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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I've finished designing a new RPG, and I'm moving on to playtesting!

This is a game which unshackles fantasy roleplaying from the frequent assumption that such games have to be about plundering dungeons or defeating ancient evils. Instead, Journey Away (working title; subject to change) leaves you free to explore a fantasy world as you please, facing whatever sorts of challenges you and your group enjoy.

This is accomplished with a clean, unified action resolution mechanic that's a breeze to pick up and can be used consistently for everything you do, rather than a complex system that's 80% combat-centric.

To put it another way: in Pathfinder and D&D, even the basic act of character creation makes it clear that you're either going to spend a lot of time in combat, or else get very little use out of most of the rules you had to learn to play the game. But in Journey Away, your adventures can be anything you want, and the same basic mechanics will support you regardless!

The system is also open-ended enough that you can swap in your own settings with ease, and lightweight enough that you can show it to your non-gamer loved ones without putting them to sleep so they can finally understand what's so great about roleplaying.

Interested? Post questions here, and/or send me a PM if you'd like to help playtest it!

Thanks!

Sovereign Court

If I remember correctly you are in the twin cities right?


Sounds interesting. :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Pan wrote:
If I remember correctly you are in the twin cities right?

Indeed! Though we need not meet in person for a playtest, if that's what you're getting at. I can give people "commenting" permissions on the Google Doc, so testers can run it with their own groups and leave clear, specific feedback. :)

Lemartes wrote:
Sounds interesting. :)

Indeed! Have any questions?

Shadow Lodge

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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Want to know some fun trivia about this game?

* The entire playtest document contains zero instances of the words "attack" or "weapon".

* Character advancement is based more on characterization than on monster-killing.

* Character creation is more flexible and supports more different concepts than Pathfinder, yet only takes a few minutes from start to finish.

* While chatting with my wife about what her first character might be like, we decided that two of her starting skills would likely be "Sweet staff moves" and "Crazy backflips and stuff".

If that sounds like something you'd like to try, or if you've got questions, hit me up!


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

The limited description here makes it sound a lot like Fate (Fate Core specifically, as that is the only edition I'm at all familiar with). How is this RPG different or how does it differentiate itself?

Sovereign Court

I'd love to read it, but i'm not sure when I can find the time to PT it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Cellion wrote:
The limited description here makes it sound a lot like Fate (Fate Core specifically, as that is the only edition I'm at all familiar with). How is this RPG different or how does it differentiate itself?

Valid question! Fate Core is high on the list of RPGs I'd love to try, but sadly I've not had the opportunity yet, so my ability to make comparisons is limited to what I can remember from a brief read-through several weeks ago. (Feel free to ask follow-up questions!)

I recall getting the impression that Fate Core was highly malleable, and (compared to games like Pathfinder or Edge of the Empire) relatively streamlined and lightweight. In these ways, Fate and Journey Away definitely have similarities (though I'd say my game is a smidge more lightweight than Fate). I can see why you asked your question.

On the other hand, there are still some foundational differences. For example, my understanding is that Fate assumes high-stakes, action-packed storylines that are predicated on violent or criminal conflict (knights slaying monsters, superheroes punching villains, spacefarers zapping aliens, etc). Like D&D and Pathfinder, Fate (as I understand it) is still a game about Big Damn Heroes. I even recall a line in the book making sure everyone is on the same page about how PCs are assumed to be well-trained paragons.

While Journey Away can certainly also handle a story of epic heroism, it neither requires it nor even assumes it. The default premise is that the PCs have decided to leave their hometown and go see the world and all its wonders; you get to decide whether that involves facing mighty dragons and legions of undead, or just traveling further than you've ever been before and witnessing the magical aurora that occurs every solstice and you used to think was a tall tale told by merchants visiting your home.

Additionally, I don't recall how (or even if) Fate characters advance, but in Journey Away, character growth is tied not to triumphs, but to a combination of having new experiences, putting forth effort, and enduring adversity. Journey Away incentivizes having a fleshed-out character who interacts with the setting. Can you remind me what Fate Core incentivizes?

That's what I've got off the top of my head. Again, if there's anything more specific you'd like to ask (sorry I don't know Fate better!), don't hesitate to ask.

:)


Need a moment to take all this in

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Funny story:

My wife agreed to read my playtest document and give me feedback on it. Great, right? Well, apparently she didn't understand what I meant by "playtest document": that it's a sort of condensed manual, meant simply to get the premise and mechanics into people's hands so they can test it out before I finalize it and write the "real thing".

What she thought was that this was the first draft of the "real thing".

So she spent half the day fretting over how she was going to politely and lovingly tell me that it was a piece of crap - basically, that it read more like a playtest document - and worrying I was going to be hurt and we'd have a big fight.

All because I miscommunicated the nature of the document she was reading.

Whoops. :/


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

@Jiggy My experiences with Fate Core are all from a single session a couple of years ago, so I don't recall too much. But it didn't strike me that Fate had to be high stakes or action-y. In fact, IIRC the ability to fight was just another skill on a list of skills (ie. in Fate fighting is a skill like acrobatics is a skill in pathfinder). Though I guess the fate points made it so that sessions tended towards being dramatic.

Fate does have advancement, but honestly I'm not sure if we advanced in the session I played, so I can't really comment. But character creation and stats in Fate are ALL about character development. I remember that there were aspects that were basically character personality and/or background that you could call upon to resolve challenges. Like for example: one of your character's aspects might be 'Survivor of Five Wars' so you can call upon that to establish rapport with someone else who participated in those wars, or explain why you're able to continue fighting through a horrible injury, or the GM could throw a challenge at you that involves your PTSD (IIRC aspects went both ways, your GM could use them as well).

Anyway, I'm probably not the right person to make any real comparisons to Fate. Your description just sounds similar to it.


This sounds intriguing and promising... And since my GM and me generally agree with many of Jiggy's views (even though my GM stopped posting on these forums about a year ago), I'd like to give Journey Away a spin with my group.

We'll be starting a new campaign in January, I believe. So it might be the perfect opportunity.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Tabernero wrote:

This sounds intriguing and promising... And since my GM and me generally agree with many of Jiggy's views (even though my GM stopped posting on these forums about a year ago), I'd like to give Journey Away a spin with my group.

We'll be starting a new campaign in January, I believe. So it might be the perfect opportunity.

PM sent!


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IWOUOFLOVE TO PLAYTEST THIS (fair warning: might be subject to time delay)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Tacticslion wrote:
IWOUOFLOVE TO PLAYTEST THIS (fair warning: might be subject to time delay)

PM sent!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Just giving this a little post-holiday bump. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hmmm...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Rysky wrote:
Hmmm...

Eh? Eh? Eh? *waggles elbow in your direction*

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Eh, sure why not :3

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Rysky wrote:
Eh, sure why not :3

PM sent!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Cool.


Sounds neat. I'd happily give it a go.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

DrunkInRlyeh wrote:
Sounds neat. I'd happily give it a go.

PM sent!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I've managed to get a couple of playtests in with extended family during holiday visits, and it's going great! Feedback on the dice system has been especially positive. :D

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Giving this a little bump; the more playtesters I can find, the better!


I'll give it a shot.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

To help defray some of the upfront costs of developing this game for publication, I've started a Ko-Fi page HERE.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Bumpity-bump.


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Dot.


Didn't know if I should reply over here or via PM... So I decided on doing it here so that the thread gets an extra bump!

As I understand, the systems wants to go the exact opposite of Pathfinder and be rules-light, open-ended and with little focus on combat. It succeeds at all of those... Perhaps a little too much.

In general it seems like a fun system to try. I particularly like the "world generation system" presented in the "Destinations" and "The In-Between" chapters. Character "power up" comes in small doses, but happens quite often, which is... Different. I don't know if I enjoy it more or less than having it happen more rarely but be more impactful.

I like that you can create your own skills and "spells" using the game's skill system and I enjoy the idea of it focusing more on exploration than combat. But that's where things go a little too far for my tastes.

Skills are open-ended. Very open-ended. EXTREMELY open-ended... To the point where I don't know how far I should go when creating a skill. I fear some character will still one-up each other simply because one of the players thought of a more abrasive term for one of their skills... e.g.: Player goes with "tracking" and the other goes with "wilderness survival". It might inadvertently turn the game into a grammar arms race. I know it isn't meant to be a competitive game, but then again... Most RPGs aren't, and it still happens in many of them.

I think having a list of skills would help. More open-ended than Pathfinder, surely, but not completely free of any limitations. That should stop people from getting skills like "Do Stuff" or "Carve small wooden statues of animals". If you don't like the idea of having a fixated skill list... At least add a sample skill list with examples of skills you feel are "appropriate". It doesn't matter if it's combat or exploration... What makes an adventure an adventure is the limitations of your character. Without limitations there's no risk or excitement.

Speaking of combat... Well... That too went waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too far. You went out of your way to make the game about not-combat, and I can appreciate that. But in an adventure game, combat is likely to happen at least occasionally... But the game fails to deliver not just a combat system, but any conflict resolution system.. If I'm attack by a tiger, how do I know if it catches me? How do I know if my arrow hits the bunny I'm hunting for dinner? How do I know how serious is the wound it causes?

It's like the rules-set put so much emphasis on avoiding restrictions, specially for combat, that it forgot it is a rules-set.

So, yeah... While I understand that goes against the initial premise of your system, it's my opinion that it would benefit from being a little more codified and didn't avoid mentioning combat and conflict just for the sake of avoiding mentioning combat and conflict.

Still, the system has potential. And I'd love to see future versions of it.

PS: Sorry it took me so long to reply. I haven't had much free time lately.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Tabernero wrote:
Didn't know if I should reply over here or via PM... So I decided on doing it here so that the thread gets an extra bump!

Thanks!

Quote:
As I understand, the systems wants to go the exact opposite of Pathfinder and be rules-light, open-ended and with little focus on combat. It succeeds at all of those

Awesome!

Quote:
... Perhaps a little too much.

And I read on, eager to hear the details. :D

Quote:
In general it seems like a fun system to try. I particularly like the "world generation system" presented in the "Destinations" and "The In-Between" chapters.

Interestingly, in the playtest sessions I've run, this has been the least popular aspect, with responses ranging from tepid to "I wish this had a plot". I'm currently planning to write an introductory adventure that would be published in the core book, and would perhaps bump this system to the back of the book as sort of an "If you don't want to buy or create more adventures at least you can still play" kind of thing.

Quote:
Character "power up" comes in small doses, but happens quite often, which is... Different.

"Quite often"? Based on the rate of Growth Point acquisition I've seen (about 4-7 per session, typically depending on how well fleshed out the character is), you're looking at your first improvement after 2-3 sessions, and getting slower after that. Maybe I'm still used to PFS, where every third session is a level? Is "home Pathfinder" a lot slower than that?

Quote:
I don't know if I enjoy it more or less than having it happen more rarely but be more impactful.

Well, you know, taste is taste. :)

Quote:

I like that you can create your own skills and "spells" using the game's skill system and I enjoy the idea of it focusing more on exploration than combat. But that's where things go a little too far for my tastes.

Skills are open-ended. Very open-ended. EXTREMELY open-ended... To the point where I don't know how far I should go when creating a skill.

I think I have a shortcoming of presentation in this document, due to it being condensed for playtesting. In the final product, there would of course be examples, sample character(s), and more fleshed-out guidance. So I'm already on this one, but good catch nonetheless.

Quote:
I fear some character will still one-up each other simply because one of the players thought of a more abrasive term for one of their skills... e.g.: Player goes with "tracking" and the other goes with "wilderness survival". It might inadvertently turn the game into a grammar arms race. I know it isn't meant to be a competitive game, but then again... Most RPGs aren't, and it still happens in many of them.

I had a feeling a lot of D&D/PF veterans would fear this, but have you actually tried it in play? So far, this isn't how it actually goes down at all.

For example, in my last playtest group, we had one character with skills like "Hit it with my fists" and "Make a friend", while another had a spell called "Chronomancy" which he said he wanted to use to pause or rewind time. You might expect the latter player to break the game, but in practice, all he did was give us procedural headaches from trying to figure out causality paradoxes and in the end felt a little underwhelmed in his actual contributions.

Or to use your own example of "tracking" versus "wilderness survival", the latter isn't actually a strict upgrade of the former. They certainly intersect/overlap, but just as the latter includes non-tracking applications in the wilderness, so too does the former include non-wilderness applications for tracking (like finding the urchin who swiped your coin purse in the marketplace). Furthermore, if you really do have two characters who want to do the same thing (unlikely, but let's go with it), then that's a perfect setup for a relationship (rivals? mentor/protege?) that can lead to more consistent growth for both characters, so both players get something out of it.

In short, I have yet to see any gameplay evidence that the arms-race would be a thing in this game (though I'm watching closely, so if you play it and it truly comes up, please send me the details).

Plus, again, there will be examples in the final product. :)

Quote:
Speaking of combat... Well... That too went waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too far. You went out of your way to make the game about not-combat, and I can appreciate that. But in an adventure game, combat is likely to happen at least occasionally... But the game fails to deliver not just a combat system, but any conflict resolution system..

Wait, what?

It's true that there are no separate mechanics used exclusively for combat, but that's because you're supposed to use the same resolution system you use for everything else you try to do. Was there something I wrote that gave you the impression you couldn't use the existing skill system for combat?

Quote:
If I'm attack by a tiger, how do I know if it catches me?

You decide what you want to do about it, then roll the most appropriate dice to see if you succeed. For example, one of my groups was attacked by mountain lions. When one of the mountain lions pounced toward a PC, that player said "I jump out of the way" and rolled Agility + Improvise. Rolling high, he succeeded, and was not mauled. Then, he wanted to shoot it with an arrow, so he rolled Agility + Archery. He again rolled high, and therefore put an arrow into the mountain lion.

The mechanics are there for resolving uncertain activities; having those activities be combat does not necessitate a separate set of mechanics. Evading a bite, evading a falling boulder; why can't they be resolved the same way? How did your difficulties manifest in play?

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How do I know if my arrow hits the bunny I'm hunting for dinner?

See above.

Quote:
How do I know how serious is the wound it causes?

What would reasonably happen if the action you attempted were to succeed? If the action was "shoot the bunny", then the obvious result of success is "dead bunny". If instead it's "shoot the dragon", then the result is probably more like "pissed dragon".

Quote:
It's like the rules-set put so much emphasis on avoiding restrictions, specially for combat, that it forgot it is a rules-set.

There is definitely a sliding scale of how complex, codified, and granular an RPG is. Pathfinder and D&D are very much toward one end of the spectrum and this is past the middle toward the other end, so I can understand it being a bit of a shock. I had a very similar shock when I first played a game this far toward the "open" end of the spectrum.

Can I ask whether this is your first time playing something this "open"? That might make it easier to understand how much of your reaction is simply culture shock.

Quote:
Still, the system has potential. And I'd love to see future versions of it.

Awesome!

Quote:
PS: Sorry it took me so long to reply. I haven't had much free time lately.

No worries; I know lots of folks are busy at the beginning of the year.

Thanks for taking the time to give feedback!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I'd be interested in taking a look!

Over the past couple of years, my group has been moving away from the heavy crunch of systems like Pathfinder or Champions, and moving to more rules-light systems, such as Dungeon World and Fate.

As for Fate Core: The rules are all about the PCs being the protagonists in a collective storytelling game. The system is designed to be cinematic, in whatever way you want the game to run. The Fate Point system is intended to be used at dramatic moments, in whatever way your story is dramatic. It can be combat-focused, and most games are, but you can craft your story in any way you want. For example, a dramatic moment could be a gunfight, or a salary negotiation, or a seduction, or steering a sailboat through heavy seas.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Haladir wrote:
I'd be interested in taking a look!

PM sent!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Update: my new Patreon page is live! Have a look HERE, and please share the link with all your friends, and encourage them to do the same!
Thanks!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Monthly updates are up for February!

Squires get progress updates on Journey Away and news of my new project, Best Served Cold.

Bards get a sneak peek at fresh Journey Away content.

Knights get the playtest version of Best Served Cold.

Have a look, and share it with your friends!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Update: I revised and clarified the reward tiers, so make sure you read carefully. You can see the rewards HERE

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Hey, guess what else? I now officially own a game company! Purple Aether Games LLC is the name of my very own company, and I'll be publishing under that name most of the time.
:D

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I have now published my first title under the Purple Aether Games name: Best Served Cold!
Currently available on itch.io HERE
Coming soon to DriveThruRPG as well (there's a waiting period on publication, apparently).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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The above game is also now available on DriveThruRPG: Best Served Cold

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