Monday, March 11, 2013

Todays progress

It was a Skulldred dedicated day today, and I got a whole lot done.  I had a sudden flood of applications this month, so if you have sent one in, I will get to yours shortly!

I can see there is a day or two more work to be done on the text document, especially since I merged together and shuffled several of the chapters into a more coherant form.

For example, the 'custom warbands' section into the 'how to read a profile card' section.  It is now one chapter that introduces the profile card and tells you how create a character and fill the card in as you go.  It cuts out a lot of redundancy and doubling up.
The whole book is now divided into three sections.   1: building your warband, 2: gameplay and then 3: scenario building, which includes terrain, found objects, bestiary and sample scenarios.  I realised the game really is just those three aspects and it made sense how to divvy the book up.  While your playing, your just referencing section 2 (or the cheat sheet at the back), when your looking to expand your game, you look at section 3, and while your making your warbands, you need section 1.  Makes sense... right?

Though I have avoided risky changes, there is one concept I would like to try in this edition, and that is how size/shooting/dodging/falling all work.  Instead of rolling under your opponents size, or getting bonus dice for their size, I have been using a new attribute called agility (or move/ evade/ dex/ dodge- whatever boils up as peoples favourite).  Basically it defaults to (5 - size).  Therefore bigger things have less agility and are easier to hit.
Characters roll under their level when shooting and dodging, but pick up their ranged dice or agilty dice respectively.  Hits are compared, and the winner is the highest hits.
The reason this mechanic is of interest to me, is that it means you can make archers with low combat, but high agility.  The silly thing with using combat to dodge, was that knights where better at dodging arrows than archers.  Not quite right.
A second benefit of agility dice is that they are used for falling, climbing and navigating tricky terrain.  This makes it a whole lot easier to remember the rules.  You fall 3 elevations, you need 3 agility hits to land safely.  Though big things get less agility, their natural toughness means they are less likely to be hurt by a fall- but are unlikely to make a long jump- which makes sense.
This also means a higher level model is more likely to dodge, make a jump or survive a fall.  Level plays more across the board.

This has a knock on effect to magic, of course, where larger creatures are more vulnerable than small creatures unless they are specifically tricked out to have magical resistence or magic counterspells themselves.  This may actually be a good thing in the 'scissor, paper, rock' basis of the game.  Big things are vulnerable to shooting and spells, but are awesome in combat as they are harder to wound and kill, and do more damage.  Note that I say effected by spells, not blown to bits by fireballs... a big creature still has a higher wound score- so its still harder to hurt.  A wizard may have to protect his monster with a shielding spell to get it in close.  Likewise a wizard can use big things to draw fire and use it as cover.  Until this change, big things are hard to effect by magic.  Is yoda right about size?  Should the wee little folk be able to dive out of the way of a freeze spell, but the knight on horseback cop it?  Is the only reason a dragon is not effected by spells because of its magical immunity, rather than its bulk?

Geesh, Its great getting back into Skulldred after so many months away!  Its going to be one awesome playtest, thats for sure.

Comments welcome as always.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hawkmoon vs Skulldred

I just had to drop everyone a note that I am currently sculpting the Hawkmoon range of minis- (yay! About time!) and its become my full day job.  I wanted everyone to know that I have set plenty of time aside this month to releasing the Skulldred beta, updating the mailing list and rebooting the forum.

Its a balancing act between making fans of both projects really happy with what I put out.  Michael Moorcock has been happy with the stuff so far, which is a mindf#$/ for me.

So whilst I poke endless chainmail links into the last Duke of Kohlns wardrobe and polish the cruel plates of the Granbretanian host I still have one eye on the A3 Skulldred poster in my room and am thinking of you all.

Kates been helping me with the edit, and she got me to strip all the visuals out to make editing less laborious- I had been thinking like a layout artist not a writer, and it was grinding along.  Now free from badly paginating art, the book flew along.  Now I just have to drop the visuals back in.

I took a couple of hours to explore POD book options before I rebuilt the book as A5 and found that a straight A5 for the printed version priced poorly compared to some of the other handbook sizes.  I think its more likely to be sorta like a decently thick graphic novel, allowing for decent horizontal table diagrams.  The great thing is I get to do full bleed, so art fills the page edge to edge.  This publishing malarkey is complicated innit?