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Things we’re working on at Store32

Imbalance of Power Part 1

Part one of Imbalance of Power is shaping up nicely. It’s up to about 40 pages of mostly text. I have a lot to do redrawing a lot of the art so that will be the next big challenge. So what’s this all about? It’s primarily about the crumbling of the Kelrath nation and the attempts to rebuild it.

I didn’t really expect to be throwing terrorist into this book but that’s what it’s shaping up to. The Kelrath nation effectively splits in two, with the progressive cities adopting a very earth style way of life that was pioneered in the Tortuga book. They are effectively being colonized.

The big reveal here is that the Kelrath are being ruled in secret the Tanroc Fredar that were busy trying to decipher their Oracles. A leading Tanroc Fredar (Takoog) that was studying the Oracle Rall found that the information it had was incomplete and the fear was that all the Oracles might be incomplete. This has mostly already been revealed in the last chapter of the novel here on the site so I’m not worried about talking about it. This fear lead to paralysis but recent changes have lead some of the Tanroc Fredar to rethink what they were doing. Others still want to hold onto the old ways.

A Tanroc Fredar named Rojec opposes the changes and has set out to punish the Kelrath that have accepted outside ideas and is using once carefully guarded weapons to sow destruction.

Now instead of sneaking around and into Kelrath cities the players will be tasked with defending the cities from the inside and they’ll need all the help they can get to stop the Rojec forces.

There’s a ton of new toys for the players and the GM in this book. New ASO E-Suits, new I-CA cyborgs, new Kelrath vehicles and for the GM, Rojec weapons.

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Everybody is Wrong

On The Artifact that is. Something I’ve never fully expressed about the setting of The Artifact is that all the groups have their own way of being wrong and I don’t mean just the bad guys. The Earthers and Scimrahn are deeply problematic and that’s on purpose.

The reason I really find the need to say this is because of some work I’m doing on Imbalance of Power. A large part of the Kelrath are opening up and adopting democratic governments and not everyone’s happy about it.

It would make intuitive sense that the higher castes might not be too happy but some of the Geetin are upset too. I liken this to the fall of the USSR, the powerless were still powerless and even more, they had lost the safety nets that they relied on. This happens pretty regularly throughout history, the people you’d think would be all for a change end up really upset about it. That moment of upheaval is exactly what this sourcebook is about. There was a bit of it in the Tortuga sourcebook but this is on a bigger scale.

I just want to get the idea that everyone in this setting is imperfect, fighting for their own desires and not really ready to take on anyone else’s viewpoint. That makes for a messy conflict ridden world which is what this is all about. One conflict ends and another pops up. Someone wins and someone loses, but no one is really “right”.

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Whats in the mill?

The last post was about how Imbalance of Power needed to be split into two books. I’m happy to say that the first book is off to a good start. It can use a bit more content because I cut an existing sourcebook in half but I’m working on that. The really nice thing is that it’s now exploring some really deep secrets in the setting. For example, the Tanroc Fredar get what amounts to a call out in the main book but without much more to go on for why they’re important. Here we’re revealing them as the puppeteer of the Kelrath nation and what their goals are.

The other thing that’s moving forward is testing an updated system for The Artifact. If the tests go well and this ends up a true improvement, it will call for a 4th edition of the game. There are advantages and disadvantages to the changes being made but the big push is for simplicity. The Artifact’s system has a lot of really fine gears that I love. It does slow play a bit though and can look scary to starting players. The scariness usually lasts about thirty minutes but if I can make that ten, it’s going to improve how many people pick up the game and play it.

So that’s what’s up. I’ve been quiet here mainly because of getting Jump Temp made and out the door. Now we’re testing the new system and using it in an old game that I’m reviving called Lojec Redemption. In fact LR played a big role in inspiring The Artifact and now it may do it again by being the test bed for a streamlined system. Thanks LR!

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Theme Is Important

I’ve been working on a sourcebook for The Artifact for a long time. I’ve written about it before, it was actually the first sourcebook I started on for the game. A few things about it bugged me but I couldn’t really figure out why.

I started to hate the introduction I wrote many years ago. It sounded weird, something was just off about it but I didn’t know exactly what. Slowly I realized that I was telling more than showing. Writing advice always says to show the reader what’s going on with action and not just tell them with exposition.

So I tried rewriting the introduction, again and again. Nothing seemed to work and it puzzled me. I’ve written a bit over the years and I’ve never had to rewrite this much. Sure I’ve written things that weren’t the greatest but this stunk and continued to stink.

Recently I realized why I wasn’t making progress. Because the sourcebook is chronological, it picks up The Artifact’s story five years down the line, it’s a mismatch of events that happen without a particular theme. In my mind, I just assumed that picking up the story and carrying it forward would simply work. That’s not how it happened though. There are a lot of cool things going on in the sourcebook but they head in two different directions and it’s nearly impossible to tie them together. I have two main themes going on, the advancement of Earth’s forces and the advancement and the Chezbah. I’ve developed them, fleshed them out, improved them but they were always fighting for attention and pulling against each other.

What I may have to do is split them into two separate books. I’m not sure I have enough content for each, but thinking about them individually might help build on what’s already there. Honestly some of the content is really huge to the setting and needs more attention but was always fighting for narrative space. I can already see some places where each theme would benefit greatly by being given more attention individually. It would be cool to release them as companion books.

Well, the case of the unwritable sourcebook is one mystery that I think I’m on the track to solving. Remember theme is important, find yours early and avoid a twenty year problem like I’ve got myself stuck in. Lets see what happens.

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New web host

We recently switched to a new web host, I thought I had all the links working but just found out a good number of them don’t. My apologies. I’ve fixed the core rulebook download so that works again. The Players Handbook and the setting book links all work but some of the other downloads still don’t. I’ll be hunting these down and fixing them shortly.

Update: I found the problem. It was a small configuration error which has been corrected.

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Queen City Conquest

I will be GMing a game at Queen City Conquest on Saturday September 9th. If you’re interested and in the area come out and play!

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Imbalance of Power

I just got my new art tablet working. I have a big backlog of art to do and in amongst that backlog is the art for The Artifact’s last sourcebook Imbalance of Power. This is a chronological sourcebook rather than location-based. It’s events happen five years after the initial arrival on The Artifact and things are really changing.

The biggest hurdle I’ve had with this sourcebook is core to the story. In the quickstart The Warp and scattered in other sourcebooks and the website are hints to what’s happening in this book, but I’ve struggled with getting the feel just right.

As far as art, I’ve had the book fully illustrated for a long time now. Only the art looks dated now, so I have to redo a lot of it. I’ve been frustrated with my old art tablet, it works, but not well. It made drawing a frustrating process. This new tablet is much easier and I’m feeling like drawing again.

So watch this space, a new sourcebook might be on the way in the next few months.

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Interested in Translating?

I’ve been seeing a lot of international traffic to the website, welcome all! If you are reading this and would like to do an official translation of the book for your language, I can provide source material like maps and images. Technically you don’t even need my permission since the game is creative commons, but I’m willing to go a step further by providing my higher resolution images to make things easier.

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Reversion

I’m feeling mighty disgruntled lately about working on games. I probably did it to myself, but I’d like to talk about what’s been bothering me. I’m all for nostalgia. If something from your childhood gives you the warm an fuzzies, go ahead and bask in it. The problem I have is that there are huge numbers of RPG players out there that basically feel all they ever need to wear again is Underoos.

Not literally, I’m talking about the gaming equivalent. I mean Underoos were fun and all, but haven’t we grown past that? They’ve decided that games from their childhood is all they should ever run. That’s backwards, it’s reversion.

I think there’s something to be learned here from the rejection of modern games but it’s the rejection part that’s getting me down. Honestly, there’s always a lot of rejection going on in RPG circles, so that’s nothing new. It’s the rejection of anything that isn’t directly modeled on their nostalgia. When there are so many possibilities that could be explored in RPGs, they only want to revisit their childhood.

That’s not where I want to be though. I’d like to build on what the past has taught us. I want new players to come into the hobby, not having to relive my childhood, but find something demonstrably better.

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Update For July

I’m still alive! As to what I’m up to, I’ve been working on a space opera I’m calling Jump Temp and talking about it over at Store32. It’s almost done, but I just thought of an important rule that needs to be added today, so I’ll have to get at it. Jump Temp is almost done being written but needs more art. I just haven’t felt like drawing lately. If anyone wants to put art in a project, let me know in the comments.

As for the novel The Imbalance, I know what I want to write but I’ve just been having too much fun putting together Jump Temp to sit down and hammer out the next chapter. I started it, but each time I get a little time to write, I feel like working on rules or other fiddly bits.

I haven’t sat down lately to work on the last sourcebook for The Artifact, although I have talked about it with my son. He’s starting to play with some of the ideas in it and I really need that kind of feedback, because I don’t know if what I’ve written makes any sense to anyone but me. Although There’s work to do on some elements in the book, I think the core of the book is where I want it to be. It’s been my big worry, that the systems introduced aren’t coherent enough, but an intelligent 13 year old is able to throw them around easily enough, I’m pretty happy with that.

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