Intermission

First, let me apologize for the delay. It’s been a weird couple of weeks. It started with the fantastic OrcaCon, the best new convention in the Pacific Northwest. I adore its progressive, inclusive, and liberal bent. The bar also featured $3.00 (good) beer and $1.00 tacos. During that show, I had the chance to hang with the beautiful and talented Rob Schwalb, the Demonlord himself. It was a rare treat. We drank; we talked game design, industry, and philosophy. We also partook in a late night meal at Denny’s and had both splendid and shitty Asian food (two different places). After that, I got sick. I’m not saying the two are connected. But you can make up your own mind.

play-packet

Prototypes for the play packets I’ll be using at shows and playtests in the coming months. It features character folders, item cards, and achievement cards.

Between the bouts of revelry and sinus distress, I’ve been working on the Delve play packets for OwlCon and Gary Con. Ez and her pooch Tojo are joined by Craw Sharpeyes, Geldon Brightbrow, Trillion Whiteraven, and the Doomhammer sisters exploring a stretch of fey- and brigand-infested wilderness in the adventure “Into the Wyrdwood.” This convention adventure is the 2nd-level segment of the larger sample adventure titled, “The Caldeth Catalyst.”

In that adventure the heroes are hired by the wizards of the Ebon Tower to find a lost tome of magic; the Codex Caldeth, but they end up finding much more than a treatise on summoning celestials. The entire adventure is designed to challenge players from 1st-level to 5th-level play, but also to introduce Delve Masters to adventure design and storytelling within the system. Into the Wyrwood, is a good segment to have new players sample the system. It provides a healthy portion of Delve play, with combat challenges and some intrigue.

I’m looking forward to unveiling many new aspects of the game to new players; one of them is the advancement system. I’ve entirely thrown out the concept of experience points. All advancement in Delve is story-based using a system of goals and achievements.

Goals are grand and great deeds that the heroes take on together. For instance, the goal of “Into the Wyrdwood is to find and enter the runes of the ancient Incunabulum Monastery, last known home of the Codex Caldeth. When the heroes achieve this goal, they all level up.

But on the way, the heroes have also been tasked with finding and rescuing Jerro Kast, the son of the Compulsor of Duende Gate who has been taken hostage by a group of brigands led by the notorious Kreskus One-Eye. Saving the lad means not only monetary gain but puts the heroes in the graces of Compulsor Kast, a benefit that could be worth more than gold amid the rough and tumble politics of the northern frontier.

Once this achievement is reached, allows the heroes to either prematurely increases one of their primary attributes (Agility, Athletics, Endurance, Awareness, Charm, or Knowledge), or gain a random amount of Hits before achieving a new level. While rescuing the boy is a group goal, characters are also motivated by individual achievements, and “Into the Wyrdwood” features personal achievements for each character. Usually, those goals are relatively simple and straightforward, but sometimes they involve hard choices or, in rare cases, treachery. For the sake of the story, sometimes the right decision is to forsake or to find a way to gain the benefits of an achievement without adding complication the rest of the group’s goals and achievements.But that’s for each character to decide.

Individual achievements, like the group achievement, allows a character to gain some aspect of their next level advancement early.

But all of this is an aside. Later this week I’ll unleash the second blog spells and spellcasting in Delve, where we will take a look at arcane magic, continued casting, channeling spells, and rituals. Talk to you then.

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About neogrognard

Stephen began working on RPGs in 2000, when he became the RPGA editoral assistant at Wizards of the Coast, working on both Polyhedron magazine and Living Greyhawk Journal. Over the years he’s administered the Living Greyhawk campaign, aided in the development of the D&D 3.5 Edition rules, was a developer for D&D 4th Edition and Star Wars Saga Edition, taught numerous game design classes in the Seattle area, and contributed to the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide and Ultimate Magic as a freelance designer. He has worked at Paizo for the past six years and is now the senior designer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. He’s also the guy who designs the Pathfinder Flip-Mats and Map Packs. His current credits include Southlands for Kobold Press, as well as Hell’s Vengeance: For Queen & Empire, Horror Adventure, and Villain Codex, all for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
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