Over the weekend I managed to get the alpha mechanics printed and bound, and I have to say it's a really good feeling. Even though it's a pretty basic binding and in clear plastic covers, it's nice to actually feel it in my hands and be able to flip through the pages. Of course there are some edits to make and some errors to correct, but I don't even care. I'm holding my game in my hands!
It's not even remotely impressive looking, but I love it. It has a title page, a table of contents, 97 pages of organised text, and an oddly satisfying texture. (I think Officeworks secretly uses nicer paper if you ask them to print and bind, versus the paper at their self-serve machines.)
With rules in hand (in hand!), I ran my system with friends around a table. Lots of guacamole was eaten while we worked through a one-shot. My session at PAX Aus will only be 60-90 minutes, which is a really tight window. For anyone who has run tabletop, you know exactly how difficult it can be to get players through character creation, let alone the first session. I alleviated this a little by making pre-generated character sheets, but much of the testing session was spent hashing out what players might like and what might be misunderstood.
I will be creating table cheat sheets for players to use: a brief explanation of how dice works, a list of spell examples, and suggestions for setbacks and breakthroughs. I'm toying with placing these in the player packs to bulk them out a bit and having them on the table proper (maybe laminated) so they can be used in future demos.
Most of the changes made at the table centred around renaming or swapping names for skills and statistics. (Turns out there's a lot of baggage around the word "Wisdom", and what it might mean to people who play tabletop versus people who don't.) I'm grateful that I have friends who are willing to take off part of their weekend to spend time hashing this stuff out with me. It's pretty cool, I've gotta say.
In other news, I have managed to get the services of one of the finest emote makers - Zullie. You can find her work on the About page, but please also enjoy this extremely cool and cute picture of an Alar. Hey little buddy! Zullie's doing versions of each race for the Breakaway Discord server, and I am loving her work. She's doing some great stuff with beings that would otherwise be hard to use for emotes. (How does a crab smile, anyway?)
Also, Josh has finished up the rest of the Breakaway Culture pieces. We now have the Dax, the Blueprints, and the Simulacrum. That rounds out the last of my tech races, and also introduces the two most human-like Cultures. The Dax are humans who integrated with tech, and the Simulacrum are...well, creepy humanoid doll people. I love them. The Blueprints are fun because they're tiny holoprojectors, but they've got lots of personality. You can find the new Cultures on the main page (press the little BA logo).
Our Culture list is now complete, but that doesn't mean you can't make your own! I'll be writing a blog post on how to make your own Cultures, Backgrounds, and Spells in the future, so keep an eye out for that.