Welcome to another Monday Minute! I’ve spent a good amount of time talking about the Cosmothea Campaign Setting over the past 6 months or so. Today I thought I’d cover a bit about the Cosmothea Game Engine as part of our commitment to transparency (We’re hoping that by being transparent, people will gain a better awareness and appreciation of what Cosmothea is and what we’re trying to do). Sound good? I hope so, because here we go!
Just as the setting was designed to focus on a variety of genres, both individually and blended, the engine supports that by offering variety and depth across the board. Here are a few examples:
Options: There are a great many options in the game, from numerous racial variations (and the ability to make more, since most races can be found on a number of different worlds), to a good number of career paths and the ability to make any sort of career path you can imagine. And each time you gain a level, you have a wide variety of benefits to choose from. There’s no such thing as “dead levels” in Cosmothea. Those that want to focus on fewer choices (so as to avoid being overwhelmed by a large number of options), may select to follow themes, which package talents and other benefits for faster character creation and leveling.
In real life, people change over time, adopting new lifestyles and interests, redirecting their focus and even careers in new directions. Using the Growth Plateau System, you can further alter your character in significant ways over the course of their lifetimes whenever they reach a new growth plateau (this is not the same thing as gaining a level, which the game also has). Changes could include everything from altering deep-seated philosophical and spiritual beliefs and lifestyles, to swapping out talents, overcoming character flaws, gaining new traits, and a variety of other changes that reflect the character’s redirection over the levels leading up to the growth plateau.
Mode: Cosmothea offers three modes of play: 2d10, 1d20 and Comparative to reduce randomness (which uses cards and a simple mechanic). There is also an optional Cinematic Die for those who like the Comparative system but want to make sure to keep the Cinematic feel of the 1d20 mode. One of the neat things about the modes is that they are interchangeable (rather currently the 2d10 and 1d20 are interchangeable with some interesting aspects to that versatility – the Comparative system is still being evaluated and integrated so I can’t talk much on that yet), but at the very least, gamers can choose which mode they want to use to run the game.
Complexity: When sitting down to play a game of Cosmothea, the group decides on what level of complexity they will approach the game. There are three levels of complexity (marked with an icon for easy reference) and you can pick and choose which optional complexity rules you want to include (there will be a reference sheet where you can check mark the optional rules your gaming group will use to eliminate confusion). With levels of complexity, those that like a fairly lite rules game can get their fix and those that prefer more granularity can get their fix too.
It should be noted that Cosmothea sits squarely in the middle between uber-lite rules games like Savage Worlds and uber crunch games like HERO and GURPS. From where I’m sitting, that’s a good place to be. We hope you think so too, because being in the middle enables us to tell a wide variety of stories with depth without getting bogged down in all the math.
Of course the game isn’t done yet. It’s playable, but there are still many gaps and areas we are reviewing, revising and polishing. It’s a big game, but we think it’s going to be worth it in the long run. There’s just two of us on the Design Team currently (and one has switched over to working on the upcoming Cosmothea anthology, so it’s just me right now), so it’s slow going, but we’re not about to give up!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Want to hear more about the Cosmothea Game Engine? if you would like to join one of our playtests or be a part of what we’re doing in some capacity, or just want to see more blog posts about the system, let me know! Thanks, and have a great week!