It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. My wife and I having to share a computer (as her motherboard died and cancer bills don’t leave us enough money to replace it) accounts for part of why I haven’t been posting. The main reason, however, is that I’ve been working on a new RPG, tentatively entitled Astonishing Tales of Swords and Sorcery (hereafter referred to as just Astonishing Tales). This game is a development of Microlite74 and Mazes and Monsters, well sort of, and like Microlite74 will be released as a free download.
Astonishing Tales is designed for swords & sorcery campaigns where magic is somewhat common, more like the Young Kingdoms of Elric than the Hyboria of Conan. Characters can be either Fighters or Sorcerers and start off as heroes rather than farm boys, but do not really increase in level as game goes on. In fact, there are no levels in the system at all. A Character’s Reputation increases as they kill monsters and accumulate (and spend) treasure. Gaining a point of reputation does allow the character to increase slightly in power (something like the small level advances in Mazes and Monsters), but the main benefit is social. The higher your reputation, the greater the chance that others know of you and perhaps seek you out with missions and opportunities — and the greater the rewards they are likely to offer to get you to take them.
I’ve always wanted to have a Classic Traveller like fantasy game when the characters started off fairly competent and gained in power more from the items they find and the connections they made rather than from continual increases in character level until they become fantasy superheroes. However, I never thought there would be much interest in such a system as “leveling” seems to be one of the main attractions to most even slightly popular fantasy roleplaying games.
All the players in my current OD&D game really liked the idea once I came up with the “reputation levels” with their small character benefits. So I hacked a quick system together, they created characters and we gave it a try. The first two games were a real trial of patience as we seemed to spend more time tweaking the rules than actually playing, but the game last week showed that what we hacked out works and is fun to play.
I hope to have a playtest edition available before Christmas, but cannot promise this due to our “two people who normally use a computer all day sharing one computer” situation. This edition will be written Microlite style, but if there is interest in the system beyond my group, a second edition will be released in a less terse/more complete style in 2010. I’ll be posting more on how Astonishing Tales works over the next couple of weeks.