Progress reports, design philosophy and some other things

Sorry I’ve been quiet lately on this front, but everyone who’s been following this: Swords of the Eastsea is closer to completion again. As I probably mentioned earlier, I’ve decided to blog less and write more game instead.

We’re now at a fairly comfortable stage of writing, because most of the basic rules are done along with most of the combat rules.  One thing that might interest people is that SotE is designed with a philosophy of light modularity.  The finished product will contain extensive rules for combat, social skills, crafting equipment, overland travel and magic. There’s all sorts of options for characters to use but none of it is actually required. I promise they’ll be cool though.

Some things have been left out which would be familiar to most D&D players: generic magic item creation is probably the biggest one. I decided to leave it out because one thing I wanted to mess with was the redefinition of magic items. Almost every fantasy game since AD&D has had a long list of magical items with various effects and to me, it has run kind of contrary to what I want to see.  Magical items are in the game, no doubt, but the list is a lot shorter.  The Weirlanders have their special rapiers, Dwarves make armor with innate magical capabilities, elves brew magic ales and create the best muskets that anyone has ever seen.  It’s a Tolkien kind of thing, where it’s not just a Dwarven-made shield, there’s something innately magical about the manufacturing process. Of course, even the dwarves themselves don’t fully understand it anymore because their spells are broken.

Besides, adventures don’t happen when you sit in a tower reading a book. That’s why magic in SotE is to a significant degree physical, whenever you start talking about major magical effects. It’s shouts that turn to dragonfire, hands that tear apart the fabric of reality or jumping into a shadow so hard you end up in the Shadow World. Scholastic mages don’t just cast spells, they actually kick reality in the nuts really hard.

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