– Working in the background

Posted: January 2nd, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: | No Comments »

Even though you may not have been able to see it, the game has actually been progressing. These things happen in the background when you aren’t looking. I just did not feel it needed an update until there was some substantial progress to be reported.

This happens to me as well, when I feel nothing much is happening, and then, suddenly, a result is produced without me knowing there was a problem to begin with. A few weeks ago this happened as I was biking off to the woods to do some hiking, and as I took a corner, all of a sudden, a brand new way to handle weapon proficiencies in the game presented itself. I didn’t know that there was something wrong with the current system for proficiencies, but apparently there was, as this system was a lot more elegant, and works a lot better. All it required was a rewrite.

In other news, the acquisition of a new piece of software solved one of the core issues that was plaguing the layouting process, and with that problem out of the way, all of a sudden, layouting the game became a dawdle. So I knocked out a first draft and this is currently being reviewed and revised. The previous layouting-process had been very costly., time-wise, and not very efficient. It had taken me about four days per chapter, and the results were not always what I wanted them to be. With this new software I was able to exceed my previous year’s worth of output in just a week.

Below is a short clip of what the rough layouting draft looks like.

Short clip showing off the draft of the game in its current state.

The reason the clip almost comes to a stop of at the picture of the person hiding in a bush, a picture which was in the last version of the game as well, is that that particular picture was corrupted, and could not be loaded at all. I thought I had lost it, but it happened to be one of the pictures that had been sent to me physically, so I was able to re-scan and re-edit it, so that it could be included. It would have been a sad loss had it been gone forever.

The playtesters have also been busy, and completed two run-throughs of all the available pre-written adventures, and more. They have been sniffing at the rules for the first expansion as well, trying out some of the things that won’t be in the core rulebook.

The progress by the illustrators have been amazing thus far as well. Only a handful of pictures remain to fill out the rulebook and the character creation book. Then we can roll on into the adventures as well. I have been astonished by the outpour of talents on display for this little project, and the amount of effort these truly gifted individuals have displayed in their contributions. I could not thank them enough, no matter how hard I might try.


– FreeRPGday!

Posted: June 15th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

Lost Roads of Lociam participated in the Sci-Fi Bookstore (Stockholm) as it hosted FreeRPGDay on the 15th of June.
A total of 13 heroes were made, epic destinies forged, as it were, and a lot of fun was had.
You can read more about FreeRPGDay here.

From the SFBookstore Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sfbok/)

Our humble thanks go out to all who participated and made this a fun experience!


– The indispensability of playtesters

Posted: June 14th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

I am always greatly humbled by the ingenuity of my playtesters, and know that I would be lost without them. They have a way of finding issues and problems I could never have dreamt up on my own, and find opportunities I could easily have let slip passed me.

I am currently running several groups of playtesters to walk through the adventures that are currently written for ht 15th edition of the game, the core game system and character creation-system.

Recently one such group arrived in a town, and found themselves in need of horses to reach some time-critical destination. The adventure they are playtesting contains, apart from the adventure itself, rules for horses, and I was all too happy to pull these out and offer the players options as to which horse they would like to purchase, and the pros and cons of each.

Several of the players were also concerned about the possibility that once they reached their destination they would be riding into fire, as it were, and were interested in how being on horseback would influence their ability to fight, if such a situation would occur.

Now, rules for mounted combat have been in the works for a long time, but I always planned on “saving them” for a later adventure, possibly making them more of a central theme, but of course that was shortsighted of me, as there was clearly a need for them, and not just a need for them, but the perfect opportunity to include them, along with the rules for the different kinds of horses.

So here we are, with tested rules for mounted combat included about four adventures “too early”, all because my playtesters correctly identified the need for them.

This is why playtesters are clearly indispensable.


– Cursed with some slight inspiration

Posted: May 12th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: | Comments Off on – Cursed with some slight inspiration

Sometimes there are no ideas, and sometimes there are.
And sometimes, just sometimes, there are more ideas than there is space and time to actually complete.

Right now the game is in the latter of these two, and I will have to slow down in producing material so that I can catch up on the layouting of the game, the playtesting and refining, and hopefully make my way towards printing this, the 15th edition of the game.

Currently, the 15th edition has a rulebook, which is complete, and a set of character creation rules, along with a set of adventures

  • Lights in Old houses – this old gem has seen a facelift into the new edition.
  • Circles disrupted – dive into the nightmares and politics of magical circles
  • When two tribes go to war – be part of the powerstruggle and plight of tribes
  • Same old story – isn’t it always the case; heroes always get asked to be heroes?
  • In Glorious ashes – written for a themed convention, this post-apocalyptic setting has seen a rework.
  • Through the eyes of madness – another themed product, this adventure crosses the Lost Roads of Lociam with the Cthulhu Mythos.

Then there is the very first expansion; The World that Is. Apart from containing a whole lot of information on the world of humans of the Second People, rules for plants, herbs, potions and alchemy, this also contains new higher magic Spheres and some new monsters.

  • The Making of a Church – church politics on a whole new level
  • To vie for a throne – the struggles for the throne are all too real
  • God is on our side – when army faces army, the favour of the gods will tip the scales.
  • The Blackened gate – where is the 9th company? What is behind the blackened gate?
  • Matters of the heart – delve into the mysteries of the long-lost past of Lociam.
  • Passing of the torch – knights clash in this tournament with more than honour on the line.
  • Dread sails – pirates and the hunt for clues ranges up and down the coast.
  • Losing sight – can some treasures be too costly to be worth digging up?
  • Glare and thirst – just a slight blurb in the last edition, the sun now shines brightly on this adventure.

As things stand right now I will revisit the character creation and then start layouting, before returning to actually producing more material. Things need some order, or the struggle against Chaos will have been lost.

Thank you for coming along on this journey!


– A lost crown, and consistency in design of a game

Posted: October 7th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: News | Comments Off on – A lost crown, and consistency in design of a game

This thought all began with a royal crown, now long gone from the head of the monarch it was made for, and instead lost to some horrid cult.

I was re-working the adventure “Through the Eyes of Madness” for a Spooky October-session of playtesting when I came across the mention of the Seafarer’s Crown. This is an item the characters can find in the game, and it has rules for its magical effects. This is where my rabbit-hole opened.

The rules for magical artifacts were decent in the last iteration of the rules, but did not survive the transition into the current edition, so I needed to come up with a way to implement the magical artifacts into the 15th edition.

The Wavestone Regalia. By Peter Edgar

Rather than just coming up with a way to wing it and get on with writing the adventure, this actually ground the entire effort to a halt, and I had to revisit the original article where the Seafarer Crown was introduced; a specially-written article for the Swedish gaming magazine Fenix.

The crown was part of the Wavestone Regalia, a series of adventure-hooks meant to start characters off on a series of quests to gather the entire collection of the lost regalia, but also serve as a little spice of other adventures, as the regalia was scattered through a handful of adventures and locations mentioned in other adventures still. It was a fun article, but the rules in it are now of course outdated.

After reworking the article it became apparent that I needed a new set of rules for magical artifacts for this version of the rules. This was planned for the second expansion of the game, and that is most likely where it will be published, but I still needed the rules working and working consistently so that I didn’t make mistakes when adding magical artifacts to the game as I progress towards that point.

So I sat down and rewrote the Sphere of Artifacts, to harmonize it with the ways the current edition of the rules work. I had to whittle 20 effects of the original rules down to a most concise 9, had to make the rules work without secondary attributes like the old edition relied on, and so on.

And of course, when that was done I had to get the other big piece of artifact-rule out of the way; the way to randomly generate magical artifacts, which was part of the post-apocalyptic adventure “In Glorious Ashes” which was written for a Lin Con-convention some years back. That task wasn’t very easy either, as contained not just those rules, but an entire adventure-setting that needed to be re-worked into the current edition of the game. I am currently hip-deep in those broken ruins with its scavengers, bandits and monster, working my way though it. Once I am done, however, I will have a very solid foundation for balancing magical artifacts that any player can encounter in any subsequent adventure or scenario, even though the rules for making your own artifacts might not be available for some time.

 

Why is this important though? Because of consistency in game-design.

There is this game that we played a lot back in 80s and 90s. It has rules for creating your own magical weapons. You cast “Enchant weapon” at some level, and the weapon becomes that much more deadly. “Enchant weapon 1” adds 1 to the damage of the weapon, whereas “Enchant weapon 4” adds 4 to the damage. You then add permanence so that the effect does not get consumed when you use it, and then a third effect called Nexus, so that you don’t have to ‘pay’ for it with your soul’s power over and over. It is a neat and consistent system that makes it clear what you can do and how.

And then there is an adventure where the bad-guy, a sorcerer, has a sword with the description “The sword is magical and does double damage“. There is no way to cast such an effect on any item, and certainly is not an “Enchant weapon“-effect as described in the rules. This has bothered a lot of players, and bothered me when I read it, played it, and tried to figure it out.

The conclusion I came to was that if a piece of magic, skill, ability or something else should be available to the monsters and bad-guys it should, if within reason, be available in the same way, to the player characters. Why would the world make exceptions for the player characters and make it impossible for them to learn and use the same skills that others in the world could use? So when writing this adventure I have set out to try to be as consistent as possible, meaning that if a bad-guy wears armour, that armour is just as effective for him/her/it as it would be for a player character, that the sword does as much damage, that the spells work in the same way, and so on and so forth.

And this brings us back to the Seafarer Crown. I could certainly have written some rule for the crown which would have made it work in the adventure, but not be the same as the rules for similar artifacts in the next, making it pretty ad hoc, which would make it disconnected and ultimately useless. I don’t think players should have to learn new rules for the same things in each and every adventure, but expect the world to remain consistent, so that they can focus on the fun of the game instead.

That’s how a single crown lead to a re-work of mechanics for magical artifacts all across the entirety of Lociam, past, present and future.


– The Second Santa Claus-ification

Posted: September 14th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: News | Comments Off on – The Second Santa Claus-ification

Back in 1999-2000 I was playtesting the game, then in its 11th and 12th edition, with several group of players. The rules back then were very different from the 14th edition which you may know, and even more dis-similar to the 15th edition, which is in the works now. There were more abilities, more attributes, and a lot more mechanics to keep abreast of and in mind when playing. A lot of mechanics were in the form of “x number of D10 dice under a particular stat, ability or attribute”. This made it hard to remember, but allowed for a great deal of detail.

To avoid Acid Wave, roll 6D10 under CON (Constitution) or 4D10 under SPD/2 (Speed) or be dissolved by the magical acid spray.

Then there was Santa Claus. That wasn’t her real name, but everyone called her Santa Claus for reasons that have no bearing on this story. Santa Claus didn’t hold with numbers very well. Her talents were elsewhere, and she struggled trying to keep the rules and all the rules straight.

I took this on board and performed a process which was later dubbed the Santa Claus-ification. This was a rightening of the entire system into D100-format, so that all rolls were D100 against a modifier and a goal, not a nearly arbitrary number of D10 that had to be summed up.
This process also informed me in working with the 15th edition of game, building on the 14th to make it sturdier, and easier.

However, obviously the process tied a knot on itself somewhere along the line, and I have noticed some structural issues creeping in.

The roll is modified by 35, so the trait of 90 plus the roll of 41 minus 35 (90 (trait) – 41 (roll) – 35 (modification)) results in a difference of 14, which is not enough to succeed.

Somewhere in the back of my head I have felt this was the wrong way to go, and have been almost subverting these structural issues as they arise when writing adventures for the playtesting. It wasn’t until yesterday that I understood the full breadth and depth of these issues, however. Luckily the fix isn’t very difficult, only time-consuming, and I am calling this the “Second Santa Claus-ification” as it is a rightening of crooked rules, to make them more harmonious, sturdier and robust, and easier to learn and play with.

The trait is modified by -35 for this roll, resulting in a trait of 55 (90-35). The roll is 41, which results in a difference of (55-41) 14, which is not enough to succeed.

I am happy I caught these issues now so that they didn’t make it into print.

I am also happily working away at an online character sheet that does most of this math on its own. All the player has to do is put “x” where it applies, and the sheet will take care of burden, injury and magical modifiers, for instance.


– Working on the next edition

Posted: August 9th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: | Comments Off on – Working on the next edition

In 2010 I published the Lost Roads of Lociam, and over the subsequent 18 months I provided monthly new rules, errata, adventures and more through this site and others. In short, I kept working on the game.

At the end of those 18 months I was fairly confident that the system was as good as I was going to be able to make it.

And it wasn’t good enough.

 

So the new edition of the game has torn up and thrown away 98% of all the rules, and made an entirely new game-engine for itself. The story and the world is the same (although we are moving through history, so not everything is the same…) but the rules behave quite differently now. Gone are the over-complicated turn-based fights, and in are narrative structures that lets heroes be heroes. Gone are massed spelllists for the poor magic-users to memorize, and in are sleeker, slimmer rules for both magic, faith, exploration and survival.

 

Some preliminary playtesting of the system, first the character creation-system and then the adventures (which I am “porting” from the older edition into the new) has yielded positive results. Maybe, if things progress, we might see a release within a year or something.


– Nordic Gaming day

Posted: November 21st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: News | Comments Off on – Nordic Gaming day

Nordic Game day 2016

On Saturday the 19th of November 2016 I lectured at the Nordic Game Day at the public library in Gävle, Sweden.

I had an hour at my disposal, and talked about roleplaying games in general, their history and development over the last few decades, and about Lost Roads of Locaim in particular. It was a fun time, and I got the chance to connect to some people, new and returning players in equal measure, and got to set up my little stall to sell a few books.
I am happy to have attended and look forward to seeing more of you around.
I would be happy to return, if given the chance, especially if I can get the next version of the game up and running.


– Nordic Gameday in Gävle

Posted: November 19th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: News | Comments Off on – Nordic Gameday in Gävle

Time to head off to Nordic Gameday in Gävle!

I am looking forward to giving a short lecture on roleplaying-games in general and Lost Roads of Lociam in particular.

I hope to get some good feedback and meet some of you there!

 

More info here.


– Some art while we work!

Posted: August 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

As we are working on the rules for the next version of the game (which will be made available free as a PDF by the way!) one of our fantastic illustrators Randy Linbourn sent us this clip of his artwork. Now the cover isn’t his, that’s by the amazing Dave, but the rest of the artwork is his.

Enjoy!

And here’s the clip!