A whole lot of nothing happened on this blog in 2013. I spent a lot of my creative energies in 2013 at my day job at Fifth Column Games. I got laid off from there a few months back, and a lot of my creative energy since then was wasted in a whole unemployment-depression thing. Ain’t those just great? Inspired by Ryan’s post on half-done projects, I thought I’d muse on some things I’ve been working on and what I’m looking forward to digging into as I head into 2014.
Sons & Daughters
I’m currently running a Sons & Daughters campaign in meatspace. We meet every other Tuesday. It’s giving me lots of impetus and inspiration to work on the setting.
Sons & Daughters is intended to be a Savage Worlds campaign structure. I ultimately want to do a product, but the form of that product is still up in the air. A short setting book? A plot point campaign a la Fifty Fathoms, one of its direct inspirations? A boxed set with printed maps and tokens? I’m not ready to do any sort of Kickstarted monstrosity.
The good news is that I don’t have to know yet. The home campaign is forcing me to build the subsystems that I want the game to have (listed here with their main mechanical inspirations): airship travel (Fifty Fathoms and Slipstream), salvaging and trading (Fifty Fathoms, Slipstream, Atomic Highway), hometown growth (Gamma World, Flatpack), crafting (MMOs, God help me). Working on subsystems is fun. It’s a rich and delicious challenge to try and add functionality without bloating the rules too much.
Halfling Nations is a setting project that I’m doing with Ryan that I have yet to actually produce anything for. I’ll be setting some microgoals to get my side of that project rolling. We’re both pretty excited about it as a lightweight setting that could play well with whatever fantasy-friendly system you favor.
Not that publicly guilting myself is an actual motivator, and it’s not like boasting promises of productivity in a blog space actually work for making me produce content, but I’m boasting and guilting myself, anyway. And really, more than that, I’m excited to create this with Ryan and share it with you.
This is the project name for the Zelda-inspired project (thanks, Nate). I want to have a playtest ready by February.
This project is ambitious. I have the rough outline of a decently lengthy campaign in a Zelda-inspired style, eight or ten dungeons in total with an act break after the third. I’ve got an artist who’s expressed some interest in working on the project with me, and a designer who wants to help with dungeon design. My ultimate goal would be to release the game as a boxed set, a complete experience including the rules and campaign and a cloth map. None of these parts are things I’ve completed entirely before, so it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of learning, a lot of growth. This is a whale I could be chasing for years. I’d better get on that sooner rather than later.
What I’m Not Working On
Frontiers: Frontiers is up on blocks, so to speak. The design of the native New World cultures is inspired by my popular literature- and high school social studies-influenced understandings of Native American cultures. Which is to say, hells of problematic. This is something I’ve come to care more about in recent years than in my earlier years of working on the setting. Before I can confidently prioritize moving work on the setting forward, I need to up my knowledge of Native American history. There’s a difference between well-researched inspiration and reductionist caricature.
Oh, and that whole “analog of Darkest Africa is where the orcs come from” thing needs to be like crazy rethought and finessed. Even I was giving myself side-eye on that one.
Rocketpunk: Not sure what I want to do with this concept. Maybe a Slipstream-style Savage Worlds Plot Point frame. Maybe a fiction or comics project. Regardless, I would need to do a lot of research into the 50s and 60s so I can then put them in space. I haven’t had the inspiration to sit down and do that.