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Monday, October 22, 2007

Shortest. Game. Ever.

I started off as a Wraith (Witch-King level 1). I took TRANSFORM as my spell, and energized my sole IV chit into PURPLE magic. I figured that along with the VI, I could at the very least, cast this spell on myself, and hope for something good.

I moved one clearing away into the neighboring tile, and failed both of my HIDEs. I got immediately jumped on by two Heavy Flying Dragons. Since casting transform on only one of the dragons would do me no good, I cast it on myself (c'mon Lion or Eagle!!). I turned myself into a frog and was killed in the first round.

Game over.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Version 0.55 Released

Not a ton of stuff here, but enough to make it worth the download, I think. The TRADE bug is worth it alone, because I know this has caused more than one person grief.

Anyway, here's what's new:

  • [1013] - Added three layout options to the Window menu, including one that will automatically make your map as big as possible. All three have keyboard shortcuts.
  • Implemented new random number logic:
    • When you load a game, RealmSpeak will restore the random number generator to the state it was when you saved the game.
    • If you do the same actions during the day after a save, the same die rolls will occur
    • No more cheating when you fail that HIDE roll, and reload the game (though I can't stop you from changing your turn around, or adding more HIDE phases!)
    • Here's the best part: when your game crashes right after something amazing happens (roll snake eyes at a treasure site with 1 item), you don't lose the roll, assuming you repeat the same actions!

  • [1056] - Fixed a bug that freezes the game when a previously controlled bat returns to the setup card
  • [1058],[1060] - Fixed a bug in the TRADE action that freezes the game when you have an item in your inventory worth exactly zero for a particular native group.
  • [1054] - Fixed a bug that was failing to draw the blue X on the pony icon for hired leaders.
  • [1050] - Moving out of Toadstool Circle after using SP phase no longer charges you phases retroactively
  • [1077] - Fixed map season icon, so it doesn't occlude chit view.
  • Development-specific Bugs
    • [1062] - Fixed a bug that was wiping out your relationships before doing the addition at 3rd level.
    • [1067] - Knights adjustment optional rule applies to development characters now.
    • [1078] - Newly gained chits are shown immediately in the chit panel now.
    • [1055] - Gaining new chits while WITHERed will update the chits to fatigue appropriately now.
    • [1057] - Gaining new chits with chit effect (like Belt of Strength) in effect is updated appropriately now.
    • Added a new option to allow you to ignore your starting worth for purposes of advancement
    • Added a new option to allow you to gain your normal relationships at 3rd level (note: this was the default in the previous version, but now you need to turn the option on to get it)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Version 0.54 Released

Attention! This release requires the new resource pack version 0.54.

It's been a long time coming. From day 1, character development has been in RealmSpeak in some form or another. If you've played RealmSpeak at all, you've seen the grayed out radio buttons in the character chooser that indicate selection of other levels. That's because I designed the character data structure to handle development from the start. I realized, however, that there was not much point to development, until the game had matured to a point where it would really matter.

When you start a new game, look under the "Expanding the Realm" tab, and turn on "Development". This will open this ruleset, and allow you to play a real development game. If you are so inclined, turn on "Extended Development", and you will be able to progress onto the higher levels.

One thing that I implemented here that turned out to be pretty cool, is the concept of "Advantage Badges". These badges represent the advantages that your characters get, and act as a visual cue to what you can do. This is important when you are dealing with sub-level characters, and gives you the feeling of leveling up when you earn new badges.

When you get your first look at these things, be kind: I drew all of them by hand. That said, I'm open for improvement in this arena, and will glady entertain any graphics replacements for those I created. Keep in mind, however, I get to be the final judge, and wont promise that any image submissions will be used. If you do want to send one, they must be 32 x 32 pixels, and I would ask that they be GIF (but I can always convert them if need be).

What's not here? I made no attempt to deal with the rules that END a game when you achieve your VPs. No rewards beyond aquiring VPs is built in. For the most part, you are going to want a double-board, and multi-month game to make playing development worth your while. There's also no way to preserve a character from game to game. I imagine that will come someday, but its not there now.

One reason I'm hesitant to release this version, is that I'm sure that the way I've implemented the development rules is going to differ from how some of you are used to. For the most part, it follows the design in the 3rd-edition rules. There's also likely to be a few bugs in the implementation, though I can tell you that I've been playtesting this thing all week, and its pretty solid.

A fairly minor feature that I added is worth mentioning. When I first added seasons/weather, I put an icon on the main character frame, and though it took a lot of space, it looked rather nice. When I collapsed a lot of the functionality onto the character list window, the visibility of this icon went away, hidden in the calendar window. As one playtester pointed out, having the icon clearly visible added a sense of season to the play, and now that its gone, you lose that aspect of it. Well, I decided to add the icon back, but in a different place. Look in the options menu under Map Options, and you'll see a "Show Season Icon" option. Turn this on, and an icon will appear on your map display:

It shows the season, as well as the weather. If you are playing with seasons turned off, then the icon will not harass you.

Well, I can blather on about every detail, or you can just read what's new:

  • [604] - Character Development
    • You can select a character at less than level 4 ability
      • Fewer chits
      • Fewer spells
      • Fewer VPs
      • Possibily different starting inventory (or none at all!)
      • Different relationships
      • Fewer character advantages

    • Chits are gained with earned VPs
      • If VP assignment is turned off, then VPs earned in any category are credited, otherwise only those assigned categories count, and then only as much as you've assigned!
      • Look on victory point tab to see where you stand, as far as earned VPs, and how many you need to achieve the next chit or level.
      • Development progress bar on main character window gives you an indication of where you are, in terms of points, chits, and levels.

    • New levels bring new advantages (based on 3rd edition rules)
      • 1st advantage at 2nd level, 2nd advantage at 4th
      • Gaining optional advantages is varied (see 3rd ed rules)
      • Relationships are gained at 3rd edition: these are additive, so that if you are using grudges/gratitudes, your existing relationships still modify the ones you are getting.

    • Advantages are represented by a "Badge", shown now above the color magic/curses panel
      • Hover mouse over badge to see text
      • Badges appear as you get them (if using development)
      • Witch's Familiar badge can be clicked on to enable/disable the familiar (this replaces the ugly Familiar button added in v0.52)

    • Extended Development (if you turn the option on) allows development past 4th, with appropriate bonuses:
      • Level 5 = 15 gold
      • Level 6 = Random treasure from any native group
      • Level 7 = 10 Notoriety and 5 Fame
      • Level 8 = Take one horse from any native group
      • Level 9 = Get one BONUS phase every day
      • Level 10 = Get one weapon/armor counter from any native group *OR* record a new spell
      • Level 11 = Tagged as "Immortal", and no further advancement occurs

  • [975] - Right-clicking a clearing on the map, and choosing "Show Clearing Details" will give you lots of information about the contents of the clearing.
  • Added a new option to show the current season/weather icon on the map
  • [987] - New folders for handling seasonal tile graphics. If you are interested in working on new tile graphics, please contact me, and I'll give you more details.
  • [1004] - Character vulnerability is printed on the combat sheet

  • Some Pruitt Monster attributes fixed:
    • [1007] - Tomb Guard F/N is only 6 (not 9)

  • [1024] - Fixed a problem with Great/Light Elf not working.
  • [1022] - Trouble result on Commerce Neutral, will correctly roll on Unfriendly column (not Enemy column!)
  • [1017] - Fixed a bug that prevents hirelings from fighting back, when assigned randomly with Watchful Native rules turned on.
  • [1016] - Restored behavior of Map of Ruins in tiles with Ruins M or Ruins C chits
  • [1020] - Hired Leaders or Controlled Monsters that become unhired (expired term) will "drop" any hireling followers in the clearing.
  • [1026] - Following characters are no longer immune to the effects of frigid weather.
  • [1030] - Fixed a harmless bug generated after you leave the board.
  • [1031] - When you absorb a monster with a weapon/head, you can choose which side to play the weapon/head during combat.
  • Fixed a problem when LOTS of monsters are summoned at once, and you get a really tall narrow window that you can't close.
  • [1019] - Fixed an inventory validation problem when you have a pack horse.
  • [1032] - Tristar enchanted side cave clearings will behave like cave clearings now.
  • [1018] - Fixed a problem that occurs if you are using the Timeless Jewel, and running RealmSpeak with Java 1.6
  • [1038] - Problem with controlling a Wyrm (or any Pruitt Monster)
  • [1036] - Cannot play color chits while between clearings or between tiles anymore
  • [1040] - Fixed a problem that made it impossible to change tactics with Battle Bracelets or Elusive Cloak when you play a double-asterisk chit
  • [1041] - Combat will no longer pause on tactics phase when active character wearing Elusive Cloak is not in the clearing
  • [1042] - For purposes of weather fatigue, being between cave or mountain clearings, is the same as being in a cave or mountain, respectively.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Guardian

I'm currently playtesting a version of RealmSpeak that has character development in it, and I have to share this game. Check it out:


For years, Tello wanted to be an adventurer, but his faith kept him tied down to his small town, just east of the area known as the Magic Realm. As long as he remained here, he would always just be an Acolyte (Pilgrim, level 1). Though his parents were very proud of his successes with the church, it was never enough to make him happy. That is why he decided to go west.

He knew, as he approached the famed Inn, that he would have to hire help, if he were to survive more than a day. Patting the 10 gold pieces he had in a pouch on his belt, and saying a short prayer, he was confident he would be able to get a swordsman to guide him through the Realm, and reap the rewards that await.

On entering the Inn, however, Tello's confidence waned very quickly. The rough, perhaps even evil, men he saw there were not those that he wanted to have at his side. More than likely, he thought, they would be the first to stab him in the back, and rob him of whatever gold he had. Several Rogues looked at the timid boy standing at the door, and made crude comments about his parentage. Tello turned and walked out without saying a word.

Frustrated at being unable to locate any allies at the Inn, Tello decides to head out on his own. One Rogue, standing on the porch next to a large axe, laughs at his stupidity, knowing that he is certainly going to his death.

The Acolyte, green as the grass he tramples, and perhaps blind as the rocks around him, enters the Deep Woods, a place he has never gone before. The trees close in around him quickly, and the sound of a distant roar sends the poor boy into shivers, and rapidly muttered prayers to the all-god. Coming across the bones of some poor adventurer nearly sends him running back to the Inn, but the face of the laughing Rogue keeps him stalwartly proceeding forward.

After a couple of days of careful movement through the woods, the boy notices a change in the trees around him. The stink of smoke reminds him of an encampment he had heard about somewhere in the Nut Woods, and gives him confidence that he had made it through the Deep Woods. Knowing that the natives may be more of a threat than any monster he may encounter, he decides to turn quickly south, towards the large mountain known only as the Crag.

Creeping into the mountain, the boy knows that he must be very very careful. Reports of a large flying dragon around this area may be myth, but he is not taking any chances. As he finishes a difficult climb, and moves into a large clearing, he realizes he is not alone. With a dodge and a roll, the boy avoids the killing blow of a Heavy Spider, and somehow manages to plant his small ceremonial dagger into one of the large eyes of the overgrown horror (I rolled snake eyes on the fumble!!) Tello manages to pry himself out from under the corpse of the spider, and after another quick prayer, moves on.

The next clearing opens up onto a large cluster of boulders, as big as the Inn, covered in what could only be scratches. Tello shivers to think what may live here, but decides to stick around and search. After a full day, Tello learns who's home he has invaded: the Flying Dragon is no myth, and comes home to roost with some sort of cattle in its claws. Thinking quickly, Tello covers himself in the strange mud (which he knows now is dragon doo), and hides under a rock outcropping. The dragon appears disturbed, but never locates the boy.

Days of frantic searching go by, with no success for Tello, and he begins to think he was in fact killed by the spider, and now wandering aimlessly in purgatory. Then he sees it: a curiously round boulder blocking an opening in a cluster of rocks, apparently placed there by something other than random chance. There is enough room around the side of the boulder for Tello to move, and he discovers the treasure site known as the Hoard!

The first item that Tello finds, is a strange magical belt that grants him strength like he's never known before. With this newfound strength, he is able to work quickly to search the Hoard even further: the Lucky Charm, the Poultice of Health, and then... the Sacred Grail. Tello cannot believe his eyes, but there it sits, casting the entire area in gleaming WHITE magic.

Grabbing the loot, knowing that a Flying Dragon, and strangely, two Giants are prowling outside, Tello is able to sneak away from the Hoard, and move back down to the Nut Woods. After a quick conversation with a local native, Tello learns of a path to the Chapel, where he knows the Grail will be welcomed.

The Realm remains mostly quiet during his trek to the Chapel: Curst Valley, Linden Woods, Cliff (where he has a close encounter with a Demon guarding the Altar), the Borderland and finally the Chapel in the Dark Valley. At first, the Knights question the boy strolling out of the Borderland, but when he tells them of the Grail, they drop to their knees in reverence to God, and quickly bring the boy in for a hot meal.

The Order, as it turns out, was very much looking for this Grail, and rewarded Tello with a Warhorse, and a Greatsword (actually, I sold the grail and some stuff, and then bought these items). The Order also named Tello, formal Guardian of the Chapel, and said he was welcome anytime he returned.


This is where the month ended. I'm going to continue this campaign later (gotta go eat dinner), but so far so good. I'm amazed I survived as long as I did, but now I've got a pretty brutal weapon, and a FIGHT T2** chit to boot! (Belt of Strength). Oh, and because I went up a level, I'm now immune to Demons... I'm thinking the Altar is my next target. Wheeeee!