It’s Been A While

The SPF blog has been pretty quiet. I’ve been working on other projects and that’s taken a lot of my time. I think the artwork needs to be revisited since my skills have improved over time. There’s also a lot of content on the wiki that would greatly expand the book. So this is what I’m thinking.

I’m going to casually work on pictures over time and put them in the PDF. I’m also going to work on a print version that will have all the wiki options in it, even more art and such. This way, players can get started with the “basic” game and if they like, upgrade to print.

This is likely going to take time to do. If I can set up a routine of turning out a picture every week, I can slowly improve the look of the game.

It’s also been suggested that player could pool SP to build bigger inventions. I think that’s a good option to be included in the print version.

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What’s Up?

It’s been quiet around here. I’d like to do more for SPF but at the moment I’ve been busy with The Artifact and moving everything to the third edition rules. In the mean time I’m improving on my painting skills. Eventually I’ll be able to do the artwork for SPF some justice.

I’m kind of surprised that I haven’t had an impulse to upgrade the system for SPF. So far it’s been able to do everything I’ve wanted it to. I’ve occasionally mused about if I wanted for the system to do anything different but haven’t really come up with anything. At most, I’d like to add more Events to character creation and maybe stat out more NPCs.

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File Update

The file is updated with some new language referring to forming plans with the five methods and tricks. I also adjusted the rules for adding to inventions or creating new ones.

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What’s Your Plan?

Sometimes you stare at a problem for a long time without coming up with a solution. Something in it tells you that there should be an easy solution but nothing comes to mind. Then, finally, when it comes to you there’s a eureka moment and then you realize that you’re a dunce for not thinking of it sooner.

My problem was that each turn in SPF the players pick five methods and tricks for what their character will do that turn. Saying “Five methods or tricks” is clunky so I wanted a term that would encompass that idea and be said easily but I couldn’t come up with good name for a category that would encompass “methods” and “tricks”. Nothing seemed to describe both of those options. I mulled this over many times.

When describing the mechanic of SPF to players I’ve explained it like the character is taking all the things they know and are applying it to the situation. Now I meant that mentally and physically but before a physical action can be taken, even if it’s only a split second before, it has to be mental.

That’s a plan.

That’s the answer to my conundrum. It’s that simple. When a player is arranging their five methods and tricks, they’re planning.

So now when a player has to take an action, I won’t say “What are your five methods and tricks?” I’ll just ask “What’s your plan?”

I’ll update the language of the PDF with this term in a few days. Then I have to update the wiki with all these changes I’ve been making.

So simple it hurts.


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File Update

I’ve added some of the images from the blog along with some public domain images. The rules for inventions and the rules for overlapping skills from events have also been adjusted.

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Overlapping Skills During Character Creation

In the wiki I have some options for what to do when creating a character and the skills from the events you’ve picked overlap. They’re a bit complicated because they involve a lot of options. That’s cool if you’re really into the game and want more options but the main book pdf is intended to be simple.

To that end, I’ll be altering the main pdf (soon) with one simple rule for skill overlap. If you pick an event that gives the character a skill that you already have, it costs one SP less and the duration of the event it one year less.

This might be something a player could game to get free events and boost their stats, I haven’t played with that yet. On a quick check, the effect should be minimal and there may be an opportunity here to make some advanced events that are very expensive normally but if the character already has skills from similar events the event becomes more affordable and might offer something special.

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Inventions and Intelligence

I’ve thought about inventions a number of times and how any character can make one. I’ve often thought that a more intelligent character should be able to make a better invention. At times I put this idea off, thinking that a even a less intelligent character may have had some unexpected burst of insight, paid their life savings, or maybe even stole a design. That way any character could have the chance to invent something.

Now I’m thinking about it again. It should be relatively simple to add a character’s Intelligence score to the SP they spend on an invention as a modifier. That would make it necessary to change how many SP the invention items cost or they’ll be thrown out of balance. That’s not a huge deal, It could be done relatively easily.

It would make the Fast Inventions story seed interesting though. A PC with an Intelligence of 9 could cobble together a competent invention by spending 1 SP. In one way, that’s really cool. In another way it could be abused pretty easily.

I’ll mull this over a bit more and it’ would be good to try playtesting it that way to see which ways it would break.

If you want to use the idea, have the inventor character add their SP spent on the invention to their Intelligence attribute and multiply it by 0.75. This is the SP that the character can now spend on the invention.

The SPF avoids math like multiplication to keep things simpler. In a final version the SP and the Intelligence score would just add together and all the invention item costs would be 50% more.

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More Player Worldbuilding

SPF encourages player world building by having them select story seeds but can that involvement in the world narrative be amplified? There is a conflict of interest to the players creating the world they live in because they can generate a cushy cozy niche for themselves. Does that have to be a bad thing?

One of the design elements incorporated in SPF is the idea of limited safe zones. For example, the character creation event “wealthy” gives a character a safe zone that if money has to be spent, they already have a considerable amount and it’s not an issue.

Friendly Factions

I think I’d be okay with the players creating friendly factions in the game that they can call upon when in need of aid. Holmes does it when he calls on his brother. Watson has no idea that Holmes even has a brother and that he’s even smarter the legendary detective, he just doesn’t do much with his intelligence.

So maybe the way to do it is to place a limit on the player friendly faction? The player says that they are members of a thieves guild that can hide them if they get in trouble and will bail them out if they are caught. That’s fine but now a limit is placed on them. They have been facing considerable investigation from the police so they’re reach is now limited or they’ll give themselves away.

This limiting factor would not be restricted to the GM either. Other players have a chance to place a limit and in return, get a SP bonus (+1-2 SP) for their character.

Dangerous Factions

Players may also create dangerous factions, elements of the world that will give them trouble. When they do this they get a SP bonus (+3-5 SP) to make their character. However, one character created faction could severely hurt another’s enjoyment of the game, so dangerous factions can be given a limitation by they other players.

This isn’t fully formed yet, I’ll ponder this for a bit and see if I can’t refine it.

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Where Have I Been?

I’ve been away from SPF for a bit now. At the moment I’m running a Kickstarter for The Artifact which has been taking up most of my attention. Once the crazyness settles down from that, I’ll be able to get back to working on SPF.

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The Mine

“That’s strange, he’s not here.” Griffin mumbled.

“Who’s not here boy?” Coffer asked.

Griffin Kerry shook his head. “This is where Harold went down. I thought for sure his body would be here. We saw the spiders mob him and he went down.”

Coffer scratched his chin. “That would be a terrifying sight, I can’t say I’ve ever seen them attack as a group like that. Even the last time Drake and I came down here, they only came at us one or two at a time.”

“Then you’ve never seen what that much venom would do to a man?” Jake asked.

“No, I can’t say I do. The venom doesn’t kill a man, it just make it harder to see the spiders.” Coffer answered.

Jake thought for a moment. “Hmm. It is an opiate so maybe Harold fell into a stupor from the bites. Except it’s a very long lasting opiate so that stupor could last a very long time. Look ho! Harold’s boot prints, and they’re walking toward the spider’s den! Even drugged, why the douce would he go back in there?”

“There’s something unsettling about it alright.” Proclaimed Griffin, “I fear it may be why Drake hasn’t emerged from this tunnel but it does lend something to the hope that he’s still alive down here.”

“Explain your meaning Mr. Kerry. What does this tell you about my father?” Emily asked.

“Well, if your father ran into the mob of spiders like we did, he may have been bitten.” Griffin started but was interrupted.

“But Drake was never effected by the spider’s bites!” Coffer argued.

“Even still, you said yourself that you’ve never seen anyone bitten so many times. If Harold was drawn deeper into the mine by the fiends then so may have Drake. We may find the both of them still down here. I just hope that somehow they’ve found some small stream of water in the depths to sustain themselves.” Griffin said.

He positioned the next mirror, shining the light down the tunnel. A spider scurried away, fleeing the brightness.  They advanced and came to the chalk markings that Drake had made on the stone. Coffer and Emily could see the web as it truly was. Griffin listened for signs of the Jackal Spiders. “There are at least three I can hear on the other side of the web, probably more. They aren’t massed like before.” he whispered. They positioned the last mirror, pointing it at the web.

“Move to the far side of the mirror so you’re not blocking the light.” Emily commanded. “Are we all in position? I’m starting up the cutter.”The soda engine gurgled and it’s focusing arc lamp gave of a brilliant bright blue light. Then it began to scream as it came to life. The force of it was something unbelievable as it’s steam blade cut through the webs that would resist any material edge. Despite the mirror a spider leapt from behind the now rent curtain but Emily intercepted it with the cutter’s stream and it’s insides were messily projected against the far wall. Emily jumped back, anticipating more spiders but none emerged. Coffer tapped her on the shoulder, signaling her to shut down the cutter.

“We don’t want to waste the juice in the cutter.” He said as the scream quieted. He kept his pistol on the entrance and Griffin stood ready with his gun.

“I don’t hear anymore in there, maybe they’ve retreated?” Griffin said cautiously.

“We only have seven more minutes before my elixir wears off and they’ll smell us.” Jake urged.

“Well then, let’s not delay.” Emily said as she stepped through the spiderweb.

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