Archive for January, 2013

This Must Be Said!

For me, the one aspect of publishing a new role-playing game book that took the most getting used to was actually getting feedback. I figured from the outset that Cosmic Patrol would probably be a love-it or hate-it book. While the rule set has some hallmarks of traditional RPGs, it lacks a lot of their crunch. Focusing hard on a really cool setting and story-driven mechanics isn’t for everyone, and I was fine with that.

Still, I was incredibly nervous when the Cosmic Patrol Core Rulebook released at Gen Con 2011. Working on games like Shadowrun, BattleTech and Leviathans is great and I take a lot of pride in those products, but this was totally my own idea and that scared the crap out of me. Thankfully, many folks really liked the game and some great reviews started rolling in.

The biggest honors by far were being on the shortlist for the 2012 Origins Awards and being nominated for the Best Game Ennie Award. We didn’t win, but man, what an honor! I’m still shocked, to be honest.

Thanks!

And now for something completely different…

Last week I promised I’d talk about the upcoming Cosmic Patrol adventure book, The Moon Must Be Ours. I’m pushing that to next week, sorry. Instead I wanted to ask a quick question: What other genres/themes would work with the Cosmic Patrol rule set?

I’ve been scribbling notes for a fantasy-themed world called Goblin Patrol, where the players are goblins stuck in an adventurer’s world. In one awesome Cosmic Patrol review from Idle Red Hands, they played a 1970s funk version called Soul Patrol. What are your ideas?

15

01 2013

Digging into the Moon Dungeon

Well, 2013 is upon us and I’m doing steady work on The Moon Must Be Ours (TMMBO).  At this point of development, it’s all about outlining and specifications. For other game lines, like Shadowrun or BattleTech, this can be pretty in-depth process. Line developers have to weigh considerations like target page count, writing budgets, art budgets, playtesting and the general target release date, to name a few.

Thankfully, by design, Cosmic Patrol books are relatively simple. Each book is targeted at 136 pages and feature the basic sections: intro fiction, rules, gazetteer, characters and missions. Given the flexibility of the rules, a lot of the real effort goes into world building and mission creation. And surprise, that’s the most fun, too.

Lunar Engineering

In the Cosmic Patrol universe, the Moon is one giant Moon Man fortress. It’s been tunneled out from the surface all the way to the core. Any Patrol invasion of the Moon would have to navigate these rooms and tunnels to complete the mission.

Knowing how the Moon would be framed, I then made two goals:

  1. a choose-your-own-adventure mechanic for moving from room to room
  2. a mechanic that offers easy, normal, hard and insane difficulty settings

I didn’t want a lot of variable monster strengths and trap tests (that’d lead to too much referencing, IMO) so decided that difficulty tracks would be based on the number of rooms players would have to clear to successfully complete the adventure.

With those prerequisites in mind, I turned to a RPGer’s best friend: charts! Flowcharts, to be exact.

EasyNormal Hard Insane

Now these aren’t in the actual book, but are used in the dev process to assign exits for each room. Each room takes the format of a Mission Brief with the room’s challenge or threats and a choice of exits based on what difficulty you want to play at. If you want a quick adventure, go with the Easy track. Want a bigger challenge? Use the Hard track. And then you can mix and match as desired, creating your own custom adventure.

Over the next few weeks I’ll go into more depth on how the room structure works, but I do have one cool announcement to share now!

Create-A-Moon-Room Contest

During the development of Into the Cosmos, we held a contest for players to create a rocketship and mission for inclusion in the book. We’ll be doing the same thing for TMMBO, reserving two or three rooms for player-created entries! I’ll have more info on the contest later. Good luck!

07

01 2013