The Worlds of CORE

by | Nov 19, 2021 | Articles

Well, maybe more specifically COREthulhu and some other stuff I’m working on but all CORE related. It’s been a little while since we’ve had an update, so where do we stand? All and all I things are going pretty good. As noted in the October update, COREthulhu is live and quite honestly has done fairly well download-wise in the last two months. It’s definitely hit a plateau recently but that’s alright, it was bound to happen. There’s also a fillable character available as well. I almost never print out a character sheet anymore so having a fillable sheet available for folks was a priority after the book came out.

There have been two minor updates to the book since it’s come out. Mostly spelling and the like. The more we use the system and discuss what’s working and what potentially creates friction I’m thinking of doing a bigger update. I sat down this morning and sketched out a quick list. I want to revisit the monster Stat Blocks and see if they need to be tweaked.

Admittedly some of the math is fuzzy. Traits and abilities are added similarly to skills by spending XP. There isn’t, however, a hard and fast rule as to how much a trait or ability is worth. Like a creature may have the skill of Leaping Pounce at +1. Alright that’s easy, that costs 10XP to get that skill but if the creature has the ability then to knock down it’s opponent on a successful attack what’s that worth mechanically, 10XP, 20XP? Maybe it can pin it’s opponent or make a free attack, ignoring the multi-action penalty, again what’s that worth? It maybe a little thing but I tend to get hung up on the mechanics. I suppose it really boils down to how deadly or challenging do you want an adversary to be and that’s really in line with the narrative focus of the game.

A few games that I’ve read through recently including Heirs to Heresy and Legends of the Five Rings ask character questions. I really like that idea and I think I want to incorporate something similar in COREthulhu. Since CORE is D6 based I’m thinking 6-12 questions to stay on brand as it were. This approach is great for new players, to help them think about their character and who they are and what they want. I think it can also be good for experienced players as we may sometimes tend to overlook those essential questions. At the very least it forces you to engage with the character and think about who they are.

It was pointed out by someone that there isn’t a scenario creation section. While a fair point I feel like most RPG books don’t have that. What they do have however, is separate adventures for sale. That being the case an adventure creation section isn’t a terrible idea. CORE is a different beast with it’s focus on plotfields and less pre-planned adventure narrative. A bit of a trick for an investigative game but it just takes looking at it from a different angle.

Depending on how it goes and how well I can make use of my time, this might be one big update or possibly three separate updates over the next few months. I haven’t set a time frame for any of this and really just committed all of this to paper today. There are too many scattered bits out there right now and I need to focus on one thing at a time.

We have finished running through the adventure I put together. It took us three session and almost three months to finish it, mostly due to scheduling issues but I feel like it went pretty well. There’s probably about 10-12 hours of recording to go though but it’s not all game play. We dropped in and out of meta to discuss what was working and what wasn’t and spent time after each session breaking things down. I think there might be about 5 hours-ish of actual game time. My goal is to have it down to about 4 hours so it could potentially be run at a Con or serve as an introductory adventure for a new group.

So I’ve got to go back through everything, notes and recordings, and start hammering it into shape. Mostly it comes down to writing a bunch of flavor text, descriptions of the different locations, establishing a list of potential clues and setting up the plotfield. Tod is going to help me out with the last part. I mostly get it but that’s definitely more of his bailiwick.

The Magic Supplement has become my Quixotic windmill. It’s maybe about half done and I have become hopelessly bogged down. Mostly it’s a lack of motivation on my part I feel like. It really needs to be done before I release the adventure since the adventure has Magic in it. There’s a bunch of minutiae that needs to be fleshed out and probably a healthy dose of flavor text as well. I hope to release it this year but I haven’t forced myself into a corner on that. All in good time I suppose.

Kurt and I have begun recording our CORE Noir game on the MFGCast. Not sure when the first episode will drop. That seems to be going well. Being a one on one game it certainly hits a bit different. I wrote an opening monologue for the show and I need to work on another one for the ending of the first episode. Noir is kinda like porn, you know what it is when you see it but try to describe it.

I haven’t read many Noir style books but I’ve seen a few movies. Of course the movies have a certain visual style. Hard shadows, weird camera angles, stark lighting, its influenced heavily by German Expressionism. So there’s a feel we’re going for. We’ll have to see how well we can pull it off. One of the big things we’re looking at mechanically is Morality / Corruption. Noir stories are all about morally ambiguous choices and we want to represent that in some way. It’s a tight line to walk because you don’t want to force a mechanical system on a player when ultimately it may be something that’s more of a roleplaying choice. If we can come up with new mechanics for CORE though, we can turn this into another Hack, if not it will have been a fun experiment.

I have also done some preliminary work on a Wuxia Hack for CORE as well. We had a long discussion on the Discord the other day about it. Most of it has been notes on feel and mechanics. This one is going to take quite a bit more research and will include sections on what Wuxia is and its cultural significance.

Finally, we have collectively been talking about doing a Kickstarter for CORE Complete. It would be the bible for CORE, if you will. Things are in the preliminary stages now as we explore all of the options and makes plans to move forward.

Oh and we have CORE Merch available now if you’re so inclined:

All CORE Rules, Worlds & Supplements at DTRPG:

CORE Discord

CORE on Reddit