todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


this world is old, so very old. it has been old since before my father’s father’s time. civilizations beyond count have fallen. are dust now beneath us. we are their legacy. the last of our dust earth, ground from the weight of history. we live beneath a red sun, in a twilight where each day another star dims and sleeps never to waken again. we are the last races
of men.

the sophont - genpure without the touch of the machine
the eidolon - machinekind post singularity, autonomous
the biomeka - the border between neither one nor the other

in the last of our cities we live and work. we forage in the wilds, in the ruins for pasttech, for energy sources to power our tools and ourselves. we trade, we war, we love like those before us, though we know with each passing sullen day that our sun will extinguish itself soon. that the end will one day come to a world exhausted of resources, exhausted of history but still a world of men who strive for something more...



This entry for the 2013 Solo contest is based on my first RPG which won 2nd place in the 2012 24-hour RPG competition

It is a world I have wanted to revisit and flesh out, for the 24 hour contest was much too short a time to fully work out any details. Go over to the RPG side of BGG for a look at the PDF
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
reserved as I begin to design the mechanics and graphics

i have some ideas i'll present once i do some card mockups and explanatory diagrams
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
for now some rough sketches of card layouts done with the app - Paper - on my iPad



and a portrait of an biomeka character painted with ArtRage on the iPad as well.



In the game players may choose from one of the three races and from several of the main class types.

I have an interest in doing much of the graphic imagery on my iPad to try and have a painterly quality to the game. we'll see if i am successful
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Don't mind the puddle on the floor, that's just my drool.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sophont character study

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
some quick proof of concept work tonight. one new thing i am going to try is a randomly generated map out of cards that will be swirl shuffled on a table.

individual cards have a square grid (in a staggered format allowing hex movement)and areas of adjacency are attached to one another. these terrain cards are also double sided and will have different icons proportions



individual cards showing some cities, goal icons and encounter icons




and a basic character card just to see how the biomeka image looks for scale

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marc Puig
Spain
Tarragona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

What are the lenguages TR NS?


thanks.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
some background on Our Dust Earth

The Races of Man

Sophont
Sophonts are the most old-style human looking. They are the most free of any nanomachinery in their bodies and minds and this is a point of pride among the upper classes. Though this means they do not possess certain augmentations that would increase their language skills or give them more strength, they make up for this through cunning and an ability to integrate skills learned and see connections those more like the Eidolon might miss. They can use Pasttech recovered from ruins but will often have to employ the services of others to utilize these technologies fully. Those wasteland zones designated “Radiant” (former sites of intense nuclear destruction) will do the most harm to their health and mental states and the more ‘genpure’ a Sophont is, the more quickly their health will degrade.

Biomeka
Most of Earth’s population falls into this category, some with a small amount of augmentation, nano-based illnesses and artificial implants, others are nearly Eidolon and retain little of their ancestors’ genetic humanity. Biomeka adaptability means they can live most anywhere in this future time and have a greater chance to understand Pasttech and older stores of knowledge. They are conversant in different languages, possessing a wide degree of strengths and skills. Some try and hide their augmented state in order to pass for Sophont. Others feel more at home with Eidolon culture who do not shun them as the upper classes of purer humanity do. Radiant zones can affect Biomeka to varying degrees as can EM zones where magnetic flux and instability degrade nanomachinery.

Eidolon
Born from the long development of AI, robots, and cyborg, mostly for military purposes, this sentient autonomous machine culture is rarely accepted or trusted by many level of society, they are nevertheless needed as operational interfaces to rediscovered Pasttech equipment and used for labor purposes deemed too dangerous for Sophonts. The Eidolon with traditions and mythologies not known to most, keep to themselves when in the remaining cities of men. While many times stronger and more durable than Sophonts or Biomeka, they must avoid high degree EM Zones which can quickly overcome their machine processing substrates.


Skills

Cunning
The higher a player’s cunning, the more likely they are to find a solution to a problem or deal successfully with others in an encounter. If your race is Sophont once you have assigned a number to this skill, add an additional 1d2 (round up) roll value to it.

Language
The 4 main languages of the races of men are:

Highspake (HS) - spoken primarily by Sophonts, this is a rarefied language of the upper classes.

Trade (TR) - the everyday tongue of the people, this language is rich in allusions, puns and mixed meanings. The ability to say one thing and mean another was a useful adaptation during Trade’s development.

Nanspake (NS) - a partially machine coded argot not spoken by many Sophonts in the cities. Useful to those who live near the wastelands and unpopulated areas because there can be some degree of communication between human and machine cultures when trade or cooperation is required.

Machine (MA) - the primary language of the Eidolon. Those who speak it can utilize and control Pasttech as well as potentially unlock the knowledge of ancient civilizations.

Ability
This skill determines your ability to use the tools and technology of discovered Pasttech. If your race is Biomeka, once you have assigned a number to this skill, add an additional 1d2 roll value to it. If your race is Eidolon, once you have assigned a number to this skill, add an additional 1d2+1 points to it.

Strength
Strength in this RPG determines your base dice number for combat encounters and general ability to lift objects, scale walls, open doors etc...


Classes

Walker - Walkers exist mainly on the fringe of society and cities. If this were a true fantasy game they would be the Ranger class. They are ones scouring the wastelands for Pasttech, know the dangers that lurk there and have the most contact with Eidolon.

Trader - Traders hold society togther. They deal with both Sophonts and Eidolon and are most often Biomeka. There are honest traders as well as rogues and blackmarketers. They freely roam the land and sea, forming clans, not always derived by family ties.

Processor - Processors are laborers, engineers, soldiers and mercenaries, usually Biomeka or Eidolon. They are employed by all and used for both benign and covert purposes. Processors are often the unseen in society, which gives them an advantage.

Arbiter - Strictly a Sophont class, though enterprising Biomekas (Bk9) with a great deal of cunning and few visible augmentations or implants may have bribed their way into this strata of society, this is the de facto ruling class of Earth. its lawyers, governmental representatives, diplomats and generals.

Scholar - Scholars delve deep into the secrets of the past, its people and its technology. They may speak Machine proficiently and have the ability to understand and control Pasttech. It is rumored they even possess the knowledge to control Eidolon programming. Scholars may be of any race.

Elder - Elders also may be from any of the races of men. They are the ones who remember what brought mankind to this point. They often know secret ways through the wastelands and cities and understand the hidden intentions of those they deal with.




6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I'm quite curious how the languages will figure into the board game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lizzie
Scotland
Edinburgh
flag msg tools
designer
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” ― G.K. Chesterton
badge
A Hug a Day keeps the Doctor away!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds very cool. One thing on the tile with Arcology Rho it s very hard to see the grid lines against the background.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
while i mull over the graphics for the game i thought i'd take a few minutes and talk about some of the ideas that are percolating around the game.


the map

as shown above i am thinking the map will be a pretty unstandard grid. the cards that make up the map will be double sided and shuffled then smeared around the table to form an abstract shape. for this to work properly a few hits need to happen

1. the grid on an individual card needs to be big enough that when the edge of a grid square encounters a small triangular bit of an other square on another card it needs to be seen as part of the larger grid square.

i understand this will probably take some futzing on the part of the player but i hope it will be manageable

2. to do this properly the special areas - quest items, starting points, cities, goal points - need to be proportionally distributed across the cards since a great number of them will probably be overlapped due to the smear shuffle. there should be enough that some will appear but not all.

why do i like this smear shuffle idea:

1. not really been tried before as far as i know
2. allows me to create random aggregated spaces of matching color which deign ate different zones in the game which have different effects on the player character
3. allows for a great deal of re-playability and a certain amount of monkeywrenching thrown in. depending on how smeared a player's shuffle is there might be some very hard to get places a player may in fact need to get to
4. has a certain aesthetic appeal to me


the character choices

in the RPG i designed there are 3 classes of society:

the Sophonts - nearly 100% human, they are the dealers, the government figures, the bankers and such. those who do not like to get their hands dirty but are also most capable of machinations and manipulations. as Sophonts become infected with the various femto/nano/melding plagues they begin to lose their status in society. they tend to shun the lower class Eidolon and Biomeka with too many mecha parts

Sophont downsides - not so great with machine languages or using leftover technologies, weaker in physical strength. susceptible to radiation zones

the Biomeka - part human/part mecha. think androids, cyborgs and the like. facile with languages and trade culture they are the middle class of society. artisans, traders, scouts, tech users. the Biomeka bridge the status gap between Sophonts and Eidolon

they know more languages, are able to handle past technologies better but they have lost some humanity and therefore may not always be aware they are being manipulated. susceptible to radiation and EM Zones. can be affect by femto plague swarms but are not overly concerned

the Eidolon - AI/mecha beings. nearly 100% computer/mecha/re-made entities. able to speak machine code and handle past tech readily, they are the lowest class of society. given the dirty, manual jobs Sophonts do not wish to do. They do have their own 'machine' religion and mythology and keep to themselves.

very strong, do not understand human cleverness or sneakiness, susceptible to EM zones only.

so there is an idea that a player may pick a character type which gives them certain plusses and minuses to deal with things that occur in the game - trade, combat, dealings with others, radiation/EM/plague zones.

through the course of the game then a Sophont player may find himself so degrade by femtoswarms that he becomes a Biomeka character and so on..

this bring up the idea of a pair of corruption dice. i dont know whether yet the game will use d6s or percentage dice. for our purposes here lets say that various tasks are accomplished with 5d6. a player will have 2d6 of corruption dice and as they are downgraded due to exposure to one zone or another the 2d6 are rolled and their values remove certain dice from the 5d6 dice pool for a given result.

there could even be this idea of a span. i roll a corruption die in the beginning of the game and it comes up 4. so i remove any other 4s i roll from the 5d6

later on perhaps i have been through several radiation zones and now rolling a 4 means all 4s, 3s and 5s are removed

as i slip from Sophont class into Biomeka or Biomeka into Eidolon the corruption die/dice could mean different things. i could also gain new skills and lose others

goal

the object of the game will be some sort of quest - either for water or pasttech or some other type of knowledge. a time limit will be placed on the player to succeed or fail in obtaining the whatever they need to.

they will encounter bandits/rogue Eidolons/plagues. they may have to visit cities or trade with NPC characters.

all this is still in the early fuzzy stages

but i wanted to open up the discussion about the game as it develops in the back of my mind
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kuhns, party of four!
United States
Muncy
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
...the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I really like the fluidity of the character roles. I don't know that I've seen that before. So often the roles are fixed and you upgrade them, but transitioning between the optional roles is pretty cool. Do you envision that transition being a definite occurrence? Or something that is resisted? Would it be possible to move up the ladder at all? Seems kind of hard to go from 100% eidolon to anything else.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
yes it is basically a downward spiral. you could possibly, if Biomeka, pass yourself off as Sophont if your mecha bits are internalized. The transition will be a factor of a sort of 'press your luck' situation. If you are Sophont and decide to go through a femtoswarm plague to get to a goal state because it takes less time than going around the long way, well then that is your choice and so are the consequences.

climbing the ladder is also, of course, a factor of money and power. i am sure in the world of Our Dust Earth there are some pretty devious AIs floating about like Banks' Culture droids who have their manipulators in many different pies.

part of this factors into how big a scope i want to make this game. is it a game that takes place over a week, a month or several years. i am letting it gestate naturally and seeing what solution i arrive at as i work on the building blocks

this article by Daniel Solis was instrumental in making me think about the idea of the corruption die - http://danielsolisblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/split-decision.h...

some of you may know i like to create a number of small AI moves in my solo games that aggregate up to a complex system playing against the player.

In the original Shadows Upon Lassadar the fact that the AI always rolls one more die than the player in the end was a key part of the game.

when you first begin as a novice you roll 2d6 and the AI rolls 3d6. this can be really tough to beat since your top roll is only 12 and the AI is 18

but as the game progresses and you gain experience you roll more dice and eventually 5d6 with a top roll of 30 works proportionally better with the AI roll of 6d6 (36 for the top). the curve of numbers flattens. the Ai still has an advantage but your experience counts.


i know this game will not be a paragraph style solo game because i just do not want to do that much writing.

i know this game will have a narrative the player creates as the story of the game unfolds

i know it will have certain RPG elements of combat and dealings with NPCs

i know it will have random encounters and those will take your experience and Sophont/Biomeka/Eidolon persona into account.

i know it will have a very curious idea about how a map is generated

i'd like it to only use 54 cards in total so it is portable and easy to print

just have to figure out the rest now
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
really experimental map card layout

10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael R.
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the idea of character fluidity and possibly even playing different characters throughout the game. In fact, I can see that it would work for a game I'm doing - if you die it's 'ok' as it just means that you start playing the game from the perspective of another character (if available).

One thing I'd be careful of is success breeding success and failure breeding failure. You know, if things start going well then the game becomes too easy and vice versa. Solitaire games seem highly susceptible to this flaw.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vandel Arden
Germany
Leipzig
Sachsen
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
I still cant imaginbe how your Map system works, but sure it sunds very interesting
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
flag msg tools
designer
If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
badge
I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The entry deadline for the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest is Midnight (MST) October 5th. Will this game be complete by that time? If not, the game will be removed from the entry list but will be eligible to be entered in next year's contest.

Thanks! I hope to see more about this game soon!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vandel Arden
Germany
Leipzig
Sachsen
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Wow, i totally forgot this.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
todd sanders
United States
pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
yup just never came together for me. will figure it out eventually
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vandel Arden
Germany
Leipzig
Sachsen
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
I guess this was the reason, Why i assumed the other game for an entry, I mixed them up in my memory.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
dumarest123 wrote:
yup just never came together for me. will figure it out eventually

Nooooooo! Now it'll be ages before I found out how the languages were going to work.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls