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In 2014 and 2015 I ran a campaign of Soul's Calling that reached about 22 sessions in length, plus a 5 or so session follow-on campaign. For almost every session of the main campaign I had an a-ref, himself an experienced GM, who really made something of the a-reffing role, and I have learnt a tremendous amount about the potential of the a-reffing role from that experience, as well as the traps and pitfalls to avoid.
That campaign is now no more, but in the course of it I made something in the region of 240 separate notes of edits I wanted to make to the text of the core rules. Numerically speaking I'm about half-way through implementing those edits, but whether I'm half-way through the effort required, I don't know. Many of the later edits are magical powers I'm adding, which require substantial amounts of text. On the other hand, many of the earlier edits required me to re-read and edit large sections of the existing text, or even to Ctrl+F my way through the entire text looking for particular terms.
The key write-up of the a-reffing role has already grown from two pages to six, and I feel a seventh potentially coming on. That's just the general principles of how the role can be used. There are also example "fictional elements" for a-refs to take charge of, and these may well run to fourteen pages or more, effectively being designed to function as hand-outs. But the key change here is the growth in the text describing the key elements of the role, which has at least tripled. This is a reflection of the massive amount I learnt from seeing a-reffing working in practice.
One of the players from my 2014-2015 campaign is currently reffing a campaign of Soul's Calling which has run for about six or seven sessions so far, also with an a-ref. I'm very grateful for regular updates on that campaign and it may influence my thinking as I continue to work on the edits I already have.
The editing process is affecting all areas of the game. A new stage has been added to CharGen where you choose "Fight-or-Flight Instincts", many options are in the course of being added for magically gifted characters, and the character sheet has been tweaked. I have tinkered around the edges with the initiative system, with how crossbows work and with the effects of injuries. Core edition character advancement is becoming more flexible. I have decided that I need to include proper rules on that longstanding bugbear of roleplayers, grappling. The whole way that Fate works has been revised from the ground up not once, but twice, and having settled on the third version in principle, I have tweaked it relentlessly. Some of the reffing advice has had to be revised to take account of the expanded potential of the a-reffing role, and more playstyle advice has been added. And these are probably just the more recent substantive changes. There have also been cosmetic changes, such as changes of terminology and clarification of some CharGen points. For instance, the rather dismissive term "ordinary player" (in contradistinction to "a-ref") has now been replaced with the more positive-sounding "pure player". And the split into two books is irreversible now. Player's Primer and Reffing Guide it will be.
When I will have time to finish this god-forsaken process, I don't know. I certainly couldn't have done it while finding the time and energy to keep the campaign going. Even when it's all done and dusted, that's just for the core edition, which for me is only roughly half the game:- it leaves out holy magic, mystical power, unholy magic (though that's mostly similar to the pagan magic included in the core edition), some interesting aspects of combat and some flexible CharGen tools and character advancement options. How to package all that further material will be a brainteaser.
Real Life is likely to be a significant drain on my time for the next month or so, so it may be a while before I can get any more editing of the core text under my belt. In the meantime, I shall have to content myself with enviously admiring Simon Burley's Convention schedule from afar, and wishing someone would pay me for all the bloody time I've been spending designing RPGs over frankly most of my lifetime, all of it intended to bring joy to the masses! If only they were interested!
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