Update: The Votes Are In!
Okay, everyone! It's been a few weeks, so we're officially going to call the Kickstarter voting. The final tally looked something like this:
Votes for Option A: 22
Votes for Option B: 2
Votes for Option C: 9
Those following along from the last update may notice that there's an option C on that list, which didn't actually exist in the original post, where we offered options A and B. That's because a startling number of people here at Kickstarter (but very few over at our official blog) suggested "option C", which was essentially "just keep doing what you're doing and let us know when it's done, we're not bothered about it", which was very excellent of them. (Salutes, you folks.) Not represented on this table are also a large number of votes of "C, but A I guess if that isn't an option," which started popping up around the same time as well.
So, without getting into it too greatly: you're all fantastic, and we love that backers offered a new option of their own organically to let us know what they thought about the process. When we offered options A and B, it was because we were hearing from various backers and followers of the project that they really needed to see something concrete sooner rather than later, and since we agree that this project has gone on much longer than anticipated and you folks deserve to see some return on that investment, we came up with a few ideas for how to do that. Option C, nice though it would be for us because we wouldn't have to do anything extra, wouldn't help those folks whose voices we were responding to in the first place, so we're going to have to decide not to go with it. But of the original two options, A clearly won by a landslide (even more so if you count the "C, but I guess A" votes, which jump that 22 up to a 35), so A it is! We will be working toward fulfilling that plan!
First Important Thing: Everything we're working on to implement Option A is stuff that had to be done before the book was finished, anyway. That means that those of you who voted C, or who aren't voting at all but were worried about delays, can mostly rest easy that we're not stopping to do things that make it take longer for you to get the final product. What we are doing is mostly redirecting the specific things we're working on so that the things Option A needs done get done first, and everything else will be done later after it's out the door. There will still be a small delay, I won't lie to you - at the end we'll have to stop to proofread everything and then put it into a form we can release to backers - but it won't be a very big one.
Second Important Thing: As we have all discovered together on this winding journey, date estimates have been difficult to come up with and often don't reflect the actual final completion date. So, instead of taking a guess (educated, but still a guess) at when Option A will be finished and ready to rock, we've put together a checklist of all the things that need to get done before that, so you can follow along as they get completed.
Since obviously you folks aren't in our workroom watching progress on these things, that may be a little opaque, so here's a quick rundown on what each of the things on those tables means!
- Augments we've talked about before on the HJ blog: these are essentially "boosters" that Heroes can get through the Web of Fate that allow them to enhance their other powers or gain system advantages as they go forward. We're just doing the Mortal-level Augments at the moment, in pursuit of getting Option A packaged for all of you, and will go back to do the Immortal and Divine ones afterward.
- The Hunter Endowment, Persistence, has been a mechanical thorn in our sides for a while, but as you can see, it's finally finished! It's in playtesting now, so hopefully we'll be able to call that done soon, as long as no egregious problems crop up from it.
- Character Creation Tweaks refer to a few notes we've been collecting over the course of playtesting, mostly referring to making sure starting characters are appropriate in power level and start with their most essential tools. We have a few old legacy rules to go back and update, which hopefully won't take long.
- Divine Favor Selections are an appendix item, and are essentially a list of sample forms Divine Favor can take that a GM can use for inspiration or just lift and put into their own Saga without worrying about having to balance or design themselves. We aren't including everything that is an "example" type of material in the Option A PDF, since some of them aren't essential to beginning to try the game out, but DFs are noticeable enough to characters that we think it's worth taking the time to do it for them.
- The Hero's Journey Structure is so close to being done that we almost crossed it out, but there are a few edges we'd still like to smooth. This item refers to providing a sketch of what the HJ is in terms of this game, how it's used, and a few helpful asides to give GMs examples or visuals to move it along.
- The Magic Item Table is exactly what it sounds like: there are magic items in the game, and sometimes players might find some (or, if they're Creators, make some!), which means the GM can use some guidance about what they do and how to stat and roll for them. We couldn't really be fair to the Creator Aspect if we didn't include this in the Option A package, but happily it's both required for the book to be complete anyway, and something that will probably come up even for Creator-light games.
- Odyssey Event Selections are another appendix item of suggestions or examples that can be used by a GM, this time referring to Travel Episodes and all the glorious problems they bring with them. It's been under organic development as part of the playtests for a while now, and we don't anticipate it taking very long to complete once we buckle down on it!
- Prophecy Effect Testing is an ongoing thing we're doing in both rewriting some powers for clarity and watching them play out in playtests; essentially, many mythologies and religious have tales of people who can see omens of the future, read portents of things to come, or experience visions of foretold events, but this is hard to model in a tabletop game where none of the players or the GM actually have precognition, so we've had to play with different approaches a lot over time. Our current powersets are working on twin options of "the player foresaw it, so the GM makes it happen later" for things that are not too disruptive to the game, and "the player immediately triggers it, but it was something they foresaw/knew, and it should be clear that they did not actually cause it".
- Time/Downtime System Tweaks refer to a few places where the system needs clarification as far as realtime vs. gametime and how to manage the passage of both in actual play. A few things from our original chapter need to be altered based on playtests, but shouldn't be a big hardship.
- The Volatile Item Table is similar to the Magic Item Table, except, as you might expect, worse for everyone involved; volatile items are a special class of things in the game that are unstable and may be great and useful, or may cause a random effect, or may blow up in everyone's faces, depending on how destiny feels like treating you that day. These are again very necessary for the Creator players, who may create or affect these types of things, so they're a final entry in the "lists of stuff" column that needs to be addressed.
- XP System Tweaks are another thing that we already know the issues with and just need to write up alternatives to; playtesting has suggested some problems with advancement in the original setup that we need to solve with some quick fiddling. This will be a quick one in terms of us doing it, but may need a little time to get crossed off as we make sure it holds up under testing.
Since we don't want to flood you folks with notifications, we'll be continuing with updates over at the official HJ Blog, where you'll probably see that checklist popping up several times (hopefully with an increasing number of items crossed off!). We'll stay focused on character creation and Mortal-level hijinks for a while in order to get the Option A PDF done and ready to send to backers, and then we'll move on to finishing the higher-level stuff while you check out the base!
Thanks again to everyone for your input and feedback - it's important to us and we hope we can use it to keep doing better. Until next time!