It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 2 months since Paths: World of Adia had its first Kickstarter. While it was canceled I honestly can say that it made me quite happy. Kickstarter has a lot associated with it that was incredibly stressful for us as designers. By canceling we could make the Trade Trouble module available for everyone and not just backers. As a team, we learned a lot about ourselves and the industry as a whole. Things I’m not sure we would have learned without Kickstarter. For us the canceling of the Kickstarter was not the end of the road, it was actually a new beginning.
There is, however, much work that still needs to be done on the project before release. It’s our goal to help make the Player’s Guidebook the best version of itself I can make it. This book lays the groundwork for years to come. There is a lot of pressure riding on us to get this right. Luckily, I have a wonderful team with me that is incredibly supportive.
You can check out the latest version of Paths Player’s Guidebook here. This includes character sheets, patch notes, and the Player’s Guidebook.
What This Patch Covers
Its been my opinion for a while that our skills were messy. We had far larger things to be worrying about so we didn’t bother changing them. Our goal for Paths is to make this Player’s Guidebook last us for as long as possible. We have to critique everything we’ve done and ask: “How will this bite us down the road”. The old Craft, Knowledge, and Performance skills left a lot of open-ended. This made the job of writing adventures super difficult to know what skills the players will have. There was lots of confusion with some skills and what they do.
That’s all been overhauled. How you gain and upgrade skills have not changed. What skills are available have changed and with them include better explanations of how they work. In fact, this change makes it far cheaper for characters to gain benefits from spending XP on skills. This changes a ton in the book as nearly everything touches our skill system. In the official patch notes, I laid what’s been affected by this change (that we remembered to record).
Talents have been something in the book that I honestly felt were an unnecessary addition to the game. Initially, they were a way to make it so everyone was able to craft a unique character…which is the purpose of the classes. In that light, we have completely removed them. Moving forward, we intend to put much of the functionality of them into future classes like the Warrior. If we don’t include a talent into the Player’s Guidebook, we hope to implement them down the road.
Bailey and I went through another session of cleaning up the spells. This time we went through all of our Grade 0-3 spells for Elemental. There are still a lot of gaps in the overall spell list. New spells will be added as we wrap up classes and find which abilities we can convert to spells. That gives us a good picture of which areas we are lacking (like our lack of Air Elemental spells, my inner Aang is dying).
I have been receiving comments on our current encumbrance system and I have attempted a fix. In an ideal situation, I would remove the rule entirely but that doesn’t fit with the feeling for Paths. It should be far more forgiving and a bit simpler to figure out. I will be keeping a closer eye on this rule until feedback says otherwise. This also led me to make a few updates to the equipment section. This includes a reduction in the number of weapon types and giving our crafting system an initial polishing.
What is Left?
The core of Paths is more or less wrapped up. The primary things we are working on is the rework of the Warrior, Priest, and Ranger classes. They are the last of the class reworks. Once they are done we will need plenty of playtesting done on them. The biggest challenge of redesigning the classes is making sure the mechanics don’t overlap with the other classes.
Once the classes are done we are moving on to our Equipment chapter which needs a lot of love. This will cover starting equipment and gold for all the classes. It is then that we can do some quick-start guides for the classes.
All the while we will be constantly working on updating the spells to get a robust and useful spell list. At some point down the line, I plan to consolidate all of our Spellcasting rules to put in Spellcasting chapter. I have received a lot of questions about spellcasting, all of which are answerable in the book. This tells us the information is not presented well and that we need to do a better job of it.
Everything else we need to do for the book is mostly polish and clarification. Smunchy (Sean Fallon) has been supplying me with playtest feedback when he gets it. I hear everything you have to say about the game and I’m keeping notes. Some issues are the book’s layout, which I will be looking at ways to best present information. Some content we are even taking out because it will be better presented in future products. This reduces the size of the book as a whole (the current Player’s Guidebook is absolutely massive). Once our list of sub-projects is done, we will be moving strictly into patch mode. I will be updating the book as we receive feedback so our designers and writers can move on to other Path’s projects.
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once development and playtesting are complete, it leaves my hands for formatting and the wonderful process of turning it into a full product to be sold. This is a long process but the final product we hope is something everyone will enjoy. It has been many, many long nights of work with twists and turns. We are ever looking to the future for Paths and I am ecstatic to be part of this wonderful team.
If you have questions about Paths: World of Adia you can post feedback in the Smunchy Games discord. I also write articles on Nerdolopedia for more specific topics like Game Mastering, Anime, and Storytelling. You can also find me on twitter.