Playtesting!

So it took longer than I’d hoped, but a massive thanks to the RPGCreation community for helping me get a few public playtests off the ground.

And they have been… a time.

The Good: Playtesting revealed flaws and oddities of the various Wildsea systems almost immediately. All of them fixable, luckily, but some of them still needing fine-tuning.

The characters that people have come up with have been fantastic. It was a gamble not putting pre-gens into the playtest materials, but it paid dividends.

Watching the people add lore and history to the world as games progressed has been fascinating, and has made me far more secure in my own worldbuilding.

I got to be a player in my own system. A truly surreal experience, and one I’ve been looking forward to for years.

The Bad: Absolutely nothing, other than some sleepless nights filled with worry and several dreams about mechanical implementation.

Playtesting has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience so far, and many thanks to all of the internet strangers who have stepped up and adventured in the world of the Wildsea!

Felix

Character Sheets

Nothing final yet, and sadly not yet a fillable PDF form either, but here’s a rough version of a potential character sheet. While I’m not yet happy with the formatting, it does have space for everything that needs to be there.

Thoughts for the Future

Needs clarity in Aspects section

Resources section feels crowded even when empty

Text and font work needs updating

Could look a lot prettier in general, really

Cults & Factions: The Writlings

(Cult)

Principles: Paper is Gold, Promenade in Finery
Main Territory: None
Members: An equal mix of bloodlines

The writlings are a cult devoted to the unearthing and repurposing of ancient documents, with a particular focus on paper money, contracts and books. Most writling communities are rootless, nomadic scavenger crews picking over ruins and delving into the Under-Eaves. Rarely violent to outsiders unless provoked, the hierarchy of the cult is related directly to the finery a member wears.

As the efforts of delvers increase across the waves, some writling cults have schismed and split. The most prominent of these are the magpies, a more militant and organized group divinely driven to acquire ancient wealth in any form (anything from pre-verdant coins to gold and silver ornamentation).

Hazards of the Wildsea: The Lion’s Mane

(Large Plant Horror)

A burst of golden petals sitting atop four wide, spider-spread limbs, the lion’s mane is a hunting plant with a taste for blood. Usually moving in pairs they attack in tandem, one rampaging wildly through an area and the other leaping upon any prey that flee the carnage.

Presence

Sight: Toothmarks flecked with golden dust. Sun-coloured petals flexing and rippling in anticipation.
Sound: A rattling lion-like roar.
Smell: Old blood and sweet pollen.
Taste: Hearty, earthy flavour for the limbs. Boiling the petals gives them an appealing sugary note.

Moves

Blood-Hunger: They tend to ignore creatures without hot blood in their veins.
Pair Tactics: One lion’s mane will usually begin an encounter in hiding, using the other as a distraction before leaping in for the attack.
Toothen Petals: Though the petals themselves are soft, they’s studded with tooth-like spines (Spike/Keen/Swallow).
Impaling Limbs: Tough like old roots, the lion’s mane limbs end in wickedly sharp points (Spike/Impale).

Variants

Twin-Mane:A mutated lion’s mane with multiple petal-mouths, a ship-sized solo hunter.

Resources

Specimens: Maw-Petals, Root-Like Hide
Whispers: Drawn to Blood, One Lies in Wait

Progress: Rough Character Sheet

It’s rough, but it covers just about everything that needs to be covered for a character in the Wildsea’s current form. I’ve a few thoings to iron out before I release it properly, along with the playtest pack, but as a little appetizer here’s the character sheet for Kray, one of the characters that came out of last year’s playtests.

CS Kray

Pinwolf Display Test

Vicious pack hunters with stiletto limbs, pinwolves are a seemingly omnipresent threat across the reaches and territories of the wildsea.

The Wild Sea - Predators-Pets Creatures - Wolf.png
Pinwolf, by Kyllian Guillart

Use Pinwolves If…
You want the crew to face something swift and uncanny that attacks in groups.

Descriptive Cues
Sight: They move in fits and bursts, more like small birds than wolves. Long twitching tongues. Rough, coarse fur and smooth skin underneath.
Sound: The sharp impacts of their pin-like limbs on metal. Hissing when they’re readying themselves to attack, whining and yelping when they’re hurt. Scraping and skittering if they move over metal.
Smell: Musky – a mixture of sweat and old blood.
Taste: Pinwolf meat is tough, and tastes bitter unless charred or fried (when it’s then surprisingly buttery).

Moves, Damage & Effects
Climbing: Pinwolves can climb any surface their limbs can punch into, such as flesh or wood. Metal gives them more problems, but larger specimens may be able to punch foot-holds into it with their limbs.
Charges: Lightning fast sprints to knock targets off balance (Blunt / Knockdown).
Bites: Pinwolf mouths are designed to latch on and tear if things try to pull away. (Serrated)
Stamps: ‘Impales’ might be a better word, using their pin-like limbs to pierce their targets (Spike)

The Cargopede (Scuttling Sunday)

Snub-nosed centipedes as wide around as a cart, cargopedes have become a choice beast of burden for certain vertically-constructed ports and settlements. Their myriad legs and natural climbing ability allows them to use walls, rooftops and ropeways to transport cargo from sea-level to the loftiest heights with ease.

The segmented backs of cargopedes are concave, rigged with hooks, chains and netting for a team of loaders to secure trunks and boxes to their shells. Once fully loaded a cargopede’s driver (usually riding a saddle mounted just behind the head) will spur it forward and up to a group of unloaders at its destination.

Though a common sight all across the Hammerhead Drift, cargopedes are bred and trained exclusively in Iris, the monument city of the Petafract. 

Focus On: The Chelicrae

Hive-minded spider colonies in humanesque skins, the chelicrae are an increasingly common sight across the rustling waves of the wildsea.

Chelicrae dreamer_finalv2
Illustration © Omercan Cirit 2019

General

Chelicrae begin their lives in a burst of terrifying sentience, a spontaneous interlinking and uplifting of a thousand arachnid bodies. The resulting mass, web-tangled and confused, is taken in by its more experienced fellows. Given first a name (in Knock, a language of chitters and clicks), then a skin (a patchwork of canvas scraps and spidersilk). Those early days are usually devoted to seclusion and self-discovery, as the mind shared by the newly-suited spiders learns how best to talk, walk and see.

The precise workings of that mind are difficult for non-chelicrae to comprehend, no matter how they try to explain it. Each of the spiders that makes up their body is capable of acting independently, but as a whole they consider themselves a single, singular entity. A chelicrae that loses some of its component spiders may feel it like a more traditional being feels an injury, or as a loss of memory, or a sudden, yawning absence.

Chelicrae Bard MidThe complexity of their intelinked minds are in stark contrast to the simplicity of their skins. Most are human-esque – arms, legs, a head with a face – but the proportions and numbers differ wildly from individual to individual. Without a skeleton or organs to worry about, the spiders that make up a chelicrae often end up taking forms that other races find… unsettling.

When a chelicrae has found a comfortable form it usually adapts its first skin to fit, creates another entirely or takes the discarded (or donated) skin of one of the other wildsea races. Some even keep these skins in good enough condition and take mundane enough forms to pass as an ardent or an ektus, at least until an unnatural movement or tear exposes the spiders within. These tears can be mended temporarily with spidersilk, but with no natural healing ability must eventually be patched or sewn shut.

On the Wider Waves

The chelicrae are a mixed bunch. Some form close-knit communities, staying close to where they were birthed and raising new chelicrae that might be born there. Others join the Silk Brothers, a secretive cult whose members treat the exploration of bizarre and unnatural forms as a form of worship. Some few hide their true nature, slipping from port to port without most ever suspecting what they are.

Chelicrae Salvager Midstage

 

The bravest chelicrae become wildsailors, heading out onto the rustling waves of the Wildsea to fight, trade and scavenge. Few of these ever bother to hide what they are – wildsailors are an accepting bunch, and salvage crews especially enjoy the edge a semi-formless hive-mind offers their crews.