Day two of sitting out on the porch. It’s very comfortable out here early in the morning but by 1000 it starts heating up. The sky is a brilliant shade of blue and bright as shit even in the shade of the porch. The neighbor sounds haven’t started up yet so it’s just me and the birds and the breeze rustling the leaves. It’s quite relaxing. Besides I can pretend that I’m doing something productive by sitting out here. I’m always out here with the laptop so in theory I’m working on something.
Yesterday I actually was. I wrote a whole new section for COREthulhu. Jesse and I were talking about gaming things and character creation and how sometimes you just have a character sheet with numbers and no backstory or sense of who the character is. It’s a problem that I’m having in our current Call of Cthulhu game. Anyway, it got me thinking about the 20 questions from Legend of the 5 Rings so I decided to do my own.
Only a handful of the questions are COREthulhu specific so we could port this to other CORE games, like Noir. In fact we could just use this when creating characters for any game really. In some sense I feel like the crunchier the system is the more the character is defined by the numbers, the mechanics. Whereas in a more narrative system like CORE, the “Who” of the character is more developed. I suppose it depends on the GM as well. Someone like Tod is great at pulling out those character details and incorporating them into the story and forcing you to think about who your character is.
The original layout of COREthulhu didn’t take into account DriveThru’s archaic print on demand system so Jesse is in the midst of doing layout again. Luckily he wasn’t finished so adding the new section isn’t too much of a hassle for him. This will be like the third major revision since it’s been published. I’ll be excited to be able to actually print off some copies. Hopefully I’ll be able to have some ready for NecronomiCon. Lead time on printing is like 8-16 weeks at this point.
That still leaves the magic supplement for me to finish. I’m hoping that the magic playtest we’re currently running with Tod will help to solidify things for me. It gives me more stuff to look at anyway. Hammering out the system is actual work and that’s where everything bogged down. Writing COREthulhu was easy, creating a magic system not so much.
With the work that Tod’s done since on CORE Complete, I no longer have to create a system from whole cloth. I can mix and match the things that I like and use that for a base. One of the things that hung me up was whether or not to provide lists of spell and rituals. I mean you have to provide some examples so that people get a sense of how it’s done so they can hack it themselves but all it could ever be is suggestive. The Grand Grimoire of Cthulhu Magic is like 600 pages of spells and shit, that is not what I’m aiming for.
If however, I can provide a defensive spell with a low, medium and high casting level, then GMs and players can figure out how to hack it. That way I don’t have to cover every possible aspect. So in out defensive spell example, if the base DL to cast is 4 and that grants a +1 armor bonus and effects just the caster then we move out from there. So if the caster wants to increase the bonus then you increase the DL, if you want to cast your protection over the whole party then increase the DL.
This is all just sort of fuzzy math right now but essentially you provide an example at self, party and like army size. Self being the lowest DL, party being in the middle and army at the top end at 10+ DL. Then do that for a few different spell types. Easy Peasy, right? It remains to be seen but in theory it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s mostly me just having to sit down and do it and not sit here just talking about it. Procrastinators of the world unite!
So COREthulhu is currently being updated, the Magic supplement is, in theory, a work in progress and Noir is being worked on in fits and starts.
Honestly, the way work on Noir got it’s start was me coping and pasting whole chunks of COREthulhu into a new word doc and just renaming it Noir. Mostly just to have the layout down. Some of the Professions easily port over anyway, like Private Investigator, Criminal, Dilettante and Doctor. New ones I’m working on are Journalist and Clergy but I’ll need a few more. Skills are universal and the sections on gear and armor and such.
New stuff I already added includes foot chases and a mystery generator. Tod has rules for vehicles chases in CORE Complete already so that can just be puled in. Kurt and I are also working out rules for Luck and Aiming. Luck works like Cypher system in that you can spend XP to add to your roll. Simple and straight forward, 1 XP equals +1 to the roll. The catch being you don’t have that XP to spend later. Aiming has never come up in a CORE game that we’ve played but it’s something that struck me. Aiming would be “Doing something else” in combat and give you a +1 on your next shooting roll. Very situational and like I said, it’s never come up but now we have a rule for it.
Last week I gave Noir a bit of an overhaul, rewrote some things, added and clarified text, worked on new professions. There’s still no intro or setting sections. It’s next on my to do list, at least to get a first draft down. My thought is that it will be more generic then COREthulhu was because lets face it,
you can tell Noir stories in a variety of settings. Noir is crime fiction with cynical characters, bleak settings and a pervading sense of existential dread. You can run a classic 40’s style Noir story or Neo Noir like Blade Runner or Cyber Noir like Shadowrun.
Kind of hard to pin all those things down in one setting blurb in a book. So just spit balling, I’m looking at something like the stories revolve around crime or a mystery, set in the city, hard boiled characters, probably a twist in the third act, and making difficult existential choices. Your characters may solve the mystery but at what cost, that sort of thing.
We wrapped up our first season of CORE Noir on the MFGCast recently. It’s a one on one game with Kurt running and me playing the PI. Kurt ran an excellent game and put together a really good mystery. It all went really smooth and I actually solved the case! As a one on one game CORE Noir is perfect.
When we started we figured we jump right in, since CORE is setting agnostic, and work on Noir as we went along. See if anything presented itself or quite honestly see if Noir even needed it’s own book. We both agreed that there’s enough there to move forward with putting out a book but it’s one reason that it’s been slow going. As situations present themselves in game we work though them and then go back to the book. I think we’re on pretty solid ground now though so it’s just the matter of sitting down and doing the work. Never my strong point, I’m quite sure I can find something else to do and then lament the fact that the other thing I should be working on isn’t done yet.
While this isn’t actually working on the book it is helpful in the sense of me getting my head around it. It also puts it down in black and white and says this is what you did and this is what you need to do so there is some sense of accountability. It also gives me an excuse to sit outside on the porch. So with a renewed sense of purpose I go forth……or just sit here and open up the Noir file and get to work but you get it.