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

Posted: October 7th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

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 It was a fun article, but the rules in it are now of course outdated.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 | No Comments »

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: | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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!


– Reworking for the 15th

Posted: July 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

I started making this game back in 1991 and I have been steadily improving the basic core engine of the rules ever since.
Now, with the 14th incarnation of them, I feel the rules have reached what is essentially their peak.
And they are not good enough.
So what I am doing is starting again. Not from scratch, but close enough. I am ripping up the entire rulesystem and rebuilding it from the ground up, borrowing a pipe here and tile there from the older versions, but it is a very different construction with a very different focus this time around.
Looking forward to showing it off to you guys when it is done!


GothCon 2012

Posted: April 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

This year, the one before, we attended GothCon in Gothenburg and sold the game, the Wanderer’s Compendium, in Glorious Ashes and Through the Eyes of Madness to the people there.

The spread of wares for GothCon

Now we are moving into other projects, and the pace here will slow until we are ready to reveal the next set of ideas, the next step onto the Lost Roads.


The Long Winter

Posted: January 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

As we move into 2012 we are slowing work for a bit on the Lost Roads of Lociam. It has been a busy year and many more yet to come, so we are focusing on some reworking and testing of the next incarnation of the game. Most information will be posted as it becomes available.

 

For now, enjoy the game and the modules you can buy off either lulu or off DriveThruRPG.


Stockholm Spelkonvent 2011

Posted: September 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

So last fall we visited the Stockholm Gaming convention and sat in what amounts to be a cold airplane-hangar which is a bit out of the way. Last year the convention was really small, but this year the attendance had picked up a bit.

This year the convention sported a Mythos-theme, and we wrote up a Mythos-inspired scenario called “Through the Eyes of Madness” which was available at the convention for the very first time. It is hard to introduce such a big and complex setting as the Mythos into the Lost Roads of Lociam with just a small adventure, and it won’t be a lasting element in the world, but as a one-off it fun.
The module ties in with an upcoming article in the Swedish gaming magazine Fenix which will be coming out in the coming weeks. The article there is on “Lost Treasures” and one of these lost treasures is located in the dark vaults of this horrible cult which is found in the adventure we sold at the convention. The other treasures are linked into other adventures, so stay tuned.

For more news as they happen in this project you can visit our -page.