rockwood: (Tome)
This series of articles, the first of which is here, covers unofficial or personally-owned (maybe, if I get around to buying a license) material I'm writing for Cortex RPG games, including new sub-systems, optional rules, and similar.

Disclaimer and notice: If I ever get around to writing my own Cortex sourcebook, I might include some of these ideas, but I put them up here for free in the hopes that they'll see use by other folk, too. Please feel free to link to them or use them yourself. If you want to repost them elsewhere, or you draw heavily on them for your own freely available work, I would both love to hear about your project and would also appreciate being given credit for whatever inspiration I provided, but don't worry about it too much. My only restriction is that you do not publish my writing for profit, or put it into something which requires a subscription or purchase to view, such as a commercial e-zine or similar. SPECIAL NOTE: This particular post also contains material I intend to use in a work of fiction, which is separate from the Cortex-specific rules. The same disclaimer applies, but there's a higher chance that this will wind up being somehow related to a published product. If you don't want to risk 'giving' me an idea that I might profit from, please don't comment, modify and repost, or otherwise communicate your ideas to me. I put this up here so it can help inspire other people, but that doesn't mean I'm not also seeking inspiration and, someday, some monetary appreciation :-)

This article consists of a very, very rough first-draft (partial first draft, even) of an alchemy system for the Cortex RPG. While I hope the system might be usable in most fantasy settings, I'm designing it for the world of a novel I'm working on. The genre is closer to 'steampunk' than it is to traditional 'sword & sworcery' fantasy. It's grittier, the technological level is closer to 1875 than 1600, and it's darker. In this case, the term 'deathpunk' might be appropriate....



Now, that's all a first draft, as I said. Not all the potions and elixers are fully described, the system could do with some playtesting, and it's generally up in the air at the moment. I hope to post a polished version someday (or publish one), but we'll see. Other possible topics for future articles along this line include the other Lesser Necromantic Art, that of Mesmerism, and Necromancy itself, both of which are involved in the novel I'm working on (well, when I'm not goofing off doing game design).

This is pretty specific stuff, but I hope someone finds a use for it, or can adapt it to their game in the meantime. I appreciate any comments, questions, or criticisms you might have, since I'm sure this is far from perfect! Thanks for reading.

Blessed be,
~Nathan
rockwood: (Tome)
Well, due to several setbacks (ranging from technological glitches that shouldn't bother me so much, to serious health issues for family members), I didn't manage to write more than a few hundred words yesterday, and today I've only added about another thousand. Fortunately, I've managed to complete the initial full draft of Chapter the First.

Though I am considering ditching the chapter structure. :-P

The current wordcount is ~5500. I've introduced two main characters, mentioned three more, begun to introduce the city of Cartholme and the world around it, and dusted foreshadowing and other background details liberally throughout. Microwave until done, or until it explodes like that pig-lizard in Galaxy Quest.

I don't feel the like the end of the chapter is as....good....as I'd like it to be, even for a first draft, but I'm tired, and I just feel like being able to declare the very first draft, in some way, complete. I think the rest of the evening is going to include less writing, but more reading and rewriting (woot for having a printer! I have a tendency to skim and skip parts when reading something on a computer screen).

Maybe I'll make myself some decaff coffee; I've had too much caffeine already to allow for a cup of chai at this point.

Also: Vista bothers me. Getting my own computer back will be wonderful.

Blessed be,
~Nathan

4000 Words

Jul. 7th, 2008 02:40 pm
rockwood: (Tome)
Well, things seem to be going fairly well so far. I've found that, as I mentioned before, it isn't too hard to keep going once I've sat down to write. I ground out about 3000 words yesterday (bringing my total to 4000), and thats despite the fact that I didn't start writing until 5:00 PM, and had breaks for dinner, cleanup, pacing, and making sure my grandma didn't die horribly when she tripped on her suitcase and fell, and started screaming (scary times, but all seems to be well, thankfully). I think the world has come together nicely; hopefully, though, my city of Cartholme won't be too confusing, with it's combination of steampunk-y elements from all across the 1800s jammed into one place.

Also---OMG GELATO! In an actual Italian presentation case, with bits of fruit on top of the tubs! In a coffeeshop with wi-fi access! Where I am right now!

Though after just a small one, I have to swear off ice cream, at least until I hit 10,000 words. Mmmm....gelato. I'll have to try the Blood Orange flavor next time.

Blessed be,
~Nathan
rockwood: (Tome)
Here we go again!

Having finally been shamed into ending my procrastination (thanks to a friend of mine from the UK, Tina M.), I spent most of the morning today working on the first scene in my novel. I've decided to let myself start it off slowly and not berate myself for going back to edit bits---I'm still trying to find the voice---so I've only got about 1000 words (less, honestly) written. However, the plan is to try and finish this first scene/chapter, which I've been banging around in my head for months, and then move on to the write-a-lot-no-matter-how-bad stage for as long as I can stand.

Hopefully, this marks the overcoming of one of the biggest obstacles I always face on any task, which is simply getting the gorram thing started. I have a tendency to overthink projects, which leads to avoidance and delay---but once past those delays, whatever I'm doing tends to flow easily. I have to take a short break to schedule my Masters classes for the fall, but then it's back to the keyboard this afternoon.

Now all I have to do is try and, you know, write a novel. In my slightly off-the-beaten-track victoriana/steampunk/1800s mix, 'deathpunk' style, which may turn out to suck if I'm not careful.

Wish me luck.

Blessed be,
~Nathan
rockwood: (Default)
Ok, well---after browsing around a bit, it seems there's enough gaming/Serenity interest to be drummed up to at least justify my blathering on those accounts. So I'll be posting a bit, soon, about the Cortex system's design and revisions, especially as related to gaming in the 'verse.

Also, I've got some schemes on the back burner; mostly for what to do with the system once the generic Cortex Corebook comes out. Since MWP has said that they'll most likely be letting third party publishers sell their own material with certain restrictions, I hope I can hop on that bandwagon pretty quick and get a sourcebook out. Some ideas are

--A game based on the novel I hope to write shortly (woot for easily achievable goals! /sarcasm), which would make it a pseudo-victorian fantasy mod I'm tentatively calling 'deathpunk.'

--A modern horror game based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, primarily regarding a well-funded organization that has set itself up in the ruins of a burned out ghost town on the Massachusetts coast. They call themselves "The Innsmouth Project," and organize government investigations into supernatural happenings within the States. Of course, not all their operatives can avoid the...uncanny effects of The Call, but some casualties in the line of duty are to be expected.

More to come later, I'm sure. The problem with game design is that you just keep getting ideas which you have no time to implement... it can be excruciatingly frustrating. Just goes to show I really need that direct neural uplink. Scientists! Get on it!

Blessed be,
~Nathan

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