Kenoma Update 14
Extra day between updates because I’ve had some minor health things come up. Nothing serious, and they’re basically in the past now (or at least it seems that they are), but I had some issues just getting to the keyboard and working over the past few days.
Kenoma continues progress in the setting sections. I’ve been hashing out some of the gear and origins, though that particular stage of character creation remains a major blocker for the initial release.
One thing that I haven’t touched yet is the GM section, and I intend to give that a little attention before the end of the week.
Thoughts on Synergy
One thing about Kenoma that I’m quite proud of is that everything is synergistic. It’s designed with layers in mind, and none of the layers are free-floating.
The goal with the mechanics and faction flavor is to give room for these synergies. For instance, Alcove Group and Knight Limited work with Renown quite a bit, whereas the Heresiarchs are more focused on Talents and contamms interact with the Gear layer.
However, it’s not that characters don’t have all the layers, it’s just that they have unique and interesting ways to interact with them.
There’s also some role-specific stuff here. Since there are really three pillars (intrigue, combat, survival), each role ties into one of those, but there are also different roles in the sense that an origin is either a “workhorse” (dependable but not capable of interstellar performance), “sprinter” (bursts of very high capacity, usually works through Flame), or “support” (helps others overcome weaknesses). This isn’t a hard and fast rule; flavorful and interesting comes before any other considerations regarding what abilities and specializations a particular character option ties into.
However, there are also other mechanics that interact. For instance, a character may have a talent that boosts a Margin in combat, which can interact with the Brutal quality on a weapon. The idea is to reward highly skilled play, but since origins also have suggestions built in through automatic talents and origin-specific talents, there’s a certain layer of fool proofing built into most of the game’s functions.
One of the other effects here is that there’s a level of gating involved in access to character options in Kenoma.
Soft-gating is the most common. You can buy cross-faction talents, for instance, but you buy them at excruciating costs and only after character creation.
Everything has a solution for all pathways. It’s a question of expense versus elegance. A shotgun in Kenoma is a powerful and relatively cheap weapon, but it’s Bulk-restrictive compared to a high-tech high-caliber rifle, which has a high Acquisition cost.
Hard-gating is used when it makes setting sense (certain psionics), but even this only locks specific features. There may not be a direct alternative to these options, but there is usually an effective substitute.
Cybrine Dreams Mini-Update
Cybrine Dreams has had some work done as well.
The main focus of that game is to have highly satisfying theater-of-the-mind combat and other encounters represented through hands that reflect a situation.
The setting is grim, and it takes a more conversational tone (lots of “you” statements), with a more free-form character creation process that I touched on previously.
As with Kenoma, a lot of the work has been in character options, though it has a light life-path system rather than a faction system.
The real trick has been figuring out how combat and the different encounter types work. It’s built to recycle as much stuff as it can back in on itself. That gives the ability to have a relatively complex form of play as part of the standard.
There are several different types of Encounters: Combat, Exploration, Synods, etc.
These have their own discrete rules, but all use the overall encounter system.
I think this has some promise, and I should have initial playtesting some time next week to see how it plays