Our Design Mandate
For the past twenty years, I have been writing and re-designing a role-playing framework, testing concepts, analyzing data, and studying other role-playing games. Sure, my career has changed several times, but my passion and effort for this project have persisted. As a martial arts school owner, I have literally bumped shoulders with some of the world's best boxers, grapplers, swordsmen, and pugilists. As a high school English teacher I found that our younger generation is moved by passion, mystery, and adventure. This thirst for good stories is not slaked by the trite, hackneyed, or repetitive. And, as an owner of a technology company, I have learned to structure programs and procedures; distilled complex problems into simple solutions.
... to form a magnum opus
Spanning only a few hundred pages, but carrying forwards the sweat, blood, and tears of thousands of pages of missteps and miscalculations, hundreds of hours measuring and plotting forces, analyzing probabilities, and extruding lessons so that I can put in the hands of the gamer a system where you don't have to think about any of that. In your hands the game will spring forth furious adventure. It is a system designed to be fun, not by virtue of some clever dice mechanics, or warped by assumptions, but by removing all of the fluff and building a new role-playing paradigm from the ground up. It assumes that the reader is smart and creative, offering simple concrete examples, unified mechanisms, multiple customization options, and guides them through the process of fine-tuning the system to run the type of game that they want.
For the past five years, I have adhered to the six pillars -- inviolate tests of every rule mechanism in the system. Every part of the game must be fast, simple, translatable, extensible, reversible, and customizable. Go visit the forums for the definitions of these terms and the corollaries that they produce.
System or Setting
The choice of setting is personal and subjective, so we separated our approach into two parts: system and setting. Each module offers a highly customizable and consistent approach to crafting a game that you will love and enjoy. Play one of the core options right out of the box, mix-and-match the rule and story elements, or take those ideas that you have never quite been able to work into a game system and let fly!
Read below for the concepts on which the game is built, and check out the worlds page for some of the ready-to-play settings.
Fast and Simple
An ideal system is easy to learn, with rules that are clear, easily understood, and play quickly at the table. Neither rules nor arithmetic should dominate the minds, or conversation, at the table.
A rule should have a one-to-one relationship with a part of the imagined world so that any game-mechanism translates directly into the story-world. The roll of dice can be clearly expressed as part of the story; or any description of what happened as a number. Players may choose to engage with either the rule or the story interchangeably.
A master system can expand or contract based on context. When we want to look at an event in detail, the game must provide an expanded rule that is mechanically equivalent to the parent rule from which it is based. This allows the GM and the players to play a game that has the level of accuracy that they find pleasing.
A nuanced system not only provides additional rules but allows for the action to change direction. Every rule in the system can be evaluated from the perspective of the player’s character, another character, or even the perspective of an object. While a pen cannot actively “hide” in a desk, it is often important for the GM to roll the dice as if it were – flipping the game focus and resolving the action from behind the curtain.
At the table, and away from it, a perfect system allows groups to engage in system-crafting and players to engage in character-crafting. Early role-playing systems had little or no away-from-table play/building; while this is a staple of modern design. A perfect system is tactically interesting – allowing multiple optimization paths and resource management strategies for clever players, while still preserving in-game tactics.