So, October’s been rather lighter on posts than I really wanted. Between trying to get my act together health-wise (eat better, sleep more, work out better), a compelling project (Vale of Elsir map for Nik) and work (the next release of our primary service is now staging for release next month) I’ve been fairly pressed for time.
In an effort to get my writing kick-started again, and because next month is National Novel Writing Month, I’m adapting the NaNoWriMo plan for Echelon. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write, over the course of November, a 50,000-word novel. That’s not quite what I’m doing, and the subject of this post should be a pretty good hint as to what I’m aiming for.
I’m going to try to have a draft copy of the Echelon Core Rules together by the end of November. As appropriate for NaNoWriMo, I’ll be putting a less focus on perfecting things and more on getting content together. I’d like to be able to go to the table in December and actually try this.
D&D 3.x Outline
Originally I was thinking to model the Echelon core book after the D&D 3.5 PH, but I realized once I started the outline that doesn’t really work for me here.
- Races? Don’t have them really.
- Classes? Really don’t have them, though various character archetypes can be modeled.
- Skills? Sort of have them, but it’s really not the same.
- Feats? More or less gone, incorporated into talents.
I’m basically left with, out of the core rules, ability scores, character description, combat and environment rules, and spells… and for my first draft I expect to lean on the RSRD definitions of spells and not include them in my document anyway.
The D&D 3.x document model doesn’t quite work for me in Echelon.
The RSRD outline may work better for me here. Each major element of the rules was published by WotC in a different document. I don’t know that I would break it down quite as far as they did… hmm. Actually, the idea appeals to me. Let’s see what divisions I have that make sense, and then look at whether they can be reasonably merged.
In no particular order:
- Character Advancement
- Combat Rules
- Adventuring Rules
- Environmental Rules
- Traps and Hazards
- Monsters (may include generic NPCs and the like, since they’re built the same way)
- Archetypes (‘classes’)
- ‘Description’ (alignments, etc.)
- Magic Rules, magic items, spells, etc.
- Sci-Fi (including as example, not doing now)
- Supers (including as example, not doing now)
Monsters may or may not be genre-specific, actually, but let’s assume the ‘core monsters’ include more or less mundane creatures, at least.
This may look much like HERO System construction, and honestly I don’t mind that at all. Like HERO, Echelon is designed to be a very modular framework, and it makes sense to keep things that may or may not suit how a particular group wants to play separate. I can even see how some of the above could be broken down more depending on how a group would like to play the game – magic, for example, could be modeled in several different ways and one or more could be used in a single campaign.
In the end, I don’t think I really have an outline. Each document is relatively homogenous, and fairly straightforward. If a particular document needs any non-trivial structure it might be better, at this point, to split it into multiple documents. For instance, ‘fantasy talents’ could be put into a ‘talents’ document, or a ‘fantasy genre’ document, or just put into their own document and I can decide later.
I like this ‘outline’, such as it is. Keep the pieces together when they belong together, but don’t be afraid to split something out. I can always recombine them later, but splitting them after writing them together can be harder. High cohesion, low coupling, my background as a software developer likes this.
As described under ‘Planned Outline’, I don’t really have an outline. I do have topics I plan to cover, but there is not necessarily structure between the individual documents apart from the content being expected to work together. I think I’ve identified most of the key game elements I need to cover.