Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.
Have a question?
@Benjamin TheBuddha Hill There are so many things to love about that franchise. Favorite character?
Oh, also make sure to use The Astrologer's Sextant in one of (all of??) your Oubliette games. ;D
Just noticed the inspiration and tools section. Disgaea is my favorite video games series of all time! I knew I liked you guys for a reason
@Benjamin TheBuddha Hill Thanks! We hope you have a pleasant eternity! And thanks, sincerely, for giving us your encouragement and support! It really means a lot!
Got my book today. It looks amazing. You guys did a really awesome job. Thank you, sincerely, for all your hard work.
@Kent Johan, I really like the idea of a channeling limitation on Arcane. I'm not sure it wouldn't cause a wave of other tweaks and adjustments to the Arts, but that's definitely okay. I'm really curious what people will come up with as homebrew for this, and the feedback is always really welcome.
@Josh Medin, I chuckled over the BMX Bandit reference. Hopefully that kind of discrepancy between PCs shouldn't be pronounced in Oubliette. Assuming they're the same Caste (which the comedy routine definitely does not assume), Stunt spends allow both players to diversify or generalize at the same rate. Arcane starts off with an edge in how many situations it can be applied to, but if the Bandit takes a Stunt that allows him to channel the dread forces of the ancient bicycle gods, all bets are off.
Balance tweaks should sand off that initial edge, and (hopefully) Angel Summoners and BMX Bandits should be on similar footing in the World of the Forgotten.
If you're really not certain about that, I'd be willing to try building a high-Caste BMX Bandit as proof of concept.
I rather prefer the solution of letting any Art Martial do any given task. Basically, I don't want to punish characters who built for concept with a mechanical limitation. It's easy enough to hack, of course, but I prefer to not have to do so.
The issue that I have with the "ROLEplaying instead of ROLLplaying" argument, aside from its sheer overuse, is that it implies a dichotomy that doesn't exist. One can be aware of character creation and balance issues while still creating and playing good characters. One just needs to be aware of the problems with a game featuring the BMX Bandit and the Angel Summoner.
Thanks Kent! We really hope your game is a blast for all involved!
The issue I see with the Arcane skill is that it seems to be so versatile that if a player takes it as their top skill, it might overshadow most of their other skills, and even most skills of other players.
If you have Arcane at 5, why would you use your athletics at 4, when you can just narrate floating over the chasm, instead of jumping over it?
That is pretty cool though! And sort of the point of the Fate system, and definitely the kind of thing I'd like to see my players do.
However, if you make a cool and interesting character, and then realise that, say, 6 of 10 obstacles can be solved with the same skill, which you happen to have the highest rating it, I think it creates an unfortunate dynamic.
It would likely tempt the player to lean very much on the skill that they're most likely to succeed with, and in making one character's skill more versatile (and consequently, matter more) than the others', it could make the other players feel disempowered and less relevant.
This can, of course, be solved through expert GM'ing and good group dynamic, but it's not a non-issue, and it is something to be aware of.
If I felt a need to make a mechanical fix, the easiest would probably be to limit the versatility of Arcane, and what it can affect.
Maybe just not let it be used for overcome actions.
I do however like the flavour of the skill, the versatile magician who uses "real" magic and can do a lot of different cool stuff. To keep that I might make the skill require that the player uses a little time (an action perhaps) to create a "channelling" aspect on themselves before they can cast magic. Difficulty being the current caste rank (the more powerful the character, the more difficult to control the power). Then there could be some stunts that allow you to make that aspect automatically etc... Fun stuff.
Just some thoughts.
I have to say you did a great job on the book, though! One of the few things recently that has gotten me excited enough to bother tinkering with it. Great setting, and tons of story ideas just jumping out at you. I was floundering about, wondering what my next game was going to be, but reading Oubliette, I'm really damn excited to get back into Fate! :-)
I thought of a few other tangents about this over the weekend.
First, and this isn't an answer to mechanical balance, is that Fate is more about "role-playing" than "roll-playing." Your mindset should mostly be about "how do I make my character interesting" rather than "how do I make my character better than everyone else's." Fate is one of those rare systems were you're rewarded not only for being GOOD at something but also for being INTERESTING, which often takes the form of actually being BAD at something. This is why you get Fate points for Compels on your flaws and other Aspects. Part and parcel of this philosophy of game design is that you might make decisions that make the game more interesting that aren't directly to the advantage of your character. Sometimes that's introducing a complication yourself, other times it's letting another character handle something you could do yourself.
I think the balance issue with Arcane is best phrased as "Why would I take any other Art Martial than Arcane?" which is how you generally formulate questions of balance when choosing powers in a game. First of all, remember you're playing a character: What's your character like? Would your Vandal barbarian have Arcane or would they use Onslaught instead? Conversely, would your wizard have Physique? These are the more important parts of building a character than the purviews of the Skills, because these questions form the narrative permission your character has, through their Aspects, and those come before your skill selections.
As a side note, I should also point out that Skills in Fate Core aren't really inherently balanced in the first place, consider the bonuses granted by Physique and the fact that ONLY Notice and Empathy work for initiative in conflicts. Again, not this remedies the actual mechanical differences in skills in Oubliette, but it should provide some background for why they're the way they are.
@Josh Medin, This one is probably partly my fault. I'm a big fan of the Brandon Sanderson approach to magic, where it's the limitations that make magic interesting, and I didn't dive into those restrictions for Arcane in the story elements that I worked on. There was a *lot* of lore, and writing in Oubliette is like being a golden retriever in a ball pit. That particular brightly colored orb stayed un-bitten.
I like Joe's idea of reducing Arcane down to Illusion, Necromancy, and Telekinesis. And Summoning too, under limited circumstances. This isn't a mechanical patch, but with a few more lore tweaks (explaining that the energy for Arcane comes from within the caster or the environment and can be disrupted or vacuumed away, for example) opportunities and constraints start to emerge.
Mechanically, the most brute-force solution I can think of is to treat all of the Arts Martial the same. Same ranges, same possible Advantages, same ability to Attack, Defend, and Overcome so long as the player or GM can explain how they're using their Art to Attack, Defend, or Overcome. Stunts still customize the Arts and keep them crunchy, and the fluff for each Art keeps the players coming up with colorful explanations for how they're doing what they're doing, but otherwise the playing field is leveled.
If either of these doesn't feel like the right approach for your gaming group, I'd be happy to chat about other alternatives. Do you have a particular way you'd like to see the Arts Martial's balance tweaked? Feedback is a valuable commodity, and I appreciate you taking the time to give it.
@Josh: Before I explain the design process, you could probably remedy this issue for your group by reducing its range and/or further specifying that it can only do Overcome and CaA actions pertaining to Illusion, Telekinesis, and Necromancy. And as a GM don't forget to spread the spotlight.
As for how we got to the design we're at, there are a number of factors: Testing, Priority, and Budget.
Testing: We could have used more time for testing, for sure, and it would have been great to have input from other players outside our core testing group, but that never really took off. Our testing never showed a significant bias towards the utility of Arcane, but that might have been because we were able to shine the spotlight on all the players, rather than one in particular. The players using Arcane often used it to explain specific powers of their own devising, though specifics of that elude me at the moment. Short: More testing/testers would have probably helped.
Priority: Our design goal wasn't "Balance All the Things" but more like "Make Oubliette Feel Right." That means we didn't spend as much time on carefully finetuning the mathematical possibilities (such as the depth and breadth of all 30something skills) as we did on making sure that each element was thematic, practical, and interesting. As a Fate game rather than a D&D game, we were more interested in the roleplaying aspects of the mechanics than the precise balance. I'd have loved to do both, but we had to call things good enough at some point. You can't spend all your time on one thing, or you forget to do all the other stuff you need to to actually finish and ship the project.
Budget: At the outset, I said I'd deliver a product with certain features in a certain timeframe for a certain price tag. As the project went on, we kept adding features, rebuilding the system, and extending the timeframe. You may have heard the phrase: Cheap, Fast, and Good, Choose Two, and that's the sort of game we were playing the whole time, trying to choose all three. Maybe we missed one. For what we were trying to accomplish and the problems we had along the way, I wouldn't be surprised. I'd say we only had so much time to put on the project, but I did spend an awful lot more time on the thing than I said I would. For that, I apologize, though I assure you that all that time was spent trying to make the game as good as we could afford to.
Now, I'm not saying that you're wrong; you're right that Arcane is both powerful and broad. I'm just explaining how we got to the present design. If that gets us X stars out of 5, that's what we get, right? Because that's how it works, you as the customer are the person who will or will not buy, play, or enjoy the game.
I grant you that, but realistically, you've made Arcane just plain better than the other choices in every category-- unlike other magical arts, it has just as much range as Ranged, but unlike most of the others, it can be used to create a large range of Advantages, bypass many Obstacles, and can be used as a Defense against every kind of physical attack. Moreover, it's much easier to justify almost anything with it, because it's so broadly defined. It may not be overly disruptive of play, but was it really necessary to make Arcane as good at, if not better than, all of the other Arts Martial in virtually every category?
Thanks Josh! Don't forget Section 1.6 on Page 8: "Can I Change It," and Section 6.12 "Creating New Stunts" on page 123. Fate gives you a pretty wide array of tools to make the game your own. You can make your own stunts from scratch if you want. If you want to change the basics of certain arts, go for it! In terms of how we wrote them, we wanted to make sure that each was actually technically distinct, not just 11 different flavors of "attack." The hope is that it induces players to think strategically and change the situation to their advantage, rather than just attempt to steamroller everything in their way.
I really like it overall; I'm kind of sad that you went with such a complete lack of balance between the Arts Martial, but I'm glad to see that richness of description, that creative worldbuilding, and that expansion of concepts that has really improved the game since the first edition.
Sorry about any transparency issues, there are certain things that are pretty much mutually exclusive in PDF standards, specifically complex transparency and interactive link elements. I did my best to mirror the print in the PDF, while adding the cool linking features, but some things are just a little iffy because of that.
John, I'm glad you found a viewer that works better. It would have been nice to knock the pdf's watermarks back further, (as it IS a little dark compared to the Print, because print stuff) but you've got to finish the project someday.
I'll try another viewer. I initially opened it in Mac OS 10.11.6's Preview app.
OK. Acrobat Reader DC shows the background to be much lighter so the pages are readable. I usually find no difference between the two when looking at pdfs.
@John: I can read the TOC in the color version PDF. The watermark graphic could be a bit lighter but the text is definetely readable. May be a viewer problem on your side?
Thanks for the pdfs!
Please note that the table of contents in the color version is unreadable, the background is so dark that the black text is lost against it. I hope that is not the case in the print version.
Other than that, so far it looks like a gorgeous book.
Okay, nobody panic if you haven't gotten yours yet, because we're still wrangling with DTRPG about the orders for the books and the sending out of things. I was told I'd get no more errors, and guess what, nothing was fixed. So remain calm, hopefully they'll get back to me soon.
Just got the PDF downloads...they look great and I am currently so pleased. Though I did find it funny the Black and White version is a larger file than the color. Thank you though, loving it...well worth the wait.
Yeah, we've done 3 sets of print proofs on the core book, and one print on the novel. We're looking good. Just need to get the DTRPG folks to get their S^%* together about my orders.
I guess you already have the proofs, right?
I'll post another update when the proofs get here, talking about how they turned out, which shold basically consist of "OMFG ITS BEAUTIFUL! I SEND THEM INTO THE WORLD!"
THE FINAL PROOFS are being printed and shipped as we speak. Just waiting to see how they turn out. Hopefully, there won't be any issues, and we can get right to shipping the books.
The dice are surrounding me, waiting for me to get them organized into their boxes and get shipped, which I'm going to TRY to coincide with the book arrivals.
The novelization / First Steps in the Dark is being edited, and will be shipped to the Agents of the Cryptarchy once it's finished, which may take a few weeks longer than the core book for its extra proofing time.
How's it going, Joe?
Oh boy that update. Well I hope I speak for everyone when I say we're happy that you've worked so hard for this game. I have a group of friends who are incredibly excited about it, and we all sympathise with the difficulties that have been faced.
Oh man, folks, I can't even tell you how excited I am to get this leg of it done. JEEZ. Prepare for an update explaining the past few nightmares.
So excited that the shipping addresses were finalized!
Sorry folks, still churning through the work. We hit the biggest snag of the project a couple weeks ago. (Internal links across the PDF were busted) I fixed it late last week, but I've been really trying to get the REST of the work done. We're basically through with textual edits, and I'm crunching through all the layout changes that's caused. I'll post something more complete soon.
Any updates for us?
Good to see you are on the home stretch.
I know you have probably got this in hand but you asked me to remind you that I upgraded to the hardback special ed book.
@dragonfolder I'm super glad you're excited for it and like how it's looking so far! It means a lot to us to hear people getting hyped for it! There's a lot more work to do (especially on the layout) but it's coming along!
And don't worry, we're as excited to get the book shipped as people are to receive it! EEEE!
I must admit that I backed this kickstarter (pdf) purely based on the faith in the setting. Man I'm happy I did it when I saw the examples of finished layout. It looks way better than I expected.
I'm now looking just as much foreward to this as the other bigger RPG-kickstarters I backed.
Hi Scott! We're getting pretty close to putting out our PDFs and sending the book to press, but until then you can still check out the manuscript here: http://oubliette.voidspiral.com/dl/Oubliette.html
I am a "pdf" backer. were emails ever sent out with links? I could very well have lost the email in my spam folder. I receive about 1000 spam emails per day, so a legitimate email is sometimes lost.
@Simon: yep, sent you a KS message and an invoice.
Hi Joe. Any chance of upgrading my colour softback book to hardback? $10 extra looking at the campaign page - happy to Paypal? email me. Thanks.
Looks like about 25 people haven't gotten their surveys in yet. The sooner we get that handled, the better!
We are too! Richard and I had a long squeee/chat last night and yutzed about all the neat stuff that we want to explore in Oubliette!
Working on getting the Surveys out today! Design is already progressing quickly!
Thanks Benjamin! Even the Veiled King tips her hat to such an honored benefactor!
Congrats!!! I'm so proud to say I was backer #4 for you guys. This campaign has been awesome, your updates have been amazing and I can't wait to get my hands on it to dive into the world. Congrats again.
Thanks everyone! The next phase Begins!
It turns out that we CAN in fact have mixed colors of dice! That'll be added to the Survey!
Richard! We've done it! 103! The next Community Goal story is a go!
Just a few more social shares!
Richard got a great idea for another Community Goal last night during our playtest!
I'll keep my eyes open then :)
97 Social Shares! Almost to the next Community Stretch Goal!
@Russel I'd really like to do a full product line in Oubliette, actually. Things that I'd like to include:
Traveler's Guide to Oubliette
The Faraway Castles
Army Hunters Sourcebook
The World of Life (Oubliette/Modern)
Dungeon World Adapter (Stretch Goal $8000)
Dungeons & Dragons Adapter (Stretch Goal $12000)
Bestiary of the Bizarre