I recently ordered a test print of 4e. Does that mean the new version is almost done? No. I’d say the writing is about half done. I order development books to help me see the work as a “big picture” framework.
Art is not even started. I’m unsure what my direction is going to be for it. I would love to be able to pay someone to do some of the art. It’s really unlikely that I’d be able to hire out all the art. This speaks to an issue that I’m facing for the project as a whole.
The Artifact has been available on the internet for 22 years. Not many people know about it and fewer care. Thousands of game designers are putting out designs. My track record of drawing attention is poor. I have no illusions that this edition will blow up and have a place at the table.
So why do it?
A lot of the delays in working on 4e have been me giving up. Some of it has been trials and tribulations I’ve encountered, but I’ve worked through things like them before. The majority of it has been the idea “why bother?”
In the end, each edition has been a revamp that I wanted. This is one of the ways I express myself. That’s why I picked it up again and finished a bunch of things that made ordering the development copy a possibility. This is for me, I’d love to share it with people, but I’ll soldier on regardless.
I finally remembered to add a few tables that flesh out the general condition of surrounding Hexes. The neat part is that some of the options give some real flavor to traveling through a region. Things like “Ancient mummified bodies are found, particularly in residential hexes where there are millions.” Which is something that has been talked about in the history of the planet but very rarely brought into play.
When GMing I usually describe the Hexes as if they’re pristine but dark, while I’ll talk about crumbling structures. The new tables will fill in those default options and give a lot more flavor to the terrain of the underground.
Random Generation Tables
The Fringe was the first sourcebook I published for The Artifact but it’s never had a cover. Today that’s changed!
A bot pilot flees from a horde of Chezbah Intercepters.
I’ve got the spreadsheets for making equipment for the Player’s Handbook functional, so I’m churning out stats for example equipment. I’m aiming for stats that are at least close to the original system but the way this system works, it’s highly variable. That’s cool if you’re a player making one piece of equipment, but when you need a dozen different pieces that match real life examples or in game equipment, it gets a little harder.
I’m slowly working out the bugs, like batteries add a CP for every kilogram, which increased their already high mass to impossibly high. I also have a problem where the laser calculations can be used to make a 10 point laser that weighs only a few grams and has a beam intensity of only 300 watts. The heavy batteries are easy to fix, I’m not sure how to fix the light lasers as the interaction that causes it is pretty strongly built into the power curve. I’m thinking of putting in a minimum power usage, but that seems odd. There are a few other things that I could alter, like the base range classes.
I should probably check the other equipment and see if a similar problem exists.
But other than that, progress at last!
Remember when “I’m a gamer.” meant you played table top RPGs? I do and I want my title back. Now “Gamer” means you play a lot of video games. I like video games but they’re no substitute for a good RPG.
Gamer used to be Role-Player code, a nondescript term so the jocks* didn’t know what you were talking about and would beat you up for being a nerd. Now jocks are proclaiming that they’re “Gamers”.# Why do they get to use my title? Jocks have always played games, they were just called sports and they weren’t gamers then, why now? Probably because “Gamer” is so vague it was easily adapted to video games which used to be geeky but are now about as geeky as watching TV.
So I’m not going to get it back. They’ve taken it and maybe it’s a good thing, after all, you can say “I’m a gamer” and it’s no big deal. Geek culture is now mainstream and that’s a good thing for us. I suppose my issue is that RPGs have only benefited slightly from the culture shift. Why is that? Shouldn’t a rising sea lift all boats? Maybe it’s because table top roleplaying hasn’t had a graphics upgrade the way video games have.@ They don’t have orchestras playing their theme music. They’re not as easy as grabbing a controller and mashing buttons.
So will RPGs always be for nerds by nerds? We started a lot of this geek culture, it’s based on things we liked 40 years ago and everyone else has caught up. When will they pick up on RPGs and real gaming will go mainstream?
Never mind, I’m going home and taking my “gamer” with me.
* or preps.
# I concede that there have always been a small subset of jocks that did/do role-play.
@ Maybe miniatures are like a graphics upgrade.
Quite a while ago a bunch of Artifact players were remarking on a piece of equipment in the game called a Vac-Suit. Most characters get one to start the game, but nobody used them as intended (they’re limited use space/hazard suits). In fact a few of them had no idea what they even were supposed to do. People were using them for all kinds of things except for wearing them so we started a list of 101 uses for a Vac-Suit and ended up with 106. It’s a bit hair brained but it was fun to come up with the list. Enjoy!