Soul's Calling Design Log 27 Jul 12

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Omnifray:- fantasy roleplay in the mysterious Enshrouded Lands, "a thousand worlds in one", where magic bubbles away beneath the surface, beyond the ken of the common folk, with a unique, detailed, highly flexible rules system

Soul's Calling Design Log 27 Jul 12

Postby Omnifray » 11:37am on 27 Jul 12

So I should probably warn the gaming public that I'm back working on this!

I have so much on my plate at the moment that it's not likely to go swiftly, but I will do what I can.

The major problem with my games is often that I rather take for granted my own willingness to tackle fiendish systems:- a willingness others may not share...

What I'm doing at the moment is effectively re-writing Soul's Calling from the ground up, trying to look at each page and each rule and ask myself how it gets me closer to my goals for the game and whether there's a way to achieve the end goal with fewer rules and less complexity.

This, despite the fact that by my own standards Soul's Calling is not a complex game...

Yesterday for instance I puzzled and puzzled over the speed of action mechanic which decides who goes when. I wanted to remove a layer of dice-rolls from the in-depth combat system without losing the soul of the mechanic. I think I've cracked it. Only playtesting will tell!

I will however probably be adding a dice-roll back in to the combat system, but the reason is to do away with multiple stats for weaponry and armour. All my tabletop games typically differentiate between blunt, thrusting and slashing weapons, and between bows/crossbows and throwing weapons, when it comes to how well armour works against them. I want to keep that in some way, but without a ton of stat-boxes on the back of the character sheet. I also want to spice combat up a bit. I'm tying all this together in a standard dice-roll which I hope will work.

The way I see it panning out combat will go roughly (more or less) as quickly as it does at the moment but with more variety and fewer stats on the character sheet.

The changes I envisage will also probably make the game more appealing to one of my players / play-testers in particular.

A little while ago I also started work on CharGen. The changes there do involve a certain amount of tinkering with the basic system but mainly it's about presentation, user-friendliness and ease and especially speed of use.

Will I have the next revision ready for a public playtest at Indiecon? I'm not banking on it; I haven't even bought tickets. But definitely it should be in playtest within the next 6-12 months, I would hope.

I think it's going to be a really exciting iteration of the game :-)
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Soul's Calling Design Log 27 Jul 12

Postby Omnifray » 4:01pm on 27 Jul 12

In a swift U-turn, the extra dice-check I was going to add back in is now gone, and replaced with something much better. Mental lightbulb basically! :-)
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Soul's Calling Design Log 27 Jul 12

Postby Omnifray » 7:04pm on 29 Jul 12

One of the smaller changes I am thinking of is renaming "impressionistic combat" to "soft-ruled" combat, and using the term "hard-ruled" combat for in-depth, detailed combat.

I think they are better terms to convey in simpler language the difference between the two concepts. They're a bit more... Anglo-Saxon?
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Soul's Calling Design Log 27 Jul 12

Postby ncmreynolds » 6:26pm on 30 Jul 12

How about ' narrative combat' ?

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Re: Soul's Calling Design Log 27 Jul 12

Postby Omnifray » 10:00pm on 30 Jul 12

Thanks for the suggestion. I thought about "narrated combat" and "narrative combat" but the trouble is...

* the ref actually narrates the outcomes in hard-ruled as well as soft-ruled combat...
* the ref still has some measure of discretion, even unguided discretion, in hard-ruled as well as soft-ruled combat...
* a lot more "story" probably gets told in hard-ruled combat as it goes into more detail...
* this particular game is not about the "narrative" or the "story", it's about the immersion... and I don't want to confuse people...
* it's a false association to think of storygames as necessarily rules-light and trad games as necessarily rules-heavy...

I can see that "hard-ruled" and "soft-ruled" aren't perfect terms but they make a nice dichotomy?

Any sane person would think I'm bringing way too much of the Pundit-baggage into this...
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Soul's Calling Design Log 27 Jul 12

Postby Omnifray » 12:55am on 14 Aug 12

Well, I've been doing stuff with this.

I'm going to have to put it back to one side again soon, as other priorities in life emerge.

But I am really very excited about a few things with this project. I could wax lyrical.

In fact, I pretty much will...

CharGen is shaping up to be easily operable by regular gamers. I'm not saying it's going to be particularly quick for complete novices. I've just renumbered the pages in the entry-level CharGen chapter and they run to 92 sides, not counting space for artwork. But that includes a lot of space used to list options that you randomly roll for, so you don't have to read it all. And it takes you through pretty much every aspect of the process, including statting up your magical powers (though the list of specific spells to pick from will be in another chapter). I've spent a lot of effort on holding the reader's hand and doing all the tricky workings out for them.

The character sheets are even more beautiful than they were before. I've gotten rid of pretty much the last significant bits of squeezing and cramming in information which have plagued character sheets I've made in the past. They still look fairly full but it's much clearer and easier to understand, in particular for weapon stats.

I'm just delighted with the progress I've made with the concepts of the magic system. It's a wonderful combination of flexibility, game-balance and relative simplicity (relative... all things being relative...). Weirdly, I've introduced a concept of spellcaster classes which I haven't resorted to in any game I've written in more than 20 years. (*Ahem*, I was writing a roleplaying game when I was 7...) But it's not like anything you've seen before. The central underpinning of it all is 14 schools of magic which look extremely promising.

The new system for deciding who goes when in combat looks phenomenal. Only playtesting will tell. It could be the most exciting ingredient in the whole system, the catalyst for brilliance in tactical battle scenes.

I've made up my mind to jettison chunks of complexity from the combat system. Although, they pale in comparison to the chunks of complexity I've jettisoned from the magic system.

I'm also quite pleased with changes I've introduced to the stuff about personality/behaviour.

There's a lot more to do and no time to do it for the moment, but a lot of the groundwork is laid.

It should be really, really, really good :-)
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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