Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Story of Golden Oceans

The game of Golden Oceans is set in an exotic and dangerous land. Once a lush paradise, the world has since been warped by an ancient cataclysm, leaving behind mostly barren desert and oceans viscous with abrasive silt. The Draeicks, a prehistoric civilization credited with the founding of science and magic, almost destroyed the planet in an epic conflict which led to their demise. Now, thousands of years later, humanity has advanced from primitive hunters to an industrial power with potential for global supremacy. However, there are many rivals for the position; epic armies of giants, hordes of insidious faeries, and packs of legendary beasts standing in the way of humanity's rise to the top. In the wastelands, you will rely heavily on your equipment for survival, but ultimately you will require creativity and strategy to persevere against all odds.

With each book of Golden Oceans, you will not only be purchasing a game, but also a unique story, illustrating the details of the bizarre people, places, and creatures found in this world. Utilize the resources in this book to adventure through this dangerous world or create your own setting to use as a backdrop with the game’s highly flexible ruleset. As a “modern fantasy” the mechanics of Golden Oceans are compatible with a wide variety of scenarios and do not constrain the players to one type of genre or one period of history. Ultimately the goal of Golden Oceans is to grant freedom to the players in order to promote fun and creative storylines in bizarre and deadly situations.

G.O. Equipment Preview

Golden Oceans utilizes a system which focuses heavily on the use of equipment to supplement the character's ability to succeed at a desired task. In my experience, all roleplaying games utilize equipment, but very few make carrying equipment worthwhile. Ever play a session where your character trudged across an entire continent with a backpack full of supplies you barely touched? Often times you might have even forgotten you had your signal mirror until the moment to use it had already passed.

In the game of Golden Oceans, utilizing different types of equipment results in various bonuses, such as rope adding to Athletics skill rolls involving climbing, with an additional bonus when utilized in combination with a repelling harness. Wearing a nice suit makes you more credible with strangers, granting a bonus to Connection and Deception skill rolls. Driving a "hotrod" grants a bonus to Driving rolls involving speeding, while a "truck" grants a bonus to Driving rolls while off-roading.

Equipment does more than just increase skills. Clothing protects the character against the effects of harsh weather such as frostbite or sunburn, while an overcoat even grants the character Damage Reduction against physical attacks to the arms and torso. Boots also grant Damage Reduction against trauma to the feet, such as walking over hot coals or stepping on a rusty nail.

Consumables are very important as well. Eating a hearty meal rejuvenates lost Stamina, while drinking coffee grants a bonus to Concentration. There are also a wide variety of unique consumables, available only in the world of Golden Oceans. The Abaras Flower, also referred to as the Elywith Plant, causes a psycho-active effect, forcing the character into a trance-like state, increasing his spiritual sensitivity and restoring his emotional health called Essence.

Being an Eagle Scout, I have been on many camping trips. I've hiked over mountains, crawled through underground streams, and sailed a forty foot yacht. I can tell you, equipment is extremely valuable to an adventurer and should be rightfully represented in rpgs. The concepts of Golden Oceans are heavily influenced by my own personal experiences and deep research into real expeditions in order to develop a system that is fun, rewarding, and realistic.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

G.O. Preview

                 Take to the seas of silted sand, the Golden Oceans are your portal to distant continents laden with tombs of ancient treasure! Journey through the Sabran Desert to find the hidden city of Fech Fech, battle against savage Garran giants towering ten feet high, or struggle through the harsh nights of freezing winds and the terribly vicious sandstorms which force travelers to lose their way.
Trudge through the Osarian Swamps to slay a creature terrorizing the nearby farmers or travel through the Feyish capitol of Duhkur to discover the legendary "Elder-Dark", where it is rumored that derelicts toil with dark and ancient magics. The game of Golden Oceans is an unlimited experience! By utilizing the resources in this book, you and your friends can access literally hundreds of hours of entertainment!

Featuring nearly THREE HUNDRED special abilities called Confidences, the game of Golden Oceans maximizes character customization, putting control into the player's hand with its revolutionary Destiny mechanic. Also includes a dozen unique cultures from eight different nations, eighteen character motivations, ninety occupations, and extensive descriptions of equipment, consumables, weapons,  armor,  vehicles,  animals,  and  more!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Why Use Dice?

The purpose of dice in a roleplaying game is to give the mechanics a dash of real world probability. Without dice interjecting the elements of chance, the interactive quality of roleplaying games can become severely redundant. Although the concept of “free form” roleplaying is very attractive to many storytellers, it does require a great deal of cooperation and maturity to be successful.

Remember the neighborhood kid from your youth who, while playing spaceman and aliens, would exclaim that your laser did not shoot him because he had laser proof shields. You would exclaim that your lasers were shield-penetrating, but then of course his shields could deflect those as well. The issue is that without the limitations of the game mechanics and dice to act as a medium through which the players can interact with their world, all the suspense and conflict immediately dissipates as an imaginative cold war builds.

Granted, the Game Leader should never become a slave to his own dice. The dice are integrated into the game to allow aspects of chance and luck, but not to tell the story for you. Never allow the dice to change your story beyond your vision; instead use them to fill in the cracks of your outline. Truly the magic of a roleplaying game is in the collaboration between the Game Leader, the Players, and the Dice, accumulating into a unique experience.

The Game Leader may occasionally disregard a die roll but he should never abuse this ability or risk the fundamental integrity of his game. If the players believe that a failed roll will be disregarded by the Game Leader at any moment, than the ability of the die to create conflict has been lost. They become arbitrary as every action is easily accomplished, resulting in no challenge against the players, causing the game will begin to unravel.

The Game Leader is not god, but rather the space-time continuum. It is not his job to act vengeance upon those players who ate the last slice of pizza, but rather create a safe, fun environment where he and his friends can openly collaborate without fear of rejection. Characters will die, but it is not your job to kill them. You are not a Master, but a Leader, requiring a level of neutrality from your actions. If a character dies, it is not the end of the world. Allow the player to roll a new character and maybe even give them a few extra experience to help him catch up with the rest of the group. A death in the party can even be a good thing. If two characters have bonded and developed a friendship, then suddenly when one of them dies, the other is now flooded with emotion and motivation. Maybe he believes it is his own fault, then later must seek revenge on the actual killer. There are thousands of possible outcomes which could occur either by the Game Leaders prompt or the players own cooperative creativity.

If you do wish to avoid killing your players then there are steps that you can take to insure it will not randomly happen at the worst possible moment. The best way to do this is by giving the characters Destiny points for good deeds they have accomplished. This allows them to be proactive in saving their own life, which will maintain the conflict while prolonging their mortality.

Novice players might be quick to jump to violence in every situation. Though this is fun for them at first, it can quickly become dull, as their solution to every problem is the same. Encourage players to act how their characters would act. Inspire them to invent creative solutions instead of instantly reaching for their guns. Do not let them forget about diplomacy, bribery, bluffing, impersonation, flattery, stealth, and various other methods of trickery and non-violent problem solving. Characters who come up with creative ways to avoid danger should be rewarded with more experience than those who are always looking for a straight forward fight. Players who roleplay consistently will agree that the diversity of scenarios, characters, and approaches to conflict resolution are what make roleplaying games consistently fun for years to come. If things ever get stale, just try something new!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

What is Roleplaying?

Roleplaying is not like acting. Acting in a high school play or living the real moments of a fictional character, as method actors do, is very different from what is involved in a roleplaying game. Improvisational acting is similar but mainly for the improvisational aspect. The art of roleplaying has more in common with writing than acting, being more akin to the skill sets of novelists, screenwriters, and sequential artists, over that of the professional actor. Although the same undefinable characteristics of a trained thespian will enhance the quality of gameplay, it is the ideas in a story which fundamentally outweigh their inevitable presentation. Roleplaying is a heavily social activity, but ultimately relies on creativity and abstract thinking more than other human attributes.

                 Unlike Hollywood films, which often adhere to an excessive amount of story structure and use of archetypal characters to maintain industry standards, novels can tell stories with a large number of characters interacting in detailed  ways with little limitation to the pacing or overall length of the story. Roleplaying games are like novels because of this lack of constraint. They can be stopped, and then continued later and therefore are not intended to be completed in one sitting as is a film. As long as the sequences remain fresh and interesting, roleplaying campaigns can linger on for months with little structure and still be fun for everyone involved. By contrast, films without story structure often leave audiences feeling unsatisfied or even bored by the end credits. Of course there are exceptions, but the fundamental component to all successful stories is conflict.

                 The key to creating conflict is through motivation. Every human on the planet has dreams and desires, which motivate us every day to get out of bed and live our lives. As long as the characters have a specific goal which they are trying to achieve and obstacles in their way preventing them from success, then conflict will be inherent. Conflict ultimately creates drama and comedy, as our characters struggle to jump hurtles. Allowing the characters to overcome these hurtles through logic, creativity, and sacrifice, ultimately allows the players to feel productive as they achieved their objectives. This eventually leads to what writers call a story arch; by the end of the storyline the characters should have developed by learning, advancing, and overcoming adversity to achieve their goals and become better people overall.

                 For the new Game Leader, the basic idea is to move the story forward; interesting characters presenting bizarre or dangerous obstacles for the characters to overcome with an inevitable reward of experience and valuables. With cooperation from participants, the successful Game Leader will illustrate a diverse world and interesting stories in the collective imagination of both players and spectators alike. It is this ability to both organize and improvise a collaborative story which sets roleplaying apart from other storytelling mediums, requiring both astute social and mental capacities.