Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Elephant in the Gaming World

Work on my new game books proceeds at a glacial pace. The Duty & Honour Miscellany is about a third done, with some adventures to write up and then the more involved task of researching the British army in India. Duty & Honour: Rise of the Zulu is ... in note form. Thats the most polite way to talk about it. I'm dedicated to writing it, but I'm also dedicated to doing it right - which will take time.

Beyond my normal work-related time crunch issues (ahh, marking, my old friend) there is something else, over there, on my laptop. Looking at me. Staring at me. Looking pleadingly through a holographic simulation at 0.6c on an intercept vector with my imagination. Yes folks, its that time of year again - the Honor Harrington as an RPG dither!

To bring everyone up to speed, I am a fan of the Honor Harrington books by David Weber. Not an obsessive fan, but they are easily one of my favourite series of books and one of the few that I have read and re-read over the years. I've also made it no secret that I have always had an eye on my Empire! games being the dry-runs for a Harrington inspired space game. The urge to scratch this gaming itch waxes and wanes but its strong at the moment - and far more inspiring than the aforementioned historical books.

Don't get me wrong, I still want to do those books, its just that whenever I settle down to do something for them, my mind drifts to how I could use that titbit in a space game. When I watch some space-related TV, I'm converting the situation into Empire! style stats and constructs. Its exactly the same sort of deconstruction that tipped me over from my original game idea of MI666 onto what would become Duty & Honour.

The other question in my mind is - if I do pull the trigger on this one, do I do it 'properly'? Do I pursue the licence? Do I immerse myself in the lore and technical depth of Weber's creation or do I use it as inspiration and create my own toolkit version? When I did D&H, the pursuit of the Sharpe licence was too much, too soon - and rightly so. Now, could this be the big one? I don't know - but its something thats definitely on my mind.

Somehow, I need to put this to bed, one way or the other.


Metaresearchboi said...

Keep throwing ideas at that wall, eventually one will stick.

Probably the biggest problem with HH is that you've never really gotten it past the "vague idea" stage.

Maybe the elephant will go away (or at least materialise somewhat) if you get past the spitballing stage.

Indy Pete said...

Hi Neil

The HH series of books is not one that I am familiar with. If you push out a game that rocks then you'll have shared something cool with me and other folks.. that is very cool.

If you push out D&H Zulu... meh.

I love the idea of playing D&H in the Anglo-Zulu War period - and by extension the Boer Wars period - but I am wholly uninterested in reading a sourcebook about it. Something I'd like to see pursued is a convention pack called "Zulu!" that has inside it everything that is needed to play "Zulu!", ala Lady Blackbird-style. Pre-generated characters, pre-generated situation, an easy hook with the movie, and bam, fun at the table through play.

::hands Neil an elephant gun::

Shoot that Trad Sourcebook Elephant. Embrace the Hippie Monkey Of Play'Now. Actually, this comment is getting rather long, so I'll PM you about "Zulu!" as a convention package.


Vodkashok said...

Linked to this, a very good post about designing adventures by Rob Donoghue