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December News

posted Dec 03, 2012 22:37:21 by lawrence.whitaker
As we hurtle towards Christmas, I'd like to begin by thanking everyone who's shown us support during the past 18 months or so, since Design Mechanism began and we announced our revival of RuneQuest. Your support and custom has enabled us to produce two books for early 2013 release and confidently build on our promise to make RQ - and Design Mechanism - a growing system and company. Its great to have your confidence here on this forum and in the wider community.

So, now to the news. If you can't wait for the Big Reveal, scroll down now. Otherwise, here's where we are.

Monster Island
Cover art is with us, Russ Nicholson and others have provided illustrations, and Pete continues to refine the text (with a tiny bit of input from me). The book is getting ready for editing, and Colin Driver is hard at work on the maps.

We're going to make 'Monster Island' something special. It deserves it. Pete's worked hard to create a really evocative, fun, setting/sourcebook/creature digest and he's more than succeeded. We're looking at 256 pages filled with scenario ideas, scenario cameos, a full setting to be dropped (literally) into any ocean in any campaign world, and more monsters than you can shake a spear at. To this end, we're going to include a full-colour, pull-out map of the island with the book, probably in A3 or A2 size, and done by our good friend Colin, the genius cartographer behind the bulk of the maps in Moon
Design's 'Guide to Glorantha'.

Monster Island really does take its cues from Chaosium's masterful 'Griffin Mountain'. Its a living, breathing place populated by bizarre and interesting fauna and flora that will provide months of great
adventuring. Its the kind of place GMs can strand their characters upon, and structure an entire campaign around their survival and escape. Its a place where you can play one of the different indigenous races and treat it as home - to be explored and endured. Its the sort of place that some dastardly sorcerer like Kratos or Jedakiah (see Book of Quests) will send characters to, in return for money or secrets (or maybe as punishment), so they can quest for the rare and precious items that will fuel their sorcerous schemes.

Its going to be a great book.

Book of Quests
This compendium of seven scenarios is completing editing and now into layout. All the art is in, and I'll be previewing the cover in the next couple of weeks. All the scenarios in BoQ are penned by relatively new authors who worked to a light brief provided by me. The idea is to offer a loosely detailed region where the adventures take place, but keep the scenarios as flexible as possible so they can be used in any fantasy world. The writers have done an excellent job of taking my rough ideas and making them into a series of terrific, exciting scenarios. There's something for everyone: a caravan guarding job that turns horrific; a city-based intrigue concerning a tragic countess; a rescue mission into a murky swamp; an investigation into shady dealings in the king's court; a race to find an ancient artefact of dreadful power; a quest into the remote mountains to thwart an evil plot; and a showdown with the nefarious sorcerer, Jedakiah, at his
mountain lair. Each scenario can be played standalone, or the whole lot forms a complete campaign. Couple this book with Monster Island and you have years of adventuring.

It'll be about 200 pages and, once again, Colin Driver has done all the maps and floorplans - and in a splendid style too.

Hardcover Kickstarter
In 2013 we will launch a Kickstarter or Indiegogo project to produce the core rules and, depending on stretch goals attained, Monster Island and Book of Quests, published in hard cover. We're looking to produce the very best hardcover we can - dustjacket, bookmark, stitch casement... its not cheap to do, and we also want to offer the book at a reasonable cost. More on this in January next year.

Mythics
During 2013 Pete and I will be working on Mythics Greece and Briton respectively. I've already started my Briton research and notes. These will not be straight historical books, but will contain magic and heroics too. Of course, we'll produce the books in such as way that magic can either a) be dispensed with or b) treated as vague superstition that may or may not work, depending on your point of view.

We will also be commissioning Michael O'Brien (Sun County, River of Cradles and Mister Maximum Game Fun) to write Mythic Constantinople. This is a pet project for Mike and knowing his approach to game
writing, it will be worth waiting for.

And now the reveals...

Age of Treason: Shores of Korantia
We're delighted to announce that Design Mechanism will be publishing Jonathan Drake's superb Age of Treason setting for RuneQuest 6. Jon is writing a completely new core book, focused on a different region, Korantia, which we will be releasing late summer 2013. Those of you familiar with the first Age of Treason book, focusing on the Taskan Empire, will know what a great and original world Jon has created. The Korantia sourcebook follows in this vein but is a completely new area with new gods, magic, cultures and adventures . We heartily welcome Jon aboard the Design Mechanism galley (and he's already working out where, in the nearby ocean, Monster Island fits)...

Luther Arkwright
Design Mechanism has licensed the exclusive rights to produce a brand new version of Bryan Talbot’s acclaimed graphic novel series ‘The Adventures of Luther Arkwright’. For those unfamiliar with the character, Luther Arkwright is a trans-dimensional troubleshooter working for WOTAN, the agency that monitors the myriad parallel worlds of the multiverse. The first graphic novel series focuses on the attempts by the sinister Disruptors to unleash the Firefrost weapon and so cause widespread destruction and chaos across the parallels. Luther, working in a variant Earth where Cromwell’s descendants still hold power, goes to extraordinary lengths to thwart the Disruptors’ plans. An excellent overview of the Luther Arkwright saga can be found at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Arkwright

And Bryan’s own site at: http://www.bryan-talbot.com/arkwright/

‘Luther Arkwright: Roleplaying Across the Parallels’ will see Bryan’s iconic character and setting powered by the RuneQuest 6 rules. The game will focus on WOTAN’s attempts to police the multiverse and prevent the Disruptors’ (and others’) schemes. Characters will each have a unique ability that has brought them to WOTAN’s attention, including psionics, mysticism and other talents of the kind found in the Arkwright multiverse. The game takes RQ in a new direction: rules for the modern era, along with mechanics for Steampunk concepts, travel between parallels, and even maintaining the same character across multiple worlds, will be included.

The game will be written by myself and Pete, collaborating with Bryan: indeed, some work has already started. Arkwright is a perfect background for RuneQuest Science Fantasy/Steam Punk/Fin de Siècle adventuring. Some of you may recall that 23rd Parallel Games produced the first Arkwright RPG in the 1990s and that, too, used a d100 resolution mechanic. This, though, will be an entirely new game. We intend to support the setting with Parallel books, detailing a particular variant Earth complete with a set of scenarios or campaign arcs included.

Bryan had this to say: “2014 is the 36th anniversary of the beginning of the original serialization of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright graphic novel, and it's never been out of print since then. In the summer, Dark Horse books are releasing a large format, hardback prestige edition of the book, which will also include the sequel, Heart of Empire, an extensive illustration gallery and a ten page interview. It's so very cool that this brand new Luther Arkwright role playing game is being published in this same year. I'm very excited about the project".

At this stage, its too early to predict page count, but its likely to be 256 pages. It won’t be a standalone game; you will need the RuneQuest rules, but it will be a complete treatment of the Arkwright multiverse so you can expect a lot of depth, new rules, and new concepts.

As you can imagine, we’re very excited about this project. Pete and I are long-time Arkwright fans and, with our deep love and affection for multiverse-spanning concepts, eternal champions, and the whole Fin de Siècle vibe, this is a perfect setting for us. We’re very much looking forward to starting the work proper and getting the Luther Arkwright game finished for the end of 2013.

Happy Holidays!
[Last edited Dec 03, 2012 23:44:13]
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60 replies
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redcrowkp said Dec 13, 2012 05:17:50
Why not a Mythic Americas detailing Aztecs, Mayans, Native Americans, etc.?
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Dreameister said Dec 13, 2012 07:26:56
There is already a "Mythic China" book from Alephtar games written by Gianni Vacca called The Celestial Empire. It's for BRP so I don't know how much interest Mythic China for RQ6 would gather (although I would buy it and it would be a dream job working on such a title).

The main problem I have with The Celestial Empire is that it took too much on itself covering the whole imperial period from Tang (618 AD) to the end of Qing dynasty (1911). This is a huge time frame and the details and nuances suffered because of it. Martial arts have also been neglected having schools be just a list of super powers used without much talk about how they differ (aside from some being external and some internal Martial arts). Most of these are probably due to book being just 130 pages but settling on just one period would be of great benefit here.

Interestingly, if Mythic China was done, there could be a whole line of follow up books due to China's long reaching sphere of influence - Myths of the Silk Road (covering the central Asian kingdoms and the fertile crescent with daring merchants and gentlemen of the road - a historical sword and sorcery if there ever was one), Southeast Asia, maybe Mythic Wuxia which would focus more on the fiction tropes than the actual time period.

Anyway, with so much flexibility in RQ6, there is scant a period in history that couldn't be adapted for a really creative setting.

Cheers,
Marko
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RoryHughes said Dec 13, 2012 09:38:47
Yep, the Alephtar Mythic line, as well as other companies work on other ancient settings are mostly compatible as they stand. Ancient Rome (BRP), Merrie England (BRP), The Celestial Empire(BRP), Amber Coast (BRP), Vikings (RQII), Pirates, Samurai (Legend), Iceland (BRP), English Civil War (Clockwork & Chivalry) and so on, just require a bit of work to use. Certainly not enough to prioritise them in the RQ6 line.

Ancient Greece, on the other hand is such an obvious setting for RQ it's amazing it's not been done before. I'm pretty sure that Dark Ages Briton will be popular too. But it's settings like Mythic Constantinople that will expand the line, because people won't be as familiar with them, and it will really expand the possibilities of the line. So yeah, Mythic South America, Arabian Nights, Renaissance Europe, Polynesia, Egypt....the possibilities are endless...
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RoryHughes said Dec 13, 2012 10:54:05
Another suggestion for a sourcebook - what about a big book of pregenerated characters?

These are useful for three reasons - they can give players inspiration or sometimes quick-play devices for new players. Secondly, they are useful as a source of NPCs and plothooks for the GM. Finally, they provide a really good method of creating a cultural 'landscape' by showing the diversity of personalities that can populate an area.

I'm kinda thinking like Ars Magica's A Medieval Tapestry, or Warhammer's career entrees method (albeit not as career templates).
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lawrence.whitaker said Dec 13, 2012 14:25:15
Another suggestion for a sourcebook - what about a big book of pregenerated characters?


I've already had a submission proposal for just such a book.

On the Mythics side, we potentially have a Mythic Mesopotamia in the works too.

And... on the Errata, work has slowed down as Pete and I concentrate on getting Book of Quests and Monster Island finished. But it will happen.
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Dreameister said Dec 13, 2012 15:16:07
Yep, the Alephtar Mythic line, as well as other companies work on other ancient settings are mostly compatible as they stand. Ancient Rome (BRP), Merrie England (BRP), The Celestial Empire(BRP), Amber Coast (BRP), Vikings (RQII), Pirates, Samurai (Legend), Iceland (BRP), English Civil War (Clockwork & Chivalry) and so on, just require a bit of work to use. Certainly not enough to prioritise them in the RQ6 line.


I completely agree with you. Though C&C is a different beast to the rest of the bunch IMO, more alternate than mythic history, so a mythic XVII century is not fully catered for.

For me personally, of those "mythic possibilities" you mention Arabia during the Abbasid Caliphate is the most interesting. As I said in my previous post, the whole fertile crescent is a region with fascinating history (and Mesopotamia would be great, btw, Loz!)

what about a big book of pregenerated characters?


Hmm, I would say this is too tied into particular settings (such as Ars Magica and Warhammer you mention). They would be too vanilla, but maybe I'm wrong.

On another note, maybe we should move this discussion to a new thread as the topic has deviated from the December news and it proves an interesting suggestion list.

Cheers,
Marko
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StreetBushido said Dec 13, 2012 17:28:10
Looking forward to all of this!
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lawrence.whitaker said Dec 13, 2012 17:46:06
Hmm, I would say this is too tied into particular settings (such as Ars Magica and Warhammer you mention). They would be too vanilla, but maybe I'm wrong.


There's a wide range of cultural and profession types that fit any kind of fantasy setting. The key to it is framing the NPCs and providing options that allow for rapid tailoring to a particular style of fantasy. Plus, many GMs are simply looking for ready-made stats which can be setting agnostic anyway. So its perfectly do-able.
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Dreameister said Dec 13, 2012 23:38:52
On second thought, you're quite right. There are huge differences between a legionary and a Shaolin monk, but both empires had hunters, assassins, spies not to mention more mundane professions like smiths, bakers and the bane of all - tax collectors ;)
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DanTrue said Dec 14, 2012 10:10:26
There's a wide range of cultural and profession types that fit any kind of fantasy setting. The key to it is framing the NPCs and providing options that allow for rapid tailoring to a particular style of fantasy. Plus, many GMs are simply looking for ready-made stats which can be setting agnostic anyway. So its perfectly do-able.


If going for an NPC book, I would love more generic adventure ideas (just a few lines) for each of them. So for a hunter, the could be three ideas as to what problems this hunter might have and what he can/will pay to have them solved.

The reason for this is, that if the book is simply a huge bloat of characters without some generic framing that allows the GM to also flesh out a basic personality and perhaps some playtime - then the time might be better used developing an NPC generator (something I'm keen on doing as soon as I have the bloody time).

- Dan
[Last edited Dec 14, 2012 15:19:16]
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SergioMascarenhas said Dec 14, 2012 12:27:07
I don't think that BRP and games derived from it do the trick for Arabian Nights. On the other hand, a game based on the travels of Ibn Batutta... I would buy that one.
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Dreameister said Dec 14, 2012 13:08:32
DanTrue said:

If going for a setting book, I would love more generic adventure ideas (just a few lines) for each of them. So for a hunter, the could be three ideas as to what problems this hunter might have and what he can/will pay to have them solved.


This is essentially how Career Compendium for WFRP 2nd edition works, with plot hooks and "a day in the life" and it's my understanding that this was what Rory had in mind when he suggested it. "Rapid tailoring" that Loz mentions would alsobe useful for mining ideas being the point of intersection of culture/profession and the type of fantasy (setting style?) (at least that was my impression of his answer).

SergioMascarenhas said:

I don't think that BRP and games derived from it do the trick for Arabian Nights. On the other hand, a game based on the travels of Ibn Batutta... I would buy that one.


What exactly you think wouldn't work in BRP for Arabian Nights?

It's not quite the same territory but the extant of Ibn Batutta's travels are similar to the extent of the Silk Road routes I mentioned above, and I agree that there are terrific tales you can do in such a vast setting.

Cheers,
Marko
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Thalaba said Dec 14, 2012 14:39:49
What exactly you think wouldn't work in BRP for Arabian Nights?
He's probably referring to the fact that the Arabian Nights tales are very much focused on social relations, trickery, and shame. They are also extremely bawdy. A game that really wanted to capture the Arabian Nights well would play up these aspects - something that BRP/RQ doesn't really focus on. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but it would be a lot of work to put the mechanical emphasis in the right place.

...a game based on the travels of Ibn Batutta... I would buy that one.
This would be easier to do (but note that he travelled from Andalus to China, so the scope would be enormous), but probably not too interesting for most people. Ibn Battutah was a realist and his accounts are quite factual. They do have some wonderfully interesting parts (I dedicated a post to his influence in my last campaign AP thread) but overall his stories are rather dry and he doesn't dwell on the fantastic. Marco Polo is slightly more interesting in regard of the fantastic, but overall his accounts can be rather dull, too.

What I think would work for most people would be to create a game that was inspired by an amalgam of medieval travellers in these regions (adding Jubayr, Razzaq, Zheng He, and maybe Mandeville and even Herodotus), rather than on any single one. Then you could both hunt diamonds with giant birds AND witness the loss of your takshif in the desert. Maybe throw in a little Italo Calvino, too. That would be an awesome book!
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RoryHughes said Dec 15, 2012 00:13:47
Sorry, my major exposure to Arabian Nights was through the Sinbad fantasy movies from the 70s and earlier....

Thought Runequest would work pretty well.
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Dreameister said Dec 15, 2012 08:18:15
Thalaba said:

the Arabian Nights tales are very much focused on social relations, trickery, and shame. They are also extremely bawdy.


I think that between all the family, community, etc. tables and passions mechanics there are enough in the system to model any setting heavily focused on social relations. Trickery and shame are an extension to imposing specific limitations to how characters can act in society and are more, IMO, setting than mechanics thing and bawdiness, well, that is all in the style of the adventures. So I don't think they require all that much work, as the frame is already there.

A game that really wanted to capture the Arabian Nights well would play up these aspects - something that BRP/RQ doesn't really focus on. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but it would be a lot of work to put the mechanical emphasis in the right place.


I get this, but I never was much for complex social combat systems, aspects or any such mechanics. I know that not all people are comfortable with heavy in-character roleplay followed by a simple check, and that modern RPGs make a particular thing of having elaborate mechanics to enact the setting, but I think that setting tropes are always much better catered for if they are agreed upon between players and GMs instead of hammered into play with mechanics.

RQ6 is a simulationist system so it should be perfectly capable of simulating the whole variety of human behavior if the players and GMs agree to enact them.

Also, I asked Sergio about Arabian Nights because he specifically mentioned them, I said upthread that I'd thought a mythic Abbasid caliphate would be a great book (Incidentally, a good mythic version of the period can be read in Howard Andrew Jones's excellent Asim and Dabir stories and novels).

As Rory demonstrated, lots of people know The Arabian Nights only through the many interpretations. The most famous stories like Sindbad and Aladdin actually never were part of the 1001 Nights in Arabic. They were added by the western translators, but most people think of them when thinking of the book.

I think that a mythic treatment of the Golden Age of Islam would cater for different styles of play (of which Arabian Nights, the actual tales, would be just one). I also think that RQ6 would make a great system for it.

Cheers,
Marko
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