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The Travels of Mendes Pinto: Team Game

Not Dead Yet

by Sergio Mascarenhas
Jul 18,2003

 

THE TRAVELS OF MENDES PINTO, GAME DESIGN GOES LIVE

If you are new to The Travels of Mendes Pinto (TToMP from now on), this is for you. Otherwise, just skip this intro.

TToMP is a role-playing gamebook design column. As the column unfolds in a roughly monthly base, I'll be designing the core gamebook for a new role-playing game aptly titled "The Travels of Mendes Pinto".

TToMP is a game set in 16th century Asia. The characters are Europeans (mainly Portuguese) that travel to Asia in the fleets sent by the King of Portugal.

TToMP is based on a 16th century book called "Peregrinacao" (in Portuguese), meaning Pilgrimage written by a Portuguese adventurer called Fernao Mendes Pinto that reached Asia in 1539 and lived there for the next two decades. In his book Mendes Pinto narrates his travels and adventures from Etiopia in Africa to Japan, and from Tartary to Indonesia.

When the gamebook is over, you will get the rules that will allow you to play an adventurer in the vein of Mendes Pinto.

Each month you will find a development in the gamebook design. This will be in a separate file that can be accessed through the links below. The column proper will provide my notes and comments on the design effort of the month.

I hope you enjoy being part of this journey.


NOT DEAD YET

This column was long overdue. It just happens that I just didn't have time for TToMP. No, I didn't stop it, I've just been working on it at a very slow pace. Most of what I've been doing are revisions of sections 4 and 6. I've also started working on sections 5 and 7.

Since time is at a premium and I want to reach an end to this project, I decided to simplify it. As you can see if you compare the Index down this page to the one in previous columns, the book will now have two less sections. That's right, no more sections 7. on seamanship and 8. on religion. No, I will not leave these issues out of the book. I'll just include them in section 5.

STILL STRUGLING WITH SECTION 4

1. Last time I suggested there was still scope for further changes to the basics of the system as presented in Section 4. The main point was to change the dice from d10 to d6. I just did that despite the fact that I usually prefer not to use the d6 since somehow I connect rpgs with odd dice. Yet, looking at the way the system operates, the d6 makes more sense. Afer all, when we look at Commitment and Outcome rolls we can see that these generate five potential results. This means that technically I was not using a d10 but a d5 when to generate those five alternatives. If that's so, why use a die that produces a closer match between the results and the values rolled, so that it makes the process simpler? That's why I changed for d6 so that when rolling for Commitment and for Outcome we get:

D6 roll---------------COMMITMENT--------------OUTCOME
1---------------------Give up-----------------Fumble
2---------------------Reactive----------------No result
3/4-------------------Ambivalent--------------Minor
5---------------------Committed---------------Major
6---------------------Passionate--------------Critical

Notice that this even provides a limited and crude approach to a bell curve since it concentrates the results in them middle.

On what concerns the Performance roll, 10 Performance Units (or Task Points as they have been re-christened in the revised sections) per action seemed to be too much. By using the d6 we can reduce it to 6 TPs in each round. At the same time I reduced the cost of the Advanced qualifications from +2 PUs to +1 PU, something that, first, compensates for the lower number of TPs, and second, simplifies the arithmetic and thus simplifies the game.

While changing to d6 I reviewed all the tables for random and deliberate determination at the different steps. I looked at the statistics for different dice-pools and used it to correct the values.

2. In the present version of section 4. and 6. I changed the examples of play by going back to Mendes Pinto's book. After all, it should be the source for the examples. The examples are also a lot simpler, something that contributes to the learning of the system.

Further to these major changes, I did several minor ones that attempt to make things more clear and easier to understand. I hope I succeeded. I hope that I finally was able to write something that will make sense to you, the reader and potential player.

IN CONCLUSION

Next occasion I'll present a revised combat section according to the revised section 4. And I hope to be able to present the first draft of section 5.

Sergio

INDEX

PREFACE

TABLE OF CONTENTS
- DOC (48K)
- PDF (16K)

I.	"DO I THUS START MY PEREGRINATION"
Introduction
- DOC (224K)
- PDF (272K)

II.	"OFFERED TO ANY VENTURE, GOOD OR BAD"
Fast play

III.	"BEGINNING IN MY CHILDHOOD"
Character creation
- DOC (196K)
- PDF (128K)

IV.	"TRAVAILS AND MISFORTUNES"
The basics of action or the action resolution system
- DOC (184K)
- PDF (332K)

V.	"MISERIES, POVERTY, AND MISCHIEVOUS ACCIDENTS"
Descriptors and activities

VI.	"LIKE ONE THAT SAW DEATH IN THE EYES"
Combat
- DOC (756K)
- PDF (not available at this time)

VII.	"IN GOOD REASON I MAY COMPLAIN ABOUT FORTUNE"
Character advancement and development

REFERENCE MATERIAL

INDEXES

CHARACTER SHEET
- DOC (44K)
- PDF (32K)

SAMPLE CHARACTERS
Fernao Mendes Pinto 
- DOC (44K)
- PDF (40K)
Alvaro Pires
- DOC (52K)
- PDF (48K)
Rodrigo Vasques
- DOC (52K)
- PDF (60K)
(notes on R. Vasques)
- DOC (56K)
- PDF (40K)

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All The Travels of Mendes Pinto columns by Sergio Mascarenhas

  • Not Dead Yet by Sergio Mascarenhas, 18jul03
  • Still Struggling With Section 4 by Sergio Mascarenhas, 07mar03
  • It's Time For Combat by Sergio Mascarenhas, 31jan03
  • The Criminal Always Comes Back to the Scene of the Crim by Sergio Mascarenhas, 31dec02
  • Tahahahahime Is On My Sahide! Yes It Isn't! by Sergio Mascarenhas, 07nov02
  • Character Creation for Dummies by Sergio Mascarenhas, 08aug02
  • Thus Do We Start by Sergio Mascarenhas, 01jul02
  • Can You Give Us a Descriptor of the Subject? (Part II) February 21, 2002
  • Can You Give Us a Descriptor of the Subject? (Part I) December 6, 2001
  • Time for a Hiatus October 23, 2001
  • System as Language September 27, 2001
  • Don't Forget the Damn Index! August 30, 2001
  • R-O-L-E-P-L-A-Y-I-N-G  G-A-M-E  C-O-R-E  R-U-L-E-B-O-O-K.&nb\ sp; UFF! July 26, 2001
  • Who is this Mendes Pinto, Anyway? June 28, 2001
  • Once Upon A Time ... (How It All Started) April 25, 2001


    All Ruleslawyer For Free columns by Sergio Mascarenhas

  • Experience: From Fiction to Roleplaying Games September 11, 2000
  • The Applied Experience Curve Concept June 26, 2000
  • Experience Curves May 30, 2000
  • Trait Curves March 28, 2000
  • A Change of Course November 28, 1999
  • Spotlight on Alternacy, A Roleplaying System October 26, 1999
  • Introduction September 21, 1999

    Other columns at RPGnet

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