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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brief Vornheim Review

As I mentioned a few days back, I bought a Vornheim PDF when LotFP was having that incredible sale. One sentence impression: I like it. I didn't think I'd like it a lot, because of the difference in aesthetics, and because of the emphasis on d100 tables, but those turned out to be differences I could live with. What's more important is that ideas in the table entries are pretty good, and the other mechanics geared for on the fly city gaming fit with some of my own mechanics, or inspire mechanics similar to both.

One example: The random building interior mechanic using d6s with pips fits well with my dungeon layout mechanic, and inspires an elaboration based on layering or zooming. I could see designing whole dungeon levels with just d6s and memorized rules instead of tables.

The "drop-die charts" -- what I call dice maps -- are another example. I shied away from Zak's technique at first because of my own experiments with "linear dice maps", with a sheet of paper numbered or keyed along its length. I switched to radial dice maps because I didn't have to worry about the die actually landing on the paper. But I've had a problem with digital dice rollers; the one I have rolls 3d dice and uses a physics engine of some kind, but it doesn't allow me to change the background, so it's hard to use it with dice maps. Zak's rectangular drop-die charts, numbered along two dimensions, could work, though, by adjusting the zoom on the PDF, then positioning the dice roller window so that the page edges are visible around the app.

If it works, I may even celebrate by redoing some of my earlier dice maps as Zak/Vornheim-style drop-die charts. I've got an idea for an easier-to-use NPC attribute roller...

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