She’s a crafty one, I thought. She’s double playing all of us. She makes me an offer for ultimate power and then offers it to the sky pirate, who consequently drank everything in my flask? Oh no. She’s going down. No dream spider avatar promising she devil is going to do that to. To be fair, I betrayed everyone else first. It’s my power.

Confused yet? If you aren’t, interesting…but most likely you are. These are the character thoughts of a one Laurent De’Saan, a world famous magician and conjurer in 1901. Of course, De’Saan is a stage name. Really, his name is James Corrigan, an Irishman with a predilection towards drinking and high society. Born a Catholic mother and Protestant father, James was left to the streets honing his thieving skills and yearning to join the high society marks he stole from. After a chance encounter with Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, he quickly became an apprentice and pupil and began to rise in his own fame. He was summoned to South Africa on an invitation from one Mr. Elmo for a job that would secure him enough funds to begin to tour his act in the United States. This job required the safe escort of a deputy Minister to a small sovereign nation of the Natalia Republic. It would have been an easy mission via airship if it weren’t for the local legends proving to be true, with the literal hands of fate dropping in his lap.

Still confused? Well, it’s quite simple. It’s called role playing, and this particular genre of roleplaying is a mashup of steampunk and historical fantasy. The rules system that was used for this particular game was GURPS. It’s quite simple really. Gather together some friends, have one person be the storyteller who acts as the director (typically called the game master or GM), each friend creates a character within the guidelines of the rule system and creates a backstory, persona and attitude for their character. The storyteller begins to verbally tell a story and encourages the players to have their characters interact in the story, assuming their characters roles. Over time, the story can develop and lead the characters to various scenes in which each character has a part in determining the outcome. Once the climax has been reached, the characters being to wrap up the loose ends in the story and can be saved for later sessions of play, for continued stories or a collection of short stories. This is role playing in its simplest form. It’s magnificent experience of play with friends.

I have always been a huge fan of roleplaying games (RPG’s), namely Dungeons and Dragons. It was my first foray into pen and paper RPG’s. I had a group of close friends that would spend weekends at my house playing with a stack of books, large drawing pads, roll up dry erase maps and hundreds of dice.

The above story about Laurent De’Saan? This was part of a character history and intro into a GURPS adventure that I was a part of with several students and staff at Harrisburg University. We would meet for lunch once a week in a back conference rooms with Lego figs, a dry erase map, a stack of post-it notes and GM provided dice. It was the best part of my week getting to play once again. RPG’s were essential for me in high school. Through them, I became more interested in stories and reading, better at Math (anyone who ever played AD&D 2nd can attest to that), helped me in psychology and sociology classes, and for me it expanded my mind for visual creativity. I’ve always been a fan of RPG’s for their positive affect for society. A good game that can open the mind can lead to many wonderful things or at least provide a bit of escapism from the everyday.

When Wizards of the Coast created the Open Gaming License, I was ecstatic. This was during the time when Dungeons & Dragons was completely rehashed by Wizards of the Coast and for the third edition of the game, they radically changed the game mechanics and opened the door for other publishers to create officially supported supplemental material for the core rules system. When this came out, I was in was high school and poured over all of the books I could get my hands on. For a few summers, I went to the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio and would return with all my money blown on game manuals, the more esoteric the better. Part of my love for role playing games was that it was a way for friends to meet in person and play together. Obviously, massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG’s) were a huge step in the direction of being able to connect gamers to worldwide and lead RPG’s into a new audience that helped make things once considered “geeky” into the mainstream.

Personally, I still love the face to face interaction of getting together with friends around a table and playing a game.

So I am making my own.

For some time now, I have looking at things in my life and seeing what makes me very happy.  Design, of course, is one of them. Music has always been a big part of my life and now that I have another drum set to wail on, I’m good to go there. But RPG’s? Oh yes, RPG’s still pry off the lid of unfettered creativity in me. So it’s with great pleasure that I begin to blog about the development of my own OGL game world, Karanaeh.

Karanaeh (pronounced Ka-RAWR-Nay-Ah) is the world that was developed from my home-grown fantasy campaigns that I played when I was in high school and college. The rules system will be the 3.5 rules set from the world oldest fantasy roleplaying game and will be compatible with other 3.5 products. So over the ensuing months I plan to blog about the development of the game from several different standpoints.

  • A story-tellers standpoint: the histories and backstories of what certain game elements.
  • A game mechanics standpoint: how and why certain new game principles are developed, where they were inspired from and why.
  • A design perspective: the how and why decisions are made about elements of brand, user experience, visual and product design.
  • A distribution perspective: The how and why on creating a physical product and how to distribute it.

So what would this product actually be? It would be a core rulebook that would include new races, classes, feats, spells, variant rules, equipment, maps and histories to full round out a complete new world setting. The hope is to have this product launched in time to bring to a game convention MAGFest or Origins International Game Expo.

So we will see. Keep an eye as the development continues. If you have a question you would like me to address in an upcoming post about the game, hit me up on Twitter, ask your question and I will post it up on here with my answers.