Re: [nbos] [NBOS] Campaign Manager
"Christopher Rodrigues Macias"
Sat Mar 15th, 2008
Hi Mark,

> "the egg-laying woolly milk pig"

I love it!

I agree with you that automated support for any specific system (let alone multiple systems) would be a major undertaking. However, you could avoid that by creating a 'generic' tool that is designed to support the things GMs have to do regardless of system.

That in itself might not suit people, as much of what makes GMing a chore is system related. I'm thinking here of tracking stats and abilities for PCs, NPCs and various nasties. This is a huge time sink in 'crunchy' systems like d20 or Hero.

However, the GM tools I've seen that have focused on supporting stats and other crunchy bits have, in my view, not been worth the trouble. If you're gaming on-line and HAVE TO use a tool for die rolls and combat resolution, then they're a necessity. But there are plenty of those around already, and they're not what I, personally, need in any case.

What I have *not* seen yet (which doesn't mean it does not already exist somewhere) is a tool that did a good job of supporting the 'creative' side of GMing, such as constructing (and tracking) interesting NPCs (backstory and description rather than just stats), and cool locations, and well-designed adventure settings, and spiffy player handouts, and all that other stuff that elevates an RPG above being just a ridiculously complex small unit tactical combat simulator.

So, I think there is room in the market for a tool that aims at helping GMs beyond just the number crunching things. I'd be very interested in a tool that was really designed to support 'campaigns' and 'adventures' as distinct from those tools designed to help you set-up and run a series of 'combat encounters'.

Of course, if it was flexible enough (perhaps incorporating and going beyond IPad) to also allow you to deal with the crunchy bits, great! And if it eventually allowed for pluggable modules to support various systems... Well, I'm back in fantasy land here.

However, I would prefer the support for GM creativity (and ease of use/search during play) to be the focus. Maybe that's just me, but, hey, Ed will have a much easier time keeping me happy than he will building the "Ultimate Multi-system RPG Rules Automation" application! So he should obviously do what *I* want. Right? ;-)


P.S. What is the challenge rating of an egg-laying woolly milk pig? I can't find it in the MM... ;-)

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Mark Oliva
Sent: Saturday, 15 March 2008 4:00 PM
Subject: Re: [nbos] [NBOS] Campaign Manager

Some of you old timers on the list may remember the prototype of a campaign manager I released a few years ago called "The Keep". Basically it kept track of game notes, fractal mapper maps, character sheets, etc, all in a hierarchical structure. It also had a built in dice roller, was integrated with inspiration pad pro, and could import/export so you could share content.

After reading all the comments this posting has drawn, I see yet another dream in the making of the invention of what we here in Bavaria call the egg-laying wooly milk pig (eierlegende Wollmilchsau).

hypothetically ;-) ... lets say I was in the midst of rebuilding that into an actual product.

If - hypothetically - you were to do that, I wouldn't become envious.

If you were looking for such an application, what sort of functionality would you need?

We obviously are looking for the egg-laying wooly milk pig and more! The postings of the last few days make that clear.

At the very start, before we can discuss this better we need to have some basic definitions. Without them, the discussion already is moving from a trivial thing like the egg-laying wooly milk pig to something bigger, perhaps a piggy egg-laying wooly milk reindeer that also can pull Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve.

Some things that would be nice to know:

1. What rules system(s) would this wonder support?* (If it's going to keep "track ... of character sheets" that questions becomes both unavoidable and critical.)

2. Is this for sci-fi RPGs and people who use AS, or for fantasy RPGs and those of us apparently in the list's minority who use FM8, or for both of us?

* If the idea is to tie this with d20, an idea some posters have mentioned in passing, you probably should spend your time on something better. d20 will cease to be this summer after D&D 4E appears, according to Wizards of the Coast. That would be akin to developing a program for Windows 98. If it's going to be tied to WotC's new GSL for D&D 4E compatibilty, then a number of us can put this in the "topic for other people" category. For this option, you also will have to pay WotC US$5,000 up front for an advance GSL right or wait another year for the free GSL. If, on my third hand, you plan to make a product that will do all that it describes with all RPG systems, let me reserve advance tickets now for the first demo. That should be an event of biblical proportion that makes multiplying loaves and walking on water look like child's play. Cecil B. DeMille might even ascend from his grave to direct the thing, which would suit us fantasy RPGers just fine, because, what's an RPG after all without the undead?

Only a churl would mention that this posting lacks a single positive contribution. Therefore, I've mentioned it on my own. Naturally, I like the concept a lot. To make a positive contribution to the process, or to even know whether I would be in its target user base, I really need to know more about its parameters.

Happy weekend,

Mark Oliva
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