Thursday, March 31, 2016

Big Trouble in Little China!

GenCon is going to be fun this year!

In addition to however many volumes of 13th Age we have out by and for the show, I'll be enjoying the release of a new game from Upper Deck based on my favorite deckbuilding card game.

I've been a Legendary fanboy since Devin Low invited me to early playtests. You'll find my wife Lisa and me in the playtesters list for most of the Marvel Legendary sets. So it was wonderful to design a Big Trouble in Little China set intended to be playable with the Marvel sets.

The Villains and Masterminds and Schemes can all add something new for people who want to draft big trouble into their Marvel games, and Iron Fist could pay a visit to Little China. But BTiLC is very much its own experience, with interlocking characters and mechanics that want to be played together, as well as new Schemes that pivot around Chinatown. I'm particularly happy with the story-oriented solution for handling the starting heroes, but it's a little too soon to spill those beans. I'll say more about the game's design goals and solutions in future posts.

This was so much fun to make! The result is sort of a love letter: Legendary is Lisa's favorite game, and Big Trouble in Little China is designed to be Legendary the way Lisa likes to play it. Except for the worst of the Masterminds . . . Lisa saw that Mastermind and said "Oh. You just designed this to screw me, didn't you?"

Me: Not you. Your play style.
Lisa: The world.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

Three Powerful Months

I'm excited about this year's 13th Age Monthly lineup. The first three months show off the mix of GM material and player goodies we're aiming for. The artists are doing splendid work, and in fact for much of the year, 13AM is likely to be the place to see color 13th Age art.

As you can see from the design credits so far this year, I'm staying fully involved with the Monthly. 13AM isn't quite a Ken Writes About Stuff situation, like Pelgrane's other monthly game subscription, because there will always be other designers writing for the Monthly. But I've gotten a lot more involved than we expected when we started this project, developing and art-directing all the issues. I've never handled a monthly publication process before. It started as a learning experience and has become fun.

We promise 4000 words a month and we nearly always publish more than that, because . . .fun!  If you're subscribing, you've already got the first two issues shown below, with covers and interiors by Lee Moyer and Patricia Smith. Sorcerer Summoning, with cover and interior art by Rich Longmore, is getting shown off for the first time below. It will be out at the end of this week. If you subscribe now you'll get all the issues from 2016 as well as the OP adventures when they release. . . . and that should also be happening at the end of the week, since ASH LAW's Into the Underworld Part IV is ready to be unleashed.

See you in the Monthly.

Monday, March 21, 2016

13th Age in Glorantha monster list sample

Jonathan and I are so close to finished with design work on 13th Age in Glorantha we can taste it. A taste is not a meal, and we're still working this week.

Jonathan is deep in a heroquest in which Humakt reasserts control of Death. I'm handling Sartar Magical Union mechanics and writing geography bits.

A lot of fun things have entered the game in this last phase of design. I thought I'd share one here that shows Glorantha's visual style and our use of the runes. This is the almost complete 4th level monster list that shows how we're using other 13th Age resources in Glorantha.

P. XX references are to monsters in the book, the other creatures are from previous 13A books as indicated. If names have been changed, the original name appears in brackets.

Monsters are organized by rune since that's often how they're encountered; Chaos creatures attacking alongside other Chaos creatures, Darkness creatures banded together, and so on.

The runes in the list start with Air swirling on top, then Beast like a dragon's eye, Chaos looking like a horned devil, the great blot of Darkness, one Earth creature, one Fire creature, several Moon creatures of the Lunar Empire, and a couple weirder undead with the Unlife rune.

We're pretty excited about how the full Monster List has turned out as both a resource and inspiration. GMs will have plenty to work with if they only have the core book and 13G, while anyone who has 13 True Ways and the Bestiary ends up with way more additional material than we expected.

[Click on the table for a better view]