Sunday, November 28, 2010

Furries, Heroes and Bastards

So right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on the revised Freeform Anthropomorphica, which I will probally release as "FURSONA: The Definitive Guide to Creating Anthro Heroes". The new draft is currently 117 pages, about 42,000 words, as opposed to the original edition, which was about 23,000 words. Right now, I'm trawling Fur Affinity in search of artists in the community who work good and work cheap. I think I've found a couple of really good potential artists, and I've got enough in the art fund from Black Tokyo II to comission a relative shitload of new art.

This will be fun. As deep as the orignal Freeform Anthro was, Fursona is deeper. FA included 10 templates for Anthro characters- this revision has 20. I added a few new orders, got a little deeper into the psychology and culture of furry fandom, and have added a bit more world building info.

The biggest change between FA and Fursona is that character creation is now point based. After picking your Order, each character gets 4 points to play with (one of the reasons I went with a 4 point system is I don't like systems that are math heavy and use huge numbers for false granduer. For instance, if every advantage in your game costs 5 points and you have 20 starting character points, you're at the same place my system is, just with inflated numbers.)

Minor racial traits now cost 1 or two character points, Major traits cost 3 or 4, and if an Order has a particular Major trait as Favored, it knocks 2 points off the buy cost. The bird Orders, for instance, get Winged Flight at a discount, so they can pick it up for a point, and still have 3 points to play around with. This revision adds a TON of flexibilty and opens up some interesting design space.

I'm also working on Pirates of the Bronze Sky still. Last night I sent Louis a few monters and ecology notes, and I've been playing with the equipment section a bit. A few final tweeks to the feats, a revision with any changes Louis wants implemented, a few more monsters and peices of gear, and this one will be good to go.

Also, I'm still collecting art for Otherverse America Unlimited Edition, and I keep puttering around with rules info and setting details, but right now I'm working more on fantasy.

So I've got a few ideas I'd like to share with you.

First. I fully expect Fursona to be a Top 5 or maybe even a #1 seller on RPGnow. The first abortive release sold incredibly well, and this draft is going to be better. So sooner or later, I want to release a similar character builder for Undead heroes. I have a feeling that one will sell very well too.

I wonder if instead of releasing a completely generic character builder like GURPS or Mutants & Masterminds or BESM, releasing individual builders based around a specific genre of creature might now be the way to go? If I did a Freeform Undead sourcebook, it would have the same mechanical elements: There would be Orders, Minor and Major Racial Traits and Disadvantages as with Fursona, but the mechanical elements and flavor text would be specifically designed for building Undead. Instead of releasing a generic character builder that does multiple things satisfactorialy, I'd be releasing multiple character builders that each do one thing, but does that one thing amazingly well. I could actually see myself selling a line of character builders in the vein of Fursona: furries, undead, robots, aliens and mutants... all the highly customizable and infinitely fun races that fantasy and sci-fi have to offer.

Anyway, that's something I want to get working on in the coming year.

Another thing I want to do, after Black Tokyo III hits is a Pathfinder sourcebook for the setting. In Black Tokyo, I've mentioned the Tatakama again and again, this twilight half world where monsters and demons come from. It's always been a sorta vaugely definsed "Oriental Adventures" style D&D Setting, and now that I'm more comfortable with Pathfinder, I want to detail some of it. I also want to go through and convert Black Tokyo content to Pathfinder.... not just a boring translation, but a sorta through the looking glass effect, where we see the Tatakama perspective on the Black Tokyo setting.

One thing I want to do, and I'll have to get working on this is contact Paizo, say hey, this is what I want to do... I want to do a PFRPG version of Black Tokyo in all its hentai glory, I want to put in everything, including the stuff that even squicks me out and see what sticks and I want to put the Pathfinder Compatability Logo on it, not just the 3.5 OGL sticker with a little note upfront saying "yep, this plays well with Pathfinder."

I have a feeling they'll say not just no, but no fucking way, but I figure it's worth a shot. Despite all the sex and shock value fetish content and gore, there's a pretty good story under there, and I figure Mark and I have been way more responsible about not marketing to kids than we've needed to be, so who knows? If Paizo says no to their logo, releasing it as a straight OGL fantasy product isn't a big deal, but I would like the legitimacy the Pathfinder logo gives the release.

So finally, here's an idea I've been kicking around at work today. I've been wanting to revise D20 Modern in line with Pathfinder for a while now, and I think I've got an idea on how to do it.

What if instead of the attribute based Basic Classes (Strong Hero, Fast Hero, Smart Hero, ect) you just have classes based on how the characters perfer to solve problems. You might have Brute Force Heroes (brawlers and fighters, martial artists), Manipulative Heroes (social interaction), Stealthy Heroes (spies, ninjas, theives), High Tech Heroes (gadgeteers, hackers, weapons experts, pilots) and the like. Treat your preferred hero type, which is really your comfort zone, as an Order like in Fursona. That basic hero type determines your BAB progression, saves and skill points.

Each hero type gets a few build points each level to buy major and minor class abilities,and like in Fursona, your hero type/Order gives you a break on the cost of Major abilities. Anybody can buy anything though, if they meet the prerequisites.

Finally, at each level, you can pick talents from either the Hero side or the Bastard side. Hero talents would be more defensive, helpful and give you new non-combat tactics to use, while Bastard talents focus on directly putting the hurt on your enemies. Whichever you have more off determines your character's outlook and interaction.

I can off the top of my head see the differences: I can see Capt. America as a Brute Force Hero with his focus on defensive abilties and non-lethal takedowns, while Wolverine would be a Brute Force Bastard. Vic Mackie is like an Investigative Hero/Brute Force Bastard. John Constantine is a Manipulative Bastard/Magical Bastard. The classic movie James Bond is a High Tech hero with his cool gadgets, while the Ultimate Universe Iron Man would be a High Tech Bastard, since so much of his super-tech can put a direct hurting on other people.

(The mention of High Tech heroes above brings up one other concern: tech levels. In my revised D20 Modern, the Modern and Future rules run together, and with the corebook, you should be able to play anything from Unforgiven to Sister Alice, in other words, from Wild West tech to completley insane godlike post-humanity a million years into the future. So naturally, a "High Tech Hero" in a Wild West setting is going to look a hell of a lot different from a High Tech hero in a 1980s campaign, or in Otherverse America's 2107 or in Galaxy Command's 3478. How to limit the tech levels appropirately, yet have the character type be playable in all the myraid genres D20 Modern and D20 Future encompass is a big question I'd have to adress.)

Of course, the problem of multiclassing rears its head. In Fursona, you pick your Order once at character-generation, and it never changes. In the revised modern system, you pick your Hero type upto 20 or maybe even 30 times, and it can change every time. So obviously there are a few kinks to work out, but I think this is a good starting place. Drop me a line below to let me know what you think of the nascent "Heroes & Bastards" system.

Blessed Be,

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