Devblog: Bliaron in English

We’ve been planning for quite a while for getting Bliaron rpg released in English, but various challenges on game design have kept us thinking on how we should tackle this. We don’t want to release a game that would just disappear among thousands of generic fantasy rpg’s. We don’t want to release a game that’s hard to get into. And most certainly, we don’t want to release anything that resembles Dungeons and Dragons. On the other hand, we DO want to release a novel fantasy rpg about shamanistic magic, a game with simple and easy mechanics, and a world that greatly facilitates storytelling.

Fairly big and known issue with Finnish edition is that Bliaron gets bogged among thousands of general fantasy rpgs, OSR games and D&D clones. Art is certainly good, but just browsing through, it’s very easy to come to the conclusion that Bliaron, the Finnish edition, is still a mixture of a bit unripe homebrewed ideas. Now, I have never played Dungeons & Dragons in my life, at least not the tabletop rpg. When people refer to Bliaron as one-of-these-games, meaning the various D&D clones that people have created, I feel deeply saddened, as I’ve intentionally designed Bliaron as game that steers as far off from D&D as possible. When I look at Bliaron now, I see that it’s a big, complex and deeply designed game world, with tons of ideas, but the user manual is just too long and boring to read. The best core ideas, the greatest points, are hidden among hundreds of pages of somewhat average fluff. All of which was surely important for the design of the game, but not necessarily so interesting for an average rpg enthusiastic.

So it’s clear that we have a game that’s kind of ready for translating, but then, if done strictly without editing, we would also translate all the unimportant fluff, and from the customers point of view, we’d end up with yet another average fantasy rpg. As the development of Bliaron Card Game pushes on with full speed, it’s now a good time to start seriously getting into Bliaron rpg redevelopment. Instead of translating we ended up with making a 2nd edition as a whole. Some of the text has been translated, as well as heavily edited, and we’ve been making good progress on this. The text in 2nd edition is a lot more streamlined and clear, it aims to point out the best things of the game in simplest way possible.

Some of the important changes that will follow, are changes to spell building, and how spellcasting works in general. The biggest change is probably that all people in Bliaron can potentially become mages. That’s not to say that everybody will ever cast, but the core system will feature the magical soul, binding all magical potential to core stats like Strength and Senses. The Finnish version’s stat for Magic (Finn. magiavoima) will be removed, and therefore all core stats will instead be connected to different magical abilities. In addition, the surrounding spiritual energy will always be tracked in the 2nd ed, making the spells of certain type work better in different situations. Jungles for example will be full of energies of life, enabling powerful healing spells, and deserts will gather spirits of heat, granting power to spells of fire, and strangely, ice. As of now, we are designing and testing how mages could spend points from their core stats, temporarily lowering their abilities for creating more powerful spells. Very likely there will be a way to use Bliaron Cards for tracking these stat pools, possibly even a system to use cards to build and resolve actual spells (oh well, might not happen, depends on some design decisions). And while we do all these changes, we also streamline the system, making actual gameplay flow easily. By the way, all the fluff changes presented in 2nd edition are actually hinted in the Finnish edition too, that is to say that Finnish game and 2nd edition will be somewhat compatible, but the rules of the original release don’t really support this, and the fluff is so vague that it needs a skilled and very dedicated Bliaron GM to pull out.

Now the release then? That’s not going to be this month, or the next one. We’re still far away from a finished product. The main point is however that we are, slowly, getting there.

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