Hael????

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Tal
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Hael????

#1 Postby Tal » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:55 pm

Seen this on RPG.now, looked at the companies website and watched the you tube video. Seems interesting. Does anybody know of a review of the PDF or know if they are going to print a book?

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#2 Postby Rophan » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:32 pm

I haven't seen a review of it yet, but I have purchased it and started reading through it. The PDF looks really nice, beautiful artwork, and it is well written. The writing evokes a strong sense of the setting, yet it is also clear and concise on game rules. From what I've read so far, I would love to play it. I've been jaded about the Fantasy genre for a long time now, and this is the first setting in a long time to make me really want to run a Fantasy game again. Right now it is at the top of my list for next year's homeschool RPG club that I run.
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#3 Postby Tal » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:36 pm

Rophan,
Thanks.

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#4 Postby yynderjohn » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:50 pm

Looks interesting to me as well, but it seems that the starting characters will be very powerful as you get a Cultural background and Professional Background for free, which basically boosts your starting skills by 6-7 dice. For example, Bounty Hunter gets +2 Fighting which means two dice type bump. i.e d4 to d8.

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#5 Postby Kristian Serrano » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:52 pm

yynderjohn wrote:Looks interesting to me as well, but it seems that the starting characters will be very powerful as you get a Cultural background and Professional Background for free, which basically boosts your starting skills by 6-7 dice. For example, Bounty Hunter gets +2 Fighting which means two dice type bump. i.e d4 to d8.
+2 Fighting just means +2 to a Trait Test result.

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#6 Postby Rophan » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:24 pm

According to the Skills entry on page 15, you need to use your 15 skill points to purchase the listed skills and edges in your racial, background and cultural choices. So, you are not starting our ahead of the curve, your choices determine what you must spend your skill points on:

These 15 points are spent after Racial, Cultural and and Background Edges have been chosen. Thus many of these points will need to be spent to meet the racial, cultural and background requirements. The rest can be spent normally as per the core rules.


If I'm reading things correctly, you are actually starting out lower than a standard Novice character, as you have to purchase your Racial Edges from your starting points.

I love the Hael setting, but I have issues with what they've done with character creation, they seem to make it more complicated than necessary. I've found they also muddy the waters when it comes to the term Edge, as the "Background and Racial Edges" are really lists of mandatory skills the player must buy instead of standard SW Edges.

Before I get around to playing this with one of my groups, I plan to rebuild the races as per the Fantasy companion rules. In general, I have no problem with the players having a few mandatory skills that they must purchase for their background, but why they must also purchase their racial characteristics is beyond me. I'd be interested in hearing the writer's justification for this choice.
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#7 Postby David2012 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:01 pm

I read the 5* review, purchased and read the product and have to say I was a little disappointed, but not desperately so.

I found some of the background material to be underwritten, and some of the racial/npc motivations to be a little baffling.

In need of answers, I trotted along to the Storyweaver site, tendered some questions, only for the connection to fail. Same with the Facebook link.

More than a little frustrating.

Does anyone know an alternative means to contact the publisher, or Hael's author, Patrick Taylor? Got some burning questions that need answering.

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Story Weaver
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#8 Postby Story Weaver » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:02 pm

Hey David, Rophan, Amaril, yynderjohn, Tal,

my name is Patrick and I am the writer for HAEL. I prefer it in allcaps, because that's how a Daeorc would say it ; )

Someone pointed out that HAEL was being discussed here so I thought I'd better get a login and answer your questions. Sadly our whole 'social media' plan is only just swinging into gear; writing the stuff is hard enough!

HAEL is not a masterpiece, but I like to think it is solid and well constructed, and there is more material being released on a fairly regular basis to build it up.

Also, us Story Weaver people are not shy of putting out updates and sending free-download links to existing purchasers.

If anyone has any questions or comments I'd be glad to hear 'em... ?

/Patrick

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#9 Postby Tal » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:29 am

Will HAEL be available in a print form, either a book or POD?

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#10 Postby Story Weaver » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:30 pm

Timely question...

For POD - yes, we have actually just handed over our files to the DTRPG POD layout staff who are putting this together now.

For PRINT - seriously, not in the immediate future. Too big an investment to make up front until the market is proven. Hopefully it will.

Do you have a preference? If it is for Print, then what is the key for wanting that? text quality? Glossy pages? Durability? As a weapon to hit other gamers with? ; )

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#11 Postby Tal » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:10 am

Story Weaver wrote:Timely question...

For POD - yes, we have actually just handed over our files to the DTRPG POD layout staff who are putting this together now.

For PRINT - seriously, not in the immediate future. Too big an investment to make up front until the market is proven. Hopefully it will.

Do you have a preference? If it is for Print, then what is the key for wanting that? text quality? Glossy pages? Durability? As a weapon to hit other gamers with? ; )

Either is fine. I just like a physical copy. I have been looking at HAEL since it was released but didn't get it because it was only a PDF. PDF are nice but I hate printing out PDF over 50 pages. I will be ordering the POD once it is out.
As far as PRINT, text quality and durability of the spine are the first concerns I would have. The rest is cosmetic to me, but since it is out on POD I would probably not buy a PRINT copy unless I really loved the setting and it was full color, I image the POD will be B&W.
With either POD or PRINT I would want the typos and errors fixed as much as humanly possible.
Is the plan to make all text releases for HAEL PDF and POD?

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#12 Postby Story Weaver » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:22 pm

The POD for HAEL will actually be color.

The PDF has an ink-friendly version as well as the full-color version in the download.

Depending on how well POD of the core rules goes well then we will look to POD the game-in-a-can adventures that go with it. Hard to say since we haven't even released the POD yet!

Since you mentioned typos, etc. have you noticed anything in particular? A few people have told me they have seen typos but no one has actually fed back more than just that, so I am keen to know...
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#13 Postby David2012 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:52 am

Okay, Patrick, this is my main gripe -

On reflection, I don't feel that the dominant races of Hael have responded in a natural and credible way to the aliens' arrival.

In the north the visitors crashed, popped their heads round the door to say hello, and then were allowed to slip quietly away into the wilderness to go about their mysterious business. Would any major nation really allow that to happen?

Then in the south, the Yaena are quite happy to sit back and allow their pet aliens to assassinate the leader of the allies they have coexisted peaceably with for centuries without a mutter of protest.

Furthermore, why did the aliens go out of their way to antagonise the only race with the power to smash them, bearing in mind their vulnerability to magic?

I appreciate that the aliens' intentions are probably meant to be mysterious, but as written they don't make a lot of sense to me.

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#14 Postby Tal » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:45 am

Story Weaver wrote:
Since you mentioned typos, etc. have you noticed anything in particular? A few people have told me they have seen typos but no one has actually fed back more than just that, so I am keen to know...


I don't know I don't own the PDF I was waiting to see if there would be a POD or print before buying.

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#15 Postby Story Weaver » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:04 pm

Hi David, and thanks for the considered feedback. You have obviously read the core rules and these things have popped out at you!

As always when a person writes something it can be hard for them (me) to know if it has conveyed properly to paper... and you are spot-on about the Dominion's reaction to the Strangers. It is not logical, but if you consider the nature of those aliens you might discern the reason for that... the Stranger's motives are not meant to be transparent - in many ways the brutal and war-like Nuclarine are much more obvious in their intentions and methods.

As for the Empire rolling over, in the section on the Coming of the Nuclarine it says that only happened after a handful of Nuclarine (maybe even just one on its own; reports from survivors are few and sketchy) destroyed an Imperial army of several Taeyna Warpacks with no casualties! The Emperor is between a rock and a very hard place, and because all the Nuclarine have asked in return for their incredible technology is untamed slaves, it's politically expedient to do what they want for now. Of course, some Yaena disagree with the Nuclarine-treaty but they are a minority.

With regards to the Nuclarine antagonizing the only race that can harm them, you are right in that they do appear pre-disposed to do that. However, it would be an impossible coincidence that two alien races arrived on Hael at the exact assume moment in the planet's history - and if you don’t believe in coincidence, then by extension the aliens already know about each other, their strengths and weaknesses, and who their natural allies might be... the Nuclarine would know that the Strangers would find allies amongst the untamed, first and foremost, which might give you a clue about the relationship between the two newcomers.

It's a great balancing act to write enough detail to act as a teaser, and allowing players and GMs enough information to play self-contained games, but keeping a little back as a mystery for later. I am interested to know if you have read the three game-in-a-can adventures yet and made any observations about the direction the meta-plot of the setting is unfolding? I see these as the best vehicle for driving the background of the world along. Of course, being a SW game it's another balancing act to provide a direction, yet not be too proscriptive.

Thanks once again for the well-constructed points you raised, and I hope this answers some of your questions.

As for a little bit more behind-the-scenes info, I can say that we will soon be releasing free weekly downloadable ‘interviews’ by prof. Grumin Tarsh, and the first one of these is titled ‘Interview with a Nuclarine…’ How’s that for a teaser ;)

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#16 Postby Sgain » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:10 pm

In terms of character creation we've pretty much gone the same way as Rophan has and just used the Fantasy Companion rules. We sat down several times and tried to create characters that we felt would survive in HAEL and came up with some changes.

Here's my gaming groups changes/errata so far;

Character Races (additions/changes) Racial Edges are 'free' as they are part of the racial characteristics.

Daeorcs; +1 Size, Darkvision (its a racial edge and doesn't need to be paid for).
Daeman; Darkvision (racial edge),
Humans; Standard per fantasy Companion except must take 1 combat edge and Outsider (Hindrance) .
Yaena; Darkvision and Sense of Smell (Racial Edges)
Kirene; Darkvision and Quadribrach (Racial Edges)
Halfling; -1 Size, Darkvision (racial edge) and 1 combat edge (required)

Cultural Edges;
Changed name of Outsider to Outlander (as it caused confusion).

Background Edges and Cultural Edges changed to Professional Edges and are treated as such per the normal character creation rules. otherwise this can be a huge advantage for a character as they can gain skills without purchasing them.

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#17 Postby David2012 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:55 am

Thank you, Patrick, for taking my observations in such good spirit.

I was a little frustrated with the aliens' activities and motivations as it is their presence on Hael that, I feel, sells the game. If they don't work, then Hael becomes just another fantasy setting - and I sincerely don't mean that to sound offensive.

The reason I feel they are the bedrock of Hael is due to the comparative lack of intrigue elsewhere. Certainly there are the Outsiders and the pirates, but I imagine that their activities barely register to the two dominant nations. In addition, there appears to be very little political infighting, nor - as in other settings - is Hael knee-deep in conspiracies and secret societies. (At least, not yet.)

I must put my hand up and admit that, though I did read about the Nuclarine handing the Yaena their butts, I missed the reference to only one of the aliens being responsible. Nevertheless, an entire nation of warriors should - if not with force, then perhaps with guile - be able to overwhelm a small contingent of aliens, regardless of their technological superiority. I appreciate that the Yaena have been bribed with some shiny toys, but has that really soothed their wounded warrior pride?

On a different subject: did I miss the reference to the catalyst that triggered the physical changes in the orcs and gnolls? If the picture of the Yaena minstrel is any indication, then they seem to have undergone quite a profound physiological change in a comparatively short time - I'm unclear as to why.

I will take a gander at the games-in-a-can, and I'll also revisit the material on the aliens' arrival.

Coincidence? No such thing as coincidence.

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#18 Postby Story Weaver » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:51 pm

David: Thanks again, and looking forward to your feedback if you want to add anything.

Sgain & Rophan: Interesting points! Sorry it's taken so long to address them but I missed the request for clarification the first read through. Anyway...

...what I tried to do with the character creation (and from the comments I've had it is close, but missed the bulls-eye) is to stick to the /format/ of the SW core rules (d'Lux edition), while adding the Culture and Background aspects to help flesh out a character concept, steer players towards a set of HAEL specific archetypes, and at the same time address complaints that starting Novice characters are painfully under-powered.

For example, when we play tested the demo-game for a new SW title we are developing (High-Space), I had pre-gen'ed completely Novice characters based on the core rules, and the biggest volume of feedback was all around the power level of the characters - which in many ways was good to hear :) - but it raised the eternal issue of starting characters and "how do you avoid killing them?"

So in response to your observations, having starting characters with a few higher Skill dice (note, they will not get extra Edges) was deliberate. Like most things SW I guess you can take it or leave it. From my experience I would say that point difference should be largely unimportant by the time a character is Seasoned.

If you have any further comments on changing the Background Edges to optional Professional Edges, I'd really like to hear them, because that is something that we are considering now for future titles...

/Patrick

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#19 Postby David2012 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:55 pm

Hello Patrick

Here I go again -

Having reread the core document I did see the reference to a 'handful' of Nuclarine defeating the Yaena.

Still with the Yaena: there seems to be an implication that the Storytellers are, in some way, mystical in nature, but I'm struggling to discern how. The stat block presented for a senior stroyteller makes no mention of any Arcane Backgrounds amongst the list of Edges.

I would welcome a more in-depth study of this important aspect of Yaena culture.

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#20 Postby Rophan » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:48 pm

Hi Patrick

I really liked the Cultural Edges, and I think that starting characters a little more powerful is probably a wise idea. The issues I had with character creation was that players had to buy their Racial Edges with character points rather than have them for free as a part of choosing that race. (or it seems to be the case from the way I read the rules.) To me it would make more sense to have the races pre-built at no cost to the player and have the Cultural Edge as a mandatory Edge to purchase (or even allow it as a free choice to give the players that bump the need for HAEL.)

I liked the idea of your Background Edges, but think it is a potential cause of confusion as your Background Edges seem slightly different that the standard Background Edges in SWD. Would it be possible to give them a different name? or do you consider them to be in the same class as SWD's Background Edges?

I find the setting very intriguing, and am looking forward to having a chance to play it. It's a nice twist on the standard Fantasy setting.

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“Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker."

— J.R.R. Tolkien (On Fairy-Stories)


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