Friday, December 27, 2013

Layout and Design

+Erik McGrath

Making 16-Bit Adventures is a beautiful madness for me. The rules come together very easily but the presentation is driving my batty. Not only is layout the hardest part, it's the part I am least proficient with yet I can't seem to stop trying.

I'm sure most of it is due to inexperience with the tools. I'm using PowerPoint for most of it simply because it's what I know and I've been able to get it to do things. Contrast that to Scribus, which I have just started using, and I get basically nothing from it on the screen. I do get ideas though and one day I hope to be able to actually use Scribus to realize them.

For now I have gone back to PP.

No Layout vs Bad Layout

What it comes down to now is that I could have much more of the game posted where people can enjoy it, test it and hopefully point out its flaws if I just dispensed with the layout and posted a wall of text occasionally broken up with pictures.  I haven't done it for a couple reasons:

1) Too much Fallout 2. It was free to DL a couple weeks back and it has eaten my soul.
2) I don't personally like reading plain text and I tend to gloss over parts simply due to optical boredom. I suspect many other people are like me in this regard otherwise layout wouldn't be so important, right?

But it looks like at this point I can't slay the layout dragon myself anytime soon, so I am going to just offer what I have and then work on the rest later. Hopefully someone reading this will be a magical elf (or maybe just good at layouts) and want to join the Inspired creative team or even just help out on this project because they love sprite-art and Final Fantasy.

In the Works

As I have mentioned before, my next 16BA trick is to add the rest of the jobs and monsters and then do a Tactics module. The jobs are going pretty well and monsters are simple once the inspiration strikes. The Tactics bit is trouble though. 

It has cropped up repeatedly that the Jobs just don't all work in both modules as printed, so you really need to redo each for Standard and Tactics modes. Monsters at least work out pretty well. 

It doesn't help that I really want to get Job-switching in place and have it be more than simply taking the new character sheet like it is now. I want your character to be able to swap back and forth while still gaining in base capabilities and have it work out so that one PC could just pick Fighter and stick with it, but another could start with Blue Mage, then be a Bard and maybe then a Time Mage and actually use each of those abilities in some combination like you do in FFV and FFT(A).

It is a pretty big task so far to do that without needing to track lots of minutiae. 

My plan is to try it this way:
Every PC earns AP and XP for each battle completed equal to the total levels of the monsters fought.
Any PC that delivers a KO blow to a monster gains additional AP for that. 

XP will be used solely to increase Base Level and since all PCs get it at the same rate they will always be the same Base Level.

AP will be used to buy Job Abilities and raise Job Levels. Since AP is gained faster than XP this would mean that single Job PCs would have extra AP laying about so to be able to spend that I will be assigning each Job Ability a cost and not requiring a level minimum to buy it. So if all you want from Fighter is Retaliate then you can buy it first; it will be expensive though.

I am also moving to a more loose gear system where you would simply have 5 slots and the restriction would be that you can have no more than 1 armor or 2 held items (weapons and shields) but you could certainly equip an armor, a one-hand sword and 3 accessories if you wanted. Permissions for which items can be equipped will be based on current Job as well as mastered Job Abilities. For example if you master Fighter (ie buy all JAs) then you become a Master Fighter and no matter what Job you use next you can equip Heavy Armor (if that ends up being the Master JA, it could change).

You will also get some extra slots to equip JAs from your other Jobs whether you have Mastered them or not. So you could dip into Black Mage and then use your Black Magic as a Dragoon. 

There will need to be a restriction on AP, probably by making it Job-specific, so that you do actually have to play a Job to buy its abilities. 

As always, tell me what you think and I will get back to work!


Both are very much under construction, specifically the Jobs have not been added to either document. Since the Job pages are about the only thing I like the format of I am going to retain that and put up a separate doc for each module since the Tactics jobs require additional information to be used.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Erik on Game Theory

+Erik McGrath

I thought I would go a little further afield than I normally travel and just talk about design concepts and practices rather than the specifics of the games I work on.

What does Euler's Identity have to do with that you ask? Good question, I think mainly it just means I studied physics and so I think its awesome. You may like it for different reasons.

Hows and Whys

Game systems all are meant to do something. Whether they do what they intend or not, they at least have a purpose behind them and some kind of theory that led the designer to use them.  That theoretical underpinning could be as simple as "We made up some shit we thought would be fun." But even when there is no conscious decision, there is something there that tells us something about the designer. 

My own theory of gamecraft is that games have two basic parts: story & substance. This is not an uncommon way to look at them and it can be explained with a popular saying: system matters. For a game to work out, the rules need to inform the setting and the setting needs to inform the rules. Plenty of games have broken this maxim and to me it is always to their detriment.

When the system reinforces the setting's assumptions though things really sing for me. For instance. AGON does this for competitive, Hellenic heroes seeking glory and fortune and weathering the whims of capricious gods. Legends of the Wulin does a fantastic job of hooking the setting into the system in a way that each reinforces the other as well.

System Types

I tend to think of systems as either specific or generic. It's fairly black and white for me, there's really nothing in the middle as far as I can tell. 

The poster child of generic systems is GURPS. It's a good, solid set of rules, but I've never enjoyed using it. It simply doesn't speak to me because it isn't purpose built to do anything in particular. BRP is similar in that its purpose is to be as general as it can be and I do play it occasionally but it's never my first choice. Despite being a very close relative of BRP, Pendragon is one of my favorite systems because it has cut and modified its parent system to do one thing well. There are better medieval combat systems out there, but there is nothing better for emulating Malory.

I can't think of a single, iconic setting that I would hold up as an example of a specific setting. By their very nature there is no one way to do it, but I can mention a few that I really like. 

Dogs in the Vineyard: It's about being a Mormon gunslinger charged with keeping order in the land. It's about making choices and what you are willing to pay for them.

AGON: Mentioned above. Greek heroes doing daring things and then meeting their fates. It focuses around a competitive aspect and it matters not only that the heroes succeed or fail, but which of them stands above the others during each deed.

Grunt: US soldiers in Vietnam. It's amazing. The paranoia and the psychological toll it takes on your boys are almost palpable around the table. It's Platoon, the RPG. I've used it for 40k Imperial Guard and it gives you a much different game than Only War to say the least.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

16 Bit Classes in the Works

+Erik McGrath

New Job Classes

Right now I am working on the Blue Mage. Its a favorite of mine from Final Fantasy V as well as XI. Something about using a scimitar while blasting monsters with their own powers just speaks to me on a spiritual level. 

The reason I'm only working on it now is that, in order to have a Blue Mage, one must first have a solid bestiary from which to draw its spells. As of now I feel like 16-Bit Adventures has that depth in the monsters and their powers so I can work on how to slot them into a PC class. 

While I am doing this I have been thinking about the other mage classes because the next one on my agenda was going to be the Summoner. However as I look over the spell lists for White/Black Magic I see a lot of options that can be frankly overwhelming or superfluous in play. That made me think that there is room for one of the classes I had originally cut: the Time Mage.

Time Mages

Time Mages are all about buffing and debuffing rather than the direct healing and nuking focus of the two primary mages. Looking at the current magic lists I can see that Haste, Regen, Reflect, Stun, Stop and Break at least are traditionally Time Mage spells. If I were willing to let Red Mages dip into Time Magic (and why not?) then a few others could easily be moved as well. Specifically Dispel in that case. Black Mages could do without Escape and Warp as well if there was a Time Mage to handle the spatial manipulation effects. 

Before I go and do a spell list for them what do people think about separating out the time and space spells from the others and having them in their own list? Would it make you not want to play a White Mage if they lost Haste and Regen? What about Black Mages and Dark Knights losing Stun and Stop?

Other Classes Coming

My to do list includes Summoner as mentioned above as well as Beastmaster and Ranger. After that I'm pretty spent for things to add. Geomancer had been mentioned to me before but they were awful in FFV and even Mog from FFVI had very few actual options in battle. In the future Tactics module I can see them being much more interesting since battlefields will have more varied terrain to utilize. Until then its at the back of the line.

So tell us what you think. We'll be around.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wu Tang Flan Ain't Nuthing Ta Mess Wit

+Erik McGrath

Enter the 36 Chambers

Its  time for some 16-Bit Adventure. Particularly its time to face off against some of the most brutal and deadly of all monsters: the Flan. 

Flan are a type of ooze that tend to have magical or special abilities while retaining the ooze trait of being highly resistant to physical attacks.

Unlike in the video games though I am not cruel enough to make them just take half damage from all physical attacks so instead they just upgrade their defense. Any hit under their DEF is halved one more time, so they take quarter damage from hits under their DEF and eighth damage if under their 2DEF. Hits above DEF deal normal damage so its still possible for physical attackers to take down common Flan in a single action.

I have included the PDF below for people to have a look. As always I'm keen on getting feedback, especially of the sort where people point out what I forgot to include.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

16 Bit Adventures and Sudden Death updates

+Erik McGrath

Wu Tang Flan Ain't Nuthing ta Mess Wit

Prepare to enter the 36 Chambers of the Wu Tang Flan and defeat all nine powerful members to free the settlement of Five Burrows from their tyrannical rule and depredation.

Five Burrows was a peaceful town set into the rolling hills before the Wu Tang came and turned the old monastery into their lair. From there, the Ricearector and its disciples raided the town and carried off all its treasures, leaving barely anything  in the shops and fields. Most of the disciples are amorphs of one kind or another with flan taking on all the leadership roles and more common oozes used as foot... er, slimesoldiers.

New PNP 

Ninjas may end up on the back burner from time to time but they are never far away. To the right is one of the new cards for the Sudden Death PNP pdf that you can download below. If you want to see us finalize the art and get it printed on actual cards then download it now, play it and tell us what you think.


Monday, October 14, 2013

16-Bit Adventure in Roll20

Shifting gears to online-mode

+Christopher Andersen

As we've mentioned before, +Erik McGrath and I have been working to shift Roll20 into something that we can showcase, and give to others to showcase online.  To that end, the basic framework for a 16-Bit Adventure is under construction at so that we can run some one-shots of the system.

I have set up the Roll20 campaign to make it easy for GMs and players to use.  Everyone will start on the Character Selection screen, where you all can choose your Job, which sprite you want to use (Boy or Girl sprites available for all jobs), and then configure your tokens for use in Battle.

Maps, Splash Screens and Tokens to Populate Them

character selection screen 16 bit adventures
Character Selection

GMs can add their own Worldmaps for the adventure at hand, and then throw the party into nostalgic Battle screens against the monsters rolled for the encounter.  There are currently Battle scenes for encounters in the Forest, Plains, Desert, Caves, and Castle.  GMs will have access to a monster token page which has tokens preset for all of the monsters currently in our Rules document, complete with HP values to make it fast and easy to simply copy and paste them into the Battle screen at hand.  Eventually all tokens will also have other information formatted into them (such as XP values and Loot Tables) to make it even simpler to get through a random encounter quickly and without the hassle of having to consult the rulesdoc every time.

The Plan

16 Bit Adventures Forest Battle Ogre Final Fantasy
The hapless party encounters an Ogre in the forest
Initially the plan is to use this campaign to run a few games ourselves when we have a free night, and eventually copy it and hand it off to any GM who is interested in running this with their own gaming group.  If all goes well, all images, sprites, et al will transfer with the copy and it will be easy to transfer our game to new GM to take the reins and run with 16 Bit Adventures.

So if you have any interest in giving 16 Bit Adventures a try as either a player or a GM, let us know and we will include you in any announcements when we schedule our games.  And as always, comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Shifting gears and folding wings.

Tanks vs Robots

+Erik McGrath

Battle Tank: Escape From Giant Robot Island

It's really fun to say that title and even better to write it down and talk about it again. On August 19th I made a post and mentioned doing a Battle tank PNP since the realities of making a board game with the number of pieces we want are too cruel. 

There has been little time to work on this due to competing gaming thoughts and real world issues so I have done the best I can to gather the raw materials and put them in one place. 

For best utility and proper size make sure you Fit the images otherwise they will print uselessly small instead of the 8" or so they need to be. Auto-orientation helps too. The full sized file is 300dpi and too large for Google to preview it. The reduced version is much, much smaller but it shows in the image quality.

You will notice that the tokens are the original, square prototype. That will be the first thing I tackle but for now I wanted it to be out there where people can actually use it. Once those are done it will be time to look at expansions.


One advantage of PNP is that the only thing between expansions and players is getting the image files finished. I'm really looking forward to Assault on Laser Shark Lagoon and the new rules and goals it adds. Since it is a Battle Tank game there will of course be tanks, and amphibious ones at that, but there will also be boats and depth charges and sharks with laser cannons and an undersea base. Also there's a kraken.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

16-Bit Adventures updates

+Erik McGrath

As promised I have made an updated PDF.

It includes the static damage changes as well as the tweaks to single target spells.

16-Bit Adventures Downloads

Monday, September 16, 2013

Trouble at Castle Funfstein.

+Erik McGrath

16-Bit Adventures
The trouble was that the Good King's evil brother staged a coup and threw our heroes in the dungeon since they were known do-gooders.

They promptly escaped, and sans weaponry they fought several battles to get their gear back and then several more. We stopped before they finally got to face off with the Usurper.

Many things were learned in this Lv5 test.

Calculating Damage

Frankly its much too slow to use the rolled value when there is also division to be done. The solution is to give each character a static value to add to their other bonuses and each hit just does that much damage. The static value added is calculated the same as for magic attacks: half the max rolled value of your ATK die. 

We had crits doing 1.5x normal damage but I think they will need to go back to 2x. The reason being that the Dragoon could roll 3 crits and not drop a standard, Lv5 soldier. With DMG 15 his crits did 22 and Grunts have 100hp. If he used Jump his DMG went to 19 which still doesn't cut it. Granted this was with a Lv4 Spear but even with a Lv6 Spear (which was randomly in a chest) his numbers are 17/23 (crit 25/34).

So it takes a Lv+1 weapon and 3 crits on 3 attacks (12 on a d12) to one-shot an on-level monster. That's much too low a chance in my opinion. I want to see it be more like a 50% chance using appropriate gear for your level with your normal attacks.

My thought is to improve the rate at which DMG increases both by weapon and base. Right now the top-tier damage dealers have a DMG of [Lv + 6] for their base and Weapon Lv x1 for sword/spear, x2 for Axe or 2hand Sword and x3 for 2hand Axe. 

The alternative is to change the monster hp math. Its a lot easier to just do that, but if I narrow the numbers too much then there isn't enough difference by level for them so I will be looking at both methods and coming to some middle ground for the next test.


Specifically the trade-off between them. Today we discovered that our Lv5 Paladin healed for 12 when using Cura AoE. When you are routinely getting hit for 30 that's not good. 

The culprit was that even fully armed and armored plate, shields and swords don't help your M.Dmg. The fix was to just add half their DMG to M.Dmg because that's how Rods and Staffs work in reverse. This helped by upping the AE heals from 12 to 16 and single target from 22 to 26. Hi-Potions heal 50hp. so the AE stuff was good but the single heals were not that valuable, especially not in battle. 

Dark Knights would suffer similarly in this regard. 

The issue is compounded by having both a low M.Atk die and a slowed progression. I'm confident that they could go to the normal progression while keeping the D8 and become better without worrying the White Mage. For comparison a WM with a Lv5 Rod and Robe would have a Cura of 48 AE and 63 single target. Which, come to see it in print like that, is not that great for single. I think Cura needs a boost there as well from +5hp/die to +10. 

I expect the revisions to be done by midweek and I will update the PDFs links then.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

16-Bit Adventures musings

+Erik McGrath

Final Fantasy XIV is the Very Devil 

If you were wondering where I've been and what inspired has been doing there you have it. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about FFXIV is an MMO that just came out and like all such things it devours the souls of those who play. Naturally, most of the Inspired family is playing. 

16-Bit Adventures


+Christopher Andersen and I have been discussing doing some more adventures for 16-Bit Adventures like the ones we did for Firstown and Secondville. So as of now my goal is to make an adventure path designed to take PCs from level 1-10 and fight a horrible Endboss and if they win they will save the world. 

We will assume 4 PCs as a base and provide notes and suggestions for how to make it work for more players. Normally it means just making the random encounters have more or fewer monsters and adjusting Bosses to account for the different damage being given and received. As is the math for Bosses is pegged at assuming they are worth about 5-6 monsters so I'm hoping it will be easy to make it work for other numbers without needing too much effort.

More Bits!

At this point the basic engine of 16-Bit is done. It needs a lot of formatting, perhaps more than I am capable of providing, but the gist is solid. 

For here I want to work on two things: Switching Jobs and Tactics.

Switching Jobs

Right now you pick your job class and then you just follow it as you level. Since the inspiration for 16BA is mainly FF5 I think its important to capture the real essence of that game by having a core level for your character as well as job levels which add abilities and traits. I've not yet decided if it will be comparable with the current system but I would like it to be. 


This is the most requested thing about 16BA, when will it be able to do FFT. For my view it has to come after job switching is in the bag and it will require modification of a fair part of the system. Not only will it need movement and facing rules, but weapons and spells need ranges, you need terrain, etc. The biggest change would be to the monsters though. Fights will take a lot more time in a Tactics environment than the bare bones system currently in place. Not to mention monsters will need to be adjusted just like PCs.

In all its a lot of work I've got ahead of me, and a lot of FFXIV standing in the way. I will try to get it done week by week.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

16-Bit Adventures: More Monsters

+Erik McGrath

 This week sees very little in the way of rules changes or updates. There were a few typos but that's it. The main draw this time is that I have been working on adding more monsters to fight.

Now you can enjoy goblins, bees, soldiers, bats, ghosts, skeletons, ghouls and slimes.

Alternative Monsters

 With the addition of more monsters comes thinking about how to use them and how you can mix them up so they aren't always the same. The first rule I've come up with for that is pretty simple, you just swap out the special ability of the monster in question. So to get the first of the alternative monsters, the Bumble Bee, you take a bee of any level and swap Poison Sting for Pollen. The only restriction is bumbles always appear in the back row so there will always be some normal bees or other monsters with them.

New Sprites

Some of the monsters have also gotten a facelift. I've been digging through the game files and trying to pick the more visually interesting options for each monster. So here's the new ghost sprite.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Inspired Updates 8/19/2013

+Erik McGrath

I've been focused on 16-Bit Adventures a lot lately, and I'm still working on it but this week I want to take some time to give some updates on the current state of everything else as well.

Battle Tank

As I have mentioned before a board game that needs as many pieces as Battle Tank is an expensive undertaking and Inspired can't afford it right now. We are considering our options on physical production but they look a ways off. 

So instead we are working on making a PNP version so that those who have expressed interest can at the very least try it out. Once we get some feedback on that front we want to work on how to improve that experience. 

Sudden Death

The game is ready, the artist is lined up, what we are missing is the time to really promote it. This is probably my favorite thing that Inspired has designed for its simplicity. We will get this made, its just a matter of getting CJ and I in the same room to do the details. 

The most important of those details I think would be videos to showcase the game and talk about why we made the decisions we have with the art and gameplay.

Magnus by
+Laura Fallon Andersen 

I'll admit this one has been pushed to the back burner pretty hard. I return to it every now and again to poke it and see if any new ideas fall out. It feels almost done to me but the gameplay is just a little too clunky and there is too much reliance on dice rolls for my tastes. 

Its a boardgame where the board is defined by the cards in play rather than a pure cardgame so I'm ok with some dice rolling but I prefer the decisions of the players to be the most important piece and leave the dice to decide limited things. If I can get to a point where the dice are only thrown to decide the outcomes of battles I will be very happy.

Celestial Warriors

Our first RPG is in the midst of a fourth version and it is a long time coming. With this iteration I think its time to add some art and sharpen the formatting skills I've been working on with 16-Bit Adventures to make it look more interesting and so that it reads more easily. 

16-Bit Adventures

We didn't get a chance to play with the whole gang this week but we did come up with a solution I like to the fact that DEF could still go over 10. That answer is that separate devices give separate DEF ratings so if you have a Shield and Armor you don;t add the values together, instead you check all incoming attacks vs both values. 

We call this effect Double DEF. If an attack is under both then you only take quarter damage from that hit. If its under one but not both you take half. If its over both you take normal damage. 

Wrap up and Downloads

So that's were we stand right now. We'd love to hear your comments and feedback about any or all of our games. 


Sunday, August 11, 2013

16-Bit Adventures V2 Arrives

16-Bit Adventures
+Erik McGrath

A day early or a week late

Whichever it is is in the eye of the beholder. If you get one of the three instant death eyes, my bad. 

The document is still pretty ugly but it contains all the rules and is as proofread as I can make it on my own. No doubt someone will catch a typo (or pile of such) in the next few hours. If that person is you, then leave a comment and I will fix it.

Likewise I have tried to be clear and stick to the same keywords throughout. If something doesn't make sense, or if you simply feel it should be different, let me know and I will explain what I meant and why. 


The current PDF has 12 Job Classes: 
Red Mage
Black Mage
White Mage
Dark Knight

I have these ones on deck:
Blue Mage

Each of those last four have proven challenging to say the least. Ranger is the closest to being done. Blue Mage is done, class-wise, but since its spells are all monster skills I need to finish the bestiary or at least make a better dent in it.

Beastmaster will need some more JAs and for me to work out how its animal control will actually work. I am leaning toward a JA that takes an action to command an animal. If it works the PC then decides what that animal does on its next turn. Other JAs will enhance that effect as well as adding more types of controllable enemy.

Summoner is the toughest. I haven't worked out the summons yet but I know that I don't want them to play like other mages' spells. Summons really need their own feel. I'll keep working on them.


The enemy section of the PDF is pretty scant. 

On the one hand I have started a new format for monsters and actually included their skills so you can know what to roll for them. Specifically their Agility is listed so you know their initiative but since spells and JAs often call for a skill check the others will come up pretty often. 

On the other hand, well, there are only 4 monster families shown: Goblin, Skeleton, Ghoul, Bee. The two undead share a page and that's the format I am currently going for. The others are more open but I think in this case page count will matter more than white space. I'm not sold on my choice so if you have a preference now is the time to convince me.

16-Bit Adventures PDFs

Monday, July 29, 2013

16-Bit Adventures v2.0

16 Bit Adventures
+Erik McGrath

Yesterday saw a moment of truth in 16-Bit Adventures. I had a vague suspicion that the math of DMG vs DEF was a time consuming and that it would break down in a few places. I was not prepared for the fact that it lead to LV5 monsters being largely ineffective vs low armor PCs and, in the case of Redcaps, incapable of doing any damage at all to the Fighter with their Goblin Punch.

Even a crit did 0 which was very bad for the monster since LV5 Fighters have Retaliate which gives them a free attack when they are critted by a physical attack.

The Trouble

The root of the problem is that offense needs to keep ahead of defense but more specifically the worst physical attacks need to keep pace with the best defenses otherwise you get these issues with monsters dealing 0. Its one thing if the physical attack of a caster monster is ineffective against a fighter with maxed defense, but these were standard monsters who only had physical attacks. Attacks that were meant to be dangerous.

Now I will admit that changing the math could have fixed that, but it would do so by inflating the numbers even more to the point where we would see great axes dealing +50 or more damage than staves by level 10. With defense factored in that would mean a staff has no net bonus and a great ax is more like +50 total. That would work but it requires doing more arithmetic than I am comfortable forcing people to do. I'd prefer most of the math to just be addition with subtractions being something special.

The Fix

The simple solution was to simply remove DEF and M.Def from the equation. It makes it so the DMG and M.Dmg numbers can stay smaller and let's HP take up the sole role of saying how tough a character is. Like I said, simple, but not entirely satisfying. 

To make it satisfying my idea was to move DEF/M.Def into the attack roll in a similar manner to how EVA works. If you roll equal or under EVA you miss, so its an easy matter to add a small step there: if you roll equal or under DEF you deal half damage. 

Now the ATK or M.ATK roll determines if the hit deals 0, half, full or critical damage just by comparing the result showing on the die. 

As a bonus this is more like how the video games parse attack vs defense. They work as a ratio with a randomizer that is altogether too much work for me to do at the game table but this method gives a decent approximation of the results with a minimum of effort. 

The last thing that's needed as some way to make relative level matter more and for that I will again use the solution I have for EVA. If the attacker and defender are more than 1 level apart the higher level one gets +1 to EVA, DEF & M.Def and the lower level one gets -1 to those. 

16-Bit Adventures Version 2

Look for the PDF mid-week. There's a lot of reformatting to be done. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today's share brings the number of classes to 10 for 16-Bit Adventures.

+Erik McGrath

Yesterday was game day for Inspired and it went so well that I never got a chance to post about it until now. Well, fixing the toilet may have contributed but nevermind that...

So without further ado, here's a teaser pic of:

Monster Families

In this case the picture is of the Goblin Family. You can see there are only four of the evil, little buggers but no doubt you will encounter many dozens of each of those in your own adventures. Goblins are an example of a quick monster. They have low HP and DMG but high EVA and Agility. They aren't particularly smart, not personable nor strong, all they really have is their speed and the power of the punch. 

Their normal attacks are really nothing to fear. Most of them will hit the Party Leader (ie the tank) and they are not good at hurting anyone in heavy armor. Even a higher level Goblin is nothing to fear if it sticks to normal attacks. The catch of course is Goblin Punch. Zoom in on the pic above (or click on the link to it at the bottom of this entry) and you will see that Goblin Punch throws a lot of dice. the individual hits are still weak, in fact they are weaker than the Goblin's normal attacks, but there are lots of them. 

And that means lots of chances for them to crit. Due to their low HP, Black Mages find Goblins to be excellent target practice for trying out their AE2 spells.

Chapter PDFs

For ease of editing I am now handling each section of the 16-Bit Adventures rules as its own document complete with copy-pasta front page. This allows me to more easily focus on one aspect of the game and in the last week that has been Monsters and Job Classes. The monster chapter isn't even close to done which is why I've only shared a single page, but the JC chapter is perfectly usable and is included in this week's links. 

Rather than sticking two different classes on one page and then doing the same for their character sheets the new method is to put the sheet and class info on one page and then print the entire thing for play. This gives the player a reference since all the rules for their abilities are on the sheet and also let's them salivate over what is to come as they level. 

The sheets themselves are much improved and now have spaces for such things as XP and GP.

16-Bit Adventures PDFs

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stopover in Secondville: a module for 16-Bit Adventures

An Old Tower and a Dark Knight

+Erik McGrath

These days the small village of Secondville is little more than a waystation across the plains, between the river crossing and the northern mountains.

Long ago it was part of a thriving cluster of settlements ruled by the wise Count Orlock. From his fortress in the western hills, he could survey his entire domain and see invaders and monsters approaching days before they could be a danger.

But old age is an enemy that even the wisest are ill-prepared to face, and the Count could not go quietly into the night. He dedicated his wealth to finding a way to reverse his aging and give him more years to guard his people, but year after year there was no result and eventually the Count was too old to leave his bed and one night he finally died.

The seasons turned and for awhile the county prospered but then soldiers came from the west and without the old Count there was no hope of turning the invaders back. All seemed lost when the enemy arrived at the old tower, but the soldiers who went in with the first wave never returned and when the second wave attacked they were met by a towering figure in black armor with eyes of fire leading a battalion of howling ghouls and whispering shades.

The unholy force easily destroyed the invaders adding the many dead to its own ranks and then for a brief time there was peace once more... until the undead began to hunger once again and there were no invaders on which to feed. The Count, as he called himself though none could recognize their noble lord in the terrible monster they beheld, demanded sacrifices from the people and soon the villages became abandoned.

Now only Secondville remains. It is too far for the undead to reach in one night from the forbidding tower, though many lurk in the hills to west and north, emerging when the sun sets. Most disturbing are the living soldiers who have entered the Count's service. How they withstand the hunger of the damned is unknown, and why they would serve such a monster even less understandable to the villagers.

16-Bit Adventures PDFs

Now that you have some backstory, here are the PDFs you need to go and slay the evil Count!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Feedback Updates for 16 Bit Adventures (v1.2)

+Erik McGrath

This is a short post. I spent some time since my last tests fixing the errors we found and making some minor changes to help bookkeeping and better explain things. I expect to keep making these over the week and will post again on Sunday with the best version.

For now I have:

  • Added M.Atk columns to the class pages.
  • Added M.Atk and M.Dmg boxes to all character sheets. The reason for adding those to the non-casters will soon be revealed.
  • Changed ATK and M.ATK progressions. My test group hit Lv3 this past Sunday and we discovered that Monks were getting a 3rd attack before anyone else ever got a 2nd one.
  • Changed the Fast weapon property to work more like AE magic.
  • Simplified AE magic spells. They now only roll 1 die per target and gain a static bonus for additional dice.
  • Adjusted amount of HP Cure restores.
  • Clarified some spell descriptions.
  • Changed Crits. The previous way was too swingy at low level. The new way changes very little at higher level but makes a huge difference at low levels.

16-Bit Adventures PDFs

Sunday, July 7, 2013

16 Bit Adventures Update, a TTJRPG

+Erik McGrath

Sunday is for Gaming

Today I'm pleased to announce that not only is my blog post on time, but I have updated the 16-Bit Adventures PDF to include clarifications on all the questions I have gotten over the last week as well as to add new material. For example there is now a page with item costs and effects and the EVA value of each class has been added to the class page.

Additionally I have added the adventure I have been using to test with my own group: Adventure in Firstown. Hopefully this will give people some ideas on how to make their own adventures or at least some insight into how to use the formula tables in the basic rules. 

New Classes: Paladin & Dark Knight

The first batch of additional class options is in this version. Class pages and character sheets are included. Those familiar with Final Fantasy should find the classes familiar. Both are similar to the Fighter in that they are strong, tough melee combatants but the Paladin sacrifices offense for white magic while the Dark Knight sacrifices defense for black magic.

New 16-Bit Adventures PDFs

16-Bit Adventures: Basic Rules
Adventure in Firstown

Sunday, June 30, 2013

16-Bit Adventures, now in PDF.

+Erik McGrath

16-Bit Adventures: a Tabletop JRPG.

Kupo Moogle 16-bit Adventure JRPGKupo!
16-Bit Adventures Beta PDF

It is not finished but the system is usable. I felt it better to get this out there so people could read it and maybe even play it, despite it needing much more polish than it has right now. Though it doesn't look it, I have spent much of my free time in the last week working on this. The hardest part has been taking my notes and getting them onto the page in rules-like format.

Those familiar with Power Point may recognize that I have done all the layout so far using it. At my skill level there is no easier way to do it that I have found. The page size is optimized for web viewing, if you print this out you will have a fair amount of white space at the top and bottom of each page (it's in landscape). The only parts I have printed out are the character sheets, though and those benefit from space to keep notes.

Especially since I haven't added a space to track GP or XP on them, I expect the most frequently asked question will be: how much XP does it take to level? I expect this because I just noticed that I have not written it down anywhere. The answer is it takes your current level squared times 100 to reach the next level.

I.e. 100xp for LV2, 500 for LV3, 1500for LV4, etc. These are the total  amounts needed for each of those levels. If you play like we do and reset to 0 when you level then it would be 100, 400, 900 etc.

I expect there to be more oversights like this. CJ normally does the editing but he was unavailable this week.

Next Steps in 16-Bit Adventures

Over the next few days I will be making a PDF version of our playtest game: Adventures in Firstown. Hopefully it will illustrate by example how I have interpreted the tables and guidelines in the rules PDF, particularly how I have done the quests.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

16-Bit Adventure Playtest and Updates for Sudden Death and Battle Tank

+Erik McGrath

16-Bit Adventures

This past Sunday we playtested 16-Bit Adventures. I GMed and the 5 PCs were:
+Jillian McGrath as Monk
+Laura Fallon Andersen  as Thief
+Alysia Haneef as Black Mage
+Christopher Andersen as Red Mage
+Rashid Haneef  as Fighter.

Starting equipment was sparse and starting GP was not even close to enough to outfit everyone so just like in the source material they were forced to go out into the wilderness under-equipped.

I wanted to create a strong feel of old school gaming in this so the townspeople acted much like 16-bit NPCs and talking to everyone was vitally important to learn about the surrounding wilderness as well as to gain some quests and eventually learn where the nearest dungeon was.

I've added a pic of the character sheets for Red Mage and Monk so you can get an idea of what is tracked in play. The main thing to notice is that mages have fewer lines in their inventory, 5 instead of 10. This matters since each line can only hold 1 item, though some items can stack. A Wolf Pelt takes up an entire line on its own, but Potions can stack to 10. A single Potion still fills the line though.

So let's have a look at what I've learned from this experience.

The Good

The system itself ran smoothly with the offense vs defense of the classes and monsters working as expected.

Combats were very, very fast. The longest one took about 5 minutes which was good since we played through about 3 dozen total.

XP from monsters defeated and quests completed worked out well. The PCs earned a total of 161XP, 45 from quest completion and the rest from straight out grinding. The quest rewards could stand to be about 10-25% higher in my estimation. PCs need 100XP for level 2 and 400 more for level 3 (500 total). Monsters are worth Level^2 as a base, Goblins are 1XP, Skeletons are also level 1 but they are worth 2. Wolves are 4xp while Ghouls and Slimes are 6.

The Needs Improvement

The rate of GP gain was much too low at first though so we had to wing an increase in play that seems about right. Monsters each have a basic amount of GP they drop and the PCs get to roll for loot after the fight using the highest Agility Die of the party for each type of monster with a bonus for the number of each type. In this case it was the Thief's D12. On 4, 10 and 16 the loot of the monsters improves based on monster type and level. A party with a level 2 Thief also enjoys the Finder 1 ability which automatically improves all loot rolls to the next tier which is in many cases the only way to get the 16+ loot drop.

I made up all the loot as we went and will be using that to make some solid tables now that I know what feels right in play.

Monster AI took too much time to emulate. Instead of choosing how the monsters would act and which of their abilities they would use I randomized it all and it simply took too long. For instance a Goblin attackign the party had to roll to determine target (which was 2 rolls in the inefficient way I was doing it) and then roll again to pick its attack (Standard or Goblin Punch) and then it rolled the actual attack vs the target's Evasion.

A faster way to do this is needed, assigning numbers to the party based on marching order and combat row before hand seems the best way.

Sudden Death

Sudden Death has hit a plateau, I think its time we go for it though so look for a How to Play video in our next blog post.

Battle Tank

Time constraints due to the sudden inspiration for 16-Bit Adventures coming together have slowed down adapting the art for our PNP but its still coming along otherwise. One advantage of this idea is that we will be able to do Assault on Laser Shark Lagoon in this format pretty easily and if that works the other planned expansions will follow quickly.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New creations and updates for Sudden Death and Battle Tank

+Erik McGrath

Its been a month since I've posted which is a terribly bad habit that I intend to break immediately. At the very least I will be posting on Sundays from now on since its the day I have the least to do.

So first some news.

Due to a mad fascination with 8-Bit Dungeon by +Levi Kornelsen  I have decided to make my own adventure game aimed unabashedly at emulating Final Fantasy at the tabletop. And because this is a sequel I have update the graphics to 16-bit.

It's called 16-Bit Adventures. You can see a the Job write-up for Fighter and Thief to the right. That page contains every thing you need to know to play those Jobs from levels 1-10.

Sudden Death

Playtesting is going well if slowly due to my and +Christopher Andersen's time constraints and technical difficulties (frex, at our last gaming night the only toilet in the house broke and it became plumbing night). After this round of feedback is in we will be making a dedicated effort to get a kickstarter going so that we can publish the game with finalized art by +Laura Hamilton.

On the right is Laura's sketch which the current Sudden Death playtest version uses for its artwork. On the left is the final version she did which will be used for the production version.

The PnP doc will also be updated with the finalized art if the campaign is successful, albeit at a reduced resolution.

Battle Tank

The realities of being a tiny, part-time  gaming outfit have harshly taught us here at Inspired Press that we just can;t afford to produce Battle Tank for the price point we want and we aren't yet prepared to handle going for a higher price. Making the game cost more will require a massive upgrade to the board art and token sculpts that we are not in a position of pursue.

But that doesn't mean we intend to abandon the project, we're just going to tone it down. Since my main goal is to make it so other people can play it we've decided to create a PnP version using our existing art and some modified drawings for foldable stand-ups for the tokens. The board is already done so its just the tokens that need to be put into usable form. Once complete it will be free to download on our webstie at

Friday, May 10, 2013

Too much silence, and then suddenly... Print & Play Version 3

Sudden Death Ninja Attack Card Back Logo Kanji
+Erik McGrath

Once again it has been awhile, and I should post more often, but I don't like to post when I have nothing to say so sometimes this will happen. What I can say now is that we have a new version of the Sudden Death PNP and it is ready for another round of playtesting to handle the slight rules changes that come with the new art.

An end to endless circling

Most importantly is a tightening of the language and the removal of extended circling phases. We found from our last round of testing that sometimes the game would just stall because people refused to attack first. That is now no longer a problem because circling is regulated by a set number of "circle actions".  A circle action can be used to either draw 1 card, or play an action card from your hand.  At the start of the game, each player gets a chance to use one circling action each before the battle begins.  During the battle, what we were formally using as Withdraw cards are now simply Reaction cards that negate attacks and give you one circle action before returning players to the battle.  No more returning to a circling phase where things can stall out. That should speed up play considerably for anyone who has encountered that side-effect.

The language should be straight forward, all the keywords are explained in the 2 pages of rules we have posted. The goal for the card text is to have it be very brief but not arcane. The cards benefit greatly from having as much space as possible for +Laura Hamilton 's artwork.

We want to take the game to the masses soon, but first we want to get more people's opinions. I think you will find the art much more interesting now and hopefully it will pull you more into the game as it has done with us.  Please provide us with any kind of feedback you may have for us.

Click HERE to view and download the latest version of our Print & Play demo.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rest is for the Weak

Ninja can rest when they're dead

+Erik McGrath

Good afternoon everyone; it is a sunny Sunday in Braintree, MA today so what better weather in which to discuss ninjas could there be?

Progress is steady once more on Sudden Death and this week we have some new card art to show off. We are preparing a second Print-and-Play PDF with the new material and the latest revisions due to our ongoing playtests.

The most notable revision is the change to how a ninja can withdraw from the action. Previously the stand-off that resulted could drag on for many turns before someone attacked, but now there is at most one round of circling when each player can either draw a card or play an action from their hand. Once that is done it is back to the fight.  We are also testing ideas that streamline the circling process so the action and fighting is maintained, rather than broken up.

heavy cloak sudden death ninja attack card game poison caltrops sudden death ninja attack card game

Saturday, April 13, 2013

After a Hushed Silence, the Ninja Are Back

sudden death ninja toolbox
+Erik McGrath

So it's been awhile since I have said anything about Sudden Death and it's time to rectify that. The past few weeks have seen me get a new job, which stole most of the time I had been using for Inspired, but now that I am used to it things should get back to normal.

On the plus side we haven't been doing entirely nothing these past two weeks on the game front, as we have more images to share today as well as a tutorial video being edited together.

sudden death ninja meditation insight
Sketch art by +Laura Hamilton 
sudden death ninja arrow sudden death crossbowsudden death poison caltropssudden death poison gas

Friday, March 29, 2013

Card Art for Sudden Death

kusari-gama sudden death ninja attack card game+Erik McGrath

The art for Sudden Death is now fully underway thanks to +Laura Hamilton. Her stuff is fantastic, as I'm sure many of you already know, and the challenge for us now is doing the typing and setting up her images with the necessary hardware to make them into full on cards.

This is all in preparation to use Kickstarter as I have mentioned briefly in past posts. By getting the artwork fully settled before we even try to get funding we hope to show our commitment to this project beyond a shadow of a doubt. To that end we've commissioned a half dozen images from Laura to whet appetites which should help us reach our goal so that we can afford to have her do the entire set.

So here's a few of the works in progress:

sudden death ninja attack card game cunning decoy sudden death ninja attack card game metal claws sudden death ninja attack card game smoke bomb