The Road to Beta - Dev's Thoughts

Well, after some project reorganization and some late-night thinking, I've decided that the development process I originally had in mind is going to change quite a bit. That means that the road to beta just got a whole lot shorter!

The current plans for the game are to stop adding new chapters and concepts, first and foremost. I'll focus on finishing the reworks and incomplete segments that the game has right now so I can have a complete Core Rulebook containing all of the basic rules and subsystems you're gonna need to play the game in its full extent, and once I move onto Beta i'll focus on polishing up smaller things - small rules and numbers thar require tweaking rather than full-on reworks of how the game works at its core.

What's needs doing?

As of right now, the three biggest things that need to be sorted out before Beta are the following:

  • The Witchcraft rework, which includes the new fluff and basic elements of magic, as well as the new rules for spellcasting and rituals.
  • The Journey rework, which involves moving from Hexcrawl to Pointcrawl and the basic elements surrounding travel and exploration, as well as the things that are currently missing such as terrain types and the passage of time.
  • The Arbiter's Tools chapter, which includes the full rules to handle Adversaries as well as Hazards.

These three are the major bits that need to be finished before moving onto beta and working on tweaking numbers and polishing the game itself. Once those are done, it's off to beta!

What's next?

Once having made the jump from Alpha to Beta, I'll release an open playtest Beta version here, and my publisher, Stormforge Productions, will be setting up a Beta version in DriveThruRPG. What's gonna be different from the current model? Well first of all expect a print-friendly version to be put up alongside the darker palette made for screens, and probably expect the placeholders to leave the doc as well.

After that, expect some minor balance updates throughout the lifetime of the beta, mostly in the same vein as the alpha updates that i've referred to as "cleanup updates". During the beta testing period, I'll be focusing on smoothing out the rough edges that the game has, as well as cleaning up the presentation of the game itself. I'll be getting in touch with some artists, and I'll be working on the art myself as well.

Then... I dunno, only time will tell. But hey, those are the current plans right now.

What about the missing content you schmuck?

[Whistles] I don't know what you're talking about.

In all seriousness, the content that's being left out was planned from the start, but it's a bit too big to continue delaying the main game's wrap-up and release. In any case, missing content will not go missing for a long time, but it won't be a part of the core rulebook, and will instead be released in a series of Sourcebooks that can be used alongside Core to expand upon the experience. 

There are three big things that I really wanted to make, but that fall on the "would be nice to have" category, and won't be making it to the final cut of the core book, instead being released in their own separate sourcebooks:

  • Alternate Settings and Setting Guide: i'll stick to the implied setting that the core game has, though you may see some improvements upon its current implementation so it can go a bit more in-depth. In any case, expect the heavy worldbuilding of the current setting as well as alternate settings that can be used for the game as a separate book, or books to cover individual settings.
  • Bestiary: Though the core rulebook will include the rules of monster building and some examples, one of the things I really wanted to make was an in-depth Bestiary full of monster lore and special things. Sadly this is a very large investment, so I plan to make a full-on bestiary a separate sourcebook that can be wholly dedicated to monsters as well as monster-related things, such as narrative options on how to hunt monsters and more in-depth guides on how to create them.
  • Crafting: Crafting is one of the things that I really like in RPGs but I never really feel complete or rewarding. I've had plans for a crafting system since day one, but it's not a vital subsystem of the game, and I'd be much more comfortable with the amount of design space that its own dedicated sourcebook would allow me to go into. Alongside Crafting, you can expect things such as Alchemy and Tech Customization, and generally more crunchy rules to go towards the more crafting-oriented players.

That's all I have to say for today. Tune in for updates, and remember to join the development discord!

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