Whole bunch of jumbled, disorganized stuff to throw out there. Watch out for the mess.
- I read Dictionary of Mu this week. Probably the greatest setting book I’ve ever read. Why? Not primarily for its red, testosterone-soaked sands and evocative prose (although Marr’d is definitely chest-beatingly cool and the prose does say more in a few sentences than most games say in a few chapter), but rather because the dictionary form slaughters the old paradigm of setting-book-as-atlas and performs a demonic ritual with its corpse. Judd gives us Mu like he’s dumping his toybox on the table. We can pick up and play with what we want to, how we want to. In a world where “RPG setting” has too often meant “imaginary place where your game, characters, and tastes don’t matter,” The Dictionary of Mu is as refreshing as an oasis in a bood-soaked desert. I will be shamelessly aping Oghma, son of Oghma, when it comes time for Foresworn’s setting.
- Consider yourselves warned: I’m 95% certain that “Foresworn”‘s days are numbered. As a title, at least. It worked well when it was a game about knights and feudal society. But it doesn’t say “swashbuckling adventure across the stars,” does it? At some point, it’ll have to go.
- This early phase of game design is one of my favorites. The game is so open and full of potential that it feels like it can do anything. Little ideas have been jumping into my head all week and I’ve been jotting them down. That’s a lot of fun. But it hasn’t quite all jelled together yet. Thus:
Forgive me, Foresworn, for I am scattered. It has been six days since my last confession.
My goals for the previous week were:
- Draft base stats/skills for characters
- Outline basic resolution mechanic (probably still opposed dice pools. I just like ’em.)
- Sketch out ways that Oaths can modify the basic stats/skills when used for resolution.
Let me talk about that second point a little bit, because it feeds into the others. At this point in a game design, I feel a little like this:
I know the kinds of things I want on the character sheet–the kind of things I want the player to have to decide among. I know the sort of outcomes that I want the resolution system to provide. I’m just not yet sure how they’re going to intersect with the dice (yes, dice rather than cards this time). I know that all characters (not just the space knights) will have four Emotion pools: Anger, Fear, Joy, Sadness. Think of them kinda like a cross between Sorcerer’s Humanity and WEG d6’s Force and Character Points. They’ll fluctuate through game play. They enable you to do things normally out of bounds, but they also tempt you to do things normally out of bounds. Oaths will still be part of the game. Very specific while Emotions are very general. I’m still debating the inclusion of skills. I normally don’t like ’em, but if the Emotions and Oaths modify your basic numbers, the basic numbers have to come from somewhere, right? That just seems so clunky! But, it will work for playtest, till I find something more elegant.
As far as the outputs, I know that bonuses and penalties need to attach to different actions and scores. I know there needs to be a not-uncommon result that causes the stakes of the conflict to go up, because that’s one of the best things in With Great Power… and I’m totally stealing that. I know that you can’t win anything in a conflict unless you put some part of yourself at risk. How that works, I don’t exactly know, but I’d better get something worked up for playtest soon.
Holy Impending Deadlines, Batman! My original schedule would have had be start playtesting this coming Friday. After last week’s jumping-horses-in-mid-stream, there’s no way that’s going to happen. But, I have already signed up to run a 4 hour slot at Southern Exposure at the end of the month. I want to run the game through its paces with Kat and Michele before I display it to strangers, so that doesn’t give me much time. I’ll have to have something ready to playtest by next week’s journal entry. Thus:
My goals for the coming week are:
- Have a skeleton of the game, no matter how rough, ready to playtest with Kat & Michele.
There. One goal. Simple, right? I’m just now realizing that I haven’t playtested a new game of mine in over two and half years. So I’m rusty and unprepared. But hey, it’s only a game. And the future looks bright.