As promised, this post will be the first of many detailing the progress of my first ever official campaign setting that will be Pathfinder-compatible. If you are interested in open source, game design, online communities and print design, then I would continue to follow these posts as I chronicle the progress.
First, I would suggest you read the post For the Love of the Game as it is the kickoff to this whole project. For years, I wanted to be an illustrator for Wizards of the Coast and I wanted to illustrate for Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. While I was in college, I learned that while I can appreciate and adore beautiful fantasy art, my skills were better suited for design. So I shifted my focus more towards print design and book layout. This led me to an internship at Harrisburg Magazine early in my career. When I was in high school I wrote several short stories and many RPG adventures from Dungeons and Dragons, Hackmaster, Call of Cthulhu, World of Darkness and the proto-version of what this campaign setting is going to be. Coupling my love for writing and design with passion for games and fantasy, this is how this project came to be. I think that to get everyone on the same page with jargon, I want to define some of the words and phrases I’ll be using in these posts.
RPG – Role Playing Game. Essentially a shared storytelling experience where you play as a character in a story that is told in real time. A Game Master (GM), basically the narrator, leads the story and has situations, characters, environments and all dynamic storytelling interactions react to what you, the character you are playing, does. A rules system is used to keep gameplay balanced and interesting. Typically a rules system includes dice, paper, pencils and other table top tools.
OGL/Open Game License – Originally created by Wizards of the Coast and now held by Paizo Publishing is a public copyright license that may be used by tabletop role-playing game developers to grant permission to modify, copy, and redistribute some of the content designed for their games, notably game mechanics. However, they must share-alike copies and derivative works. This is the straight up definition from Wikipedia. When Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) first created this license, a veritable gold rush of publishers began to make compatible materials. WOTC then created the GSL, the Game System License, which one must purchase for use of 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons rules system. Paizo Publishing adopted the OGL and continue to refine the D20 Rule Systems.
D20 – D20 is the rules system that is part of the OGL system reference document. This is the advanced rules system of play that helps GM’s and players define the game play and gives a framework in how to interact with the story world. The D20 system is so advanced that it has been used in video game RPG’s such as Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic I and II. D20 is focused on using 20 sided die as its main initiator of combat, skills checks, and most random checks.
Campaign Setting – A campaign setting is a world in which you play in. It reads like a rule book and a social studies history book all at once. It details continents, countries, kingdoms, empires, histories, cultures, economies and religions of a fictional place. Because each Campaign Setting can take place in a different world, new offerings like classes, prestige classes, spells, skills, feats and other devices are routinely added that give your campaign setting uniqueness.
Classes & Prestige Classes – basically what your character is; a fighter, a magic user or something else. The core classes are fighter, barbarian, rogue, bard, cleric, druid, ranger, sorcerer, wizard, monk, paladin. Each have their own special abilities, powers, dispositions, strengths and weaknesses. You choose a class for your character to role play. Prestige classes are specialized classes that you have to meet all the requirements to become, thus you can’t start out as a prestige class. Prestige classes are great role playing devices that add a new dimension to character creation.
Skills & Feats – More specialized abilities and knowledges that available per race, per class. Feats are more class specific and skills are more generalized.
Spells – Magical effects either from the arcane (pure magic) spectrum or divine (godly) spectrum. Spells are effects that are created by spell casting classes that have instantaneous outcomes.
What has been created thus far
The world is named Kararnaeh and we have a logo for the game books already.
The first drafts of the world introduction, planar history and secret planar history, and the core race descriptions have been created. After sitting with my partner and long-time play tester Derek Lee, we went through all the drafts and performed some grammatical checks and concept checks. What I have learned from this process so far is that 1) I am terribly forgetful of certain words when I write excited and 2) we need more descriptions of the race and cultures found within the world. So there will be a lot more writing to take place before I get another major update on the campaign setting progress.
What I am thinking about thus far
I am highly considering starting a Kickstarter campaign to hire an editor (meaning actually pay my friend who is an editor to go through this book with a fine tooth comb) and hire and illustrator who will help me realize the book. After looking at some projects on Kickstarter I think it would be possible to raise the $10,000 dollars I believe it would be needed to have the book part of this project fully realized.
The other side to this component is the website. I am leaning towards creating a BuddyPress driven website for GM’s and Players to use as central hub for all things digital in Kararnaeh, be it epubs of adventures, maps of important cities and artwork of NPC’s and vistas. Currently, everything in the online world for RPG kind looks like crap in my opinion. I think a solid, member-driven site for those interested in Kararnaeh materials would absolutely appreciate a good UI for a reference material site.
What tools I am using thus far
MS Word/Libre Office
For project Management…
Pen and Paper