Sunday, March 28, 2010

Perils of Air Travel

There are no dragons in Ireta. There are however several big flying beasties that will come and fuck your shit up if it suits them. Probably the nastiest of these is the Leviathan Centipede. It's big, carnivorous, and frequently mistakes airships for the large airborne cetacea they prey upon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Big Picture 2: What Is Going On Here?

So. I've written here about mechanics, alluded to a whole bunch of disconnected race and location information, and shown off some concept art of wildly disparate technologies, races, and locations. You might be asking yourself "What the hell are they doing?!" I'm going to try and answer that basic question. (An excellent question, by the way.)

The Idea of the Game
The hope with Ireta is to create a cinematic, fun, unrestricted steampunk/fantasy setting. We've chosen a system that lets players get creative with their characters, and tends to lead to exciting, character driven stories. There are some great steampunky rpgs out there, such as Eberron and Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies, but none of them quite hit the right note for us. We made our own to fill the gap.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Docking at the villa

Another bit of concept art for the RPG. Our first central airship in a work, and some more development on the color schemes and atmosphere of the world. Here we can see some more of the curly clouds that Violet brought into the world. :)

Here we see a merchant ship, also used as a yacht for a wealthy merchant and his family. Returning home from a trip, they arrive at their clifftop villa.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

City of the Cloud of Life - Temple of the Healers

A landscapey concept sketch.

On Tainena, the mountain which pierces of the Cloud of Life, the Life mage healers of the Kantori people have built their temple. The so-called city of Tainena has formed outside the temple walls.

Over the years, desperate pilgrims have journeyed here in hopes of being healed, most were turned away from the golden temple when they were unable to pay the fees of the Life mages. A hundred pilgrims turned into a thousand, which became ten thousand. Diseased, deformed, or dying souls, all desperate for coin. The city became a slum surrounding the gleaming golden palace of the Life mages. Plagues and pestillience run rampant, kept at bay only by the enormous wall that protects the temple valley.

Occationally, the temple mages will bring individual city folk into the temple for healing, though their reasoning for this selection is mystifying. There is talk of conspiracy and a darker purpose to the Life mages' manipulation of the city of Tainena... especially when some of the "healed" never return.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oh My - An Assassin!

Another bit of concept work for the RPG. Here we have a Kantori Deathmage Assassin (a suitable profession for the death-magic-inclined nobility) about to take down an Anwar fop. You can tell he's a fop by his coifed hair, which I think is quite stylish.

Some of the things I was trying to tie down here was the look of the more "modern" anwari clothing, the decorative motifs common on various bits of clothing and weapons (inspired by Violet's fashion sketches, of course) and the look of the necrotic flavor of magic present in our world.

If you're curious what the whole magic/tech deal is, it will be addressed in a post later this week that I'm working on right now: The Big Picture Part 2: Basic Concepts of Ireta.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Monster - Squidwolf

The flora and the fauna of Ireta is being slowly mapped out. Split jaws and multiple limbs are a fairly common feature among the creatures of the world, many of which are overgrown insects. Vertebrates like this share a common ancestor with the insects. The extra limbs still proved useful in some cases and were kept, while in others they withered away and can now only be found as vestigial bones.

The Big Picture Part 1 - RPG Systems and Concepts

While the story and idea of a game is critical, I feel that in many ways a tabletop system is the strongest influence on the feel of a game during actual play. Start with a tactical, rules and numbers based system like D&D 4e, and you will likely end up with a game that is big on tactics and rules. Start with an ultra rules-like game like Amber Diceless, and it will be storytime.

For this reason, we chose to focus development around the FATE 3.0 system. Our version includes some major changes, and as of right now I'm calling the variant "FATE 2D". This system contains a number of features we think are key to reach our various goals for the game.

Story is about Character. The Aspect system creates a game where well-defined character-heavy play is rewarded mechanically. It also helps create interesting scenarios by bringing character traits into play as flaws, without making a player feel picked on. This leads to a game that is about characters and their stories without becoming bogged down in lengthy exposition.

Characters should be defined by what they do, now how they're built. By not tying skills to higher-tier attributes, unorthodox skillsets can be combined into unexpectedly interesting characters. We actually playtested a FATE variant that utilized attributes, but found it stifled creativity by locking people into the classic RPG archetypes: The strong warrior, the agile rogue, the smart wizard, and so on. Now we end up with the doctor assasin mage, and the gunslinging swordsman poet. Much better.

Brevity is the soul of wit.