Neverwhere 3rd Edition – Development Diary

Well, I just re-read through Neverwhere 2nd Edition to see what I had and where I need to go and I’ve laid out the skeleton of the new book. Basically that’s what I do with any project, I start by outlining the chapters, sections, headings and subheadings that I predict are going to be there and create a skeleton upon which to hang the rest of the writing. Then, when I’m actually writing the piece, I go back and I fill in the gaps with material, bit by bit. It helps break up an otherwise daunting task into a lot of smaller, more managable jobs.

Frankly though, I’m in awe of myself seven years ago, the 2nd Edition of Neverwhere is bursting with creativity and, while it’s rough around the edges and not necessarily clear enough in some places that creativity shines through. Kudos younger me, kudos! What definitely does need attention however, is the system.

Currently in the second edition a character is made up of a description of five adjectives and three skill levels, when you approach a task you tap into appropriate adjectives, apply a skill if appropriate, roll a d10 and add it on comparing against a difficulty/enemy to see if you win. That’s pretty much the complete extent of it.

I want to change this a little and here’s some of the rules changes I think I’ll make.

  • Characters are still defined by five adjectives and three skill levels but I’m going to account for adverbs and change the description of the skill levels. Adverbs describe multiples or strong traits, eg: ‘Very strong’ for two and something else like ‘extremely’ for three. Skills will come in Novice, Professional and Master capabilities and will be quite broad, more like professions I think.
  • The dice will change to a d6 – being more accessible and 6s and 1s will ‘implode’ or ‘explode’. If you roll a ‘1’ you take that away from your total and roll again, continuing to roll and take away if you continue to get 1s. Sixes will go the other way, adding 6 each time (or possibly only adding one). This allows for consistency in characters that are really good at things, occasional nasty botches and also wild, luck-fuelled success.
  • There’ll be victory consequences and however much you beat a difficulty by lets you buy consequences. EG you might negate someone’s traits by injuring or humiliating them, or give them new negative traits that can count against them.
  • Characters will be able to take negative or ‘mixed’ traits at character creation.
  • Static challenges will also be governed by words. EG: A wall might be ‘Slippery’ and ‘smooth’ and ‘very tall’.

Let me know what you think.

Cthentacle: The Dunbitch Horror – NOW AVAILABLE!

Strange things are afoot in the town of Dunbitch on the edge of the Hockamock Swamp. The locals seem a little… strange and more than a little inbred from ‘keeping their bloodline pure’ and stranger things still have been seen and NOT seen…

Can Sheriff Cooter and BJ get to the bottom of the mystery or will they end up namesakes for the town?

The Dunbitch Horror expands Cthentacle with two new girls and a lot of new cards to take your Lovecraftian naughtiness to the next level.

Adult product, in the sense that it contains boobs, pee-pees and hoo-hoos, albeit not necessarily human ones. Not an adult product in the sense that it requires sophistication or a mature intellect.


Grim’s Tales: The Games Master as Player

The Games Master might be the adjudicator but they’re still, also, a player in their own right and deserve to have a little fun. Believe it or not, from the Games Master side of the table it can seem like the players get all the fun, getting to play their characters in depth and engage in the storylines, to feel the thrill of victory and the bitter taste of defeat. Being the Games Master can seem a bit too much like being an accountant in a large firm, underappreciated but essential, wrestling with dry figures and statistics while everyone else is having high powered board meetings in exotic locations. From the player’s side it might look like the Games Master has all the power but it often doesn’t feel like it.

It’s often overlooked that the Games Master is another player who deserves enjoyment from the game as well, sure, some Games Masters are just awful but still here’s a person who has taken the time to come up with an adventure idea and who has been kind enough to offer to run it for you. Their ideas and their game, however hackneyed and/or cheesy, deserve a little bit of respect because without them you wouldn’t be playing at all. So, show some appreciation for your Games Master, even if they’re not the best one in the world because they’re still going to be offering you something you’ll have a hard time getting without them.

Sometimes the Games Master can take the idea of being a player in their own game a bit too far of course. This is where the horrifying case of the Games Master Player Character (GMPC) comes in, or even the favoured NPC. Sometimes a Games Master wants to get the joy of playing as well as GMing, but both at the same time. This is when either their character joins the party and they play them out as well as Games Mastering or when a particular NPC that they really like, a LOT, is suddenly all over every plot and scene in the game. Games Masters are only human, they want their character or their favourite NPC to be super competent and effective and suddenly the players can feel sidelined, accomplices to the Super-Character. The best way to avoid the problem is simply not to have Games Master characters in the game at all, ever, period, make it a rule. If your Games Master is being a prick with a super-powerful NPC and disenfranchising the player group, tell them, fix it, don’t suffer and bitch in silence.

Grim’s Rules
1. Know and understand where your games are coming from, your gaming history and that of your group.
2. Don’t GMPC, ever.
3. If someone in your group is being a dick. Tell them, but gently if possible.