Friday, March 13, 2015

Return to Civilized Life and Progress Report


The last few months have flown by.  It started with a relocation cross country trip from East to West Coast, catching a flight overseas then eventually making it back to California for additional schooling.  Now that I've just gotten back from a field exercise in the Southern Californian brushland I am ecstatic to once again have running water, three square meals a day and a nice rack to sleep in.  It also means I have more time for my personal life and projects, not to mention a semi-reliable internet connection while I continue my hotel living on temporary duty assignment.

Where I last left off I mentioned I had been working on a book.  Well I have been for quite some time now; this rules system has taken one shape or another for many years now, each new revision building off the last.  I'd say my initial encounter with the Old School Renaissance (OSR), years back is what influenced me the most.  From that day forward my goal was to drop the exceptional mechanical complexity and to keep it sweet and simple, letting the theater of the mind fill in the form work laid by basic but elegant rules.  Don't get me wrong, this still has plenty more fiddly bits than Holmes basic but each mechanic has been hit by Occam's razor on numerous occasions.


Currently, playtesting is focusing on finding glitches in the system and unanswered questions.  For instance, Ranged weapons fire at the start of initiative so a recent question was whether or not thrown weapons or an elemental blast falls under that clause.  We'll experiment a few more times before we come up with a hard answer.  After a few more cycles of this I'll start working out how I will handle open playtesting.  Initial batches of art have been commissioned and procured but I'd like to have a hell of a lot more so we'll see where the budget falls soon enough.

Below you'll find the basic outline of the book, its contents, and an approximate percentage of how complete it is.



Introduction and the Avatar System  (90% Complete pending an Avatar retest)
  • Core Tenets
  • Avatar System
  • Intrepid and Hit Dice
  • Adventures and Encounters

Book I: Earth  (80% Complete)
  • Character Creation  (100%)
    • Origin
    • Home Turf
    • Etiquette and Profession
  • Exploration  (60%)
    • Ability Scores
    • Interacting with the World
    • Exploits
    • Saving Throws
  • Defining your Character  (80%)
    • Attributes
    • Archetypes
    • The Armory
    • Gear & Relics
    • Hired Help
    • Personality and a Name
  • In text examples throughout 

Book II: Fire  (90%)
  • Combat Primer  (90%)
    • Initiative and the Action Phase
    • Melee Combat
      • Merciless Melee Combat
    • Armor & Shields
    • Missile Combat
    • Movement
      • Engagements
    • Interact & React
    • Status Conditions
    • Death, Dying & All the Rest
  • Unleashing the Upwelling of Nature  (90%)
    • Channeling
    • Fury of the Elements
      • Listed by Circle of Power
    • The River of Light
  • The Skinny on Spellcasting (90%)
    • Spells Listed by Schools
  • In-text examples throughout  

Book III: Wind  (70%)
  • Voyage into the Setting Sun  (80%)
    • The Sun, the Moon and the Seas
    • A Horrible Night for a Curse
    • A World of Islands
  • Dreamers of the Day  (90%)
  • Dashed Hopes and the Coming Dusk  (90%)
    • A Moonless Night
    • The Watch
  • A Disagreement with Dungeonkind  (60%)
    • Traps
    • Factions
    • Ancient Evils
    • Journey Through the Underworld
  • This Ugly yet Beautiful World  (30%)
    • Ruins
    • Fantastic Locales
  • Advancement  (90%)
    • Experience
      • Trials, Tribulations and Treasure
      • Personality Traits
    • Augmentations
  • Choosing a Class  (60%)
    • (The eight Classes require a review to cut down on mechanical widgets and stay in line with similar alterations done in the Combat Primer)

Book IV: Water   (30%)
  • Teaching the Game
    • Introduce Concepts Gradually
    • Getting the Gang Together
      • Character Analysis
      • Character Swap
    • Intro Vignette vs Opening Scene
      • The Grinder: Survival of the Fittest
    • Greatness from Small Beginnings
    • Pregenerated Characters
  • Running the Game
    • Urgency and Pacing
      • Keeping Players Engaged
      • "Meanwhile.."
    • Experience Shapes us
      • Take a Hike, Climb a wall, Carry Gear, Read a Book
    •  Show Don't Tell
      • Imagery
      • Dreams, Premonitions, Prophecies and Memory Stones
        • Relive the Past, Save the Future
      • Foreshadowing
    •  Let the Dice decide the Outcome
      • Tailor descriptions to the dice roll
      • Recap Method
    • Rules and Rulings
      • Common Sense
      • Make your own call
      • Success and Failure as a Spectrum
      • Dealing with power imbalances 
    • The Avatar System
  •  Living Breathing World
    • Prevailing Themes
      • Cycles of Destruction
      • Nihilism
    • Setting
      • Three Paragraph Opener 
      • World Events Newspaper
      • Level 10 World Sweeping Terror
    •  Encounter Design
      • Random Encounters and on the fly World Building
        • "This whole forest is haunted!"
    • Have fun with Dungeon Design
      • Dungeon Naturalism
      • Trap Cards
    • A Return to Peace
      • How to Save a Life 
      • Downtime and Retirement
  •  Rogues Gallery
    • Overworld Enemy Groups
      • Cults
      •  Barbaric Hordes
      • Undead Legions
      • The Empire
      • Renegade Alchemists
      • The Bubbling Chaos
    • Villain Classes
    • Boss Battle
  •  Styles of Play
    • Good, Bad, I'm the Guy with the Gun
      • We Don't Kill the Living
      • Murder Hobos
    • Adventuring
      • Never Going Back
      • Delving Deeper
  • Game Over
    • It Gets Worse
    • Bad End and Solipsism (Avatar)
  • Modularity

Treasure Haul  (90%)
  • Gems: Repositories of Elemental Power
  • Why Magic Arms & Armor Rock
    • Don't be a Christmas Tree
    • Magic Item Genesis and Morphology
  • Weapons of Marvelous Distinction
  • Weapons of Planetary Power
  • Weapons of Tantalizing Repute
  • Weapons of a Past Age
  • Weapons from Beyond the Stars
  • Armors and Shields of Varying Invulnerability
  • Magical Trinkets and Space Age Gadgets

Monstrous Codex (50%)

Appendix and Credits