Designer Diary – Infected RPG

16 Mar Designer Diary – Infected RPG

It’s been a while since I’ve updated anything here about the progress of Infected RPG, though no doubt if you’re on our Social Media pages you’ll have seen a ton of updates! In short, things are going very well with the game, and we have now finished the Infected RPG Sampler book! That’s going to be 30-odd pages of awesome art and some of the storyline of the game itself. I know, it took a while eh! That’s certainly one of the things I’ve been learning along the way – things take a lot more time, effort and money than you at first thought. To be honest, I’m pretty well there with most of my estimates, but the website has taken longer than expected, because it is a complicated little sucker. That’s just about done thanks to the good work of Dave Eggleton at Positweb, and then the sampler will be unleashed! 

Book Spread - Infected RPG

This is another example of the book spread for the Infected RPG Sampler – pretty good eh! I like the splatter effect 🙂

But, despite this, things are going ahead fairly well, and the more hurdles I overcome on the project, the more I learn about it. At present I’m looking into the publishing medium I’m going to use for the book, as I want to maximise quality, but at the same time I do live in Australia… so I would prefer a Print on Demand facility that can get books out to purchasers pretty easily. There are some good PoD publishers out there, including Lightning Source and Lulu, and I’m looking into these at present, which I think should turn out well (I’ve heard Lulu has pretty good quality – let me know if you’ve heard the same, or differently).

Apart from that, I’m working on getting the Kickstarter set up, and doing some work to spread the word beforehand. I’ve found some great resources on how to run a kickstarter (one of the best resources was this series of articles by Stonemaier Games). It’s pretty damned important to get your name out there beforehand, to build up a presence for yourself… but to do this in a way that is actually pretty legitimate. I.e. you want people to get to know you and your project, as opposed to some nameless company. You are the important part of that. You’ve got to get out there and start communicating with people, and seeing how you can help them out.

Related:  Game Design Lessons #4: 7 vital steps to engage People with Your Business on Facebook

I’m actually pretty chuffed that that’s the way things work. 🙂 It means that those who legitimately care about the community, about those around them, are rewarded for their efforts. And it means that the small publisher does have an advantage in this area – that you can get to know him or her and see what makes them tick. Then you’ll be way more interested in backing them when the time comes.

I saw a great example of this with Fragged Empire, by Wade Dyer. Check out how good his video is! You really get to know who he is, and what he does, and what he’s passionate about. Actually he’s a really nice guy, I’ve spoken to him a few times and found him extremely willing to help, very open, very forthright. Gee… I could just start an ad campaign for him because he’s that cool. 🙂 But that’s just the point, being honest, open and a person makes you someone that people come to respect and assist.

I have never really been so good at getting myself out there on the web. I only realised that people were interested in that sort of thing relatively recently, so now you’ll be seeing more of me!

The other thing I’ve been working on is the Myths of Khoralla setting, as well as our Steampunk (which is becoming more a Victorian horror with a Steampunk blend) and our Sci Fi setting (which is rapidly evolving into something far larger than merely Thrakkis).

In any case, I’m pretty excited with the progress on all fronts. I hope you’re excited too! And as always, if you would like to know anything, or have anything to comment on, please let me know at oliver at immersion-rpg dot com

Keep rolling high!

– Oliver R. Shead

7 Comments
  • Rogue
    Posted at 11:48h, 10 May Reply

    Hello Oliver,
    Would like to talk to you some about your work. I like the article, thanks for writing.

    • Oliver R. Shead
      Posted at 22:21h, 11 May Reply

      Hey Rogue,
      Absolutely mate. Drop me a line here: oliver at immersion-rpg dot com
      Like your website by the way. Looks awesome – I certainly like the idea of your RPG Designers Syndicate. Very cool 🙂
      ~Oliver

  • Scotty
    Posted at 04:43h, 03 June Reply

    Hi!
    Infected caught my eye yesterday and I promptly downloaded the Sampler to see what you were all about. What I’ve seen, from artwork to chrome, looks very good and pretty close to the ZA game I’ve been wanting to play. My friends and I were working on a scenario based on the John Ringo books and I noticed how closely your Infected comes to the Ringo version. That’s not an accusation, BTW, just a happy coincidence I’m sure, but it also dovetails with my desire to have “supernatural” horror games that are solidly based on real science instead of mysticism. Our campaign starts aboard the USS Comfort hospital ship at anchor off of New Orleans and goes from there into a flooded and infested city. It looks like Infected would be a good engine for this.

    Sincerely,

    Scotty

    • Oliver R. Shead
      Posted at 20:13h, 05 June Reply

      Hi Scotty,

      Cheers for the feedback! It’s always nice to hear 🙂
      Funny enough, I hadn’t heard of Ringo until I read your comment here. I’ll have to check his books out, they look interesting (high action at the very least!).
      I hope things go well with your cool zombie game. It sounds like an interesting premise. I’ve recently been running a sandbox military-based game set in the southern US, which is really interesting. It’s particularly interesting to watch the bullets slowly tick down… until every round becomes something precious.
      Let me know how it goes (I’m sure I’d enjoy hearing about it) – and if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at oliver(at)immersion-rpg(dot)com.

      Best,
      Oliver

  • Scotty
    Posted at 00:18h, 25 June Reply

    Thanks for the reply, Oliver. The John Ringo books are a four book series entitled Black Tide Rising. The premise is a bioterror weapon unleashed on the world through, get this, air fresheners hung in airport restrooms! The virus has two expressions- the first being an aerosol vector with extreme influenza symptoms. Those who survive the flu come down with the second expression which is blood-based and resembles an extreme form of rabies. All higher brain functions are eliminated and the infected function on a purely primal level. The Black Tide Rising stories are primarily about a family that survives by escaping to sea and then forms the core of an ocean-wide rescue operation involving the clearing of ships. Lots of action and pathos. There is going to be a fifth book which will be an anthology set in the same universe. These are well worth the reading.

    Scotty

  • Scotty
    Posted at 00:53h, 25 June Reply

    Hi Oliver,
    I’ve had a chance to go through the Immersion system and my first read-through raised a few questions- especially after I attempted a character creation.

    I tend to avoid archetypes and try to create a character from scratch. This way I get the full impact of the system. The first thing I noticed was the huge number of points I had to work with. A number like 1200 or more seems like an awful, unwieldy lot at first, but I realized that they get eaten up in 4 and 2-sized chunks by the cost and by piling the cost of each level on top of the last. I see that your intent was probably to provide a certain flexibility and granularity to the system which actually makes it easier to create original and unique characters. OTOH, I think that many gamers will find the archetypes to be the way to go if they’re in a hurry and it was smart to do it this way.

    I find it interesting that you break down success/failure between attributes and skills (and other). Instead of just adding up everything, you treat them as two different things which then allows the player and the GM to appropriately describe the success/failure. If my pilot character attempts a lag roll at low altitude to get on the 6 of an enemy MiG, she rolls a d10 (result 6) and adds the result to her Dexterity of 8 to get a 14- 4 Successes. She rolls another d10 (result 1) and adds that to her Pilot (Aeroplane) skill of 9 and gets a 10- 0 Successes. Since she does succeed with 4, she completes the lag roll, but her skill failure indicates that it was a sloppy roll, losing some altitude and nearly clipping a tree, while her basic Dexterity allows her to merely scrape the bottom of her Viper a bit and sends an icy thrill up her spine. The end result is the Fulcrum drifting into the crosshairs on her HUD!

    Yeah, I think I can play this.

    Scotty

    • Oliver R. Shead
      Posted at 23:55h, 25 June Reply

      Hey Scotty,
      Thanks for getting back to me on this, and in such a detailed fashion too! That’s awesome 🙂
      You’re spot on with your observations about experience and character creation. I did try it a few other ways, using “Character Creation Points” and so on, but found in the end they just made it harder to keep track of the relative power level of the character.
      Since creating the Immersion RPG Beta I’ve made some handy tables (actually, some early versions are in the Beta, but they’re not so easily accessible) which break down costs a fair bit, but even beyond that I’ve been working on making an interactive PDF that will calculate the costs for you! This is actually already constructed… but at the moment there’s a glitch when we save it. So we’re working on that (I have a wizard who lives in New Zealand, and he is amazing).
      I’m really glad you like the way the dice split in their successes. I have tried and tried to do it another way, but in the end, with all my test gamers telling me that they liked it, I went with it. One of the main reasons for it was that with multiple dice (and no modifiers getting above +10), you have less “stackage.” And this creates more variability, more of a bell curve of probability. Another, recent, rule (not in the Beta – but in the Infected Sampler), is on “Filling Dice” so you always try to get dice to reach +10. If a bonus goes over that, it will add on to the other die until that is +10, and then will start making new dice.
      That might sound complex, but it’s actually simple (ever a dangerous thing to say!). The reason for it is to again create more of a variability in the dice. If you’ve got two dice at +15 each, you’re stacking the odds much, much higher than having three dice at +10 each. Try it out, see how it works.
      Another example of that is with, say, a d20. When you get to high levels in D&D, you’ll be rolling with +30 or +40 to strike – double the variability of the d20! Ultimately there’s not much of a point in rolling.

      I like your example with the Viper. That’s a cool take on it I hadn’t actually thought of! But you’re totally right, that’s a great way of looking at the successes, and seeing exactly how it pans out.

      Btw, if you like, send further musings and playtest results to my email oliver(at)immersion-rpg(dot)com. That way I won’t miss your comments! 🙂

      Btw John Ringo’s books look awesome. Thanks for pointing me in their direction!

      Best,
      Oliver

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