November 30th, 2010
Published on November 30th, 2010 @ 09:11:41 pm , using 240 words, 454 views
Had my head dug in my netbook for the last month. Just when I think I am done with Evolution, something else pops up I have to put in. But this week does mark the end of the first of two rounds of edits. At this point, Evolution stands at 93,000 words, and it's unlikely to change as we close in on the final. I'll explain how it breaks down.
36% of the book is all fantasy. Which puts about 60% (ignoring fluff) for rules that are exclusively techan. This percentage is skewed by the new weapons and armor. This is to be expected and it matches the percentage of the previous book. For those fearing or hoping that our "Essential" rules may dominate this new book, it doesn't. For one, an Essential class is significantly smaller so even though we got them all covered, both core classes and paragon paths only take up 31% of the total book.
So to cover the specifics
Revision original races
New races (kodiak, pagus, and tenenbri).
Essential techan classes: Front grounder, heavy grounder, officer marshal, mechanic operator, medic operator, gunslinger stalker, sniper stalker, sentry vanguard.
Nine traditional paragon paths
19 Essential paragon paths (translated from Amethyst Foundations)
13 Epic destinies
4 weapons with the new "nuclear" property
3 ESP swarm weapons
7 super heavy weapons
9 techan melee weapons
7 hostile injections
5 alternate ammunition types
5 advanced armors
5 new rituals…
And I'll leave it with another sketch. Expect the final in the eventual book…
November 7th, 2010
Published on November 7th, 2010 @ 04:29:04 am , using 213 words, 411 views
So the worst kept secret is finally official. Amethyst Factions is being split in half. Simply and truthfully, it's basically getting too large. At this rate, it will be the size of the original Foundations book. Though some people may not have an issue with that, few games have ever gotten away with it. Besides, it will be better for those wanting a player's book and campaign book separately…which is exactly what we're doing.
The two other advantages of splitting Factions are that the first book will be out sooner and will be cheaper. How cheap? Well, exactly 50% actually. So no accusations of mimicking Blizzard here. So the second book is carrying the name Factions and will be a campaign guide. The first book will be a player's guide and go by the name Amethyst: Evolution. It will feature the new races, new class, essential techans, new paragon paths, new epic destinies, new feats, and new equipment (including super heavy weapons and aircraft).
As a result, I can also say we have finished the first draft of Amethyst Evolution and it is now being edited. Still no locked release date yet but I have hopes for mid-winter. Factions should be out by the end of the season, before the release of Ultramodern4.
October 23rd, 2010
Published on October 23rd, 2010 @ 01:03:59 am , using 1128 words, 477 views
The news today deals with Essentials and how it affects the future of DEM. Recently, WOTC…released…another…update…to DnD. This one reflects most of the design changes showing up in Essentials. It doesn't directly alter the original classes but makes the system receptive to the new ones arriving with the Essentials line. I neither purchased the Red Box nor the Rules Compendium, though I did have the opportunity to read the latter. Funny story there, when I sat down at a table at my local gaming hole, I found an open copy of Amethyst next to me. Being idiot that I am, the first thought that entered my mind was, did I open this book like four months ago and it's been open ever since? No, someone was reading it. Beyond that, the rules aren't dissimilar to the rules in the original 4E…IF you update it, which I have done.
By the way, don't do that.
I spent six hours pasting rules directly into my books and the result is efficient but appalling upon a cursory examination. It was necessary when dealing with creating monsters, which I am currently doing for the next Amethyst book. I did, however, purchase the new Heroes of Fallen Lands. I now understand the mind of Mearls. Do I approve?
As a player of DnD.
As a business man trying to write within their system, it's somewhat frustrating. For one, they rewrote mount rules, meaning if you had chosen a Kannos Kavalier, everything the path and paragon offers…you can now do for free. So we may need to address that. WOTC also retroactively changed their races. This means Amethyst should do so as well. At least this way, there is a precedent. Therefore, expect to see an update relatively soon from DEM regarding new revised races for the original Foundations. This will only be the stat block and not a complete reprinting of the race. Those that pre-ordered will get it first, followed by everyone on our facebook page, and then after it will find itself on DEM's website.
Will we do the same for the classes as well? Noooo. 4E is a specific sandbox and Essentials, though using the same rules, feels like a different sandbox. So we won't be erasing the mechanics of the original Foundations classes. That would be cruel and unnecessary. We already announced that the next book will be a partial splat book, offering alternate features and powers for all the techan classes (as well as a new class, the vanguard). What we are currently playing with is the possibility of offering an "Essential" build to each of our techan classes. So far, the experiment has appeared promising. The end result will require someone to own both Foundations and Factions but if you do own both books, you'll be able to create traditional 4E techan classes as well as "Essential" techan classes. For those not endorsing or not liking Essentials, don't worry. We haven't embraced it whole cloth. The Vanguard will be offered in both formats. All those alternative powers are not available to someone using the Essential build. The final Factions word count is incredibly over-budget, meaning it may have to be split in half. I may get groans for this except that I won't be charging you full price for each book…in fact, it'll be about half. But if this does happen, it will be separated into a player supplement and a campaign supplement, which may be a good idea in any case.
As for my opinion on Essentials, personally, I think I'll reserve that for a Living Dice article...
On similar grounds, we probably won't be inserting Essential builds into Ultramodern4. U4 takes the 4E engine and offers even more variety, opening up the system to a new level of complexity. Essentials goes in the opposite direction. Since the system is already complicated enough, it may collapse if I try and cram in another bunch of rules.
I'll leave with our current build of a revised race. Since everyone appeared to complain about the Tilen, I'm offering them up now. This is not official until the file is made public, so if there are issues, speak now.
Average Height: 5’8” – 6’4”
Average Weight: 45-70 lbs.
Average Starting Age: 30 years
Estimated Life Expectancy: 600 years
Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom, +2 Strength or Dexterity
Languages: Two human languages, one fae language
Skill Bonuses: +2 Heal, +2 Insight
Blessed Body: You receive a +2 to all defenses against necrotic attacks.
Blood Surge: You gain Blood Surge as a racial encounter power.
Blood Vengeance: You receive a +2 racial bonus to attacks and damage rolls against all undead. You also receive an additional +1 bonus to attack and damage against ghulath (vampires).
Reduced Healing: Hit point recovery from healing spells, powers, healing surges, rituals, potions, and any other healing effects are halved. You can offset this with Blood Surge. Keep your unmodified healing surge amount recorded.
Vampiric Remnants: Under direct sunlight, your vision is reduced to 10 squares and you lose all racial skill bonuses. Additionally, when you get emotional in any way (like in a combat encounter, when angered, or in passion), old vampiric traits emerge. Your eyes glow yellow or white or red (depending on the specifics of the character), and your incisors extend. When in this state, you gain a +2 bonus to intimidation, but a -4 penalty to diplomacy.
BLOOD SURGE Tilen Racial Power
Out of necessity, but still filled with trepidation, you drain the blood of a target to heal your wounds.
2/Encounter * Healing, Reliable
Standard/Special Melee touch
Target: Any living creature
Attack: Strength +2 vs. Fortitude or Dexterity +2 vs. Reflex. Increase bonus to attack to +4 at 11th level and +6 at 21st level.
Hit: The target is grabbed. Spend a healing surge and the target takes damage equal to your full healing surge value. Every additional round in the grab inflicts an additional 1d6 + Constitution modifier damage. Increase bonus to attack to +4 at 11th level, and to +6 at 21st level. You are healed the same amount of damage inflicted (which is not lessened by Reduced Healing). Additional damage caused by the power also heals. You do not need to spend a healing surge on subsequent rounds.
Special: When you create your character, choose Dexterity or Strength for the key ability for Blood Surge. This choice remains through your character’s life. If the target is offering itself willingly, you can control the amount of damage inflicted and the amount healed increases by +1d6 (increasing to +2d6 at 11th level and +3d6 at 21st level). Subjects killed via Blood Surge do not become ghulath (vampires). If you already have a target in a grab, this power is reduced to a move action.
October 17th, 2010
Published on October 17th, 2010 @ 03:51:21 am , using 315 words, 190 views
Amethyst Factions is moving right along and is still expected this winter. I can confirm that not only will we be offering three new races (pagus, kodiak, and tenenbri), but also new lifepaths (including a loophole to put clerics back in the game). On the side of magic, we're finally including the ultra-powerful foundation spells along with mystic rituals. For technology, we have weapons designed around the new "nuclear" keyword, super-heavy weapons, and larger powered armor (up to 30 tons). Aircraft are being included from the single-seated York Wasp to the massive Selkirk Armored Zeppelin. Armor piercing, high-explosive, hollow-point, tracer, and rubber rounds are being offered as alternate ammunition. And that's not all…
I feel like a rep from Ronco.
We mentioned a new echan/techan class, the vanguard. Along with the class, we're also including alternate class features and powers for all four original techan classes from Foundations. These are substitute features that replace existing features, like the grounder's Action Shot class feature, which replaces his Area Denial power. Each class will also offer a dozen new alternate powers including a sixth 1st level at-will option.
What else? Eight new paragon paths. Twelve epic destines. 100+ feats. Yes, that's right, over one hundred new feats tied specifically to races, classes, lifepaths, and regions. Every race gains new feats that boost racial abilities and alter their class. With techans, we have more firearm feats and a whole bunch of vehicle- and explosive-based feat powers. I haven't even gotten into the twenty-plus mixed martial arts powers we cooked up.
…As for the second half of the book…
Demons are finally making their appearance, raising the stakes and advancing the setting. More monsters, both technological and organic. After all of this, we end it all with a huge chapter detailing ways to create and run your own Amethyst game along with a bunch of story-based mini-adventures you can run.
October 7th, 2010
Published on October 7th, 2010 @ 04:27:11 am , using 318 words, 281 views
The Social Network is an awesome film and let's move on…
The title is set.
The decision has been made. Our finalists are Amethyst: Fracture and Amethyst: Factions (with Fracture in the lead). We decided to go with Amethyst: Factions. That being said, there is a possibility Factions may be the third book, not the second. More on that in the next few weeks.
Also, anyone seen the new game, Brink? I did and I found this…
That is concept art from the game.
And this is the preview for NeuroSpasta and Ultramodern4. Our image was commissioned and completed late last year. Just wanted to make sure people know that.
...and ours is better...
I'm not accusing anyone. I know this is a pure coincidence as both probably took inspiration from this image…
Finally, some of you may know that before Amethyst and DiasExMachina.com, I ran a fanpage called SerenaDawn.com. DEM is hosted off the SerenaDawn account. That original site actually gathers more hits and unique visits than DEM's site, probably because SerenaDawn is old. It's really old. How old? Well, let's just say that I've owned the address longer than Gabe and Tycho have owned Penny Arcade. In 2008, I discontinued my blog on that site. I maintain it because it's a part of my life I don't need to sacrifice. On it are my old free game adaptations. There used to be quite few, but I've limited it to Pathfinder (a science fiction game using GURPS that predated Firefly/Serenity—for those that check), my renown Alien-FUZION RPG (the site's largest attraction) and the last project I did before committing to Amethyst, a Ghost in the Shell D20 conversion.
I bring this up because a guy named Gershom Reese Wetzel created a truly fantastic character sheet for the Ghost in the Shell D20 RPG. It's really good.