Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Musings on Playtest

I have been taking a little break from writing now that the playtest document is circulating. Hopefully we will start to see some discussion on the Vagrant forums soon. The plan is that once this phase of testing is complete, I'll be able to finalise the basic system mechanics and start on the other sub-systems that are dependant upon the basic framework. Obviously there is no point in doing masses of design if the framework is going to have to change.

I am not going to pretend that Infinity Core is a perfect game system, such a thing is impossible to build because of individual tastes. For me, "perfect", is a system that does not intrude into or slow down play. So it must be fast, elegant, and intuitive. I have to admit that I have my doubts about using a d20 with the potentially huge variation in degrees of success, and depending on the feedback I get from the playtest I may choose to make fundamental changes to the dice mechanics.

But for now lets just see what the feedback gives us.

I have started writing up a chapter for Dark Stars called: Gazetteer of the Sphere, which will give planet profiles for each of the major worlds, here is the sample text for Junction.


Solar System: Aeon (K5 V), Aeon’s Hand (M2 V, 0.15AU), Junction (H Class, 0.48AU), Haven (H Class, 0.69AU), Amber (R Class, 0.92AU), Resnight (R Class, 1.46AU), Calisite (G Class, 16 satellites, 6.7AU), Strayers Belt (15.2-20.1AU), Catchan (G Class, 36 satellites, 45.3AU), Wanderer (63.7AU)
Gates: Corvus City: Azail, Hope, Minerva, Shae 
Capital: Corvus City
Resources: Politics, fashion, energy production
Exports: Politics, fashion

Important People:

Supreme Yerik Jacobs (born 523PR): The master of the Covenant and a prominent political force in his own right. Supreme Yerik is rarely seen in public, in fact seldom leaves the sanctity of the Gate House. Little is known about Supreme Jacobs with any real certainly, based on his name alone it is believed that he may be a survivor of the Jacobs Dynasty that once made claim to large expanses of Hope.


Junction is one of two terrestrial (H Class) worlds orbiting in Aeon’s green zone. During the Commonwealth Era, Junction was an unremarkable world; it is only in the post-Ruin Era that it has grown in importance. As a former Commonwealth backwater the world was over looked and temporarily closed its gate hub during the Ruin, this act alone has done much to preserve the technology base of the planet and elevate its importance to the Sphere in the modern epoch.
Junction has always been a marginal world, a hot arid world with little surface water. The equatorial region is primarily bleached desert, giving way to warm temperate polar regions, with shallow seas. The low gravity (0.65G) gives rise to high mountain ranges that easily push their peaks well above the thin atmosphere. Surprisingly the world was never terraformed, instead the colonial focus was aimed at Junction’s the more habitable neighbor: Haven.
When the Aeon system was colonized millennia ago, Junction was conceived as a transportation hub for Haven, linked by gate the two worlds were effectively one. The barren landscape could be utilized collect massive quantities of solar energy that was exported to the colonial cities on Haven. Much of the supporting industry and infrastructure was also situated on Junction, leaving Haven as a garden world to be enjoyed.
In the Dynastic Era, Junction’s importance has only grown, the gate hub facility located in Corvus City, is second to none, controlling all of the intersystem gates, as well as sub-system gates to various cities on Haven, the Calisite Moons, and a hand full of destinations amongst the Junker controlled Catchan satellites.
Around 1.7 million humans inhabit Junction, the majority of which are desert dwellers. The population is strictly divided between the polar regions under Dynastic control and the desert dwellers who make their own ways in the sand chocked tropics. These “desert rabble” survive by any means available, including begging, thieving, and smuggling. They are an ingenious people and with them nothing goes to waste, their nomadic life style sees them making seasonal migrations between various oasis, and secret water holes. In some places these desert stops are for petrol, oil, or other fossil fuels that can be obtained from ancient drilling derricks.
The first Ragnar of the Sphere, Alexander I established his throne upon Junction, seeing the worlds importance in terms of gate links rather than habitable climate and diverted interest from the much more habitable Haven (after which the system had originally been named). In recent generations some attempts have been made to apply the some of the surviving principles of terraforming to the marginal world, this includes the construction of atmosphere processors to thicken and clean the atmosphere, and an artificial strengthening of the worlds magneto-sphere to reduce the atmosphere lose to the solar wind. This has done little to reverse the atmospheric taint caused by industrial processes and when the winds blow the pollutants from the industrial zones to neighboring residential districts it becomes necessary to use breathing filters or risk damaging exposure to chemical toxins. Water too must be processed before being consumed and although Junction has shallow seas, they sustain little life.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Monday, 10 September 2012

Infinity Core Playtest in Layout

Things take time, but they are moving.

This morning I received the test layout for game mechanics part of the playtest. Carsten has gone for a clean futuristic style, that is easy to read, attractive, and should't tax your printer. Using a single text column and a wide margin for sidebars and notes, it should be easy to read on a computer screen also. There is of course no artwork, this is a playtest document, not a core rulebook.

This chapter runs to 20 pages. So the estimate is that the complete playtest file will run to about 90 pages, when fully laid out. It will include game mechanics, character generation, skills, traits, and the Abandoned Hope adventure.

So when will it be out?

Provisionally, late next week, is when we can expect to see it. As always, this is provisional, we are all unpaid volunteers, and sometimes real life throws us a curve ball. But we are real close now.

Thank you for your continued support, and good will.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Update: Me and my T

Me sporting my new Vagrant Workshop T-shirt
We are in the last stages of preparing the Infinity Core Playtest for release. Editing is now complete, many thanks to Jason Wallace. I have also made another pass at the document to address a few of the editing comments left by Jason. So now this document will be passed to Carsten Damm to give it a layout, I look forward seeing what he comes up with.

This last week I've been working on the back story to Dark Stars, trying to flesh the history section out from a few bullet points to actual readable text. I now have a few pages detailing the Ruin of the Commonwealth, and the development of the Dynastic order that rose up to replace it. It can be tricky to visualise a form of futurist immortal feudalism, trying to get a feel of an evolving setting, with static unchanging beings at the helm is an odd thing.

I have also been working on the conceptual cybernetics chapter, gone are all vestiges of "chrome era" hardware. Instead of buying specific implants with usual corresponding loss of sanity, all implants are replaced with several areas of expertise. for example a character with "Aggressor" routines, adds combat functions to his body. The form they take is unimportant, their manifestation can be described as needed.

Still working out the fine detail on these.