Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Design Blog, #1


Going to attempt to create a design blog here for all my projects.
Until I get the ok I am going to have to use code names, sorry. But I’ll describe them here.

Secret Project #1
This project is a modern “Action Horror” using the True20 system. I am not the primary author on this one. I was pulled in because I expressed an interest in the subject matter and I really wanted the chance to write for True20. Now I know that True20 has some detractors. My own group’s regular GM has described it as a watercress sandwich. Which is kind of funny. I was at lunch with the IP owner and the primary author yesterday and they used more or less the same words to describe True20, but only they meant it as a positive thing. That is True20 provides the bread and the watercress, it is up to us to provide the meat for this sandwich. If that is the case I am certainly in charge of bringing the cheese on this project. Not cheese as in cheesy, but cheese as in that thing I really, really love on my own sandwiches.
My current task with this one is to build some background on the setting, build the Sanity rules and then work out the morality system we want to use. I was happy to see agreement with all of us, that heroes in a game need to be heroes. That is they don’t kill people and take their stuff, they protect the helpless and the innocent.

Secret Project #2
Ok this one has a name! “Eldritch Witchery” for the “Spellcraft & Swordplay” Classic-style Fantasy Roleplaying game from Elf-Lair Games. EW will bring the witch character class into the fold of the classics game with the likes of the Fighting Men, Clerics and Wizards. Why an “Old Skool” game? Why not. The time seems to be right for these things. Nostalgia is high and OGL allows for such creations.
Why witches? Well, you are reading my blog right and have to ask? Witches have long been part of the periphery of the FRPG scene and for D&D in particular.
“Spellcraft & Swordplay” is something of a retro-clone, but also it is a new game designed to emulate an old game, namely Original Dungeons & Dragons, also called the “White Box” or “Brown Box” rules. My friend Jason Vey is the head of the company and author of the ruleset. It is a very nice game if you want something for a rainy Sunday afternoon and want to recall a time when dungeons were dark, the quest was all important and you knew you were done when you had killed the monster at the end of the tunnel.
To get myself motivated to write this new book I am taking a different approach. With Ghosts and SP1 I dove head first into the source material. I don’t need to do that with witches. I have written and rewritten this class for almost every version of the D&D game there is or was (oddly enough never for Original D&D). No for this I am going back to the source. The Source really. I am going back to read the Lord of the Rings and Elric. I want to get a good feel for what was in the mind of the original creators of the games of the time. I want a real 70’s occult revival for this witch, but also something that could have been on the Fellowship of the Ring. Imagine the Fellowships’ only female member. What would she have been like? Her history, her reason for being on the Fellowship. She would have been some sort of witch, with powers different than Gandalf’s. THAT is who I want to create with this book. She was not Arwen (who was not that prominent in the book anyway) not Galadriel or even Eowyn. I am also pulling heavy from fairy tales, but I want a witch that works well in a group of adventurers.

Working on my outline for Eldritch Witchery now.

More soon...

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