - Our characters darkest secrets
Story vs RPG Part 10: Setting - cultures
Story vs RPG Part 11: Pair Dynamics
Story and Game Structure: Storylines
Story vs RPG Part 12: Larger groups - conformity & deviance

If you like this series support it by buying it today for kindle all in one file and without advertisement. Available in most countries that Amazon supports. 

I'll now switch the series focus from characters to setting. Characters live within settings where they do stuff.

A setting is the place and time that a story takes place.

Worldbuilding

Some call the process of creating a fantasy world in both RPGs and fantasy fiction as worldbuilding. It is the process of creating an imaginary and constructed world. These are worlds that can differ from our real world. Some aspects of the world that can be created are maps, geography, geology, biology, physics, history, cultures, societies, status, ecology, creatures, monster, cosmology, mythology, architecture, fashion, languages, religions, beliefs, groups of people, organizations, magic systems, technology

For my techniques at making a geographical world, see my 6 part series on creating a world map where I show the technique that I used to create an actual map of the world using other free online tools.

I would also like to do another series just on fantasy languages at a future time.




Question of Cultures

Looking through my notes of topics from various books and sources, one of the areas that I would like to delve into is cultures of societies and groups. Mostly because the amount of notes in that area are only fragments.

My overall question will be the following. How do socio-cultural forces influence characters?

Cultures are everywhere. And they come in layers.

Even if I seclude myself far away from all societies and rely upon survival techniques to survive - and never see a single person - I still may be considered part of a culture. I share with others an off-the-grid mentality of self-sufficiency, sustenance, and minimizing waste of raw materials. A knowledge of primitive skills would greatly increase chances of long term survival. In order to survive by myself I must be expected to do certain things to achieving sustenance.

In this sub-series, part of the Story vs RPG Series, I want to begin to look how these cultural forces affect a character in a game and in a story. These two mediums will be framed by evidence from sociology and social psychology. By picking culture as a focus I also am picking a topic and focus force that can come in close persistent contact with the character. Cultures may connect directly with a character's personality, ethics/morality, drives/needs, and even lies. A different approach might be from an anthropological perspective, focusing on symbols, archaeology, and adaptation.

What is a culture?

Society is a group of people interacting with each other, governed by a type of authority, with known societal expectations, and connected regionally or socially.
Culture is the way of life for a particular group of people at a particular point in time.
Individual is the quality of being a particular person separate from other people with independent needs, desires, and goals.

Societies exist around any world where groups of people (or sentient species) group together. They normally have some form of authority - some form of leadership. This authority sets rules for governing the society. Societies come to form expectations.

These societies can be historical, current, imagined futuristic, reimagined, alien, animalistic, or supernatural.

Societies normally have boundaries of their influence. Many times they are restricted to one area of the world or universe. These boundaries are normally show the paths and routes of normal interaction, communication, trade, and travel.

Here is one example of a societies borders. I lived a few years on Luzon a large island that includes Manila the Philippine Islands (Pilipinas). Manila - the capital - has the national government that oversees all the islands in the nation. The nation is divided into regions. On an island, the boundaries are very clear. The island has its own physical boundaries. However, Luzon being so large is divided into parts. 

I lived in Region 3 called Central Luzon (Gitnang Luzon). Mountains bordered the northern boundary down to a large river in the south where the Metro Manila area begins. The capital of this region is the city of San Fernando. In this region most of the rice of the entire country is produced - a very important food staple in that society. This region is divided into seven provinces: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. 


A colossal volcano erupted a few months before I arrived in this region - Mt Pinatubo in 1991 - which tragically occurred at the same time as Typhoon Yunya (Diding). 

In my time living there, four of those provinces - Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales - is where I spent the majority of my work, travelling, and recreation. Within that area their were entirely different languages even in this smaller area : Kapampangan, Sambal, Pangasinan, Tagalog, Ilocano, and mixed with various degrees of English. 

All of these boundaries - physical, languages which are social, and even behavior patterns emerging after the tragic Pinatubo & Typhoon Diding - help define the collective and individual cultures of the region and the entire nation for that time period.

All of these boundaries help set up influencing cultural elements of the early 1990s setting for Central Luzon.

Authority can be traditional recognized by a long established cultural pattern. It can also be charismatic, led by an unusually personal character that inspires others. It can also be bureaucratic governed by rules and regulations set by a form of governing body. Authorities normally create ethical rules to help control what's right and wrong.

Most of the governing bodies of different levels of the Philippine government are bureaucratic. 

However, a few days ago Rodrigo "the Punisher" Duterte was elected president of the country. He is seen as a wildly charismatic political figure, sometime shown riding around on a motorcycle with a machine gun, that threatens to change the constitution and reinstate the death penalty, while other are threatening enacting martial law. 

He is said to have killed over 1,000 people by death squad in his tenure as mayor of the impoverished city of Davao a far southern city on the island of Mindanao. He has claimed he will execute 100,000 criminals in the country and dump their bodies into Manila Bay, as president.

Culture describes overall societal and individual groups of people within societies. Time is one factor. Cultures in the past may have different details than current groups of people. Culture tends to change over time, due to events and the reaction of authority to those events. A culture in the future will most likely be different than today's culture. Cultures may also come and go, rather than evolve and change.

Within these societies and cultures it's important to remember that their are individuals. Each being may have independent needs, desires, and goals. These individual They may actually go against culture and authority - resisting against the forces that try to influence, persuade, regulate, and use authoritative power - to rebel.

Having introduced society, culture, and the individual, how do individual characters fit into the socio-cultural structure.

Roles, Expectations, and Status

Role is a position in the structure of the group
Role Expectation is an social behavior expected of someone in that role.
Assigned Role is a role assigned to a character.
Voluntary Role is a role chosen by a character.
Conflicting Role is when a character has two roles conflict with each other.
Acceptable Behavior is the appropriate behavior in a culture.
Status is the level of importance and power in a culture.

Within cultures characters occupy roles. Roles aren't necessarily jobs or professions. These roles carry with them expectations.

For example, many western novels have a role that can represent 'the law'. This may be a sheriff, a mayor, a bounty hunter, judge, or a ranger. Their role is to maintain law and order and to apprehend criminals and bring them to justice. That is their expectation placed on them by society and culture. Certainly some law enforcement individuals can be breaking or bending the law. 

Breaking societal rules may be considered not normal. Cultures and authority dictates acceptable behavior, either directly through rules or through unwritten rules.

These roles may be assigned to them by others or voluntarily chosen by the individual.

A character voted in as a law keeper does so by choice. Whereas a person may be assigned to be a law keeper as a term of punishment. Instead of going to prison, "We will offer you this law keeping position to help round up the other criminals," in the group they belong to. Sure they can choose to reject the offer. But really their not choosing to become a law keeper by their own without the threat of punishment looming over them.

And some roles may be completely assigned without any choice.

Sometimes conflicts between multiple roles within a character may arise.

The law keeper who also has a spouse that breaks the law, may be conflicted with the role to catch criminals and the role to be a good faithful spouse. If the role of being a faithful spouse is decided to be more important the the law keeping role, they may begin to allow, help, blame on someone else, or cover up any wrong doing.

Societies and cultures may have different levels of roles based on importance and powers. This status can very from a lower status to middle status up to upper (higher) status. Cultures and authorities dictate what factors determine status according to what is most important to them.

The ultimate law keeper for the town may be the sheriff who has the powers and responsibility to arrest and lock criminals up for the town area. Maintaining a low crime rate is ultimately the sheriff's responsibility. Or law responsibility may be shared with a judge that passes judgement and sentences. Judges have the responsibility and powers to try an accused criminal and to render a verdict according to the societal laws. Certainly the deputy's status is much lower in the society compared to a sheriff or judge.

A common folk in any society may be considered the standard for what is high status in society (high society) or what is low in status.


How do view point characters evaluate other characters?

Assumptions about a person is making a judgement about the causes of one's own or another's behavior.
The person caused it assumes that a character's personality, needs, ethics, or a lie is the reason for such behavior.
Something else caused it assumes that something outside the character caused the behavior.
Behavior changes little is noticing the character behaviors the nearly the same all the time.
Behavior occurs under certain conditions is noticing that behavior changes under certain situations.

The first rule of observing behavior
The first rule of observed behavior is that a view point character most of the time assumes that another character caused that character's own behavior. However, for the view point character's own behavior, they most of the time blame it on someone or something else.

So view point characters will likely blame them for how that character behaves. At the same time they will blame their own behavior on other events, people, and situations - less likely on oneself.

If another character sees the sheriff character not apprehending a criminal, they most likely will assume and blame the sheriff for not performing the responsibility and power given to the character. Less likely will they try to imagine that some other force or reason could be preventing the sheriff from doing that expected behavior. Maybe the sheriff was just suspended.

Sometimes character will behave in a certain way consistently. At other times behavior might change when the situations change. During those certain situations when a character changes behavior, normally characters assume that an external force is creating that differing behavior.

This is great way to show that something has happened without revealing exactly what changed. By showing a character that was consistently behaving a certain way, suddenly change and behave a totally different way, suggests that something happened outside the character.

Group Censensus

Consensus is a general agreement.

Some actions and behavior in some cultures and groups may require a general agreement - consensus.  "Let's talk this out before we do anything else," may be an indicator that some sort of consensus requirement, a social tool of controlling behavior of its members.

Next post

In the next post, I may go into group conformity, non-conformity, attitudes, or prejudice.