I started writing a setting to roll up a lot of thoughts about high fantasy and science fantasy. The result was a series of interconnected planets, and I soon realized I could map these to the real Solar System. So what did I end up with?

Read more "The Fantasy Solar System" »

One complaint levied against modern fantasy is that it adheres too closely to certain cultural stereotypes. There’s not just a “fighter with honor”, there’s a paladin. There’s not just a supernaturally powered healer, there’s a cleric of a god - or pantheon of gods.

The Final Fantasy franchise has done interesting things with some of these stereotypes, and hewed to others. What if we start with the FF jobs, and remix them to see if we can make something really new?

Read more "Final Fantasy fusion jobs" »

In the interest of creating a comic book, and/or a visual novel with a comic-book vibe, I want to programmatically create speech bubbles.

On the one hand, this might just be laziness. Why don’t I just hand-draw every single bubble around every single bit of text, like an artist? I feel like that question answers itself, but let’s give another one, which is that it’s easier to produce more stuff if it’s easier to, well, produce that stuff! Labor-saving tools also enable me to easily re-edit my dialogue without laboriously redrawing it all.

The downsides are obvious: this doesn’t let me incorporate the bubbles as easily into the rest of the artwork. For a professional comic book, this might be a serious consideration. But for something like a VN, or a cheap indie comic to get me started, I’m okay.

So what goes into this process?

Read more "The Math of Speech Bubbles" »

Different TTRPG systems try to mesh mechanics together to yield a satisfactory outcome. Some of those mechanics are character qualities, situational stakes, and randomizers such as dice. A lot has been said about success vs. failure, keeping failures interesting, and so on. What can we say about achieving your goals, even if the dice say you fail?

Read more "Success Through Failure in TTRPGs" »

Over the weekend, I got to playtest Constellation Cards at a small local gaming event. The results were pretty good! I think the biggest problems actually came from my own failure to use my prep.

But I upheld one promise. “This game will be unlike anything you play here.”

Read more "Constellation Cards playtest" »

The Arise playtest is out, but there’s only a handful of GMCs - GM Characters, or “monsters” - available. Let’s work out some principles to make more, and then create a few

Read more "Principles of Arise GMCs" »

Arise is different from other tactical games in a few key ways:

  1. Maps are of fixed size (8x8 or 12x12)
  2. There’s emphasis on three-dimensional movement, similar to video games like Final Fantasy Tactics
  3. Domination of a quadrant of the map gives the dominating side attack bonuses

What does this mean when it comes to designing original maps?

Read more "Principles of Arise Map Creation" »

“The elements of life and the makings of our world, they have intent. Fire burns, sure, but is it a cozy campfire or a roaring inferno eating away at a forest? Water flows, but is it the gentle brook or a drowning tidal wave?”

“You see, the old time wizards, they thought they had everything figured out. They thought, oh ho, we’re so smart and clever, what if we strip away that intent? We can just have, you know, the essence of fire, and then we imbue it with our will. Presto, a fireball!”

“We shapers know better. You don’t hobble the element by stripping it of something. You empower it, by giving it more.”

Read more "What if spells were like Poke'mon?" »

I made a lot of progress on the game recently. This includes finishing up work on an optional deck: City construction. A new addition as of tonight is a set of Personality cards.

The idea is that you deal a set of Neighborhood cards to represent different parts of the city, then Dynamic cards to connect them. The goal is to create a city that will serve as a good basis for drama.

Read more "The Constellation Cards City Deck" »