Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated...
tl;dr version: Real Life has cut significantly into my gaming time, but I'm still doing gaming stuff.
Interested human version: Assume that every week I don't post is a silent apology to you folks, who continue to support Chimera, wait for me to finish projects, and comment on the forum. I do appreciate the momentum, and in the interest of full disclosure, this summer may see sparse postings. Kim and I are in the process of selling a house, I'm leading a major effort at work, and we're gearing up for a two-week visit to the Motherland in early September.
But that all sounds like excuses. Let's move onto gaming stuff.
Using an "encyclopedia" format for Chimera is exciting, because instead of making a single huge rulebook that contains everything I want (and every tweak I conceive), I can break up topics into more modular bits. The Chimerapedia Core contains the Basic rules as well as some new, foundational material. Currently, it's formatted for NBOS' The Keep campaign management tool, but I've received a few requests to provide a more print-friendly format.
Fair enough. I love a dead-tree version with margins to scribble in as much as the next guy (or gal). So tell ya what I'm gonna do: I'll update Chimerapedia Core with:
An RTF version of each topic that you can edit in your favourite typing software,
A PDF of all topics you can just print out
A database file you can use with NBOS' The Keep
Existing customers will get the update free of charge.
I love, love, love the idea of making each chapter of an RPG rulebook its own encyclopedia entry.
Why? The game grows incrementally. It's easy to add tweaks and house rules. I can write and release material faster. You can organise the material however you like. The price point for each volume is low. You can integrate the pieces you want and ignore the rest. To paraphrase a wise man named Egg, "It's like a salad bar: you take what you want and leave the rest."
Each volume of Chimerapedia will be one or more topics that you can include in your game as you see fit. Like the Core, each volume includes RTF, PDF, and THE KEEP formats. It's like RPG a la carte.
Now, the brilliant part (for me, at least) is that this format can also work for settings. You see, I'm no longer interested in writing pages and pages about campaign worlds, histories, and set-piece adventure modules. Too much for me to write and too much for you to read. More importantly, why should I? Why cleave to the old ways? You're gonna tweak the setting to make it yours anyway (1) to suit your personal preferences, (2) to include your creative thoughts, and (3) to evolve the setting as a result of your player's input through adventures.
So, actually, I mis-spoke--not only does the Chimerapedia format work for settings, I actually prefer it. I'd rather release some hex maps, encounter seeds, NPCs, some (scant) setting specific details, a few mechanical bits to give it that Chimera shine, and call it a day. Basically, give you a foundation you can build upon. Speaking of...
Yes, this is still happening. When I started writing about the Minocra mini-campaign setting back in January, the idea was about how to make encounter tables. Then I figured you needed a little map to show how those encounter tables would work. Then it seemed only right to add some guidelines for random fixed encounters. That was about the time when RL stepped in and sucked away all my time like a Dyson Ball.
But, yes, another part of the reason Minocra has proceeded sluggishly is because it's a pilot for how I want to format settings in my new "encyclopedic" format. Pretty much a measure twice/cut once approach. Not that I expect to get it 100% right the first time, but I like to think about these things a bit, and thinking time for gaming has been sparse.
But I will pick up Minocra as soon as I convert the Chimerapedia Core material to RTF. Promise.
And Now for Something You'll Really Like
A very cool project is afoot. Well, actually two, but they're related.
First is the RPG World Building blog, authored by October MacBain, who's walking through the setting creation process and using Chimera as the underlying system. Naturally, I endorse this practice wherever it occurs, but the great thing is that October's material is really good.
Don't believe me? Then you can also check out October's Chimera RPG Conversions site, which contains a bunch of new goodies you can plug right into your Chimera campaign: new Powers, Sperks, races, mechanics. Plus there are conversion notes for non-Chimera systems (which I won't mention here for trademark reasons, but which you can easily discover by visiting the site when you have a mind to).
Erin: not dead
Chimerapedia Core: soon to include RTF and PDF formats; free to existing peeps
Future volumes: will be cool
Minocra: a view of setting supplements to come
October: not just for Halloween anymore; check out her sites