Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, for a muse of fire...

Tonight, for all intents and purposes, my project (which I teasingly hinted at on the 12th) is finished. I've seen the proofs, made some final corrections, and now it's just a matter of waiting until the weekend for it to be officially released.

But today is Saint Crispin's Day (and oh, how I wish I had saved last Monday's video for today), and I really do feel like I have achieved a rather monumental victory here, because while this isn't my first professional writing credit, it is the first to actually (and proudly!) bear my name. It was also very difficult to write, because it was mostly crunchy rules stuff and I freely admit I'm more of an idea person than a rules lawyer.

Still, I have to say this project turned out pretty damn nifty, if I do say so myself, and I have to give a large portion of credit to my friends who listened to me whine, let me bounce ideas off of them, and in more than one occasion came up with a brilliant solution which I shamelessly stole before brazenly passing it off as my own idea.

So I would like officially thank, with great proclamation and splendour, those allies who helped me in my hour of need:  Patrick W., Mxyzplk, Shawn Sage, and -=horsefly=-. Huzzah to you, good sirs! Huzzah! HUZZAH!

That's all very well and good, Erin, but when are you going to tell us what this product is, precisely?

Ah, yes. Sorry about that. My project, as many of you correctly deduced, was a collection of Cavalier feats for Louis Porter Jr. Design's UndeFEATable line. This was harder than it sounds, because not only do I feel I am weak in the mechanics department, but also because the first time I read the cavalier class I was underwhelmed. "Big whoop," I thought to myself, "it's basically another beatstick with a taunt ability and some mild group buffs." This is not the kind of attitude one wants to have when one is writing specifically FOR the cavalier.

So as I saw it, my first job was to make the cavvy awesome and interesting, and the mechanics would naturally flow form there. I was fortunate in that history and literature and folklore are chock-full of examples of knights, and I gleefully mined them for inspiration. This gave rise to the Knightly Feats, which allow you to emulate various types of knights (some from literature, some from the tarot) by expending uses of your Challenge ability to fuel other powers. Want to be a treacherous, bullying black knight? Take Knight of Swords. If instead you'd rather be more dashing and flamboyant in the tradition of Dumas, Knight of Wands is probably more your speed. And if you really want to imitate the Green Knight of Arthurian legend, well, we can accommodate you there as well.

Then there are the fun concept ideas, like Sheriff or Quixotic. (Consult your GM before taking these.) There are the obligatory "engage ass-kicking mode" feats like Vendetta and Crusade. And of course there are the utility powers that nearly everyone wanted during the playtest, like Extra Challenge and Improved Mount.

But the best part for me was writing the two new Orders. After I re-read the cavalier entry in the Advanced Player's Guide, I realized that it was missing a critical concept: that of the knight-errant. I split this concept into two distinct groups: those who quested after something (like the Grail knight), and those who swore to defend a specific thing (like the Hospitallers, or the archetypal Knight Who Bars the Way.) These became the Order of the Wolf and the Order of the Citadel, respectively.

I am very, very proud of this achievement, and here upon Saint Crispin's Day, I ask you to join me in my victory.

(And buy the PDF when it comes out. It'll be cheap and I get a chunk of the proceeds!)

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