Friday, March 2, 2012

Maybe I lied...

I didn't intend to lie when I wrote "I guess we're back," but it turned out to be not the truth. Perhaps same difference. The truth is that I was getting pretty close to wrapping up on an alpha draft that I still think is pretty darn strong. Even if it isn't revolutionary, it has some neat ideas and I'm proud of what I got done. Then I experienced some personal loss and it really took the wind out of my sails with regards to designing anything. I thought game design might be cathartic and so posted the "I guess we're back" to try and pressure myself into working on stuff by publicly promising I would. It didn't work. It wasn't cathartic. I'm okay with that now.

Then 5e was announced. If personal loss took the wind out of my sails, I gotta imagine the announcement of 5e puts any effort to crowd source a totally new game in the doldrums. It's hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of a new edition and I find that even my cynical self has his interest piqued by the mystery of what is to come.

With that, I figured I'd toss online what I got down on paper. There is a lot more in my head and I'm happy to talk about it, so please feel free to question. It is reasonably complete, probably about 85% of an alpha draft with notes on the remaining 15%. The last few pages of the document slide in a fairly amusing progression, from basically finished with some edits --> rough draft --> just notes --> conceptual goals. Regardless, I hope someone gets some use or inspiration out of it. Maybe in a few months I'll find out I dislike 5e and decide to pick it up, dust it off, and see if I can't crowd source some enthusiasm.

Get your Runeward alpha now!


  1. Sorry for your loss (specifics unnecessary), and glad to see you back. Just copied the pdf and will be taking a look at it. I'm eagerly anticipating 5E also, and am interested to see how it turns out (and if it's the game for me). Don't disapear entirely though, come on back and jump into the 5E conversations at ENWorld. See you there. :) -El Mahdi

  2. Sorry to hear that events have takenthe wind out of your creative sails. I've very much enjoyed reading your blog, both for the game you are putting together and the interesting analysis (I always enjoy the musings of those with more design mojo than me). I reckon keep at it. There will be folks who still play 4E post 5E's release and those who like the idea of a system which draws on it but goes further (hell many D20 games haven't let the the demise of 3E stop them)

  3. Hey, thanks to both for the kind sentiments. If you get a chance to see the PDF and want to chat about it feel free to ask. Probably more likely is that something won't make sense which is pretty inevitable when you work so closely on something that you forget what a fresh pair of eyes see. Either way, I like to talk. Otherwise I'm sure I'll see you on the 5e boards soon!

  4. Hey man, I have to say, that's a wonderfully put together document, the use of fonts and notes reminds me of magic cards a little; big schematic description, little italics giving you background. Only instead of more detailed rules text, it's background for why something should work that way.

    Very impressive work.

    I particularly love the "stunt categories" section. It argues for itself so persuasively I wish it was compatible with my resolution system, because of the potential of having something like that on the table to just end arguments. It encourages me to raise my own game.

    Actually reading through I have a few more comments:

    On the health points system, you can do that by recording damage on a nine by nine matrix: Going left to right gives you light damage, but each point of serious damage knocks out a row. You just draw a line through it and restart on the next line. This works because you've basically created a base three system, and it does the equivalent of tens and units.

    On the other hand I think I might have that wrong; your healing system is different to what I thought actually, still could be an interesting system though.

    I'd also rename cuts as knocks or hits. The idea of doing little hits and then spending them on big attacks is ridiculously familiar to 4e in actual play, where we often conceptualise things as "have we got them down low enough that the striker can just kill them with a crit". This isn't actually how the game's math works, but we tend to play that way regardless!

    I love the idea of certain classes putting loads of hits on enemies so that the serious damage guy can just go in and take them down, or so that people can drop a condition on people. In fact thinking of it in terms of 4e gives an interesting role to minions and soldier classes:

    If putting conditions on people requires hits, then the usual dynamic of combat is reversed; instead of artillery and lurker monsters putting conditions on PCs so that soldiers and minions can wear them down, soldiers and minions could be putting hits on characters so as to unlock special conditions from the artillery.

    It basically takes the "power refresh" dynamic and builds teamwork into it.

    And of course, thanks to your way of handling levelling, "minions" can just be soldier types from earlier levels.

    I find the resolve stat a little unsatisfying, in the way it only crops up in very systemy contexts, but I'm not sure what to do to fix it, it seems the old "use constitution mod for dc" business, that a few monsters used to do in 3.5, where you want to have some measure of vitality etc that is not covered by level.