Posts

March Update & Devblog

March has been a very productive month, indeed, and I'm eager to show all the updates to Sabre! Let's get right to it.

Art

I've added two new pieces to the Codex, for the half-humans and raelani (along with expanding the flavour text for each race). This finishes off the standard races section which makes the basic edition look much more complete! Oh, I've also gone back over the forest elf picture and took another crack at the male. He was one of my first efforts and since my style has evolved since then, I felt he could look a little better. I'll probably redo the dwarves at some point as well, but I'll finish the exotic races from the premium edition before I swing back to give them another go. Later this year I want to do proper front cover artwork to really catch the eye with adventurous people, explosions, all sorts of stuff :)

 

Druidry

This skill was a little overpowered, as a druid could do just about anything in equal measure, so I've taken this opportunity to not only fix this issue, I've added more diverse choices for the type of nature priest you can play. Instead of gaining Animal Companion by default, you now choose a Sect, not unlike the Devotion a divine caster chooses, which grants you access to a set of talents which focus on a style of gameplay. Druidry also works well with the revised (and integrated) Animal Training skill, which lets you have trained pets. If you choose the Beastmaster sect, you get to choose one of those pets to bond with, granting enhanced abilities much like the old animal companion talents. So now you can be an animal trainer without needing to take the druidry skill too! 

Wizardry

Since the animal companion and familiar talents were merged together, I've also gone and revised the wizardry skill's special bonus from 'Familiar' to 'School'. Just like druidry, wizards can choose from one of four schools with talents to enhance certain aspects of their magical abilities. The capability to summon a familiar is now a spell, so every wizard can still have a familiar, but those of the 'Familiarist' school can have better familiars :)

Reaction Spells

Since greater magic spellcasters are unable to attain high levels of Armour Points without spending a lot of silver (and even then, fall short of heavy armour of similar cost), there are now some new spells designed to offer an alternative defence. These spells are cast as Reactions and are very economical for their cost, usually providing an excellent defense against one attack for only 1 Spirit Point, but can be boosted just like other spells. The shield spells in various fields of magic were modified to suit this new defensive method too. 

Armour

Just a little tweak here to the encumbrance of heavy armour, which was a little high. I've taken 1 point off each of the four pieces, so heavy armour is more appealing (and a bit more realistic I think).

Aside from these major updates, there's a bunch of little fixes and tweaks, as you've come to expect! Hey, at least I'm only doing this once a month instead of 5 times a week now. ;)

Finally, the Bestiary has been updated as well, and I even found time to add a few pictures, though I'm planning to finish the codex before really sinking my teeth into this.

 

Coming up next month...

Art for the escardi, corvids and possibly the saerid if I get the time. These are some of the more exotic races which need a picture to show how they look!

Shamanic talents.

Rules and equipment for siege warfare. 

 

So that's it for this month, keep an eye out for further updates down the road a little.

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v2.24 Premium Edition notes

* Added art for the raelani and half-human race pages.

* Revised and improved the forest elf artwork (practice makes perfect!)

* Fixed many typos and inconsistencies thanks to player feedback.

* 'Bodyguard' talent clarifies that you take the place of your ally against that attack.

* The 'Close Range' action can be attempted using the Shields skill in place of Evade.

* Added 'Hover' Corvid talent.

* The 'Ranger' background is now available to escardi.

* Herbalism skill now tells you how you can apply poison to a weapon.

* The 'Poison Weapon' talent now lets you avoid poisoning yourself by accident and can apply poisons as a Quick action.

* The background event which grants you a suit of heavy armour has been changed to simply give you +1 Natural Armour (heavy armour is very niche).

* Added Corvids to the Human age table.

* Removed reference to the Career stage when determining starting points for older (or younger) characters, and increased the background points for older characters by 5 at each stage. Reduced Accolades for age categories slightly.

* Added 'Spell Synergy' and 'Greater Synergy' talents for combining spell power.

* Mercantile and Military contact bonuses have been modified to be more useful.

* Changed the text for the 'moving house' player contact backstory (bonus is unchanged).

* All divine magic devotions have one of their 90% talents raised to 99% (getting tier 5 spells used to be a reward for 99% skill but that's no longer applicable, so these talents are falling into line with other skills).

* Renamed the 'Re-attempting Skills' section to 'Skill Spamming' to clarify how 'out of combat' skill improvements work.

* Removed artifice and 'permanent' spells from the Magic Services section - I don't want to promote the concept of the 'Magic Shop' (magic items should be acquired from adventure, not a store!) GM's can still use the permanency spell and the artifice section to create magic items as needed.

* 'Adrenalive Surge' is no longer a manoevure - it's an action anyone can use and it's name has reverted to 'Spirit Surge' as it's a more descriptive name for what it does. It no longer affects undead or constructs.

* 'Deep Reserves' sorcery talent no longer removes fatigue penalty.

* 'Bully' requires the target understand your language.

* 'Enduring Luck' talent now only gives its benefit on failed skill checks.

* Half-humans now gain the Culture skill and their free talent is no longer limited to 'general'.

* Half-human's 'Linguist' trait now allows them a chance to understand any language.

* Revised 'Corrupting Aura' sorcery talent.

* Modified the rules for mounted combat, which also includes rules for flying and attacking from height.

* Updated and linked the GM Reference Sheets.

* The Wounds section has returned to its rightful place on the contents page.

* Improved the numbers on the Recovering Ammunition table for spent arrows and bolts.

* The 'Commander' leadership talent now uses that character's initiative instead of the party's best.

* Druidry 'Regeneration' spell is now correctly listed as being Quick to cast.

* 'Crossfire' and 'Blindside' talents now work with each other to grant damage bonuses.

* 'Dual-Wielding' and 'Two Weapons' combat talents allow escardi and other large humanoids to wield a Medium sized weapon in their off-hand.

* On a critical success, 'Control Movement' also takes away the target's action for the round.

* Reduced the encumbrance of all heavy armour pieces (not barding) by 1 point each.

* 'Giant Slayer' sword talent has been replaced by 'Sword Specialist'.

Accomodation

* Revised and cleaned up the tables for easier reference.

* Revised the healing bonus from staying in quality housing: +1 to Heal and Spirit regen for Reasonable, +2 for Superior.

* Meals and trail rations of quality now also provide a +1 or +2 bonus to Heal Rate and Spirit Regen.

* The food section notes Escardi eat twice the normal amount of food, while Raelani and Corvids eat half the normal amount.

Wizardry

* The 'Familiar' ability is now a spell.

* Instead of 'Familiar', the Wizardry skill now grants the 'School' ability which allows you to choose a style of wizardry.

* Talents related to scrolls, illusions and familiars have been moved to the 'Wizardry School' section. 

* Added new talents for the 'Wizardry School' section for Librarian, Familiarist, Illusionist and Scrivener schools. 

Druidry 

* Druidry now has the 'Sect' ability instead of 'Animal Companion'. This provides 16 talents in 4 areas that allow druidry to specialise in different aspects of the skill.

* Druid's 'Beastmaster' talents now simply enhance one of the pets you acquire through the Animal Training skill.

* Revised the Animal Training skill which is now based around an animal's threat level.

* Added the 'Extra Pet' talent.

* Added 'Speak with Nature' spell to cover communicating with animals and even plants.

* Revised the 'Animal Form' druidry spell to better clarify how it works and what you can do.

Reaction Spells 

* Added a new concept for Reaction spells to give spellcasters some more defensive options other than just getting more AP, as listed below. 

Alchemy

* Modified 'Smoke Bomb' & 'Flash Bomb' to use Reactions.

* Added 'Wild Magic' spell. 

Artifice

* Modified 'Security Matrix' for more flexibility.

* Added 'Forcefield' area of effect natural armour spell.

Divine

* Modified 'Holy Aegis', 'Salvation' & 'Soul Shield' to use Reactions.

Druidry

* Added 'Guardian Sprite', 'Magnetic field' & 'Solidify Air' spells.

Psionic

* Modified 'Control Magic' & 'Precognition' to use Reactions.

* 'Deflect Missile' is now 'Deflect Weapon', uses Reactions.

Shamanic

* Modified 'Shield Totem' & 'Soul Shield' to use Reactions.

* Added 'Guardian Spirit' & 'Aethereal Shift' spells.

Sorcery

* Modified 'Force Barrier' & 'Incinerate Missile' to use Reactions.

* Added 'Blood Mirror' spell.

Wizardry

* Modified 'Block' to use Reactions.

* Added 'Reverse Momentum' spell.

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v1.54 Basic Edition Notes

* The 'Close Range' action can be attempted using the Shields skill in place of Evade.

* The background event which grants you a suit of heavy armour has been changed to simply give you +1 Natural Armour (heavy armour is very niche).

* Herbalism skill now tells you how you can apply poison to a weapon.

* The 'Poison Weapon' talent now lets you avoid poisoning yourself by accident and can apply poisons as a Quick action.

* 'Adrenalive Surge' is no longer a manoevure - it's an action anyone can use and it's name has reverted to 'Spirit Surge' as it's a more descriptive name for what it does. It no longer affects undead or constructs.

* Half-humans now gain the Culture skill and their free talent is no longer limited to 'general'.

* Half-human's 'Linguist' trait now allows them a chance to understand any language.

* Added art for the raelani and half-human race pages.

* Revised and improved the forest elf artwork (practice makes perfect).

* Updated and linked the GM Reference Sheets.

* Improved the numbers on the Recovering Ammunition table for spent arrows and bolts.

* Reduced the encumbrance of all heavy armour pieces (not barding) by 1 point each.

Accomodation

* Revised and cleaned up the tables for easier reference.

* Revised the healing bonus from staying in quality housing: +1 to Heal and Spirit regen for Reasonable, +2 for Superior.

* Meals and trail rations of quality now also provide a +1 or +2 bonus to Heal Rate and Spirit Regen.

 

February 2017 devblog and changelog

This month, we've got an overhaul of backgrounds, a bunch of new general talents, and some art! Let's go into more detail:

Backgrounds

So, the original batch of backgrounds were based along certain themes, the sorts of lives a character might live such as farmer, wizard's apprentice etc. There were adventuring backgrounds, and mundane ones that offered far less, and would only really be taken for reasons of roleplaying. But as someone pointed out to me, roleplaying shouldn't just be about taking big penalties. 

I did a pass on backgrounds last year, improving the weaker ones somewhat but it wasn't enough. Recently, a new player in one of my local groups took a closer look at them and noticed some glaring imbalances. Some backgrounds you'd never take, and others you'd be crazy *not* to take. So I decided to sit down and go over it more thoroughly. My process was simple enough - assign a value for each of a background's attributes and compare them all. Resistance skills and Greater Magic skills received 3 points as they are highly desireable. Combat skills and Spirit Points received 2, and so forth. I even factored in starting money, at a rate of +1 for every 200 silver pieces. 

After completing these (actually during the middle of the process) I could see the problems, but the solutions were relatively easy. It took me a whole day to sort it out, but once done, things were looking much much better.

Arcane Blade and Monastery Orphan were head and shoulders above the others, while Page and Brothel Orphan were sorely lacking. For the purposes of rebalancing, I decided that Wizard's Apprentice would be the baseline at 13 points, so I adjusted the attributes of each background to get to 12 or 13 points. Typically, backgrounds without combat or magic skills are more likely to have extra Resist skills, more money, and more background events. 

This process gave me an opportunity to look closer at the Greater Magic backgrounds too. There are now two types for most of the greater magic types (except for Alchemy and Divine magic). One type gives you a dedicated spellcaster with little starting money, the Resolve resistance skill, and a +2 Spirit Point bonus. The other kind has the same Greater Magic skill, but has more of a combative focus, with either Endurance or Evade instead of Resolve, more starting money, and instead of the prized +2 Spirit Points, another ability (usually the ability to cast spells in light armour).

Talents

There's plenty of combat and magic talents to go around, but the number of general talents was a bit lacking and has been for a while. After a brainstorming session, there are now plenty more to choose from and the requirements for some of the others have been lowered. 

Additionally, after thinking a few mechanics through, I move the 'Grit' manoeuvre over to a talent, as you can't actually activate it when below 1 Hit Point and therefore it's not tremendously useful. Now it's a passive, 'always on' ability that lets you stay conscious more easily with a Serious Wound. Part of this change too was noting that taking a serious wound almost always results in going unconscious for a few rounds, so this way its easier for tougher characters to stay in the fight.

Another change was in the ability to cripple a target's limbs without killing them first. There were three manoeuvres to accomplish this with either melee, martial arts or pistol weapons, but I thought of a better, less clunky way. Those manoeuvres have been removed and replaced by one talent, Critical Blow, which lets any physical combat skill cripple a limb (or the head) on a critical hit to a creature that can't defend itself. This prevents it happening too often, but when it hits, it'll really slow them down. This is yet another way of improving the balance between combat and magic characters.

Art!

Finally, this month was supposed to be dedicated to adding art to the codex, but all that other development stuff happened! I still managed to get three pieces done, with noticable improvements in my technique each time. My skill is still lacking when it comes to getting the lighting effects right, but that'll come with time. I imagine I'll redo these at some point in the future, but for now, I think they're quite adequate :) Just two more to go to have the standard races complete, and then I'll move on to the more exotic races. I've also just ordered some poseable models to help me get the postures right, and it should make a big difference in quality.

What's next?

More art! Additionally, I want to add some options for the druid, in the same manner as sorcery bloodlines or divine devotions. There's a druid in one of my groups who hasn't bothered with an animal companion and he's getting by just fine, so I'll add some devotions for other things:

* One for a shapeshifting focused druid with some appropriate talents.

* A devotion for a beastmaster to enhance your animal companion(s).

* A weather and 'natural disaster' focused druid.

* A healer, focused on life and regeneration.

So that'll be next month, and I'm sure there will be a few more additions along the way (there always is!)

 

v2.22 Codex Premium Edition Changelog (See below for the Basic Edition notes)

New!

* Added art for the Acadian Elves, Dwarves & Forest elves.

* Added 'Toughness' Endurance manoeuvre.

* The 'Grit' manoeuvre is now a talent (it works better as a passive ability).

* Added the 'Cat Burgler' background.

* Added 'Deep Pockets', 'Strong Back', 'Haggler', 'Design Sense', 'Commander', 'Blind Sense', 'Wingman', 'Improvised Medicine', 'Miracle Worker', 'Subtle Threat', 'Grain of Truth', 'Quick Draw' and 'Helpful' general talents.

* Added 'Warning Shout' Leadership manoevure.

* Added 'Advantage' combat talent.

* Added 'Critical Blow' combat talent, which replaces 'Cunning Blow', 'Selective Aim' and 'Called Shot' manoeuvres.

* Added 'Critical Power' spellcasting talent.

* Added 'Teleportation Ward' for wizardry, divine and shamanic magic.

 

Modifications:

* 'Righteous Fury', 'Berserker' and 'Bloodlust' now count as Combat Talents and require only 12+ strength to acquire.

* All talents with an Attribute requirements of "13+" now require only 12+.

* 'Tactical Combo' talent now only requires 70% in a combat skill.

* The Acrobatics skill can now be used to avoid movement penalties from difficult terrain, reduce damage from falling and climb at double the normal rate (using parkour!)

* Removed the 'Nimble' talent, the effects of which have been more effectively integrated into Acrobatics.

* 'Rune Power' & 'Potent Artifice' talents now require 70% skill but give +1 damage, +5m range and -10% to spell resists from scrolls or relics.

* Improved the 'Adrenaline Surge' Endurance manoeuvre.

* The 'Leap' manoevure also makes you immune to opportunity attacks.

* The 'Backflip' manoevure no longer limits you to half speed.

* Revised the 'Switch Body' spell with more detail.

* Revised and simplified the 'Imbue Divinity' divine spell which now also works with the Permanency talent.

* Gems are now required to make a spell permanent, of the same value as before.

* Escardi Hit Points are now equal to their STR Attribute.

* Escardi and similar sized creatures only pay 50% more for their armour instead of doubling the cost.

* Clarified that armour points gained from Auric or Natural armour doesn't add up from separate body locations - the value bestowed simply counts at each armour location if an effect targets a specific location.

* Clarified that Spirit Points gained through talents stack with each other.

* Gems used with the 'Store Spirit' talent are no longer destroyed if completely drained.

* Reduced the movement penalty on Plate Greaves from -2 to -1.

* Open Range and Close Range actions now use your Movement instead (and re-wrote the "open and close range" section for greater clarity).

* Revised 'Closing Strike' manoeuvre.

* The 'Grapple Expert' talent now applies to any restrained or pinned target.

* The 'Fire & Steel' talent now lets you make extra melee attacks if you can make more than 1 pistol attack each round.

* Lowered the INT requirement for increasing spell power.

* Stipulated that the 'Two Weapons' martial art's talent lets you make an off-hand attack with small weapons only (i.e. no double katanas).

* Longswords and katanas no longer switch to a smaller die when used single-handed - the Damage Modifier bonus for wielding a weapon 2-handed is sufficient.

* Weapons Expertise martial art's talent now requires 'Martial Weapons' as one of it requirements.

* Reduced the damage bonus gained from increasing the Spell Power on lightning spells (uniformly +2 now). This is due to metal armour having more importance in the system with fighters, and lightning simply ignoring metal AP. 

* Lightning spells no longer deal half damage on a successful resist, it's either they hit or they don't.

* Removed the 'Carrying Equipment' system of straps, belts etc. With the new lower limit on encumbrance, this doesn't appear to be needed anymore. The items themselves remain under 'clothing' but the character sheet doesn't list individual locations anymore.

* 'Devastating bomb' now grants regular damage instead of an increase in critical damage.

* 'Shock bomb' no longer deals half regular damage, but instead of boosting damage with spell power, you increase the area of effect.

* Baseline bomb damage has been reduced by 2 points.

* 'Skill Expertise' talent only requires 70% skill to take.

* Expanded the list of player contacts from 10 to 12.

* 'Spirited Performance' charm spell only affects one target instead of an area of effect.

* 'Petrify' wizard spell now allows an endurance check every round to break free.

* Alchemy spells that previously had unopposed Resistance checks have now become opposed checks.

* Removed 'Alchemical Mastery' talent as it's no longer relevant.

 

Backgrounds (highlights - too many changes to list)

* All backgrounds have been evaluated and rebalanced accordingly. High-powered backgrounds have been reduced somewhat, and the low-end backgrounds (lots of those) have been vastly improved. I also actually looked up what a medieval page did, so that background has been significantly revamped. 

* Resistance skills have been highlighted red on the backgrounds list.

* Primary Greater Magic backgrounds get +2 Spirit Points and the Resolve skill, but there are secondary backgrounds with Greater Magic that have a different bonus and a different Resistance skill (less spirit, less focus on casting, more on combat).

* 'Arcane Blade' is now only available for Acadian Elves.

* 'Ranger' now gains the Druidry skill.

* 'Rake' now gains the Charms skill.

 

v1.52 Codex Basic Edition changelog

New!

* Added art for the Acadian Elves, Dwarves & Forest elves.

* The 'Grit' manoeuvre is now a talent (it works better as a passive ability).

* Added the 'Cat Burgler' background.

* All talents with an Attribute requirements of "13+" now require only 12+.

* The Acrobatics skill can now be used to avoid movement penalties from difficult terrain, reduce damage from falling and climb at double the normal rate (using parkour!)

* Removed the 'Nimble' talent, the effects of which have been more effectively integrated into Acrobatics.

* 'Rune Power' talent now requires 70% skill but give +1 damage, +5m range and -10% to spell resists from scrolls or relics.

* Improved the 'Adrenaline Surge' Endurance manoeuvre.

* The 'Leap' manoevure also makes you immune to opportunity attacks.

* The 'Backflip' manoevure no longer limits you to half speed.

* Revised the 'Switch Body' spell with more detail.

* Revised and simplified the 'Imbue Divinity' divine spell, which no longer makes the enchantment permanent on its own.

* Clarified that armour points gained from Auric or Natural armour doesn't add up from separate body locations - the value bestowed simply counts at each armour location if an effect targets a specific location.

* Reduced the movement penalty on Plate Greaves from -2 to -1.

* Lowered the INT requirement for increasing Spell Power.

* Stipulated that the 'Two Weapons' martial art's talent lets you make an off-hand attack with small weapons only (i.e. no double katanas).

* Longswords and katanas no longer switch to a smaller die when used single-handed - the Damage Modifier bonus for wielding a weapon 2-handed is sufficient.

* Reduced the damage bonus gained from increasing the Spell Power on lightning spells (uniformly +2 now). This is due to metal armour having more importance in the system with fighters, and lightning simply ignoring metal AP.

* Removed the 'Carrying Equipment' system of straps, belts etc. With the new lower limit on encumbrance, this doesn't appear to be needed anymore. The items themselves remain under 'clothing' but the character sheet doesn't list individual locations anymore.

* 'Skill Expertise' talent only requires 70% skill to take.

* Lightning spells no longer deal half damage on a successful resist, it's either they hit or they don't.

 

Backgrounds (highlights - too many changes to list)

* All backgrounds have been evaluated and rebalanced accordingly. High-powered backgrounds have been reduced somewhat, and the low-end backgrounds (lots of those) have been vastly improved. I also actually looked up what a medieval page did, so that background has been significantly revamped. 

* Resistance skills have been highlighted red on the backgrounds list.

* Primary Greater Magic backgrounds get +2 Spirit Points and the Resolve skill, but there are secondary backgrounds with Greater Magic that have a different bonus and a different Resistance skill (less spirit, less focus on casting).

* 'Arcane Blade' is now only available for Acadian Elves.

* 'Ranger' gains the Druidry skill, but that isn't part of the basic edition so the background was removed.

January Devblog and v2.21 Patch Notes

Thus ends another busy month of sabre system development. I keep saying 'no more big changes' but then along come more big changes. I'm going to stop making that promise! The major part of work this month was the re-write of the magic system. After first creating the 5-tier spell point system in Sabre four years ago, I realised that there was a better way, where there are just spells (no tiers or levels) and you can spend additional points to buff them as you cast. Since I'd just finished writing the original system I wasn't keen on redoing it from scratch, but lately players have been coming to the same conclusion and urging me to do this change. You might have seen a hint of it with the armour spells, but what I've done now is apply this change to the entire magic system. 

Magic System Rewrite

The amount of changes are far too numerous to go into detail here, except to say that the system is more flexible and there's no more duplication of spell effects at different tiers. Most of the spells remain intact, but now have additional abilities written up in the full description. If there is a downside, it's that you'll need to have the full description in front of you to see what you can do with a spell, but the effects are similar across the board, such as 'Increase spell range by 10 metres' or 'Increase damage by +5'. The patch notes below have more detail, but you'll really just need to read through the magic section to see what's what. 

Armour System Balance

One of the questions I've been asked lately is 'what does a dedicated fighter bring to the party?' This is a very valid point, given how cool magic can be. The answer to this question was put forward by one of my contributors (thanks Ed!) who crunched the numbers and suggested a pretty substantial change to how armour and spells interact. All this time, I've been trying to allow some spell casting while wearing armour, mostly to cover the old classic 'armoured cleric' or 'arcane blade' style of fighter/mage, but now we've come up with a better way. The patch notes have the individual updates, but basically you can't wear any armour and still use Greater Magic. The only exception to this is the War devotion for divine magic, and that you can now use Lesser Magic in armour without penalty. Now, although you can't mix and match armour like before by default, special materials can still play a part, specifically wyvern and dragon skin leather, and mithral armour allow spellcasting without penalty. Some of them even stack with the Auric Armour spells that spellcasters can use, so if you're prepared to pay top prices for equipment, you can indeed be a fighting wizard or what have you. 

This means that if the party wants people with lots of armour for absorbing damage, it'll most likely have to be a warrior in medium or heavy armour, as it should be! Spellcasters still have a bit of magic armour and other spells for protection, fear not.

Art Update

Well, instead of spending the month creating art, I spent most of the time on that magic overhaul! Mechanics and play overrule art I figure, but at least I finished one piece for the humans. I had started on the elf art but the elves I created looked very human! My style is improving so I'm redoing those elf characters and that should be done soon. With the magic revamp complete I'll (hopefully) just be focusing on the artwork now. Oh, and along with the new artwork is a layout change for the races section with more icons and larger text to make it all easier to see, just like this;

Although this release is done, I still have to update the bestiary's spellcasting monsters and NPC's, which number about 35 or so. I'll get this done asap, but I wanted to get the manual online so you could read up on the new changes.

 

v2.21 PREMIUM EDITION PATCH NOTES

General 

* Added 'The Slow Road' skill advancement optional rule.

* Weapons that 'count as magic' for the purposes of bypassing protection against mundane weaponry are now called 'Auric Weapons'. The term has been added to the Glossary and spells which empower weapons in this way make reference to this new term.

* Added 'Collision' damage type for use with falling and colliding with objects.

* Condensed the file size of the pdf document.

* Improved the detail in the Weapons Modification section.

* Added 'Expanded Cartridge' weapon modification for crossbows.

* The 'Teach' skill's effects can be spread over 8 non-consecutive hours and it's been limited to skills no higher than 70%.

* Efficicent Study talent lets you spend 12 hours a day learning new skills/spells instead of 8.

* 'Reverse Engineering' and 'Eclectic Knowledge' now require double the normal learning time of acquiring a new spell, but there is no money or accolade cost.

* Added the 'Craft (Cooking)' sub-skill.

* Normalised all potions to 1d6+4 for their effects.

* Added more detail to Contacts, including a benefit for each one.

* Added 'Player Contacts' as a way to help player characters know each other prior to the start of the game.

* Pistols, Longarms and Martial Arts now use INT+AGI to determine their base skill numbers.

* Added a section for Recommended Character Builds to help new players make a character that fits a certain role in the party, such as Tank or Healer.

* Alchemy has been promoted to 'Greater Magic', and has its own background.

* Added 'Warrior Savant' 99% Martial Arts talent. 

* 'Drunker Master' Martial Arts talent has been lowered to 90% skill requirement.

* Revamped the race section, with more detail and a better layout for easier reading.

* Added art for the Human race (yay finally, more on the way).

* Added 'Sneak Shot' pistol manoeuvre.

* You can no longer move before taking a Death Blow action.

 

Armour Revision

* Removed the 'Endurance Training' talent.

* Greater Magic spells can no longer be cast at all while wearing any armour (the War devotion of divine magic is the exception).

* Lesser Magic spells can be cast in any kind of armour.

* Wyvern leather is now 5x normal cost, allows for the casting of Greater Magic spells and stacks with Auric Armour.

* Basilisk leather is now 3x normal cost.

* Spells which grant Auric Armour have been reduced in power, thus giving dedicated fighters a proper role as damage tanks within a party. 

 

Magic System Revamp

* Revised the magic system to be 'tierless', with each spell costing 1 Spirit Point to cast but with built-in bonuses that can be added with the expenditure of more Spirit Points. 

* The amount of Spirit Points that can be spent on a spell during casting (known as Spell Power) is limited by the character's skill level: 0%-49%=1, 51%-69%=2, 70%-89%=3, 90%-98%=4, 99%=5 and their Intelligence Attribute (it's all on one table, should be clear how it works).

* Spells have been removed where their power was either duplicated, or integrated into another spell of a given field of magic. This has condensed the spell list across the board.

* Removed the 'Channeled Spirit' and 'Expert Channel' magic talents (they are now effectively integrated into each spell).

* Spell cost and learning time is now adjusted by the INT of the spellcaster, just like skills (but cheaper/faster).

* Made it clear in the Attributes section that INT dictates the maximum number of spells and skills that can be learned.

* Fixed legacy rules and errors throughout the spell system.

 

v1.51BASIC EDITION PATCH NOTES

General

* The Backgrounds list now denotes which backgrounds give Greater Magic skills as part of their skill set.

* Weapons that 'count as magic' for the purposes of bypassing protection against mundane weaponry are now called 'Auric Weapons'. The term has been added to the Glossary and spells which empower weapons in this way make reference to this new term.

* Condensed the file size of the pdf document.

* The 'Teach' skill's effects can be spread over 8 non-consecutive hours.

* Efficicent Study talent lets you spend 12 hours a day learning new skills/spells instead of 8.

* 'Eclectic Knowledge' now requires double the normal learning time of acquiring a new wizard spell, but there is no money or accolade cost.

* Added more detail to Contacts, including a benefit for each one.

* Added 'Player Contacts' as a way to help player characters know each other prior to the start of the game.

* Pistols, Longarms and Martial Arts now use INT+AGI to determine their base skill numbers.

* Added a section for Recommended Character Builds to help new players make a character that fits a certain role in the party, such as Tank or Healer.

* Revamped the race section, with more detail and a better layout for easier reading.

* Added art for the Human race (yay finally, more on the way).

* Normalised all potions to 1d6+4 for their effects.

* Added 'Collision' damage type for use with falling and colliding with objects.

 

Armour Revision

* Removed the 'Endurance Training' talent.

* Greater Magic spells can no longer be cast at all while wearing any armour (the War devotion of divine magic is the exception).

* Lesser Magic spells can be cast in any kind of armour.

* Wyvern leather is now 5x normal cost, allows for the casting of Greater Magic spells and stacks with Auric Armour.

* Basilisk leather is now 3x normal cost.

* Spells which grant Auric Armour have been reduced in power, thus giving dedicated fighters a proper role as damage tanks within a party. 

 

Magic System Revamp

* Revised the magic system to be 'tierless', with each spell costing 1 Spirit Point to cast but with built-in bonuses that can be added with the expenditure of more Spirit Points. 

* The amount of Spirit Points that can be spent on a spell during casting (known as Spell empowerment) is limited by the character's skill level: 0%-49%=1, 51%-69%=2, 70%-89%=3, 90%-98%=4, 99%=5 and their Intelligence Attribute (it's all on one table, should be clear how it works).

* Spells have been removed where their power was either duplicated, or integrated into another spell of a given field of magic. This has condensed the spell list across the board.

* Removed the 'Channeled Spirit' and 'Expert Channel' magic talents (they are now effectively integrated into each spell).

* Spell cost and learning time is now adjusted by the INT of the spellcaster, just like skills (but cheaper/faster).

* Made it clear in the Attributes section that INT dictates the maximum number of spells and skills that can be learned.

* Fixed legacy rules and errors throughout the spell system.

New Year Devblog and 2.20 Update Notes

Happy new year to everyone! After running a session and getting some feedback about a few things (and finding some bugs to fix), I'm ready to release the 2.20 update for the system. It's a big one, and requires a devblog to explain what's going on here. Deep breath!

Combat Damage Balance

For a couple of years now, I've been filling out the talents and manoeuvres list in Sabre with “cool ideas”, without actually going over the numbers and seeing how it all fits together. At the request of a contributor, I spent a few hours calculating the damage output of certain combat styles, and found things were quite out of balance, especially unarmed combat, which easily beat out everything else for pure damage output. I'm not even talking about magically augmented 'monks' either, I just mean Jim from accounting who goes to karate class on Thursdays. With enough training, he could punch a dragon to death in 6 seconds (seriously, it came to something like 140 damage in one round), no doubt shouting something witty along the lines of "Reconcile this!" So, some adjustment was in order, as follows:

Two-handed weapons became the new baseline, given that they could only have one attack per round. Even then, their damage output was a little low so while wielding two handed weapons, a character's damage modifier is doubled. That's some solid damage right there.

The next issue was dual-wielding. Sabre leans towards 'realistic' more often than not, but the previous rules were very casual about effectively wielding two weapons at once. Historically, it was a fencing style, usually with a dagger in the off-hand. So, some of the duel-wielding talents have been folded into the Blades & Martial Arts (more on this below) weapon styles, which, along with clubs (staves can be used as dual-weapons too) are the only types which allow any sort of duel-wielding. The flexibility one needs restricts the armour type to 'Light' as well, but Blades have bonuses to Parrying instead, and of course light armour grants access to the Evade talents. In the end, dual wielding, whether with blades or martial arts weapons, can deal more damage than a two-handed sword, but individual hits are smaller and less effective against armour.

Next up was the sword & board style, which factors in shield bash. This is basically unchanged, coming in with less damage than either of the previous styles, but of course having the immense protective benefits of a shield.

So, on to unarmed combat. Some of my contributors and I have talked about how this skill should work over the years. My position was that anyone, even a child, can throw a punch, and therefore it should be a common skill. But expertise in unarmed combat requires specialised training, so we recently came to the conclusion that it should be both. There is now the Unarmed common skill, and the Martial Arts professional skill. All of the Unarmed talents and manoeuvres have been moved over to Martial Arts, so if you need to punch someone you still can, but it's a pretty basic attack. If you want to be really good at it, you need the professional skill.

I've also rebalanced the damage output of basic martial arts to something more realistic, adjusting talents and manoeuvres that applied extra damage but at the same time, I've added a few extra spells to sorcery and psionics (which tend to favour monk-like characters) which augment unarmed capabilities. In addition to this, I've added japanese weapons (sorry china, I'm not very familiar with your equipment at this stage!) which can be used with the martial arts skill, and therefore all the talents and manoeuvres. Well, some of them require you to be empty-handed, but otherwise they can be useful for increasing your damage output. 

This brings me to the last change for the combat system, multiple attacks. In the end, there were too many things going on in each round, with some characters of moderate 'level' having 3 or more attacks per round. As part of balancing the combat system, I took out 'Second Strike' for Medium sized melee, and 'the ol' one-two' martial arts has a requirement of 90% in the skill, and it only applies to empty-handed attacks (no weapons). As mentioned earlier, Blades and Martial Arts can still get an off-hand attack at around 70% skill, and blades still have the Riposte ability for extra attacks, but otherwise I've brought the number right down. There are still spells like Celerity that can add extra attacks, but the balance of the combat system should be very good now.

Skill Learning System

Something that bothered me for quite some time was the way learning skills and talents was sort of intermeshed. It was a little confusing and didn't make a lot of sense in ways, so we came up with a way to treat it more like the acquisition of spells, with a set price, and limited by a character's intelligence attribute. It can be more expensive in general to acquire a new skill, which is intentional - it adds more weight to your starting skill choices, but the cost doesn't increase for each one you get either. Acquiring talents remains unchanged, with increasing cost being the limiting factor.

Casting spells in leather

At first, I didn't mind that leather armour was being treated more like heavy clothing, but as time went on, I saw that all of the spellcasters were wrapped in leather from head to toe. That's not the look I was going for – since I wanted to capture a traditional fantasy experience of the 'robed wizard', I've put the double spell cost onto leather armour. But fear not! It's a little easier to get the 'Endurance training' talent to mitigate this effect, though it does still require 15 CON. Also, Wyvern & dragon leather (as well as mithral) remove this penalty, so leather-clad wizards can still be a thing if they want to pay extra for the privilege, plus dragon skin stacks with auric armour so those armour spells you cast can be bolstered by wearing the skin of your fallen enemies, you monster.

Armour spells

Speaking of armour spells, I've changed the spell system overall to allow just one per magic field (two for druid, since they also get barkskin), with the ability to spend extra spirit to increase the effect. It's cleaner, more flexible, and removes the need to buy multiple spells that sort of do the same thing. You see, shortly after completing the tiered spell system a few years back, I realised another way to do a spell system would be to have just one tier or level, and as your skill increases you can put more points into a spell to get more effect. Of course, that would mean re-writing the entire spell system so I wasn't keen on tackling it at the time! But after a recent game session where the players encountered this new change, the result was extremely positive and they encouraged me to expand this new way of doing magic.

So, over the course of at least the next couple of updates, I'll be conducting overhauls of certain spells. For example, taking out all the lightning spells for a particular field of magic and replacing them with a 1st tier version that can be boosted, just like the new armour effects. As the caster's skill increases past 70%, 90% etc, more points can be put into it to get teh same effects as the old spells, but also with other flexible options such as range, area of effect etc. This will make the spell system very flexible indeed.

Saerid tweak

Ah the saerid, such a challenging race to balance! I do love the four-arm concept, just that it's been difficult to make it work properly in Sabre. My original vision for the race was that they had little to no magical ability, but physically they were supreme. Adding a few greater magic options to their backgrounds went contrary to this, but it was worth trying it out. I'm returning them to their original vision though, with no access to greater magic at all, but they can still take the lesser fields of magic. This has allowed me to boost their natural armour a little more, and with the changes to duel wielding they're much more in balance with the other races. 

Encumbrance

The numbers were way too generous – a character with 15 strength and constitution could effectively carry a whole other person without becoming encumbered and then also perform acrobatics, much to the delight of small children nearby. So I've halved the calculation and reduced the effects of being encumbered slightly, since it's likely character might actually get encumbered now. I've also made teh 'carrying equipment' like backpacks a bit lighter, and adjusted the 'dimensional bag' artifice spell to be more useful in this regard.

What's next?

I'm feeling a little burnt out by this massive update and I hate having people re-learn stuff in a game system so I won't be doing anything this big for some time, if ever. I wish Sabre had been in its current state upon first release, but only with feedback was I able to bring it up to this level now, so thanks to everyone who threw in their two cents. Here's what's coming next:

* I'm focusing on the artwork now, first for the codex and then the bestiary. The forest elf is coming up first, but depending on how long these take me, I might just release a few on a monthly update basis as usual.

* The magic system overhaul will be done in chunks, and I've no idea how long this will take, but it's a thing that will happen.

I want to start my next novel too and get that trilogy complete, so I think I'll just work on these three areas in the near future. In a month or two I might get some more done on the atlas too, as there's still 5 countries yet to be completed. Lots of things to keep me busy all year!

 

v2.20 Premium Notes (See below for Basic Edition)

 

Fixes

* Fixed some broken and misguided links.

* The 'Restrained' condition now also halves the victim's movement.

* Added header navigation links for the skills and backgrounds section.

* Instances of 'Elven Cat' have been changed to 'Fey Cat'.

* The 'Squire' background is now more appropriately called 'Page'.

* Increased the weapon SIZ of polearms to the correct setting.

* Corrected the damage for Short Scythe and Military Scythe.

* 'Brawny caster' war devotion talent now only applies its bonus to 'Instant' damage spells.

* Corrected the sentence in 'Attack Basics' that refers to the old 'critical effects table' which is no longer a thing.

* Updated the Example of Play to reflect the current rules on dealing with a Serious Wound.

* Replaced missing 'Deadly Swords' talent description.

* 'Inspiring Charge' leadership manoevure has had the language rearranged to correct note that the character's charge is what inspires others to be better killing machines.

* 'Potent artifice' spell description now correctly notes that it doesn't double the spell range.

 

General Changes

* 'Imbue trap' wizardry talent is now called 'Magical trap', now also allows wizards to disarm magical traps.

* Revised the 'Accolade Skill Cost' table a little.

* Revised the way new skills are gained, with a new section on 'Learning New Professional Skills'.

* Skills are no longer factored into the cost of acquiring new talents.

* Made some adjustments to which races can get which backgrounds.

* Saerid can no longer take greater magic backgrounds.

* Thick Carapace now correctly grants +2 natural armour.

* Hard shell now grants +3 natural armour.

* Wearing any leather armour doubles the spirit point cost of magic spells.

* The 'Endurance Training' talent no longer requires 'Medium Armour Training' and also applies to light armour.

* Revised exotic material tables: Wyvern leather, dragon leather and Mithral do not interfere with spellcasting.

* Added a spot on the character sheet to show your maximum number of professional skills, and space for the maximum number of spells too.

* 'Energising Embrace' charms talent now doubles your Heal and Spirit regen rate overnight.

* 'Second Wind' can be used on Serious Wounds but doesn't stop bleeding.

* 'Adrenaline Surge' now gives 4 temporary Spirit Points while it lasts, gain fatigue when it ends. 

* Removed 'Spirit Surge' action.

* 'Acid Bomb' alchemy spell now damages AP if the damage it deals is above the AP of the target.

* Moved the 'Carrying Equipment' section closer to 'Tools & Gear'.

* Added standard tinctures to the 'Apothecary Services' table under 'Magical Services'.

* The 'Teach' skill can be used to improve a character's skill up to 80% instead of 60%.

* 'Efficient Formulas' alchemy talent is now listed under general talents, requires Herbalism skill and affects tinctures, not potions.

 

Encumbrance

* The encumbrance calculation has been modified. 'Burdened' is now STR+CON/2, 'Heavily Burdened' is now STR+CON etc

* 'Burdened' now only imposes a -2 move penalty and fatigue checks every 3 rounds in combat (and regular checks when travelling).

* The ENC of tinctures, poultice, potions and salves is now 0 (they're pretty small, when you think about it). 

* The ENC of the Healer's kit, Alchemists kit, Alchemical materials and Herbalist kit have been set to 2.

* The ENC of all carrying gear except for saddlebags has been set to 1.

 

New (general stuff)!

* Added 'Enhanced Bond' wizardry companion talent.

* Added 'Companion Resistance' companion talent.

* Added 'Sentinel' companion talent.

* Added new 'Advanced Alchemy' spells to the alchemy section (not yet completed).

* Added 'Assassin's Apprentice' background for several races.

* Added a 'Drop Backpack' action to the actions table.

* Added 'Lip Reading' skill.

 

Weapon System Balance

* Using two-handed melee weapons adds double your Damage Modifier.

* Escardi no longer suffer any penalty to wielding a two-handed weapon in a single hand, they just don't get the double damage modifier to it.

* The 'entrapping' weapon trait has been changed to 'Parrying', increases parry SIZ.

* Removed 'Second Strike' melee manoeuvre.

* 'The Ol' One-Two' unarmed manoeuvre now requires 90% Martial Arts skill and only applies to emtpy-handed attacks.

* Added 'Forceful Strike' melee manoevure.

Dual-Wielding Revamp (much more realistic)

* Altered the rules for two-weapon fighting, which now can only be done with Blades, Martial Arts and staves.

* Attacks after the first primary check you make during a round do not raise your skill on a failed check.

* Removed 'Follow-Through Attack' & 'Ambidexterity' talents.

* Removed 'Swashbuckler' blade talent and replaced with 'Dual-wielding'.

* Removed 'Fencer' blade talent and replaced with 'Twin Blade Defence'.

* 'Dual-wielding' is now a Blades talent and allows you to use a small blade weapon in your off-hand to make a second attack during your turn.

* Replaced 'Heft' club talent with 'Whirling staff' talent, allowing a staff to be used as a double weapon.

Unarmed Combat Revamp (long overdue)

* Added new 'Martial Arts' professional skill. All Unarmed talents and manoeuvres have been moved over to that. 

* 'Drunker Master' talent no longer gives extra damage, but grants Reduction against all damage types.

* Removed 'Flurry' talent.

* Replaced 'Brawler' with 'Iron Fist' talent. 

* Replaced 'Counterstrike' with 'Two Weapons' Martial Arts talent.

* Added 'Martial Weapons' and 'Weapons Expertise' Martial Arts talents.

* Added 'Solid Defence' martial arts manoeuvre.

* Added 'Reverse Grip' martial arts manoeuvre.

* 'Martial Artist' talent is now called 'Martial Warrior'. 

*  'Kick' Martial Arts manoeuvre no longer grants additional damage.

* 'Sucker Punch' Martial Arts manoeuvre now simply grants +2 damage instead of an extra dice.

* 'Spectral Gauntlets' sorcery spell now also increases effective weapon SIZ by two steps, and is now a concentration spell, is tier 3 and quick to cast.

* Added 'Psi Warrior' psionic spell at tier 3, similar to Spectral gauntlets with a little twist.

* Added 'Roundhouse Kick' Martial Arts manoeuvre.

* 'Flying Kick' manoeuvre moved from Acrobatics to Martial Arts.

* Knuckledusters are now concealed weapons.

* 'Reckless attack' talent now applies to melee, unarmed and martial arts skills.

* Mail gloves are now Small, Plate gauntlets are considered Medium SIZ. 

* The Unarmed common skill now deals 1 point of damage (plus damage modifier of course).

* The 'Monastery Orphan' background now gives the Martial Arts skill instead of Acrobatics, and First Aid instead of Unarmed.

* Added a table with new exotic martial arts weapons (japanese).

* Added 'Dragon Strike' martial arts manoeuvre.

* Added 'Psi Gauntlets' and 'Psi Warrior' psionic spells.

* Moved 'Spectal Gauntlets' sorcery spell to tier 3, moved 'Unstoppable force' spell to tier 4 and revamped its effects.

 

Spell System

* Revised the armour spells for all greater magic. Now there is just one spell at tier 2 which can be boosted to provide more AP as the character's skill increases, as noted below.

Divine: 'Armour of Faith', moved to tier 2, removed 'Raiment of Faith' and 'Prayer of Steel' spells. 'Aura of Peace' divine spell just makes target immune to being frightened, removed the armour bonus, and it's now tier 1.

Wizardry: 'Arcane Armour' moved to tier 2, removed 'Spectral armour' and 'Intellect Fortress' spells. 'Convey Voice' wizardry spell is now tier 1.

Artifice: Altered 'Eldritch Barrier' spell, remains at tier 3.

Druidry: Removed 'Earth Conduit', 'Stoneskin' now called 'Stone Armour' and is tier 2. 'Barkskin' can be boosted further.

Sorcery: 'Auric Armour' removed, 'Spectral Armour' moved to tier 2. 

Shamanic: 'Spectral Wreath' moved to tier 2. 'Aura of Death' doesn't provide AP but now deals 2 damage when caster is hit in melee.

Psionic: 'Tower of Will' now tier 2, removed 'Psychic Armour' and 'Mental Barrier' spells. 'Psychic Aegis' moved to tier 1.

* Moved 'Web' wizardry spell to tier 2, now renders target 'pinned'.

* 'Schism' psionic spell now lets the caster maintain 2 concentration spells at once.

* 'Spirit Generator' spell fixed to show that it lasts 7 days, but only one can be in existence at a time.

* 'Dimensional bag' spell now simply negates the weight of items placed with, but can also be expanded by spending more spirit.

 

v1.50 Basic Edition Abridged notes

Fixes

* Fixed some broken and misguided links.

* The 'Restrained' condition now also halves the victim's movement.

* Added header navigation links for the skills and backgrounds section.

* Instances of 'Elven Cat' have been changed to 'Fey Cat'.

* The 'Squire' background is now more appropriately called 'Page'.

* Increased the weapon SIZ of polearms to the correct setting.

* Corrected the damage for Short Scythe and Military Scythe.

* 'Brawny caster' war devotion talent now only applies its bonus to 'Instant' damage spells.

* Corrected the sentence in 'Attack Basics' that refers to the old 'critical effects table' which is no longer a thing.

* Updated the Example of Play to reflect the current rules on dealing with a Serious Wound.

* Corrected the GM and Magical Services table as to the effectiveness of healing potions and salves.

* Corrected the description of 'Snap Shot' bow talent.

* Replaced the missing 'Sap' and 'Reckless attack' talent descriptions.

 

General Changes

* Revised the 'Accolade Skill Cost' table a little.

* Revised the way new skills are gained, with a new section on 'Learning New Professional Skills'.

* Skills are no longer factored into the cost of acquiring new talents.

* Wearing any leather armour doubles the spirit point cost of magic spells.

* The 'Endurance Training' talent no longer requires 'Medium Armour Training' and also applies to light armour.

* Revised exotic material tables: Wyvern leather, dragon leather and Mithral do not interfere with spellcasting.

* Added a spot on the character sheet to show your maximum number of professional skills, and space for the maximum number of spells too.

* Moved 'Web' wizardry spell to tier 2, now renders target 'pinned'.

* 'Second Wind' can be used on Serious Wounds but doesn't stop bleeding.

* 'Adrenaline Surge' now gives 4 temporary Spirit Points while it lasts, gain fatigue when it ends. 

* Removed 'Spirit Surge' action.

* Moved the 'Carrying Equipment' section closer to 'Tools & Gear'.

* Added standard tinctures to the 'Apothecary Services' table under 'Magical Services'.

* The 'Teach' skill can be used to improve a character's skill up to 80% instead of 60%.

 

Encumbrance

* The encumbrance calculation has been modified. 'Burdened' is now STR+CON/2, 'Heavily Burdened' is now STR+CON etc

* 'Burdened' now only imposes a -2 move penalty and fatigue checks every 3 rounds in combat (and regular checks when travelling).

* The ENC of tinctures, poultice, potions and salves is now 0 (they're pretty small, when you think about it). 

* The ENC of the Healer's kit, Alchemists kit, Alchemical materials and Herbalist kit have been set to 2.

* The ENC of all carrying gear except for saddlebags has been set to 1.

 

Weapon System Balance

* Using two-handed melee weapons adds double your Damage Modifier.

* The 'entrapping' weapon trait has been changed to 'Parrying', increases parry SIZ.

* Removed 'Second Strike' melee manoeuvre.

* Removed 'The Ol' One-Two' unarmed manoeuvre.

* Added 'Forceful Strike' melee manoevure.

Dual-Wielding Revamp (much more realistic)

* Altered the rules for two-weapon fighting, which now can only be done with Blades, Martial Arts and staves.

* Attacks after the first primary check you make during a round do not raise your skill on a failed check.

* Removed 'Follow-Through Attack' & 'Ambidexterity' talents.

* Removed 'Swashbuckler' blade talent and replaced with 'Dual-wielding'.

* Removed 'Fencer' blade talent and replaced with 'Twin Blade Defence'.

* 'Dual-wielding' is now a Blades talent and allows you to use a small blade weapon in your off-hand to make a second attack during your turn.

* Replaced 'Heft' club talent with 'Whirling staff' talent, allowing a staff to be used as a double weapon.

Unarmed Combat Revamp (long overdue)

* Added new 'Martial Arts' professional skill. All Unarmed talents and manoeuvres have been moved over to that. 

* Replaced 'Brawler' with 'Iron Fist' talent. 

* Replaced 'Counterstrike' with 'Two Weapons' Martial Arts talent.

* Added 'Martial Weapons' Martial Arts talent.

*  'Kick' Martial Arts manoeuvre no longer grants additional damage.

* 'Sucker Punch' Martial Arts manoeuvre now simply grants +2 damage instead of an extra dice.

* 'Reckless attack' talent now applies to melee, unarmed and martial arts skills.

* Mail gloves are now Small, Plate gauntlets are considered Medium SIZ. 

* The Unarmed common skill now deals 1 point of damage (plus damage modifier of course).

* Added a table with new exotic martial arts weapons (japanese).

December Update Patch Notes

v2.19 Patch Notes

Fixed

* Re-added the missing 'lockpicking' and 'leadership' skills (oops!)

* Fixed the description and link for 'Alchemical Mastery'.

* Corrected instances of 'aging' to 'ageing'.

* 'Comeliness Potion' description now shows its correct details.

* The 'Disease & Poison' section is now just 'Poison' and it's link to the poison crafting section now correctly takes you to the herbalist skill.

* Ingredients for Energy and Spirit tonics have been switched (they were around the wrong way).

* Daggers now correctly have an ENC of 1 (they're also the standard measurement for Encumbrance for size and weight).

* Cleared up the use of weapons with the 'Set' trait. Non 'Set' weapons cannot be used to counterattack a charging opponent.

* Corrected the text and range on the 'Freeze' sorcery spell.

* 'Sunder weapon' melee manoevure now correctly requires a weapon larger than Medium, not smaller.

* Clarified the language on the 'Lacerator' artificer spell.

 

Modified

* Revised the Herbalism gathering system, which now lets you choose what you want to find and make one roll to cover up to 8 hours of searching.

* Revised the text for crafting poisons under 'Herbalism' which should clear things up.

* Revised the Prospecting skill system in the same way.

* Revised the effects of the Universal Tincture.

* Modified the bonus and skillset for 'City Watch Runner' background. 

* Psionic's 'Meditation' ability no longer grants +2 to maximum spirit points, but you do not need to speak to cast spells. 

* The 'Monastery Orphan' background no longer grants +1 to maximum spirit points - bonus changed to 'you have all three resistance skills'.

* Psionic 'Deflect Missiles' spell now has a range of 1m radius.

* 'Kick' Unarmed manoevure now deals +2 damage in addition to its current push-back effect.

* The Common Tongue is now the standard language for human characters.

* Mentioned in the language skill description that characters with less than 25% in a language are illiterate.

* Altered the text on 'Crossfire' combat talent to make it function more like 'Blindside'.

* Increased healing amount of the Healing Tincture to 1d6. 

* Removed 'Healing potion' and 'Healing Salve' Alchemy spells and combined them into a new 'Healing Energy' spell which simply grants +4 extra Hit Points healed by the targeted poultice or tincture.

* Reduced the cost of some material units for making constructs.

* All spells capable of producing light can now have their brightness adjusted as desired, and all of them (except the Daylight spell) have their effective light radius set to 3 metres.

* Revised the text for 'Unstoppable force' sorcery spell.

* Revised 'Called Shot' melee manoeuvre, 'Selective Aim' pistol manoeuvre and 'Cunning Blow' Unarmed manoeuvre.

* Artificers now control a basic construct by spending a Reaction Point rather than losing an entire action.

* 'Benevolent Spirit' & 'Regeneration Totem' Shamanic spell has been modified.

 

New!

* Added 'Psi Academy' Psionic background.

* Added' Healing Bomb' alchemy spell.

* Added a new exotic race - 'Corvid'.

* Added 'Imitate Sound' Corvid general talent.

* Added 'Tiny Warrior' combat talent.

* Added 'Control Movement' combat talent.

* Added 'Heavy Blow' melee manoeuvre.

* Added 'Hurl Weapon' melee manoevure.

* Added 'Stronger Parry' melee manoevure.

* Added 'Deep Wound' melee manoeuvre.

* Added 'Disarm opponent' melee manoeuvre.

* Added 'Quick Parry' melee manoeuvre.

November Update and What's Next

So ends the most prolific month of Sabre development I've ever done, and hopefully, will ever have to do. Basically, there were a number of issues that came up only when new players tried out the system, which is why none of this was done before the initial release. But as of version 2.18, those issues have been dealt with and I'm happy with how it's all sitting. So happy, in fact, I won't be doing any more updates until at least February, and any that do happen will be once per month, usually towards the end. So, please accept my apologies for the crazy update schedule! I was concerned that parts of the system were too broken for it to be easily understood and was rushing to fix them.

This month has been so dense with work on Sabre that I can't remember everything, except to say that the manual is much more refined, easier to navigate, has less broken links, spelling errors and incorrect references. Just as importantly, the character creation process is much simpler and results in a nicely balanced character ready for adventure. With no more adjustments in the near future, you're now free to actually read the damn thing and get a handle on how it works (with new GM reference sheets too)! So what's next?

Atlas

I've been working on the Feydwiir Atlas, adding a few more countries to the list of those completed but hadn't quite managed to finish off when the time came to fix the Codex (the new name for the main manual). I just need a couple of days to finish off what I have there, then I'll get that online. It should be worth noting that I removed specific references from the Codex concerning the campaign world, to make it a bit more generic and therefore adaptable to other campaign worlds as needed. 

Bestiary

As part of the 2.18 update, I revamped the monster tables in the Sample Bestiary section of the basic Codex and added it to the premium Codex too, giving new GM's some templates to use without having to bother with the separate Bestiary. Further to this, I added the Threat Level calculator which helps determine the overall power of a creature, so GM's can figure out how powerful their party's characters are, and provide (and make) adequate challenges. I'll be looking at a sort of custom template that might make it easier to create an NPC on the fly, a sort of modular concept but this isn't my highest priority just yet.

To get the new monster tables done for the Codex, I began revising the relevant entries in the Bestiary to closely resemble the new character sheet, making it much easier to find out what you need to know about a monster's abilities. Since the ruleset has settled into place, I need to go over each monster's abilities and make sure they're accurate too. So that's coming up after the atlas, basically going through and updating each monster, with quite a few of them already done. It'll probably take a couple of weeks to get this completed, hopefully before the holiday season hits. And next year, I finally get started on...

ART!

I've been eager to get on to this part for weeks now, ever since completing the cover art to my novels (click the novels tab on the menu above to take a look, also some of tha art has been splashed around the site's background). I have a pretty good handle on digital art now, having developed a few techniques to aid the process and getting some practice. The character art for each race will come first, and it'll be challenging but I think I'm up to it now. I'm determined to get it looking good so the first couple of pictures might take me a little while. 

You see those 'placeholder images'? I was originally going to do just a little portrait around that size, but I've decided to go bigger, devoting two pages to each race with the image covering almost all of one page. I will depict a man and woman of each race, in a scene suited to their culture. i.e. forest elves will be in a misty forest (I'll probably do this one first, I love doing fog and distance effects!), acadian elves will be in a library etc. I can't wait to get started but the basic functioning of the system has always been more important, which is why I've waited this long in the first place. There will be more flavour text, and I'll make each race's page more 'visual' and easier to read at a glance. 

A new intro module

I almost forgot, I've started making a 2nd intro module. I'm basically taking one of my game sessions and turning it into a story that helps explain game mechanics, but this one is practically all underground in the search for loot. The players enjoyed it thoroughly but I doubt I'll get this online before the holidays.

Enjoy!

That's it for this month's update, thanks for taking the time to read this and of course, for your patience with my scattershot development schedule - it's all good now, all settled down, no more updates I promise (and I'm sticking to my once-per-month update plan from now on).  So go have a proper read-through and test it out. Sign up to our forums and give us some feedback, as I'm very interested to read how it's working for other groups and you may have noticed that I'm always keen to iterate and streamline processes (but not until February!) Peace out.

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!

September Update

I'm a little late on my monthly update, 'things' happened over the last week that took precedence. You see, Sabre is based in part on the Runequest 6th edition rules, specifically to do with skills and some basic mechanics. Sure, a *lot* has been customised but I'd accidentally left some of their text in the manual and I needed to fix that, and acknowledge the origins underpinning the system. 

That's all resolved now, and for the better, as I found some old and indistinct rules in the system I'd forgotten to correct before release, so that's been fixed too. Win/win!

I've been thinking about my work schedule of late regarding all of my projects, and concluded I have too many plates spinning at the moment, so I'm having to trim down on a few of them in order to actually get the more important things done.

* I've nearly finished writing my current novel so that's of course the highest priority. The cover art for that is well under way too, so this should all be done by the end of October. 

* I had planned to revise my first series of novels a bit more and redo the covers. Most of the cover redesign is done, but instead of redoing the art, I'm just going to take better pictures of the current work and use some subtle touches to improve them a little. This will be a big time saver, allowing me to do more Sabre things.

* I'd like to do a burst on the Feydwiir Atlas, and get the entire northern end of the island finished.

* I have a lot of ideas for portrait art for the races for the main manual, and I'd really like to get started on those. They're not huge pictures so I think I could one done per week without too much trouble. I'd like to take another crack at some dramatic cover art too, but take a different approach this time. Not a high priority though. One factor to getting this done is to make sure people who have tried the system actually like it, and therefore make it worth the effort to get the artwork done. I'm starting to see some positive feedback (presumably after people have used it for a while) so I'm thinking about this more and more now.

* Once those are done, I'll take some time to create audiobooks for my novels, as many people have requested this for some time and I'm eager to give this a shot. 

* I've had a bit of a resurgence of interest in my canvas art, and had hoped to produce some more but I'm deferring this project until some time next year. 

* The Scifi version of the Sabre RPG is pretty much done, but I don't really have time to support another system while the first one is still incomplete. So I'm going to delay release for this until next year while I finish up these other things. Besides, the starship rules are slowly becoming detailed but again, I don't think it should be my highest priority right now. 

So that's my revised plan for the near future. I definietly will be supporting and working on Sabre over time so it's by no means been abandoned or anything like that. Oh, and my immediate gaming group had to shut down due to lack of players (some of whom had to travel some distance to get there), but I'll be starting a new one up in the near future, so Sabre Scifi development will undoubtedly continue! This campaign will actually be very low-tech, treating technology with the rarity of magical items, should be interesting!

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!

 

July Update

We've had some great games with the Scifi system lately and I'm eager to get this thing online so others can have fun with it. I spent yesterday working on the 'basic' edition (it'll follow the same basic/premium pattern as the fantasy version) and it's nearly done. I just need to add a few more NPC templates and it's good to go. I've also started on the introductory adventure, which I feel should be released at the same time and it's basically what's holding up the release date at the moment. Once I get the five sample characters made, I'll get cracking on the story. I'm not running a game session this coming weekend so I'll make use of the extra time to hammer it out and get it done!

I've made good use of the development time anyway, tweaking and modifying things here and there. For example, using the Computers skill to hack (because it's the EIGHTIES!) into a robot to take control of it was a little too easy to accomplish, even though it was fun. So that was adjusted and the experience is richer for the extra attention. 

Finally, I just need a solid day to finish off the starship rules. I'm pretty excited about this section and our test campaign is getting very close to the point where they will want to take off, so I will simply have to get this finished sooner rather than later or they'll be very disappointed!