Monday, December 1, 2014

Names, numbers and beginnings

Heaven-o, Gamebookers!  In this post, I'm asking you for a bit of advice regarding my new gamebook series (the first one will be out soon, because, at the time of writing of November 2014, I had already done 1/5 of it).

I also have my Patreon page set up. If you appreciate my work so much that you will want to pay me for it, take a look! The minimum backer level is very small.

I have three questions:  What to call it, how do you think the system will work and what should the first book be about?


So I came up with the name Cymerian for my game system before realising that it is the name of a band.  So I need to come up with a new name.  I am terrible at names.  So, what could I call it?

The first question to me is:  should I use a new fantasy name (used in Numenera for example) or a phrase from English (such as Way of the Tiger, Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf etc.)


Another thing I was wondering is about the stats.  The stats for abilities at the moment range from 0-3.  However, I was looking at the probability distributions for 2d6 Cymerian and I decided that, if I was going to allow Fate Points and Experience Points to do ability rerolls, maybe abilities should be allow 0 rerolls or 1 reroll (more like skills).  I want Cymerian to be as simple as possible, so I prefer a 2d6 system over the others as it requires fewer dice rolls.  A 1d6 system is not versatile enough deal with the system, I think.

The probability increase for 2 rerolls (blue) is significantly less than for 1 (orange)
0 rerolls is black.  3 rerolls is green adn 4 is yellow.

This is closer to what I wanted for the system in the first place - I wanted ability points to be spent for rerolls so that introduced more choice and resource management, but I removed that aspect because I couldn't think of a way of restoring them that would work across the series.  I did not just want to say that the stats restored at the end of the gamebook because some could be 100 sections long and some could be 800 sections long.  I then thought of restoring them at the end of a period of time, but that was also a pain because then writers would have to think about how long everything took.

So ability scores became fixed and reusable, leaving Fate Points to be the only resource left to spend.  I then introduced the idea of spending experience to get rerolls with the idea that a small amount of experience could reflect a very specific piece of knowledge of skill that the character had that would only work in this situation (like in  the wonderful Numenera) which game the player lots of options, but then I thought that there were too many - the player has abilities, Fate Points and Experience now.

So, now that there are two resources that you can spend for rerolls, abilities can have less of an effect.
 You could either have an ability or not and if you have it, you can get 1 reroll.  Any more means spending Fate Points or Experience Points (both can be used for other things, so that creates tension).

If I do this, I might have the player choose 1 skill to have when they begin and limit them to having 3 skills maximum.  It's OK, though because your character can get other skills from certain books that allow them to make life easier and give them more flavour (for example, they might be able to train in magic that allows them 1 free reroll on fate rolls as they can manipulate the laws of the universe, or they might train to be a weaponmaster and get a free reroll and bonus +1 to damage when they use a particular weapon.  However, I wasn't going to let people learn these skills easily - being determined worthy to learn them will be an adventure in itself).


One last question I have is what the debut book should be about.  Based on Alexis Smolensk's excellent book about running a game, it might be good to have a relatively safe place to start the adventure.  So I've written an adventure for a town that has its quirks but isn't very life threatening.  Upon returning to the town, instead of playing the adventure again, you roll on a random event table.  you can also avail yourself on all of the options that the town has available.

However, since character advancement is a big part of the series, I'm going to release 3 books in one go at first - one is in the town, one is in a forest and one is guarding a merchant caravan between the two.

I was also thinking about my Patreon page. What kind of rewards would you like as a backer?  Would you like to see books early?  Would you like your name mentioned? Would you like to have some say over the content? Would you like an exclusive insight into updates and what I'm working on?  These are a few thoughts I've had after looking at Scott Malthouse's and Thom Rossell's pages.

What do you all think about my questions?

1 comment:

  1. WHATEVER you end up calling it, make sure that it is:

    a) Memorable, and
    b) Easy to spell/pronounce