One important part of any game design is coming up with fitting terms, names, et cetera. Alas I have to admit I am really bad at this aspect of game design. I have pretty cool ideas on how a game setting is supposed to look like but when it comes to naming things, the trouble usually starts.
The most important name to come up with is the title of the game itself. The project I am currently working on for NaGa DeMon will be a Scifi roleplaying game set into the 26th century. One aspect of the game that’s very important to me is that space exploration and a sense of wonder should play a major role in the game. A large portion of our galaxy is still undiscovered, there are mysteries behind every other corner. For quite a while I wanted to create a game called “Galaxy Rising” and I think it might actually be a good fit for what I have in mind. The name is inspired by a quote by Carl Sagan. In his TV series Cosmos he said the following: “A still more glorious dawn awaits, not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise. A morning filled with 400 billion suns. The rising of the milky way.” (Check out “A Glorious Dawn“, a musical tribute to both Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking!)
In my opinion “Galaxy Rising” is a great name and conveys the same sense of wonder I want to convey with the game itself.
In the small piece of fiction I published last week I included some of the names of alien species that will play a role in my game. But since then I have pondered whether I should use plain language names for the alien species instead of “Valar” and “Arelians”. Or alternatively I could use names from mythology that fit what the aliens look like or behave. The problem with names you’ve come up with is that you may pick something that actually has a meaning in another language. Perhaps you heard about the issues Mitsubishi had with their Pajero, which is actually an offensive word in Spanish. I’ve not come to any decision yet, so every name I post here on the blog is subject to change.
By the way, what’s your stance on the subject? And how do you like “Galaxy Rising”? As always every comment is highly appreciated.
Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with a good idea if you need one. For the last few days I’ve tried really hard to think about a cool setting for the game I want to design this month. A while back I had decided that I want to work on a Science Fiction roleplaying game and inspired by the awesome Barebones Fantasy I decided to come up with a simple system that uses percentile dice for task resolution. But deciding what kind of setting I wanted to use was extremely hard. I had a few random ideas but when I tried to write them down, I already started to hate them.
This morning I finally overcame my “game design block” (yeah, I know such thing does not exist) and wrote down a short “captain’s log” as inspiration for the setting. The unnamed captain of a Terran League vessel talks about his last mission and some of the things happening in the year 2512.
Captain’s Log November 2, 2512
We are currently on our way back to base after our 3 months scientific mission to the Orion nebula. Everyone is really excited about the work we did there and our lead scientist Prof. Ashikaga can’t wait to finally analyze all the data we collected.
Yesterday, while making a short navigational stop our sensors picked up an alien vessel. We are not entirely sure, but it may have been a Valar vessel. There has been no formal contact with that species, every attempt to communicate with them has failed so far. It seems as if they prefer to be kept alone. Perhaps some day they will break the silence, but until then we keep our distance.
The situation at home still deeply worries me. The leader of the Technologist party, which has held the majority of the Council since we took out first steps into interstellar space, has been assassinated. Tensions are high right now and accusations are thrown. Some people believe it was the work of terrorists. I am sure we can get more information on what happened when we get back to League space. But I hope this is not a sign of things to come.
Tomorrow we will make another stop but this time to allow our Arelian guest Charan to disembark. He has been a great asset for our mission, especially because the Arelian’s knowledge of slipstream technology helped us to fix a few kinks with our drive. Chief Engineer Chantilly is sad to seem him go, but Charan obviously got an important message by his government and need to return to his homeworld. The Arelian Commonwealth has been struggling with a civil war for some time now, so I think this might be related.
Ok, it’s time to return to the bridge. I’ve to relieve my second in command, who’s on watch right now. We’re still in the slipstream, so I doubt it will be an exciting watch, but you never know.
The names are of course still subject to change. The main idea behind this short piece of fiction was to motivate me for the project and to get an idea what the setting might look like. There’s obviously FTL travel using something called a slipstream drive. There’s something called a Terran League ruled by a Council, and the captain mentions several alien species like the elusive Valar and the Arelians who obviously have closer ties with humanity. Everything else still lies in shadows, but more will be revealed over the next weeks (at least that’s my plan).
In November 2010 I released a 5-paged rules-light RPG called Arcane Heroes. In Arcane Heroes the player characters are members of ancient bloodlines during an industrial revolution. It uses a simple dice pool mechanic for task resolution and contains everything you need to play the game.
The game was created in less than 24h and is probably still a bit rough around the edges. Recently I have been thinking about revising and expanding the rules. There’s also no setting to speak off, so there’s another aspect to improve on. But before I start working on a major overhaul of the game, I am looking for feedback of people who actually played Arcane Heroes.
If you have played Arcane Heroes or even just read it thoroughly, could you please give me your feedback? Are there any rules that are broken. Do you feel that there are certain things missing from the game? Please share your thoughts below!