Wednesday, 3 February 2016

what we want !!

So 2016 is underway, and with it a more regular and more detailed set of blogs.

When I put the game together, I wanted something fast and flexible, not in the way of the fun, something that could let me portray characters from films and books - more than average ability, but not superheroes.

To this end I stripped the rules back and thought about each part and it's place in the game.

I thought about attributes [dexterity, strength, intelligence, etc] and decided that most of the time, such attributes  have little use after character generation - they are usually used as a basis for skills, and thereafter a default for when a skill isn't available.

But if you take away attributes, how to define a character in terms of his lifting power, health, and so on ??

Completely legitimate concerns that needs addressing.

There are games that define a character according to his career - Knight 3, Dwarf 2, etc. This means that when the character does anything relevant to those careers, the career value is used - so when faced with health issues, Dwarf 2 might indicate hardiness and Knight 3 high indicate ability to swing a sword.

So maybe careers instead of attributes ??

If that's the case, how to deal with skills and skill lists ??
After all, even if attributes don't have to be specified, everyone needs to be able to do things.

The vagueness of having a character described as Knight 3 allows lots of things, that the player and GM agree on, to be available to the player during a game - without lists of skills and abilities and equipment.

But what about when similar careers are involved - Knight and Mercenary ?? Do overlapping skills stack, or does the character broaden his skills ?? But if he uses a sword in both, shouldn't he be better ??

Most games have it almost impossible to have all the skills that someone should have - simply because there's never enough character points to have them all.

Then you have the competence of characters, where most games have characters barely competent in things that they should be able to do - being heroes.

This lack of competence brings either characters with several skills, most of which are not at a reasonable level of competence, or characters who have to have a very tight range of skills just to be able to do the things the character should be good at - and almost no ability at anything else, simply because there's never enough character points to have them all.

In most games character depth is usually lacking - although characters are supposed to backgrounds and histories, they're rarely noted or developed in any way.

So, I want stacking skill groups, no attributes, enough skills to be useful, enough competence to be useful, careers and character depth.

Whew !!

Thursday, 29 October 2015


It has been quite a while since I last wrote anything here.

And there have been changes.

I've moved from the numerous Facets I had to a streamlined set of 3 [athletics, knowledge, communication], as well as streamlining the resolution mechanics [almost no modifiers], detailing more of the setting and finally getting character generation to work.

The future of Nexus Tales looks good, rejuvenated and proceeding apace.

I'm looking forward to 2016 as the year it will be in some shape to hand to people and have them try to break it.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Long Tasks

Just when I think things are selling into place, I remember my issues with Long Tasks.

For me, a Long Task is almost anything that takes more than a few seconds to deal with.

There are a few different types of Long Task :-
Competition - who wins when running a race or grabs something first

Extended success roll - designing a gadget, painting a picture, deciphering a book

I think of these as 2 separate things, handled differently.

Competition - all participants make a success roll. highest success value wins.
In the case of a draw, highest facet value wins.
If still a draw, highest dice roll wins.
If still a draw, result is a draw.

Extended success rolls are things i want to deal with quickly. I don't want to make 20 success rolls, one after another, to represent 20 days passing and track progress from day to day.

I don't find that fun.
Although I can appreciate the build up of drama

So my solution, to keep things moving, is to have a base time for a task and modify the base time according to degree of success, to get an actual time

This can be done by having a single set of times, and move up and down according to success.

Or it could be done by having separate times for a selection of base times, and move up and down according to success.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Coming together...

It's strange, but good, that I feel like my development for Nexus Tales is going well

My doing things mechanics are sound
My combat system is useful
My character generation system has developed a couple of issues, but progress is going well

I do need to stabilise the setting, but that seems to be falling into place to

Over the next few weeks/months, I'll be asking people to have a look and shout at me if they find anything to mention

Then I plan to edit and incorporate changes, before releasing the rules and setting for people to enjoy.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

2015, and what it brings

Hello again :-)

It's been a while since I last posted, and I'm sure you'd like to know what's been happening.

Well, I've been thinking deep about combat ranges, majik, the City and the City's society.

Combat Ranges are a few in number, and are more for descriptive purposes than based on reality.

  • Close Range, Melee Range = 0-3m = Difficulty based on Athletics
  • Pistol Range = 3-10m range = Difficulty 13
  • Rifle Range = 10-70m range = Difficulty 16
  • Rocket Range = 70-250m range = Difficulty 20
  • Atmospheric Range = 250m-3km range = Difficulty 25
  • Orbital Range = 3km+ range = Difficulty 31

Majik is likely to be a bolt'n'build system, where each of 4 main parts of a spell/effect [Area of Effect, Range, Duration, Effect] is bolted together and the result determines difficulty and non-lethal effect on the user.

The City is huge and I've been working to make it consistent, and somewhere for characters to have things to do - but not too safe.

There are lots of people living there, and their life is one of action/adventure/peril, so the City must function.

But there needs to be a place and a role for player characters, who are outside that nice, normal world.

So I'm looking at factions that exist and influence people, things that happen outside the City, the enclaves. And least, but not last, the Feh Aree.

I'm also finalising putting a character together, which might seem a little strange at this stage. Some of the options available to characters are being developed as I solidify things in the City.

Until next time,


Thursday, 20 November 2014


Before any rules mechanics can be finalised, the matter of the setting needs to be addressed - to make sure the mechanics fit the tone and style of the game.

So, over the last few weeks I've been thinking about the setting and style for the Nexus Tales RPG.

It's planned to be a world of larger-than-life player characters, rooted in the real world but with more of a film/tv/book feel to it - so the characters are more capable than the general populace, but not to super-heroic levels.

The main place of play will be the City, set on the island of Kingdom - encompassing the counties of Devon to Essex, Oxfordshire to Hampshire, and is roofed in a transparent material 1km up. It's a place where technology is high, no-one works unless they want to, maker machines make consumer goods for everyone, medicines lengthen life and keep people healthy, augmentations are commonplace and DataSpace is accessible to all.

Outside the City is a wilderness, where storms are common and technology is unreliable - ships that sail on the sea are often sunk by storms and tidal waves, flying machines are brought down by storms and winds.

Off the coast of Kingdom are the storms, about 10km away and impenetrable to boats or aircraft.

History writes that about 200 years ago, Kingdom was an island off the coast of Europa and there were other lands that Kingdom traded with. Then the storms came and Kingdom is cut off, but still exists on the same planet as it did before.

There are those who live in the wilderness and travel its regions, in less technological vehicles and homes. Also in the wilderness are enclaves, people who have banded together to escape the City and set up their own laws and lives.

To the north is Hadrian's Wall, that separates Ecosse from the rest of the Kingdom - a place of clans and small settlements.

There are places where the walls of reality are thin, where worlds overlap, where people and things can move from one place to another. Some people from other places come to Kingdom for reasons of their own - to escape persecution, to prey on victims, to trade goods or information, as a stepping stone to other places.

The setting allows for a variety of places to do things, as well as a variety of things to do - whether hunting outsiders [those who come from other places, via  overlaps], inter-company intrigue, working for her majesty's organisations, helping friends at the Londinium Club, hiring out as independent operatives, exploring overlaps, dealing with those who exhibit unusual abilities.

With the storms have been noticed there is a conflict between nature and technology - where the presence of man is strong, the power of nature is weak, and vice versa.

And then you have the Feh Aree - things from myths and legends, come to feast upon the worlds of man and nature. Shapechangers, beasts, blood drinkers, fluttering imps, behemoth makers, lords and ladies.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Attributes, Skills or... ??

Separate attributes and skills for a character has been the way of things since I started in RPGs.

But as I look to write my own, I wonder why  - and if that's the best way to build a character.

Attributes define the basics of a character, whilst skills define what the character can do.

However, looking at things more deeply, it seems that attributes are more present as default skills than anything else.

In most RPGs, the value used to resolve actions is based on a value derived from attribute+skill or attribute bonus+skill - and a default value based on the attribute if no skill available.

But other than that, attributes aren't used much at all after character generation.

I understand and appreciate the logic, even if i don't agree with it, where it would take lots of time and effort to list every skill that someone has and adds complexity to character generation - many of which would never be used in a RPG session.

I also understand that attributes define a character, allowing his strength and intelligence to be noted.

But for use in an RPG ??

I see little use, apart from default values.

For example, need medical training to treat wounds ??

Use medical skill, or default to intelligence attribute.

Need to hit someone in a fight ??

Use fighting skill, or default to dexterity attribute.

Need to drive a car to get away from the police ??

Use driving skill, or default to dexterity attribute.

Need to sweet talk someone to gather information ??

Use persuasion, or default to charisma attribute.

And so on.

So, I'm going to reverse the equation and have something that combines attributes and skills.

This has the advantage of simplifying character generation, as only a single set of values have to be determined.

These values will be present in all characters, in varying degrees, and will be umbrella skills that all skills and attributes fall into - In effect, characters will be defined by their ability to do things, but not by how that ability is determined.

Since Nexus Tales is a near future game of action, that is the setting my abilities need to fit into an work with.

My current abilities are :-

  • Athletics - climbing, throwing, swimming, lifting, running
  • Driving - cars, boats, helicopters, planes, bikes
  • Fighting - fisticuffs, swords, claws, martial arts, clubs
  • Shooting - pistols, lasers, rockets, smgs, crossbows
  • Making - electronics, cooking, metalwork, carpentry
  • Communication - talking, teaching, painting, streetwise
  • Covert - pick locks, stealth, hiding, palming
  • Outdoors - riding, survival, navigation, hunting, tracking
  • Gaia - spells, rituals
  • Learning - maths, research, law, area knowledge, trivia, design, memory
So, every skill that can be known will be contained within these 10 categories of ability.

Should specific attributes be required, they are inferred from the abilities - remembering the action film nature of the RPG.

For instance, someone with excellent athletics ability would probably be healthy, fit, strong, agile, with good stamina - so any need to check their health, strength or stamina could be accomplished by referring to the athletics ability.

And so on.