Weekly Design Blog #37: We've Had Enough, Time to Forge Our Own Path

Hello All,
A few weeks ago, the whole SpM Design Team and I were chatting and we realized, we'd had enough.
Enough working with outdated designs.
Enough "making other people's worlds" that they've long since abandoned.
Enough trying to live up to a 500+ page tyrant like it was a published manuscript.

In the past, I've discussed "the 500+ pages of notes" left behind from when the project first began. They were the 'collected works' of previous writers, designers, and developers of Steampunk Musha. I don't have an exact figure, but over a dozen different people have, at one time or another "added their voice" to project, and taken stabs at writing "some thing" that would in theory become Steampunk Musha

The problem(s) being, that stuff was all done and written years ago. And in the course of those years, a LOT about the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game has changed. A lot of new books have been released (like say Occult Adventures, which specifically includes a "Kami Medium" archetype, and an "Onmyoji" spiritualist archetype. These HAD been rich areas for exploration, BUT, as anything published by Paizo is effectively [PRIME], the choice we as a third party developer need to make is "do we work within the framework they produced? OR do we try to fight against what we can assume are player/designer expectations?"

Lucus SMASH!!!

These annoyances than compound with another common issue. As an "unpublished collection" its just a random collection that I spent a few months trying to organize. Pieces of lore were written disjointedly, sometimes by different authors or at different times, and many of the main ideas reside still only in the Fattest Goblin's head for a clear answer on "what is canon?" etc.

So, two weeks ago now, I was trying to fix two lines of text about about a city on the Island. I wanted to change two words, but realized that one of them is more strongly associated with another city, I thought, and that lead me to doubt the other change too. So, I spent the next 10 mins looking up not 1 entry, but cross referencing three different sections and documents to be "sure" that I could make what was ultimately a change of about 5 words, in two places.

Working in a rich world with deep, well established history, this kind of work is key. If I were working on this RPG for say Star Wars or Star Trek or some rich fantasy world like the setting of Game of Thrones or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, I might almost delight in getting to go learn some minutia of lore. But for this thing, that's little more than two dozen+ folders with hundreds of mixed files, I'm less thrilled.

AND, I don't have to. The extent of 'published canon" is next to nothing. We CAN and likely SHOULD still be able and willing to adjust the world of Rosuto-Shima to OUR likely, not be bound by past designs only. So, we said "Forget* the 500 Pages!" (*Note: We used a different F-word)

So this was all a long, roundabout way to say -- we're freeing ourselves of past conceptions and forging out own path forward for Steampunk Musha. This should actually speed up our time table, as extensive amounts of time we being wasted "fact checking" every-single-choice-we-made! But no more. We're building out, and while we'll still pull freely from what was scribed before us, we're not going to let it be our masters any longer.

Lucus Palosaari, Editor & Project Manager at Fat Goblin Games (Like us on Facebook!) 


Comment on this post (1 comment)

  • Rodney Sloan says...


    As the new designer on the team, I’m really happy that the guys are running with their vision for SpM, which is a very strong one. SpM could easily be “just another setting”, but with Lucus and the team bringing their vision, I know this is going to stand out from the riff-raff.

    September 14, 2016

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