Friday, July 29, 2016

Sasquatch Game Studio Giving New Life to Alternity

Click HERE for the Official Announcement Article

Earlier this week, Sasquatch Game Studio announced they will be releasing a new science fiction role-playing game in 2017. The most intriguing aspect about this announcement is what it will be titled: Alternity.

Those with a keen memory will recognize this as the name of another science fiction role-playing game published by TSR in 1998. Following the company's acquisition by Wizards of the Coast, Alternity was discontinued in 2000. While certain elements of the game would later be used in d20 Modern, specifically the DarkMatter and Star*Drive campaign settings, Alternity itself has pretty much laid dormant for over a decade.

Until now.

This latest iteration of Alternity will not be a second edition, but a new role-playing game that simply draws inspiration from the original game. It will be a modular toolbox like the previous version, allowing Game Masters to mold the mechanics to fit the specific brand of science fiction they're trying to achieve. They even have the original designers, Bill Slavicsek and Richard Baker, working on this version.

I'll admit, Alternity was before my time. While I have managed to read the rules and thought the Control Die + Situation Die approach was pretty cool, I never actually used it for a campaign. However, I would love to see what Sasquatch Game Studio has in store for us with this new Alternity.

How about you? What are your thoughts on this announcement? Excited, cautious, or a little of both? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Four Questions of Character Creation

Everyone has their own process for creating a character. I'm not talking mechanically, but how they approach crafting the elements that make the character something more than a simple bundle of stats. Some like to write long, detailed backstories, while others prefer to start small and build upon that as they play the game. Some begin with a concept, but others like to be inspired by the mechanics.

There is no one true approach, each working better for different people.

That being said, I thought it might be nice to present my own preferred method for constructing a character's flluff. I like to call this method the "Four Questions". This little questionnaire helps me develop a handful of basic pillars I can use as a foundation for the character, allowing me to build upon it while playing said character. The Four Questions are:

Before delving into the more specific aspects of a character, you should figure out her most basic concept. Think of this as the elevator pitch for this imaginary person, capturing her most important elements in a simple sentence or two. It should be clear and precise, getting your point across in as few words as possible.

Your character didn't spring forth from thin air, fully formed and ready to explore ancient tombs in search of priceless treasure. They had to originate from somewhere in the campaign's setting, a location with a interesting atmosphere and culture that more than likely left a last mark upon the character.

Every character should have something important they are working towards, explaining why they've decided to become an adventurer in the first place. You have the classics, such as avenging the lost of a loved one or restoring the prestige of her long-tainted family's name. This goal can be literally anything, but should be something that will take many adventures to obtain and should be driving force for the character.

There has to be a reason why the character hasn't obtained their goal yet. Maybe she doesn't know the identity of the assassin who killed her loved one, just that he had an extra finger upon his right hand, or possibly the only way for her restore said prestige is to hunt down and kill the dragon her ancestor failed to slay many years ago. This is where you give the GM a very blatant hook to use within the campaign, something to draw them into the story the group is attempting to weave together, making the challenges just a little bit more personal.