Started on the rulebook, huzzah

Well I’ve started on the actual Rules document, and so far the progress is going pretty well, since so far it’s more or less converting the brainstorm notes to “rulebook format”.

One issue I’m realizing is there isn’t a whole lot to character creation. I guess once I create Trait trees (think skill trees in Diablo 2 or Titan Quest, or Perks in Fallout 1-3) a player will have more choices. At the same time the instructions are sort of like “Fill in these values. Play the game”. I guess that’s a good thing if I’m tending towards a skirmish style game as compared to a full blown RPG…maybe I just need to get used to it.

Anyways I figured out what a Level Up would look like, and even put a cap on it (normally I don’t bother). So you can get to Level 14, which would be 130 Kills (the XP system, although the GM could award Kills for quests / jobs). Basically it looks like this:

+1 Skill / 3 Levels
+1 Courage / 3 Levels
+1 Movement / 4 Levels
+D4 Hitpoints / Level (with a bonus +10 at max Level 14)
+1 Trait per 2 Levels (with a bonus Trait at Level 14)
And you also get either +1 Skill, +1 Courage, or +1 Movement (choose between the three) at Level 14.

I sort of like the idea of extra extra bonuses at the max Level.

Anyways, hmm, what else have I written so far. Well, the Movement section is done, with all it’s exciting options of “Standard, Run, Charge”. I might consider adding stances (like Crouch and Prone) but I think that might take the focus on fighting on Dinomounts.

I still need to translate the Combat section over, but since the rules aren’t too complex I don’t foresee a problem there. What I’m happiest about getting a preliminary version of is the types / categories of Dinomounts. I got a big ol’ Dinosaur book out from the library that has 400+ types of dinosaurs (and other cool prehistoric beasts like cave bears). I narrowed down all those hard-to-pronounce names into broad categories that share similar traits. The idea here is that you choose a type you like, and the GM can vary some stats based on a specific subtype. For example why have a tedious table with both a T-Rex AND an Allosaurus, when technically they are both large bipedal carnivores.
Plus I wanted to take the Xenozoic Tales approach of nicknaming dinosaurs easy to remember names. I’ve also worked up some preliminary stats in preparation for making “Dinocards” (which have a picture of the archetype dinosaur plus his stats, so that you can buy the mount and apply it directly to your character sheet). I tried to go for strengths and weaknesses to each dinosaurs, but I’ll have to playtest them all before getting a final feel. I’ll try to post what each nickname is later (since I had the list at home and I’m at work right now, but basically the Horned nickname would be a Triceratops, Raptor would be any variant of Velociraptor, etc.) Anyways, here is the table:


The other two sections I’m excited about completing are the Break Tests and Overland Travel parts.

Straight from the rules, here’s the downlow on Break Tests: A Break Test represents a character trying to keep their Dinomount under control. This may be necessary when the Dinomount is extremely hurt or wounded and just wants to run away, or if the character is trying to force the Dinomount into dangerous situations like jumping chasms or flowing rivers of lava.
Basically a chance for your dinosaur to run away (Flee) or sit there like a dummy (Stunned). This is handy for representing sharp, crafty predators compared to powerful (but defensive and vegetarian) creatures like Ankylosaurus.

And the Overland Travel is fun because I add a “Flapper” (Pterosauria clade) and “Swimmer” (Nothosaur clade) that allow you to travel between cities or across rivers, respectively. With the Flapper you can’t bring Dinomounts with you (well, except for a single Small size one) but it’s handy for going city to city quickly, since you can go 400 miles in a day (at $1/mile). Normal ground travel is your Movement score times 6 (for 6 hours of travel) converted to miles. So if you move 4″ and your Dinomount moves 8″ (total 12″) you could go 120 miles in a day. The maximum you could go would be 160 miles in a day (since 8″ is the maximum Movement at level 14, after you take Movement as your last bonus, and the fastest Dinomount is 8″). That seems pretty good for getting around the map, without the tedious “are we there yet” that I find common in most overland travel.

Anyways, I guess instead of just talking about all of this I could have posted the early rules document. I’ll do that now anyways (and I also updated the Latest Rules page). As before, OpenDocument or PDF format:

I’ll try to get the remaining sections done over the weekend, and then I can try to get a playtesting schedule done as I revise the content (since some of it was sort of off the cuff and needs a bit of work). I also have the tedious task of creating weapon, armor, equipment, Dinomount, and enemy lists. Always the least thrilling part of game design, imho.

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