Travellers on a Red Road is, as has been mentioned, a flintlocks and sorcery game. But what does it mean? The contents of the game will support the following:
Exploration- and fiction-focused gaming: This game is focused on having characters explore the setting, with the players interacting with the fictional world. This also means that there are certains thing that is doesn’t do. To preserve the suspense in exploration, I have opted to forgo mechanisms that let players take over out-of-character narrative functions. Likewise, to focus on interaction with the fictional world, the game doesn’t focus on system mastery or complex tactical subsystems to any significant degree.
Weird, non-Eurocentric fantasy: The setting of the game takes its inspiration from many areas, but mostly the parts of the world surrounding the northern Pacific Ocean, from the Nootka Sound to Manchuria. However, it isn’t an attempt to recreate any specific culture, but rather a general inspiration for a setting whose technological level is loosely reminiscent of Renaissance Europe or Song China. This is combined with tropes from the weird fantasy genre; when describing monsters, magic, and other supernatural phenomena, I have opted to aim for the unfamiliar rather than the commonplace.
Compact, flexible rules: Travellers on a Red Road uses a simple rules system that can easily be expanded or contracted depending on need. Running the game on the fly is not too complicated, and neither is creating new subsystems if one should so desire. The game contains a number of such subsystems to provide examples, such as combat, sorcery, travel, downtime, and so on.
Character creation grounded in the setting: With a setting that uses unfamiliar influences, it is important that players do not find this too intimidating. Therefore, the character creation process is designed to let players discover the setting bit by bit. Each step of the procedure is potentially random, but with different options balanced against each other. This makes rolling an entirely random character just as viable as picking and choosing what to play.
A dynamic setting: Kalaga, the region the game is set in, is changing: rulers seek to centralise power, philosophers question traditions, popular uprisings shake the foundations of society. The book contains many different factions for the players to ally with, struggle against, or play off against each other.
Upcoming post will delve a bit more into details from the rules and the setting.