OK. So. It’s now 2023, and I have plans. And I am going to go over those plans with you!
The least important of my plans is the blog here. I’ve always been notioriously bad at keeping them updated but maybe I’ll be better with plans.
I aim to cover a bunch of content here: Game work and writing work. I’ll summarize.
I have three goals when it comes to games in 2023: The #Dungeon23 project, my WIP TTRPG, and my WIP Card Game.
So what is Dungeon23? In it’s loosest sense, it’s making a 365-room dungeon – one room each day. People are doing a lot of different takes on theirs and I’m no different.
Instead of doing a dungeon dungeon, I’m going to be doing a castle and it’s surrounding town. I haven’t fully decided if it’s going to be a “dungeon” town – that is, one overrun by monsters and whatnot – or just a regular town with people and such that can be visited. I’m leaning towards dungeon town but regular town sounds appealing in it’s own way.
As for timing, I’m going to be doing one room for each day. It’s not a daily project – I’ll do updates as I get time and such. I suspect it’ll be closer to every two weeks or so. I’m probably also going to have some fudging with the number of rooms – There’s going to be buildings like inns where there’s a few identical rooms and that just feels wrong to count them all the same.
I have a WIP TTRPG, loosely inspired by XCOM mechanics but also a lot of other things. I had a decent amount of work done on it when I realized – hey, this is way, way too complicated. And also I was trying too many things at once. I also decided to change the “era” of the game. A few times. At first it was going to be bronze age/early iron age, because that’s a neat period of history. The problem is… After abstracting things to a game level, there’s not a lot of things that differentiate it from a regular fantasy setting. So I ended up just going with a more generic fantasy setting.
As you may have guessed, though, there’s a lot of fantasy games out there. A lot get their hooks by being for a specific story or a more specific story, which isn’t what I want to go for, so I decided to change to another time period that’s fun and not often found in TTRPGS: The industrial era. More specifically, late 1800s-ish technology level. There was definitely still a lot of adventuring going on in this era historically, and while it’s definitely going to be fantasy, non-Earth, etc, I feel like I can copy that pretty well.
I will freely acknowledge, though, that I have a lot of work that comes out of choosing this time period to emulate because… a lot of the adventuring going on at this point had racism and other forms of bigotry involved. There’s some ideas I have on how to deal with that, and first among it is to make sure the rules themselves don’t lend towards such things.
My goal for 2023 is to get a playable prototype of this game. It likely won’t be complete, but I want to be able to do things. Ideally, I’ll build up the base systems and then add more complex things instead of adding it all at once. In this sense, things like a magic system, brewing system, or a crafting system will come later in steps instead of all at once.
The Card Game
Years ago, I ran a kickstarter for an overly-complicated space-based TCG. It thankfully failed (Because I would have been in WAY over my head at that point), but the concept seems. OK?
Recently I’ve gone over that and picked up pieces of it and started to work on it. I’ve pulled things that I like, discarded everything I didn’t like, and built up new things. Basically, the original was designed as a tabletop wargame that was played with cards instead of dice. Which is neat, but also. Not what I want to do. This new version is designed as a card game, top to bottom. No miniatures, no battle map, no fancy maneuvers, etc.
I have this probably 85-90% complete – The rules are written, the cards are largely made in their spreadsheet, and so on. I’m working on a Python script to take the cards in the spreadsheet and spit them out into printable cards and then I’ll have a “working” prototype.
My goal with this game is exactly the opposite of a commercial game. The idea is to create a set of rules, a set of tournament rules, and then provide the files for people to print their own cards (Or more likely, have them printed by a place like MakePlayingCards). Selling things is a business and I’ve run a business before. Not something I enjoy or want to do, so being able to just put things out there for people to enjoy? Well, that seems like it would work. Plus, a lot of the barrier to entry for some card games is acquiring the “right” cards for the current meta. If you can just go order the cards to be printed, then hey. That barrier is easier to cross.
Additionally, by allowing people to print their own cards, you can also allow for neat, custom proxies and the like. Clearly defined rules for what has to be visible on a card, how clearly it has to be visible, and so on makes it so the opponent doesn’t have to guess at stuff, while still allowing for some personal expression.
My goal for 2023 is to also get this into a playable prototype stage. It’s an easy goal, honestly, but with playable prototype comes playtesting which will take time, so I want to get there sooner.
I do have an idea for an online video game, which is extremely loose and ephermal. It’s been in my brain for a few years as a “Hey, this would be neat” but I’ve never got around to really doing anything with it. It’s not a goal for 2023, but I might touch on this at some point.
I used to write. A lot. But that was over a decade ago. Over the past year or so, I’ve started taking baby steps in getting back in but I’m honestly just taking things too slowly for my tastes. So my goal for 2023 is to choose a novel, outline it, and start drafting it. I feel like once I get started things will go faster, but setting reasonable goals seems, well, reasonable.
I have two primary “worlds” to write in, and I’m going to have to figure out which one I’m going to do first. One is a sprawling sci-fi world that’s basically been built up over the past decade or so, and the other is a fantasy world that I have one or two solid story ideas in.
This universe is basically all of my Sci-Fi story ideas, with the overarching “Well, what if…. they all fit together?”
So with that being said, there’s story point for like. Six thousand years into the future and a few thousand years in the past, more than a few world-ending events, a bunch of planets, a few genetic engineering experiments…. you know. All the tropes of Sci-Fi. Or at least most of them.
The primary world I want to focus on is one that was “accidentally” settled – or, more accurately, settled by people who managed to escape apocalypse and weren’t ready for it. So they lost a lot of stuff – you can’t just show up somewhere unprepared and have an industrial world pop up. By the time of the stories I want to tell, they’re somewhere in the realm of late 1940s to early 1960s tech. So, rockets, battleships, piston-powered airplanes, etc. There’s a lot of story space and I have several characters, but a few of the stories I have fighting in my head are mutually exclusive and can’t coexist. I’m going to have to make some choices in here, and that’s not easy.
There’s a ton of other worlds and stories, but they haven’t been nearly as much of my focus so they’re more nebulous and whatever.
I have a very specific story I want to tell with this one.
It’s a world with a loosely inherited magic system – That is, a type of magic system where most users inherited their ability from their parents, but sometimes someone just. Ends up with magic. Magical ability is also very segmented – you have fire magic, force magic, healing magic, etc, but a fire mage can’t “just learn” other types of magic. There’s grand houses of magic that have influence over a lot of policial stuff. Generally speaking, they’re organized around individual types of magic – There’s a few houses of force magic, for example.
The story itself is a bit of a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, except it’s gay and the MC is non-binary and is willing to march into hell to get their partner back, “recruiting” said partner’s half-brother (Who has a terrible reputation as a necromancer) along the way and basically making it their life goal to beat the crap out of whatever I decide the god of the underworld is.
This story is a lot clearer on goals and story progress but it involves a lot of writing that I haven’t done (Or, when I last did it, it wasn’t great) so I’m kinda wary.
I might post about other things I do here, too. 3d printing, miniatures, birds, fluffy animals I encounter. But primarily it’s going to be the above.
Generally, there’s going to be no schedule for posts – it’ll be done as they happen. I decide which story I want to write? Well, that’ll be a post. I make nice progress on the card game? That’s a post. I do intend on doing a monthly recap post with perhaps goals for the future month, but what’s in that will, of course, depend on the month.
My primary focus this month is going to be on writing – figuring out what story I want to write and to start figuring out what I want to do with it.
And with that, the month awaits. See you in February!