Saturday, April 11, 2015

News of possible interest.

I have been pretty excited this week and I have been excited to update the blog after quite some time of being inactive. It's not that I had blog fade or whatever, well maybe a bit, but its more I just haven't been doing much with Beacon for a while.  It's been there in the background, but mostly I have been playing 5th edition D&D and reading assorted stuffs on the Internet about other games.  You know, chilling.  But today- today I have news to share.  Exciting news.

I'm doing an update to the Beacon rules very soon.  

OK, don't get too excited yet. It's not a huge update but I want to edit some of the damage rules and reexamine how range is calculated.  Little things but things that bug me.  That makes it a good time to go through the book again and edit bad wording and stuff.  That's some of the news.  The other news is more interesting and related to this.  I will now tell you a long convoluted tale to draw it out a bit.

So I've been meaning to set up an online game for quite some time and it's been hard to figure out just how I wanted to do that and when, and what game to run.  I did consider Beacon but I also considered 5th Edition or Ashen Stars.  I even considered something totally new to me like Traveller 2300AD or Dungeon World.  I had played a bit on Google+ and I knew it was part of what I wanted to use but I just didn't have my crap together.  I haven't been too worried about dice rolls but one of the things that has been on my mind is how to manage character sheets and how to track things.  

I finally started looking into Roll20 which I had heard about but which I didn't really spend too much time on because I wasn't really interested in a virtual table top.  A virtual table top looked like too much work.  I didn't want to have to create icons and set up battle-mats and edit xml for all my encounters or determine facing and lighting when running my games.  That's all fine stuff if you want it but I wanted that other stuff - campaign management stuff.  I wanted tools for shared files, scheduling, item tracking and maybe a shared dice roller.  Well I kept hearing things about Roll20 so I finally broke down and looked at it and found out that it is a very good VTT, but it is also pretty good for campaign tools as well.  There are places for all sorts of shared or hidden notes.  Card decks you can modify.  Token trackers you can make a simple or as complex as you like.  And character sheets.

Roll20 has character sheets and they are pretty good ones - they calculate stuff for you if you want or they can be simple.  They can track stuff and there's a lot of choice in how you use them.  When you make a campaign you can choose the character sheet you want and they have a lot of sheets available - Dungeon Crawl Classics, Trail of Cthulhu, Savage Worlds, Traveller.  Lots of sheets and sheets available in a pop-out browser window or on your tablet while still being hooked up to the virtual dice and the tabletop session!  It's pretty slick.  And this brings me to the next bit of news.

Soon they will have a sheet for Beacon.

See exciting eh?

You see I noticed that there was a sheet for Microlite and I contacted the person who had worked on it, someone by the alias of Hylianux.  I asked if they had seen Beacon and if maybe they would help work on a sheet for it.  And then Hylianux went and checked out this very blog and looked at the Beacon rules and saw that they were good.  And they said yes Beacon should have a character sheet on Roll20.  Happy days!  No really, you have no idea how fine that made me feel.  And so now I have been working with Hylianux to get it together.  Well mostly they have been working on it while I point out errors and ask for changes and say "can you just..." or "how about this..." which is probably even more annoying than I imagine it is and I've worked in development.    But the sheet looks good and I'm getting excited to have people use Beacon as an option for playing their games in Roll20.  That is good for Beacon but also good for people looking for a fun and free d20 variant to play online in Roll20. You know children and hobos and misers and such.

Anyway this whole exciting exercise has got me looking at some of the rules and examples again and that's why I've decided to do an update.  Add half your STR bonus to melee damage with a light weapon?  That's too much math!  A bow has 10 range increments and a modifier for each?  What idiot thought that up? <*cough*>  And there are probably still a bunch of weird phrases or spelling errors to correct still.  This update will still be 'a draft'.  It will remain in draft until I can afford a proof reader and do the lovely full POD Beacon treatment on DriveThru RPG or whatever (or if ever).   But this Beacon draft is still fully playable now and soon it will have Roll20 support!

So Beacon draft 7.  Look for it soon.  

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