Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Find The Path: Crux Rules Notes 2016 (pt 1)

Upon the path you tread, you stand above the waters of the Cursed Sound.  The Tinkerer's Bridge glimmers, high above the waters.  Still new, the massive bridge has enabled countless new machines to dash out of Crux, Westward.

I haven't run Crux in awhile.  The Dark Fantasy Western game I ran had problems.  But it also did succeed in some other areas.  My setting was robust enough it seemed to survive contact with the enemy (read: players).

This is more of a ramble on my thoughts on what to do with Crux.  Some of the ideas I have for Crux benefit from the fact I own the setting, and I can do anything I damn well please with it.  So, I feel like my alterations feel apt.

There are also lessons I need to learn from it.  I think I could run Crux at some future point, again.  I don't know when or if that'll happen, given that my gaming group has dwindled due to life stepping in.  Without that itch being satisfied, I guess I have to resort to blogging my gaming away.

Fate Core

Before the game entered its hiatus, I'd restarted the game's rules a bit.  Using both skills and approaches from Fate Accelerated, didn't quite fit for Crux.  So I changed things a bit.  Atomic Robo's use of Skill Modes intrigued me, so I came across three skill modes for Crux: Ferocity, Swiftness and Vigilance.

Skill Modes worked, after a fashion.

My experience with Fate Core was generally positive.  But because my style drifts a bit, and my players preference didn't grok 100% with skill modes, I tried to figure out what I liked and what I'd keep going forward.  My reskinning of skills also might've been dangerous, given that I couldn't remember my reskinned names myself.

Next time, I probably should just hack something together for Crux.  Maybe Fate Core, maybe some unholy abomination.  The three traits of Ferocity, Swiftness and Vigilance will be central to that.  I don't know if skills will.

Magic

Another hard lesson learned is that depending a setting with elements from pathfinder as interpreted by fate core fails.  One of my greater acts of procrastination and laziness is how I handled magic in Crux.  While one of the best, more robust magic systems is that from D&D, I've never defined the actual differences between Crux and what magic exists in Pathfinder.

I should try to redraw how magic works in Crux.  As an actual magic system, something more solid I can lean on.  The current mess works for deus ex machina and an RPG... but that is flawed.  It makes magic less interesting of its own self.

For Crux, I know how magic works in the setting, the mechanics of it.  The channeling of energy from the Aether plane, magic creates effects from nothing through will.  I've always liked the creative systems in Mage the Awakening and Ars Magica, wherein players can do almost anything through magic.  This has two problems I've discovered, tbh.

First, since I never defined the system past some vague landmarks, it creates a blank page problem.  Players don't know what actual limits in the setting are, as I am the keeper of the setting.  Second, a broad "you can do anything system" is uninteresting.

I've always believed that generalists are less interesting than specialists.  It's akin to how have one of each tool you need to handle a problem is direct.  Someone who always has a hammer when they need a hammer isn't as interesting as a person who has to figure out how to get the effect of a hammer without a hammer.  Specialists make it even better.

 They have glaring holes in their skill sets, holes they have to work around.  It's interesting and it can help define a character.

7th Sea's sorceries act this way.  And so does D&D's magic, albeit based on levels.  Magic the Gathering, even though it isn't a RPG, defines limits and specializations in its five colors of magic.  Crux would benefit from that same set of ideas for sorcery.  I am not certain how best to do that, but I have a few ideas for a magic system.

There is a certain challenge in aligning what I've established before with what I have in mind.