This was originally posted as an update to the Pugmire Kickstarter.
Hello, good dogs! It’s been a couple of months since the Kickstarter ended, and I wanted to give you an update on where things are with me. March and April was preparation work, including:
- Working out logistics with Onyx Path and Earplay
- Initial design discussion with Dave Grossman on the Pugmire Earplay design
- Getting demos from interested voice actors for Pugmire audio drama and Earplay
- Reviewing the 5e OGL (good news — it’s virtually identical to the one in Early Access!) and adjusting some text based on what’s in the 5e SRD (mainly using some terminology I thought I wouldn’t be able to use, like “advantage,” “disadvantage,” and “proficiency”)
- Writing a style guide for Pugmire RPG and fiction products (a Pugmire audio style guide will come later)
- Writing the outline of what I want to do for Pugmire, and bringing a couple of writers on board to help me out
- Building up a roster of existing and upcoming characters within the world of Pugmire, including backer characters
- Making some revisions to the system based on Early Access feedback and playtest data
The last one is a bit odd. I spent a chunk of April just focusing on incorporating some fixes and adjustments, smoothing out some rough edges so I can use the rest of the time on the first draft adding new material. Here’s a list of some of the changes I made:
- d20 rolls are now divided into three groups: ability checks (for abilities), attack rolls (for attacks), and saving throws (to resist effects) — this is mainly to clarify that modifiers to one kind of roll don’t apply to all rolls
- Some dog families have moved around between breed groups to more accurately represent their real-world counterparts
- Tricks are undergoing errata revision — for example, Bypass now has a Wisdom saving throw to detect traps, instead of requiring active use, and Unarmored Defense is revised to use Dexterity instead of Strength — but some tricks will be more heavily revised
- “item aptitudes” are replaced with various aptitude tricks (Simple Weapon Aptitude, Martial Weapon Aptitude, Masterwork Weapon Aptitude, Light Armor Aptitude, Medium Armor Aptitude, Heavy Armor Aptitude, and Shield Aptitude)
- Weapons and armor statistics have been updated, based on playtest data
- Proficiency bonus now increases every other level
- Resting is now an hour, not ten minutes
- Players can “interrupt” and immediately take a turn by spending fortune
- The Guide can add fortune to the fortune bowl to get the benefits of “spending” fortune on behalf of non-player characters (including interrupting)
There may be more changes as I continue to work on the first draft, but those were areas that I knew I wanted to make some updates. Two areas that require more substantial changes are the spell system and enemies. Those are going to be completely reworked, and I’ve hired two talented people — David Bounds and Rob Wieland — to help me with them.
The majority of the feedback I’ve gotten were that spells are confusing, have some specific issues, and don’t differentiate between artisans and shepherds very much. David has some ideas on how to not only fix those concerns, but also build a structure that will extend better to future products (including some very early ideas of Mau necromancy). I won’t share any details right now, since we’re still deep in the realm of discussing design, but I think it’s going in a good direction. Meanwhile, I want a nice, flavorful selection of enemies and other non-player characters for the first book — things that are evocative of traditional fantasy games, but still have that unique Pugmire spin. Rob and I have already kicked around a few ideas, and I’m really excited by what he’ll bring to the table.
I’ve also been deciding on the nature of the world around the kingdom of Pugmire, and Rich has created this beautiful map. It’s not the final version, but I already love how it’s turning out. Here’s a look at where it’s at right now!
Finally, some people have asked about the status of other products with words in them. Right now, everything pretty much requires the first book to be finished before we can move forward. That’s the book you backed, and I want to make sure it gets to you in good time, but any subsequent products also needs to build on this material, so I need to focus on it. I’m hoping that I can get started on some of the additional products (like the anthology) once I have at least a complete first draft. Earplay is a bit of an exception, because we’re breaking completely new ground with that. It requires more of a lead-up as we sort out the logistics of making a whole new thing, but even that probably won’t start in earnest for a couple more months.
That isn’t to say I haven’t been thinking about future products. Aside from the stretch goals we committed to, there are at least four more we’re considering, and I’m in preliminary talks on some other very interesting possibilities. But that’s all down the road, and it all comes after we get this first book done.
I’ll have some more bits to share with you in June!