Wednesday, January 16, 2013

[Atomic Robo] Tentative Table of Contents

Hey, Happy New Year! I know I'm more than two weeks late on that, but the baby was two weeks early, so it all balances out.

(BTW, have you checked out the Fate Core Kickstarter lately? It's doing all right.)

The usual thing I say in answer to the question "How's Atomic Robo coming?" is "Work continues apace," which is wholly accurate. But for all that, it's not a very interesting answer. So I figured I'd give a little progress update here in the form of a tentative table of contents -- or at least the names of the chapters as they stand now, not in any particular order other than the one that makes sense to me right now off the top of my head. The bolded stuff is already done and ready for editing, barring a few examples or something. The italicized stuff is at least partially done.

  • Robo's World (Note: This is Brian's stuff on the setting; I think it's done.)
  • Timeline
  • The Basics
  • Outcomes and Actions
  • Aspects and Fate Points
  • Modes, Skills, and Stunts
  • Making Characters
  • Challenges, Contests, and Conflicts
  • Let's Do Some Science
  • Factions
  • The March of Progress
  • Running the Game
  • Telling Stories the Atomic Robo Way
  • Playing in Multiple Eras
  • Character Write-Ups
  • Intro Scenario

So, as you can see, it's mostly good to go (to editing). The current wordcount (not counting "Robo's World") is about 70,000 words, which is trending on-target.

A few details on the in-progress chapters:

  • "Factions" talks about factions (like Tesladyne) as characters, and the role they play in the game. This is mostly a revision of a chapter from the playtest material, with some new bits added.
  • "Playing in Multiple Eras" is about era-hopping campaigns. This is something we talked a lot about in the early going as a mode of play the game heartily supports. That's still true. Right now this chapter is an extensive outline and lots of notes, but could arguably be reduced down to a call-out box in another chapter rather than claiming an entire chapter of its own. As much as we all (that includes you and me) like the idea of era-hopping, it really only shows up in two volumes -- 1 and 3 -- and the first volume of Real Science Adventures. Does a chapter on this subject have a place in the book? I dunno. How about I write it and we find out?
  • The character write-ups -- there are around 30 of them -- are the biggest time-sink I still face. Several are already done, having been written for playtest purposes (Jenkins, Jack Tarot, Helen, two different versions of Robo, Otto Skorzeny, and a few others), but some of the remaining ones require a little more research. This has taken the form of me twisting Brian's arm to write me some short bios. "Ow! Ow!" he says. "No, don't make me talk more about Atomic Robo!" It's hard to listen to sometimes. But really, at this point, I don't know how much I could differentiate, mechanically speaking, between, say, just about any two She-Devils. Or Benjamin and Koa. Or Mac and Slim. I have a feeling some of these may end up looking a bit like the proto-PCs I made for playtests: modes, a few skill improvements, one or two aspects, and a stunt, with the rest to be filled in by the player during play. But I guarantee the really iconic characters, like Helsingard and Dr. Dinosaur, will definitely get the full treatment. Anything less would be -- say it with me -- mammalian treachery.
  • The intro scenario is the one from the playtest. It's revised, done, and ready to go, but it should probably be reformatted for ease of editing. Because I'm a nice guy.
So there we are! Pretty close.

Oh, and obviously, revisions to Fate Core prompted by Kickstarter backer/playtester feedback will have an effect on ARRPG, but right now it's tough to anticipate how much of one, so I'll deal with that as it comes.
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