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Streamlining Group Effort

In principle I like how the Group Effort rules work in Saga Machine. I like how the system incentives characters to work together. I like how the modifiers are significant. I like how there's a chance for a critical failure to mean helpers do more harm than good. There's a problem with the Group Effort rules however: they're slow....

Approaches to Summoning

The black magician scrawls a crude circle upon the ground with a stick, carefully crossing the circle multiple times with an interconnecting series of lines. Into these grooves he pours a mixture of sulfur and human blood--forming the base of the summoning sigil. Then, his construct completed, he stands near an edge and begins to chant. Inside a form composed of inky black clouds--a sentient darkness--begins to take shape, two glowing red eyes at its center....

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....

Setting Sheet: Tansaar

This is our first of a new type of Freebie Spotlight: the Setting Sheet. Basically it's a page--both front and back--detailing a particular setting in brief. Over the coming month or two we plan to release a number of setting sheets, all leading up to the release of our final product for the first generation of Saga Machine games: Nexus Endtime....

About Facing and the Grid

One element of the Saga Machine system that I've been debating the utility of is that of facing in combat. Currently, when using tactical positioning in combat, the system tracks which space the character is facing. The idea behind this is that tracking facing is both a nod to realism and allows for the GM to easily determine when to apply modifiers based on where a character might be facing. Facing also, in theory, makes it easier to have an easy mechanical hook to apply the Sneak Attack trait, as well as to handle situations where staring at an object has a significant consequence (such as seeing Medusa or the gaze of a basilisk). It also can tie into systems such as for vehicles, where a moving object has a clear direction and limited ability to turn....

Computing Traits

In preparing development for the next generation of Saga Machine games we've got a lot of mechanical bits and bobs to get a handle on. Between the core rulebook, companion and all the setting books we've got hundreds of traits and stat blocks. All these mechanical bits can make altering the game system a complicated process, as changing one trait can mean resulting changes in scores of stat blocks; and altering a core game mechanic can mean changes in every such block....

Rethinking Encumbrance

Many RPGs have a system for dealing with encumbrance and how much a character can carry. On the surface, the purpose of encumbrance is pretty straight-forward: It's a mater of simulation and verisimilitude: A person can only carry so much without being burdened by it all. Underneath, however, encumbrance rules play a variety of more subtle game roles. It's these games roles that I'm going to take a closer look at in this post, and then I'm going to look at a new encumbrance variant that may see use in future Saga Machine games....

Structure of Second Generation Games

We're working on the next generation of Saga Machine games, but we're not sure quite yet what form those games are going to take. The first generation of games were structures in a way where there was one genre-agnostic core rulebook, and then individual settings were released as supplements requiring the core rulebook. We may be doing this again with the second generation of games, or we may decide to change the structure and release each setting as a stand-alone game--with all of the rules necessary to play the game in one book....

Reconsidering Initiative

I was thinking about initiative recently--what it means in the game world and how it ought to work....

Introducing the Development Blog

Welcome to our new development blog. This blog is going to be a whole lot less formal than the TabBlog. It's a place where I can ramble on about the direction we're going with development on our second generation ofSaga Machine games, or anything else with RPG development that comes up. Some of these posts will be about specific design goals we have with the game, some might be about things in Saga Machine that we're looking to improve upon and some might just be idle thoughts. Whatever the post is about, we welcome your feedback on the post, either by going to the discussion page for the Development Blog and leaving a comment there, or by going to the "Tab Forums" link on the left and making a comment in our forum....

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