Monday, June 10, 2013

Ushered Back to Shiverwhen

My poor forever-autumnal world has endured a great deal of neglect for the past few months. The reason for this is the usual pile of projects that can be hewn away at but never completely defeated, much like the strange phenomenon known as the Dwine that plagues Shiverwhen. However, like a shaft of faded sunlight breaking through the cold morning mists that obscure the valleys of the Superstition Mountains, hope has been sighted.

This past weekend saw me running the second public playtest of my nascent roleplaying game down at the North Texas RPG Con. The feedback was predominantly positive, both in regards to the setting and the system that powers it. The negatives all concerned aspects of the game that I, myself, have issues with or had to do with basic plot elements of the playtest scenario I presented. It gives me confidence that the course I’ve charted is generally sound and that, although tweaking and revisions are inevitable, I’m mostly hitting the moving target of the game’s design.

The most surprising and simultaneously pleasing development which occurred at the playtest was that the players grasped what I was going for with the Shiverwhen setting. Considering the vast array of eclectic inspirational sources that went into creating Shiverwhen, I anticipated that the game world would not be quickly accessible or comprehensible to someone coming into it cold (no pun intended). I’m still wrestling with the perfect elevator pitch for the game, meaning I’m without a concise introduction to set newcomers’ minds inside the game’s environment. Despite this lack, the basic premise I gave at the start of the event put everyone in the same frame of mind and excited their imaginations as well. One playtester later reported he’d been thinking a lot about Shiverwhen, both the place and the game, ever since the session ended. Hell, even Erol Otus told me he loved the name.

Buoyed by the positive reception of Shiverwhen down in Texas, I’m going to attempt to revitalize this blog in the weeks ahead. Not only did the playtest rekindle my desire to develop the game more and continue my efforts in the gentle art of world-building, but I’ve got a summer-long playtest campaign schedule to start next week. With one of my regular players out of state for the summer, I proposed the idea of playing Shiverwhen throughout the hot summer months until he returns and we can pick up our current campaign where we left off. Thankfully, my remaining players agreed and this coming Monday will see character generation and an introduction to the campaign’s sandbox setting. From there, anything might happen (including the complete disintegration of the campaign, but let’s not think autumn thoughts in that regard). Since there’s no Shiverwhen material available other than what I create, I suspect I’ll be cranking out ideas for the campaign, most of which will serve as fodder for this blog. Expect an increase in posting here throughout the summer as I share that material, session reports, and other items of Shiverwhen interest here.

I’ll begin with a brief recap of the NTRPG Con playtest in the next day or two. As I’m running this same scenario next month at Connecticon, it won’t be a detailed report, but it will hopefully demonstrate what Shiverwhen is about and what type of stories are possible in the place where autumn never ends. Following that will be a post about some of the game mechanics, a frightful inhabitant or three, and a post about the beginning of the playtest campaign. I hope you’ll find what is forthcoming both entertaining and enlightening, resulting in a whetting of your own desire for a taste of my next big RPG vanity project once Stonehell is complete.

Until then, stay warm, friends, keep an eye on the shadows, and sleep to the sound of rustling leaves outside your windows.

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