Double Proficiency

We’ve been extremely busy in the past month. We’ve jump-started several projects, moved houses, wrote and designed a ton of things, started Aphelion’s playtests, set the ground for a couple of exciting new things, drew some plants, and cleared out a part of the garden. Not that the last one has any bearing on you, but it’s definitely keeping me happy and grounded.


Project Aphelion

Jakub is working on updating the alpha rules. We’ve had the first playtest already, and I have to admit, the core mechanics work like a charm! They cover social interactions, sneaking, hacking, combat – it’s all equally easy-to-learn but complex enough to motivate the players to employ tactics and thinking.

And the game comes complete with an interface. Yes, it’s a thing, and it saves a ton of time on tracking resources. And there are no hit points. It’s all sleek and glorious.

See the playtest here!

Jakub is now fleshing out the character creation – which is going to be a minigame all of its own! A narrative-based step-by-step process, establishing your character’s aspirations, background, attributes, skills, and resources. At the end of it, you’ll have a ready-to-play character with all the stats, backstory, and connections you will need to start the game. And it shouldn’t take you more than 15-30 minutes!


Herbalist’s Primer

My flagship is sailing. Far and wide. If it’s the first time you’re hearing about it, it’s a system-agnostic book on real-world magical plants, thought as an in-world guide for players, game masters, and characters. I write more about it on the project page.

I’ve been more writing than drawing lately (arthritis flaring up messes up the drawing process a bit) but I’m making progress and getting the hang of the digital watercolors. They are so much fun to use! I could never find enough patience to get properly into conventional painting but the digital seems to be working for me.

We have a Patreon now, and in early July our Patrons will get some more plant spreads from the book, as well as a second set of collectible reference cards. Here’s a sample of what they got in June!

In more news, I even got a publisher! Thanks to Exalted Funeral, Herbalist’s Primer is gonna have a professionally handled Kickstarter, print and distribution. It’s happening, y’all!


Incitatus

Incitatus is done! Or its first draft, at least. Jakub’s working on the second draft (and is, apparently, about 50% in), and then it’s pitch time! If you want to read this space horror ahead of time, I’d suggest joining our Patreon this month. You’ll be up for a treat! Megacorps, ghost ships, intrigue, biodrones, mercenaries, and a mummy that’s definitely not looking like a human.

Also, look at this absolutely glorious cover art by Holly Humphries.

Incitatus cover art by Holly Humphries

Other projects

I love Project Aphelion mechanics so much, I’m making a fantasy hack of it. Yes, Jakub is going to make his fantasy game but I need a generic fantasy ruleset to live my life to the fullest. With more things to do in a game than just go through combat encounters.

And this is all I’m gonna show you for now.


Graphic-design-wise, I’m working on a cool project with Hydra Cooperative, and I’ll let them dictate what I can say about the subject:

It’s an awesome project, and I can’t wait to actually play in the Hill Cantons.

There’s a couple of really exciting projects I’m on as a graphic designer too but I can’t tell you about them yet. But I will. SOON.


Jakub is writing a ton of things for Earthdawn, RPG Kitchen, and some secret projects – and we’ll share the details as soon as we can. But it’s all hush-hush for now.


Personal stuff

We’ve bought a house, y’all! This was probably the busiest we’ve been, finding the time to work between house-hunting, childcare (two preschoolers!), the move, some medical issues (I got officially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and started the chemo treatment, so I’m no longer in pain 24/7)…

But hey. Look at my home office view now.

I need to cut down that spruce at some point.


We’re looking at quickly approaching July with hope for some quieter time. It will not be quieter, though, as we’re soon to get back to our Shadowrun campaign, and the Aphelion playtests, and book writing, and design, and gardening, and new secret projects…

But busy is good. We like busy, as long as it leaves enough time for a coffee break.

Our hard sci-fi tabletop RPG is finally in the play-testing phase! Jakub has been hard at work for months writing and polishing the rules for Project Aphelion, and now they’re ready to see the light.

What is Project Aphelion?

If you haven’t heard about the project before, here are the basics. It’s an tabletop RPG introducing elements of a 4X strategy (EXplore, EXpand, EXploit, and EXterminate, see here). It’s clear, streamlined, efficient, and easy to learn.

We’ve play-tested it last Saturday in a team of four; some of us never played RPGs before, some mostly know D&D, some play RPGs for years, some (me) have been with Aphelion since its beginning. Nevertheless, it was the first time any of us played it, and it took barely any time to start using the system intuitively.

It’s based on d10 only and has zero exceptions, yet manages to stay easy and complex at the same time. Crunch? Yes. Three days of character creation? No. (I’m looking at you, Shadowrun).

The alpha rules and the recording of the first play-test (explaining exactly how to play the game and use the interface) are for now available for our Patrons. Why not join them?


The featured image is in Public Domain: The planet Jupiter from the Trouvelot astronomical drawings (1881-1882) by E. L. Trouvelot (1827-1895). Original from The New York Public Library.

Hello!
So far, we’ve talked about the general idea behind PA, and the technologies that made everyday life in the Solar System so vastly different than it is today. I decided to make those vlogs with a bi-weekly theme, swapping lore related topics with closer looks on the gameplay and rules each time. So, our today’s video will cover the gameplay of Project Aphelion, to give you an idea of how will the game function.

Gameplay

Gameplay in Project Aphelion happens on multiple platforms, both during the session and between them. I’m designing it to be a perfect game for a long, immersive campaign using more than one format of play, but also to fit nicely for a play-by-post, convention setting, or even as a board game without any classic TTRPG elements and character-based play. I think the best way to describe PA is a roleplaying game mixed with a 4X strategy game and games like Europa Universalis or Risk. How is that going to work? Well, this is where the fun begins.

The game will “run” on three interconnected playing fields, with a varying degree of focus and importance depending on how you want to play the game.

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Hello! I’m Jakub Wisz, the author of Stars in Our Sails and Project Aphelion, and this is the next development blog for the upcoming TTRPG Project Aphelion.

We covered the basics in the first vlog, so now we can get to the good stuff.
In this vlog, we’re gonna go over what makes the world spin – technology.
To make the Solar System of Project Aphelion as immersive and realistic as possible, I did more than just put people in spaceships and go talk with people with weird eyebrows. I went over every layer of society and tech and figured out how the major scientific and economic shift would influence the world in every aspect.

Human society in Project Aphelion survived a revolution that could be compared; I think only with the invention of internal combustion engine and flight – and I did my best to reflect that thoroughly and indiscriminately throughout the entire of Project Aphelion.

Trade, warfare, communication, culture, religion – everything changed when humanity took the first serious steps into space.

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Hello! I’m Jakub Wisz, the author of “Stars In Our Sails” and Project Aphelion, and in this first blog, I’m going to explain what the hell even is that I’m writing. This post is an introduction to the world of Project Aphelion and the setting, so I’ll keep it short – I’ll write about the details later.

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