Thursday, December 16, 2010

SSS Version 0.10.12 Release

Finally, and just in time for the holidays, too:

Stone, Steel, and Steam Beta Version 0.10.12

Changes from version 0.10.2
  • Bigger (and, arguably, better) nation descriptions
  • Revised combat system - easier, faster, deadlier.
  • More and better examples and explanations.
  • Character sheet.
  • In-world systems of measurement.
  • Disclaimer.
(here's the February draft for comparison)

Self-Criticism
For the past couple weeks I've really been pushing myself to meet my arbitrary, self-imposed deadline. If there's one thing I learned from school, it's better to turn in something imperfect on time than to create something perfect and late. There are several parts I know are clunky, perhaps even clunkier than the February version. The expanded nation descriptions are all over the map, uneven, disorganized, and inconsistent. The February version was a little dry, a little terse, but at least it was fairly polished. So, that's the big thing to work on, but my deadline has arrived and my brain is wring dry for the moment. I hope the more detailed descriptions give players a better sense of the scope and wonder of the world.

The increased length - not just the nation descriptions, but the whole thing is 65% longer - makes it look like big walls of text. Before, illustrations would have been nice. Now, they're almost necessary to break up the bulk.

The "Example of Combat" was pretty much a blow-by-blow simulation of the revised combat system. In it, one PC (which we met in the "Example of Character Creation") faces off against two warriors. The PC is city oriented and alone, the two NPCs are serious fighters, and the PC nearly dies. On the one hand, it does show pretty well what happens when one city boy gets in a fight with two barbarians, but I think it sends the wrong message, that Stone, Steel, and Steam is dangerous and my character needs to be on all-out defense all the time, which is not true, it was just a disadvantageous scenario. In future editions, the example of combat will be a bit more heroically scripted or at least more evenly matched.

I felt like I was restarting this after a long break, approaching it with fresh eyes. And that's partially true, I did leave it to cool. I actually had fairly presentable June and October drafts that corrected the things I was kicking myself about in February.

I only pimped the February version for a couple of weeks. I didn't get a word of feedback until earlier this month. This time, at least, I have a group lined up for a four-session playtest to see how it holds up under sustained abuse.

By the way, I recently reinstalled my OS and lost all my RPG community links. I've recovered some from memory, but if you know of any forums to promote and get feedback for this, I'd be grateful for links.

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San Antonio, Texas, United States
My game design is fueled by one liberal arts degree, four continents, six languages, fourteen years of role-playing, and too many movies and books to count.

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