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.

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Kronocalypse Design: The Unprotected Zone

In past blog posts, I gave some big-picture looks at the Kronocalyse setting as a whole and looked at the Steam Age in particular. Today we’ll focus in on a small slice of the Cyber Age, Unprotected Zone 8934.

The idea for the Unprotected Zones first came to me when I was brainstorming where I wanted the temporal meteorite that kicks off the Kronocalypse to strike. I wanted it to be close enough to settlements so that heroes need not travel far to reach the meteorite, but at the same time I wanted to isolate it enough so that it would not cause major destruction and the site would not be swarmed with onlookers. Continue reading

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Kronocalypse Design: Relics are Born not Made

From magical swords, to cloaks of invisibility, magical gear is a common trope in fantasy fiction. Thus its not surprising that such items are also common in fantasy roleplaying games. Unfortunately, this can go a little overboard, and sometimes in RPGs characters end up decked out with so much magical swag that the individual items lose their specialness.

What’s more, unlike fantasy fiction, fantasy games have rules attached, and sometimes game logic trumps story logic. A character might start with his family heirloom, an ancient sword forged with the blood of the first kings, but then he finds one that gives him an extra +2 to hit, so he takes the new one into battle. Continue reading

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Kronocalypse Design: Stealing from Geography

First of all, we launched the Kronocalypse Kickstarter campaign yesterday. If you haven’t done so, go check it out! Now on to the design blog.

Roleplaying games have some pretty fantastic locations, from floating cities to crystal forests. Though it turns out Earth has some pretty cool locations too. Some of them are so cool that I had to incorporate them into the Kronocalypse setting.

Continue reading

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The Kronocalyse Has Begun!

The Kronocalypes Kickstarter campaign is now live!

Just in case you have not been following our previews and design blogs, Kronocalypse is a time-travel mash-up setting, in which cavemen, wizards, sky pirates, and cyborgs unite to defeat an evil that threatens time itself.

We’ve got some great rewards including some exclusive extras. You can check them all out at the Kickstarter page now.



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Kronocalypse Design: We Have the Technology

In previous blog posts, I’ve talked about Magic and Miracles in Kronocalypse. Today I’ll talk about the Arcane Background of the future: cybernetics.

Arcane Background? But in the Sci-Fi Companion, don’t they have rules for cybernetics already?

Yes, they do. So why reinvent the wheel? A few reasons. First and foremost I want cybernetics to be part of the character concept, not just another item you purchase. Also I want characters to be able to start with some cybernetics. The prices in the Sci-Fi Companion are beyond the reach of a starting character. I could lower the price, but if I did that, it would be too tempting for everybody to just load up on cybernetics as soon as they can afford them. I also don’t want Kronocalypse to center on finding loot to buy cool stuff. (You’ll see that philosophy again when I talk about how we handle relics in Kronocalypse). Continue reading

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Kronocalypse Design: Mobius

As I’ve mentioned before, two major goals of Kronocalypse are making each era feel like a compelling setting by itself, and at the same time making them feel like a unified whole. Last time we looked at the details of one era, the steam age, so today we’ll looking at one of the elements that binds the ages together: Mobius.

Mobius Continue reading

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Kronocalypse Design: Evolution of the Steam Age

Of all the ages in Kronocalypse, the Steam Ages has undergone the most evolution during the design process.

I started just knowing I wanted steampunk.

So what images does that conjure up? First the superficial images: clockwork, top hats, goggles. Digging a little deeper, I think steampunk is about the bright side of technology. The telegraph lets us instantly send messages to people across the country, mass production allows us to buy all kinds of new consumer goods, and steam engines enable us to travel around the world in eighty days. Anything us is possible.

final-Half-Page Continue reading

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Kronocalypse Design: Humans through the Ages

It all started with the cavemen.

As I fleshed out the eras in Kronocalypse, I decided that humans of the stone age have not developed reading or writing. In Savage Worlds terms, this normally translates into the Illiterate Hindrance. I thought briefly about adding a caveat that while cave people don’t start knowing how to read and write, unless the heroes selects the Hindrance, they learn quickly to do so once they are exposed to written language.

No, I decided. Too complicated. Let’s just give all cave people the Illiterate hindrance.

Final Barm no bg Continue reading

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Kronocalypse Design: Mindsets

While I was playtesting Broken Earth, the players let me know that they sometimes had a hard time separating their real world knowledge from their character knowledge. It was even harder than in a standard fantasy game, because Broken Earth was set in the real world. For instance, what would somebody born 50 years after the apocalypse make of a robot drone flying overhead? Would want to rebuild a ruined hydroelectric dam?

There’s a lot of details in the Broken Earth book about the various cultures that the heroes might come from, and I could write a lot more. Some players are really into reading these histories, but others just want to show up at the table and roll some dice, so in the end I put together mindset lists for the three communities that the heroes are likely to start in. The bulleted lists highlight the core ideas of what the community are and what somebody from the community believes. Continue reading

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