Onto the Dark Yogi

Onto the Dark Yogi

So far in the Development Blog we've talked a lot about the next generation of Saga Machine games in general and the direction we're planning to take things. What we haven't done is talk a lot about the next game we're working on Against the Dark Yogi. There's a reason for this. Although the game has been in development for some months, there hadn't yet been a playtest, and things were still in many ways up in the air.

But the time of waiting is over. The closed alpha test of Against the Dark Yogi began a week ago today. And so the time has come to speak more in-depth about the game. Now, things are still subject to change, and in very significant ways. As we go through the alpha and the first couple rounds of the public beta whole systems may change. But that's the nature of a playtest. As we begin to get through the Beta the game should become more stable and eventually achieve a stable form before its final release.

In this post I'm going to babble a bit about the mechanics of the game, giving a brief overview of the direction we're going with things. In future posts I expect to talk more in-depth about various systems and the setting.

Against the Dark Yogi is a game directly inspired by the legends of India, and the world it takes place in is pretty much a direct fantasy analogue of India, with just enough room left for gaming interpretation and creative license.

As a game inspired by Indian legends, player characters in Against the Dark Yogi are mythical in scale. Before the game even begins they should have an idea of the role they played in their last several incarnations. They can also achieve such mythic feats as making bridges by firing arrows, riding flying chariots through the sky and facing off against small armies. Their actions--both good and bad--affect both their future incarnations and the world as well.

To support this scale of play Against the Dark Yogi introduces several key mechanical systems.

The first of these systems is mechanics for Vassals. This system allows the game to easily handle facing off against hordes of lesser opponents without bogging down. This system is also meant to scale up and encompass the larger-battle aspects of the genre, as player characters can lead armies and those armies may clash with others. It's minion rules meets mass combat.

The second of these systems is the prana system. Belief states that the world is full of cosmic energy, and when this energy flows into a living body it's called prana--life energy. But the energy doesn't just sit there: it flows in and out with every breath. A living creature uses prana when taking any sort of action. But those with the correct discipline and wisdom can channel their prana into achieving truly miraculous feats. The game's system for handling prana allows just these sort of epic actions.

Finally, there is a system for karma, as a character's actions have consequences. This system can aid or hinder characters as karma acts to balance itself. It can also affect a character across incarnations, as karma especially resolves between lifetimes.

This leads us to one last aspect of the Against the Dark Yogi game that sets it apart from many others. In a typical campaign a player creates and plays one character across the entire campaign. And Against the Dark Yogisupports this style of play. However, it also supports a style of play where the player makes a character and then plays different incarnations of that character across the generations. This allows a player's character to have a sense of continuity between incarnations, as the effects of her karma and the effects of her past lives stick with her, but the particular role she fills in life may change from incarnation to incarnation. This also allows for a setting with a sense of development, as the previous incarnations' actions are felt in the generations that come.

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