As play testing continues there is bound to be some changes to previous releases. Two have recently come up as the magic system has been being tested.
On Aptitude – Slow, Meticulous Actions
This mechanism was designed as a way to avoid dice rolling when someone could just declare they were taking their time to get it right. With the magic system players have wanted to use this to just be sure of a bare success when summoning a weather pattern, however the original values were just too onerous. So we have slimmed down the time multipliers to make it more usable.
The play screen has also been updated with these new values.
The Adventure Cycle – Reputations
The reputation system is great for shaping “in the field” play. However as we played on we found that, as well as generosity and honesty, players wanted reputations for mercy, justice, bravery and a host of other detailed things. Too many of these and things get diluted and nitpicky. So after some variations and trials we have settled on a reputation of “Benevolence”, which encompasses the previous reputations of honesty and generosity and also the other good, or bad, acts in the field.
Reputations like quest, hirelings and companion treatment remain, since they are tied to specific transactions in the game system.
The character sheets have been updated accordingly.
Future System Impact
Part of the future design includes Mysticism, which involves mastering relationships with the incorporeal spirits of the magic world. The initial intent was that fine tuned reputations would be important to them. However this has been revised so that spirits have their own specific behavior likes and dislikes, which they will try to directly observe, enhancing or detracting from the relationship with them.
After a long struggle, and much virus dodging, we are pleased to announce The Book of Struggles is now available in a pdf format as a “pay what you like” item at DriveThruRPG.
This adds an abstract mechanism for conflict between characters, whether its a combat, a chase, a game of cat and mouse or a stand off, a social struggle or even a battle of wills between wizards.
This release will be followed by a series of toolkits with rules extensions, examples and extra ideas for specific conflict situations, beginning with combat between individuals at close quarters or in a missile exchange.
Work has also begun on “Mists of the Carpathians”, a historical / fantasy adventure setting. It is set in the mid 1400s, the time of Vlad III, the Impaler, Dracula and Voivode of Wallachia. Stay tuned for more on that!
On Aptitude – character definition and development and necessary additions to action process
The Book of Struggles – handling conflict like combat, chases, computer hacking etc.
Of Wealth and Treasure – character and corporate possessions, assets and the power of wealth
Us and Them – factions and their behaviour in a low prep manner
Time Wise – pacing and time management structures for your games
And beyond the core there are now three settings to choose from for development:
When the Plague Came A flu like plague that sweeps the world turns out to have worse consequences as many survivors become murderously paranoid or rabid.
Shadow Over the Galaxy Mankind settled the farthest reaches of the galaxy 3,000 years ago. As the immortals of the core worlds fall into more conflict with the provinces, something lurking in the dark between the space lanes begins to cast its shadow over civilisation.
Time Roads Atlantis built a massive network of roads between eras, securing its domination over a 4,000 year stretch of history. Then the chaos wave smashed through the network, wiping Atlantis from history leaving the history we now know in its place. There are a few pieces of time travel technology and surviving time roads to be exploited by the survivors and those that stumble into it.
The Kickstarter will allow backers to vote on which of these three settings will get developed first. Only backers votes will be used to make the decision. I will obey their choice.
This is the first planned set of items being created in 2020 for the All Us Gamers collection. The Inner Core has already been released. Here is a look at what each of the other works are.
Core – On Aptitude
In the Inner Core, when your character is trying to do something, you decide your character’s aptitudes as you go. Aptitude gives a number that can alter how many dice you get to roll in the Dice Engine procedure for deciding how things turn out. This is great for playing in a very improvisational way. However it is useful to have slightly more structure than that when designing and running your character, so you don’t have to do all the mental work without support by some guiding process.
The On Aptitude module provides a more structured way to define your character’s capabilities. There are four aptitude types defined, Attribute, Culture, Profession and Specialisation. Each of these describes an aptitude level and the circumstances where it can be applied to an action or save. The guide does not list all possible variations of aptitude description, instead allowing players to provide meaningful descriptions such as Profession: Engineer 1 or Specialisation : Star Drive Engineer 2. During play the application of these aptitudes is guided by an understanding of the described aptitude spheres and negotiation with the GM and play group.
There is also a system for improving your character’s aptitudes over time through training and adventure experience. Experience is gained by achieving team objectives. The section regarding character behaviour due to “motivation” plays in to this by giving additional experience when an objective is achieved if it aligned with a character’s motivation .
This module of the Core is heavily play tested and nearing completion. It should be released sometime in January 2020.
Core – Book of Struggles
This module lends structure to playing out conflicts between characters and groups. It introduces a general game structure called a struggle, where each side in a conflict is simultaneously trying to do something to the other while defending itself. The Inner Core action mechanism underlies this, and the opposing results play out to produce an interesting conflict narrative. Its also possible for one side in the struggle to “gain the advantage”. A side with the advantage may press the advantage, while the other side may attempt to seize the advantage.
The obvious use for struggle is combat, such as a duel, brawl, aerial dogfight or clash of arms. However the struggle mechanism is also applicable to chases, where one side is trying to escape from the other. Other struggles include attempts to over come an active security system, or to persuade a potential benefactor to accept your point of view rather than that of a competitor.
This module also includes structures for handling injury and healing, and mechanical damage and repair.
There is a fair bit more play testing required for this module, and its unlikely to be released until the end of February.
When the Plague Came
This is the first specific setting release planned for All Us Gamers. It is a “collapse of civilisation” scenario based on the sudden spread of a plague that produces uncontrollable, murderous rage in its victims. The players take on the roles of ordinary people, who are friends with one another, coping with the collapse of the world they know and trying to survive and forge a new life under the radically altered conditions.
This setting carefully builds on the On Aptitude and Book of Struggles modules in the core. It is also an excellent vehicle for introducing a series of game master techniques for managing different kinds of time flow in the game and summoning encounters for players to experience. It also produces lots of guided improvisation opportunities.
The base kit and core between them will have everything needed to play. The additional modules for When the Plague Came provide more nuanced techniques for handling different time periods throughout the unfolding disaster. They lend support to a game master who wants to provide a game where the players go from the “normal world as we know it” through to the post collapse environment a year or two later.
This setting is in its infancy with some broad brush strokes laid down. We will be looking for play testers towards the end of January, 2020.
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