Against the Dark Yogi

Against the Dark Yogi

This is the first time I'm going to publicly babble about the specifics of our upcoming Indian mythology-themed game, and you've read it here on the Development Blog first.

The game name we've settled on is Against the Dark Yogi. The "Dark Yogi" is something of the "Big Bad" of the setting. It's an epic RPG is a directly India-inspired fantasy world. Character archetypes are taken directly out of Vedic myths--from exiled princes, to amazing archers and powerful sages. Games can take place whether in a traditional timeframe, or take place across the generations, as each hero is reincarnated from one life to the next.

Mechanically, Against the Dark Yogi is going to use a heavily modified version of the Saga Machine system, and will be the first of our Second Gen games. We've been looking at the various alternate rules we've developed over the years, and here's the direction we're thinking of heading with that:

We're likely to use a variation of the card-based mechanic seen in the Arth campaign setting to resolve actions. We're going to support common poker decks, but we're also looking at support Ganjifa cards (traditional Indian playing cards) with the mechanic as well. Additionally, as the Mughal Ganjifa traditionally has eight suits, this works out will with trumps and our array of eight stats.

The game is going to use a more elaborate system of tracking Karma in place of the default Saga Machine luck system. Not only does this tie into the feel of the setting, but it also allows us to do some new and interesting things with this mechanic. People always reap the detriments or benefits of their karma, and it's karma that affects the options of a character's next life.

Character creation is likely to see some significant variation. Not only are we looking to tie the character creation system directly to the setting, and tie in effects from karma, we also want to make sure that the system is made streamlined compared to traditional Saga Machine character creation. We feel this is particularly important in a game where a PC may be reincarnated many times, and consequently the character creation system will have to be gone through many times.

Indian myths are high-powered and larger-than-life. Heroes bash people back hundreds of miles, build bridges by firing arrows and crush hills with their blows. This is a higher power level than traditional fantasy heroes; it's more akin to Indian fantasy superheros. And that's where we're going with combat options. Some variant of the HP system seen in the Zeotis is likely to be seen again, and we're likely going to be using the Zone system of tracking movement seen in the Companion rather than some sort of grid-based system. We're also looking at using a very different approach to minions--one that can scale up from individual scale to thousands of men. In this way the minion rules and the mass combat rules will scale into one system. It's not unheard of in Indian myth for heros to take on entire armies single-handedly.

Finally, we get to powers. Powers in Indian myth are often gained meditation, suffering and personal austerities. Energy pools up in the chakras of the body and can be directed out in spectacular ways. To model this the powers system is getting some pretty substantial changes, particularly in how powers are used and the points necessary to fuel them are gained. Characters can build up prana in their four higher chakras or in their lower chakras, and points spent from different chakras can be used to fuel different abilities, or to augment one's attacks and actions in different ways. As the chakras are actual physical points in the body, knowledgeable combatants may even be able to strike these points, disrupting the pooled prana or affecting it in other ways.

So that's it for now. That's not everything, but that gives a good idea the direction we're headed with the game. We're aiming for an internal alpha around the beginning of the new year, a public beta by the end of the first quarter and crowd-funding for the final release over the summer.

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