GUMBOOT: An RPG adaptation rough notes and ideas (or I am too busy to do this work!)

Have I mentioned 12m12s recently? that happens tonight. And in prepping and running this system, I have fallen head over sticky heels for the GUMSHOE system. And, in mentioning it to others, interest was expressed in my adapting the game for a more fantasy format. Never being one to shirk from having too much on my plate, I’ve started to jot some notes down and put thought cycles into the development of my adaptation for it. So let’s talk about it, shall we?

I love TimeWatch (TW), because the only way I can conceive of it being written is a large whiteboard with absolutely everything with time travel being written on it, then they built a system to do all of that. That’s what I want to do with this system. I’m still compiling my list of reference materials, but it is a thing I want to do.

The list of materials does drive the list of Things I Need to Consider, as listed below. That’ll probably get moved to a G-doc or a page as I get deeper into it. (I also need to decided the level of transparency here: do I want to make this a public work in progress? Or is this going to be good enough to make into a product worth of selling? Not sure. I have a good contact or two who might be able to shed light on that as we get closer.)

So what are my big, primary references? D&D, obviously, is the big one, although I’m finding that the differences in system philosophy make it really hard to think about them at the same time. (I do need to check out LoreFinder, the Gumshoe/Pathfinder merger, and see what’s up with that. The character sheet looked like a more complicated version of a pathfinder sheet, which I didn’t think was possible.) There are probably other D&D-esque related things I should draw from as well. The end product is going to be compared to D&D, tho, so I need to be prepared for that.

We move on to fiction after that. Bullet points!

  • Harry Potter-As much as I champion other books, it is probably the best known magic system (as much as it’s not a system) and it needs to be included.
  • Steven Brust’s Jhereg, of course, being some of my favorite fantasy
  • The Belgariad by David Eddings. Not sure how much I can draw from it, but it does make me think about how a lot of different systems have different ways of dealing with magic. That’s important to make this universal.
  • Papa Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (and hobbit too!) Another series that I think is a bit over-hyped, but if people are getting into RPGs not because of Harry Potter, its probably LotR
  • Dresden has its own RPG system and I don’t know it super well, but its a thing
  • Aang the Air bender and co, Mercades Lackey’s Elemental mages series, and my own Trial through combat series are all 4 elements based. SO that should be something I pay tribute and attention to
  • Wheel of time has a lot going on.
  • Brandon Sanderson’s mistborn had some cool elements before he needed to make super super mages.
  • I need to go through a list of Disney films. Beauty and the beast has a few things I want. Not sure about anything else yet.
  • Dr stange and Thor have some pieces to look at. MAybe some other super heroes do too.
  • Terry brooks, terry goodkind, terry pratchett.

I can go on for a long long time. There are a lot of places to draw reference from. Most of them will be similar enough that I can include one piece and and list a few variations and everything will be fine.

In addition to the list of references, I also have a list of things I need to work on. This is not the category of work like “Write up what spell A and B do” this is the type of work like “Okay, do we really need A or B?” A lot of high level decisions about the game here.

  • Familiars and companions- I’ve grown to hate extra NPCs, mainly because they are under utilized. I’m not sure how to fix it. In fantasy, there are 2 types of companions, the silent helpful ones and the vocal, has-own-opinion ones. In my experience, both aren’t done well in D&D. I have a few ideas, but still thinking about it
  • race and class. Not universal to fantasy settings. Race might me the more important, but I should at least see what I can do about them. There is a version of gumshoe with occupations that might work.
  • Items. Gumshoe isn’t really big at defining a “inventory” So I’m not sure on how to do simple things like Plate armor and heavy weapons and I have no idea how to do things like cloaks of invisibility and other magic items. I mean, I have a few ideas, but I don’t like them yet.
  • ANd then spells, spells, spells. SOme to keep, some to toss. How do they work? no idea.
  • I should jot notes about monsters and dungeons too. The game will be played much differently, once it is playable.

The one thing that I do have figured out (mostly) are the abilities that are used. If my count is right, I have 12 general abilities, and 21ish investigative abilities that I’ve managed to keep a mostly balanced number of tech, academic, and interpersonal abilities.

There are still a few bugs to work out with them. I have to decide if people can investigate spell casting without being able to cast spells. And if”Divine” magic is a thing or not and a bunch of small descisons like this.

Basically, the whole point of this post is to wave my arms and shout “I’m doing things!” so people can know that I’m, well, doing things. Including a Saturday RPG article :/

This would have been better, but I was up too late for such an important day, and a lot of my thoughts are on tonights game, after a tasty tasty nap. Anyway, it happened and this article happened and next week, it could be better. Come back for that!


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