Saturday, August 15, 2020

GOZR Rising

I posted a few times about my pet project GOZR. I pick it up now and then, work on it a while, then drop it for a time. I picked it up again recently and I've managed to knock out several more pages. Feels good to make progress. In spirit, this is exactly how I do Black Pudding. In fact, this whole thing could easily be part of that zine except that it's a) not very compatible with old school D&D and b) in color. 

GOZR is part of my grail quest to create an RPG that captures the vibe of fantasy adventure games, heavy on the sword & sorcery, with an original system not dependent on class or level. It's part of that quest to have a game with "organic" character development. That is, characters change and grow through play. You find magic items, get cursed, meet powerful allies, and learn new tricks. Random rolls between adventures add unexpected developments.

Here's a short snapshot of what the game is, right now.

Physically, it will be in comic book format. Now let me be clear: I don't mean it is a comic, I mean the aspect ratio is 6x9ish and the printed book will look and feel like a comic... all floppy and shit. As of right now, there are no actual comics within its pages. That could change, though.

I'm doing it this way because I feel like the floppy comic format is a lower buy-in in terms of price and you can be unafraid to get beer on it. I would get a couple of copies if I was running this at a bar, then just toss 'em down on the table.

The game is about the gooz, a people at the end times of a dying world. The gooz were perhaps once the slaves of, or creations of, the Pretty People. In my mind, the Pretty People are just humans and/or elves and such. Doesn't matter much. They came and went and left behind vast cities and places now in ruin. The gooz dwell mostly in Gooz City and are dealing with having been the "ugly ones" and now they are really the only game in town, in terms of civilizations.

The world is dying. There are references to an angry sun. My idea is that the adventures will offer secrets that could be used to help heal the world. Gooz have to decide if they want to make sacrifices to heal their world, or just murder hobo their way through ruins. I am not drawing analogies between the fate of the gooz' earth and the fate of our own planet. You certainly can read it that way, but it is not my intention. This dying earth concept is 100% inspired by Richard Corben and various end of the world fantasy, such as Jack Vance.

In fact, the gooz themselves are basically all those weird dudes you see in the Den sequence of the movie Heavy Metal. The ones that serve the queen whats-her-face and carry machine guns.

Remember these goons?

Ok. So chargen is randomized. There are tables you roll on. Some are mandatory, others are optional, and others are relative to other results. There are also "high risk" options. These are tables that do the same thing, but have bigger risk/rewards. I love the idea of letting the player decide how much risk to take. So for example during your adventure interludes when you do level-ups you can choose which tables to roll on. If you only want something useful, roll on the safe tables. But if you want something wickedly useful, you'll have to risk some nasty shit.

This is all hand-drawn and lettered. That's the reason it takes so god damned long. I'm composing, editing, and drawing it on the canvas as I go. A terrible idea, but also wonderful and fun. It is a game meant to inspire and encourage creative play, like Black Pudding. I hope it does what I want it to do.

Next post I'll talk about the actual mechanics.

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