Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve last updated the blog, but it doesn’t mean development has stopped. On the contrary – I’ve managed to push the game from the A3.X version to A5 (what will now be known as “The Last Alpha Version”), and now am moving to the Closed Beta stage.
What does the system look like these days? In a nutshell. It’s a very different beast from what it used to be in A3. The focus since that point has been in “beginner friendly” and “modularity”.
+H is now 100% in Finnish, including every single piece of terminology in the system. The fictional corporation is still called New Horizons, because English is a global language and the corporation is global. The name of the game has changed to +H and probably will change further.
As roleplaying games are structured conversations, using the native language is pretty much a must. There might be a translation to English at some point, but for now, torilla tavataan.
From what I’ve been observing lately a lot is that for a beginner, the concept of “roll dice, add something to that and compare it to a target number” is terrifying. Even if it’s “roll 2d6, add 1, see if the result is 7-9 or 10+”, like it is in Apocalypse World and variants. This is why I went with the dice pool mechanic I had a draft for with some tweaks:
You roll two six-sided dice. If you have an advantage, you roll one more. If you want, you can use a willpower point to roll one more. If you do so, choose a trait you have and mark that off. If, instead, you want more willpower points, you can roll one dice less by marking off a trait.
What you’re trying to do is get dice that are as good or better than the number you have on your character sheet next to the approach you’re using. So if you’re really good at breaking things, your “hurt” approach might be 3+. And any rolled die of 3, 4, 5 or 6 counts as a “hit”. This change was done because bigger is better.
You then look at the relevant move and see what the number of hits you get does on that. If you didn’t get hits, the GM gets to make a move. Which usually involves you succeeding, but bad things happening while you do.
The rest of the fancy mechanics (Flow, Criticals, Trust) in the original dice mechanic draft will not be relevant to the first stage of the Closed Beta, but they are still a part of the game.
The Player Moves
Killing your darlings. That’s what they say. The road here has been bloody. Sometimes the darling is something that you despise, so it’s easy – that was the case with Toimi paineen alla (Act Under Fire variant) that has been rubbing me the wrong way ever since I first saw the original in Apocalypse World. With others, it’s been harder. But the hand size has come down a lot. It should be manageable now. Should. That’s what the Closed Beta is for.
The GM Threat Tracks
Threat Tracks, Terror Tracks, Doom Tracks. It’s a thing that’s been in the game from A0 version. But now it finally has a form. There’s rules for the GM to follow on how much horrors they can unleash, forcing a build-up and tasty foreshadowing before being able to unleash all the horrors of the uncaring universe on the characters. It’s a very concrete rule for the GM, and one I’m really proud of.
Dividing the Game
I’ll be dividing the game into two sections. The Mission level, that is the focus of the Closed Beta for now, and the Campaign level, which will come later. Mission level is the part that I’ve fine-tuned the most. It deals with regular schmoes of the company going toe to toe with Shadow Biosphere entities for the first time without any tools on how to deal with it. The Campaign level brings those tools to the table, and open up the world beyond the uninitiated.
The Closed Beta Itself
The thing is – alpha testing is me running the game to people. Beta testing will be me writing those rules to other people so they can run it to their people. It’s going to be a wild ride.
And that’s it, I guess. I’ll be posting updates as I get things written. The thing with beta testing is that I have to hand the reins to someone else