Writing up a proposal is a lot more stressful than I remember. lol
About this blog
A blog to talk about the Quest21 d100 system as well as the settings of Skaerune and Runed Worlds. All from Reign Dragon Press. Plus any thoughts I have on d100 systems and gaming.
Entries in this blog
That moment when you see a thread and think "Hey that looks cool" and then you read it and you are like "Oh hell no, not getting into that one." lol
So I missed another deadline of my own making, but I am working on the ever of Independence Day on Skaerune'. Recently I have been watching some RPG review videos (and enjoying them) and I realize the current trend is even more away from crunch in games than I thought. It did not bother me before: I mean for Skaerune' and Q21 to be a bit on the crunchy side. Yet still I had a frantic moment where I went through and was mentally cutting it up into pieces and wondering how I am going to keep my minor evolution. Then I went through the char sheet, made some minor tweaks and calmed myself the hell down. THIS is the game I want to make, publish, support, and sell. All I can do is sell it on its merits and hope plenty of people enjoy it.
Crisis averted, now I get back to work.
So things are getting very close. Yes I know, its just a QS guide but it feels like something bigger. I have been designing games for 30 years, but none of them really saw the light of day beyond friends and acquaintances. With a lot of things in life, sometimes it just is not the right time. Well this is the right time and I am getting a little nervous about it. People are going to look it over and judge it good or bad or, which would be worse, not worth anyone's time. I do not think that will happen but it is one of those things that sit in the back of your head.
I have come to the conclusion that Item Creation, beyond being its own chapter will really amount to a fourth kind of magic. Especially Alchemy which will be something avilable to anyone. I am pretty excited about this.
The holidays did renew the energies a bit, for a great many things including the game designs. However, I am in a portion of the Quick Start guide which is dry and a little bleh. I know how the game works why do others need to know! lol So I am reducing the Skaerune time on a given day and devoting it to fun vanity designs or campaigns etc.. I know once I get over this hump it will pick up again. Also, it would be good to actually play a bit as I GM and design more than I play. Playing would definitely help alleviate some fatigue.
I did figure out recently how many spells will be in the SkQSG. It is a good selection I think, but I may put out the list to see what others think. Same with beasts. It will be a small list to give folks a taste of the more unique Skaerune' monsters.
So I began work on the Item Creation chapter, tentatively titled Forged & Fantastic Power. I have long wanted to weave item creation into a game design as something more meaningful than just making your own magic items or potions or gaining an advantage in the game. I have always wanted it to be an end (or a journey) unto itself. As I was working on the chapter,which deals with forging everything from mundane trinkets to powerful soul eating weapons, I found myself for a moment considering the heretical idea that all magic ws in the form of item creation, that it made something concrete and bringing magic a little closer to science, but also upsetting some fantasy tropes. I took a step back from that ledge, but just a step and realized that item creation could be important for other (future) Q21 games.
However, it is important for Skaerune' as well. With skill Synergy item creation will not be a sideshow for players, but a reason for their character to be.
I also realized I need to name the other three cities. The First City, which will still me a common way to refer to it, is Kupaya Luki, which is a very bad translation of Copper's Landing or Copper's Rest. The other three cities still need to be named and the Fourth City will likely need 2 names, the original name and the name the Rakshasa give it. So over the holidays as I spend some time with my little dragon and her second Xmas, I will be doing some research and coming up with those three names.
Happy Holidays everyone
So while working on the game this weekend, I came up with some goals I want to reach, so that I do not wear myself too thin making content no one is playing or reading. I decided that if PDF and POD versions of Skaerune and Salt Island sell 500 and 250 units respectively, then it might be worth it for me to pursue more content. I would be honored if others liked the world enough to create content for it, but I will not presume people will do so.
Along those lines, here are the three potential adventure packs I came up with.
The Vagabond Series
Crodspear's Lament: Adventures in the Badlands
Past the reduced borders of the Second City lay the ruins of civil war. When the Second City fell from prominence the Wroleclaw family and their allies fled into the Badlands to the west. Here they carved out some territory from the trolls and Cormoran giants of the Cold Lands. Now they live in a valley with seven keeps and a dozen villages that are constantly at war with each other. The land is dotted with ancient ruins and more modern ones and mercenaries are treated well. A bloody and vicious land where the only thing of value is a sword, a heavy coin purse, and the promise of a warm meal.
Chief among the temptations is an aged keep once home to the powerful Duke of Mreghome, Crodspear Wroleclaw. Now it is a troll infested ruin that still holds the secrets and possibly the Torc of Wroleclaw, possession of which could alter the balance of power and portend more troubles for the Second City.
The Myth Walkers Series
City on A Mountain of Clouds
There are many rumors of failed cities. Some sages suggest as many as seven such cities exist around the world, though no one has mapped them all. One such city known only the City of Turtles lies on the great Cloud Mountain. It is a flat plateau that reaches so high clouds obscure its top. All that is there are bones and stone dragon turtles, one for each direction. Deep in the eastern wastes, few come here except the Fire giants who see it as a holy place.
Of late there have been strange tidings in the area and the Fire giants have seen lights on the mountain. Rakshasa caravans have disappeared into the wastes on secret missions for the m'Raaj. This is of interest to the Emir of Setch and his ally, the Khan of the High Days. They are seeking out heroes brave enough to walk the Eastern Wastelands in search of the City of Turtles. To find the city wll require more than digging in dusty and lonely mountains; it may require walking through time itself to when the world was much different and today's allies may be yesterday's enemies.
The Cosmic Countdown Series
Empire of the Drowned
Kej Veho has long been thought dead, drowned in the Sea of Woes by his one time ally the dwarf Orobok. Orobok himself soon faded from view and is thought to have been destroyed long ago. With the cleansing of Nightmare Isle and the transformation of the Orange Princess, much that was hidden has come to light. Apparently Kej survived and had been creating an army of drowned men and women, along with beasts from the deepest parts of the sea. The Drowned Leiche has not forgotten Orobok nor has the dwarf forgotten his former ally. Working through agents the two enemies have each set into motion events that could summon the Fifty City far sooner than anyone has predicted. Black Dukes, angry Archons, and an army of elves all could become involved in a war to end the world.
We have been trying to create the Perfect RPG for over forty years now. Through new ideas, changing needs and expectations, and a socio-technological boom that allows many of us to jump into that pursuit, game designers in corporate offices, home work places, and nerdy basements have been seeking that ONE system to rule them all (apologies. to Professor Tolkien). We have never found that system and likely never will, but that won't keep various people from trying. Including myself.
People change and people want things their own way and to leave their own mark upon legacies. It isn't a betrayal and there isn't anything wrong with it. Admittedly some handle it better than others, but overall we feel threatened by change almost as a knee jerk or allergic reaction. There is nothing logical to our reaction, but there is a great deal of emotion. I think that is fine but it makes for grumpy customers from time to time.....
Obviously I am speaking about the recent RQ6/RQNext revelations. Some folks are elated and some are angry and some are passive aggressive and I get it, I really do. It can be exasperating because to the player these are games and settings we are passionate about. Well us designers are passionate to. No one does this to get rich but if you are in some kind of business, you need to do smart things to make money. Business vs. Art.
So stay positive. This too shall pass.
So I have been playing with formatting and working on individual sections as I have pieces of them in place. I re formatted the bestiary and I like the new format, but it still looks like one entry per page. I pondered that a bit but decided this was my game and no player I have ever heard has said "there are too many entries in the monster section", at least as long as everything else is good too. I did notice that so far the creatures tend towards the dangerous side and tonight's beastie, the Cormoran Giant, is no exception.
So I am not quite done with them, but I told myself I had 10... no 15 more minutes of working on this before hitting the sheets (since it is 0h Cr4p 41 here). That was 40 minutes ago. I decided to spend a little time on the first small adventure to go into the Quickstart. Its called Delivery to the Sea and it is part 1 of 3. I think the best part of it was that I am writing an adventure for my own game. Not the design of someone else, which is still a great feeling btw, but for my set of rules however quirky and descended from other rule sets it is. I feel pretty good about that. It will also introduce both Salt Island and the Rakshasa / Glorious Empire in a small but hopefully powerful way.
My expectations for Skaerune' were that it would likely be third in line of the games I was working on. When I came here and really started getting into the site, I thought it might move up to #2. Well, now it's number one on my list and no regrets. The game is falling into place nicely and I feel like I have a good handle on it. I have made templates for myself. The layout is under way and looking good. Once I have a version people can look over, I have a good feeling about it. I am also keeping more of the OpenQuest 2 SRD than I imagined, which is as testament to that game and to Newt on designing a great version of d100.
So now I think I need a stuffed Rakshasa to sit on my office (i.e. desk) and demand I work harder, as stuffed mythological characters are want to do.
So having brought up Clark Ashton Smith the other day, some of the comments have been peculating in the back of my mind. I have been very focused on Skaerune' and the focus is paying off in a big way. I solved my Strike Rank / Initiative issue tonight AND have turned my new attribute Aura into a very potent and useful bit (where before it was on the verge of being out). So this makes me happy.
So, having accomplished a huge amount of work on the design doc, I prepared to log off and was letting my mind toy with other ideas when it hit me.
I am enjoying Return of the Sorcerer and I was imagining where a Sorcerer might return from? How might that be interesting? What if the battle between all the forces stretched not just through time, but through space as well? What is there was an Earth unknown to use that had been destroyed by these forces? And what if in the late 1930s these people co-opted fascism and used events to their own purpose? And what if there is a future where instead of allowing humanity to expand, Wormholes and advanced tech reveal themselves to be more easily corrupted and leads to a hopeless diaspora where colony worlds are feeding grounds for dark alien gods?
Two potential names come to mind: Princes of Earth & Time; A Tale of Three Earths. A GM could focus on one setting, but a character could exist in all three and even perhaps campaigns could swing from time to time to time. It might be wonky but it could be an interesting take on some CAS work mixed with too little Mt. Dew tonight.
I probably should not devote any time to this tonight. (Grabs notebook).
So I realize how much work goes into a game and I have to be patient. I want to be there RIGHT NOW lol. Progress is going well though and finding and participating here is helping me greatly just through osmosis.
At least now everything seems to be falling into place.
So the quick start rules are not ever close to being ready for running and playtesting and handing out. However, my cover artist sent an initial sketch of the Rakshasa who will be part of the cover and so, somewhat bored I went ahead and played around some with it. What do you folks think?
Experience is pretty essential for life, right? We experience things and (hopefully) learn from our triumphs and mistakes. It works the same way in role playing games because you are a person (or robot) and people (and robots) grow through learning. Even if that learning takes place at the business end of a blaster. I mean, who doesn't watch Solo and Greedo and think "Yep, I am gonna shoot foist EVERY TIME!". I suspect that comes out of he grading system found in many war games. (Again, don't know that for sure.)
I liked the experience system in d100 games, starting with Runequest when I played that. At the time I was playing though, experience was a big deal. As gaming has progressed, experience seems to be less and less relevant as campaigns become shorter and shorter or gaming becomes a series of one shots. This is not a bad thing, but can call into question time spent on designing the experience system of a game (or blogging about it... maybe).
I still think an easy to follow but meaningful experience system is important, as is a system that allows for the creation of characters at a certain power level. So in essence you need 3 experience systems.
- Traditional medium to long term experience system that helps characters develop over time.
- A faster system that gives the feeling of change over a short number (2-4) of sessions
- A Jump Start system tied to character generation that lets you create an experienced character of a certain power level.
Keeping number three in mind I am considering using a Life Path style character generation and having extended life events for higher power levels. Unlike a class based system you just can't pick a level and go.
No statistic has been as ill defined from the very beginning of role playing as the Charisma stat. I think this is true for most games. In some ways I imagine it derived from "leadership" scores that many units or generals have in table top war games. I do not know this for sure of course, but I surmise this was the case. No one seemed to use it correctly and at least early on among the games I played it lacked real emphasis in design. When I began playing Runequest and found that the role playing stat had been replaced with an appearance stat and now I could role play however I wanted, I was quite pleased. It held a great deal of appeal to me. To say that many years later when I noted CHA creeping into d100 games, I was a bit baffled.Why was this happening? Why were designers making this choice for a stat no one cared about before anyway. Was it the sudden use in d20 games, which revived CHA as a meaningful stat?
Despite my confusion, I was forced to reconsider some kind of stat that encompassed an element of personality and decided that personality was just what I was looking for.
In Q21, PER / Personality is an important stat. It is a measure of force of personality and presence of the character. How the character chooses to use this depends on what skills that they choose.Those skills are listed under Communication skills. But what about appearance?
On the one hand no one can help the face they are born with and we have to make the most of it. Often a strong personality overcomes societal preferences, but is there something useful in having an actual appearance stat? I do not want to put in a stat to just have one and I want to not be on the fence about it.Right now Q21 does not have any appearance stat and I am not inclined to add it in, even though I have a great deal of nostalgia for it.
So I want to talk a little about Skaerune. I feel that a strong setting is an expectation of any d100 game, which is not a bad thing. The problem though is that the days of the truly powerful setting has passed. It is not as much a draw to players or at least ones I interact with. With a few exceptions, it is more difficult to use a setting as a selling point (1). The typical game master is going to run his or her own game anyway and may or may not use setting information anyway. Added to this is the small amount of room that can be spent (2) on setting in a given manual means that your setting has to come strong and be interesting and usable even when its bare bones.
So I decided I wanted to combine the mythical fantasy feeling, the cosmic nihilism, and features from traditional fantasy. My old college adviser and mentor described the United Staets as a stew, not a melting pot. I don't want Skaerune to be a stew even though it will have some disparate bits that did not begin life together. The Cosmos acknowledges that many worlds exist, but they are distant and relevant only in their existence. It drops ingots of civilizations into a barren Earth - like world, where slowly but surely they begin to come together and identify more with this world then wherever they came from. Now that I think about it, I guess it will be a stew, or an artifact that is a unified whole, but the various ores are still visible on the surface.
And it needed a antagonist worthy of the name. The Rakshasa (3) are definitely the new power in town. While a bit sadistic as a race, they are not inherently what we might call evil as much as we could say they embrace chaos as a way of life. At least aspects of it. As rulers of the Fourth City and an ever growing empire, they are trying to create their own strange order on the world. Intelligent, inhuman, and physically strong they bring a pov that is alien to the world but in some ways alien to many players.
This is just an introduction to the blog. I have been designing games since I was 10 when I decided D&D was good, but could be better. Once I was introduced to RuneQuest and BRP, I felt the system did a great job with what it was trying to do. It was only years later that I began thinking about what I would I change if given the chance. So here we are. I feel like this community will be invaluable for helping me achieve the kind of game I want to make.