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Cut Up A Thousand Nights and a Night

I built the Thousand Nights and a Night (1001 Nights) cut-up book on Friday and had a little play with it this weekend. I set myself a challenge of trying not to have to pin myself down to a game system until I absolutely had to. I started out with no character sheet, just the cut-ups and a basic oracle.

My oracle I am coming to call my advantage oracle. It doesn’t matter what dice you prefer, it works the same way with 2d4, 2d6 or 2d100.

You roll two of your favourite dice, twice. Above average rolls are yes, everything else is a no. The higher you roll the more emphatic the yes, the lower the more emphatic the no.

If the question is more likely to be yes, you higher of the two rolls, if the question is unlikely to be yes, you take the lower of the two. On a straight 50/50 or ‘don’t know’ you just pick the more extreme of the two rolls, the one further from the average result.

What I like about it that regardless of the game system I am using, it is quick and easy to adapt the oracle to fit. I can swap yes and no for roll low systems, I can swap out the dice to match the dominant dice in the game, and nothing really changes. I am not relying on modifiers I may forget, or tables to look up the result.

d6s are my go to dice, so that is the default grab for an oracle roll. I prefer high as yes, because I feel high rolls should be good rolls.

So off I started. The adventure started with me being pulled out of prison and taken to an audience with a wealthy merchant and a royal Prince. The Princes daughter, a hand maiden and the Princes royal jacket had all been stolen, and the thief had used a network of secret passages that ran around the city, and even into the palace, to commit the crime.

If I agree to catch the thief, I will be pardoned for my crimes and will walk out free. Refuse and I die in the mornings. With motivations like that, it was an easy choice to make. I am soon shown a secret door into the secret passage network.

I next started to explore the passageways and decided that they have entrances and exits all over the city, and used the cut-ups to try and decide what sort of place I step out into when I leave a passage. for example dress of honour, and // the foe’s blood, he’ll // a spark of fire. Suggested an artisan armorer, creating fine shirts of mail.

Rather than making any kind of skills test for things like Awareness or Perception I imply rely on oracle questions. I am assuming that the princess does not want to be abducted, and would be making a fuss, and resisting the thief. This means that I can ask, can I hear any commotion, like that of a princess being dragged through the streets? That is a yes no question, and I assumed the answers were unlikely, roll twice and take the lowest result, as the abduction didn’t just happen, there has been a time delay between then and now.

I scooted around a few locations, artisan workshops here, a market, a tailor’s stall, and then I hit upon the idea of asking the street kids and beggars. Assuming that they were mostly stationary all day, they may have seen comings and goings. these questions I made 50/50, and after a few inquiries in a few places, I got a hit. I was back in a fairly wealthy area. I then asked if the princess appeared well, and got a yes, answer. Was she in distress, and got a no. Was she going willingly? yes.

So, all of a sudden this doesn’t look so much like an abduction at all. Right back at the beginning of my adventure, the cut-ups had suggested that the thief may be in some way entitled to the things that he stole. I am now wondering if it is not the royal coat that he was entitled to but maybe the thief and the princess were maybe in love or betroved? This is more of an elopement or running away rather than an abduction.

This puts me in an awkward position. Do I drag a kicking and screaming princess back to her father, having probably just killed her lover, which doesn’t sound very heroic to me, or do I let the young couple go, but when the prince finds out that I have abandoned my duty I am likely to be killed very shortly after being caught. Neither option sounds good!

I also think that the prince knows full well who has taken the princess, and has set me up. There is also a problem of do I now know too much to be left alive?

I decide that I will track down the princess and the thief and confront them, and tell them my story so far. How much worse can it get?

This is the end of my adventures so far and I still haven’t needed a character sheet or any game rules outside of the cut-ups serving up GM descriptions and the yes-no oracle.

This has been quite fun, but it is a long way from Coriolis, which is what I set out intending to play!

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Super Fun Week

As you all probably know, I am working on a booklet for Dungeon Crawl Classics. I have a self imposed deadline of about 50 days, during which I would like to get the mechanics sorted, playtest, write the booklet, send it to Goodman Games, get approval, Finish the layout with their compatibility logo, submit the print files, and get a proof copy that is good to launch.

The reason for the deadline is that Dungeon Con is a join Dungeon Masters Guild/Goodman Games con starting on May 28th. It would be really nice to get this out ready for the con. 2 weeks of the 50 day budget is for the receiving the proof copy through the mail. I can launch with PDF only, so that bit is very flexible.

I have released a new solo book every week for more than a year. I am not going to get this book out in next four days, so if I don’t want to break my run I need something else…

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum

It was not my plan to spend my weekend playing around with DCC. I was supposed to be having a play with Coriolis. This was going to give me a break from all the Cthulhu I have been consuming lately. So, putting aside Coriolis for DCC, who should I find at the top of page 29, old tentacle face himself, Mr. Cthulhu!

One of the things I like about Coriolis is its non-European culture. To make spice up my planned game I had intended to ‘cut up’ A thousand Nights and a Night, or 1001 Nights as it is more commonly known.

The Thousand Nights and a Night is a series in 17 volumes running to over about 1.6Million words. It is way more than anyone needs just for a game. I took the first half dozen volumes, about 485 nights and used that as my source text.

I haven’t released a Cut Up book since February, so I am going to put this out on Monday, and that will satisfy my OCD brain!

A Final Kick

We have a local word here ‘withering’. Where I grew up withering meant to shrink back, as in a withering stare making people quail in fear. That is not the word I mean. Here, Withering is a bit like Dithering, not being undecided, whether to or whether not to do something.

I have been ‘withering’ about starting a Patreon for the last six to eight months.

In the past I have been asked about solo rules for A Song of Ice And Fire (Game of Thrones), Alien and Judge Dredd, just to name three that spring to mind. I cannot write for these, and when I did the GURPs rules, I had to name it SURPs and was prohibited from using GURPS in the book or product description.

The idea behind the Patreon would be that I could create rules supplements for these games, and store them in a shared folder. They would not be for sale, they would be for yours and my personal use. I could create the PDF version, and prepare print ready PDFs and Cover files, so you can take them along to a local printer and get a physical book made at cost. Lulu has a service where you can upload the files and order personal copies.

This week I finally got the kick up the arse that I needed, and have opened a Patreon account. The profile page is mostly done. I now realise that I have no real idea how Patreon works. This is something else I need to learn over the weekend.

It really wouldn’t do to get bored would it? (That is a joke, I don’t think I have ever been bored in my entire life. I suspect that my wife is very tolerant!)

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DCC & Dungeon Con

I saw an email last night that said Dungeon Masters Guild and Goodman Games are joining forces to run Dungeon Con Online. The dates are May 28th – 31st.

That gives me 50 days to get my DCC solo rules working, and submit them to Goodman Games for approval. I should be able to do the writing in that time, easily. The question is, how fast will the approval process run? I don’t know any publisher that has gone through this, and there is also the complication of will it be all hands on deck to organise the con at Goodman Games?

So far I am still in the reading and not taking stage. I know that it was been requested that I use an icon based oracle, so I don’t have to develop that part.

The closed question, the yes – no oracle is looking like it is going to be based on the skill system

The skill system has the following break points, DC5 dead easy, DC10 mans task, DC15 daring do and DC20 heroic.

In my head, I see that as

D20 Answer
1-4 Definite No
5-9 No
10-14 Yes
15-19 Extreme Yes
20 Surprise!

The Surprise result will be something that shakes up your current scene.

The icon wheels in the Stars Without Number solo supplement represented one big generic set of Sci Fi friendly icons. What I would like to do this time is give you that range of icons, but also sets of very specific icons. I was doing a bit of research this afternoon and came up with a set of trap specific icons.

Some of these I would probably want to cut out, there are several bear trap-style traps here, and several spikes, and nets, etc. A pruned-down array of unique trap icons would be a useful addition. The key would be to decide when to take the icons literally, and when to use a more lateral approach. Is that chest with teeth really a mimic, or is it just a chest that could ‘come back to bite you’ as in, having consequences?

Anyway, I am quite taken with the idea of curating lists of icons.

DCC First Impressions

I didn’t really know what to expect with DCC before I started reading it. Or, I had expected the Classics part of the name to imply that it was another 0D&D clone.

I am so very wrong. I think I really got what DCC was all about when I got to the Fighter class and Deeds of Might. I confess that the D&D style hit point grind has never appealed to me. If I play anything D&D-esque I much prefer levels 2-5, and then start to lose interest rapidly after that.

Deeds of Might are much more narrative and descriptive, and add a lot of a fight scene.

I have made a cohort of 0th level peasants this afternoon, and they are a sorry bunch. One elf and three humans.

I now just need to read enough of the rules to put together a 0th level first adventure.

I have a clear day to day and tomorrow to really get into this.

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