Dev Notes 6 - Mechanical Matters (and Mechanics Matter)

“Our best sessions are when we don’t even roll dice.” – generic, often-repeated assertion by players who are playing the wrong game

There is a visible shift this year in roleplaying games. You can see it in the instant popularity of new offerings like Fate, 13th Age, and even the upcoming D&D Next. Designers are beginning to rethink what it means to play an RPG. Indie publishers have been producing “story games” for years now – games whose mechanics do not define conflict resolution but rather narrative flow – and now many of those ideas are taking hold in more mainstream gaming. In the past, there was a certain amount of disdain between the opposing camps of story gaming and “traditional” gaming, but now it seems that the grognards are losing. Everyone apparently agrees that roleplaying is about sitting down to tell a great story, and so it’s time to abandon mechanics that “get in the way of the story.”

Or is it?


GM Screen Inserts

As promised, the GM Screen inserts are now available at Studio 2. These are for use with the Savage Worlds Customizeable GM Screen, but you can also print them out as handy reference sheets. They are completely free and completely full-color. Enjoy!

Gen Con Wrap-Up

Gen Con is always an amazing event, but this year it took on new importance for us at Four-in-Hand. It was our first chance to really present Steamscapes to a larger sample of the gaming community, and we had a great experience. We were privileged to spend time talking with Jim at Studio 2 as well as many the Pinnacle staff - special thanks to Jodi and Teller - and we got to meet lots of Savage Worlds fans - special shout-out to Chris of the Rocky Mountain Savages. We had been hoping to have the print version ready to show by Gen Con, but it wasn't quite there. We still were able to grab quite a bit of interest just showing off the PDF.

Nearly everyone who saw the PDF or played one of our demos was very excited about the game, so we just want to keep spreading the word. With that in mind, please make sure to like us on Facebook. We will have pictures of Gen Con there in the next day or two. In the meantime, we also wanted to summarize many of the conversations we had with fans about what will be coming next.


Page References for Explorer's Edition

When you are writing a setting for a core system, you always want to make sure you are referring to the most current edition of that system. Steamscapes: North America was written to be compatible with Savage Worlds Deluxe and makes several references to pages in that book. However, soon after we had finished production, the Explorer's Edition came out, a resized version with completely different page numbers. Luckily there were no major rule changes that would require errata on our part, but we do want to be thorough.

Teaser 25 - Clean Cover Art

This week, we are wrapping up our 6 months of teasers for Steamscapes: North America. Gen Con is in just over two weeks, and we hope to see many of you there. Keep an eye here for more information, including the serially-released plot point campaign! Expect the first episode sometime in September. If you want to talk about Steamscapes or keep up with all Steamscapes related news, be sure to like us on Facebook. In the meantime, enjoy an unedited version of our cover art by Sarah Benkin.

See you at Gen Con!


Teaser 24 - Songs Without Words (2nd excerpt)

We felt like we just had to include a little more of the fantastic short story written by Steve Townshend. It really is one of the highlights of the book. Enjoy! 

Teaser 23 - The Steamthrower

Every time we have a demo, the person who plays the Steamhand seems to particularly enjoy our sample heavy weapon, the Steamthrower. Perhaps it's the cone template - the chance to target multiple enemies and force them to leap out of the way. For whatever reason, it is a weapon that always seems to satisfy. From the book:

Teaser 22 - Goggles

Where would a steampunk setting be without goggles? Aside perhaps from gears, they are the most common genre signifier. We would have failed in our duty if we did not make them not only included but important. In Steamscapes, goggles are often an indication of one's profession or even social station. From the book:

Teaser 21 - History of the American Consolidated Union

In honor of Independence Day this week, we wanted to present some history from the Atlantic colonies that eventually become the American Consolidated Union. In the Steamscapes world, there is no Independence per se, but there is still cause to celebrate this week. From the book:

Teaser 20 - The Duckfoot Volley Pistol

The Gunslinger typically carries several weapons at a time, and the types of guns in that arsenal vary fairly widely from 'Slinger to 'Slinger. One of the more unusual selections harkens back to an era of powder weapons and early attempts to solve the problem of threatening a large number of people at once. Volley pistols - and in particular the "duckfoot" variety - were created primarily for the purpose of crowd suppression, such as in the case of ship mutinies. They have never been very practical, but then some Gunslingers are more about the show than the practical effects. From the book:


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