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Magic and Tech: Initial Development

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This topic contains 49 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  royalpain621 2 days, 16 hours ago.

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    Well, it took me more than long enough to figure out where to place my slowly developing ruleset for Magic and Tech but after a sudden “duh” moment, here is the first 4 sections of the rules. Hardly playable but it is a start. With this, I will try to write up a new section every two weeks with edits and agreed changes in the previous sections.


    Cult of Games Member

    Always great to see more game development going on. Are you going to create a project for this? Had a quick read over the rules, looks like an interesting concept for a setting, reminds me (in tone, rather than content) of Full Metal Alchemist. It’s good to have a solid world build, and a strong set of scenarios, but what would you say is the core conflict mechanic or USP? Or is that the focus of the initiative stuff?



    I am not sure if I will put this on the projects just yet. I am developing the first game card for a squad and then gonna have to figure out what I will have then fighting against both on the table for demonstrations and rules wise.
    The core conflict is not only the numerous border skirmishes from the Penars but also a rise of clashes against demons; both from their hives and randomly appearing far from the hives as well as an escalation of fighting unknowns; whether they be magical creations from unlicensed magical users and such.
    Basically, there’s a lot going on and any platoon vs platoon or whatever should appeal to a wide variety of players. Want a Naratian Squad of all Orcs (gonna be pricey) fight against Penar Elves then fine or remove the fantasy aspect and have an all human platoon with off-map mortar support and a team of Exo-Frames (REALLY PRICEY) then fine or want more protection? A team of exo-suits. SUPER PRICEY.
    At least that is the hope.



    Wow. I am a week ahead and created a section that talks about the game card. I feel that it is lacking. When I complete movement and firing rules is when I will start a project blog dedicated to rule development.
    Magic and Tech rules.


    Cult of Games Member

    @royalpain621 quick review of your beta rules … lots of text ahead.

    I thought typewriters had been banished 😉

    I’d suggest looking at how game manuals tend to use font types. Fixed fonts like the one in your beta 0.02 versions are horrible for anything that people need to read. Using such a font to denote game-specific features or statistics would be ok.

    // 0 story / history

    The story is oddly specific and precise. Why mention uranium at all ?
    Page 10 reads a bit like you’re trying to say the same thing twice.
    Be careful with round numbers … if something happened exactly 25 years ago it suggests it is going to be relevant to the new story.
    Why does it matter that destroying the portals took exactly 3 months (each?) ?
    History is rarely an exact science.

    Maps are useful … especially when describing the world and the place of the two leading nations.
    Need not be detailed, but a simple sketch will do.

    Maybe a short summary of key events ?
    Lots of background info for stuff that doesn’t appear to be a feature in the game.
    The use of orcs, elves, etc. suggests traditional fantasy, but the setting speaks of an immortal and demons.
    Telling us that science has replaced magic doesn’t explain why magic still is used (the game is ‘magic+tech’)

    // 1

    You’re never going to be using helicopters in a 28mm scale game … (unless you’re GW and want to sell oversized vehicles ;-))

    This is a platoon level game :

    You’re not going to do that in 28 mm … 😉

    Your initiative system is not *that* unique, so don’t emphasize it. Unless you’ve played games before you’re going to be confused as to why it is so ‘special’. Maybe focus on telling people that “it’s always your turn”(tm).

    4 camps ?
    And yet the demons have 3 variants ?
    Where did this Mekale nation come from ?

    // 3 setup
    You’re already talking about points before the first rules are mentioned.
    Most systems tend to introduce scenarios and maps after the basic rules have been explained and players are able to fight a simple battle that ends with one side left standing.

    // 4 initiative & activation

    If each squad rolling a dice ?
    That is going to get cumbersome real fast and might not scale to large engagements.
    How big is the average army in a game anyway ? 10 or 30 or 100 soldiers ? 5 squads ?

    // 5 unit cards
    IF this is what an average unit looks like then you’ve got very little room for introducing alternate squads as this appears to cover every possible variant already.
    Close combat ? use Orks
    Shooty ? use elves
    Why are anthro / human hybrids mentioned ?
    What are Felani and Dogma and why didn’t the story mention anything ?
    The only hint this is setting has ‘magic’ are the names of some races and the mention of ‘combat witch’.

    Layout definitely needs improvement.
    Section (E) is likely your standard reference when doing anything in the game.

    The entire card relies on knowing the mechanics of the game to use it, which makes it tricky to evaluate at this time.
    Do all weapons fire ?
    Are these per character in the unit ?
    Can I mix races ? The Orcs feature suggets all of then need to be Ork. The Elves suggest I can have a maximum of 4 elves.
    Why ? Where is the logic in that ?
    Is there a narrative reason for not having an Elf-only squad ?

    The use of bubbles to denote wounds is interesting, but I think it is making things too complicated.

    What are fireteams in this context ? And what part of the unit belongs to which fireteam ?

    oh … and it now mentions that distances are not metric ?
    Such things need to be mentioned the moment you start explaining core mechanics.

    // Final thoughts
    Forget the elves and orcs. Refocus on Felani and Dogma. They might your Elf and Ork equivalents, but it would make your world a bit more unique. Maybe all non-human species are a bipedal beasts of some description ?
    What are demons like ?
    Remember that a lot of history is myth … so be vague until you’re ready to develop it into something that exists in ‘modern day’ Certau.


    Cult of Games Member

    Interesting read. Can the initiative die be modified by troop quality?

    To my mind the best units  going first is not always an advantage . Have you thought about the worst initiative going first and allowing those with higher initiative to interrupt and take their activation instead?  Just a thought


    Cult of Games Member

    When I was working on the Lore for Deneb, one thing that really helped me was to write basically a Chronological from dawn of time to now “true” history, as close as I could get it. Emphasis on covering where all the races come from, the geo-political and ecological history of the world, and so on. All of that helped me really understand why things are the way they are “now” and meant I had plenty of material for adding factions and places later that wouldn’t feel tacked on, but were integral to the tapestry of the world.


    However that document itself is pretty dry and boring, very long and full of details that don’t really have much value on their own. But that is a reference for myself, so when I am writing short-stories, summaries of a factions history, or even just lore on a unit card, I can go back and check what I’ve decided happened in history.


    I think you have a strong start on having that kind of a history document, but I’d suggest moving that out of the core rules, and then writing a punchy short as you can bear summary to get people into the action and understanding the key players.


    Regarding the rules, I agree with @limburger that it makes a lot of sense to cover how the core rules work ahead of going into scenarios or force construction. Just an opinion though!


    Cult of Games Member


    I’d also split the entire project into separate documents for easy reference and maintenance.
    Definitely do as @davehawes suggests and make a ‘dry’/none story time line of your history that you can fill in as ideas develop.

    Maybe a similar document for the tech/magic tree that shows where and how technology might have replaced magic.
    Adding the changes to the timeline would also help define what kind of tech and magic would be available.

    Oh … and please ensure you have at least one off-site backup for your documents.
    I don’t know if there are any (free) services that allow you to maintain version history of your documents.
    (Backups and being able to retrieve them with ease are critical even if you don’t work in a team  or have no need to share work-in-progress documents … )


    Cult of Games Member

    The free version of DropBox I think comes with like 2GB of storage, and I think like 15GB on Google Drive for free, both of which are pretty good for that sort of thing.



    I have read all of your comments and suggestions and would like to address them one at a time so alert, this is gonna be wordy.
    @ limburger

    I thought typewriters had been banished

    I like the font courier as it is great for rough drafts. Plus it is easy on black ink.
    Point 2 is mostly about the timeline. I have been told I can get mind numbingly precise so that’ll be changed with a simpler timeline that will highlight major events involving just the Penars and Narata. Any additional events and characters relevant to the timeline will be added in either expansions or as the rules are typed up.
    The game can be played as little as a squad v squad or unit up to platoon level. I have played games at platoon to company level called Combat Patrol and I borrowed a few initiative and activation mechanics from that for many of my games. I made a short lived game called Rifles To The Front and this worked well but it became way to burdened with rules and thus it went to the back burner to be tried again in the near future. That was a ww2 company level game at 20mm and it worked somewhat well. When me and my brother ran a test, it was squad on squad and it worked beautifully. I get praise for the anti-armor rules that was somewhat neat.
    There are so many races that make up Narata’s populace that it would be only fair to somehow include them in a simple manner but I will cut back on the number of potential orcs a squad can have. I may just have an army TO&E chart at the end of the rulebook that talks about all of the different races and their upgrades and such and only make a quick reference on the cards.
    The rules are not done. I am uploading them in that manner as to not only make necessary changes easier but to keep me motivated in actually writing them.
    As for helicopters, I may of been thinking a tad bit over the top and will reduce them to an off-map support choice. Since they’ll be there and gone since at 28mm, there isn’t simply enough room for that. But I could still experiment with the idea with templates. Plus it will be a great excuse to get a UH-60 Black Hawk.
    Races can be mixed, experimentation will be needed as to what mixing races will do in game play but on paper, it should be ok.
    With google, previous files are saved but since I convert the document into a PDF, I can save the PDFs separately.

    In two weeks, movement will be added and the changes to turn the drawn out tale to a proper timeline will be made. I will also explain my reasoning a tad more into why the rules are being set up from scenario and map-making first instead of last in the rules but the idea is that any new players can pickup the rules and start right away, once their squad/ platoon/ company are made but if the general consensus is to stick to conventional thinking then that is what I’ll do.
    Whew, I hope that addresses everything.


    Cult of Games Member

    @royalpain621 there is no way in heck ‘Courier’ is “easy on the inkt”. I think that is a myth from ancient times.

    If there are savings to be had they’re likely when printing at the industrial level and not for us amateurs.
    You can save a lot more inkt by only printing when you absolutely need it. This is the digital era after all 😉

    Anyways …
    I didn’t mean that you should limit orks within that squad. I think it’s much better to have a narrative/historic reason for such a mixed unit to exist. Players will pick whatever works if the point cost doesn’t make it impossible.

    It’s usually best answered if there are is racial tension within the setting (classic elves hating dirty orks … ).
    I think that as it was used as an example it would be best to keep things simple. Simple units have the added advantage that it makes it easier for players to understand their purpose. Maybe there’s an all-ork unit because these guys tend to be soo much better at close combat, whereas the elves preferred ranged weapons.

    I’d suggest starting with a basic “kill everyhting” scenario, introduce the mimimal rules needed and expand bit by bit as you introduce scenarios that require such things as terrain types, reserves and objectives.
    The starter sets for Infinity have an interesting set of ‘tutorial’ maps that each introduce an additional feature.
    The recent ‘Elder Scrolls’ skirmish game also used a mini campaign format to teach rules & features step by step.

    Also note … books that do this tend to be the ‘tutorial’ / ‘quick start’ variants.
    The ‘traditional’ format is used by the main rulebook.

    In a non-earth setting that had magic I would not expect an UH-60 Black hawk  especially given that the name is tied into Earth history (it is named after an Indian leader according to the Wiki).
    Science itself is filled with all sorts of references to the inventors responsible for such things.

    Everyone uses Orks and Elves … using your own races makes your game more unique and it prevents getting locked into stereotypes.


    @davehawes I would advice against using Dropbox (and related services like OneDrive from MS), because they are designed to share documents.
    They are not designed with version control in mind (it is a neat extra and not part of the design).

    The biggest problem :
    There is no real way to determine what the ‘master copy’ is.
    I’ve seen people accidentaly delete files because they forgot which machine/account had the original and so dropbox thought it was meant to delete files instead of update …
    You don’t want to learn such lessons the hard way.

    There may be ways to circumvent that, but it won’t be easy and one wrong configuration could cause a ton of problems when you least expect it.


    Cult of Games Member

    @limburger My “day job” as it were is in software development, and very familiar with version control, but you make a good point. I remember the bad old days of early source control like MS SourceSafe, which is about the most misleading name a product could ever have!


    Drop Box I can see that happening (though at home I tend to use a Mac which has a much more sensible dialog box for when you potentially overwrite an old copy). Google Drive does now natively support versioning and if you add something in with the same name it asks you if you want to keep the old versions. But you are right it’s not a primary feature of those tools.


    Office365 plus SharePoint can do a decent job of versioning on documents, but I don’t think there is a free version of that? Could be wrong.


    If you want to go the whole hog, you could use which is free for public repos. So then you’d get full on version control and the concept of a master version, could even label versions that got released as “beta” or other official versions. Though that might be using a nuclear weapon to crack a nut!



    The UH-60 reference was just that, a reference; an example. As for racial tensions, it really isn’t there between the Penars and Narata. it is explained some in the time line but think of Penar orcs as mercenaries and Nratian orcs as outcasts.
    I have thought that in a quick start, talking about the scenario first would best fit but in every rulebook I read, scenarios came last so I will switch things around but scenario creation will go unnumbered. In its place though is a critical step I had forgotten all about. The “start of new turn” phase. I will also be adding the movement rules after the turn set-up phase is written.


    Cult of Games Member

    @davehawes BitBucket (Atlassian) is an alternative to GitHub (Microsoft).
    Same idea, except BitBucket repos are private by default and GitHub was public by default.
    Or at least … that’s how it was when I looked at them. I’ve got accounts at both.

    I considered it to be a bit too technical to mention (definitely needed someone to explain the core concepts despite having used TFS/VSS), but once you understand how it works Git is such a great version control system.  Microsofts’ Team Foundation Server is also ‘free’ for anyone with the community edition of Visual Studio.
    I personally prefer Git, because it allows you to save bits of a file instead of the entire thing.

    Sharepoint is indeed a slightly less intimidating option (you do need to activate the version control mechanics I think), but unless you’ve got an MSDN subscription or a professional Office 365 license that’s not free.

    It sucks that these things are not available to mere amateurs working from home.
    Anyways … that’s off topic.

    @royalpain621 I suspect you will be re-ordering the chapters a lot, so don’t worry if your initial versions aren’t perfect.
    I do think that your document kind of lacks focus as you appear to be writing lots of things at once.
    Wouldn’t it be better to finish one thing (like the timeline) and worry about rules later ?


    Cult of Games Member

    How’s it coming along @royalpain621 ?

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