Downloads are Back and Drakonheim is Coming

We are slowly getting the site back up to speed. Today I got the downloads section back and running. This has free downloads for Abstract Dungeon, Broken Earth, and some adventures I created for the D&D 5e playtest: Heroes of Drakonheim.

Speaking of Drakonheim, ever since I wrote those adventure, I’ve had the setting bouncing around in the back of my brain. For those who haven’t looked at the adventure, its a medieval city living among the ruins of a great civilization. Goblins lurk in the sewers, necromancers walk the streets, and monsters creep closer every day.

I’ve decided I’m going to run a Kickstarter for a systemless setting book at some point in the near-ish future though I don’t know quite when yet. If that sounds interesting to you, you can sign up to get Kickstarter alerts.

We’re Back!

Hello everybody. Sorry we were taken down for a few weeks there. We got hacked and I had to do a bit to get us back and running again.

This has also made me take a look at our website, and I’ve realized that it needs some updating, so look out for changes in the coming weeks!

Wash Me!

Kronocalypse contains many of the standard tropes of mainstream fantasy RPGs. You’ve got elves and dwarves fighting against orcs and dragons. While I want to include these tropes to give players something familiar, I also want the setting to be more than just another version of Dungeons and Dragons.

As part of that I’ve looked to many other cultures beyond Western Europe for inspiration. I’ve already talked a little bit about that on the player side, with how the Faith is inspired by Shintoism and other Asian forms of animism. On the game master’s side, I’ve combed through other mythologies looking for possible monsters. Continue reading

Kronocalypse Design: In Our Own Image

Kronocalypse features two races created by humans rather than any sort of natural process: the clockwork automatons of the Steam Age and the genetically engineered replicants of the Cyber Age.

When I was brainstorming iconic races for all the ages, I also decided I didn’t want any of them to occupy the same niches. After I decided to include automatons as an iconic steampunk race, I consciously decided not to include androids in the cyberpunk era. Robots still exist, by they are more like the mindless drones that we have today than the fully sapient robots you find in much of science fiction. Continue reading

Kronocalypse Design: The Many Benefits of Backers

I love crowd funding for many reasons. The most obvious reason, is that it’s a great way to raise funds to create a book that otherwise would not be possible. That’s far from the only benefit however. Another benefit of crowd-funding campaigns is that it increases communication between project creators and the backers. This communication helps strengthen the project, creating a better end result.

I saw this several times while working on Broken Earth. Sometimes I brought a question to the backers, like how they preferred to have the book organized. Other times the backers came to me with ideas. For instance there is a section in the book about how the apocalypse effected life beyond the upper Midwest. I did not originally plan to describe the rest of the world, but backers where so curious, that I added it. Continue reading

Kronocalypse Design: Adventure Deck

I recently announced the stretch goals for the Kronocalypse Kickstarter campaign, and one of them is to produce a campaign-specific Adventure Deck that you can mix with the standard deck or use independently.

For those who don’t know, the Adventure Deck is a deck of cards designed to give players new and interesting ways to control the story in Savage Worlds. Each card features a different special ability that characters can use, and each player can use one card per session. The standard Savage Worlds adventure deck features everything from automatically getting a Raise on one Trait roll, to finding a love interest, to making the bad guy stronger. Continue reading

Kronocalypse Design: Temporal Synergy

As I’ve designed Kronocalypse, I’ve looked for ways to bring the time-travel theme in even when characters are jumping from one age to another.

Until recently, I was also playing in a Deadlands campaign. In that setting there are a few different kinds of Bennies, or Fate Chips as they are called in Deadlands. The different Fate Chips have different benefits, including adding 1d6 to any Trait roll.

As I brainstormed, I combined these two ideas into something I call temporal synergy. Continue reading

Kronocalypse Design: Cat People in Progress

For the most part, in this design blog I’ve written about decisions I’ve already made for Kronocalypse. This time I’m going write about something that’s still in flux. The race formally known as cat people, which now has the working name felinoids.

The concept of felinoids began when I decided I wanted non-human species in the Steam Age that the human empires had colonized. I didn’t want to use the standard fantasy races, so I opted for the previously described tree folk and a race of cat people, because… well… who doesn’t like cat people?

Savage Worlds has a standard race of cat-people called rakashans, which I could have gone with. The problem is they are kind of jerks. Or at least, they are frequently portrayed as antagonists in the meta-plots. They also start with Racial Enemy and Bloodthirsty Hindrances, which are not especially PC friendly.

So I decided to create something similar, but not quite the same. I developed some history for them, how they once ruled a great empire of their own, but due to infighting and natural disasters, it collapsed centuries before humans came to their continent. Their reactions to the human colonizers are more diverse and more extreme than the tree folks’. Some felinoids take up arms against the humans, while others joined with humans working on the airships that fly too and from their native lands.

At the same time I debated just how strongly the cat people resemble cats and how much they look like humans. On one end of the spectrum there are the very feline creatures like Kimahri from Final Fantasy X or the Kilrathi from Wing Commander. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the ubiquitous cat girls of anime, who basically are just humans with cat ears and tails. There are plenty examples of characters in-between too, like the Thundercats in both their original and reboot incarnations.

Thundercats you say? That got me thinking about how the Thundercats all resembled different species of great cats. Form there I latched on to the idea that maybe some of the different factions of felinoids had different bloodlines, resembling different cats. These different bloodlines have different strengths, which led me to the current incarnation of the felinoids. It’s still not final, as I need to add some sort of downside to the race, but its a glimpse into the race’s design in progress:

Felinoid Racial Edges and Hindrance
Cat-Like Reflexes: Felinoids begin with a d6 in Agility.
Claws: Felinoids have claws that deal Str+d6 damage. These claws also help them climb, granting them a +2 bonus to Climbing rolls.
Bloodline: In addition select on of the following bloodlines.
Lionan: Lionans are the most social of the felinoids. They gain a +2 bonus to Charisma.
Tygran: Tygrans are the fiercest warriors of the felionids. Their claws deal Str+d8 damage and have AP 2.
Jagaran: Jagarians are the most spiritual and intellectual of the Felinoids. They gain 5 additional power points when taking the Magic, Miracles, or Weird Science backgrounds. Additionally they can begin play with the Miracles backgrounds, though the begin without any great kami (they still have the summon alley power).
Cheetaran: Cheetarans are the fastest of the felinoids. They have a pace of 8, and roll a d12 for their running die.