Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Of Gaslights, Questions du Jour, Line Drawings & Google Alerts

Heya! HAPPY 1/11/11 to everyone!!  Emily and I had a "Question du Jour" session last night... No it's not some french pastry that you have in bed with your lover... (Although... hmmmmm.) It means, "Question of the Day."  So here's your question du jour:  "What has been your proudest moment so far?"

I jumped into Google Alert a few days ago and it's really pretty cool, I have to say.  It allows you to monitor the web for interesting new content.  You can check it out here.  So when I type in something like, "Art Nouveau", it sends me all of the articles, blogs, etc. that talked about Art Nouveau today.  It's extremely useful for my business but it's also a HUUUUGE time sink.  (Must... resist... the.... shiny.....)  As if I didn't already have enough trouble staying focused.

Working from home is hard.  That is all.

I've been talking to Steve about some of the rules for his new game called, Gaslight Underground.  He has to put on quite the balancing act in order to please so many gamers who would like the game tailored to their style of playing.  The questions that come up: How do you please everyone?  Can you please everyone?  Should you try to please everyone?  I say make the rules fair and make the storylines AMAZING.  The rules don't matter as much when people leave the game going, "OMG! Who'd have thought that the librarian was actually a dragon stuck in human form?!?  See?  The adventure is everything!  Awwww Yaaaaa.

Creating a fun game for everyone is hard.  That is all.

Speaking of Gaslight Underground... let me introduce you to another artist on the GU project - her name is Magpie Bones and not only does she draw extremely well, she also does the website, makes awesome costumes and she sculpts!  Magpie's like the Michael Jordan of the art world!  You should definitely check out her stuff.  (By the way - you can click on her name to go to her portfolio... just sayin'.  Do it... Do it now then come back.)

OK now back to me!  Here are some line drawings that I've done for the rulebook's interior... I'm kind of pleased with them and junk.  :)

You should be able to click on these to see the larger image.  I'm off.  Feel free to comment.  Thanks to everyone who's been reading the blog - you guys rock!  That is all.

- Chaz -
Buy my art here:
Look at my art here:
Listen to my band here:


  1. Hey Chaz! Thanks for the plug ^_^

    As far as the game goes: the big thing is he has a set of ideas that he wants to see in the game but Its goig to be kindof complicated to reach those ends in a balanced manner AKA, Balancing live-combat larp with social/theatrical larp because they are jsut sooo sooo soo starkly different in the kind of player they attract and the kind of game experience that they produce.

    THe things that make theatrical larps popular for most theatrical larpers (like L5R and the WOD) are the extreme polar opposite of what makes live combat larps popular for combat larpers (Like Nero, Amtgard and Dyeing Kingdoms.

    Me for instance- my background is in the Original World of Darkness and I hate boffer larps.Every single one I have experienced has been full of stick-swinging less than clever people, crappy roleplayers, preschool plots and noone actually thinking about the consequences of their actions because -hey!- I'll just be brought back to life again later!. Hate it. Will never play in a game like that again.

    So he has a difficult set of issues to address. Im curious to see what happens.

  2. Hey Chaz,

    Thanks so much for your comments over on my blog!!! It means a lot.

    I really like your work, so consider yourself followed too!



  3. Heya, B - I figured that if we get enough people to play, then not everyone will be involved with everything at the same time. While the role-players are trying to solve the mystery, the hack and slashers are fighting off the bad guys. It's a win-win, especially if we have enough people playing and all of it will feed into the main plot. The term "meanwhile" will be the most overused word in the game. lol

    Heya, Dan. You are very welcome and thank you very much for the compliment! Welcome to my blog as well. :) Yay - it's a love-fest!
    - Chaz -

  4. Numbers do help to start with but if the best isnt being provided on all fronts, and that is not possible to do- there is too much competition (other larps, other RPGs, other games of different types) that specialize in the type of game each gamer-type would be into for there to be much greatly compelling reason to play a game that does a bunch of things OK and be kindof what a player is into, when there are options to go play other games that may be exactly what that player is into.

    And the segmentation theory where these guys interested in this thing can go do this thing, and these guys interested in this other thing, can go do this other thing, unfortunatly does not really work that well in the greater scheme of larp dynamics. For instance, if these guys want to go beat the crap out of every plot physically, and keep screwing up the plans of these other players who want to deal with it with some intelligence, that second group of players is not going to be happy.

    Basically If there isnt some cohesion where the guys that want to go beat stuff up and the guys that that want to roleplay, politic and socialy maneuver, are working together and able to play on the same level in terms of gameplay style and capability, you'll end up loseing one or the other because one or the other will get annoyed or bored and probably quit in favor of a different game.

    It goes to that pleaseing everyone question. I am not a beleiver in that concept because its better to completely please a set of players and have a smaller but consistant following than spread yourself too thin to get a large following half-interested.

  5. Thanks for the kind words Chaz,

    I also wanted to thank both Chaz and Magpie on their hard work bringing Gaslight Underground together.

    Chaz brought up a couple of excellent questions. I don't think it is possible to please all of the people who would be interested in this kind of game. There are people for example that are wanting to play in a game that allows for shield bashing, or other physical contact in combat. I don't want to play in a RPG where there is a constant threat of injury from my fellow players.

    What Bri is talking about is something else. In many boffer style LARPs (where combat is conducted with padded weapons), the game defaults to combat because it is easy mindless entertainment. Theatrical style LARPs focus almost entirely on the story and combat is limited.

    My goal here is to bridge the gap. I think the genre is ideal for this type of project as it is not saddled with the preconceptions of NERO, WoW and D&D where people kill bigger monsters to get bigger treasure to kill bigger monsters. Also, it tends to lend itself to a more cerebral style of play and a lot of problem solving. The world with the prevalence of secret societies and both worldly and other worldly groups each with their own agenda should encourage a lot of political role play.

    We shall have to see.

  6. Briana,

    I just read your comments and you have a very valid point. It is much better to make some people happy players than a lot of people mildly entertained players. I think where we differ in our views is that you are thinking of peoples' interests as being homogenous. When I play a game, there are times when I want to do different things at a game. There are times when I want to fight, times I want to socialize in character, others when I want to merchant, even some times I want to discuss magical theory and there are times I want to politic, I hope and expect that Gaslight Underground can provide a place for people who want to do all of those things at any given time.

    If I had to define a specialty for GU it would be that it is a thinking person's LARP. My hope and expectation for the gamer is that it will be about 45% character motivation, ig politics driven, 30% problem solving driven, 15% combat driven and 10% genre driven.

    45% will include the struggle of different groups against each other as well as individuals quests to maneuver within those groups as well as character development

    30% will be Sherlock Holmes, jack the ripper scotland yard type story where the players are trying to understand what happened and why. This can easily link to both the political and combat aspects of the game.

    15% Will have a combat focus. That said I am not a believer in mindless combat. There will not be an endless train of random monsters wandering into town to entertain PCs. If they want combat they will have to go get it

    10% will be genre and social motivated and will allow people to show off their sunday best costumes without worrying about getting them ruined it will also include dances and dinners where there will be a lot of IG politicing

  7. I still hold firm to the idea that having fabulous adventures will keep the players happy and coming back for more.

    Sometimes players get concerned about the rules, character power levels or the amount of magic items because the adventures kind of suck. For example: I think trolling through dungeons in most tabletop games is boring - the whole, "I kill it. I take it's stuff. I go to the next room." You are forced to rinse and repeat because the GM is bad at coming up with something cool for the players to do.

  8. Steve,

    homogenous? no not at all, I too enjoy a spread of different things within a given game, but there is a general style of game play that becomes prevelant in a person's prefferences andhow they go about all those different activities. An Individual might enjoy social stuff and combat stuff and any combination of activities within a single larp, but theres definition between groups of different types of gamers that occur again and again in their respective genres or game types. Some of its based on intelligence, some of it is based on personality and theres a lot of other variables.

    Yep! good plots are important, very very important actually, but for some people another part of the fun does lay in sheet building -not me personally, usually- but for some its about figureing numbers and statistics, its fun for them, they like it. And still others the challenge of powergameing and doing it well is an art all its own. I dont agree with either of those approaches when they get out of hand and out-grown the importance of roleplay but I think its something to conscider when playing to gamers in larp.

    Another Aspect of a good larp, outside plots/adventure is the flow of inter-personal interaction between PCs and what they do and accomplish between themselves without much involvement from the ST. Such as thru political and social maneuvering amongst themselves, Growth as Characters(emotionally, mentally etc), manipulateing of the beat-m-up characters to do what they want them to do, organizeing subtle movements within a game- like influence on forces within the worlds government or infrastructure. This is often the mark of a very cerebral crowd of players and the most an ST will often need to do with them is take notes on what the PCs are affecting in the world and what it will mean to ongoings or occassionally portray an NPC for similar purposes.And all of this could take places within the PCs themselves with either very little or no storyline provided they are given enough world dynamics to play with.

  9. I think what Im trying to say might be better illustrated by showing rather than trying to explain it- Either of you guys want to hit a V:TM or C:TL larp game in the next week/month? Theres a Camfanclub C:TL game down in the springs on the 21st but theres a Troupe V:TM game sometime next month that would show probably more of what Im talking about than the other one.

  10. oh and the V:TM game is up here, just over in brighton.

  11. Well B - I'm not sure that I'll have a ton of time over the next few weeks, other than possibly getting together with you and Steve over coffee for a couple of hours.

    But I absolutely get what you're saying. I, for one, am in your court as far as the kinds of games I enjoy playing. Genre plays a big part too. I played in a very well-run Vampire LARP a couple of years ago. I really dislike the vampire genre, but the story-tellers were really very good and they allowed me to play a "good-aligned" vampire and I ended up having a great time.

    But I think Steve has the right idea and time will tell whether it pays off. I think if it starts strong we can tweak it enough as time goes on when needed to make a really great game!

    Oh Heavens ShadowCat! I LOVE that KEY!!!! :D

    And the Raven..... >.>

  13. lololol!! I figured you would like the key Rubiee! The whole time I was drawing it I had you in mind. And ya - I really groove on how the raven came out. :) Thanks for the compliment.