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Four Extra Pages

Back on the pony

January was a nice vacation from the site. An interesting lesson in moderation: too much of anything makes you tired of it, and burnout serves no one well. I may declare January to be Welsh Piper vacation month. Seems like a good time of year to recharge.

During the hiatus, I’ve been tinkering with a few things. First off, I’ve moved the forums to Google Groups, which is where I had started the Chimera RPG discussion group back in late 2007. I’ll state right out that I’m not entirely happy with it, as you can’t post files. If you know of a better online “group” alternative, please send your suggestions. In the meantime, the group is linked above–feel free to join up and post your little heart out.

Second, I’ve been updating Chimera Basic, and the “5th printing” is coming up. The update streamlines a few bits, chief among which is establishing a base Target Number for all Action Rolls, then reflecting action difficulty via AR modifiers. Somewhat esoteric, I know, but I believe those who aren’t as close to the game’s mechanics as I am will find the change to be more intuitive.

Spear and Spell

Spear & Spell?

Third, the outline for Spear & Spell, the Chimera fantasy port, is complete. This is essentially my contribution to the OSR, without the plagiarism. Snarky, I know (like the image to the right), but it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. It’s built completely off the Chimera Basic engine; highlights include race-as-class, more perks, powers (as spells) and monsters, full Ability descriptions and AR results, expanded guidelines for dungeon and wilderness exploration, magic items, mass combat, and a complete dungeon creation system.

Fourth, a super-secret project. At this point, all I will say is this: it involves a domain name that’s been long neglected and conspicuous by its lack of content.

Why I’m Really Posting

So I’m thinking about the ol’ Rule of 16 for print runs, in which published print booklets would be some multiple of 16 pages long (i.e., 16, 32, 48, 64, 96, 128 pages). I’m sure this is a vestige of the print industry’s imposition standards and therefore not strictly applicable in today’s Print-On-Demand environment.

Esoteric ponderings of an anal-retentive gamer? Yes, thank you. The long and the short of it is this:

Chimera Basic is 44 pages right now. Seems to me that it could easily be 48. Plus I have some other updates all queued up for the “5th Printing.”

Question is: what goes on those extra 4 pages? What’s missing that should absolutely be included? Maybe you want more Fighting Maneouvres, or vehicles, rules for opposed roles, expanded info on Abilities, campaign creation tables, whatever. I’m all ears.

Let me know in the comments section.

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Spear & Spell image by Greg MacKenzie

Categories: Game Mechanics Tags:
  1. February 9th, 2011 at 13:25 | #1

    It’s good to see you back in the saddle, Erin. It’s been quiet without you.

    For me, the content that SHOULD go on those four extra pages is obvious – it should cover the very thing that is missing from the core rules: Genres. You still need to decide whether or not you are going to market Chimera RPG as multi-genre or generic, but as a flexible toolkit, material on how to tailor Chimera RPG to the needs of the users game should be fairly high priority.

    I know in the past you’ve been saying such and such information is in this or that product, but quite frankly, it shouldn’t be. The adage that things shouldn’t be Chimera RPG Basic, because it’s just that: Basic, is inherently flawed. It’s an indication that it’s time to move beyond the confines of Basic onto the next step.

    Add to the fact that few people want to wait until you get around to producing a full product for their favourite genres, because of the sheer range of genres available and you have a recipe that can drive all but the most ardent Chimera RPG fans away – those who already worship your work because you wrote it and have committed to it, and don’t care when it arrives.

    Who better to work on those tweaks, to lead those discussions, and to build those discussions that the designer himself? Simple things that can be done to tide fans over until the full product arrives.

    At least, this is what I would do (and in fact, what I did, and what I intend to do).

    Regardless, it’s nice to see you back in the saddle – I’m hoping the break did you good. It’s been a quieter world without you. Sorry to see the forums go though, but still…

  2. February 9th, 2011 at 20:28 | #2

    @Da’ Vane You still need to decide whether or not you are going to market Chimera RPG as multi-genre or generic

    I’m still not getting the difference between ‘multi-genre’ and ‘generic’ in this context. My goal for Chimera Basic (arguably not achieved) is to provide a set of mechanics that one could either use stand-alone or else easily customise to their own purposes (meaning, a style of play or a specific genre or level of realism).

    Maybe it would help to understand how other are using Chimera Basic. I mean, I know how I use it, but that doesn’t necessarily count in terms of its usefulness to others in the community.

  3. February 10th, 2011 at 04:36 | #3

    @Erin D. Smale Basically put, while there are a lot of similarities between genres, there are also a lot of differences, and many GMs would want to be able to tailor Chimera RPG Basic for that purpose.

    You’ve done a great job with generic, effects-based powers – and later on the product under campaign design, you bring up thinking about how powers work in limited cosmology, but there are still whole aspects of genres that haven’t been covered. Some of these might be minor, but some can be wide ranging, or actually cover multiple genres.

    For example, take fear and sanity – a stable for a horror genre that can be applied over the top of almost every other genre you care to mention, be it fantasy, lovecraftian pulp, political thriller, or space opera survival. What about cyberware? Computer hacking? Chase scenes? And so forth…

    Basic does a great job of providing the basics, but where’s the information on how it can be expanded and tailored to cover these things that aren’t going to be used in every game? A little something now beats saying “wait until…” especially when there is little actual news of a release date.

    You don’t have to go into it in great detail – your genre article was a great foundation for this. But instead of a single paragraph description of what each genre is, and then simply leaving it, expanding that information to provide some ideas on how to use Chimera Basic to create those genres is best. Chimera Basic might not be the best Sci-Fi, Modern, or Western system out there – it doesn’t have to be. But it would do well to at least have information on how to potentially become a decent Sci-Fi system, until you actually provide a Sci-Fi, Modern, or Western supplement for Chimera RPG.

  4. February 10th, 2011 at 10:26 | #4

    @Da’ Vane but where’s the information on how it can be expanded and tailored to cover these things that aren’t going to be used in every game?

    I think I grok – let me chew on this a bit. Vehicles, mass combat, treasure, and a few fiddly bits come to mind (e.g., fear, terrain, getting lost). I’m mindful of scope – if the material grows to more than 4 additional pages, it may be too much for “basic.” Or not–maybe “basic” needs to be bigger than it is to do the job.

  5. February 10th, 2011 at 14:17 | #5

    This was what I was trying to say, albeit clumsily, when I said that maybe it’s time to start thinking beyond basic. In terms of what’s going to be in every game, you’ve pretty much got it covered, and it’s only minor tweaking – I’ll be interested to see what the 5th Printing brings.

    The rest? Well, they make for good anchor points until you can actually flesh them out properly in the relevant supplements, for the inclusion in core, or whatever your current release plans are.

  6. February 15th, 2011 at 23:37 | #6

    Erin, welcome back…I’m bored without you on Wednesdays.

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