It's been a while, unfortunately posting here has slowed down significantly along with progress at the end of the summer, but things picked up the last month and most notably many mechanics have been completely overhauled and smoother. Lets focus on some of the initial changes:
The same three concepts explained before remain - Stitching, Weaving and Fraying all are main mechanics and are relatively unchanged. However, how the dice pools are dealt with and interpreted have been rewritten and redesigned. Additionally how successes (called stitches) interact with skills and scale in effect have been completely overhauled and simplified.
A sample below will discuss how a dice pool would work:
This is a moderate challenge with average risk and the user is fairly skilled.
They get the following dice:
1, 2, 4, 6, 6, 9, 10
The player then looks and sees that they have two dice meeting or below their Fraying, and two meeting or beating the Stitching, leaving them with:
They may expend two of the others to cancel the frays, and then they have two stitches they may spend toward success.
Simple, and easy. However, a new mechanic was created to help control optimizations effect, and to add an interesting element. Thematically, when a character succeeds really well all the time, they tend to get overconfident and are more likely to not foresee the consequences of their action. How that is resolved mechanically is that the first stitch spent on a roll is always free, but each stitch after the first adds a fray to the next roll they make. This means if someone spends 5 stitches, they automatically add 4 frays to their next dice pool. This can add to high risk rather quickly, especially if the player doesn't plan right, or has a tendency to max one skill, and not any other.
Character creation has been dramatically simplified. The point buy had all scaling removed, and now features a simple token purchasing system. Its easier for new players and far less intimidating while still allowing for flexible character creation. Additionally the entire skill list was overhauled, and 10 skills where cut from the game, bringing things down to currently 50 skills. Skill 'groups' or categories of skills where completely excised as they where confusing and limiting from a design perspective. Instead a new flexible Background system was created to encourage skill spreading during character creation.
Backgrounds allow a character to create blurbs of their history, assisting them in building who they once where, and also making the skill selection portion of character creation more interactive and story based without being overly dense or confusing or intimidating for newer players.
The resources have been overhauled, condensed and a few cut.
There are now the following resources:
Resources provide a management system to the gameplay, and allow for selective risk versus reward in design. The basic mechanics of resource management are easy for players to grasp, and the strategies interesting as long as they aren't heavily complex.
The Fortitudes are Dreamcatcher's form of a health system, and the three separate pools are simultaneously a way to reduce optimization effects, as well as allow for significant flavor differences in the way characters play.
Lifeforce measures the character's life. This resource is never returned, is very powerful and critical, and if lost in entirety means the character dies. They are sort of a cat's nine lives in this game world which features permanent death. They prevent Dreamcatcher from feeling as harsh as some worlds with permanent death, without removing death as a threat and real possibility from the game world entirely like many systems tend to do.
Destiny is this system's most flexible resource, similar to other 'Action Points' in D&D or 'Edge' in Shadowrun. They allow for storytelling and luck override. They allow for a player to have the right tool at the right time to make what they want to have happen in story, regardless of Dreamweaver input.
The other three resources are gameplay based, interact with skills and abilities in different ways, and are very limited so something the player needs to make significant choice over using. The average player will only have 1-3 points per long rest (or day in game terms) to work with and can be very powerful when used right.
Flourish allows for one to make use of a really good roll, and not suffer a lot of fray penalties. Very simply, the resource being spent allows any number of stitches to be spent on the roll without incurring fray penalties.
Alignment allows for a 'redo'. Very simply, they allow a player to pick up all dice, and rethrow though they lose weaving when doing so. This can help make up for really bad luck or a bad roll at a critical time.
Waken allows for the character to make use of the strange magics of Dreamtime, including Evoking the power inside Dreamcatchers, or changing the shape of their body through the Shift ability.
Skills got significant overhaul in this draft. Beyond cutting 10 skills in order to condense everything so every skill feels useful, they have been expanded, rethought, streamlined due to the changing underlying mechanics. 'Passive' effects on skills where moved, and instead a new system currently being called Expertise was added. In order to allow for some differentiation and flavor for two players who specialize in the same skill, and allow more flavor and personality, the expertise system was added. Upon hitting maximum rank in a skill, the player gets to choose an Expertise from a list of choices and this is a permanent choice and may not be changed.
An expertise can change how the skill works, add new effects or expand a skill, or change how another skill interacts with the one specialized in. An expertise may also add static bonuses, like increasing the Weaving of another skill, or increasing a maximum resource.