Sunday, 2 March 2014

Bestiary: More or Less?

I've made good progress on PowerFrame's magic system, although there are still a few wrinkles to iron out before it's properly complete. I might blog about that when I've sorted through the options a bit more. In the meantime, I've been filling in some details in the Adversaries section - Races, Archetypes, and Creatures.

For Races I currently have Elf, Dwarf, Goblin, and Minotaur, which take up a page in total. I might add another page if anything comes to mind, but I'm fairly happy with giving people a few examples to work from and leaving them the tools to make their own.

For Archetypes I currently have Warrior, Archer, Town Guard, Police/Security, Modern Soldier, and Bandit. They take up half a page each. Again, the system contains tools for making your own Archetypes, so I think just a few examples is a good start.

I started on Creatures yesterday. My previous group had put quite a lot of work into creating a Bestiary, which featured many detailed renditions of real-world animals. I myself did quite a bit of research on big cats and statted up seven versions across six species (lion and lioness get separate stats). On top of that, we have three types of bears, a few dogs, boars and domestic pigs, monkeys and apes, big game, and a swathe of domesticated livestock.

I'm trying to decide how much detail to put into the main rulebook. I had started out creating a format that condenses several species of information into a single statblock, but I'm not sure if the level of detail is worth it. Thinking about how I've presented the Races and Archetypes, I'm considering stripping it back and having one example each of a few different groups - an archetypal big cat, bear, wolf, predatory bird, snake, and shark.

On top of that, I'll include some monsters to give people an idea of how to create fantastic beasts and what the expectations and limitations are.

If I find the time, or there's sufficient demand, I can always release a more comprehensive Bestiary as a PDF supplement later on.

What do you think? Given that PowerFrame's a bit of a do-it-yourself toolbox, would you prefer just a smattering of examples and access to the tools? Or would you prefer more detailed and comprehensive information up-front?

Basically, does the difference between a leopard, cougar, jaguar, cheetah, lion, and tiger matter to you?