With some of the rules changes to version 4, I need to add information to the character sheet. I went ahead and played around with the layout and style while I was changing content.
Most notably, Contacts have become a key mechanical feature. They continue to have a bonds/grudges system with bonuses and complications, but they also effectively take the place of expert cohorts from Blades in the Dark.
With the content changes the character sheet will be two pages. While it moves away from the 1-page simplicity of the Blades model, it lets me fit the mechanics into the sheets without overcrowding. Essentially you'll have a main character sheet and a downtime character sheet. That sheet will allow you to track everything downtime related:
Basically the data you don't need during missions (i.e., the bulk of play).
As in all things, the new character sheet format is in the testing phase and still open to future updates.
It turns out that spending 3 weeks on a pirate side-project is exactly the mental break I needed to feel inspired to work on Karma in the Dark again. I've spent the last few days reviewing the completed chapters and chipping away at the incomplete ones.
Version 4.0 is going to come with the long-promised antihero playbooks. When a PC would die or be forced to retire from becoming too jaded, they can come back as an antihero instead.
[Rule summary after the break]
I have a problem.
The problem is keeping projects small.
I pretty much just spent my entire annual vacation getting Tides of Gold to the point it can be play tested with relative ease. By relative ease I mean that I lean on the SRD for the Forged in the Dark game engine. Unlike the current state of Karma, I'm not trying to replicate the entire game system.
Tides of Gold, version 1, has been released.
The game is ready for groups to pick it up and play. It includes a full setting that includes 9 detailed ports, 50 factions, and enough world detail to spark ideas for groups, but enough empty spaces for them to make it their own. It also includes 3 crew types and 5 PC playbooks.
The rule changes from the base Forged in the Dark engine are minimal. I did that on purpose, so people could bring Blades playbooks into this setting, or take the ships of this game into the Blades setting. There are a few rule additions for sea travel and ship combat. In the future I want to add some faction-economy mechanics, but I'd like to get these initial systems well tested before I layer on anymore complexity.
Overall, I'm really happy with this release. Design wise, it pushed me in a very different direction than Karma in the Dark. While Karma has been all about exploring mechanics, this release is all about creating an interesting world that's easy for GM to adopt for their own purposes.
I also invested a lot of time in the artwork. While my skills are still developing, creating an illustrates bestiary with 20+ original monsters took me into new territory.
So yes. Now you can play pirates. Or pirate hunters. In a unique, Mediterranean inspired world.
I started Corsairs on the Dark as a one-weekend project, to create some unique playbooks for the Blades in the Dark setting and let people be ship-based crews. Recently I went back to wrap up the project, and as I tend to do, end up getting sucked into design questions and quandaries.
At this point, the game has:
All of those materials can be found here.
I have short summaries on about 9 factions I need to lay out and edit. I also have a quick start rules document about 30% through layout, which includes the ship combat and sea travel rules. The quick start mostly covers unique rules, flow of play, and easy reference for common mechanics. It assumes you own Blades in the Dark, and is intended to be a stand alone game.
or now, I plan to keep the project within this scope. I have ideas about some faction/trade/living economy type of mechanics, but I want to get the next version of Karma out first.
Full information is in my blog.
But for people who primarily track the game's progress here, the summary is:
I have a chronic illness called POTS that started significantly impacting me in February. As a result, my ability to predict my productivity in all areas of life (including this game) has disappeared.
I'm still committed to working on this, but priorities like keeping my day job and taking care of my basic health have to come first.
I may spend more time messing around with smaller side projects like Corsairs and Pet Brigade. This happens when I don't mentally feel up to wrestling with Karma's more complicated/layered mechanics, but still want to do some sort of design work.
I'll continue to update here as I make progress.