Am I Just Writing a Heartbreaker?

Shattered Vistas is not going along well.

I can’t write chargen rules until I know how I want things to balanced.  I can’t figure that out, until I playtest combat, which means that I need to write the action rules (oh, and the action building rules are a subset of chargen).  I can’t finish the combat rules until I figure out how the hell people die in a system where everything is just opposed die pools.  I can’t write an reward system until I know how chargen and normal system works, and the confrontation level is tied into that and vice versa, and everything directly seems to hook into everything else, and it seems like I have to design all the system elements at once as a whole.  I can’t just build on the core mechanic, because everything but the core mechanic directly influenes everything else!

Oh, and I’m worried.  I finally decided to say “screw it, I’ll design an alpha-alpha playtest with some pregen characters and a pregen situation, and not worry about chargen or shardgen or confrontation levels or whatever.”  Get the core system working and then worry about the meta aspects, right?

Well, I was thinking about what it would say.  And the phrase to the GM was “just run this as you would D&D.”

That phrase now *haunts* me.  After all my high concept rhetoric and gonzo-gamist aims, it comes down to being ‘just (like) D&D.’

And I can’t even write up an alpha-heartbreaker playtest until I figure out how the hell people *die* in this system.


3 thoughts on “Am I Just Writing a Heartbreaker?

  1. Heya,

    If you want to start with character death, let’s go there first. Let me ask, “Why do you want characters to be able to die in your game? What will it add to the play experience?”

    Also, have you read my article on character death? If you haven’t, check it out here:

    I want to help. Let me know what I can do.



  2. Rahvin says:

    My recommendation is to get back into the focus of your game’s Idea. Work on writing the color – not the mechanics. Then you have a bigger focus on writing the mechanics around the color. Hopefully they’ll start bouncing against eachother and you’ll develop systems and balance.

    But the color is what’s going to motiviate you at this point, and probably your readers, too. Until the mechanics are “done”.

    I’ve started to get really big into designing color before mechanics, and writing mechanics to match color instead of the other way around. Write it all out.

    I know “death” wasn’t your point here, but to use you’re example, write a little about character death and the way you would like characters (and maybe players, if that’s your game) to die. Worry about the mechanics when you feel inspired again.

    And you’re game is *not* like D&D. That’s like saying it’s okay to drink from the ocean because it’s water and water is good for you.

  3. Willow says:

    Well, I’ve known for a long time that PCs need to be able to die in this game, but it shouldn’t be easy. But it’s actually a bigger stumbling point than that: I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how *anyone* can die. When you have a game about killing things (and taking their stuff), you really need rules for killing things.

    The problem, if you’ve read my rules summary over on the Forge, is that everything is very Task-y. There’s rules for damage, but other than die pool penalties, no rules on how that interacts with being alive or dead. One thought was to have an action that puts people down, but there’s weirdness with many on many conflicts there.

    I’ve looked back at my inspiration material, and I think I’m going to have one’s stats act as a kind of ‘hit points,’ and make it easier to go down than to die, and much easier to get wounded enough that you voluntarily give up than get knocked out outright.

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