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Author Topic: I designed the kung-fu post-apocalyptic RPG Lone Wolf Fists: Ask Me Anything!  (Read 664 times)

Azraele

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Hello everyone!

My name's Joel, and recently I finished the design and writing on a martial-arts RPG that I've been working on for a few years now!
It's a post-apocalyptic successor game to Legends of the Wulin, which is rightfully renowned as one of the greatest wuxia games ever written.
It's currently getting kickstarted, but I've got hype threads for the commercial aspect of that.
With this thread, I wanted to come on and talk about the design, and some of the interesting challenges I faced while making it.

I wanted to start with a little info on the game's mechanics, which I've spoiler-tagged for ease of reading. These should get you caught up on the roots of the game and how it's played succinctly!

The very most basics: Taking actions
[SPOILER] This game uses a pool of 10's, similar to Legends of the Wulin, we call Effort. Dice are rolled and grouped into matches called Sets. The more matching dice, the bigger (and hence more powerful) the set.
Each set gives you an action. Once per turn, you can take a single action using just 1 die. Defending can always use single dice, if you like.
Additionally, there's actions you can take requiring no set (very mundane stuff, but you'd be surprised how effective throwing a humble lever can be in the right circumstance!)
You can save some of your dice form turn to turn in your Focus slots.
Finally, you have magic fuel called Prana which is produced from your Chakra. Each character has Seven total, but most are closed and inaccessible for starting characters (you open more as you progress).
The effect of an action is governed by one of seven Effect Charts, each linked to one of the seven Skills (Power, Endurance, Agility, Senses, Intellect, Heart and Spirit). Lower-ranks allow you to perform human-level outcomes, mid-ranks are the providence of machines, monsters and spirits, while the very top lets you achieve godlike feats.
Finally, characters have an Effortless trait roughly equal to their Effort/4. This is the Rank of action they can take without needing to roll dice. It can also be used as their defense if they choose not to use sets to defend themselves against a strike in combat.
[/SPOILER]
Characters
[SPOILER] Characters are one of three types: Strong, Cunning, or Enlightened. Strong have more Effort, Cunning have additional Focus, and Enlightened have more open Chakra.
Players select mystical martials arts moves, called Techniques or Yuddhukalha, to build their character from there. They can additionally select one of the subtle secret arts called Gupt Kala, which give them less direct ways to do things (such as social magic which can place emotional status effects on their foes).
Their moves must come from a teacher or a kung-fu manual: characters get the deepest access by beginning loyal to one of seven major clans, and the broadest access by being Ronin (clanless).[/SPOILER]
Fighting
[SPOILER] Asskicking time! Everyone rolls Effort at the start of round, and an additional d10 for Initiative. If combatants like, they can replace their Initiative with one of their sets in an Initiative Bid. Bidding continues until the true action order is established, then everyone begins to take their turns.
NOTE: This rule emerged out of playtesting! Players quickly noticed that setting the pace of combat was EXTREMELY valuable (it effectively "flips" your opponent's attacks into defenses!) so we added a resource-drain mechanic so there was a tradeoff for that privilege
On your turn, you use any Sets you rolled at the start of the round to launch attacks or take actions.
NOTE: Interacting with the environment can be a big advantage; the game runs in a modified Theatre of the Mind, with the description of the environment "solid" enough to have rules-consequences for players (but still allowing them enough imaginative wiggle room for awesome kung-fu stunts).
Concretely, powerfully superior positioning can grant Advantage, which can be used for bonuses. Conversely, getting into a bad position (like waist-deep in toxic sludge) will impose Disadvantage, which hurts your movement and defense options. To discourage turtling, we found that ranged attacks shouldn't carry Advantage except in special circumstances.

Players attack with as many Sets as they like. Their target defends with Sets of their own, subtracting them directly from attack (only one defense per attack). Any positive number remaining post-defense is damage, which they can blunt either with their protective Aura (which is small) or absorb with their Health boxes (which cause injuries if damaged too much).
Weapons can be used once per round to give a bonus to attacking; different weapons grant different bonuses
Effortless defense can be used against an Attack, but sucks so it's generally a bad option. Armor increases it, but again kinda sucks so really only matters when things get super tight and dicey (as god intended!) [/SPOILER]
Magic Kung-fu
[SPOILER]
Players can unleash their kung-fu super moves by paying their cost in Prana (stronger moves require more Prana). These broadly either attack, defend, or allow for some new unique action (like dissolving into a swarm of rats or regenerating limbs). When used for attack or defense, they add their Rank directly to the attacking or defending Set, OR, if they have a Rank of 2 or higher, create one wholesale.[/SPOILER]
Magic fuel: Chakra and Prana
[SPOILER]
You've only got so much magic power! Each Chakra gives you a small pool of Prana (10 at first) that recovers only slowly every round (you get 3 back per Chakra at first). It's easy to burn through them all quickly and be left with your cheese in the wind! Thankfully, you also have some Chakra that are nearly open, called Slumbering. During your turn, you can take an action to Awaken these Chakra, which fill with Prana at the end of the round.[/SPOILER]
Getting injured: Wounds and Imbalances
[SPOILER]
If you lose a Health box or more to damage (they have 10 points each in most cases) you start taking Wounds. These offer a mechanical tradeoff; either you lose some of your Effort, lose access to some Chakra, close off Focus slots, or you have to abide by severe restrictions to your actions (like not being able to move using your legs, or not attack using your arms). Getting wounded can have a deadly impact on your ability to remain effective in combat! Post-battle, these Wounds can upgrade into long-lasting injuries called Imbalances.
NOTE: This came out of playtesting too! It's actually a super-recent rule that got into the latest draft. Imbalances were a little too easy to get in earlier versions of the game, encouraging players to much too defensive strategies. Adding a buffer retained the brutality of fights, but left the characters less crippled if they got their assess kicked[/SPOILER]

Everybody all caught up? Awesome! I want to discuss a couple of the weird and interesting issues I ran into designing this game and how I resolved them. I plan on posting an update a day, every day of the kickstart (now until the 18th of June). I'm gonna be covering topics like:
  • Some of the interesting consequences of the fighting system
  • Different elements like the war combat, monsters and vehicles I wanted to include and how I made them manifest
  • The importance of designing "what a person can do" and tiering the things characters, monsters and gods could achieve from there
  • The GM-facing rules like creating areas to explore and events to unfold
  • Some of the high-concept stuff like how I made higher-level characters function as bosses against groups of lower-level characters
  • The long, agonizing journey to crafting our theater-of-the-mind approach to battlefields
  • And other weird stuff that cropped up during the game's design!



Stay tuned, if you like that kind of thing! And if you have any comments or questions, chime right in! I'm thrilled to have made this game and I'm eager to talk about it with you!
Joel T. Clark: Proprietor of the Mushroom Press, Member of the Five Emperors

Azraele

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Some of the interesting consequences of the fighting system

When I first began to work on this project ,it was under the auspices of David Ramirez. This was before EOS Press went out of business and we were actually working with him on a lighter introductory version of Legends of the Wulin.

I'd been playing the game for a while and although I really enjoyed it, I noticed some snags at my table. I immediately brought those yo attention; and, because I'd found some workarounds to those issues, I also brought those up and this this rapidly got me a reputation in our little group for being a problem solver (or at least a clever enough guy to take on the task of trimming some of LotW's heavier mechanics).

One of the most notable issues that my table ran into was just the sheer amount of rolls we had to do a turn. Because we were rolling entire pools of dice (which required performing calculations and making decisions) every roll was an attention-intensive process. This became very time-consuming when we tried to ask the game very simple questions (do I hit, can I block this attack, etc.).

The first question I asked myself was "how few rolls are necessary per round?" and the logical place to start was at 1 (the smallest possible number). My idea was to roll at the beginning of the turn and then use the sets as a limited resource throughout the round.

It worked well; a happy bonus was that it drew out the importance of that initial roll and therefore the start of every round. This gave me the idea to make the "chi imbalances" (the tradeoff between penalties or action restrictions)  a decision that you made at the very beginning of a combat round. This way the penalty could cascade throughout your turn rather than being something that you had to constantly make decisions on every time that you took a new action.

This did mean that some of the more interesting elements of the resolution had to be minimized or discarded, unfortunately. Waves, for example, which were actions you would choose at the beginning of your turn in the initiative roll and resolved later when your initiative came up had to get dropped. Because we only rolled one time, it was simply easier to map the action that you were taking directly to using your sets on your turn. I actually deeply regret this loss, but I couldn't think of a way to preserve it without adding more complexity to the system then it really needed to function.

Modifying the more elaborate elements of the mechanics had the happy consequence of focusing players much more on their dice as a resource and on the immediacy of using them as they are linked to their actions. This really made the game "pop", giving it an edgier, more immediate play style, as opposed to Legend of the Wulin's more thoughtful and strategic approach.
It also meant that it became much easier to calculate the difficulty of a given encounter. For example, when I was crafting the die pool for a monster or powerful enemy, I could compare it. with the aggregate of all of the character's pools as a rough yardstick for measuring whether or not the encounter would be challenging. Equal sized or unequal-favoring-the-foe sized pools meant that the players were in for a rough time. If the players had the advantage, however, the dogpile effect of their superior Effort meant that they would likely curb-stomp their overwhelmed opponent.
Joel T. Clark: Proprietor of the Mushroom Press, Member of the Five Emperors

Spinachcat

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What setting design challenges did you face?

How long does an average combat last in actual play?

Is combat theater of the mind or is there a grid component?

What's the link to your Kickstarter?

JeremyR

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So this has nothing to do with the Joe Dever's Lone Wolf RPG books?
http://osrnews.blogspot.com/ All the news about OSR products I can scrape up, including a weekly roundup of new OSR stuff at RPGNow

Azraele

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Quote from: JeremyR;1130885
So this has nothing to do with the Joe Dever's Lone Wolf RPG books?

Aside from sharing a rather stylish name, our games have nothing in common. Joe's game is *completely radical*, mind, he just isn't involved with this bad boy. Just wanted to clarify! No copywrite infringement intended! Please don;t sue me, Joe! I love your stuff!

Quote from: Spinachcat;1130876
What setting design challenges did you face?

How long does an average combat last in actual play?

Is combat theater of the mind or is there a grid component?

What's the link to your Kickstarter?


Oh man these questions all rule. Lemme see...

Playtest combats have run the gamut from 1-round curbstomps to 7+ round slobberknockers, although it really depends on just how tough the combatants are. Higher-level, more-or-less evenly matched sides resulted in enormous battles with lots of things going on. That tended to bloat the resolution of a given round, but not in a bad way; there are more moving parts and more resources to spend on doing cool stuff as power levels climb, so the natural consequence was longer fights. In terms of minutes? I'd say most initial combats have longer first and second rounds, somewhere near 5-7 minutes each as players learn their moves and get used to the game's strategic demands. That shrinks to about 2-ish minute rounds as they become more familiar, but a really challenging fight might dilate as players debate over strategy (which is really engrossing and fun, in practice!)

Combat is theater of the mind, but there's a few behind-the-screen tricks to keep positioning tracked. Positioning and movement is still incredibly important! So tracking it in a way that wasn't a total headache but allowing the crazy freedom of movement the genre required was.... Well, it took a couple years to figure out. You're welcome XD

Oh jeez, Link right here, sorry! I suck at self-promotion!

Also, some setting reading for ya'll to enjoy!

[SPOILER]
The setting has been a big question for folks; so let's talk about it!
There are seven major martial Brotherhoods that reign in seven geographically distinct territories. Because each clan's Yuddhukhala (mystical fighting arts) allow the control over an element, there's a strategic consideration in their choice of domain!
The clans and their territories are as follows.
Radioactive Scorpions
The punk misfits of the martial world; their biker gang ancestors took the radiation-baked Cursed Wastes which nobody else wanted or dared. There they found the other half of the clan's ancestry; the Djinn and other mystic creatures that had been awakened by the thunder of atom bombs. Much fighting, drinking and eventual intermarriage resulted in the birth of the clan, which is somewhere between squabbling tribes of wasteland barbarians and an extended, deeply dysfunctional family.
The Cursed Wastes
A deadly desert of lingering radiation, apocalyptic storms and hellish monsters. Tank-sized crabs, armor-skinned dragons, scorpion men, and cloud-riding rakshasa lair in the baking sands alongside howling, hockey-masked and mohawked wasteland barbarians. Beneath the cursed bedrock is a black ocean of crude, which serves as the source of the Scorpion's wealth.
Shadow Vipers
Assassins and sorcerers, the Shadow Viper's ancient crime empire joined many disasters that ended the old world. Now they sell spell and blade to the highest bidder, hoarding wealth and arcane knowledge in their devil-haunted city.
Suicide Heaven
The graveyard of a once sprawling megalopolis, Suicide Heaven's very streets were scarred with arcane runes used to plunge the city closer to Naraka. The veil between the mortal realm and hell is thin in this black place. Demons skulk among the criminal denizens, who obey the laws of whatever monster or professional murderer that lays claim to their shadowy district.
Emerald Kirin
Savages in savage times; the Emerald Kirin inhabit the world's last and most primordial jungle: P'an-ku, the Cradle of God. Behemoths and bloodthirsty gods are their neighbors. Using a ruthless martial art deciphered from bloodstained pictographs, the jaguar-warriors of the Kirin protect their hostile but verdant lands from the concrete hands of outsiders.
P'an-Ku: Last Jungle, the Cradle of God
Rotten with ancient evil, swarming with hideous life, alive with impossible mystery; P'an-ku boils green and hideous from the black soil of eons. Ruined temples from devoured civilizations mark the passing of uncountable epochs in this realm of tooth and claw, where god and monsters walk in the same flesh
Golden Lions
The kings of the dead world failed, but their legacy did not die with them. Their champions, noble souls with heroic hearts picked up their rusted crowns to forge a new civilization from the ashes of the old. The Golden Lions are paladins and monarchs of the dry but hospitable desert plains they call the Proud Lands. Here, guarded by their heroes and lords, the people eke out an existence as serfs, plowing their meager harvests with repurposed truck beds and eating sandy wheat from dented hubcaps.
The Proud Lands
Desert and plain, grey and gold and deep blood red rock rising in dream shapes from hardpack salt. The land isn't dead, but it is cruel; stinging pebble-black winds scour the scanty topsoil; harvests are slim and grey. Windmills of scrapped tin lean on red stone castles. In the deeper deserts, surreal stones rise impossible, red-orange and every color of sunset dream from white sands. The mystics who vision-quest here return changed, witnesses to some higher truth.
Silver Phoenix
A strange and terrible power was discovered by mankind in it's final days; the psychic energies of the Unearthly Gift. Codified into a martial art by the wretched survivors of a holocaust they helped unleash, the Silver Phoenix use the science and intellect of the fallen world in conjunction with their eerie mental powers to manipulate events behind the curtain of the world. From their silicon thrones in the pipe and gear-work labyrinth of Chrome Galaxy Laboratory, the Phoenix send their legions of cultists and zealots dream-visions to shape the emergence of a new era of enlightenment.
Chrome Galaxy Laboratory
Extending for uncountable miles below the half-drowned, holy capitol Rising Sun City, Chrome Galaxy Laboratory is a hissing, grinding behemoth of iron pipes, glistening steel gears, and crashing brass pistons. As alive and hungry as a titanic metal god,  even the Phoenix haven't mapped the sprawling miles of it's concrete intestines. Above, the priests and prophets cultivated by the Phoenix run a theocracy of visionaries and fanatics, standing ever ready to follow the distant call of their dream-gods to whatever cause requires their lives.
Brotherhood of Freaks
The horrible hot winds that sweep the fallen world mutilate those unfortunates caught in their wave. Those with the grit to survive are mutated beyond recovery; most slough off to die alone, but those persistent few with heroic souls find brothers and sisters waiting for them in the labyrinths that connect the far-flung reaches of the fallen world. The Brotherhood of Freaks wear their ruined flesh with pride; couriers, messengers and guides through the Maze Below the World, their monopoly on travel through this expedient but deadly realm of endless night and cold keeps their protectorate mutants fed and healthy in their dismal home.
The Maze Below the World
Never-ending tunnels carved by long-dead architects, the Maze was once a wonder of the fallen world. Now it is a lightless, sunken underworld, people by leviathans, sightless cannibals, ghosts and dying gods. The Brotherhood alone claim some tenuous dominion in this frozen, misty catacomb. It's outlets emerge into toxic swamps and drowned dumps whose poisons and radiation spell death to less hearty souls than the already radiation-resistant Brothers and Sisters, who use such sites as strongholds in the sunlit world.
Five Star Spirits
Recently extinct, the Five Star Spirits were the world's most deadly assassins. Adhering to an austere philosophical code in their sole mountain sanctuary Heaven's Wheel, the meditative killers took only petitioners whose motives they judged in line with the wishes of Heaven. Jealous or terrified of their supreme killing art Five Gateways, the Mockingbird Emperor wiped them out in a single night of hell on earth; it is said ten thousand men and demons died for every Spirit killed, though certainly that is a myth.
Heaven's Wheel
The mountaintop monastery of the Five Star Spirits rests quiet and scorched from the violence of the clan's demise on the peak of The Pillar of Heaven, the world's tallest mountain. It's secret chambers extend deep into the stone belly of the incredible mountain; who can say what treasures and secrets lie buried within it's trapped and ghost-filled halls?
[/SPOILER]
Joel T. Clark: Proprietor of the Mushroom Press, Member of the Five Emperors

Spinachcat

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Quote from: Azraele;1130948
In terms of minutes? I'd say most initial combats have longer first and second rounds, somewhere near 5-7 minutes each as players learn their moves and get used to the game's strategic demands. That shrinks to about 2-ish minute rounds as they become more familiar, but a really challenging fight might dilate as players debate over strategy (which is really engrossing and fun, in practice!)


Do you mean Minutes Per Player? Or Minutes Per Round? AKA, if its 5 minutes per player and there are 5 players, its 25 minutes for a round.

What's the GM side timewise for running an equal number of opponents?


Quote from: Azraele;1130948
Combat is theater of the mind, but there's a few behind-the-screen tricks to keep positioning tracked. Positioning and movement is still incredibly important! So tracking it in a way that wasn't a total headache but allowing the crazy freedom of movement the genre required was.... Well, it took a couple years to figure out. You're welcome XD


Explain!

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Quote from: Spinachcat;1130955
Explain!

I just wanted to say that I read this in the voice of Lemongrab. That high pitched whine he gets when saying things like "Unacceptable!" I needed that.
It's not rocket science; but when you're an idiot - everything is rocket science. Right? - tenbones

Azraele

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Quote from: Spinachcat;1130955
Do you mean Minutes Per Player? Or Minutes Per Round? AKA, if its 5 minutes per player and there are 5 players, its 25 minutes for a round.

What's the GM side timewise for running an equal number of opponents?

Explain!


I was talking in time-per-round; our tables were generally three players and a GM, with a notable 5-player-to-GM which admittedly got pretty crazy (there's enough resolution that you're adding somewhere between 1-1:30 minutes for the fourth, but closer to 4-6 for the fifth, to give you an idea)

The GM side is much faster, even for multiple villains; because you roll at the start of the round, you kind've run them like a single "big" character. I'd say the staggered initiative makes the foe's side come out in waves of offense, which feels good when you're running it and breaks up your decision-making nicely. I have the advantage of being the designer, so my slice of those times above was about 1/4th or less. Other GMs trended toward 1/2 of the times at first, then rapidly moved down to about 1/3rd or less.

Addressing the movement and positioning:

The description of a Field (the theater on which a fight takes place) describes the general terrain and dimensions that characters move over. This is basically theater of the mind; you just say where you are contextually from that description of the terrain.

The problem was, that tended to make the positioning a "blob" at first; since we weren't tracking specific positions (because characters are really mobile when they're flipping around doing kung-fu) characters tended to be "where they need to be" which made ranges kind've a non-factor. I liked the ease of it, but obviously wasn't satisfied that we had effectively removed swathes of strategies by abstracting away the reason for them.

The solution I hit on was to "draw out" the notable terrain features with some very light mechanics, and attach a bonus/penalty to them (think something like the advantage/disadvantage from 5th edition here, very light but important).

Essentially every "big" (in terms of "strategically important") terrain feature in a Field has a name and a 1-sentence-or-so description written up in the description. Because destroying the terrain is a viable strategy, they've got a sort of set of health boxes (these double as a clean way to track if it's on fire or electrified or something, as well).

Getting to places is done both descriptively and with the movement rules; the stronger you movement action, the more freedom and speed you have to choose where you go. So spending your combat-resources on positioning (as opposed to attack or defense) can be a really good strategy and isn't just "what you can do anyway". If you move to a high perch, for example, you can shoot a sword-wielding foe with a gun and they can't hit you back unless they spend to move to where you are.

When a player wants to claim a bonus (or avoid a penalty) their description of their movement has to put them in a position where they could reasonably do that; when they've got their position described, you simple put a little chit (or a mark or whatever) representing them next to the feature they're on/in. That's where they "are" until they get to move again.

Whenever the terrain gets altered or destroyed, you can just update the description of the feature. Also, if you find the players (or you) are using a feature of the terrain you haven't drawn up anything for, you're just a sentence, a bonus and some boxes away from giving it the mechanics it needs to interact with the battle.
Joel T. Clark: Proprietor of the Mushroom Press, Member of the Five Emperors

Azraele

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First truly gratuitous bump here: We've got a free introductory adventure and quickstart for ya'll to sample and our playtest of the adventure premiers tonight (June 1st) at 8pm central. Jump on in to that premier for additional Q&A!

Edit: Didn't feel like doing another bump: We've got a Q&A with Dan Davenport TOMORROW night (6/3/2020) at 7:30PM CDT!
To join: https://tinyurl.com/randomworldsIRC
Log to be posted at: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/

IN ADDITION: We're going to be interviewed at The Monastery! Be there at 8:00  PM CDT!

And here's that interview:

« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 11:57:45 PM by Azraele »
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I initially read about your game on 4chan, and got excited about it, then when I saw the kickstarter I immediately backed it. My concern right now is you have 2 weeks left on the campaign and it doesn't look like there is much movement on it. (which bums me out big time)
my question is, are there any release plans if you don't make your goal?

Azraele

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I think that's been an attitude that's kept a lot of people from pledging. I feel like:
1) We're conditioned to assume that if a kickstarter doesn't fund in seconds or hours, it's a catastrophe and it's best not to get involved
2) I actually opened accidentally ahead of my expected open date, so by the time word got out enough daysd had passed that I'd missed that golden window and even enthusiasts bailed

It's got a real stock-market vibe to it. Lesson learned.

In terms of release: No, I didn't plan for the complete failure of the KS. I intentional set what my research had assured me was a realistic goal. Then the world burned down twice and I started getting cancelled on twitter and just, everything went to hell really quick.

So currently I'm weighing my options. The text is written, and clearly it's got fans and supporters but obviously the zeitgeist which makes kickstarters fund isn't there: there's simply not enough irrational optimism to weigh against our natural inclination towards conservative pessimism.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet, hence no KS statement on the matter. I mostly need funds for art, editing and layout, and the amount we've now proven to be worth to our fans makes me very optimistic that, in different circumstances (say, if I'd opted for a POD release instead of offset run, which would have halved the funding goal) we would have enough to make an outstanding game out of what I've designed and written.

So there's that. I'll keep the KS updated while it runs; from there? I guess we'll see. Unfortunately there's a lot of demands on my time and mental energy this week, so I'm not likely to get into any serious move until next Monday (assuming the union doesn't collapse, jesus christ this year...)
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remial

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I wasn't trying to be a negative nancy, or anything, I hope the game is funded, hell I'd LOVE it if it were funded. WotG and LotW were games that I thought were really cool, and for there to be another one in the same vein, has me really excited.  I pledged as much as I could afford (probably more than I can really afford, but who needs food anyway?), and if I could, I'd cover the entire cost myself.  I only asked because I've backed several games on Kickstarter that sounded cool but never met their goals, and they just faded away never to be seen or heard from again.

It frustrates me that cool games like yours don't get enough attention, but pathfinder books that are the same damn thing as every other pathfinder book can be crapped out on a weekly basis, and meet their goals again and again.

Once again, I apologize if my earlier question came across as negative, but I worry overly much about the worst case scenario.

Azraele

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Quote from: remial;1132797
I wasn't trying to be a negative nancy, or anything, I hope the game is funded, hell I'd LOVE it if it were funded. WotG and LotW were games that I thought were really cool, and for there to be another one in the same vein, has me really excited.  I pledged as much as I could afford (probably more than I can really afford, but who needs food anyway?), and if I could, I'd cover the entire cost myself.  I only asked because I've backed several games on Kickstarter that sounded cool but never met their goals, and they just faded away never to be seen or heard from again.

It frustrates me that cool games like yours don't get enough attention, but pathfinder books that are the same damn thing as every other pathfinder book can be crapped out on a weekly basis, and meet their goals again and again.

Once again, I apologize if my earlier question came across as negative, but I worry overly much about the worst case scenario.

Wat

You don't got to apologize to me dude. I'm cranky about the failing KS thing but not at my fans; you guys are the high point! Every single interaction with a fan of this game has restored my faith in humanity and ya'll been overcoming your shyness in droves messaging me about how great the game is, and how much you love it, and how excited ya'll are for it.

It's been incredible.

You weren't coming off mean. I'm just pissed I don't currently have better news for you.

Give me a little bit. My pasty ass still sun-sick from the marching I did yesterday (that I stole homework and sleep time for, paying for that now). Once I get caught up and a refreshing night of sleep, I'm gonna figure the next move to make this game happen to whatever degree it possibly can.

I mean by all means I'd welcome a fiscal miracle but, assuming it don't come to pass; I ain't letting all this work go to waste.

Keep your nose clean, True Believer; it wouldn't be the game it is unless it could weather it's own apocalypse.
Joel T. Clark: Proprietor of the Mushroom Press, Member of the Five Emperors

GeekEclectic

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How are you handling loresheets? They were one of my favorite parts of the older games. My only minor complaint is that there wasn't something like a mini-index of loresheets in the character creation/advancement section. It would have been super helpful to see them all, with perhaps a sentence or two description along w/ the page reference, at a glance.
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Azraele

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Quote from: GeekEclectic;1133043
How are you handling loresheets? They were one of my favorite parts of the older games. My only minor complaint is that there wasn't something like a mini-index of loresheets in the character creation/advancement section. It would have been super helpful to see them all, with perhaps a sentence or two description along w/ the page reference, at a glance.

Delicately. I admire loresheets but I dislike two important aspects of them:
1) Spending your advancement resource on anything other than advancing your character's capabilities
2) Adding elements of setting to a character outside of interacting with it

In both cases, you're approaching the game as a story (in a removed sense) rather than immersively (through the actions of your character). It thwarts the sense of exploration the game attempts to foster with its dungeoncrawl-reminiscent exploration mechanics.

Let me put it succinctly:  if you can tell what's behind a door before your character opens it, why would you open it?

Similarly, why would you go somewhere interesting (with all the danger and pacing of a journey through a post-apocalyptic hellscape) when you could simply purchase an entanglement from a huge list of meta-resources? The first (the opening of the door, the journey) is the playing of the game. The second is meta-game; building your character from a list of options.

I'm of the philosophy that the best time to do that is chargen. Which, you'l note, is essentially opposed to the technology that loresheets are offering.

But I can't harden my heart entirely to them; they're a charming part of why I loved LotW, and they present the setting in terms of something attainable and real to players (I can't tell you how much it lit my mind on fire to be able to "grab" Tiger Soul's loresheet from back in WotG!).

So now you entangle yourself in things by interacting with them, but they unlock character-advancing options. For example, swear allegiance to a major clan, they're considerably more likely to give you access to their territories, armory, of course their secret fighting arts... Ditto for individual masters, or basically anyone/thing that can teach you Kung-Fu.

Which means you effectively unlock loresheets as a kind of reward for interacting with the world. Your advancement options are predicated on what's available from that interaction; you want to get some new super-moves? Gotta go where they are and dig them out.

(Of course you start with some too. Also, you can teach others your knowledge. What price do you extract for that? This lets you use them to do things like enhance the value of followers or bargain politically, territory that didn't have a lot of mechanical support in those earlier games)

So, like I guess with everything else, I changed them to fit the new game assumptions and pacing mechanisms. But man, how dumb would I have been to toss them out entirely?
Joel T. Clark: Proprietor of the Mushroom Press, Member of the Five Emperors