[Lunar Notes] my crack at this "oracle game" thing or whatever it is we're calling them

edited April 2009 in Story Games
LUNAR NOTES
Hunters of Dremes & Shadows Extraordinaire

lunarnotesp1thumb.pnglunarnotesp2thumb.png

Page One PDF
Page Two PDF

I'm not as hot as John Harper with the layout, but I'm actually fairly pleased with how this looks visually. I surprised myself.

The bulleted lists in GHOST/ECHO were what jazzed me the most, so I emulated that. I actually had longer lists than what's in here, but decided to cut them down.

To elaborate on the gaming-related influences:
John Harper: getting this party started
Vincent Baker: dice mechanic in Otherkind, and Cruel Fortunes in Poison'd (which you can kinda see in the way that one Condition can lead to another)
Luke Crane: Shades and Tests in Burning Wheel; if you squint, you can see that the number of Complications in this is actually the same as the Obstacle in BW
Ron Edwards: Binding rules in Sorcerer
David Berg: a conversation about another project of mine (American Wizards) that led directly to the Complication/Interference/Danger schema.

All of the pictures in this are Captain Beefheart stuff. That's the Captain himself with the trout (Spirit?) coming out of his saxophone on P1. On the left of P1, we have The Mascara Snake, who played guest bass clarinet on the Trout Mask Replica album. Low left on P1 we have a photo of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band in scary costumes, from the album Strictly Personal. On P2, we have guitarist Zoot Horn Rollo, from a picture from TMR.

The name "Lunar Notes" comes from the Captain Beefheart song "Big Eyed Beans From Venus," in which the Captain commands Zoot Horn Rollo to "hit that long, lunar note, and let it float."

So, whaddya think?

Comments

  • Your files don't work on my PC, sorry. ç_ç

    Weird, since my Adobe Reader's new & shiny.
  • This is cool, Marshall. I'm not into Capt. Beefheart, but I totally get the Tom Waits angle. I can see playing this with the right group of people, with Rain Dogs and The Black Rider playing in the background.

    It's a pretty dense 2 pages, which I like. The system stuff seems clear to me and I like that there's enough about spirits to inspire me to flesh them out in my head (which happened instantly -- I know what spirits are all about in my 'world' of this game).

    For the interested DIYers out there: How long did you spend on this, start to finish? What tools did you use?
  • Raffaele,
    Huh. That's weird. I don't understand why that would happen. Although, see below how I made them, and perhaps it will shed some light on it.

    John,
    Thanks! Yeah, the Black Rider would be absolutely perfect as part of a Lunar Notes soundtrack. For my version of it, Tom Waits alone isn't enough, because, like Beefheart, my version has a delicate mix of the serious and the silly, with a sort of fantastic line that makes the silly seem equally plausible. But that's just my version.

    So, as for how I did it:
    Upon announcing that I would do it, I looked for pictures for about two days. I only used a few, as you can see, but having a lot of them to work with helped.

    I wrote it and did the layout in about twelve or so hours on my day off, give or take some time for smoke breaks, since I smoke but don't smoke inside. First I wrote out all the text in Word. Actually, I wrote all the text I could think of, and selected from that what would actually go in (the original lists are like, twice as long, and there was also a list of food for Spirits that didn't go in).

    I did the layout using Macromedia Fireworks (which sounds weird, but bear with me). I then pasted it into PhotoShop, from which I saved the pages as PDFs. This is because I don't have layout software, I'm more comfortable with Fireworks than PhotoShop, and PhotoShop is the only software I have that can save as a PDF. This is also why each page is a separate file.
  • edited April 2009
    [cite]Posted By: Marshall Burns[/cite]I did the layout using Macromedia Fireworks (which sounds weird, but bear with me). I then pasted it into PhotoShop, from which I saved the pages as PDFs. This is because I don't have layout software, I'm more comfortable with Fireworks than PhotoShop, and PhotoShop is the only software I have that can save as a PDF. This is also why each page is a separate file.
    You can also use Inkscape instead of Photoshop for copy and save the files as PDF.
    You can use PDFTK Builder to merge files into one PDF document.
  • Hi Marshall,

    I got a "can't open, file may be corrupt" message when I tried to open p.1, but p.2 worked just fine. Using Preview. P.2 looks pretty damn cool by itself, though.
  • Arrgh. I don't understand it. I've managed to open the files on three different computers without a problem.
    Maybe this is Angelfire's fault. Does anyone know where else I could host these things?
  • Back to the DIY topic for a sec:
    Seriously, guys, I spent, like, two days thinking about this, and one day doing it. I am not a graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination (although I did narrowly escape a BFA for painting), and it still looks pretty. I'm handy with rules design, but these are just cobbled together from other peoples' and some old ones I had laying around.

    My point is: you can do this too. It's easy.

    My question is: why don't you?
    It's fun, and they're cool just to look at -- that's two kinds of awesome already, before you even play it!
  • Because I spend more time whining about wanting to make a game than actually trying! Because I'm more eager to do layout than writing! Because I don't know how to polish mechanics!

    ...so... I'll just start cribbing. It's seriously the best thing since... a long time.

    Nice work anyway, mr Burns sir! Maybe I should counter with a Captain Beyond game?
  • Posted By: Marshall BurnsDoes anyone know where else I could host these things?
    You could try wikispaces.
  • Photoshop CS2 also failed at loading the files on my PC. I got an error message.
  • Raffaele, and Blake, whisper me email addresses and I'll try emailing it to you directly, and we'll see if maybe it works then?
  • I've been thinking about what it is that I find so satisfying about these things. I think I might have hit on it.

    For those of you that haven't heard me blabbering on about it before, I got started in roleplaying with homemade games. This was because me and my friends wanted to play RPGs, but we didn't have any, and didn't have access to any. So, armed with only a cursory understanding of what they were, we made our own. Eventually one guy got a hold of Vampire, so that was an influence for him later, and I was also later heavily influenced by a host of old computer games, but, to start with, we had no idea what we were doing, so we could do anything.

    And that "anything" was an awful lot like this, because we didn't have time to do 100 pages of spell lists and setting history or whatever the fuck; just some assortments of notes, a few mechanics (maybe), and some half-formed notions and ideas, that led to discoveries in play for everyone, creator and other players alike.

    (Later on, in high school, I became a system-monkey and started doing some quite rules-heavy design, but that was later)
  • Ok, I tried Wikispaces; guys, give these a try:

    Page one
    Page two
  • It now works for me. Thank you!
  • Ah, fantastic!
  • Posted By: Marshall BurnsBack to the DIY topic for a sec:
    Seriously, guys, I spent, like, two days thinking about this, and one day doing it. I am not a graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination (although I did narrowly escape a BFA for painting), and it still looks pretty. I'm handy with rules design, but these are just cobbled together from other peoples' and some old ones I had laying around.

    My point is: you can do this too. It's easy.

    My question is: why don't you?
    It'sfun, and they're cool just tolookat -- that's two kinds of awesome already, before you evenplayit!

    This recent stuff that people have been doing is pretty inspiring for me. I've been interested for a while in a sort of DIY/punk aesthetic for small games, and it's cool to see people putting together their little homebrew doodads in a pdf and letting other people see what they've done. Also, the blatant and encouraged grabbing of ideas from other games is pretty much entirely how I "design," so it's fun to see that get some play.
  • You know what I'm thinking about doing with this?

    Partly, fleshing it out slightly, to maybe, say, 5 pages. But a lot of that is going to be more art.

    Other partly, making it a solid, more-or-less complete thing -- not by filling in the blanks, but by providing procedure for filling in the blanks.

    'Cause, I mean, the way it stands now, it's like, "The blanks need to be filled in. Who gets to fill them in?" In my group, we would have no problem working that out on our own. But of course it ain't gonna be the same for others. And, really, this is the only thing that stops this from being complete, as far as I can see.
  • That sounds like a solid direction to go in, Marshall. I'm watching over your shoulder.
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