Over the last years I have thought several times about creating a 2nd Edition of Warrior, Rogue & Mage. No game is perfect and WR&M is no exception. The combat rules need fixing, some talents don’t work as intended, several of the monsters in the bestiary need to be looked at. Most people don’t seem to mind, but I look at the Wyrm System and see its flaws in every little detail. I guess it’s true that the worst critics of any game designers are themselves.
Fixing some of the issues would probably be doable, but whenever I start working on WR&M I get the urge to change more than just the problematic parts. Perhaps a new dice mechanics would be fun! Why not make weapon damages static? Let’s remodel the whole magic system! I guess it’s a sign of what I call game designer ADD. I just can’t help myself, I just have to mess with my own designs.
Recently I released the WR&M SRD under the very open Creative Commons Attribution license. So WR&M is now basically in the hands of the community. I am confident that they’ll treat “my baby” with respect. In a way that helps me not to turn all George Lucas on it and totally mess it up in the long run.
A new edition of WR&M would probably be very different to the game you all know, just because I like to come up with new solutions to old problems just for the heck of it. The same thing happened when I started working on WR&M Pocket Edition. At first I tried to simplify the rules even more, so that I could fit it into Pocketmod format. But then I read about dice-less RPGs and decided it would be cool to make it dice-less as well. What I finally came up with might have worked as a system, but it just didn’t feel WR&M anymore.
Long story short, the reason why there won’t be a 2nd Edition of WR&M is that I just can’t help myself changing the game beyond recongnition. So instead of doing that I should just take the elements I like and create something new with them. WR&M is better off in the hands of its fans. I don’t want to become the George Lucas of the RPG industry.
Over the last few days I have continued working on the project I dubbed WR&M Pocket Edition. Initially I wanted to create something which is to WR&M what Chris McDowall’s Into The Odd is to D&D. Alas my first draft didn’t turn out that great. In some places the rules actually felt more clunky than the old ones. And that’s something I wanted to avoid at all costs.
So I started again from scratch. In the meantime I had an interesting conversation with Chris about diceless games. I’d stumbled upon the core mechanic of the Amber RPG and thought it might also work well in other games. That was the moment when I decided to turn the “Pocket Edition” into a diceless system.
I am currently working on the second draft of WR&M Pocket Edition and it now has six “abilities”: Warrior, Rogue, Mage, as well as Fate, Mana and Health. There are no skills and talents anymore, but at least skills might creep back in at a later date. The rules as they are now in place are even lighter than the original WR&M. The magic system is now completely freeform. Players can create spells on the fly if they wish to do so. At the moment the core rules are less than 3 DIN A4 pages.
So, what is left to do? The task resolution mechanic is still a bit clunky and I have to think about how I want to handle NPCs. I like the way Numenera does it, but I might just follow a more traditional stat block format. I guess, I’ll have to have a good night’s sleep over this.
I also decided that the game needs a setting. Generic rules are nice and all that, but I want this to be something special. At the moment I think about a magipunk, swashbuckling, airships setting. This could be fun and would probably fit the new rules better than a standard fantasy world. But time will tell.
So, will I able to finish the game in time? I highly doubt it. I wasn’t really able to work in it for at least two weeks and there’s still too much time. But I don’t mind. NaGaDeMon is all about the fun you have while designing games. Getting everything done in a month is great, but I don’t count it as a failure if it takes way longer than that.
Yesterday I wrote that it was still a bit too early to talk about my projects. Today I think it’s already time to reveal at least some details to you, my dear readers. Yes, I made a lot of progress yesterday. It seems my creative juices are flowing.
First I have to admit that I don’t have one but two projects for NaGaDeMon this year. I thought this might increase my chances of at least getting one project done this year. Let’s hope it doesn’t achieve the opposite instead.
The first thing I am working on is Galaxy Core, the rules I wrote for NaGaDeMon 2012. The game used a d% for task resolution, which didn’t actually make that much sense, so I am now reworking it to a “d20 roll under” core mechanic. I also want to generally simplify things. If you are interested in what Galaxy Core looked like in 2012, feel free to check it out on the Stargazer Games website. Any feedback is highly appreciated, by the way!
The second project is … *drumrolls* … Warrior, Rogue & Mage Pocket Edition. It has been a couple of years since I last worked on anything WyRM-related and it felt way overdue. The Pocket Edition will be a simplified version of an already simple game. The first thing I did was to throw out skills and talents and rework the magic system. There’s no mana anymore, but there’s some backlash if spells fail which cause damage to the caster. I also made some major changes to the combat system. Overall I try to make things simpler, while keeping the spirit of the original game. This is actually harder than I expected, and it may take some while until it feels right. This new edition of WR&M will also be released under a more open license than the original game. It will – if I ever get it done – be my gift to all the WR&M fans out there. So stay tuned!