A couple of Saturdays ago, my friend Stephen and I were holding our first lecture; World-building: for Fictional Writers and Campaign settings. After five weeks of work and promotion; this is a lot of hard yakka! The night before I went down, rearranged seats, tables and brought chocolates with notepads for our participants. Even something small always seems to make a little difference. I woke up at four thirty am and apparently so did Stephen, my offsider. When your mind racing with anticipation, it will beat any old alarm clock. Didn’t think a suit was needed as I was wearing smart casual, but Stephen didn’t think so; typical planners, always over preparing. As this was our first lecture, anxiety seems reasonable but that question niggles your mind. How many people will rock up? My guess was between five to ten.. There we waited. Ten am rolled around, nobody. Ten past ten, still not a living soul. At this point, one walks in… And he was the only one.
Now you see this and think, great here goes another rant about ranting or he will give some speech on ‘I put myself out there and nothing! Why even try?!’. If you think that is going to happen, read the title, Unexpected Discoveries. Shannon Wright was such a discovery.
After introducing ourselves, we asked what about his background is and wow, he was a beta tester for role playing games and had knowledge of many gaming systems. He stated why that our lecture would give some insight into the creating of worlds. First question there, what are you working on so we have some idea on how we could help. He asked me something about my world; I talked about the speed of travelling on a road in Favinonia. Then he asks a question which I couldn’t answer ‘How does know the knowing the speed of the trip impact on your story?’, after mumbling over some pathetic replies, I didn’t know.
Then he recounted a story about doing a game in a traditional system; the first kid wanted to be a typical archetype class, straight from the players handbook and that was it. The boy’s younger sister wanted to play too, and her character was a princess who can talk to animals. As there was no class representing this concept, he chooses something close to it then make up the rest. Then the next youngest wanted to play as the animal companion of the Princess that was no problem. Now it time to roll up the stats and read what all this means. As older players, that is all good but with kids, it is pretty annoying. Then he had an epiphany and this why he was here about world creation, Shannon was creating his role-playing system.
The System is called ‘Enter the Dreamscape’ and the best way to describe it is if you can think it up, you can do it. After hearing this, both myself and Stephen were excited to create characters, as we are used to other systems which could take hours. We were surprised at how quickly it was to create a character and a concept. My concept was Blood Avatar in an exo-suit and Stephen was a Shadow Imperial Chinese Dragon. Both ideas were acceptable and much more. Say if I wanted to be a clay sculpture of a Hercules that had come to life, I could. This concept is similar to the Hero System as you think it can happen. The difference between Heroes and Dreamscape is time and understanding. Took me half a day to read, choose and understand in creating a character. And that is not even understanding on how to play the game. Within ten minutes, I created a character and came up with my concept, then how to play it was instinctual. You have a Mental and Physical attributes, seven general skills, traits and powers which have a connection with these two characteristics. That is it, as they choosen at random, all that stops you is your imagination. Then Shannon levelled us up, and that took no time at all. And if we wanted to we had the option of changing our concepts or evolving them. I choose to develop, so it became Blood Avatar with Rune Exosuit as I was very Physical but lacked in Mental attribute, so the runes part change that and made me more balanced.
I spent nearly six hours with Shannon, most of that was talking about world creation and role-playing, then being excited about play testing his system. I can tell you that I have never once had this complete understanding of a system in mere minutes. As this will be a unique in the role-playing games of today. I know from Shannon that he will be kick-starting this later in the year and I will be not only one of his beta-testers but a supporter of the project. From the young, inexperienced player to the most veteran gamer, this will be a great game to play in. Keep an eye out for following up blogs on my experience with this system.