Tuesday, October 1, 2019

State of the Blog: The October Roadmap

It's that time again!

September Retrospective

Last month was, to my surprise given the volume of posts, a mediocre month for views. The big posts for this month were:

Of the vehicles, the Switchback seems the most popular, but the Nomad isn't far behind, and the Ranathim Mithanna get a special mention, likely because people like that picture.

I lost a Disciple Patron, which always hurts, but a I gained a new Companion patron, so overall Patreon is a wash.  I had a "drive-by" patron; some people really hate that, but I don't mind. I find most patrons stay for the long haul and join in with the community.  That said, I've seen a surge in comments and discord use, so I'm rather pleased with the direction of the Psi-Wars community.

The big wiki-updates this month have been:

An October Perspective

As always, I have a vote for what topics you guys would like me to cover.  The winners this month are:

For Rules Collation: Communion.  That'll be a big one.
For Template Collation: The Space Knight (with the Wanderer Background Lens in second place)
For General Topic: A tie between "What is magic, really?" and "Modular Robots Revisited."


Communion has been popular since I released it back in Iteration 3, and it's been largely uchanged since then except for Broken Communion, which keeps getting weirder.  We now have ghosts, and quite a treatise on them, and things like psychic diseases and loads of other problems that Broken Communion can cause.  I might also change how it's priced, as it seems increasingly reasonable to have True Communion miracles to break or override Broken Communion miracles (ie, you can use True Communion to purge Broken Communion sanctity) and perhaps you should be able to protect yourself from Broken Communion the same way you can protect yourself from ghosts.

The biggest change to Communion was introduced with the Divine Masks: occult communion and a greater role for Paths.  I had originally conceived of Paths as a way of specializing one's form of Communion, but I've been increasingly seeing it as a "road to Communion."  That is, a Templar or a Mystical Tyrant might command Communion, but most people who interact with it do so unwittingly by embodying archetypes.  This needs to be codified, and that means Paths need to be expanded, because normal communion gives you access to all of Communion, while a path gives you only a limited subset of Communion.

Finally, I've decided we need more paths.  I find three paths per form of communion a little constraining.  I'd like to add one more path per form of Communion, to better refine the concepts of the Paths, which means some things will get shifted around.  All names subject to change.

True Communion gets the Wounded Healer, who moves some of the gentle, self-sacrificing things from the Bound Princess, who becomes more of a self-sacrificing authority figure.  Domen Venalina (the Ranathim Sin Eaters) will shift from the Bound Princess to the Wounded Healer.

Dark Communion gets the Devourer, or the Hungry Beast.  This will focus on the "vice" of greed and gluttony, on self-preservation via base, animal means.  It'll have a strong resonance with wild animals and wild places, and take some of the bestial aspects of the Rebellious Beast and the hungry aspects of the Beautiful Fool for itself, making the Rebellious Beast more about thoughtless destruction and rage, and the Beautiful Fool more about lust and laziness.

Broken Communion gets the Void.  This will focus on thoughts of nothing of nothingness and emptiness, the inability to grasp both the infinite and the truly empty.  It'll touch on cosmic themes and, obviously, travel powers and higher dimensional powers.

The Space Knight

The Space Knight is a tricky one, easily on par with (or more difficult than) the Aristocrat.  It's not so much that we need a ton of setting information, because we have most of that.  We need to dive into force swordsmanship using my new approach, and I still need to work out a couple of styles.  Fortunately, you already know what "Martial Arts as Power-Ups" looks like, so that shouldn't be too bad.

The biggest problem with space knights is tackling their sheer variety.  One of my goals with Psi-Wars was to open up the "Jedi" template to a much broader range, and I think I've succeeded.  Templars feel like Jedi and the Tyrants like Sith, but Maradonian Space Knights feel like, well, knights, and the Satemo of the Umbral Rim feel more like vengeful ronin, and we have room for "Street Knights," like Dun Beltain.  We need to not only integrate all of these different cultural elements, but also their martial arts and their psionic powers or, in the case of House Kain, how one can be a space knight without psionic powers.

If that doesn't work, we'll shift to the Wanderer, which I suspect did as well as it did thanks to curiosity about Redjack, which seemed to be popular with the Discord community, and what sort of people might fly those ships.

Modular Robots? Magic?

Last but not least, we had quiet a discussion about robots recently, which led to some people criticizing my approach to ST.  I think it's well-founded... but it turns out there's an interesting counter-case to be made, which could lead to some different designs.  Using this approach could lead to new problems, and it might be worth discussing what works well with my old Modular Robots approach and how, possibly, we might be able to keep it.

If that doesn't pan out, I can rant about magic for a good 10k words.

Is that all?

If this isn't enough to keep me busy for the month, in theory the last part of the military doctrines series are robots.  We need to get stats on the robots that fill the tech-bot slot on most fighters, and we need to talk about the robots that tend to your wounds, or that Redjack pirates use to scout (or patrol) outposts.  This makes a revisit of Modular Robots quite timely.

It also means creating an entirely new set of rules to govern how they work as allies, how you can quickly design your allies, and how PC robots might interact with the system. This is a project on par with the Sidekicks supplement for Monster Hunters or Henchmen for Dungeon Fantasy, and so it might take a lot of work (though, compared to the ships, thus far, it's been pretty quick!).  With Communion and Space Knights on my plate, these might have to wait but, on the other hand, I have a week of vacation, some of which I might even be able to use to write.

If I find I still have time, I'd like to do a Patreon poll series wherein we build our own military doctrine and associated materiel.

Well, that's what I'd like to tackle for October, we'll see how it goes.  I'm glad to have you still with me and thanks, as always, for your patronage and your clicks.

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