World of Esaene (ENWorld)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Magic Magic Everywhere

This continues to be the main source of concern for me so far. I do need to enforce Brian using signature spells, because he has a tendency to try and magic anything that pops into his head. Still, it needs work. I've been brainstorming this evening trying to come up with some alternate strategies to deal with it and make it interesting. If anyone has suggestions, feel free.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Alpha game 2

Everyone had a blast tonight. I made some changes to some basic premises of the game - ability scores always give a positive modifier, so I had to raise the DC of just about everything by 5.

In tonight's story, Isaac - the son of a rich noble, but weak and gullible in his eyes - was conned not once, but twice by the beautiful Zatina. Jess was arrested for running out on his debts after Isaac unwittingly led a bounty hunter back to the inn. His debt was paid off by the mysterious Mr. Haron, who now holds the key to Jess' future. Capernius "the Just" (aka Capernius the Gullible after the situation with Zatina) made some inroads with the Templars of Valar and the group found work - the first job being an elaborate con by Zatina that made them the patsies for her crime, the second a boat headed north for an expedition into newly discovered ruins. Luckily, the boat was leaving the morning after the Zatina situation.

The mysterious deaths of clergy continued and they finally put a name to the threat - a bean sidhe, legendary harbinger of death native to the Breen highlands, Demetrius' homeland.

The high point of the evening from a gaming perspective was the beliefs. I'm going to work on them some more, but right now the group is using the concept right out of Burning Wheel.

Isaac believes his father was a weak man and a failure, even to the point where he believes he may be illegitimate. He also believes greatness can be achieved through daring a guile and he must do everything to escape his father's shadow. The temptress and grifter, Zatina, was a good tool to bring forth Isaac's own shortcomings and force him to face it. It worked really well and he is really engaged with the character and his love/hate interest, Zatina.

Demetrius also has father problems - he is trying to escape the long shadow his father casts over him and prove that the sins of his father do not reflect on him. His problems stem from his homeland and he is being dragged deeper and deeper into who his people are, their strange beliefs, and the mysteries going on through two siblings, Haldis and Kaelin, that he keeps seeing all over town.

Jesseldar Gianas, or Jess, cannot see beyond the shine of the coin. He believes he can run from any debt and that money is the end, not just a means. The bounty hunter with an Imperial Warrant immediately brought him into a situation that was close to his character's center and the paying off of the debt by a mysterious crime lord embroils him further into dangerous territory.

Capernius is consumed by the church and has, almost on his own, been investigating the murder of the priest and several other clergy members since he has been in town. He believes that he has been chosen by God for some special purpose and is pretty self-driving in that respect. His interactions with church members are always very interesting from a story perspective.

Aren has been the most difficult so far, but I think that has been more of a timing issue than anything else. He is another character who believes he has been "chosen" for greater things - instead of the Lord of the Valarian church, it is by the spirits of Silea, his homeland. He is actively searching for the culprit who is trying to destroy his home at the behest of his spirit guides.

It's a nice mechanic that really brings the characters in the game and it really worked out well from a storytelling perspective. I had a few ideas of things I wanted to do tonight, but mostly it was working with the various beliefs and getting them on a roll.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Alpha game 1

The game went OK. These are the characters as of right now:
  • Capernius (Scott), an initiate of the Prelacy of Valar from Amara. He is a level 2 Spellsword loosely in the service of the church (he believes he has been chosen by God, although the church doesn't actually recognize him as such).
  • Jess (Matt), a wizard of the Guild Moryan, traveling to avoid his various debtors and seeking his fortune by any means necessary. He is a level 2 wizard.
  • Demetrius (Rich), a lvl 2 hunter from the outlands of Breen who is seeking his past by finding out who, and what, his father was.
  • Isaac (Brian D), a brash nobleman from the Empire who is seeking to overshadow his father and make a name for himself. He is a level 2 fighter.
  • Aren (Brian C) is a level 2 sorcerer from the Silean wilds who believes the spirits of the forest chose him as a savior from those who are currently seeking to destroy his homeland.
We went through some basic combat and magic as they were aboard a ship headed to the free port of Tycho. I have a few adjustments to make before next game:
  • Lower the magic DC from 15 to 10.
  • Go over the alpha rules to clear up some text and eliminate some errors.
  • Clarify the magic rules a bit. Tighten them up.
  • Maybe fiddle with the combat mechanic - perhaps introduce a vitality threshold where damage goes into wounds.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Alpha Playtest

The rules are to a point to where I am now playtesting them with my gaming group.

It's funny, because I have advanced beyond so many of my previous posts and ideas that they seem kind of alien at this point. Anyway, I'll keep a log of how the playtest is going.

We did some basic character stuff this past Monday (the 10th of July) and the guys are getting used to the changes in the rules. I'm talking with a very talented artist right now and I hope to have some headway in that arena soon. More later.

Friday, July 07, 2006


The Con went well. I had a lot of fun and met lots of interesting people. The coolest game I saw and played was Artesia, which won the Best RPG Award at the show. The game is gorgeous and the author/artist, Mark Smylie, is really cool. I also managed to pick up a copy of Burning Wheel from Indie Press Revolution. Brennan Taylor, the guy who runs IPR, played Artesia with me on Friday night. I met him the year before and he's a pretty cool guy.

I also met Aaron Acevedo, Andy Hopp, and Sean Preston at a party thrown by Sean Patrick Fannon (who I know from back when he was trolling around Raleigh). A good time was had by all. I also came away with some good ideas for changes in my design, so that is moving forward as well. I hope to have the Alpha rules done by the end of the month.