Saturday, April 30, 2011

Build Strategy: Fighters

I thought I’d spend a little time discussing how to go about building the various character archetypes in Resolute. I’m not keen on developing entire guides for each archetype (although free 1-page pdfs are not outside the realm of possibility), but it seemed that I could at least start with a discussion here. Today we'll talk about fighters.

Fighters are expected to be able to go toe to toe with adversaries (in melee). The other three archetypes depend on not being in melee with foes (most of the time), so this job will likely fall to fighters. Here are the abilities to consider:
• Arms. This is really a bread and butter ability for the fighter. This sets the rating for both weapons and armor; even though it may seem counter-intuitive, it might be best to tailor your arms to maximize your armor, keep your weapon at the rating, and set missile as low as it will go; you won’t be needing it.
• Aspect. This seems like a non-ability for a fighter, but you really can’t afford to completely ignore it. If you are going to be the primary damage soaker, you also need to be able to soak it! A few points in aspect will allow you to purchase cloaks of warding, and these will be vital when enemy casters are bearing down on you or you step into the path of a breath weapon; all the shiny armor in the world isn’t going to matter in that case.
• Evade is another ability that seems like you can ignore it (especially with high armor), but you really can’t.
• Intuition is an area you may have to forfeit some points. Of course you’d LIKE to be able to respond quickly and decipher clues from your environment, but you really can’t afford to sink too many points here. The ability to go earlier or later in a round is relatively unimportant vs. the other things you have to do. Whereas a caster wants to get spells off to prevent a foe from even getting an attack or a stalker needs to get into hiding quickly, you can stand right there and take your foe’s best shot; in fact, it ALMOST serves you better to go later in the round; you know which foe is the biggest threat after your allies have had a chance to thin the herd a little bit; you are going to go after that ogre unless the magician’s stun spell takes him out of the equation for a few rounds; you’re best off waiting until you know whether the spell worked. If you’re going to elect to delay anyhow, don’t waste points here needlessly. Someone else in the group can be responsible for finding secret doors.
• Precision seems like it might be a viable option when compared with might, but it’s really not; precision allows you to wield melee weapons or missile weapons, whereas might allows you to wield melee weapons or thrown weapons. If you were a primary missile wielder, precision would be the way to go. However, you are going to be called on to do a number of things, and ranged attacking should (likely) be a minor one. By taking might, you give up the better range and unlimited ammo afforded by precision to get a useful ability in a variety of situations, the ability to soak poison, resist disease, fight your way out of constriction and basically do all of the things that your fellowship is going to expect you to do – and you can still throw weapons at a decent range in a pinch. You can’t really be a fighter in the full sense without a healthy helping of might. Since this is how you attack, you’ll want a decent might to increase your chances of striking in melee combat. Even as a primarily ‘defensive’ fighter, you need some might to do all the things you’ll be asked to do.
• Weapon Specialist. Don’t go crazy with this ability; at most, keep it one rating below your arms rating; with arms +5, you can’t really justify putting more than +4 into weapon specialist. I know that it’s guaranteed damage on a hit, but so is arms; and your bonus points from might on a successful attack carry over to damage as well, so you could argue that might gives you some ‘guaranteed’ damage too, by guaranteeing you’ll hit more often for more base damage. At low ratings, this is a comparatively cheap way to scale up weapon damage; at high ends, it’s a waste of your resources. No fighter can ever justify taking weapon specialist beyond +6, and few will increase it beyond +4.
• Applications: you will want to eventually take two weapons, two-handed or shields (or a combination of these). At higher levels, these are relatively cheap ways to pick up a slew of bonus points that can really turn the tide of a battle. Don’t get these at lower levels; 2 CPs is a huge investment at level 1 (and gives you a comparatively small return on that investment), but by level 5, you’re seeing quite a bit of bang for your buck. I’d say around level 3 is where you’d want to start thinking about picking one of these up; before that, there are far better ways to spend your 2 CPs.
• Resolve. This one is completely based on your play style. The game assumes that all heroes have at least a little resolve, and every scene is likely to require you to do something that pushes you beyond your normal limits; if you have no resolve at all, you cannot perform heroic feats when called upon, and you are completely dependent on the dice. A huge investment here means that you aren’t invested in other important abilities; a 2-CP investment early on ensures that you have at least a few chances to do something special each scene.

Friday, April 29, 2011

About Races

The original cut of the game includes four core races: humans, dwarves, elves and gnomes. This is pretty close to the classic red box D+D approach, and also the one that best represents the game world. However, I’ve considered a few other races for inclusion. Here are the races, what I was thinking about, and why they ultimately got the axe…

• Trolls. These are excellent fighters; big, strong and tough. This role (except for the ‘big’ part) is already filled by dwarves. In previous games, I’ve made trolls basically a better choice than dwarves in most ways; dwarves are hardier (reflected in ‘stamina’) but not as strong or fast. Since I’ve given dwarves might +1, I’d have to take this away from them to give it to trolls… or, I could just give trolls regeneration instead, making dwarves inherently stronger. This I like better, but it’s a bit askew as far as abilities go from what the other races do. Additionally, I see trolls as a dominantly evil race, and I wanted to keep away from that in the core rules. Moon elves are mysterious and enigmatic enough, and humans have sufficient capacity for evil already, and Resolute is primarily a game about heroes- so putting ‘evil’ races for the heroes in the core rules sends a message about the nucleus of the game that I don’t want to send.
• Shadow Elves. Again with the evil (see above). Furthermore, I’ve decided that, as a rule, I’m going to pare back the races so that there aren’t so many (if any) ‘subraces’ that you deal with. If you look at a human, you know that human could be good, evil, neutral, selfish, selfless, arrogant, self-conscious – the sky’s the limit. That you can look at a humanoid/demi-human and immediately know “he’s a shadow elf, so he must be evil” seems counter-intuitive for a core race. Instead, it seems best that ‘shadow elves’ be slang for a moon elf who has sided with the Unseelie Court; this wouldn’t be reflected in the elf’s skin tone or hair color; it’s about a philosophical approach and a conscious choice that an elf makes.
• Goblins. Still another evil race, so they get the axe. Goblins are one of my favorite races to play (for some strange reason), but they don’t have a niche to fill in the core rules. I suppose that their greatest asset would be how hardy they are, so they’d take a soak bonus (invulnerability +1). They are definitely a race that will make it in at some point, but not right now. I’m still tempted to increase from 4 races to 6 (if for no other reason than a random table for D6), but I don’t think they’ll make it.
• Other fay races on the whole (brownies, sprites, leprechauns) muscle in on the territory of the moon elves. Eventually many of these races could make it in, but they feel redundant with the moon elves right now. I see them getting bonuses to stealth, aspect, or even evade. Brownies would be the most stealthy (partial invisibility gives a +1 stealth shift, even if they don’t have stealth), fairies would get the evade bonus (so they’re so small and acrobatic) and leprechauns get the aspect (due to their magical natures). I see all three of these (with maybe centaurs or fauns who would get speed +1) could be a good selection for a Seelie/Unseelie Court sourcebook.
• Similarly, the ‘evil races’ (trolls, goblins, kobolds, orks maybe) end up in a humanoids sourcebook. I don’t want to get too crazy with this stuff, but I’d like to keep the options open to expand the game in new directions.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Editing Continues...

I’ve got a nearly-final draft of Resolute: The Splintered Realm done, and here are some things you might want to know about how it ended up:

- It’s 20 pages, in a very similar format to Resolute: Towers of Arvandoria; the pdf is landscape and primarily 3 columns in black and white with one accent color (lavender). However, it’s quite a bit more packed with content; Arvandoria was just over 14,000 words, whereas RTSR weighs in at over 20,000; so I increased the word count by almost 50% but the page count by only 25%. I felt at points the way I feel about writing poetry; you want to get as much mileage out of every word as you can- there’s really no room for wasted language.
- I ended up with 29 monsters in the bestiary. This feels to me like a great starter selection; it’s a little heavy on insects and humanoids, but I like insects and humanoids!
- I shelved the starter adventure that was included in the ashcan in favor of the re-working of an adventure from the Gryphon Watch Adventures I published a few years ago. It’s a classic dungeon crawl that better fits the flavor of the game as it is right now.

FYI, Although the book is ‘done’, I’m still not releasing it until June 1. I still want to hammer out some small details (today, I’m toying with the idea of making heroes never mooks; this seems pretty reasonable to me. In larger groups, the heroes are going to end up as mooks against single foes rated at their fellowship’s level; seven heroes each built on 60 CPs (a large and powerful team to be sure) is going to have a total CP value of 240 CPs (wow). A foe built on 240 CPs (pretty much the most powerful creature in the game) is going make them mooks 2x over. This I don’t really like.

One more thing I’m doing is (now that I’m close to done and I’m not worried so much about directly swiping things from others) is to go back and re-read some RPG books that influenced me. I started with the 1981 Red Box D+D book. There’s some great stuff in there, but I was amazed at the cavalier attitude taken towards the mortality of PCs… in the sample combat, the party’s dwarf is one-shotted by a hobgoblin and dies. There is no further discussion of this PC (or his poor player); it’s almost like the other players are somewhat relieved they have someone else to divvy up treasure with. The rules assume a certain level of animosity and competitiveness amongst the players that contemporary games would not necessarily assume, and in fact many (like mine) intentionally work against.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breaking Stealth

(Warning: LONG post ahead)

Time to see how awesome the stalker’s stealth ability is… and how to fix it because it’s probably broken. Ooh! It’s fun breaking your own game…

Before I even start, I’m going to use some of what I learned during my Judah Marakev playtest about the penalty based on your margin of failure; stealth allows you to take your margin of success against the target each turn as long as you’re stealthed; once the target sees you, you must spend 1 turn to re-establish stealth.

Tashya, Moon Elf Stalker (60 CPs); Soak physical +6; bow +8 (attack +7/damage +8/range 15)
Arms +6 (missile +8/armor +6/melee +4); Intuition +6; Precision +7; Stealth +8

Tashya is going to take on a huge threat far beyond her capabilities: a frost giant inquisitor. This foe is built on 90 CPs, so should wipe the floor with her.

Frost Giant Inquisitor
(90 CPs); soaks phys +8/magic +4; two-handed sword +9 (att +12/dmg +17); throws rocks +9 (att +12/dmg +9/rng 12); treas +2
Arms +7 (armor +7/melee +9/missile +5); Immunity (cold); Evade +2; Intuition +3; Invulnerable +4; Might +12; Weapon Specialist (two-handed) +8
Towering over every adversary, the 20’ tall frost giant overseer wields a mighty sword and throws huge stones, grinding humans and other lesser foes beneath his heel.

We’ll stack the deck in her favor; she is stealthed and 15 units away from the frost giant who stands watch. She positions herself on a slope 150’ away and opens fire… we’ll use static 7 for the frost giant here, since this emulates ‘typical’ results more effectively.

She rolls stealth and gets 7+8=15 vs. the DR 10 (from his intuition +3). She gets +5 to her attack; she rolls 10+7+5=22 to hit, and the giant evades at 9. She hits by +13; for damage, she rolls 7+8+13=28 wounds. The giant’s armor soaks 7+8=15 wounds, and he suffers 13, leaving him at 77 wounds.

Sequence: Tashya goes on 4+6=10, and the giant goes on 10 as well. We’ll let Tashya go first.

Round 1

Tashya attempts to continue to stealth, rolling 8+8=16 vs. the giant’s intuition resist of 10. She gets +6 to her attack; she rolls 7+7+6=20 to hit vs. the giant’s evade of 9; she hits by +11. For damage, she rolls 8+8+11=27 wounds; after the 15 wounds its armor roll soaks, she deals 12 wounds, leaving him at 65. The giant (unable to see her), throws a rock at her; she is 15 units away, so is 3 units beyond his range (giving her +3 to evade). She also gets to add her stealth +8 to her evade. It attacks at 19, and she rolls 3+0 (she didn’t take evade) +8+3=14 to evade- and gets hit with a big rock! For damage, the giant deals 7+9+5=21 wounds; she rolls 10+6=16 to soak, and suffers 5 wounds, leaving her at 55.

Round 2

Tashya keeps her stealth going, rolling 3+8=11 vs. the giant’s static intuition result of 10… she will only lose stealth in this situation with a natural 2. My curiosity gets the best of me, and I roll for him instead of taking the static 7 on this roll; he rolls 6+3=9. Nope. She only has a margin of success of +2, so adds +2 to her attack (the giant almost sees her after the rock careens into her). She rolls 6+7+2=15 to hit; the giant evades at 9, so she hits by +6. For damage, she rolls 9+8+6=23 wounds; it soaks 15 and suffers 8, leaving him at 57. The giant throws another stone at a result of 19, and she rolls 4+0+8=12 to evade; again, she is hit - this time by +7. For damage, the giant deal 7+9+7=23 wounds. After her armor soaks 7+6=13 wounds, she suffers 10 and is now down to 45.

Round 3
She continues to use stealth, rolling 3 (again!) +8=11 to stealth. We’ll let the giant roll again to see her, and he gets 4+3=7… poor giant! She succeeds by +4, and rolls 7+7+4=18 vs. his evade of 9; she hits by +9. For damage, she rolls 9+8+9=26 wounds, which after his armor soaks 15 means that he suffers 11 wounds, leaving him at 46. She has to dodge another boulder, and rolls 10+8+3=21. This one she manages to duck.

Round 4
Still with her stealth active, Tashya rolls 5+8=13; we’ll give the giant back his 7+2=9, so she gets +4 to attack; she fires her bow, rolling 7+7+4=18 to hit vs. the giant’s evade 9; she hits by +9. For damage, she rolls 7+8+9=24; its armor soaks 15, so it suffers 9 wounds and is down to 37… I like her odds more by the second! It throws another boulder, and she rolls 6+8+3=17 to evade; it hits her by +2. She has to roll to soak the damage of 7+9+2=18 wounds; she rolls 10+6=16, and suffers only 2 wounds, leaving her at 43.

Round 5
For stealth, Tashya rolls 8+8=16 vs. his intuition of 10, so she takes +6 to attack; she rolls with her bow, getting 5+7+6=18 to hit vs. the giant’s evade of 9; she hits by +9. For damage, she rolls 6+8+9=23 wounds; after the giant’s armor soaks 15 wounds, it suffers 8 and is down to 29. It throws another boulder, and she rolls 4+0+8+3=15 to evade; it hits by +4. She has to roll to soak the damage of 7+9+4=20 wounds; she rolls 8+6=14 and suffers 6 wounds, leaving her at 37.

Round 6

Tashya rolls a natural 2, and fails her stealth roll! The giant sees her. She can use a turn to re-stealth, but it will not take effect until her next turn. She does that, but gets no evade bonus this round. Rut Roh Raggy! The giant hurls a boulder, and she rolls 3 (!) +3 (from range) =6 to evade; the giant hits by +13… ouch! She rolls to soak the damage of 7+12+13=32 wounds, and gets 5+6=14… she suffers 21 wounds, and is down to 16. One more failed roll, and she’s done.

Round 7
Tashya rolls 4+8=12 to stealth. I’ll give the giant the chance to see her; he rolls 11+2=13 to see her! She tries to duck for cover, but cannot. He’s keyed in on her now. Without stealth (and some good rolls with it), she really has little chance to do much to this guy; she’ll hit by an average of +5, so she’ll deal an average of 5 wounds with each hit without the benefits of stealth. However, it only has 29 wounds… this is a difficult strategic choice. She cannot hope it will keep missing her, so she goes for it; she rolls her attack and gets 4+7=11 vs. its evade of 9. She hits by +2. For damage, she rolls 12+8+2=22 wounds; it soaks 15 and suffers 7 wounds; it’s down to 22. She’s done a good job so far, but her luck has run out! The giant throws a boulder at her, and she rolls to evade, getting 7+3=10. It hits by +9. Its damage is 7+9+9=25 wounds; she needs a good soak roll here. She rolls 8+6=14; she suffers 11 wounds, and is down to 5.

Round 8
She looses another arrow, rolling 7+7=14 vs. the static evade of 9. She hits by +5. For damage, she rolls 6+8+5=19 wounds; this means the giant suffers only 4 wounds after factoring in his armor, so he’s down to 18. It throws a boulder, and she rolls 9+3=12 to evade, giving the giant a +7 margin of success; she rolls to soak its damage of 7+9+7=23 wounds, and gets 7+6=13; she suffers 10 wounds, taking her to -5. She has to roll might to continue, and gets 7+0=7. She’s still up- barely!

Round 9
She fires and gets 8+7=15 to hit, so her margin of success is +6. For damage, she rolls 6+8+6=22 wounds, so the giant suffers 7 wounds and is down to 11. She’s so close! She has to dodge another boulder, and rolls 4+3=7; it hits by +12. Against its damage of 7+9+12=28, she rolls 7+6=13… she suffers 15 wounds, and is now at -20. She falls. The giant strides over and delivers a final death blow with his club, and then drags her bloodied corpse inside to have for dinner…

With the changes I made, I no longer feel that stealth is broken! It’s a great ability to be sure, but when it goes away, it leaves the hero with a big gap in his defenses, and takes away his primary combat advantage!
With some evade, Tashya would have been able to sidestep several of the giant’s attacks; even dropping her intuition to +5 would free up a few points for evade that would make a considerable difference. This 3 CPs would have been better distributed to give a few points of evade and just 1 resolve point; that would have allowed her to re-active stealth as a free turn, or take a bonus to a stealth roll that would have saved her bacon. Without it, she had to rely completely on the dice, and they REALLY let her down.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Attuned Items and Luck

As I move towards the final draft, I’m going back to other things I’ve released and seeing which concepts from other systems can make the cut in Resolute. Here are two I’m working on right now- these may not make the core rules as such, but will likely make it into the game somewhere…

Attuned Items

Attuned items are special magical devices that only you can use. I had this as a character perk in Mythweaver, but since perks don’t exist in Resolute per se (they have been wrapped into applications), I didn’t really have a place for them. They felt quite like the odd man out in terms of their use in Resolute.

However, I was thinking about how companion gives you an ally built on 2x the CP total of the linked ability; with intuition +5 (9 CPs), you get a companion built on 18 CPs. Since weapons and armor are built on CP values, it seemed easy to layer the existing framework on top of attuned items; you purchase attuned item as an application (linked to your arms or aspect). At least half of the CPs would go into the base rating for the item, but the remainder would give you other abilities… here are some examples:

An attuned sword linked to your arms +6 (+8 melee/+5 missile/+5 armor) is linked to a 12 CP ability; even though you’ve tailored arms to be better in melee, you still have only 12 CPs invested in it; you have a 24 CP attuned item; you need to put 20 CPs into the damage rating to get it to +8, and you have 4 CPs left to invest in an ability (or more than one)… this sword could give you +4 CPs to might (this seems pretty reasonable), an aura of healing +3 (4 CPs), or invulnerability +2 (2 CPs) and water breathing (2 CPs) if this was from a tribe of lizard men… you have lots of options.

An attuned wand linked to aspect +5 (9 CPs) has 18 CPs in abilities; it gives +5 (9 CPs) to damage, and grants you +3 CPs each to lore, intuition and warding.

You can only take one attuned item, but I’d see most heroes having one of these; they are quite powerful, customizable, and they allow each hero to have a ‘special’ magical device without having to constantly troll through treasure troves looking for something great. You can get an attuned item from a quest, from a special monster encounter, or even from a powerful ally. This resonates more with literature like Lord of the Rings- Aragorn’s sword is an attuned item; he has to spend character points to rebuild it and activate it, but once he does, it’s an exceptionally powerful weapon; and, only he can use it. If Legolas tries to pick it up, it’s an above-average blade.


Luck allows you to re-roll a failed (or even botched) roll… I’ve previously reserved this for the ‘lucky’ race (either brownies or gnomes depending on the edition/system) as a once per turn/scene thing. In watching Tangled with my daughter, I was thinking of the Flynn Rider character and how everything he ends up doing is luck- or lack thereof. He keeps trying to do these incredibly stupid things and getting really lucky- and then his luck runs out and he suffers an epic fail. I’m not sure that this qualifies as ‘luck’, and I’m not sure how to incorporate this in the game. I’m thinking that rogues (which I don’t have in this draft, since I originally saw rogues as either fighters who have flair or stalkers with swagger) have this ability… it’s sort of a thing where everything you do well gives you progressively more impressive results- but when you fail, you fail big.

Let’s call it moxy for the moment… moxy allows you to take a cumulative bonus each scene to all of your action rolls, up to your moxy rating; however, the first time you fail, your foe gets to add your moxy to its roll… so, with moxy +5 and precision +3, you make your first sword attack of the round at +3, the second at +4, the third at +5, the fourth at +6, the fifth at +7, and the sixth (and each one thereafter) at +8… however, that’s not all- you make ALL actions, resists and results at +5 from round 6 onward; the problem is, once you fail any action, resist or result roll, your foe gets to take +5 to its next roll against you. After that, your moxy is done for the scene; you’ve used up your juju.

It seems like you cannot have both moxy and resolve… so as a chosen human, you can take the +1 bonus to either resolve or moxy. Paladins would never take moxy, and thieves would never take resolve. Moxy is swagger and bravado, whereas resolve is willpower and dedication. With resolve, you refuse to quit; with moxy, you constantly overestimate your abilities- and often find yourself living up to those expectations in spite of yourself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monster Mash

The bestiary for the core rules has grown from about 10 monsters into the range of 50. Going back to some of my original design concepts, the idea that the core rules should include everything you need for extended play – and using the old red D+D rules as a benchmark for a ‘complete’ game – I needed more monsters.

The fun thing about this is that, by making dozens of monsters, I’ve really been able to see the differences between the previous Resolute edition and this one very clearly. I also can see the differences between Resolute now and Mythweaver versions I’ve published. It comes down to this; a monster in Resolute: TSR has fewer abilities, a shorter stat block, and far more variety than any game I’ve published. You get so much more mileage out of a few numbers- and those numbers end up being manipulated in greater ways- that you end up with more dynamic and interesting foes.

It’s freaky awesome.

Both MW and previous Resolute editions required a beast to purchase a number of abilities just to cover some of the basics of attacking and defending in the various ways that it would need to attack and defend; it would need foundational abilities upon which to build other abilities; it would need abilities to open access to secondary abilities.

Resolute: TSR clears up all that jazz. My prime example is the ogre; it has three abilities. It has arms (allowing it to wear armor and carry weapons), it has intuition (allowing it to smell foes and react quickly to jump into combat) and it has a LOT of might (so it’s big, strong, and physically durable regarding poisons, toxins- it attacks well, deals considerable damage, and is very difficult to bind or constrict). That's all the other two versions of ogres could do too... but it took a lot more information to get there.

Just for fun, here are three stat blocks for ogres: mythweaver, Resolute 2E, and finally Resolute: TSR. See the difference?

Ogre Brute (Mythweaver)
Large Master Humanoid 10 (D12)
DEX 8; MGT 12; PWS 10; STA 12
ASP –4; INT 6; REA 1; WIL 7
Armor 13; Health 184; Initiative +8; Move 10
Talents Weapon access
Attacks Oversized great club +10 (+20 total damage; delay 11); -or- oversized sling +10 (+10 total damage; 6 unit range; delay 10)
Abilities Normal armor
Gear Animal skins +3
Treasure Normal

From Resolute 2E:
Ogre Brute (Level 4; 45 CPs) Wounds 10; Treasure +1
Arms +5 (melee +7; missile +3); Invulnerable +3; Might +7; Speed +2; Stamina +6; Willpower +2

And now, from Resolute TSR:

Ogre Rockbreaker (30 CPs)
Arms +4 (Armor +3/Melee +6/Missile +3); Intuition +3; Might +8

Monday, April 4, 2011

Support Material

One of the things I’m having a small qualm of conscience about is recycling old Mythweaver material into Resolute: TSR terms. For example, I have an introductory adventure that was part of the core rules for Mythweaver 2E that I REALLY liked. I still really like it. One part of me feels like I should be generating all new content, but the other part of me (and what is growing into a larger part over time) feels that I should update this content for Resolute. Here are my arguments in favor of the upgrade:

1. It gets more content out for the game more quickly. Writing even a short adventure takes a good chunk of time. Adapting an adventure I wrote for one game into another game is time consuming, but not nearly as much as crafting from whole cloth.
2. I wrote it, and very few people (comparatively) ever saw most of this stuff. The hardcore 30 or so people who have followed me from project to project will see material that they’ve seen before; my goal is definitely to reach more than 30 players with this game.
3. Much of this content captures the flavor and texture of the world that I want to communicate. These are, in many ways, ‘foundational texts’ for Del Anon. I could re-introduce these ideas in new ways, or I could freshen them up and plug them in as they are.

Basically, I want to be able to release a monthly product to support Resolute, at least in the medium term. I run into trouble every year with scheduling; my schedule frees up after we produce our high school’s musical (February this year, but typically March) and I have about 6 months of a fair amount of free time to work on gaming stuff. Then, school starts back up in September, and I’m neck-deep in the theatrical productions I’m directing; this keeps me hopping through February again. I’d like to find a way to anticipate this cycle this year (ideally by getting a good chunk of content ‘in the can’ before I go into the deepest parts of my schedule), but that’s going to take quite a bit of planning. However, I have at least 4 books worth of material in better than 75% readiness (some of which I’ve never released at all), and this would be a good place to start.

I’m working hard to make sure that Resolute: the Splintered Realm is IT- the game I’ll be supporting for the next several years- and it’s going to be a huge job to get everything aligned with this system as I go. I clearly don’t want to get too far into this process before I completely lock down the core rules, since I don’t want to have to go back and edit a manuscript for a 25th time because I changed a rule or added an ability or something.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Book

I'm starting to lean towards making Resolute TSR available as a print edition as well... this is changing all sorts of things conceptually for me, but I have the time and space to play around with this option. Basically, I think I'd need to expand the game to about 48 pages at a 5.5 x 8.5 size to make print worth it, and then the printed books would be in the $6.95 price range. This would allow me to go a little deeper and add some more things to the core rules (for example, bumping the monster count up closer to 50 creatures, adding some more spells). I love that it's a simple little game with a simple rule set, but even at 48 half-size pages, this is VERY light by RPG standards. I can still claim that it's a small game at this size, but I'm starting to push it. I'll play around with text and layout and see where this takes me... I know that for Mythweaver, one of the things players liked with the digest-size publication was that it worked great on an e-reader. Since more and more people have such devices, it becomes more and more viable to generate content for them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Resolute: The Splintered Realm Ashcan Release Notes

As the title says, here are some release notes...

1. I know there are typos. I’m finding more every time I look at the ashcan. Feel free to send me any that you find, but I’m aware of most (if not all) of them, and they’ll be fixed for the final draft. If there’s a typo that distinctly changes how something works mechanically, please feel free to send me a reminder. I felt comfortable publishing the edition without a final thorough editing, seeing as it was a temporary working draft anyway. For example, I know that I alternate ‘arcane bolt’ and ‘magic bolt’ because of changes between drafts- I’ll get that cleaned up (FYI, it’s arcane bolt in case you’re wondering).

2. You’ll see some changes from previous blog entries to a few notable things. Disciples now use auras instead of chants (taking a shorter range, but getting a more concrete ability- how far can you ‘hear’ the disciple? What about background noise? If we’re fighting under a raging waterfall, does the ability work at all?) This cleans up many of those problems inherent in the previous approach. However, the descriptions of ‘who can hear you’ snuck into the draft, and these should all read ‘in range’ for the individual aura descriptions.

3. I simplified and streamlined monsters (again). If you want multiple attacks, you simply buy each attack, and you get to use each one each time. While the ashcan only has 8 beasts, the final version of the rules will have at least twice that many, and I think that 24 would be a reasonable starter set of monsters.

4. The core rules may end up at 20+ pages. I really want to get the rules into 16 pages, and I’m cramming as much as I can, but it feels pretty tightly-packed already, and that’s without illustrations or a starting adventure. I could almost justify pushing it to 24 pages and packing even more content, and at that point I’d have to look into a print edition as well- 24 pages is comic-book length. That would be worth having a hard copy available. There’s a break point somewhere that it’s easier to order a print edition than it is to run a copy on your printer, although I’m not sure where that break point is. For me, 24 pages is getting close. The text alone feels a bit too small, and changing from 9 point to 10 point type in the body text is going to add some pages right away. The draft weighs in at over 17,000 words, and the content I still have to add will push it into the 20,000 word range. In this case, I may look at re-formatting to a smaller book and going with a 40-50 page edition. More on that as we go...

5. One key change that eases play considerably is that everything you do happens on your turn. If you have used a poison that continues to harm a foe, it pulses on your turn; if you have an aura going, that aura pulses on your turn. The same for such effects as regeneration. This makes things so much cleaner in play; you don’t have to do a big inventory at the end of a round, figuring out all of the ongoing effects at once. It feels much smoother in how it works live.

FYI, I'm heading over to the forums right now to do some maintenance and get them ready to support RTSR content. I'll be endeavoring to use that and the blog equally over the coming weeks as development continues.