A bunch of requests and such dirty affairs.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by werozzi, May 21, 2013.

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  1. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    During the recent days, i've started the task to adapt/convert a bunch tabletop game concepts into a post-apoc-Falloutesque setting, in order to later function as it's GM.
    Although the game is not done yet, the developing progress has gone smooth and almost flawlessly, with just some playtesting to do.

    Yet, problems have arisen and now I find myself in (Almost) desperate need of your help, that's wy i summon you, Oh glorious members of the House of Lords.

    First of all, I'l clarify that I'm running a low budget scheme, the only plan of expenses is for printing maps and misc player info, yet, i can spend a bit, no more than $50.
    Second, I'm trying to run all, or most, of the GM stuff on a computer, to simplify things a bit, but here is where I'm stuck; finding the adequate software.
    While I already have some of the software needed, i'm still seeking for a few things, maybe anyone knows something similar, or a way to create them.

    -A customizable random character generator, where you can configure the attributes and such, random inventory is optional.

    -A customizable random listing program, preferably with templates, that can generate events, loot, even places and such.

    -A sorting/describing software, to hold records of items/creatures/places, like a sort of encyclopedia, preferably with image adding.

    -An inventory/Stats keeping software, customizable.

    -Suggestions for GM'ing, adding immersion, plot-writing advice, etc.

    Grateful in advance, I send you regards.
    Werozzi.
     
  2. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like a good project, and I wish you the best with it. I don't have any GM experience myself, but if you want people's help you should probably be a bit more specific about the system you are using - i.e. is it SPECIAL, GURPS, AD&D, or your own made up thing?

    Also, I suspect that using a random encounter generator is not the way to go - that can only lead to repetition and boredom. The whole point of being a good GM is that you create encounters specific to the party of player characters, and let them drive the story as much as yourself. I'd imagine they'd prefer a single imaginative boss fight at the end of a short dungeon rather than a series of generic "you have entered a 10x10 metre room and see five goblins ready to attack!" type encounters drawn out over several hours.

    Now, when do I get my dirty affair?
     
  3. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    I'm using a homegrown ruleset, based on SPECIAL, GURPS and the Violence RPG (Google it). Mostly I've got homemade rules, inspired, rather than adapted from other games.

    I know that having random predefined encounters is not always a good idea, but i'm trying to make the randomizers just a base for the actual game, a way to design certainly unique enemies/ Random loot /Randomly populated camps without the need of too much dice rolling and table looking.
    EG, two creatures generated by my mutant abomination generator.
    That kind of flexibility i want in generators, something that can actually give the players and the GM the chance to integrate and expand the story, with random unique enemies and such.

    The random looting lists are more of an aid than an actual gameplay thing, they are programmed with die rolls and percentage chances, the trouble is that they take too long, and my low programming skills make some functions just a dream. That'swhy i ask if anybody knows an easier alternative.

    I hope some day i can translate the game into something comprehensible to anyone more than me, and share my results with you guys.
     
  4. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Have you actually programmed some stuff yourself? What language/environment are you using for this? I might be able to help with your "dream" functions.
     
  5. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    I'm using simple programming provided by this [urlhttp://randomgen.site40.net/]software[/url], however, some functions, as the chargen seem to be hardcoded, thus making me unable to edit them.
     
  6. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Ah, yeah, that's an open source thing where they expect you to program your own functions, i.e. do your own "hardcoding" so to speak. Not sure I'd be able to help easily - it would require too much back-and-forth.

    Seems like you're on top of the design aspects though.
     
  7. Jwrac

    Jwrac Member

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    Re: About your request my good fellow...

    Hey there werozzi.

    I'm actually an intermediate programmer/scripter.
    I don't have endless bountiful amounts of time between daily tasks and searching for paid work, but I noticed you had somewhat of a 'budget'. :'D

    I could possibly be 'suaded into coding your custom tabletop game management user interface for a small fee.
    Not to sound like I'm trying to swindle you out of money or anything. I can probably take a go at it for free actually, but I'd probably need more time in such a case.

    I've coded things before too.
    I could even program your interface to be run on the web via JavaScript also. :)

    I might look into giving it a go soon actually, but when I do I know nothing of Gurps and such so you might have to detail all the rules for things like (health = biscuits divided by potato) style equations.

    Cheers.
     
  8. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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  9. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    PC Gen works pretty well for this. As I recall, it can get resource intensive - it runs in java, and can cause things to slow down pretty well after a while. But, it has a huge library of rulebooks to draw from, and you can choose to randomly generate a character (pc or npc), or enter in stat values yourself (or both - random roll followed by some number fudging). You can create gear, feats, spells, races, etc. And when you're done, you can print out your character sheet.

    Gear is included, along with race and feats. It's what I used when I discovered there wasn't a version of Crystal Ball on PC. Oh, if you have a Mac, use Crystal Ball. It's pretty great.

    You can also use this (PC Gen or Crystal Ball) to log your player's characters and their gear. Or have them do it themselves. They don't own you.

    It does this too.

    I'm on a goddamn roll with this thing.

    ^^

    Nothing here.
     
  10. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    Well, i got this one going, found a program lying about in some obscure 90's website, i had to tweak it a bit, but now i can assure myself i have what i was looking for, fast, unique character descriptions, custom attributes and inventory ready to roll in the tables I have.

    I considered using PCGen for the task, but after a while i discovered that implementing a custom made ruleset would be more tasking than actually rewarding. Then, the game's calculations will be made on a netbook, that can be easily overwhelmed by such intensive java programs.

    Got this going in the randomizing software i had, it is a little easier than throwing dies like a madman just to find out that box contains rubble inside.

    I'm Well, last week's sourceforge featured project is Data crow, a library manager system, designed for books and movies, but one has the right to get creative, Huh?

    After thinking for a while, i took a few choices, now, I'll remove almost half of the computer needs, going for a more classic approach. I also followed Smuel's suggestion (It made me review a lot, thanks) of minimizing randomness, so it is now at the point where it makes GM'ing easier, rather than a lazy man's affair.
    Also, i took in mind my players. I would normally give them a the right amount of stuff just that they don't get overwhelmed, but seeing that this time most players will be actors, and half of them improv partners, I'll give them just enough stuff that they don't overwhelm me.
    However, I'll have them track most of the stuff, but for roleplaying sake, ill do the dice throwing and calculating.

    I'm still open for suggestions.



    And, by the way, Jwrac, I really appreciate your offer, so should the game reveal that my methods are inefficient, I'll be in need of your epic scaled programming skills.
     
  11. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    Well, since you have everything covered (and I apologize for not being as helpful as I had thought), I suppose your only failing is in storytelling and GMing.

    You want your story to be compelling;

    Why should your players try to succeed? What's so special about the people in the game world? Why is it so damn important that the village they're in be saved/destroyed?

    The NPC's present should be relatable. Not necessarily meaning your players can relate to them, but they can consider a character's personality and actions understandable and realistic given the nature of their world , and their upbringing. Though, sometimes insanity is fun too.

    Be consistent, but recognize when a part of your story won't work as planned. I had a huge epic level campaign worked out, and ended up making change after change to suit my players. It ended up being a waste of effort because the game changed so much I wasn't able to fix the state of disrepair to the plot. Game over. The key is to have a storyboard set up so you can adhere pretty well to it, but you'll need to recognize when your players are getting bored - there's a balance I didn't catch, and my whole game turned into instant gratification.

    Make battles tough. Give a real challenge to your players - I messed up here, too. I had a psion in my game, but I also wanted my players to level up faster and get the story going (I wanted to start at 20, but one of my more experienced players [and the normal DM] insisted started at 10, and I figured, "why not?"). So I threw some tough encounters at them, considering their level. Unfortunately, I hadn't worked in the abilities of the psion at level 10, meaning most of the time it was free experience. The party even managed to beat a Tarrasque, which was several levels above their ability - the psion used "crisis of breath," meaning the tarrasque needed a successful roll to breathe every round. It went into hibernation after its hit points went to -40.

    In spite of this, I wouldn't be afraid to throw an intentionally easy fight at the party, or a total curb-stomp. I used things like that to occasionally ingratiate a small, defenseless village to the party or make plot twists, like when the players stumbled upon a vampiric green dragon they had no chance of killing, until they ran into the territory of a "friendly" Grey Render that crushed it to death. Because the Render trusted the party, the small town it guarded basically gave the players a discount on goods.

    Basically, you'll need to brainstorm your game's plot just as if you were writing a story without a human element throwing dice at every opportunity - you need your protagonists, your conflict, some antagonists, and a resolution. Storyboard it, plan for the capabilities of your players, and keep it interesting by rewriting if the players do something that surprises you. Decide on the mood for your story and run with it, but don't be afraid to lighten things up in a dark story, or darken things in a lighter one. Do as much research as possible to make your story feel more legitimate, and more engaging to your players. And, use the personality of your players to make a more interesting campaign.
     
  12. Jwrac

    Jwrac Member

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    Um sure, I'll see what I can do. Might prototype something soon perhaps.
    I'll have a look into writing some custom rule-set making UI thing. Unsure of how I'll go just yet, but I will give it a shot, get back to you on that. No promises yet.
     
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