Thursday, September 21, 2017

Can Savage Worlds do Anime?

This question has been asked a few times, and the answer isn't easy. You see, Anime is not exactly a genre. It is a format.

An anime horror story is basically the same as any other horror story, but the characters have big eyes.
An anime Fantasy story is basically the same as any other fantasy story, but... you get the idea.

Now that said, there are certain tropes in anime that don't often appear in western storytelling. Including these tropes in a setting will give it more of an anime feel.
(Please note that I will not be discussing Hentai tropes.)

1) Harem Anime:  Not a hentai trope! Harem anime involves a main character, usually a boy but it can also be a girl in high school, who winds up surrounded by members of the opposite sex that want the main character's affection. For some reason, he or she can't express his/her feelings for any of them and comedy ensues. Examples: Tenchi Muyo, Ouran Host Club, Uresei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, Rosario + Vampire.

2) Human Piloted Giant Robots: Strangely this isn't a big western phenomenon. The giant robots in our cartoons are sentient and usually transform into cars and things. The typical Western Piloted Giant Robot is a big, slow, clunky thing that looks more like a chicken-legged tank. In anime, the robots are more like a super-suit of armor: a 30ft tall Iron Man. In fact, I would classify these types of stories as the super-hero genre. Our hero faces daily life and drama, but must always change into his "super-suit" to defeat the evil of the week.

3) The Futility of War: Having two nuclear bombs dropped on them has imprinted heavily in the Japanese psyche. So much that Japan, or even the entire Earth routinely gets destroyed despite the heroes attempts to save them. You can see in many anime war stories that the line between good and bad is often shifting and the longer the war drags on, the more the innocent casualties pile up. In Knights of Sidonia, not only do we see hundreds of teenagers splat against a building's surface like falling rain but they dedicate an entire episode to a single character introduction only to kill her by the episode's end. Examples: Gundam, Knights of Sidonia, Macross, Evangelion.

4) Japanese Mythology: One thing about Japanese horror stories are that they draw from Japanese mythology which has its own unique takes on ghosts and vampires.

Can Savage Worlds do these? Well, yes. Any system can, because these are not effects that require a game mechanic. These are plot themes and trappings.

So if you truly want to give your players an anime feel in your game, make sure to have plenty of anime imagery (printouts and character images). That may be all you need

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I'm Back! Making your own Wet Erase Maps and Tiles

I know I have been gone a long while. Things have kept me busy, mostly arts and crafts so let us start there.

As I have posted before, I have several terrain tiles available on drivethrurpg. But I have been struggling to find a way to use wet-erase markers on them. I have tried polyurethane sprays, modge podge, laquers...the results either destroyed the printouts and paper or let the wet erase ink bleed through. I tried Contac sheets but can never find the permanent adhesive version in stock anywhere. And the wet-erase inks didn't sit well on the coating.

Looking on the internet, the typical advice was to get the items laminated, but heat lamination doesn't actually adhere to the page. You have to keep the plastic border so that the front and back laminations stick together. If you are trying to make a large map, you would have to pay a lot for a full sized print and then a lot more for giant sized lamination. It's going to be somewhere around $40. I needed a way to laminate several 8x10 pages into a relatively seamless map.

Then I discovered that there is a way to cold laminate. This may not be news to some people, but I can say that no one on the internet had suggested it before in my research.

These are 9x12 sheets with a PERMANENT adhesive backing. Print a tile image onto cardstock, then apply one of these sheets, then trim. The result is remarkably like Paizo's Gamemastery tiles in feel and finish. I have already done an overnight test with black, red, green, and blue wet-erase inks and all erased cleanly the next day.

With this technique, I was able to print up 9 8x10 sci-fi terrain pages, laminate them, then tape the backs together to get a sci-fi wet-erase deck plate map that is 24x30 inches and fold-able. If you have seen the Paizo sci-fi flip-mat, you will know why I felt compelled to make my own. Theirs is too dark for black ink to show up well when drawing the walls and chambers. Now I have a wet-erase sci-fi map for all of my Savage Sci-Fi adventures. (PS: The tile set will be available soon on drivethrurpg. As usual it will be pay-what-you-want. I'll let you know when it launches.)

That's all for now, but expect more posts soon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

6x6 Swamp Tiles Are Now Downloadable at DrivethruRPG

Yup, I been busy doin' tha art thang. Find the HERE.

I've also been looking into a way to coat my tiles to make them work with wet erase markers. The only advice online that I could find was to cover the tiles with a sheet of poster frame plastic. That's great, but not portable. It would be great if I could pre-draw any features on my tiles and transport them to the game.

Here's what I have done so far:

Lamination - Ordinarily would work, however the side lips of the lamination would interfere with the tiles abilities to butt up against each other.

Modge Podge Glossy Acrylic Sealer Spray - I put three coats on a tile but the ink still bled through to the paper underneath. It might work if I added more coats, but I don't want to spend $10 per can and have it only treat 6 tiles. I have a lot of these things. Plus a knowledgeable friend advised me that Acrylics can yellow the work, wear off, and don't age well.

PVA Glue (Elmer's) - I honestly thought this would work and it almost did. The problem is that PVA glue is water-soluble, even after it has dried. As soon as I used a wet rag to erase the ink, the glue became liquid again and things went bad.

Polyurethane Spray (Glossy) - My knowledgeable friend suggested this and it is also about $10 per spray can. You can get it from Home Depot. It will take longer to cure but can likely do the job in two coats. We'll see.

And speaking of Home Depot, they have this little "Start your own fairy garden" miniatures for $2 a miniature.  There was a great, to-scale Water Well that I picked up. everything else wasn't much use to me. Not a bad find.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

6x6 Forest Tiles Are Now Downloadable at DrivethruRPG!

So I have been working on some more Terrain Tile sets for use with RPG miniatures. Partly because many of the Paizo Flip Mats are no longer available, partly because it's improving my Photoshop skills, and mostly because I can.

The tiles are 6" x 6", with or without grid lines and can be downloaded HERE. It's Pay What You Want, of course.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sci Fi Companion Ship/ Vehicle Sheets

There was a request on the Pinnacle Boards for one. Truth to tell, I haven't had much to show off or talk about recently so this makes for a good post. Here they are.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I've Been Doing It Wrong, Too

In short, D&D has lied to us, and that lie has become very pervasive.

This guy is very entertaining and seems to be more historically accurate.

As for the long space in between posts, well I've had another motorcycle accident as well as a busy holiday season. As for the accident, this time it was a raccoon hit squad duo charging out in front of my bike. I have a broken thumb, a badly twisted ankle and bruised foot, and a bit of road rash.

It's time for me to stop riding. Three accidents in three years is not a good average, even if none of them were my fault. When the fireman who shows up to the accident remembers you from last year, it's a sign.

Friday, December 16, 2016

More on Chases and Vehicle Combat

I've been delving more into Vehicle Chases and Combat, mainly because I want to keep them abstract and not need tabletop miniatures. I've done some personal hacks during game to keep things running F!F!F! but I want to codify my house rules so they aren't constantly changing in game (due to my forgetful nature). Here's what I have so far.


Honestly, I'm going back to the Explorer's Edition for Chase rules. It handles range and catching your opponent better (imho) than the SWDEX rules. So...

Determine the chase duration. I'd go with 5-10 increments. Pursuers start at 0. Prey start at 1 increment per range of head start (1 short, 2 medium, 3 long, 4 extreme). The goal for the Prey is to reach the end of the chase without being stopped, at which point they escape. The goal of the Pursuer is to stop the Prey before they get there.

In a chase, each vehicle is dealt an initiative card and its occupants act on that card (in the event of a foot chase, each individual character is considered a vehicle and gets their own initiative card). At the beginning of their turn, each vehicle makes a Piloting roll (Driving for cars, Agility for running, etc.) with + 1 if their vehicle is faster than their Prey or Pursuer, +2 if their speed is double their Prey or Pursuer). A success moves the vehicle forward 1 range increment. A raise moves them forward an additional range increment (additional raises do not move the vehicle further).

As always, a draw of a club for an initiative card indicates an Obstacle that must be avoided with a driving roll or the vehicle suffers damage (I'm lifting the modifiers from Daring Tales of the Space Lanes).

Obstacle Table
Card              Modifier
Deuce                -6
3-4                     -4
5-6                     -2
7-10                   -1
Jack-Ace            0

The range of the attack is determined by how many range increments there are between Pursuer and Prey. Each range increment counts as a level of combat range (if Prey is one range increment ahead, the range is Short, 2 is Medium range, 3 is Long, 4 is Extreme). When in a fast paced chase, you don't need to worry about exact inches or weapon variables.

Pursuers may fire forward-fixed weapons at their targets. Prey cannot fire forward-fixed weapons at their Pursuers.

Turret Weapons from any vehicle (Pursuer or Prey) may always attack at a -2 Unstable Platform penalty. Passengers in a vehicle that wish to fire personal weapons in a chase count as turrets.


To me, a dogfight is a close combat affair (dare I say melee?). All dogfights occur at Short range so their are no range modifiers to worry about.

To initiate a dogfight, an attacker must pilot their vehicle to close range (0 range increment if it's a Chase) to his target and declare that he is initiating a dogfight.  Other vehicles within Short Range may join this dogfight with a successful Piloting roll, providing a Gang Up Bonus.

A dogfight is rapid movement affair best captured in abstract. However, due to such intimate ranges, vehicles are harder to hit. When in a dogfight, attackers must roll against the target's Evasion (Pilot skill + the vehicle's Handling)/2 +2 ). Gang Up bonuses apply.

Turret weapons may always attack, with the -2 Unstable Platform penalty.

Fixed Forward weapons may only be used when the attacker's Initiative card is a 10 or higher. Yes the means that there will be times where both sides are attacking each other in the same turn. It simply represents the furious movement as they dodge each other or fly at each other in a dogfight.

Escaping a Dogfight
Vehicles that wish to flee a dogfight or break the tangle of close combat must succeed a Piloting roll with a raise.

That's my design so far. Any thoughts?