If you missed the first part of this series, check it out here. To summarize, this a review of some of the comments we received from our Kickstarter backers on the Companion’s campaign. Mostly this is to address the things we didn’t change, to give a bit of our reasoning why, though there are a few points we did change that I also wanted to highlight and discuss further.
Part 2 covers the comments for the Game Master’s Companion, which, being a smaller book, does not have quite as much to go over. Though considering the last post ran a bit long, that’s probably a good thing.
“HAI units’ instead of HAT”
This is relating to the entry for Heavily Armored Infantry, which is the actual formal name and acronym of HAI. The HAT acronym, for Heavily Armored Trolls, is an informal term used by the troops, as tends to develop when you’ve got people in a job with large amounts of monotony and protocol to deal with, looking for any sort of amusement they can grab out of their daily lives. Not to mention the image it conjures of trolls in hats continues to be a favorite of mine, particularly as shown in Don’s always fantastic artwork.
“No mystic armor on the Troll Heavy Armor? Is there a reason for that?”
This is an intentional mechanical choice. Put simply, these buggers are scary enough as it is, there has to be SOME way to hit them. Of course, there’s nothing that would prevent a player character from putting in the personal investment on their own to get the armor enchanted or otherwise enhanced to provide a Mystic Armor bonus. Figure out a way to do it cheaply enough, and perhaps the Crown will want to have a word with you.
“Request to sever and forget any attempt to relate eastern dragons to perceived “Chinese and Japanese insistence on formality”, as this is awfully stereotypical.”
This one we left the text in the book, with an addition printed to cover some of the reasoning as why, but I felt it warranted going over in more detail. Human history is fraught with plenty of instances where we’ve let our prejudice and preconceptions get the better of us, and quite a bit of it can be found within the Victorian era. The time period is rife with stereotypes, particularly ones that we still feel the echoes of, and in some cases are still actively fighting against, today. While the alternate history we’ve created for 1879 has done a lot to alleviate some of this and make it an environment more comfortable for gamers of all types to play in (at least, that’s the hope), those themes and conflicts are so pervasive for the time period that it’s almost impossible to erase them all. From my personal view, I also don’t think it’s something that should be erased entirely; struggles against stereotypes and resulting bigotry affect real people, both in the past and today, and I feel it would be a disservice to those people to completely sweep it under the rug. That of course is just my stance; as always, you decide what conflicts and themes you and your table are comfortable playing with. My focus is to direct those themes so that they’re something interesting to play through as a point of conflict in a game world, and my goal is to try and set up these sort of themes so that they can be easily ignored as desired. I welcome this sort of outside commentary to shed light on the instances where things need a modern world check. Seriously, if you ever see anything being talked about in the official material of the game line that looks problematic, PLEASE, reach out to me; I’m one person with one point of view, and I need that sounding board.
“Mechanics for iron cactus? Treated like a trap, maybe?”
In this particular instance, the plant entries are mostly listed for flavor. The actual mechanics for dealing with them would be very situation dependent, and are a bit too far out of scope to go into detail here. That said, keep on the look out, we’ve got more books coming that are going to delve further into these sort of potential encounters in the Gruv.
“I’d prefer an asterisk by invented events, rather than it being left a mystery for me to discover. I’d rather spend the time playing the game. It will make the time line much more useful.”
While I understand the thought, the actual implementation would be a bit of a problem. Given that this is a discussion of the time line, many events feed into one another, and there are quite a few instances where the actual event is one that really happened, but a few of the details have been adjusted slightly due to a game world time line change. As such, we can’t always do a black and white distinction of what is or isn’t made up, and the necessary discussion to cover it properly would involve way more text than we could fit in here (this chapter is already a massive part of the book). In addition, the time line is really intended more as a reference point than being required knowledge for playing (unless of course you’re playing an historian character), something for a game master to hang their hat on when filling out back story. Finally, for some people, figuring out where the game history departs from real history, and getting the chance to challenge their own knowledge of history, is part of the fun, and simply giving away the answers would ruin that. That said, if it’s a subject of enough interest, I can address it in a blog post down the road so that those who want to figure it out for themselves can avoid the spoilers.
That about covers the main comments that I saw stick out. Thank you once again to all of our backers who took the time to review and leave comments (not to mention backing the project itself). We’ll do this again when it comes time for Fort Alice.