Today I’d like to give the world the first glimpse of the behind-the scenes detail of non-core mechanics in The Legacy of Eight. Some of these things are related to the Empire System that powers the game, some of these are specific to The Legacy of Eight itself. Nothing here is final, but I don’t see huge alterations being made from these basic principles between now and when serious playtesting begins.
As someone trained in literature through a liberal arts program, one thing that I like to think about as I design games, and as I run or play in games, is the way that modern roleplaying games fit into and defy the literary tradition. There are a lot of things that go into this; classic forms bend, break, or prove strikingly resilient when subjected to the conventions of a tabletop game; the imposition of rules and mechanics often designed to be simulationist rather than serving a narrative frequently muddy the waters and make it difficult to be fully certain where a roleplaying game session lies.
I feel like I should make a quick post; I thought I had posted more recently than I had, and I’ve let things go on a little too long without an update. There’s a certain point at which I wait to get some stuff done before I post, but if I let it go too long we wind up with the “Kyle posts every couple months when he gets the whim” thing going on, and that’s not great.
Anyway, I’m still working on The Legacy of Eight, with some news to be spread about it.
My apologies for disappearing for a long time again: work has been hectic and I have been working on a variety of projects. Traditionally I publish something this time each year, but this year I just wasn’t able to complete a project in time: there are a couple of reasons for this (mostly related to my work), but I can at least publish a teaser for my next big project as well as fill in the gaps for what’s been going on between my last post and now.
Game Masters of tabletop roleplaying games have to create a story that works well, and that can often be difficult not only because a story has to be engaging, but because it’s difficult to keep track of the way in which a story will unfold; it’s easy to forget about some minor elements, or conflate them too heavily with the main plot, and wind up coming to a screeching halt. One great way to handle this is to think of each plot as a thread; it develops from the previous events in sequence, but will eventually be brought to fruition by the players’ actions.
I’ve been a bit behind on the latest updates for Street Rats, partly because I’ve been working on figuring out ways to get Street Rats unified into a more coherent document that does away with some of the wasted space (and partly due to working on other projects, I must admit): I consider the 200 to 300 page range to be the ideal for independent publisher games, especially since Street Rats has no art in it at this point: it’s over eighty thousand words long, needs editing, and really needs to be improved to meet commercial standards. Most importantly, however, I don’t want it to look longer than it is and turn away potential players.
I’ve been meaning to get better about blog communication stuff, and this will be the place I do so. I’ve got a number of projects underway right now, and some I’ve got brewing in my head and I may or may not start once I get stuff done.
Before I get started, I’d like to point out that working on multiple projects is a good thing for me right now; I write whenever I have a good idea or inspiration for design, which means that individual projects grow a little more slowly, but mechanics get more polish and I have much greater net productivity.
Street Rats is now in Alpha 3! This update isn’t the largest update ever in Street Rats’ history, but it has some of the largest reaching effects on gameplay and is a marked improvement. There’s not much in the way of new features, but play has been improved significantly. Since you’re probably already privvy to the changelog if you own it on DriveThruRPG, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to you if you don’t yet, since it’s pretty much simple improvement stuff going on.
For more commentary and explanations, read on after the break.
You can get the core rulebook over at DriveThruRPG: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/169540/Street-Rats-Alpha
Street Rats has actually been seeing updates the past couple weeks, despite me not posting about them here. Part of the reason for this is because there haven’t been a whole ton of progress on bits that I consider particularly interesting, more just on things that have to get done to get a finished game out. There have been some adjustments in plans. First, most of the setting is getting cut from the main book; some brief blurbs will be available, but Phoenix in the UAS will be the only setting place to get wide coverage. I want to keep Street Rats’ total running length below 300 pages, and something had to be cut.
One of the other things getting “cut” is the hacking rules as they stand. Right now they are not only bulky, but they’re too similar to other games on the market that have widespread problems on account of… their hacking systems. Hacking should be both a robust experience and a quick one, so it is getting new and exceptional mechanics; this puts it a little outside the rest of Street Rats, but when dealing with cyberspace such things are necessary.
FOURS is a product of my mind last night. It’s a 24-hour game of very simple rules with a storytelling focus, and it’s free.
My main goals in creating FOURS were to make a game with a lot of simple mechanics, which would be accessible to a novice. It also serves as an attempt to translate the Hero’s Journey into GM instructions, and make a 24-hour game (technically, FOURS is more like a 6-8 hour game, but I digress) with full art, though some of that is limited.
Without further ado, may the FOURS be with you.