An Ancient Book of Lore
(Pour retrouver cet update en français, cliquez-ici)
Linked below is the first beta version of the rules for your enjoyment.
(Les règles françaises seront disponibles le Jeudi 21 Juin ! )
So far, we’ve concentrated on getting the rules themselves sorted, and we know there is some polish yet to be done in terms of smoothing the style, adding quotes from the books, and putting in lots more examples. You can help with this by letting us know which bits you find less clear and would therefore benefit most from new examples. Then we can make those areas a priority.
Note that this is a later version of the rules than was being used in the Beasts of War video, so you will see some differences. It is the same version that was used in the latest play through with Babis, Az, and Corina.
If you have any questions, please comment below.
As I said yesterday, I also wanted to talk a little bit more about Discovery cards as they are very important in play, but are deceptively simple in the rules. They’re not just about rules though – they are the hidden vault of mysteries that reveal surprises all the way through your Adventures. They also add a constant stream of background details to set the scene. This is especially true of the Discovery card chains. These linked series of cards go together to tell one possible version of the story of the action, whether this is a conversation or a combat. They could tell a dozen or a hundred more versions of this tale (depending on the size of the chain). Your experience will be new each time.
It’s fair to say that Discovery cards come in two broad types, though there are a myriad variants within these. The first type are reference cards which alter or add to the rules and/or options for a specific Chapter. The second are the routes to explore the many secrets of the world through which you guide Solomon Kane: fighting, talking, exploring, and more.
So you don’t forget
This example of a reference card introduces an extra rule.
Being able to add little wrinkles like this allows the evil hive mind of games development to give each scenario its own character and challenge without cluttering up the core rules with loads of exceptions. When you need it, there it is; when it’s not relevant, you can forget it was ever there (except when you really wish it was).
These give us a way to modify the way the environment works, to tailor each scene to the way the original books imagine it, and to do whatever gives us the most exciting game. This is typically things like new terrain effects for certain areas of the board, though we could also include weather effects (rain makes the ground slippery), night time (can’t see to shoot your musket), or anything else we come up with.
Another type of Discovery card allows a new action or rule variant in a specific Chapter. This may remain in play for the whole Chapter, or disappear after some specified event or action. Again, it allows us to ensure that important actions are available when needed, entirely new things are possible when appropriate, rare things are common when they need to be, and that we can, in general, change the balance of available opportunities as required.
As you can imagine, with these small tweaks we can make big changes in the obstacles you must guide Solomon Kane around. Whether it’s changing the weapons at your disposal, or moving the goalposts of what is possible on the map, Discovery cards are a great way to change the world Kane inhabits.
Using Discovery cards as reference tools doesn’t take up many of them, though in terms of game impact and scenario versatility, it is huge. The bulk of the enormous Discovery card count is actually made up of threaded and chained sequences of cards. These sequences are like miniature versions of the Chapter cards themselves. They have links from one to the other, and the paths split, diverge, and recombine, or stay forever separate as the plot and player choices dictate. Sometimes an early decision will lead to two or three very different paths and possible ends, and other times it is only through the accumulated results of the players’ collective actions over time that a destiny will be determined.
Looking at a specific card, we can see some common features.
We are joining the melee in the middle of the bloodshed. This card is the result of a previous Fight action, where some tribal warriors attacked Solomon Kane and did alright, but not spectacularly. As you can see from the introductory text, the battle pauses momentarily while they eye each other up. In this lull, one of the warriors sneaks a little closer. Solomon catches his breath and focuses his mind on the task at hand, regaining one point of either of the listed stats.
Below this, you can see the note about future Fights. When this card is revealed it will replace the previous one, and the next Fight test the warriors make to attack Kane will use the results on this card instead of the ones on the previous card. The possible future outcomes have changed as a result of this card. Let’s imagine that they did Fight Kane again, but they are uncoordinated and unlucky. They only scrape together an unimpressive total of 5.
This score falls in the “Up to 6” category on the card, so leads on to Discovery card 11.
Given that the result was so poor, you will understand why one of the warriors comes off very much second best to Solomon Kane’s swordsmanship. Like the previous card, this has a game effect (removing the dead attacker), and then a series of outcomes for any future Fight. As before, this would replace the old card and become the new reference for these combats. This means that the options are ever-changing, and the story of the combat can take many different twists and turns. Each time you play through this same Fight is likely to show you a whole new sequence of events.
This particular card is also interesting because it allows Solomon Kane to thin the ranks of his foes even when they attack him. This shows the Discovery card system playing with what might be called critical successes or fumbles in other games. Here, the extremes can be seamlessly integrated into the same system that deals with every other result.
This particular combat tree is done with only 6 Discovery cards. Against more important foes, and for grand showdowns, the tree of Discovery cards can be much bigger. For example, in the final combat against Le Loup, there are over 20 cards, including several pithy insults from both sides to goad each other on. These add colour as well as influencing the game. In terms of rules, these work exactly the same way as this minor combat against the warriors. But when it’s a boss fight, we know it needs to be epic!
- Jake Thornton
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