Time to check in and see where the team is on various projects!
Pictured: friendly editing meeting at Hero's Journey headquarters
The past month has been a little rough, with getting the new website off the ground and organizing setup for the upcoming playtests, but things were still worked on. Consider this post not only a status of the game update, but also a sort of patch notes about what things have been completed and where they might have changed from previous systems you might have seen in dev talks or playtests!
Conversations are here! This game system gives Heroes a more structured way to interact with NPCs and try to impose their will on them, making sure that their Leader and Lover skills matter and that NPCs making decisions about whether or not to do what a Hero wants them to is something they can interact with directly (rather than something Destiny just does invisibly somewhere).
Conversations are a new Episode subtype, similar to Combat.
Heroes with Persuasion can directly influence other characters toward doing what the Heroes would like them to do.
Heroes with Diplomacy can give themselves and others more staying power as they try to succeed in convincing a character of something.
Heroes with Allure can distract other characters during Conversation, preventing them from doing their best to resist the Heroes.
Heroes with Imagination can subtly affect the ambience and tone of the Conversation to help influence characters toward their goals.
Once Heroes have entered a Conversation, they must complete it (either successfully or unsuccessfully) or face the character in question dropping in Attitude toward them.
Heroes with Bliss can recover from Conversations and leave feeling fresh and excited about their accomplishments.
By the time this post is live, Conversations should have had their big debut in the playtest games, so if you happen to watch over on Twitch, you'll be able to get a better sense of how they work and what kinds of Heroes are good at them!
You may notice that this was not on the checklist above, but after completing work on Conversations, it needed some sprucing up to bring it in line so that the two kinds of conflict resolution mirrored each other and both used logical systems.
All Heroes now choose their action prior to the round and then act simultaneously, allowing the group to do more team strategizing and preventing players from waiting around for their turn.
Heroes with Tactics no longer affect turn order in Combat; instead, they can grant themselves and their allies extra successes when they most need them.
Heroes with Energy can now automatically help themselves recover from injuries when they leave Combat (no, only the injuries they got IN combat; this is not a shortcut for Heroes to beat up random grannies in the street to get health back).
These changes are also now live in the playtests, so if you want to see how this makes combat look different from the way it's been handled in the past, you have a handy option to see the new rules in action!
The Hero's Journey
This is a little more opaque to most folks, because it's hard to see it play out in real-time during a playtesting game and because so much of it is easier explained in writing, but these are the "bones" of the game - the structure of how adventures are designed, what Destiny does to make them run smoothly, and what important moments to make sure the Heroes get to have. They've been through a few revisions from their origins in Campbell's monomyth, but they're finally shaped up and ready to go!
Heroes who experience Crossing the Threshold now gain a permanent Saga Labor. Yes, that means the more Sagas they complete, the more big showstopper powers they get to fire off.
Heroes now have the opportunity to retire, freeing their players up to make a new Hero, when they experience the Temptation.
Heroes who experience the Confrontation now have the opportunity to (very rarely and with great difficulty) change their Archetypes.
Heroes who experience Meeting the Divine now have to overcome a Legendary Episode challenge, but if they do are guaranteed, well... something divine.
Heroes who experience the Homecoming now gain a Devotional power as a reward for their service, as well as being able to choose what Divine Favor they will receive in their next Saga.
"Optional" steps have been removed, either to become required steps or to be discussed more loosely in sidebars.
Most of the work on this was to make it clearer to players what we're even talking about, and to put in clear mechanics that occur at steps to help them be more meaningful and less easily skipped past. There's a little clean-up left to be done, but it's mostly just renaming steps to make sure they recognizably match what they're supposed to be doing. Playtesters will be debuting these, too, but you'll probably see more of them in the new playtest games, since the Heroes there are just starting out on their journeys.
But wait! Speaking of playtests, how are we doing on those?
Obviously, the same finished projects above are here, but we've also blitzed through some rough-and-ready versions of things that are almost done to hand off to our fabulous playtesting volunteers! We'll continue handing off updates (patches, if you will) to them as we finish the remaining items on the list or refine the ones that are at "good enough for now" status.
By the time this post is live, some of those testers' games may be, too, and we can't wait to see how they get along. Go forth, new young Heroes!