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Salt ‘n’ helpers

No matter how withdrawn, reclusive and aloof you are, every once in a while there comes a time when you’ll be in a situation when a simple interaction with another human will help you achieve your goal.

People are social beings by their nature. We strive to be a part of something, and we can all feel that little warm feeling around our hearts when we help someone, no matter how small that help seems to be.

For instance, today my neighbors (a lovely young couple, fresh out of college) knocked on my doors. I opened the doors, and there they were looking at me with a hopeful smile on their faces.

“Umm, hello! Sorry to bother you, but we were hoping you could help us. The only mobile phone charger we have died, and we can’t run to the store since it’s Sunday. Do you perhaps have one you could borrow us for an hour or so?”

I know that feeling of dread when the battery runs low on your cell phone and there’s no charger around, so I was happy to lend them one of two chargers we have in our household. They politely thanked me and crossed the hallway back to their apartment.

Later, when I began cooking (culinary adventures in our household aren’t for the faint of heart, but that’s another story) I saw that we’re completely out of salt.

Salt
An all-important spice!

Well, isn’t that convenient?

Of course, I decided to see if our neighbors had some salt so the lunch wouldn’t have to suffer. This time it was me knocking on someone’s doors. It goes without saying that our kind neighbors were happy to return the favor with a load of salt to spend.

Why am I writing about this?

Well, first of all, I’m definitely suggesting that you should go out there and socialize with people, no matter how introverted are you. It will be good for you.

Second, it will be good for your business.

People trying to create something of theirs, undervalue the importance of networking and helping others, not necessarily in the same line of work. Sometimes people who seemingly share only one quality or trait with you (such as living in the same building) have what you need in that moment (charger or salt).

It goes even deeper with people who are in the same business or hobby with you.

The Games Collective is currently searching for people who are interested in participating in live streams of Awaken game sessions. We were focused on 2 things; people who’d play and/or narrate, and people with streaming skills and know how.

I was puzzled. Where to start searching? Should we search for people through forums, social networks, or mailing lists? Should we approach this problem as we approached the search for playtesters?

Then it hit me: why don’t I suggest it to the people who were already the backers of the Kickstarter project? And voilà! There were a lot of people interested in it, and some of them even had streaming experience. (Be sure to check out Dragon’s Demize, a podcast run by one of our most active backers, Jakub!)

So, to conclude; it really doesn’t hurt to ask; with idea in my head and question on my lips, I was able to get some salt for our game!

 

 

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A “developer” blog, continued

Well, long time no see

Of course, we didn’t have many followers from the start, probably because I neglected it from the start.

When I think about it, I believe the trouble was that didn’t know what exactly to write – yes, I could have written about the game itself, but I felt like there isn’t that much to say what hasn’t already been said through the campaign and web page.

What I’ve completely forgotten is the original idea of a blog as a communication channel in a form of journal. I’ve decided to, let’s say, pivot the theme of the blog to describe our approach to RPG in general, ideas for future games, releases, RPG situation in Croatia etc.

So, stick around, we’re lifting this off the ground.

Creator’s (B)log Episode 2 – The Picture Rule

So, the Picture Rule is a rule which allows Narrators to award their Players with bonus dice for their creativity and imagination. So, that means that Players which participate to the point of being proactive, find it easier to succeed in tasks in Awaken.

Of course, you shouldn’t try to achieve this by explaining, over analyzing and describing every single detail of your Character’s behavior, after all, we’re all here to have fun and the time is short.

But those who find creative solution, describe exciting scenes and dynamic action and find themselves narrating as an extra narrator are awarded with one to three dice.

Bonus rewards are great by themselves, but if they’re used to spark the creativity and stimulate role playing among Players, they’re taken to a whole new level. So you can see we’re excited about this rule, and why we’ve decided to incorporate it as a crucial rule in Awaken.

In short, it’s a glue between Narration, role playing and mechanics, giving a whole new dimension to role playing experience. And since we’re talking about the bonus dice and dice, here is the final design of a dice Q-workshop will be making! More info soon!

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Creator’s (B)log Episode 1: The birth of a system

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Whenever people talk about the creation of a role playing game, they usually agree on the same thing; it’s really fun, but it’s not simple.

While creating Awaken from scratch, it was a great joy getting together with Marko and Kika, building a world brick by brick, creating the visual identity of it’s inhabitants and Great Cities, as well as the dark legacy behind the antagonists and lore.
It was a task of imagination and creativity.

Well, sooner or later we had to step up and create the fuel which would allow the creation to move. Between the world and the imagination of the players, there was an empty space which had to be traversed to allow the creation to be enjoyed.
That empty space had to be filled out by a system and game mechanics.

It meant hours and hours of countless numbers, statistics, crunching and twisting, testing and playtesting.
Some people find joy in numbers and statistics, but not many. Luckily, our team had Marko and he decided to take the most of the game mechanics on himself.

It was a real challenge to create a dynamic and balanced system which could achieve everything we imagined and be a metaphor of a game itself, represented in numbers.

We wanted a challenging game; dynamic and lethal, but which would allow for player mistakes and not be too punishing. We wanted a system which would remind player to have fun and to think in a same time.

Choice of Attributes and Skills was an easy task; we thought about what an ordinary person would need in a medieval world to survive and how could we additionally simplify those needs.

We decided to separate main attributes into 3 trees; physical, social and intellectual. After all, if we leave out the experiences, a human is a sum of those things.
Experiences and knowledges came in a form of Skills, which we derived so they could be put under the Attribute they derive from or are somehow connected.

Finally, to succeed in task, a person should use the attribute and skill suited for it.
And that’s how rolling for tasks was created.

We derived some character components from those two and we created some additional components to be left to luck and imagination.

The most important part after was the creation of the combat. Sigh, it was a lot of work. We are fans of efficiency and quick combat, and we wished to make it a part of our system.

In order to achieve this and to reduce downtime between turns, Marko came up with the idea of rolling the dice in the same time; if every player on the table owned a set of dice and would roll them in the same time, the waiting would be reduced and the sense of companionship, camaraderie and fighting for the same cause would be elevated. The playtesters were curious about the possibility, but astonished looks on their faces after a quick and successful combat was something which fortified the idea of this approach.

We didn’t want players to focus on skills, counting, bonuses, numbers, damage etc., but rather to experience the combat through the narration and to use the surrounding Character was in. The environment in the game is a part of a combat too, and we wanted players to use it, to be creative and to be rewarded for it.

This was achieved by creating a realistic, fast and fluid combat, which stimulated players to think rather then depend on the outcome of the dice, rewarding them for their creativity.

The playtesters were surprised how much this approach opened their eyes regarding the surrounding and all that without the use of the elaborate figures, representations of a battlefield etc.

They would ask us to describe the environment, seeking for the way to defeat the impossible odds and strong enemies.

To award the players and furtherly induce them to think creatively, we’ve created the Picture Rule, which gives players bonuses for creative solutions in game situations.

More about the Picture Rules and choice of dice for the game in a next episode of Creator’s (B)log!

Development Blog 0 – Let’s get started

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Hello everybody!

With the exception of the backer surveys, we haven’t been informing you too much of what’s been going around, and we’re going to fix this, from now on.

It’s a little bit tough to be a small team and working on something this ambitious, so we’ve been swamped with the sheer workload behind everything.

Of course, we had everything on paper where the facts looked allright and manageable, but when we started crossing out the items from the list, it happened that further we were on the list, longer the downtime between actually finishing the items was.

But not to worry, everything is going well, and most of the extra art and writing we had in mind is finished.

The book is going on the editing soon, then on the layouting. The print and fulfillment agencies come afterwards, and then your imagination is the limit after you receive your package!

Starting with the next blog entry, we’re going to explore the world further and report you with the phases we’re in at the time!

Stay tuned!

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