Friday, April 29, 2016

Monthly(ish) Update 4.29

Hello Everyone!

So I will start with an apology, last month was a rough for John, Anne, and myself. Without dwelling on it both John and I had deaths in our respective family's, so our focus has not been on updates. Anne has picked up our slack and been sending out updates, but she is now in the final stretch of finishing her Masters. So I am back with the updates, and with a graphic (provided by Alex) showing the current progress.

Not a huge leap from last month, the only change is that Leader is now all set. The goal was to finish the XP system tweaks last night, but Anne's last paper got in the way, so that is close, but not quite there yet.

Also being actively worked on is the Hero's Journey Structure and the Hunter Augments. The Hero's Journey Structure is a GM resource for adapting Joseph Campbell's steps of the hero's journey to your games. The Hunter Augments are just being the Hunter Augments, which is to say they're being difficult. But the wrestling match with them continues.

But those are your quick updates for the end of April / beginning of May. I'll be back in another month to update you on the continued progress.

Have a great May!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Playtest Update: Character Sheet Peeks!

Holy smokes. I'm not sure how old this request is, because for some reason it didn't ping a notification to my email, but I just found it!

Could we see some updated character sheets? Maybe examples from the playtesters?

Sounds great, and sure! Since they just passed their one-year anniversary as testers, here are the sheets for our fabulous ongoing Mortal-level playtest, featuring some folks you may know from other blog posts. These are Mortals who have finished a complete Saga and played for a solid year, so they're pretty far into their development, and you'll see them looking a lot more filled out and specialized than the starting-level ones that we've been spoiling over at Kickstarter!

Alas, we don't have artwork for these characters, so their portraits are blank, and you may also notice that these are just the first pages, which is because the full sheets are elsewhere this week for storage. (Also, our graphics expert is on a job, so I put these together, so please pardon the smudges of my less professional skills.)

This set of characters is a really neat one, because you can see where this particular group decided to gravitate toward roles within the whole. While any Hero can have any set of Aspects, and there's definitely overlap between different characters who share skillsets, these are a good example of how we sometimes talk about a character as an Aspect type - for example, a Creator or a Sage, even though they clearly have other Aspects as well.

For example, these six characters clearly claimed one of the Aspects as their own and made it their home. Even though every single character clearly has some dots of Sage, it's also obvious that Bernard is THE Sage, and that while some characters have utility there and can contribute, he's the go-to guy for matters of the mysterious universe of the mind. It's equally obvious that Jennifer is the Warrior, Nate is the Trickster, Annie was the Lover, Emilia is the Hunter, and Ruby is the Leader. We didn't ask them to take on those roles or push them to develop into them; they did it on their own, responding to niches where they realized the group could use someone who was really good in a certain area, and spreading out to make sure the team had a balance of possibilities when together. That's not the only way to set up a group - you can definitely have multiple people being the Warrior or the Lover, trading in having someone who can handle any situation with the most appropriate stat for having everyone be able to absolutely demolish certain areas of expertise instead, or the ever-popular and hilarious "every problem looks like a nail" approach, where everyone goes hard into a couple of the same Aspects and become a roving band of hunter-wizards who solve all their problems with tracking skills and animal husbandry.

The only Aspect lacking a specific dedicated person in this group is the Creator (well, and the Lover now, since Annie met an unfortunate yet heroic end attempting to save her companions from being eaten by tigers), which the players consider Bernard's "job" because he has the most direct skills in it, but which is really not super focused on by anyone. That's okay - Creator powers and skills are awesome and the group could definitely use them, but they also get by fine with several people dabbling in it and pinch-hitting when necessary, and who knows, maybe someday someone will decide to invest. Or, maybe not, and then they'll either avoid creation-based stories or figure out creative (ha) solutions to those they encounter.

These folks may head on up to another tier soonish (although I say that knowing full well that their first Saga took a scientifically measured One Trillion Years, so who actually knows), but in the meantime, they're in a sweet spot where they're well-established and developed as Mortal Heroes, but not quite ready to go on to leave the fields of their human problems behind.

I'll leave you with this snapshot from Jennifer Clarke's character sheet, because she may not have a character portrait but her player does know exactly what she's about:

A true hero of our times.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Progress Update: The Votes Are In!

Okay, everyone! It's been a few weeks, so we're officially going to call the Kickstarter voting. (If you're not a KS backer, sorry, this post will be less exciting to you, but we will hopefully make up for it in the near future!

The final tally looked something like this:

A Votes B Votes C Votes
22 2 9

Those following along from afar may notice that there's an option C on that table, which didn't actually exist in the original KS post, where we offered options A and B. That's because a startling number of people over at Kickstarter (but very few here) suggested "option C", which was essentially "just keep doing what you're doing and let us know when it's done, we're not bothered about it", which was very excellent of them. (Salutes, you folks.) Not represented on this table are also a large number of votes of "C, but A I guess if that isn't an option," which started popping up around the same time as well.

So, without getting into it too greatly: you're all fantastic, but when we offered options A and B, it was because we were hearing from various backers and followers of the project that they really needed to see something concrete sooner rather than later, and since we agree that this project has gone on much longer than anticipated and you folks deserve to see some return on that investment, we came up with a few ideas for how to do that. Option C, nice though it would be for us because we wouldn't have to do anything extra, wouldn't help those folks whose voices we were responding to in the first place, so we're going to have to decide not to go with it.

But of the original two options, A clearly won by a landslide (even more so if you could the "C, but I guess A" votes, which jump that 22 up to a 35), so A it is! We will be working toward fulfilling that plan!

First Important Thing: Everything we're working on to implement Option A is stuff that had to be done before the book was finished, anyway. That means that those of you who voted C, or who aren't voting at all but were worried about delays, can mostly rest easy that we're not stopping to do things that make it take longer for you to get the final product. What we are doing is mostly redirecting the specific things we're working on so that the things Option A needs done get done first, and everything else will be done later after it's out the door. There will still be a small delay, I won't lie to you - at the end we'll have to stop to proofread everything and then put it into a form we can release to backers - but it won't be a very big one.

Second Important Things: As we have all discovered together on this winding journey, date estimates have been difficult to come up with and often don't reflect the actual final completion date. So, instead of taking a guess (educated, but still a guess) at when Option A will be finished and ready to rock, we've put together a checklist of all the things that need to get done before that, so you can follow along as they get completed.

There's a more thorough run-down of what each of those things on this list means and what we're doing with it on the Kickstarter update for backers, but suffice it to say they're all Good Stuff and they all have to be finished for the final game anyway, so hopefully even those of you not on KS will be able to follow some progress that way, too.

That's it for today's announcement! We'll let you know as things progress, and Cameron will of course continue to update while we move forward!