(Gulliver = Head, dva = two: Nadsat)
I hate having to figure out how to say the same thing in another way over and over. It’s a strain on my mind and if I am lucky I can get it past you readers once or twice but then when you figure it out; you see I am just saying the same stuff with a twist. So, here is a rare straight shot; we used to have 6 guys at our best and now we are down to 2. It was not easy and it was not kind; I have gone through romantic breakups that have hurt less and healed faster. Some time last year we sat down and evaluated where were we going. What did this project mean to us and where did this project fit in our lives. For two of us it fit well enough that we could continue moving on, for everyone else; life has more pressing matters. It hurts to say- type those words; the guys that are no longer working alongside me aren’t just my friends, they were my new family. I suffered alongside these guys, lost sleep, shed sweat, tears and I had great experiences with them. I suffered through terrible experiences and they were the rocks that I turned to when I couldn’t let my actual family see how worn down I was. I wanted to make every concession in the world for them but in the end this project is nearly 10 years in development. If it takes anymore time; we wouldn’t even be an also-ran, we would be a never-was.
The two of us that are left have to do the lion’s share of the work now. So all the rule clean up, fiction and setting clean up and expansion that we had to work on has to also be done alongside being the voices and faces of the company. We have to talk to artists, run playtests, look for places to test on the cheap, keep the lights on, set up commissions, basically design AND business. It was always supposed to be a growing experience, a shared learning experience and stumbling was expected but now we know there are no reinforcements. The woods are darker and scarier now, the path is twistier and every mistake seems more grave, every wasted opportunity seems more dire however we have less overhead, less gatekeepers to ideas and no seeking approval. We know who to blame for missing posts here and elsewhere and can rectify it appropriately so while there are no reinforcements, we are also focused entirely on what lies before us.
I hope that we will find our groove quickly and that we will earn the patience and forgiveness of those of you who have stuck around have given, if you are new, pardon our dust and mess from our growing pains.
Dev-X | Stock & Bull Entertainment
Good news everyone! We tested the demo, it proved everything we knew and everything we didn't know! Let's thank Chad from NYC Tabletop RPGs for letting us crash his wework gamer space. His crew runs tabletop games over in Brooklyn, New York and all are welcomed. If interests are peaked check them out on meetup, drop in on their comfy discord chat or if you're feeling frisky throw some coins at their Patreon.
In spite of me leaving some important docs at home, forgetting everything I was going to do with the premade adventure; It went better than I thought it would. The system handled everything the players wanted to do. We were able to see physical combat and a number of powers "in action". Among the boys in the lab, there were worries, concerns one could say; if people would be confused by the wording, how fast people would pick up on the internal logic and the system, the concept of your powers being used through your normal stats in order to make them feel more like an extension of the character and of course the powers themselves. Now we know which were “shadows” and which were actual problems. I will now share with you all the shadows that loomed in the darkness, the terrors in the night, that this demo has dragged into the light.
The first “shadow”, the learning speed and comprehension. What I mean is how long it takes to understand the system and how long until players start actively exploring out from the normal bounds of basic tabletop gaming. You can learn something but until you’re comfortable with it you won't venture deeper into it and we needed to know how long till they got comfortable. Answer, not long whatsoever. Once they knew their stats and they got a few tastes of how much they could actually do the floodgates opened. The taste came in the form of an out of combat medicine check that revealed a bullet wound was made by a large screw, not a bullet. The use of telepathy to skim the minds of the enemies, transforming into a tiger for stealth attacks, high density body blocks and face destroying super speed punches. Somewhere in between these points each player came to understand just what they could pull off and began to dive deeper. Fears dispelled, the”shadow” was just a jacket on the chair.
Second “Shadow”, Basic combat and out of combat. Ease, Balance, and Versatility are the cornerstones of combat in any game. Now when I say combat I really should be saying conflict because any time you want something to go one way but circumstances say otherwise, there's conflict. Wanting to beat a villain, pick a lock, break into a place, pass by unseen, win a race, keep someone alive; all these things would have some form of opposition ... conflict. That's what we tested as well, normal strikes, weapon strikes, power strikes, out of combat tasks and challenges as well as power assisted tasks out of combat. Other than one problem-child among the powers(We'll probably talk about that in a different post) it all went awesome sauce. Basic combat works which means we can implement more advanced combat options in the form of “COMBAT STYLES” (also a future post). Combat styles will add a crunchy layer to combat that lets you flavor how your character throws down. Out of combat actions worked too which now allows us to bring in PRACTICES, all the things you know and know how to do outside of combat (Ha! Not a future post, we already touched on it in a previous post but since changes are being planned, well, we will get back on it. In a future post). Fears dispelled, this “shadow” was jus- CRAP WATER BUG! Could have been worse.
Finally, the last “shadow” were things we knew before going in; Social Combat and the Demo. Full Disclosure, we actually started retooling Social Combat just after finishing the demo but the retool would take us a while to finish so we just went with the version that we knew wasn't going into the final version. You might ask "Et tu, Brutus!?!"; hear us out, since inflicting emotions is a large part of social combat in both versions and we wanted to see what people thought about the base idea we continued. The demo's layout was, to put it kindly, a little on the messy side, it was our first time making one but I don't think we did that bad. In the adventure we have easy, medium and hard options of running the encounters but they're right on top of each other which does add replayability but makes it difficult to read and the NPC list at the end of the adventure leaves much to be desired. It helped us learn though so we can say with confidence the next demo will be better. It'll have more focus on the setting, not just test the basic system and it will test some of the more advanced system options and who knows; maybe it'll even look good. Fear dispelled, it was the monster from the closet just hiding under the bed. Wait, what?
Once again we cannot thank NYC Tabletop RPG and the people that helped us test this out enough. From right to left; D,M,K and J(Thumbs Up).
Ethereal Deep Diver "Sam" | Stock & Bull Entertainment
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