Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Backstage Pass: Cha'alt

This is a behind-the-scenes exchange I had with a Cha'alt kickstarter backer...

Weeks ago, I asked for feedback and typo-hunting so the manuscript would be as awesome and error free as possible.

One backer in particular came up with suggestions.  A few suggestions asked for clarification on ambivalent language, details that were unclear based on the text.

At first, I was going to fix these ambiguities, but then I realized that the suggestions he put forth trying to answer his own questions were just as good if not better than anything I had thought of or might come up with.

So, several of these ambiguities I left as they were.  But I emailed the backer to let him know I appreciated his feedback, along with telling him why I neglected to change the phrasing in key areas.

The following was his response...

I am glad my comments were helpful. It's not every day that some normal guy gets to offer suggestions to a great game designer! I know that I asked some pretty specific questions that were not all addressed in the final product, but after re-reading the foreword a couple of times, I think I "get" what you were doing with Cha'alt (as much as any human can comprehend the alien mind of a za'akier).

It's not a traditional setting or a traditional mega-dungeon. Cha'alt is a huge sandbox in a relatively small package. Big enough to play in for a long time, but not too big as to be unwieldy for the GM to find relevant information quickly. No two Cha'alt campaigns will be remotely the same and that is by design.

Part of the mindset that motivated some of my questions was trying to discern the author's intent. When I run Cha'alt, if you showed up in a disguise and played, I would want you to think that I was doing it correctly. When I answered the questions, I wanted to answer them the "right" way.

Now I realize that the small hints and hooks are meant to be developed in unique and interesting ways by each GM. Sure, it means a little more work from the GM, but it will be worth it for a great gaming experience. I am glad to have backed this project and am honored that I was able to contribute a little bit to it.

Can't wait for my hardcover to arrive!

I think that sums up the difference between OSR and modern RPG design.  There is no "right way" because the book is there to help the GM create his own version of the world, dungeon, cantina, or whatever.  The book isn't god... the GM is.

BTW, you can find the Cha'alt PDF right over here.



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