Worldember 2023 Prep

This has been a year of new ideas, new directions, and new projects. At the beginning of the year, the Great WotC License Debacle caused me to rethink the direction I wished to take with regard to publishing parts of Cartyrion for TTRPG play. This resulted in the Laurels & Loot project - the design of an entirely new TTRPG rules system. At the same time, the #Dungeon23 challenge saw the birth of a classic, old-school "megadungeon" for players to explore.

Then Real Life reared its head, and the distractions abounded. Now, I've got most, but not all, of a rules system ready for play-test, and the beginnings of a dungeon crawl in which to do that testing.

Week 1: The Pledge

This Worldember, my goal is to finish the basic rules for Laurels & Loot, as well as the scripting for the Forgotten Academy Adventure dungeon crawl. The former will involve a lot of work on spell and item descriptions, and a lot of editing of the mechanics as playtesting proceeds. The latter will include statblocks and information necessary for use with Laurels & Loot only (though I still may, in the future, also provide versions for other TTRPG systems).

Though the title of my Worldember work suggests a focus on the Adventure, in order for it to be a "Laurels & Loot Adventure", I will need to apply equal focus to the rules themselves.

Week 2: The Mini-Meta

As indicated in the pledge, my Worldember work will be focused on two areas. With regard to the Laurels & Loot rules, the intent is to complete drafting the basic gameplay rule sections, and define enough magic spells, common items, and magical items to support play through character level 3. With regard to the Forgotten Academy Adventure, the intent is to complete the dungeon areas targeted for characters of Level 1 through 3, with the creation of the necessary monsters as well.
Overall, the intent is to have a comprehensive enough set of Game Rules, and enough of a dungeon-crawl styled adventure to support playtesters through three levels of adventuring.
Theme and Mood
From a RPG "styling" standpoint, the Laurels & Loot effort is intended to bring back some of the attitudes and emotions that were evoked by the earliest versions of RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons. This means keeping the aura of heroism and fantastic achievements alive while still making it all too clear that character death is a reality. I'm trying to achieve this by making the sword-edge on which characters figuratively dance a little sharper than it has become in more modern versions of D&D. Characters can go from "in full control" to "hey, I'm gonna die!" very quickly. Players should have to think about the the consequences of their actions, but players should also be encouraged to be creative with their solutions, and not be hamstrung by predefined feats, features, and skills.
The primary inspiration for this work is the collective experience I amassed playing and dungeon-mastering TTRPGs throughout my 45 years or so of doing so. In the old days, there seemed to be more sense of danger, and there was definitely more creativity. These are the feelings I wish to re-emphasize.
Category Structure
Having already addressed cagetory structure for the World of Cartyrion in several prior Summercamp and Worldember prep periods, I'm happy with what is already in place.

Week 3: The World Homepage

This assignment forced me to do something that I've been putting off for a while: cleaning up at least some of my world Landing Page. The "first landing / first impression" part of the page has been updated to put a bit more emphasis on Laurels & Loot; it has also brought the "category books" for surfing the world and investigating the game rules closer to the top of the page.

The text associated with Patreon Supporters selecing Gamemaster and Player options were updated to reflect the parentage (race) names that I've decided to stick with. (This is something that should have been done months ago!)

FInally, the bottom half of the page was tidied up a bit. The list of timelines was removed via CSS (need to talk to Dimi about a way to selectively show/hide Chronicles! Currently, while old Timelines can be individually excluded from the homepage, this is not an option for Chronicles!) Maps were pared down significantly. Finally, the service that was once known as Twitter has been removed, as I am no longer associated with that service. (I'm going to have to do something in the future to up my Social Media game, but that's for another day!)

Week 4: Final Prep

In my case, there really isn't a lot I need to do in order to get ready for a WorldEmber full of writing. I've got a dedicated space. And as I'm already streaming Worldbuilding four days a week (join me at on Tuesdays through Fridays, 9AM EST / 6AM PST / 1400 UTC / 1AM AEDT), I've got a built-in support group and several well-planned blocks of time to get writing done. As long the occasional "real life" interruptions don't get too distracting, I should be fine.

So... Bring it on! I'm ready for WorldEmber 2023!


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Nov 8, 2023 02:24 by E. Christopher Clark

I was just thinking, "I wonder how Bob's big dungeon thingie is going" and then I came across this. Sorry to hear about life rearing its head, but happy to read this solid plan you've got for WorldEmber.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Nov 8, 2023 13:59 by Bob O'Brien

I'm not going to have 365 rooms by the end of the year, but I've already got over 100... and the dungeon will still grow. But now it has a purpose as well... a great big dungeon crawl adventure module for use with my new rules! So... I'm not sorry :)

Check out my latest efforts:
Laurels & Loot is a new, lightweight TTRPG rules system that hearkens back to the early days.
Nov 19, 2023 11:32 by Elspeth

Laurels and Loot sounds great! I can't wait to see what you create. Have a great WorldEmber! :)

Nov 21, 2023 15:47 by Bob O'Brien

Thank you! and thanls for following the world! I'm hoping to have a significant portion of L&L written, playtested, and edited by early next year, and WorldEmber will be a big part of that. Good luck in your WorldEmber endeavors as well!

Check out my latest efforts:
Laurels & Loot is a new, lightweight TTRPG rules system that hearkens back to the early days.
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