Development Log 1
Wow! Despite barely sharing Guild's Adventure anywhere I'm really impressed by the amount of people who showed interest in this game. Thank you all for your responses. I took a couple weeks off to let some ideas percolate (and because it was a very stressful couple weeks at work) and am going to be getting back on the horse pretty soon. I wanted to share some of my thoughts of the future of the game.
Guild's Adventure, as published, is a pretty solid base to build off of, but it's also at a crossroads. I could go forward just making a basic reskin of Blades in the Dark, but there are several systems I feel like could really use an overhaul given the idea that this is a more lighthearted fantasy game. Let's go through those:
Gear: In other fantasy games, and in some media as well (jrpgs, anime/light novels), the protagonists often at some point get a Super Cool gear upgrade. Blades handles this by hand waving and saying "as your tier increases your gear gets better," but I feel like I want something more material given that this is a higher magic setting. That being said, the flexibility of the load system is super awesome, so I don't want to get rid of that either.
I've been toying with an idea of a system of "enchantments" you can apply to your gear that effectively behaves as special abilities. There are already playbook special abilities that act this way, which would probably be moved into this system. Some of these would be standard ttrpg fare, like weapons you can instantly return to your hand after being thrown or dropped, or any gear providing increased effect. There are probably more unique-to-the-system enchantments I'll be coming up with, in addition to guidelines to writing your own.
The biggest challenge I see here is that FitD games are already kind of crunchy. Then again, Beam Saber is probably the most maximally crunchy FitD game I know, and it's pretty damn rad all the same.
Lastly, this whole system would feed in pretty well to an important aspect of this setting. In this game's world, most magical items adventurers might find already belong to somebody else. If you find a cool sword in The Depths, it's not yours. It belongs to a family that had to abandon The Depths long ago. Magical artifacts are returned to the city for redistribution, and there's an entire faction dedicated to finding the rightful owners of them. Most adventurers often have to get their own stuff enchanted.
Factions: Blades in the dark's faction system as written is very competitive, whereas Guild's Adventure's setting is extremely cooperative. The score structure assumes you're almost always acting against a particular faction, which simply isn't the case in a fantasy game like this. Sometimes you're in an old catacombs filled with skeletons. Sometimes there's a single rude dragon stealing livestock from a village. These aren't factions.
I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this exactly yet, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot. There are four "groups" of people a particular adventure might be for or against that I've identified:
- Other adventuring guilds: These might be people you work with or do tasks for (if they're bigger than you). You might also be competing with them at times for certain objectives.
- City organizations and surrounding villages: usually you will be doing quests for these people to help out.
- Big Bad Evils: Demon lords, necromancers summoning too many undead creatures, an evil expansionist empire. You will most likely almost always be at odds with these factions.
- Single bad actors: the aforementioned rude dragon. A wizard who got too powerful, and the like.
Essentially, I want something more flexible than an "every adventure is against a faction," while still interacting with entities that are factions mechanically significant. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with all that yet, but it's something I've been chewing on a lot.
Harm and Healing: Blades' harm system is great, but it might be a little too harsh for the game I'm going for. I'm considering making it "easier" in some way, and/or also figuring out a way to accommodate restorative magic. I'm not really sure yet how as again, I really like the harm system as it is.
Downtime: Downtime will be getting a decent touch-up too. I want it to feel more slice-of-lifey than standard Blades. I'll also probably get rid of vices. They just don't fit with the setting. In place of that players will Unwind to relieve Tension (Stress), either alone or with friends. I'm trying to strike a balance between being able to just sit down and read a book all day being restorative, vs doing stuff with your friends like Beam Saber's cut loose. This may be less mechanical and more just a mention in the book on possibilities.
Entanglements and the Fate Clock: Entanglements in Guild's Adventure will be based on your guild tier rather than Heat. This represents the fact that a fifty-odd member of well-equipped adventurers will face significantly different challenges than some kids in a basement with chipped weapons.
For that matter, there won't be Heat at all. Instead, I'll be introducing what I'm currently calling the Fate Clock. As certain conditions occur, the clock will increase. I'm not 100% settled on what these conditions are, but I'm thinking something in the neighborhood of community disharmony.
When the clock fills, a Crisis will occur in Resonia. This will be determined by a special entanglements table (or the players can just pick one they like). These Crises will be things like:
- The city being under siege by a horde of undead. All adventurers must rise to its defense.
- The Depths have completely rearranged themselves, leaving adventurers and outposts below stranded and lost. Efforts need to provide relief, find the lost, and restore safe (well... safe enough) routes to the outpost.
- A dragon, giant demon, or other incredibly large and powerful magical creature is terrorizing the farming villages surrounding Resonia. There are several quests posted by the city to provide aid and relief, and a large bounty on the offending creature
The Guild: I saved the best part for last. Guilds are the only thing I'm very certain will be different from Blades' crews. There will still be special abilities, but there will also be a lot of differences:
- Rather than keeping their own savings, the protagonists will be sharing their savings in a guild vault.
- There will be something similar to holdings, but their benefits will probably feel more homey. Nothing concrete yet, though nice baths are a pretty common trope I'll probably borrow.
- Every time the guild advances in tier, a new named NPC will join the guild, filling a significant administrative role, or maybe even being a cohort.
- Likewise, tier advances will also represent an increase in general membership. I'm imagining at tier 0 the guild will be just the player characters, and at tier V a guild will have maybe a hundred adventurers or more, engaging in campaigns against Big Bad Evils.
- Lastly, a tier advance will probably include specific renovations to the guild house, or even moving to a new building. This will probably tie in with the note about holdings in some way.
Anyway, I think I've rambled long enough about what's coming for this game. Thanks for checking out this update. I write this in my spare time so the next release will be a while, but please look forward to it.
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