I realized I needed a mental break from Karma when the very mention of anything cyberpunk made me recoil. It's probably a decent idea to step away for a week or two so I can come back with fresh perspective.
That break has let me return to my slap-together pirate hack Corsairs. It was a pleasant surprise to go back to something I made months ago and have my first reaction be, "Wow, I want to play this," rather than my usual editor-brain critique fest.
I intended to put together a world creation system similar to Karma, but my mind went blank every time I sat to write down some world creation prompts. Next I turned to my old favorite system of random-generator charts, to see if I could hack a Star Without Number like system together for world generation.
As my mind remained unhelpfully empty, I started to mull over the problems of creating my own setting for Corsairs. The technology is based on the Age of Sail time period, but there is a heavy mystical influence that feels closer to a more ancient sea odyssey setting.
Whatever I chose, I would want to draw influence from historical groups and politics...but even cursory reading hit me with a challenge: did I want to include slavery? It's pretty hard to research any historical period without facing that question, but slavery and sea travel have been closely linked throughout most of human history. Just like colonialism and sea travel is often linked.
These questions morphed into inspiration. I wanted to create a setting that brings to life maritime commerce and conflict, but without recreating slavery and colonialism. Particularly, I wanted to try and avoid treating any of the main cultures as "the other."
And that's how I spent a solid week studying the history of the Mediterranean basin. And by the history of the Mediterranean basin, really I mean just the history of the Seleucid Empire, Etruscans, and Numidia, because I wanted to try and pull inspiration from different continents and different eras. It's been interesting but also frustrating how much of our understanding, even today, is heavily shaped by the Romans.
The setting I'm creating is inspired by but not directly based on that reading. I've identified three primary powers and created 9 initial ports. I still need to finish layout, but overall I like where it's heading.
(And yes, I am shamelessly borrowing the design aesthetic of Blades. Since this is still intended to be a "quick hack" I'm trying to minimize labor time.)
This blog is a mix of game design analysis, commentary on issues affecting indie dev spaces, and some personal reflections.