Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Blade Bind Designs, Part 4

I finally managed an online playtest on the weekend, which I need to write about soon... But first, here's the next three Blade designs!

Set is named after the Egyptian god. I always wanted to include a khopesh, but it took me a while to come up with one that didn't look like it was a goggle-eyed gaping face (I kept trying to have a floating eyeball inside the back curve, but the sharp blade looked like lips on my original attempts). By the way, although a few Blades are named after gods or legendary swords, they aren't necessarily the genuine artefact. It's possible that the Blade-entity has simply assumed that identity in order to bring itself closer to humanity.

Brass Dragon came to me one night as I was drifting off to sleep. I originally had a different Blade with that traditional buster-sword blade shape, but I wasn't all that happy with the design. I really enjoyed playing around to get the crystal effect, although I might go back and try to give the scales a little extra colour contrast compared to the blade.

Templar came from the concept of "a sword made out of a suit of plate armour". I think it came out pretty well, and I pushed my Illustrator-based gradient techniques to the limit on the rendering. As with a lot of the Blades it's a bit impractical and unwieldy, but that's less of a concern for magical swords.

In the playtests, the Blades have been providing some great inspiration for character approaches and setting up situations. The game's setup is primed with a few randomly-drawn cues, such as your archetype and important relationships, and random Blade selection also adds to that.

In the recent playtest we had Michael (angel-feather), Templar (plate armour) and Miko (Shinto shrine-maiden). My character's family was a Blade-worshipping cult, but they'd chosen her childhood friend to inherit Michael. My character had gone to the East to find Miko, and was back to prove herself worthy of leading the cult. The third character had Templar, and decided to be the guardian of the Holy Grail.

I'll discuss the playtest a bit more in a future post, but it's great to see the unique and evocative designs having an effect on play.

This marks the completion of the first twelve Blade designs. At the moment I only have twelve sets of Techniques, so I'm going to slow down on Blade design and concentrate on other illustrations for a while. I do still intend to create a thirteenth Blade to round out the set (probably Excalibur, but I have no idea what it looks like yet), and I may create some supplementary designs which might get promoted to the "basic set".

Oh, and I've also been fiddling around with the book layout. Here's the latest – I just created a shadowy tendril border effect, which is a bit more interesting than the old flat gradients. What do you think?