Posts from 2015-11-23

In the beginning...

As of writing this post, it's been nearly three years since I started work on this game system. Sabre has evolved a long way since its inception, with ideas tested and discarded where necessary through rigorous playing and conceptualising. As of this week the core mechanics have been locked down, with only minor tweaks and additions taking place from now on. This site is just about ready to go, with only a few backend issues and additions to complete before it goes 'live'. But first, some history! 

It all started when our gaming group, of which I am usually the Game Master, began trying out different systems to give us a better gaming experience. We had been playing 3.5 edition D&D, then switched up to Pathfinder for quite a while before tiring of the time-consuming nature of high-level combat that system imposes. So then we tried out the 5th edition D&D beta test and enjoyed that until the over-simplified skill system began to grate on the player's sensibilities. As a GM, I really enjoyed the swift and straight-forward playstyle of it, however! 

Then we looked at Runequest, which has a fantastic skill system but we were quickly turned off by just about every other aspect of it (disclaimer: your experience may vary!) This is when "the discussion" began, to determine which system we were going to stick with long-term so we could actually get some proper stories and character development going on. The group couldn't settle on any one system, so in exasperation, I decided I'd build my own system! And it would be called "SteveQuest", and all would be well!

Two days later I start to think this really is a good idea, and come up with the actual working title of 'Sabre' just so we have something to call it that wasn't ridiculous. I'd been modding and 'home ruling' our previous game systems a great deal anyway, so I figured it was time to take it to the next level. 

The result as it stands now is a system that flows smoothly in combat, provides excellent detail and flexibility in all situations a character or party might find themselves in and is remarkably well-balanced. I even managed to dust off my old world-building notes from my days of crafting modules for Neverwinter Nights and develop it into a full-blown atlas. I'd been running all of my campaigns in my 'Kingdom of Aielund' setting anyway, so I put all of that knowledge together and spun out something very much akin to the stories in my novels. The name 'Sabre' seems to have stuck, with the playing group quite taken with it, and thus, the Sabre RPG was created.

So when can you try it? Soon! Very soon now. It's being published under the Open Gaming Licence so there will be a freely available 'basic' version you can sample. I just need to make an introductory adventure that'll demonstrate how things work in Sabre and it's good to go. Oh, and the site needs finishing too, not much left to do there. If you like the basic version and want more to sink your teeth into, there's a Premium version that's twice the size. 

The basic rules set has three different styles of magic, whereas the Premuim edition boasts the full ten fields of magic, including Sorcery, Psionics, Artifice and Alchemy. There's also more talents (sort of like D&D's feats), more abilities and skill to choose from. Development will be ongoing, so if you subscribe to the premium edition you'll get free monthly updates of tweaks, additional talents, tactics and spells and artwork. Speaking of such..

In the next few months I'll be creating the cover art and some select pieces for the interior of the manuals. The problem with being an artist and writer is although I can do it all, it's a question of finding time to get it done! But as time goes on, I'll add more and more pieces of art to the manual, bestiary and atlas. They're all a bit lacking at this stage but in terms of rules and what they offer, they're solid and very usable. I just need to add some polish. Let's call it an advance beta :) The art will look something along these lines:


So let's talk schedule. I'm currently in the process of finishing my latest novel, which I hope to have in stores before xmas (the ebook version anyway), so it's my primary focus. After the holiday break, I'll be dedicating a couple of months to Sabre, mostly art but also fleshing out more details in the atlas and flavour text in the bestiary. My health isn't the best so from time to time I'll take a break to avoid burnout, which is a real concern in passion projects like this. I won't let that happen! So, keep an eye out on the website during December, as we'll definitely have the Basic Edition online so people can get their hands on it and give it a whirl, and probably a version of the Premium Edition without art. 

I have to say that the last few games I've ran have been some of the best with Sabre, and defintely the best of nearly twenty years of roleplaying. Everything just sorta works, y'know? I've been having fun designing traps for my unwitting player group (the last thing to be added to the system) and it's working a treat. Being able to put together a character instead of a class or collection of abilities has made a huge difference to the way my players have interacted with the stories I run, too. Anyway I'd better get back to finishing this novel so I can get on to Sabre good'n'proper!