Monday, November 30, 2009

Design Thoughts: Privateer

So, over this weekend, I started doing a little bit more with Privateer, my game idea basically taking some themes of the Napoleonic War/War of 1812 and placing them out in the stars. This sounds like the sort of thing Flying Mice would be all over, but I've actually been toying with it for a while now.


Why the Napoleonic Wars? I truly think that as horrible and bloody as wars inevitably are, those struggles were played out on such an epic stage with such unforgettable participants. Considering the forgettable ship-to-ship actions of day makes it a good fit for naval or imperial sci-fi. (David Weber evidently thought so as well).

Looking back, I see that I have done notes for several systems, to include Savage Worlds, FATE, and Iridium Lite, one of HinterWelt Enterprises's in-house systems. FATE and Iridium Lite are probably less well-known than Savage Worlds, but both are open-source, something that's always nice to work with. For right now, I think I'm going to work on tweaking and trimming Iridium Lite--I have the most experience with it (Squirrel Attack!), and I think it will be a little more forgiving of my mistakes.

So, we'll see how this goes. Like a lot of people in our hobby, I get projectitis, so I won't commit to anything. But there are a few common-sense design benchmarks I want to follow:

-Clear, unconfusing layout, complete with character generation checklist.

-Everything needed to play in a single book.

-That book's rules should be only around 20 pages with starship rules and examples included, and should be separate from the setting material (the latter point being a key point of HinterWelt's products, too). Look, if an RPG needs more than that these days, I get discouraged. I'm after simple but robust.

-An introductory scenario or adventure should be included.

-A good table of contents and a good index to round things out.

-Character sheet included.

So, we'll see what comes of it. If it takes off, expect some blurbs here and there as I get things underway.

11 comments:

Rob Lang said...

Sounds like a champion idea!

Is this a good time to remind you of my guide to organising an RPG? Might be able to crib some pointers from it.

http://www.thefreerpgblog.com/2009/05/rob-langs-free-guide-to-organising-your.html

Zachary The First said...

Rob: This is an excellent time to do so! My thanks!

Ragnorakk said...

Sounds like a really good idea!

clash bowley said...

Sounds like an awesome idea, Zachary! I'm finishing up In Harm's Way: Starcluster now, so I have the Naval/Military SF bug too!

-clash

Zachary The First said...

Awesome! We could cross-promote, clash! :)

clash bowley said...

That would be a blast, Zachary! :D

-clash

HinterWelt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HinterWelt said...

I always get in trouble with this stuff....
First thoughts...

BeRKA said...

Looking forward to see what You can do.

Maybe You can get some inspiration from "Prize Money and Privateering in the Traveller Universe" that can be found here:
http://zho.berka.com/traveller_rules/

Zachary The First said...

Why trouble? I really enjoy when you do these mock-ups!

I have to admit, progress on this is going really well—working on the equipment section right now. The biggest piece, of course, will be setting, where I need to do a lot of expansion on my notes. I’ve made a few minor tweaks to Iridium Lite, Bill, that I’m really curious to see what you think. Hopefully I don’t hit a wall in development!

HinterWelt said...

I look forward to seeing what you come up with Zach!

I get in trouble because invariably someone who does layout for a living comes by and tells me I a "breaking the rules and doing it wrong". It is just fun for me. ;)