Astral Frontier Blog

  Grand Adventure

On the heels of Inept Sorcerers and It Was There, Honest!, I thought I'd take a shot at writing a general-purpose adventure roleplaying game, using the things that resonated most with readers of those games.

  It Was There, Honest!'s Exploration system

I decided to go with the five-rooms approach, to give the game some structure. Based on that, I broke down the five areas, wrote descriptions for each one, and wrote three questions that the AF should try to ask as the kids narrate.

  What setting books would I love to put out?

I've occasionally thought about resurrecting Villains Victorious! or otherwise publishing it in a collected format. My reservations there are practical - to put out a high-quality PDF of the material, I'd want appropriately four-color art.

Similarly, I've got a decently polished sci-fi concept (Song of Eden) and the start of some unconventional urban fantasy (Fairy Soul). I have enough ideas that I could assemble a fantasy universe, but that would take more time.

  Exploration Mechanics for It Was There, Honest!

Today I want to talk about three exploration models for It Was There, Honest!

I have three ways to structure exploration: Freeform RP, the Five-Room Dungeon, and Adjective Maps.

  Effects-Based Superhero Games

We often talk about "effects-based" superhero RPG rules. By "effects-based", we mean the game-mechanical effects: how much damage you do, how fast you fly, how much weight you lift, and so on. Rather than buying "throw fireball" as a power, your super-powered character buys "deal damage at range", for example.

My argument is that effects-based games are a poor fit for high-powered campaigns, or campaigns where a variety of powers are possible. I'll also try to address some objections to my proposed alternative.