Earlier this week I made the decision to pull Karma in the Dark from public access.
As it stands now, the game needs significant revisions before I would feel comfortable keeping it available. Some of my problems with it are tied to the genre and original games that inspired it. Some of the problems are related to game mechanics that need a significant overhaul.
At the end of the day, it made more sense for me to take pieces of the game and start from the beginning to build an entirely new game. That game is Ruralpunk: a game about the cyberpunk future in rural communities.
Once Ruralpunk's main playtesting is complete, I will re-write the world generator from Karma so people can create their own cyberpunk setting.
One of my main design goals with Ruralpunk is to balance narrative decision making with streamlined advancement. Today I want to share the different group advancement mechanics I've created and how they all fold into the same theme: interwoven relationships.
In Ruralpunk, you don't have different crew types, you choose a town type. This determines your starting town, the local factions, the contacts you can make, and the improvements you can build.
You advance your town through three systems: managing corruption, contacts, and town improvements.
I've been quietly experimenting with idea of RuralPunk since last fall. There's always been a disconnect between me and traditional cyberpunk caused by its urban focus. I've spent most of my life in small towns and rural communities. While many of the stressors of the future between urban and rural places are connected, they manifest in different ways.
So that's the question that has teased me for months: what would a cyberpunk future look like in a rural setting?
I decided this month I need to dive in and explore that space. I am going to revise the Karma in the Dark rules and focus them on a ruralpunk setting. Immediately, I realized that this process would mirror my original process of adapting Blades in the Dark to a cyberpunk setting. Many mechanics will stay the same, but many others will need to be tweaked to fit this new setting.
The question became: what needs to change? And what does that look like?
The answer, I realized, is based on how I see and want to explore this ruralpunk future.
This blog is a mix of game design analysis, commentary on issues affecting indie dev spaces, and some personal reflections.