Bi-Weekly Design Blog #7: Choosing The Path

The Test

The wind rattled the bamboo roof, but was it really the wind?

The venerable master lifted his tanto up before his face with arthritic hands and drew the blade a fraction from its lacquered sheath. He watched the polished surface as his first disciple dropped from the eaves to land soundlessly on the wooden floor behind him.

The master closed his eyes.

To the world he seemed almost asleep, just an old man feeling the fatigue of his years. Yet inside, his Ki flexed like the strong muscles of a youthful runner. He spread out his Ki, which surrounded him, a glowing force that appeared like a mirror-still pool of light to his inner eye. There he could see the ripples of the first disciple’s padded footfalls.

There, from behind the shoji screen, came the shallower, softer ripples of his second disciples soundless breathing.

Curiously, there was no sign of the third disciple.

Odd, for the third disciple was the most ambitious and impatient of the three.


We recently had a question from a fan regarding our decision to go with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game instead of the newer, “easier,” Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons game.

Lucus gave some great insights into our thought processes in response to the question.

Let’s explore the lay of the land a little more.

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is a very mature game, in that there’s a huge amount of official and third party material to pull from. That makes our lives easier as designers, while giving us an opportunity to fill in the holes. Our Works System, for instance, fills the gap we’ve found with the existing crafting rules.

It also means that we can offer meaningful choices that breathe life into the world of Rosuto-Shima and make Steampunk Musha a meaningful game. Steampunk Musha is about so much more than clockwork ninja and steampowered samurai; we’ve worked hard to build depth and meaning into the game. That’s how we stand out from the competition.

Would we ever consider releasing Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons content for Steampunk Musha? You, the fans, have a voice, and we are listening. Personally, my market research points to the Dungeon Master’s Guild eating up a large portion of D&D sales, and that money does matter. With Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons having fewer mechanical levers to work with, it makes much more sense to stick with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to do all the groundwork, which gives us a solid base for later conversions.

Rodney Sloan, Line developer for Steampunk Musha at Fat Goblin Games.

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