Eric Lamoureux here for an update on the progress with Wiseguys. I recorded the latest Wiseguys Video Diary last night but the audio is completely borked, so I decided to put it into words here. My Wiseguys Video Diary is a YouTube series where I talk about my journey through the process of writing my first setting for Savage Worlds and hope that it can help other creators going down the same path.
It's been a month since the release of the Wiseguys Demo Kit and it's been downloaded over 400 times! We've received very positive feedback so we're quite pleased. Several wonderful people around the world have also come forward to help playtest the Demo Kit and beyond.
I've concluded the playtest with my group this past weekend. I have to say I've gotten what I wanted out of it. The biggest effect it's had was to prune out the things I believed were cool and essential to the Wiseguys experience but turned out not to be simply because they didn't come up, were overlooked during character creation, or that I didn't want to use during play.
Something else that influenced my decision was the discussion my Wild Die Podcast co-hosts and I had in a recent episode on Setting Rules and an interview at Veiled Fury Entertainment. At that time, Wiseguys was working with about 9 Setting Rules. Some were nothing more than a paragraph. Still, I took a hard look at what I had and decided to take half of them out, or at least represent them in another way. The Organized Crime setting rule that gave every player characters the Vow (Minor) Hindrance, Connections Edge and left them with 50% of their earnings at the end of each week became part of character creation instead, with the 50% being represented the Poor Hindrance. I worked hard on the Contacts Setting Rule and I Know a Guy Edge but the players didn't seem interested in taking any of the 30 or so cool contacts I had created. So I changed how it worked. You can now make up one Contact as needed per rank, and the I Know a Guy Edge allows you to create more. All those contacts I created will become nice cards that a group can use when someone lacks inspiration. The Source of Income Setting Rule inspired by the Optional Wealth system from Nemezis, and meant to highlight a mobster's life outside of "adventuring" is in the process of becoming a random table the Don can use to put the spotlight on a particular character, creating a side-trek adventure of sort.
If you're writing your own setting, when it comes to Setting Rules my advice to you is this. What are you trying to accomplish? What is the desired effect on the game? The mechanic you thought was needed to illustrate it may not be the best one for that. For instance, in Wiseguys, when mobsters get caught they are likely to go to jail. This is the result of accumulating Heat and gaining the Wanted Hindrance. In Savage Worlds, Social Conflicts have an example of a trial. For the longest time, this was the way it came down to for me in my design. When I took a closer look at how Heat worked (basically like Wounds or Fatigue) it became obvious that once your Wanted (Incapacitated, hello?!) you roll on the Verdict Table (Incapacitation Table) using Knowledge (Law) instead of Vigor. Always keep mechanics as simple as possible when you design them. Then playtest them. Once you're done with that. Make them even simpler. Let them simmer for a while, and then make them even more simple again!
Finally. I've been working on Wiseguys almost non-stop for 13 months now. I'm very close to completion. Summer is here in North West Pennsylvania and it's very short. We're waiting on Savage Black to finish it because we want it to be compatible with it. So I decided to take a break from writing and playing Wiseguys for the summer. I'll still be coordinating the various playtest groups, taking notes and using the valuable feedback to finish the book. We also plan to release a few One Sheets leading up to the Kickstarter.
So that's it folks! Talk to you later.