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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 39 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Ars Arcanum  (Read 1029 times)
voidgere
Member

Posts: 11


« on: June 06, 2011, 09:15:57 AM »

I have been an observer of this site for some time now.  Only recently have I had enough material, I feel, to post here and get some reviews.  I have about half the book compiled into PDF at the moment on my website with the rest going up as soon as I can get them put together.  With all the hard work I see other people putting in to their games, I wanted to give back to a community that has given me some great insight into my own project.

I have been working on this game for almost 4 years (as of August).  I have completed 2 stages of play testing and setting up for the third and final stage.  Visit my website and tell me what you think.

http://www.arsarcanumrpg.phpnet.us
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John Michael Crovis
Member

Posts: 24


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2011, 08:39:47 AM »

Perhaps, to better entice people to try out your gaming system, you should make the download more prominent on your website. I could not find the PDF.
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voidgere
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2011, 10:05:06 AM »

I removed the sign up requirement for viewing downloads.
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John Michael Crovis
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Posts: 24


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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2011, 10:27:24 AM »

I removed the sign up requirement for viewing downloads.

Cool... I just opened the first PDF and I already see that a lot of work has gone into this game. I'll take some time today and read through the game, giving a good analysis either this evening or tomorrow. Is there anything in particular you would like me to look for? Any particular design questions?

If you have the time, I would also appreciate it if you took a look at my own game - SYNERGY. A thread is already posted in the Game Development section, so I won't go into further detail here. This is YOUR thread, after all... :-)
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voidgere
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2011, 11:34:21 AM »

Nothing in particular, no.  I would like you to keep in mind that it is currently under heavy scrutiny by my editor/friend.  He is mostly looking at grammar, spelling, information flow and the such.  So mechanics and systems will stay the same, but already the first and second chapters have an entirely different feel and flow.  I will try to compile and upload the updated version as soon as possible.
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John Michael Crovis
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Posts: 24


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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 12:34:35 PM »

Nothing in particular, no.  I would like you to keep in mind that it is currently under heavy scrutiny by my editor/friend.  He is mostly looking at grammar, spelling, information flow and the such.  So mechanics and systems will stay the same, but already the first and second chapters have an entirely different feel and flow.  I will try to compile and upload the updated version as soon as possible.

Well, then, perhaps your friend will say many of the same things I'm ready to say...

A short fiction piece, such as the one you use as an introduction, should expose the player to the atmosphere of the game world and what usual game play will look like. As it stands, the introduction seems to indicate that the game is about noble society and cold war in a fantasy setting. The rules, as far as I can tell, do not emphasize social mechanics, so I have to believe that the atmosphere and game play expressed in the intro does not accurately represent normal game play or the atmosphere you are trying to represent through the rules.

After the short piece of fiction, you should spell out explicitly the type of atmosphere that you are going for and the type of game play the players can expect. Then give the players a bit of a summary of the game world – hitting on the major people, places, and events without going into too much detail.

Next should be a brief summary of the primary game mechanic. “Roll these dice, compare to this number, and anything that is above/below/around it is a success.” I've read the game mechanics chapter, and while it hints at using dice pools and rolling above a 7, I am not sure if I am supposed to add the dice together or choices I have when rolling dice. From what little I understand of the game mechanic, I can tell it is more complex than your normal “roll over this number and succeed,” but if I don't understand the mechanic, I can't say “Oh, neat!” This needs to be clarified.

Next would be the Character Creation rules. I'll be honest – I don't like generic “point” based character creation. It always seems to make things more complicated than they need to be, and can sometimes lead to min/maxing. At some level, I know that it is necessary, but I like to minimize points in character creation as much as possible. This maybe just a personal preference of mine, so feel free to ignore this advice.

I think skills should be discussed with or just after Character Creation. Then Combat, Equipment, Adventuring Basics, Magic, Spells, and Setting – in that order. You seem to have the order a little jumbled-up, which makes it harder to follow. Think of it this way; you should explain the most basic rules, then slowly build on those rules to greater complexity. That way, you bring your readers along, one step at a time, helping them understand how the game works.

There are two chapters that I could not download – Adventuring & Orders. The links default to your hosting provider.

Over all, from what I see, the PDFs are visually appealing, the layout of the game looks professional, and the art, while sparse, is high quality. However, the content needs polishing and rearranging... not so much because of grammar and spelling, but for the clarity and integrity of the rules.
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voidgere
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2011, 01:11:11 PM »

Yes.  You and my editor are of the same mind.  He gave almost exactly the same advice.  Revisions are in progress and we are addressing the layout as well.  Sharp eye.

Except the opening narrative.  You are the first to mention the political, coldwar-esque feel of the opening narrative.  Your advice that the opening narrative should set the game's feel and overview is accurate.  I wrote the story with the intent to educate the players about the political undercurrents that are taking place while the PC's are dealing with the rising problems in the land.  I wanted to to convey a sense that relying on the "State" to alleviate the threats might not be the best course of action.  It was also meant to illustrate the distance between the concerns of the nobility and that of the common man are from each other.
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voidgere
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2011, 01:15:53 PM »

I will see what is wrong with the other downloads and will upload the revisions as soon as I can.
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voidgere
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 01:19:40 PM »

*UPDATE*

The links were in error.  They are fixed now.  Thanks for the catch, John.

Plus, I wanted to say thanks for pointing me to your game.  Your inclusion of the CC reminded me to go and do the same.  There is so much to do.
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John Michael Crovis
Member

Posts: 24


WWW
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2011, 01:45:04 PM »

Yes.  You and my editor are of the same mind.  He gave almost exactly the same advice.  Revisions are in progress and we are addressing the layout as well.  Sharp eye.

Except the opening narrative.  You are the first to mention the political, coldwar-esque feel of the opening narrative.  Your advice that the opening narrative should set the game's feel and overview is accurate.  I wrote the story with the intent to educate the players about the political undercurrents that are taking place while the PC's are dealing with the rising problems in the land.  I wanted to to convey a sense that relying on the "State" to alleviate the threats might not be the best course of action.  It was also meant to illustrate the distance between the concerns of the nobility and that of the common man are from each other.

Thank you.

If I may make a suggestion, I think the best way to use the opening narrative is to show how competing political factions affect the protagonist's adventures - which should closely resemble an average player's adventures in your world. Show how one faction may sponsor a protagonist's actions in private, but when confronted, act as if they had no knowledge because it's bad politically. At the same time, make another political group spinning the protagonist's actions as being detrimental at best and immoral at worse. However, make it clear from the protagonist's point of view that he or she had done the morally right thing, even though it was not the politically right thing. Think of modern politics, and how effed up it is right now, and how it affects average folks. Put *that* in to the context of your game, and I think that will be enough to start the ball rolling. The details of the politics in your setting is better described in the setting itself, I think.
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voidgere
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2011, 04:10:44 PM »

John,

Thanks for the objective eye and your time spent reviewing my material.  It's much appreciative.  Also, check your private messages.
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