Print Proofs and a Well Written Review

First up, the print proofs for Strands of Fate 2e have been ordered. We're looking at doing three print flavors: Hardcover Premium Color, Softcover Standard Color, and Softcover B&W.

Once they come in, we’ll review them. And if there are no issues, we’ll hit the “LAUNCH” button on DrivethruRPG. Fingers crossed!

Second, I was recently directed to a really well written review of Strands of Fate 2e over on Cannibal Halfling. I felt it especially notable because of how well the review articulates the differences between Strands of Fate and Fate Core.

Strands of Fate 2e to Release this Friday!

Void Star Studios is proud to announce the release of Strands of Fate 2nd Edition!

The PDF will become available on Friday, Sept 14th, on DrivethruRPG.


The wizard’s staff hums with the power of an unleashed spell.

The assassin’s cybernetic arm ejects a hidden blade.

The super-powered defender of New York melts the robots to slag with his heat vision.

The intrepid investigator stands firm against the mind wrenching eldritch horror before him.

Cleaner, clearer and more concise, Strands of Fate 2nd Edition continues down the path set forth by the original Strands of Fate; providing a stand-alone set of core rules for using the Fate game system to tell exciting stories of action, adventure, horror and intrigue across an infinite variety of time periods and genres.

Strands of Fate 2nd Edition contains…

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·       Core Rules – This book is fully self-contained, and contains all the rules you need for making characters and playing the game.

·       Aspects – Full rules for the creation and use of Aspects, the popular narrative mechanic that has defined the Fate game system since its inception.

·       Strands – There are guidelines for creating them, as well as four sample Strands you can use as written, alter to suit your needs, or use as examples when creating your own. These include:

o   Strands of Cthulhu – In which desperate investigators confront the minions of the Elder Gods.

o   Strands of Fantasy – In which bold adventurers fight against savage and ancient evils for honor and treasure.

o   Strands of Valor – In which heroes imbued with super powers stand against tyranny and annihilation.

o   Strands of Neon and Chrome – In which cybernetically enhanced underdogs fight back against the oppressive mega-corporate elite.

·       Perks and Powers – The extraordinary and supernatural advantages that separate your characters from the masses. Whether a mutant psychic, a crusty old wizard, a crazed cultist, an ancient vampire, a cross wielding priest, or a genetically enhanced cyber-soldier, we’ve got you covered. Powers are presented as self-contained special abilities that are defined with Aspects, and further detailed through the application of Limitations and Enhancements.

·       Deviations – An entire chapter is dedicated to providing modular, variant rules that are added to, subtracted from, or used in place of the standard core rules. Deviations serve as a series of dials and switches, which can be used to tune the rules to better suit the story you want to tell.

·       Antagonists – The Game Mastery chapter contains a number of sample NPCs and creature to challenge your PCs with, or to serve as examples when creating your own.

Strands of Fate 2nd Edition is a fully self-contained Fate game, and requires no other supplements for its use. It is built upon the branch of Fate rules originally published in Strands of Fate 1st Edition and later refined in Nova Praxis.

Note: This is an “Augmented” PDF, and was designed with laptops, tablets and smartphones in mind. It is filled with useful links, and features a special layout purpose built to speed up navigation on a digital device.


Print Copies of Strands of Fate 2e

The print version of this product will be available a few weeks after the PDF’s release. This allows us to capture and correct any errors discovered in the first few weeks after release, and make sure they are corrected in the print version.

Those who purchase the PDF prior to the release of the print version will receive a discount coupon for the print version!

 

[SoF2e Update] The Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Despite a painfully slow development cycle, we hit another milestone this weekend with Strands of Fate 2e.

Layout is nearly complete. The table of contents and cross references are done. Still just need to do a little work on the background graphics, lay out a couple of different types of character sheets, drop in the art, and add in a few of the "augmented" links (ones that exist purely to aid in digital navigation).

Unlike Nova Praxis, there will not be a "regular" PDF release for Strands 2. It will be "Augmented" only.
I've managed a few tricks that will mean the Augmented PDF and the book will look basically identical. That means the A-PDF will be portrait orientation this time, but it's still sized for easy reading on tablets.

The printed book itself will be slightly larger than Strands 1e, but smaller than a typical "full sized" RPG book. We're using the same size format as the print version of Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition. And as of right now it's clocking in at around 230 pages.

I just finished ordering a bound print from my local Kinkos, which is actually the milestone I was referring to above. With every book Void Star has released, I've always ordered a bound copy to be printed. I then read through that copy, start to finish, with a red pen in hand, spilling blood where it must be spilled.

Incorporating the edits I find during that read-thru tends to be one of the very last things I do before release.

Hello World

It's been a while since I've posted any sort of update, and I thought it about time for a check in.

Strands of Fate 2e development continues, if at a bit of a slower pace than I would like. The realities of this world continue to obstruct progress, but I promise we're still at it. 

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In addition to VSS' tabletop RPG products, we've begun to explore the digital realms a bit. And it should come as no surprise to Nova Praxis fans that VR is the tech platform we're most interested in developing for.

It's still in its infancy, but we have a Nova Praxis VR game aimed at Oculus and Vive currently in the works. This is our first serious look at video game development, and we're diving into a market that is itself little more than a technological fetus. So when I say the game is in its infancy, know that I'm not exaggerating.

I'm still working in a sandbox state for the most part, working in Unreal on the Oculus Rift to dial in VR interfaces, inverse kinematics for body and arm animation, working out weapon interaction, building AI, etc. 

The game is tentatively titled Nova Praxis: Infiltrator. And if forced to, conceptually, I'd describe it as Deus Ex meets Hitman 2016 in first person VR.

Tact-Tiles: Discounted Defects

As mentioned in my previous post, we were able to find a small number of Tact-Tiles that have some minor defects. These defects are entirely cosmetic, and should not affect their usability.

We are making them available now, at a 25% discount.

And that's it folks. After this, they're gone.

Update: As of this update, there is only a single set of 6 Tact-tiles left.

Strands 2e Playtest and Tact-Tiles Stock

Strands of Fate 2e Playtesting

Development of Strands of Fate 2e continues at a pretty good pace, and as of today, we're opening up another round of playtesting. To join the playtest, simply go here and fill out this form. That'll get you added to the mailing list, which in turn gets you access to the latest playtest version of Strands of Fate 2e. 

You've got a little over a week to sign up (deadline is Saturday, April 29th), and we'll be sending out the newest version of the playtest doc on May 1st.

Also, there are now two official places to discuss Strands 2e and give playtest feedback. The first is our Google+ Community. The other is Reddit, were we've set up a subreddit for this purpose. Feel free to use either or both to give us feedback, as questions, or just let us know what you think!

Tact-Tiles

We are officially out of Tact-Tiles, and currently do not have any plans to do another run. However, we still have a few that were put aside due to minor defects. We're planning to go through those and pull out the ones where the defects are only cosmetic; meaning they might have some minor discoloration, some scratches or dents, etc. but are still perfectly usable.

Once we do that, we'll be making them available at a discounted price.

Stay tuned for more on that.

Strands 2e Playtester Signup

If you are interested in getting an early look at Strands of Fate 2e, and getting an opportunity to provide feedback and potentially shape the game's development, now's your chance.

 

NOTICE

Application acceptance for the first round of Beta testing has come to a close.

Keep an eye on this website, or our Facebook page, to be notified when it opens up again for phase 2.

Thank you!

Playtesting Strands of Fate 2e

You might have heard that, when it comes to writing, it's "hard to kill your babies". It is. It's damned hard sometimes. But the casualties are necessary.

Strands2's development is like any other project I've worked on. It left little bodies in its wake. Ideas, ranging from "bad" to "okay", lie scattered on the trail behind us. But this one, Strands of Fate 2e, has been particularly murderous. I've got early design docs that go back 4 years. I never delete anything, so I'm left with dozens of folders that resemble nothing so much as a digital cemetery. There are entire drafts of the book that have been discarded almost in their entirety.

It's evolution. Or maybe they're sacrifices to the muse. But in any case, they've led us here.

On Jan 23rd we're going to be putting out the call for Strands of Fate 2e playtesters. Those who sign up will be given the latest version of the playtest doc and a chance to provide feedback.

For more info, keep your eye on this site, or follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

 

Strands of Fate Second Edition

It's been a while! A year ago I posted about the need to take something of a sabbatical. And I did, sort of. But as it turns out, I'm not really good at sabbaticals. So, in the time I should have been spending making myself a better person, I've instead been working with a small team of freelancers and playtesters to lay the foundation for the second edition of Strands of Fate.

So let's talk a little bit about that. What is Strands of Fate 2e?

The original Strands of Fate was a labor of love and one of my proudest achievements. And yet, it was way too ambitious of a project for someone who had, at the time, never really published anything before. It was designed to be a massive toolbox, created to empower you to use the Fate game system to play pretty much any sort of adventure game. And while I think it largely succeeded, it did it by sheer brute force and page count.

A Solid Core

With Strands of Fate 2e, we're taking a different, more focused and clear, path to the same destination. Strands 2 is designed around a central core set of rules. These rules, Skills, Aspects, Fate Points, Stress.... the Fate classics; they're all there in the core. They make up a solid foundation upon which all Strands of Fate campaigns are built upon, and remain pretty consistent regardless of genre, power level, and other options.

Is it a Fate Core game? No, not really. Fate was first introduced in Spirit of the Century. The first Strands of Fate was born out of a desire to take what was in SotC and create a generic core rule set. And since that time, Evil Hat has gone on to create their own version of that. 

This left Strands of Fate to become something of a diverging branch of Fate. And Strands 2 continues along that line. It's core rules borrow heavily from the work we did with the Fate version of Nova Praxis; which served as our starting point early in development.

Strands of Fate 2e certainly shares a lot of DNA with Evil Hat's Fate Core, but we are not branding it as a Fate Core game. Strands of Fate is its own distinct version of Fate.

Strands and Schemas

So what's beyond the core?

Branching out from the core rules are Strands, distinct rules modules added to, or layered over, the core rules to create a more refined experience. It includes Strands that make Aspects play a larger role in the game, and Strands that make Aspects play a smaller role. There are Strands that up the PC lethality of the game, and Strands that make it safer. There are multiple character advancement options, different initiative options, sanity rules, miniatures rules, and much more. 

And unlike Strands 1e, where the variant rules were sprinkled all throughout the book, the Strands in Strands of Fate 2e are clearly noted and confined to their own section of the book. This makes it easier to read and understand the core of the game system before muddying the waters with a tidal wave of options.

And to further help GM's and players tailer their experience, we're introducing Schemas. A Schema is a sort of blueprint for your campaign, and there is a chapter in the book devoted to walking the GM through building his campaign's Schema. It asks lot's of questions; questions like: "How lethal to the PCs do you want the campaign to be?" "How much narrative control do you want players to have?" "How big of a role to you want wealth and equipment to play in your games?" And depending on your answer to these questions, it suggests which Strands you should consider adding to your Schema.

And of course, we provide some sample Schemas. In fact...

"Strands of Cthulhu"

One of the Schema's already in the Alpha version of the book is entitled "Strands of Cthulhu". And as you've probably already figured out, its a Schema that provides advice for using Strands of Fate 2e to run a campaign in which your PCs investigate and confront alien horrors from beyond.

This particular Schema currently clocks in at four pages, in which we provide an overview of Lovecraft's setting, advice for the sorts of characters the PCs should create, some sample Campaign Aspects (which can either be simple flavor, or provide mechanical effects, depending on the Strands you choose), a discussion of the setting's Tech-Level, the character's starting Power and Experience Levels, what Races, Skills, Perks, and Powers are available, and what Strands are required, recommended or expressly not recommended.

It then goes on to introduce the special Mythos Lore Affinity Skill, Mythos Tomes, and some advice about ancient rites and how the GM can use them in the game, as well as how PCs might access and use Mythos Sorcery.

Other sample Schemas will get the same treatment, and cover classic fantasy, modern super heroes, and a few other common genres.

Powers!

One of the things players seems to love about Strands of Fate is the vast array of powers available. And on that front, Strands of Fate 2e once again delivers.

But one of the biggest differences is how Powers are obtained and activated. In the original Strands, each Power had a built-in assumption about how it was activated and/or what the costs where (though most had modifiers that allowed you to change this.)

In Strands 2, the Powers are much more agnostic in that regard. In fact, their write-ups don't even mention how they are activated. How a player gets their Powers, and how they activate them, are explained by special Perks called Aptitudes.

For example, let's look at Arcane Apprentice. When you take the Arcane Apprentice Aptitude, you gain one rank in the Arcana Affinity Skill, gain the Cantrips Meta-Powers, and you may choose one Power with the Ritual Activation Limitation. You may then learn additional Powers as you gain Experience and take additional Perks along the path to becoming an Archmage.

Development Status and Playtesting

Right now we're in the final stages of the Alpha testing. Soon we'll be opening the game up to a semi-public Beta test, in which you'll get a chance to check it out before the Kickstarter launches in March.

Look for more on that near the end of the year!

Ghosts in Darkness Beta and 25% OFF Sale

It's been too long coming, but today we're releasing the beta of the Savage Worlds version of Ghosts in Darkness to our Evolved and Transcendent Kickstarter Backers.

Ghosts was originally released in Machinations, the GM supplement for the Fate version of Nova Praxis. When the SW version of Nova Praxis was released, we folded all of Machinations into the SW core book, except Ghosts in Darkness

This scenario is written with new GM's and players in mind. It begins with the PCs' restoration from backup, awakening with no knowledge of what happened to them. They died, presumably, but how? Why? Where?

Their quest to uncover the truth takes the PCs from the Lunar city of Asola, to the Earth-orbit station of Vantage, to witness the beginnings of revolution on the Icarus Hub near Proch, and finally, to a mysterious outpost in a long forgotten corner of space. There they will face a familiar foe; one who knows all of their strengths and weaknesses; and who will stop at nothing to see them dead and deleted.

Ghosts in Darkness also features new rules for Mission Frameworks; guidelines that empower the GM to run complex missions and action scenes without the need to prepare elaborate maps or pages of NPC stats.

The beta version of the document is complete, but may still contain some errors. Over the next few weeks we will be collecting feedback from our beta testers; after which we will release the final version in PDF format on DrivethruRPG.

25% OFF the original Fate version of Nova Praxis

Ghosts has taken a lot longer to release than we'd initially expected, and we'd like to thank you all for your patience. To do so, we're offering a coupon for 25% off the already discounted printed hardcover copy of the Fate version of Nova Praxis.

This full sized, full color, 268 page hardback book comes with a full color poster map of the Nova Praxis setting (the same as found on pg 54 of NP:SWE standard edition), and is fully self contained. The book contains the complete Fate system, and you do not need any other books to play.

To get your discount, simply visit our web store, and enter coupon code NPFATE25 at checkout.

 

Taking a Sabbatical

If your email account is anything like mine, you probably get a half dozen pieces of snail mail, emails, texts or phone calls every day from companies telling you how much they appreciate you.

"Just for you, valued customer #74563!"

"Dear loyal customer, or current occupant."

And you know, because you're not brain dead, that it's all just another example of the high quality bovine excrement that marketing departments churn out daily.

Void Star doesn't really have a marketing department. That's one of my responsibilities. And I suck at it. So I don't have some fancy marketing plan or strategy engineered to try to retain your loyalty or interest while VSS goes dark for a little while.

All I can say, with utmost sincerity, is that I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

It wasn't long after I discovered RPGs that I fell in love with the idea of writing my own game and having others actually grow to care about it too. The first part is easy. Anyone can write a game. It may not be a good game, but anyone can throw together something that can entertain you and your friends for an evening. The magic is in making something lasting, that others not only care about, but talk about, and share with their friends.

You people made that happen for me. And it means the world. Pretty much anyone in this business will tell you that you don't do it for the money. The money sucks. You do it because you love it. It's a creative addiction, and the money (if you're lucky enough to make any) just helps you feed it.

But every now and then there comes a time when we need to take a step back and reevaluate. That's what I've found myself doing over the last few months. The last year or so was huge for Void Star. We launched Tact-Tiles, the Savage Worlds version of Nova Praxis, and Machinations.

For many game companies, that's not much. But for us, it was huge. And as awesome as it was, as much fun as it was, and as pleased I am with the results... it took a toll.

Like most game designers these days, I have a day job. Very few can do this full time and take care of a family. And a couple of months ago I got a new position at a new company that is, in many ways, a dream job. I can't get into specifics, but I've been given the opportunity to dive into the world of military training and simulation. And if you've read Nova Praxis, you're probably not surprised to hear that something like that would appeal to me. But unfortunately, it requires much more of my time and attention than my previous position did. And working on military computers means that I'm very limited in how much I can be active on social media or support VSS during the day.

Normally I could still manage the day job and VSS together. But this is hitting at a time when I'm also starting to experience a number of health issues. It's nothing major, but it's several things that are really adding up. And it makes committing my evenings and weekends to anything other than R&R pretty difficult.

So what does that mean? More specifically, what does it mean for VSS?

Void Star is my baby. It's not just a job, it's a passion. Nova Praxis in particular has been, for years, something that I can only rightfully call an obsession. Researching and writing for it has challenged and changed me in ways I never could have predicted.

So it's not going away. It can't. Closing up shop simply isn't an option.

But I've got to take some time off. I've got to step back and focus on getting settled into this new day job, a new routine, and taking care of my health. I need some time to make some much-needed adjustments, in both my work and personal life. And hopefully, with a little time, I'll be able to get back in the groove.

We've still got a lot of work to do.

A Brief Update

Hello everyone. I thought I'd take a moment to talk about what's going on here at Void Star.

Bye Bye Messageboards

To put it simply, it's a lot of effort to hit so many different social media sources on a regular basis. And I've been letting the messageboard slip.
I don't think that's fair to you guys. So, in an effort to be more efficient in terms of time, effort and attention, we will be shutting down these message boards as of the end of the month.

Please be sure you save any information posted here that you would like to keep.

As always, if you want to get in touch with me for questions about Nova Praxis, Strands of Fate, Tact-Tiles, or anything else, you can still hit me up through the following:

Google+ (my personal account, and where I am most active)
Google+ VSS Community
Facebook
And I'm @Mechalus on Twitter

We've also got a Nova Praxis subedit over on Reddit. Check it out!

Nova Praxis Updates

Lot's going on. The Augmented version of the Savage Worlds Edition of the Nova Praxis setting book has been released and the response has been tremendous!

So what now? Well, we've got three products in the works:

Ghosts in Darkness: SWE

Ghosts in Darkness was a scenario originally published in Machinations. We are converting it to Savage Worlds. Most of the content is the same, but we're going to be replacing the original art with new art and/or new "blue box" bits. 

Hatchet Job

This is a new scenario written by Jonathan Killstring. It'll be released for both the Fate and Savage Worlds versions of Nova Praxis. The text is finalized. And now it gets in line behind GiD for layout and art.

Work Hazards

We've had this on one the back burner for a while now, but I'll be meeting with James Townsley tomorrow to discuss the project's status and see if we can get it back on track. Work Hazards focusses on introducing new antagonists to your Nova Praxis campaigns. And like all of our future products, it's for Fate and Savage Worlds.

Strands of Infinity

Strands of Infinity, the spiritual successor to Strands of Fate, is coming along nicely. The system has evolved to the point that we can start making characters. And it won't be much longer before it becomes playable!

Shortly after we hit that milestone, I plan to do an open beta test. So stay tuned for that!