Thursday, June 2, 2011

7K - Derailed again

So, I know that it's been a while since I posted any 7 Kingdoms work. I haven't abandoned the project. But, I must admit that the live-blogging has taken something of a back seat. The biggest reason is simply that, as I've worked on the classes, I keep running into things that I don't like. I don't feel like I'm building a game that is in any way elegant, and that bugs me.

Well, part of the point to live-blogging was to get feedback, and give some insight into how this creative process works. It wasn't just a way to publish a free game cheaply. By retreating into my own head to work these problems out, I'm pretty much violating that point. So, I'm going to lay out some thoughts here.

So, while I've been working on this project, I've been looking at some of the other d20-based systems. FantasyCraft has been a big one, because I really like some of the things it does. It has a lot of rules that help to simulate all of the action that takes place outside of combat. But, the more I dig into it, the more dissatisfied I've become. The system is simply too big and too complex. It represents a huge barrier of entry for new players and GMs. Once you get up the learning curve, it all makes wonderful consistent sense. So, I'm not bashing the system by any means. But, it is a different style than what I want to do.

This was really driven home for me last weekend at DC Gameday. I played Gamma World in the morning, and Spycraft 2.0 in the afternoon. Both follow the general d20 framework, but through radically different derivations and with wildly different goals. The comparison was stark. It honestly took me twice as long to read my pre-generated Spycraft character as it took me to create my GW character from scratch. We ran into a few instances in Gamma World where we didn't have a skill to do something and had to fudge it. We ran into a couple instances in Spycraft where we had two or three skills that could be used to do the same thing in different ways, and could choose the one that best fit our character. GW ran loose and quick and made no sense whatsoever. Spycraft ran tight and quick and had an answer for everything.

In the end, I want this game to run more like GW than like Spycraft. After all, swashbuckling superheroes shouldn't be worrying about optimizing their plans and managing a complex array of resources. They need to be bold and daring, inventive and unpredictable, with the "rule of cool" carrying a lot of weight.

So, I'm going to gut the core mechanics, and try to rebuild them. I'm now looking more at Gamma World and True20 as inspirations. I'm going to be tossing out some big sacred cows. In the end, it is entirely possible that I won't be able to really call this a d20 game anymore. But, if it does what I want it to, that won't matter a bit. Take everything I've posted to date and put a pin in it. A lot of it is about to change. Going forward, I'm going to try and post in the order that I am creating things, and not in the order they would appear in the book.

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