Now that Darkness Visible has been entrusted to the tender hands of Lightning Source and I have another week or so to wait for the printed proofs, I can start work on the next project.
An Echo, Resounding will provide the tools and resources to help a GM run princely domains and sweeping mass combats under Labyrinth Lord rules. While specifically set in the devil-haunted world of the Red Tide, the tools in this book are applicable to almost any old-school game or retroclone. An initial chapter helps the GM build a sandbox region that both provides immediate outlets for adventure and embeds the necessary framework for future political machinations. Rather than having to suddenly retrofit everything in as soon as the PCs start to show an interest in influencing the local powers, these tools let the GM build those elements right into the sandbox. PCs that want to lead a village to victory over its oppressors or who are suddenly placed at the head of a city-state’s ragged militia can now effortlessly step into place without forcing a sudden rush of ad-hoc judgment calls and improvisations by the GM.
Many old-school domain management systems focus on simulating the strict details of a fantasy fief- gold income, population, peasant morale, food supplies, and other specifics. While this is a perfectly natural approach, An Echo, Resounding instead abstracts the fundamental elements of a domain into Military, Wealth, and Social values. These totals rise and fall depending on the types of locations held by the domain and the sort of special resources or advantages the PCs can bring to their homes. These totals are then used to support Assets, which reflect the military units, unique traditions, temples, schools, and other specific resources the domain has at its disposal. Outside threats and conflicts between domains then become focused on these Assets and the locations that support them. Struggles become specific, and every clash or sudden peril from the wilderness becomes a ready-made adventure hook for the redoubtable rulers. In addition to these domain rules, a mass combat system is provided that can flex to accommodate heroic PCs, massed troops, and special monstrous foes all on the same battlefield.
An Echo, Resounding is going to require extensive playtesting on the appropriate balance of location values and asset costs, so keep an eye on this space for playtest invitations over the course of the next month. And fear not, Stars Without Number fans; the lessons and playtesting data drawn from An Echo, Resounding are going to be directly useful for the project to follow; Other Dust, the standalone SWN-compatible game covering the post-apocalyptic savagery of Terra in the wake of Scream’s horrific devastation.