Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Discovery Playtest Video

Check it out!

Discovery is a project I've been working on since last year. Part of my requirements for it was that I could describe the game in less than 10 minutes, on a video, have no book, and use only a single character sheet. I think I succeeded!

Hi, I’m Brie Sheldon, and this is Discovery.

To play Discovery you need one six-sided die per player, six different-colored markers, up to six players, and a guide.

Discovery starts with an accident. It might be small, it might be big, but most of all, it’s important. This is the moment when lives are changed.

Players define the accident through discussion. It must affect all characters, and they need to give reason enough to the guide that this accident might have the desired effect: to give them all super powers.

Once the accident is defined, character creation begins.

The players will write the name of their character in the center of their sheet. They will conceive a character and physically describe their characters to other players.

The players define the six emotions available as a group. This helps set the tone for the game. Players will discuss which color marker or which pattern will represent each emotion for their character and mark it on their sheet. They will choose a six-sided die to be their own.

To begin play, the guide describes a situation where the characters can encounter challenges or have interesting interactions. Players interact by asking questions, taking actions, or experiencing emotion.

When players encounter a question they cannot answer or challenge that seems difficult without effort, they will choose an appropriate skill. There is no skill list because the skills are created as they are discovered. Skills can include simple things like talking, or complicated things like telekinesis. When the skill is named, the player will write it onto their sheet in one of the hexes with either a plus one, minus one, or zero.

Before proceeding, the guide will ask the player how their character feels. The player will respond with a description of their emotional state, and then draw a line from the center hex to the skill hex with the appropriately colored marker. When rolling with this skill hex, if this emotion is active in the character, a plus one is added to the roll.

The player will roll a six-sided die and add the number in their skill hex to the die roll. If the result is zero, the guide will describe a result that makes things worse. If it is one or two, the guide describes how they fail. If it is three to five, the action succeeds at a cost, defined by the guide. If it is a six, the guide describes how the character succeeds. If it is a seven or above, the action succeeds with dramatic results, as defined by the guide.

The story continues as led by the guide until at least one character has filled their grid with skills. Play may continue past this point. However, at that point, the characters have been discovered.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Brie Creates Religion

Hi all!

I wanted to talk a little bit about some work I did in the past on a game setting called A Deadly Affair. It was a game run by my husband +John Sheldon, originally in a modified D&D 3.5 system, then later a modified Pathfinder system. One of the biggest elements of the game was that players were able to build parts of the setting - species, religions, cultures, historical events. It was really cool! I got to be really involved in setting creation and John allowed me to build one of the religions for the game.

The religion was called the Nord. You can read some about it on the Deadly Affair wiki page on Obsidian Portal. In the religion, there are five gods. "Norric the cruel god of ice and cold, Eitne the chaotic god of the winds and herald of change, Shima the benevolent lord of the earth representing growth and life, Raer the demanding deity of fire and warmth, and the Unnamed – a treacherous god of magic, spirits, and deceit."

I spent a long time while I was growing up reading myths and legends about Norse and Greek polytheistic religions. I was a huge fan of them. This is part of why I wanted to create a religion specifically for A Deadly Affair.

One of the first things I did was determine whether I wanted to do a polytheistic religion, or stick with a single god, or something different. I was most familiar with the myths of polytheistic religions, so I picked that. I then wanted to pull from something recognizable to begin the definitions of the gods, and I picked a compass. Norric was the North, Raer the South, Shima the West, the Unnamed the East, and Eitne as the center, ever changing.

Once I had that down, I spent a lot of time on my own just thinking about it. I wish I'd taken the time to write down everything I thought of. Hindsight, you know? If I had written it down, though, there would have been a lot about the behaviors of the gods, the rituals of the priests, and the habits of the followers. There would have been descriptions of the avatars of the gods, and of the symbols carried by the followers.

I guess, I regret not writing them down. And I'm hoping to play the game again, so maybe I can get my stuff together and write down some new information to put in the Wiki, or on here. I hope that people enjoy whatever I choose to share when the time comes.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Five or So Questions with Ryan Schoon on Edara: A Steampunk Renaissance

Here is a link to the Kickstarter!

Tell me a little about your upcoming Kickstarter. What's exciting about it?

It is a follow up to the successful launch of Edara: A Steampunk Renaissance. This campaign companion delves even deeper into the world we created, offering more maps, adversaries, background and historic information, NPCs, and plot hooks so that GMs can bring their parties deeper into the world.

What did you do to develop this new material - what kind of preparation did it take?
Well it took a lot of work to develop, honestly.

We had to really study the cultures we wanted to base our world on. We worked with an Economist to figure out how money would work passing between nations in a world like ours. I teamed up with a latin and classical cultures major to fully flesh out the details of the culture, down to the histories, traditions, politics, and day to day lifestyle.

But mostly I studied the Renaissance. One of the biggest criticisms of the Core book is that it didn't dive fully into the Renaissance themes that are present in the world. I wanted to closely resemble the movement in Edara to that of Italy during the Renaissance so it required a lot of intense study and reading, and I learned more about Renaissance italy than I ever would have :)

Tell me a little about the plot hooks. What were you looking for in the plot hooks?
So this ties in a lot to the plot hooks. The biggest themes of our game are the conflict between science vs religion, renaissance vs steampunk, and the inherent racism that comes with a mult-racial fantasy world. In the corebook, we basically said here are the themes, you can build your games around these. But the plot hooks dig deeper into that. We focus on each realm individually (and some of the bigger realms are divided into regions, or even down to cities) in order to provide these hooks. They aren't fully fleshed out ideas or adventures, just hooks to help the GM build a campaign. The types of adventures that one might go on. For example, in the human kingdom of Kuria, which is broiled down in political disputes, the plot hooks have to do with one house playing the party against the others. There is also a racist movement inside the kingdom that might attempt to use the party to act out against the other races, which puts the party in a tough position as they have to decide what is more important to them: appeasing their employers or breaking the cycle of racism that has built up in the kingdom after years of war. Meanwhile, in the Dwarven kingdom, the plot hooks are more adventurous; exploring new tunnels and ruins to find lost dwarven treasures, or escorting merchants while they sell their wares above ground.

Tell me more about the cultures you based the world on. What kind of characters and cultures will we see?
Well we have several cultures spread across the world. The humans are actually based on medieval culture with Italian Renaissance flavors. Then we have the orc mountains which is based more on nomadic Mongolian aspects with a high focus on honor. The elves are rooted more in Tolkienesque fantasy and an almost pure socialist society. So there is a lot of variety!

Is this the last we'll see of Edara, or is there more to come? If there is more - what should we be excited for?
And no this is not the last! We plan on offering future books in this line focusing on parts of Edara that we haven't seen yet. There will be this same amount of focus and death on the areas beyond the mountains and forests, which we will talk about more as time goes on! This book will lead right into the future timelines of Edara.