Neutropolis Update: Change of Plans

For the two and a half people following my Neutropolis 4E articles, I may be shifting gears and directions with it.

The biggest shift is, after much debate and soul searching, I’m actually going to break it off from being 4E dependent. Now, this doesn’t mean it can’t be used in a 4th Edtion D&D game, but the truth is I feel a lot of the design and story I wanted to go with would do better under other systems.  I’m not sure if I’ll re-write it for a specific system, go completely “system generic”, or possibly write up some support articles on how to implement it into a particular rules set.

It’s still going to be a “dystopian clockwork fantasy” — I’m just going to remove the 4E bits and come up with some more unique back story/setting elements for it.

I’ll be honest….4th Edition, a game I do still love, just isn’t really making me happy at this time. It’s more of an issue with the brand and the business practices behind it. I blame my brief experience as a game shop owner for part of my bitterness. I honestly don’t have an issue with the game itself; but I hate to say it, the community surrounding it has left me feeling bitter. There’s a lot of good, but there’s a lot of bad with it. I’m tired of “Old School vs New School” type bickering. I’m tired of edition wars. I’m tired of people fighting over which version of “the World’s most Famous Role Playing Game” is the best and why everyone is wrong.

I’m also tired of Errata, of online services that serve nothing to me but others seem dependent on them. To the point, even, that anything not WoTC approved is unplayable because their software can’t handle it. That’s the intimidating part to me: I’ve seen some brilliant things come to light from third party developers, but they’ll never get the press time they deserve. Hell, I was inspired to start writing Neutropolis after reading through Amethyst: Foundations.  But I’ve seen many folks, both former customers of mine and online in forums, blogs and chats, who steer clear of third party stuff simply because the tools Wizards uses won’t support them. Did the Character Builder honestly make people forget how to write a character sheet on paper?

I see other systems that I think would be welcoming and more accepting for Neutropolis.    Savage Worlds is actually looking very fitting, with its emphasis on quick rules but still offering a tactical crunch. High Valor, although a game set more in an ancient “Dark Ages” type setting, has a flexible and light rules system that could be adapted more for role-playing heavy campaigns. I even kicked around the idea of maybe trying Wyatt Salazar’s NAAD6 system, just to help promote someone who, in my opinion, is doing more to help gaming as a hobby, and not bloating it as an industry.

I promise this won’t fall to the wayside. It’s still being worked on, just it’s no longer in my heart to keep it in line with D&D. It’s something else now, to me. Something that has the potential to bloom into its own world for many to ransack and revolt in. Maybe this is part of the Revolution? To break the chains and say “I’ll play this however the f$&%* I want!”

Edit/ Post Script:

This came off  a lot whinier and bitter than I had intended, and unfairly lambasts the 4E Community. It’s not the “4E” specific community; I think it’s just the folks who particularly stick to a flavor of Dungeons & Dragons and sneer.  My comments above really should have been aimed at the general “Dungeons & Dragons” community. But there are tons of great peeps who keep the game fun, both the old rules and the new rules (and the hodge-podges in between.) My links list to the right offers a variety of flavors on several ends of the spectrum….these guys deserve their traffic and help the hobby a lot.

4 thoughts on “Neutropolis Update: Change of Plans”

  1. Thanks for the endorsement and enthusiasm! I would certainly be happy to see people doing stuff with NAA D6 in the future. However at the moment, I would gently discourage it. The game is going through a lot of fluxes as I get actual play in and see what works, what doesn’t and what I like or not. In the future I’m hoping to release a version I feel is definitive.

    As for D&D 4e, I too felt that it wasn’t the system I wanted to GM after a while. I like the combat as a player, but as a GM I felt like I had to deal with a lot of things 4e pushes you to, like attrition-based setpiece-to-setpiece adventures. I also never got on the online tools. I mean, I write my characters in the CB now, because the games I join always require it, but I despise the thing, it feels clunky.

    Part of the reason why I stopped writing 4e things for The Spirits of Eden is because I realized also that nobody were using them. I find it’s a waste of time to write those sorts of things, so I decided to make Spirits of Eden system-neutral, segregating all the 4e stuff to one page, never looking at it again, and just concentrating on fluff, as well as divorcing the setting from some 4e concepts (Eden used to have tiefling and dragonborn, they’ve been retconned out now). I only wish I’d come to this conclusion sooner, rather than after writing like 50 new powersand 2-3 new paragon paths for each of the PHB classes.

    I like 4e as a game, but I’d rather not GM it. The search for a system I want to GM, that does what I want for my games, is what led to NAA D6. So I guess I thank 4e for not being perfect for me, and leading me to write something that is!

  2. I’m just going to wait until wotc finishes the game before going back. the game keeps looking better, but the errata is a pain to deal with, and I don’t like subscriptions.

    Good luck with the new direction! Also remember, there’s always homebrew!

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