Category Archives: My Favorites

My own chicken scratch Plots

You know, I try to edit or add to most of the stuff I put up on here as most of this stuff does require good editing for grammar, spacing, formating. All that good jazz. Its usually not straight copy/paste. I do like to put some effort into what I am doing here but this little baby… This little baby is all mine and I have to say I’m going to leave it unrefined to show you what i’m working with here.

These are some old notes from an old app that I used to use to keep track of my notes. The first couple are from my days when i was looking into running Curse of Strahd, which again I was warned not to do it because Ravenloft is a hard system to run. Those are the words I was told. Thats when this whole journey started. I read the books, I decided what i was going to do and to change and this batch of my own plot ideas starts with a couple ideas straight away with Curse of Strahd. To me, this shows where things have come from and where they may go.

Raven-mob atk carriage, crazy guy(took daughter) looking for relic, bury burgomaster(strahd atks),

Raven loft add: add people in town. One points to tavern on way to castle that captures people to feed strahd, ruined human stronghold when stood against strahd. Holy symbol there. Religious following of strahd.

Plot of star wars, left behind. Party I is mayor friend. Get to know. Then power hungry rival with good face and PR moves against him to take over and it works. Now everyone sees him as a hero but party knows the truth.
[ ] Political dinner party you are alone with a rival rival claims you attack so you go to jail and he claims rivals position
[ ] Rival people discover something that devours magical essence. Dies it create something from it as a release? At owners command? …. What do they do with it?
[ ] Someone hiring someone to kill someone close to them so they can get all the attention – candyman – sweets to the sweet. – investigating then get wrapped up in it.
[ ] Some thing sucking life from locals.  A weak vampire in the cemetery
[ ] Door riddles ‘doors favorite joke: knock knock’
[ ] Traps, trap inside trap, sun beams to mirrors, triggered doors, invisi doors, swinging guilltones, invisible bridge, riddles, floor tile puzzles, music, bleeding door, falling illusory wall
[ ] Live out movie plots. Good plots? Bar scene lotr, bar scene SW, rancor pit idea,
[ ] Chased by corrupt official
[ ] Name after have people like d&d cartoon people and Simon the sorcerer, dirky the daring, etc.  And ideas like karma and jive
[ ] Guy looking to make a Walmart of stores and expand. Goods so cheap closes down other shops. Guy plans to control worlds economy then? Destroy worth of money or become world’s leader?
[ ] Rumor of a guy trying to make a cult.  Named Jesus.  Says his dad is a god.  Religious leader says Your job is to verify, infiltrate and do what must be done.  Ate they a threat? Think OK then find out got weapon. Gonna kill everyone who doesn’t believe in his father.  Double trapped
[ ] Dungeon comic sewer clean. Petty Criminals paying off debt sent to clean sewer system.  Flushed out wrong forced out of town.  Guards sent along.

[ ] During camp night see falling star that crashes down few miles away.  Get there and bug? Creatures are setting up camp. Attack? During fight scouts bringing humans back attack you. Go into rock, Bigger on inside than outside. And?
[ ] come out a portal in to a battle where both sides gang up on them?, superstitous clans. Not sure who side they on. figure maybe gods avatars. Get involved in clan feud that was caused by another party neither knew about (wizards?) it was their form of entertainment.  Two wiz leaders bet on outcome.
[ ] Solomn kane story-find weird bar,hidden cult, need to clear it out, has zombies/ghosts
[ ] Lovecraft house story. Come in guy upstairs,blood drips people go upstairs the house changes the house drains mental energy from people going crazy. Dungeon w family(cultists) remains under house(destroy to get out)
[ ] Hirelings of a dungeon master to help run a dungeon.  Run like corp, doing day to day things ala dungeon comic

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Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

I will be very clear and 100% honest here. Again, I have not DM’ed a game. I haven’t had the chance yet but I do enjoy the idea of DM’ing. In that vain I have done more than a bit of “research” and thinking about the system I would want to use. In my searches I have basically cut and paste a lot of things into my own little collections. I don’t like to blatantly plagiarise people’s work’s. They spend their time making their works, its fair they get their due. I could go long winded as I like to do but I was going to try to put this next article into my own words but I can’t see to find it anywhere. Apparently I noted the article at RPG.net but that gives an error and a search doesn’t show it anymore. Googles has returned psychology results… So I don’t feel entirely bad just copy/pasting this in its original entirety as I do so just love this article that I think everyone should read.

GENERATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN RPGS

Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

A preliminary taxonomy for role-playing games
Note: This article was originally published in issue #1 of Inter*Action. by Greg Porter

Role-playing games as a formalized, written set of rules are a recent literary phenomenon, and have undergone a rapid series of changes since their inception, probably more so than most other fields of literature. This is probably due more to the technological infrastructure available at the time of its inception than anything else (fast, affordable, widespread communication), but still, anyone time-jumped from the “early days” to today would see little in common between the games they played and the current incarnations except the idea of using paper and dice to represent a character and random chance.

To quantify that difference, just to satisfy my own curiosity, I developed a personal scale of “generations” to distinguish between the mechanics and conceptual bases of different systems. We all know that D&D and Amber are two radically different game systems, but no one has really sat down and said exactly how. I originally thought of a tree structure, showing the derivation of each system from the ones before, an evolutionary tree of the gaming world. For instance, Empire of the Petal Throne is an obvious descendant of D&D, and you could also draw family lines down the Ghostbusters-Star Wars-Shadowrun-Vampire path, or the Ars Magica-Torg-Earthdawn or Fantasy Trip-GURPS paths. But there are just so many games out there, tracking down all the designers to ask their references and inspirations is an impossible task. Maybe someone who really has no other life can tackle that project, but not me. I decided to try to quantify things by a scale of pseudo-evolutionary advancement.

This generation system is also a sort of an evolutionary tree, to let people track and trace the changes and influences each previous game had on the next generation. Originally, the generations were based solely on game mechanics, but discussion with other people showed that this wasn’t enough. For instance, Ars Magica is perhaps typical of an earlier generation for its mechanics, but is far ahead of most other games in that generation for its depth of background detail. Is it one generation, or the other? To differentiate, each “species” of game has two overriding characteristics:

Rules – The “realism” quotient, both in an absolute sense (“can you be decapitated by a single blow from a two-handed axe?”), and in a subjective context, i.e. do the rules encourage play that is true to the genre (silly cartoons, caped crusaders, grim mercenaries, etc.). In general, low generation rules have more loopholes, inconsistencies and dead-ends that interrupt the role-playing or detract from the enjoyment of play. Higher generation games may use the same basic concept, but in a more elegant way, or with more flexibility. For instance, a rigid character class in a low generation game might mutate into a flexible character template in a higher generation game.

Background – Does the world have a consistent rationale behind it? Do the societal, technological and paranormal (i.e. magic, etc.) underpinnings of the game world stand up to close scrutiny, or are they cardboard cutouts that only work if you are too busy killing things to notice their flimsiness? For instance, I have yet to understand why the technology behind Star Trek replicators hasn’t caused a fundamental change in economics (“Captain, would you like your pay in replicated Hope Diamonds, or replicated gold ingots?”). Or for that matter, why isn’t the normal phaser setting “wide beam vaporize” whenever you aren’t worried about taking prisoners? In general, a low generation background makes it harder for the GM to build a workable “world”.

These are the things under consideration. Things like ease of use, indexing and other traits may be more common in a particular game generation, but don’t define it. Any game can be poorly indexed, have typos or other problems, regardless of when it was produced. Also note that “generation” is independent of publishing date in this case. An earlier game can be of advanced generation, while a later game can be an evolutionary throwback.

Now, I don’t expect this taxonomy is going to be perfect. For instance, I can see the need for a sub-species to cover “beer & pretzels” role-playing games, but I am not sure if they should follow the normal sequence, but with a different audience, or be a non-consecutive generation all their own (Generation X?). But, this system is a start, and a way to provide an objective comparison of different games.

NOTE
Examples given of particular games are those the author is familiar or had experience with, and are not meant to imply that the system was the first to display a particular character, just that it is a representative sample of a particular generation, and why.

Generation 0



Free-form, rule-less roleplaying. There are no formalized systems, no good way to arbitrate disputes. It also includes any incidental role-playing that is used for strategic or entertainment value in other games, such as playing a general in H.G.Wells’ Little Wars, etc. The latter end of this generation includes such proto-rpg campaigns that were going on in the late 60s in Britain and the US (for example, Tony Bath’s Hyborean Campaign, as chronicled in the various issues of Slingshot from that time). It can also include structured events like historical re-enactment groups, or semi-structured events like tournaments, feasts and fairs held by the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Game Mechanics – None, both objective and subjective realism are based on the knowledge and tastes of those playing the game.

Background – Varies from none to extraordinary, depending on the people involved in the game. Obviously a serious interactive fiction effort will have more detail than a group of children playing Cops & Robbers.

Examples – Cowboys & Indians, Cops & Robbers, Social Democrats vs. Tories, etc.

Generation 1



First formalized rule set, i.e. D&D (or the fantasy supplement to Chainmail). The concept of fixed characters, specific attributes and the use of dice to cover the aspect of random chance when attempting to perform a difficult action are introduced.

Game Mechanics – Character generation is characterized by rigid character classes, character levels, strict personality alignments. Objective realism factor is negligible, genre-based realism is drawn from a very limited fictional subset and is often lacking as well. Rules are entirely on a special case basis, with no intuitive or extrapolatable functions. Often uses a plethora of dice types (i.e. d3, d4, d6, d8, d12, d20, d100 and combinations or multiples of same).

Background – World background is nebulously defined, if at all.

Generation 1 gameConcepts
  • Dungeons & DragonsCharacter races & classes, polyhedral dice, hit points, etc.

Generation 1a

D&D clones, any game which uses the same basic concepts with little or no modification. Genre may vary, but the game system itself draws very heavily from Generation 1 concepts.

Game Mechanics – As Generation 1. Some perceived flaws may be addressed.

Background – World background may be better defined, often with a history, timeline or societal structure notes. Empire of the Petal Throne is an example of Generation 1a game mechanics with a great deal of thought applied to the game background.

Generation 1a gameConcepts
  • Empire of the Petal Throne Based wholly on a single literary world

Generation 2



Mutation of Generation 1 games. Other people have played enough that they have modified theGeneration 1 game extensively, and incorporated these new ideas and concepts into their systems as a result of this experience. Generation 1 influence is still strong, either in what is included, or what is excluded from the rules.

Game Mechanics – Usually includes classes and levels, but not so strictly defined. Makes some attempts to be realistic, or fix perceived flaws in Generation 1 systems (including but not limited to: Level-based “hit points”, armor that affects chance to hit rather than damage, alternate types of magic systems). May be extremely detailed, almost always in a “special case” sense, leading to thick, often poorly indexed volumes, or volumes with numerous supplements, each covering an uncommon rules situation. Subjective realism is usually much improved over Generation 1 games as well, either through closer attention to detail, or as a side effect of a better campaign reference frame (see Background).

Background – Generation 2 backgrounds always have some overall background, which is covered in detail either directly (overall history, maps, campaign reference notes) or indirectly (personal history, societal norms, legal systems). Generation 2 games evidence a shift from “dungeon crawls” to plot-based adventures and non-hostile interaction with non-player denizens of the game world.

Generation 2 gameConcepts
  • Chivalry and SorceryTime-based experience gains
  • Space Opera 
  • Palladium systems
  • Psychological traits for characters
  • Warhammer 

Generation 2a Refinement of the Generation 2 concept. Often includes elements transitory between Generation 2 and Generation 3.

Game Mechanics – More realism and internal consistency, some ability to extrapolate new rules from existing ones. May abandon the class or level concept entirely, or make it flexible enough that it approaches what might be expected in the “real world”. For instance, Traveller character generation is based on professions which give certain skills and bonuses, but one can change careers, and the skills and bonuses are often available in more than one career path.

Background – Basic rules will include enough game world detail to allow the GM and players to understand society and the basic geo-political situation. For systems which become successful, this detail often improves markedly with introduction of new material in supplements.

Generation 2a gameConcepts
  • TravellerCareer path, extended game world timeline
  • GURPSMulti-genre, single dice type, point-based characters Aftermath!Effort placed into realistic combat system
  • RunequestLocation-based hit points, multi-genre system

Generation 3


Introduction of “meta-rules”, a rule system that is designed to be used with more than one genre, and which has a solid, expandable base. Another Generation 3 idea is the game whose genre reality is an overriding concept. Such a game cannot be a meta-system, but can work much better for a narrowly defined genre than any meta-system can.

Game Mechanics – May not be perfectly objectively realistic, but is usually internally consistent, and with guidelines on how to expand the rules set to cover situations not explicitly mentioned. Subjective realism is often good,but is limited by the multi-genre nature of the meta-system. The level, class and alignment system is usually completely abandoned. The type of dice used to resolve skill use, attribute use or other rolls is often the same type (i.e. 3d6, 1d20, 1d100), with very little use of other types within the system. The cleanest break point between Generation 2and Generation 3 games is that of point-based character generation. Most Generation 2 games use random dice rolls, while most Generation 3 games use a somewhat variable pool of points with which to purchase character abilities, or some other non-random means to let the player choose exactly what they want.

Background – A Generation 3 background usually covers almost every aspect of a genre that characters will need to interact with. Currency, language, legal systems, travel, history, important personages and behind-the-scenes intrigue are necessary elements for this generation. In addition character generation often contains elements of character personality that allow deliberate sculpting of a particular race, profession or attitude, which is then reinforced by the game-world response to those traits. Many of the meta-systems lack these elements in their basic rules, but incorporate them in supplements that cover a particular genre. GURPS is the best example of a background-less system, with excellent supplement material.

Generation 3 gameConcepts
  • GURPSMulti-genre, single dice type, point-based characters RunequestMulti-genre Champions/Hero SystemMulti-genre TimeLordsNon-hit point damage system, proportional scaling of skill modifiers
  • To Challenge Tomorrow Non-hit point damage system
  • Traveller: New EraMulti-genre
  • PendragonCharacter as a family rather than individual, excellent historical research
  • DC HeroesSingle unit measurement system (same unit covers time, mass, distance) (GURPS and Runequest are strictly Generation 2a systems, but were the first to do a good job covering multiple genres, while the Hero System is arguably the best example of meta-rules, but it’s multi-genre use was I think serendipitous rather than deliberate).

Generation 3a Generation 4 games go in radically different directions, and Generation 3a games begin this trend. They cling to the core of Generation 3 ideas, but often have some element that begins to question fundamental game and game-world design tenets.

Generation 3a gameConcepts
  • Ars MagicaEach player has multiple characters
  • Lace & SteelUse of cards instead of dice for combat resolution

Generation 4


Introduction of some entirely new game mechanic that alters the normal flow of play in an rpg. Examples include overt plot change in the middle of play, dice reduced or diceless resolution systems, abandonment of traditional attribute or skill systems, or overt emphasis on story and plot rather than tactics and combat resolution. While generations 1-3a are linear descendants of each other, Generation 4 games are like branches off the trunk of the same tree, spreading in different directions. Systems may or may not be “meta-rules”, depending on their origins, but most Generation 4 systems are geared towards working extremely well in a particular genre.

Game Mechanics – Both objective and subjective realism are high when the two are compatible, otherwise subjective realism usually is better. Rule mechanics may be designed expressely to create a “feel” for the game setting, inherently rewarding or punishing certain types of character behavior.

Background – If a meta-system, this depends on the level of support given, but even if “genre-less”, the game will still provide extensive notes on the various aspects of creating a game-world, running a campaign and other details required for good gamemastering. If a genre-specific game, it will provide all the level of detail of a Generation 3 game, but may have a twist, such as allowing buyers of the game input on the direction of future events published for the game world.

Generation 3a gameConcepts
  • AmberDiceless role-playings
  • Over The EdgeFreeform skill/attribute combinations
  • TorgDrama Deck
  • CORPSAutomatic successes, compressed rule set
  • VampireStory-driven rather than plot-driven
  • FUDGEPublic domain, anyone can write anything for it

Generation 5+


There isn’t any Generation 4a or 5 yet. Presumably, these will be variations of Generation 3-4 games, taken in some direction not possible for strictly pencil & paper roleplaying. One can imagine rule sets being computerized tothe extent that players and GM’s no longer need to know them, but can simply describe their actions, and the computer figures out the rest based on character abilities and situational modifiers, whether it be a casual encounter on the street, or a complicated firefight. This lets the GM get on with being a referee, storyteller, or whatever, instead of being a human index to a set of arbitrary laws for an imaginary universe.

On the other hand, a character and set of rules could be placed on a personal digital assistant, which each player and the GM would have. Messages could be passed between units by infrared link, whether text, secret information, or alterations to character abilities due to game world effects (damage, drugs, etc.).

With information storage increasing by leaps and bounds, and multimedia PC’s becoming more common, an entire adventure could be placed on CD-ROM, with a built-in “computer GM”. The sophistication of this would vary based on the programming and computer (what is not possible today might be easy 5 years from now). The game would tread the thin line between interactive movie, role-playing, and video game, with elements of each.

If the information networks become more sophisticated, live role-playing by Net might become more common. Already, role-playing by e-mail or bulletin board system is common. Using a common network and a central computer, video conferenced games could take place between widely separate groups.

This could gradate into virtual reality role-playing, or with the proper combination of hardware and software, many groups could conceivably play a game in the same universe at the same time. Imagine playing a superhero in virtual reality city where anyone you meet could be another player, where several professional GM’s manage the background details, but the plot moves itself through the actions of the players, rather than being driven by a pre-arranged plot.

Is this going to happen on a large scale anytime soon? Doubtful. But it is worth thinking about…
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The Birth

Life was truly given the day she arrived
the future was changed because of this girl
she may never understand the role she has had
the power of love in this one child
the frailty of this one new born
how complex she truly is but yet so simple
she can only exude the love she is given
to her the world is music
the rhythm, the beat, the tempo
she sings its songs in she way
the melody of life is her language
the power of love is her gift

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Upon A Perch

I sit atop a ridge
perched and watch the hillside
there along came a rabbit
peaceful it looked in the afternoon sun
it played and frolicked
it ate and nibbled
indeed I did watch this for awhile
it intrigued me to see
it looked so happy and carefree
the wind just passing through its fur
it looks around and watched
its nose twittered and teeth chittered
it sat under the tree with nar a worry
I stretched quietly as to get up
my arms were tired from waiting
long I’ve been sitting and watching
waiting and watching
now is my chance that I see
I step off and set sail to go
the wind flows around me as I glide
through the wind effortlessly I go
Poor little rabbit just does not know
it has to know this is how nature works
unseen I grow closer
soon I won’t be hungry
understand small rabbit, it has to be
to my surprise along came another
it was to late, I was spotted
it warned the other
off like the wind flowing on my wings
they were gone without a trace
so once again I have no choice
I sit atop a ridge
perched and watch the hillside

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Embrace

He bent over her
feeling the warmth in her veins
she slept so peacefully
he admired her beauty
it was the life in her
it was the essence of her
he paused and savored the moment
soon they would embrace
he would quench his thirst
she would feel the change
she would no longer be
she would soon just exist
he brushed against her skin
so soft and full of innocence
the warmth of her body radiated
the moment will be enjoyed
he kissed her neck passionately
she stirred and awoke
she felt the frozen touch of another
the pricks she barely felt
it was unrivaled ecstasy
the feeling coursed through her veins
never did she feel such as this
the blood in her veins burned with pleasure
it coursed through her and into him
she quivered and shuddered under him
she embraced his body and gave herself
her soft moans were quickening
he felt her gasping for breath
he felt her essence in him
it almost made him happy
but long ago he lost that feeling
she started to go weak
the embrace would soon end
exhaustion came over her
her body just felt numb and cold now
he slowly lowered her to rest
he licked his lips not to waste
in the shadows she was heaven to him
turning to walk, one final glance
soon she shall wake again
not being the person she once was
soon she too will feel the hunger
soon she too will need the embrace

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