Monday, March 11, 2013

*whew* Spells...Glad THAT's Done

Sorry for slacking off the last week. My wife got back into town and is leaving again tomorrow (with my child!) for two weeks, so I've been spending my free time hanging with them.

When I'm not gaming or writing that is.

I'll recap last Thursday's play-test of 5AK later. Suffice is to say the game went well, we had a third player (who took on the newly updated "holy man" class), and things got clarified in a good way. Also, while the "fable" feel continued, it's definitely a grittier fable, complete with pick axes buried in skulls, enslavement, and giant rat swarms. Oh, yeah...and while they don't know it yet, TWO of the PCs leveled up, which is a very good thing in my opinion (more on that later, too).

As for the writing, I've just today finished the magic portion (i.e. "spells section") of 5AK (previously, I'd only written up the first couple-three levels of spells for each class). *whew* What a chore! This is the THIRD book I've had to write spells for (unless you want to count spell examples from CDF or or psychic powers from my KWN space opera supplement...but those were only a page or two each), and it always seems to take longer than I anticipate. Not because it sucks or is boring, but you just run into unforeseen complications.

Like, considering the cosmology of the game and knocking off the spells that don't make sense in the game context and then finding yourself missing spells that do fit the context but that you never thought you needed. When I did the initial spell lists, I started with an OD&D / B/X/C hybrid...but then, as I filled in the blanks I found there were some spells that were superfluous (how many different curses did I really need) and holes that seemed like gross oversights (no summon demon?).

You also run into unforeseen mechanical difficulties. Going with an all D6 system is fine and dandy, but without percentile dice you lose a lot of easy random tables action. Instead, you're forced to find elegant workarounds that still accomplish what you want while staying in-line with the rest of the game systems. Contact higher plane, for example, was a real pain in the ass...but now that it's reworked (and renamed) I actually like it better than the original version. Same with reincarnation which as originally written, is NOT really in-line with a cosmology where only divine magic has the ability to create lasting, permanent change (aside from simple matter manipulations).

And then of course there's space restrictions.Trying to be pithy is hard enough but as it is the magic system runs about 27 pages (including charts)...which only leaves nine pages for monster descriptions (since I'm putting magic and monsters together), and I've got close to a hundred of those buggers. THAT, by the way, is the next hurdle I'll be jumping. I suppose I could always use a smaller font...but then there are still illustrations I want to include.

Ah,'s still progress, pure and simple, and I'm immensely proud of how it's turned out so far. Hopefully it won't take me a week to write the next section. It shouldn't...I'll have a lot of free time on my hands with the fam out of the country.
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