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Dev Diary – Paths: World of Aida PGB 1.8.8

Dev Diary – Paths: World of Aida PGB 1.8.8

It has been a long and satisfying year. While we’ve had our bumps and bruises, experienced burnout, and run into numerous complications, the developmental work for the Path: World of Adia Player’s Guidebook is done. I can’t describe how incredibly happy we all are to check off the final items on our to-do list. While we enjoy working on the game, everything needs to come to an end. After all, we want a printed copy of the dang thing.

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

This patch covers the final development we have which includes an overhaul on the spells, an updated format and challenge for the creatures, updates to the Beast Master’s beast taming path, and a few minor things we had to clean up.

Spells

The overhaul of spells has been very much on our minds over the last year. With every class, magic art, and spell type we have been wanting to ensure that players will have all the options. Our resident spell rat Bailey has been hard at work writing completely new spells which I then go in and tear apart to make them function in the game. 

Now, we have completed 248 unique spells. With these spells, we wanted to try and cover as much variety of play as we could to make every spellcaster you play a unique experience. Even that said there are so many more spells that we will be adding in future products. We are always keeping an eye out on spells and how they can be used in both traditional and GM in a Box adventures. Unfortunately not every spell will find usefulness in the GM in a Box, so you will need to keep this in mind. 

Creatures

The Paths team has been talking about creatures for a long while now, especially with several of us moving on to work on one of our next major books: Creatures & Curiosities of Central Walenhyde. Last year I took a month to really examine how we design creatures because we are shipping the book with 15 creatures that characters will use either from their class abilities or from spells. However, with that in mind, no matter the calculations or Difficulty Rating we give the creatures, they will never be completely balanced.

The DR system is our closest approximation for the start of a way to balance combat. The truth of the matter, however, is that no system that is perfectly balanced will ever be fun or feasible in some cases. This would make combats samey and boring. So, we have come up with calculations that will be a useful tool for GMs to use at their table and make it easier for us to develop adventures that we think will deliver an enjoyable experience.

Beast Master

Ho boy. How do I begin to talk about the challenges we’ve had with the Beast Master? Well, our issues with developing creatures translated into how the Beast Master and its Beast Taming path worked. The first iteration of this class was really a shot in the dark to see if it would work and we mostly hit the mark. The main problem we ran into was that we were getting questions for what happened if your beast died.

In this case, I’m really happy that I spent time studying the Ranger from D&D 5th Edition because this is the exact problem they were running into  (notwithstanding the Ranger being the worst class in that edition). Your beast dying gave us 2 problems: If you can tame another beast how does the Beast Improvement ability work with the new beast and would that create a break in the system, and how can we encourage players to not just immediately go tame a new beast. 

The answer to the first problem gave us what we needed to answer the second problem. We decided the best option was to consider the beast a separate entity that gains its own XP. This made it so we could eliminate the Beast Improvement ability and layout a few rules for how Beasts can spend XP (mainly it can’t buy classes and how to increase its size). For all intents and purposes, this player is now playing two characters.

This change to the beasts inadvertently fixed our next issue as long as we gave one option. We added the ability to revive the beast without the need of a Resurrection spell. It pretty much follows the rules for the spell but with a different cost (coin and time). With this, resurrecting your beast or taming a new beast becomes a question of time commitment. You have to invest XP into the new beast, and if it’s not at the same difficulty your improved beast became you will have to spend all that time improving it.

Clean-up

We are at the point in the book that we are nitpicking everything because what is there is going to be in the final product and we have to make sure that every little thing makes sense for the system as a whole. So we’ve been trying to solve the issues we’ve had brought up in feedback, which has been incredibly helpful.

We have also been removing things that simply don’t need to be in the book at this time. With the creatures, we cut out most of the non-essential creatures. This book is massive, sitting just around the 400-page mark in google docs. So we really needed to slim things down as much as we can. But with every cut, we store that in a document to reevaluate for a future book.

What’s Next?

I am both delighted and saddened that this is our final public update. We are going to be combing through the book looking for any errors and inconsistencies while handing it off to our editor and formatters. This does not mean that we won’t be listening to your feedback! Until the book releases, I’ll be fighting to include as many fixes as we can to ensure that this book is in its best shape when it lands in your hands. This includes any balances to creatures, XP, Spells, class abilities, etc.

But that’s not all. There is so much more coming for Paths: World of Adia. But I’m going to let Sean Fallon (Smunchy) take over from here to tell you what’s coming up:

Hey there Smunchies! Gosh, it truly has been an incredible journey that we’ve been on. We’ve been developing the Paths: World of Adia Player Guidebook, Trade Trouble (our first traditional module), and Secrets of Tynordane (Our first GM-in-a-box module). 

How long has it been since we started this journey with Smunchy Games? Starting roughly in 2015 – 2016 until here in 2020? Wow!  Just about 5 years, and here we are, writing the last official update for the Paths: World of Adia public beta.

First off, I want to thank each and every one of you that have been following our journey so closely, play testing Paths: World of Adia with us and becoming a part of this world. 

Paths: World of Adia has so much more coming that we’ve been already working on and developing the following books, traditional modules, and GM-in-box modules:

  • Field Guide to Central Walenhyde
  • Relics of the Past (GM-in-a-box Module)
  • Wild Roost (Traditional Module)

Following this, there is a couple of other sneak peeks that I would like to give you that are currently in development or are planned to be in development closer toward the end of 2020:

  • Creatures and Curiosities of Central Walenhyde
  • The Duundel Den (Traditional Module)
  • A Crown of Adders (GM-in-a-box Module)
  • Gawl’Wunga (Traditional one-shot Module)
  • Reign of Pain: Maiming on the Plains (Traditional one-shot module series)

This is only the beginning of Paths: World of Adia, with many more years to come. Please stay tuned to the Smunchy Games website, or with us on Social Media for announcements and details on each of these books and modules in development.

When we, myself and my wife (and Co-founder) Ray, started on this journey with a dream in hand and only a path in front of us to follow – it urged us to take those first steps as we had no idea what paths we would end up taking or where we would end up (pun intended, ha!). It has been extremely magical, and at times rather emotional to go through, and by emotional, I mean the best of emotions – those happy tears – seeing something like this that we had spent 15 years prior (between myself, her, and my brother-in-law collectively) creating this world of Adia.

We are so thankful and grateful for every single moment that has happened. Both the good and the bad. Most importantly, we’re so appreciative of being able to get to spend that time with all of you.

We look forward to seeing your characters in Adia exploring all of the caves, cities, towns, mountains, rivers, lakes, dungeons, and places of legend with us.

New adventures await Choose your path.

Smunchy & 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, Worldbuilding, and Storytelling. You can also find me on twitter.

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