[Dreadsands] Applying Lessons Learned from the Ronnies

Started by Troy_Costisick, March 08, 2011, 08:51:21 AM

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Along the way to creating my Three Roses Project I submitted an entry to the Ronnies.  Some of the mechanics in that game were the incarnation of ideas I'd been bouncing around in my head for Three Roses.  Ron's feedback was immensely helpful and showed me that I still have some ways to go as a designer before I can honestly tackle Three Roses.  So, putting that project aside, I've taken Ron's feedback on The Sword and the Skull and applied it to a new game: Dreadsands.

One thing Ron made mention in some of his general feedback about the Ronnies was that he wished people would have included some kind of graphics just to make the reading a little bit easier on the eyes.  With that in mind, here is a link to Dreadsands with a pretty little cover and mocked up interior pages: Dreadsand (fancy).  Don't be intimidated by the size.  One criticism I received in some of my older games was that the font I used was too small and the margins too narrow.  So in this version, I used wider margins and a larger font.  For those who prefer a little less gussied up version of alpha-test games, you can download a plain version of Dreadsands here: Dreadsands (simple).

Here are some of the mechanics I held over from The Sword and the Skull:

1. The Setting makes a mechanical impact on the difficulty of contests there.
2. The Destiny mechanic is carried over, but refined.
3. Some of the character advancement motifs were carried over.

I liked the advancement in TSNTS, but Ron rightfully pointed out that advancement didn't be long there.  So I'm moving it here and refining it.

Here are some things I added to the mechanics of TSNTS:

1. I added a Moment of Truth.  In TSNTS once you got the required # of Destiny Points, you simply just achieved your Destiny.  Now you have to play for it.
2. The GM doesn't use dice anymore.  I've streamlined the resolution system to make playing out contests a bit faster.
3. I've added more flags to the characters to help players actually play their characters.  TSNTS did a pretty bad job at this.  There was only one real way to play a Knight, and that's not what I want.

When it comes to the Setting, Ron said I need to make The Sword and The Skull over-the-top-insane-metal figures.  I have tried hard to do that with Dreadsands.  At this point, I'd be remiss if I did not mention that this thread over at Story Games served as inspiration for the Setting of Dreadsands.  Dark Sun provides an easier way to create extreme NPCs for a game.  If I succeed in accomplishing what I want with the Great Sphynx and the Lich-Queen in Dreadsands, perhaps I can revisit The Sword and The Skull at a later date.

I'm pretty happy with the game so far.  I've done a little bit of testing with a friend, and everything seems to function.  One thing I'm concerned about, though, is the Destiny Moment.  It works, but it doesn't really POP for me.  The Destiny Moment is only important because the players all agree that it is.  There's no mechanical support to make the contest in a Destiny Moment more special than any other contest except the context in which it takes place.  I could really use some suggestions on how to make a Destiny Moment more special.

Also, I would love some feedback on the setting elements.  Where did I not push far enough?  What have I left out?  What didn't make sense?

Thanks for reading, and if you download the game, I hope you enjoy it! :)