Posts tagged "aielund"

October Update

Well it's been a busy month for me, finishing my current novel and working towards revising my first book as well. Since I shelved development on Sabre Scifi, I've been able to focus some more on actually finishing the fantasy system first, and it's nice to have less projects hanging over my head. The system has had a lot of little errors corrected and a few additions I developed for scifi, including increased Spirit Points through a revised calculation and some new talents. 

The Saerid race, also a development from the scifi game, has received some balance as well. An exotic four-armed race was challenging to balance, but I think it should work out well. I'll be starting a new local playing group soon too, and naturally we've got a couple of players using the new race so it'll be good to give it a thorough test run.

I've also been painting new cover art for those first six novels, which is giving me a lot of experience for when it comes time to create more art for Sabre! 

 

I'm getting more confident working with silhouettes, which as it turns out, is important for creating character pictures. As soon as I'm done with these new covers, I'll be done with novel-related work for a while and will turn my attention to Sabre full-time for a month or two.

Atlas: I've nearly finished two countries for the atlas, done in my spare time, but I decided to wait until I had my current work out of the way and make it a decent update, wherein I add four new countries instead of two. Most of the data is done already, I just need to lay it all out properly and add flavour text as needed.

Sabre manual additions: I want to add some more talents, specifically to sorcery and divine magic, and probably add one to each of the weapon catagories too. Unarmed combat has seen a lot of development recently (8 talents!) and I want to improve capabilities with other combat styles as well. Right now I'm doing an overhaul on Alchemy too, as it's a little convoluted and probably not powerful enough - this is the only magical system in the game that hasn't had a proper test until now. Edit: Just updated the system with revised Alchemy!

Website: We need to modify the site to allow people who have bought premium versions of the game to get the new updates for free. Currently, this is only possible if you purchase Sabre RPG products from DriveThruRPG.com and we need to do that here too. 

Portraits: I like to mix writing with art, so I plan to begin work on the race portraits for the main manual very soon. I'll also add a picture or two in places where there's space in the manual, as this sort of art is simply an extension of what I'm doing now with novel covers. We'll finally get the sabre manual looking professional!

August Update & Six Month Plan

I've been thinking about the items I have to work on over the next 6 months, and came up with this list (in order of importance).

 

* Finish my current novel (should be done by november).

I'm on chapter 17 of 22 so it won't be much longer. I've already started the cover art as well.

 

* Redo the cover art for the first novel series.

I have developed new techniques to make the covers more professional and eye-catching, so I'm eager to get this done. I'm basically doing digital, high-resolution versions of the current cover art, but without the stone effect blocking some of the picture. I'll also be able to make prints of the new art, should it turn out really well!

 

* Do another editing pass on the first novel series. (probably take 6-8 weeks).

The first novel, Nature Abhors a Vacuum, is in reasonably good shape but it's still far too long and not as focused on the main plot as my later work. Now that I've learned how to write (!) I want to go back and redo this one, and smooth out the later parts of the saga a little too, mostly in books 3 and 4. Book 2 had an editing pass earlier this year and books 5 and 6 are at the same standard as my current work. 

 

* Create audiobooks of my entire series. 

I've been wanting to do this for a few years, but felt that the series needed some final polish before going to the trouble. I'll be purchasing some quality recording equipment in order to do a professional job of this. Some people have mentioned I have a good 'broadcasters voice' so I'm hoping this is true and the final result turns out well! 

 

* Add several countries of content to the feydwiir atlas.

I have a lot of the little details done, but the flavour text and full descriptions of the other countries demands the part of my brain that writes novels, and it's busy at the moment *wink*. Once I have the books out of the way late in the year, this is my next big task. Won't take more than 6-8 weeks either.

 

* Finish the introductory module to the Scifi system and release the manual.

I've put this on hold for now as the system is continuing to evolve, and I've re-written parts of this story twice already. We're still playing a scifi campaign on a regular basis, now with the inclusion of starships (woo!) but it's still very much in alpha and not ready for release. Besides, I want to do some proper cover art involving science things! I'll probably peck away at this over the next few months instead of just doing it all right at the end of my task list. 

The starship system looked to be fairly straightfoward, but then I decided to make individual character sheets for each crew station. The end result is superb, though it's been a lot of work. Been adding to the rules as we go with this, so there's much to be done on the ship side of things. I could probably release the scifi manual as is, now that I think about it, just that it wouldn't have the intro story to demonstrate some of the advanced mechanics. Hit me up on the sabre facebook page or through twitter (@stephennowland) if you'd like to get your hands on the manual sooner rather than later.

 

* Get back to work on the current novel series.

I'll be starting the as-yet unnamed third volume of the ballard chronicles, probably around february of next year. With all that other stuff out of the way, it'll be nice to focus on one thing for a change. Except...

 

* Create portrait art for the fantasy and scifi game manuals.

They're not huge, and I think with a little practice I should be able to make decent race portraits for the manuals and finally get rid of those 'placeholder' images. The scifi manual has this too, and given the races available (one is a giant bipedal space cockroach) it might be a little more challenging! If this goes well, I'll make a start on the bestiary art too, the wolf and storm crow want some new friends I'm sure.

 

So, that's my work schedule. I'd be doing more on the game systems but as the novel nears completion it really starts to push its way into anything else I'm trying to get done (hey, write meee!) so I need to get that out of my head before I can focus on the other stuff. Naturally, I need to pace myself too, for as much as I love working on all these things, I don't want to burn out either. That's a bad deal for everyone (including me). Well, back to it then!

 

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!