Pathfinder is a great system. I really like the options, the expandability, the openness. But it has so many options it can be daunting, especially in a setting like DarkFall that is limited in scope and availability of certain rules. I still want to self-publish DarkFall, but with the coming release of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, well, that becomes a problem. There are many things about Starfinder that I have a feeling will make their way into PF2 and there are many things in Starfinder that I simply don’t like. I want something easier, more simple, more accessible.
So what do I do?
Well I take Pathfinder since most of it is publicly available, strip out all the extra crap, downsize and rebuild it to fit my setting. There are somethings that are overly complicated, many things that are simply not needed, and if I can reduce it to its core, add what fits in my setting, then in the end I’ll have a simple core book that contains everything needed to play and nothing superfluous.
What does that mean exactly?
No archetypes. No bonuses for different classes for every race. No millions of feats to wade through to find the gems. Limited spells, limited psionics. Limited races. Not a hundred different racial options for each race. If there needs to be a difference between subraces, then they will be subraces and detailed out, not just a simple stat change to make someone unique.
Does this destroy the game? Well, no. I have a lot of history with roleplaying games, all the way back to 1st edition D&D. Back then, we didn’t have tons of options and the gameplay wasn’t ruined. It seems now, especially with Pathfinder, players think they have to alter every minutiae of their character to be ever so slightly different than the others of their race or class and somehow be unique. I don’t want that.
An elf is an elf is an elf.
And the same with dwarves and halflings. There will be subraces of those races, but there won’t be all those racial options for differences within the species. It seems with Pathfinder releases, there were new options in every single book. If I wanted to, I could probably build a halfling with all the racial abilities of a dwarf, to the point that they’d be a halfling in name only. There is no reason for that.
DarkFall will have some different races though and subgroups. There are Feral Halflings and Magachiran Halflings. There are High Elves, Dusk Elves, and Drow. There are the various Tiefling offshoots for each race. There will likely be some sort of Aasimar and other planetouched versions. As the setting grows, I’ll add to it with each book, but those will not be required to play the game. Everything needed will be in the core book and it will remain that way.
DarkFall Core Book
So then, what will the Core Book look like and what will be in it? Here’s a rough Table of Contents, conveniently adapted from one of my favorite (though never played) RPG books: World of Warcraft RPG. It did a thing similar to what I’m doing and took 3.5, stripped it down, changed the races and classes, and rebuilt it as a game all on its own. It is this I wish to emulate.
- General Introduction
- History and Peoples
- The World of DarkFall
- Elf, High
- Elf, Drow
- Elf, Dusk
- Halfling, Feral
- A note about Tieflings, Skinwalkers, Planetouched, and other tainted beings
- Item Creation
- Equipping a Character
- Weapons, Armor and Shields
- Goods and Services
- Technology Items
- Playing the Game
- Abilities and Conditions
- Magic in Aerinwohl
- Spell Lists
- Manifesting Powers
- Power Lists
- Aerinwohl Campaigns
- Choosing a Side
- Wilderness and Survival
- Community Rules
That is it in a nutshell.
Now how do we get there? We start building, very, very slowly. I need to go through everything, find out what makes a class a class, figure out what modifications to races I need for this world and how they all interact with each other. There will be expansion books though as we explore outward from the central part of the world and expand new areas, add new races, and get into more depth about specific regions, magic traditions, monk/psion colleges, and technology. I’ll probably do one whole book about deities and the Godtouched and work on those in more detail. I’ll detail Magitech and Biohacks and how they can be used by players and monsters alike. I’ll do a book about the continent the V’reen call home and eventually detail Magachiro and the seas surrounding it. I could do a book about the Floating Kingdom that patrols and wanders the ocean and go into depth about adventuring under the ocean.
The world as it is though, is open for conquest and development. I’ve got a fairly detailed history, but even that needs expanding and expounding. I’ve detailed most of the gods, but while I will make the Godtouched rules part of the core book, they are begging for their own book to add more ideas, information, and specifics.
Magitech and Biohacks will likely be two books with other information in them. Biohacks will be touched upon in the core book, but detailed more in the V’reen book. That continent is a wild zone of high genetic engineering, life modification, and terrible beasts locked within its shores.
Magitech is still out there, but not in as great numbers as it once was. The magitech book will probably be included in a greater book about technology, ancient history, the technician class, and some of the unique materials to this world.
There is also the First Continent to explore in great detail as well and I’ll probably put together smaller books for regions there. To the north is a great hobgoblin empire lead by their terrible witches and tieflings, still worshipping the lost devils that boosted them to power and gave birth to their empire.
To the south is the raging Horde, noble as it may be and focused on conquest, but still locked in savannah and desert but following their Horde Father and his demigod children. There will be a focus on the wilderness, survival in the wastes, and worship of the nature spirits and ancestors that make up their grand history.
Then of course is Night Below, a terribly realm of darkness and evil ruled mostly by the drow and Mikabrun. Exploration in the lightless world underneath the surface as well as the other races that do not bend to the will of the drow will be detailed here.
Eventually, we’ll do something about the remains of the moon. Its possible this may be explained in a book about magic and describe some different traditions and go into greater explanation of how sorcery works compared to wizardly magic and how the planes interact with the world as I plan to make it different than the traditional D&D/Pathfinder Great Wheel with its Inner and Outer Planes. How it all works together will still have to be explored though as I want it to be different, but not just change it for the sake of changing it.
And that’s about it
That is the great plan. The ideas I throw out there with the intent to develop them and work on them. I have to organize myself better though and start working. And then keep working. Gotta set a schedule and do it every day.
We are currently at a campground and don’t really have anything else to work on, so I’m planning on doing a little each day. I’d like to write for a solid two hours every day. Progress though, progress.