Since its public release two months ago, the Knights of the Black Lily Quickstart BETA rules have been downloaded more than 150 times. Quite a respectable number, given that promotion for the game hasn’t even begun in earnest. Given that level of interest, it’s overdue that we give an overview over what we’ve been doing in recent months and what you can expect in the future. Both the response by gamers as well as the latest developments regarding the game itself are very encouraging and so motivation is running pretty high!
Let’s break down the update into the following sections:
Rules Update (aka Knights of the Black Lily Quickstart Beta v0.91)
There’s a rules update for Knights of the Black Lily coming that is going to both streamline the rules as well as increasing the lethality of fights. It’s likely that the Rules Update comes before the publication of the Introductory Scenario (see below) but it’s also possible that we’ll put it out in tandem later this year, depending how testing goes – and our confidence levels to make the changes official.
The drama escalates
The dirty secret of version 0.9, which has been published in January, is that fights between major characters (on the level of pregenerated PCs) can take too long. Yes, this is in part due to the limited number of combat traits these mere Quickstart characters have compared to fully developed Knights of the Black Lily PCs. But another reason is that we’ve always had it on our mind to introduce an Escalation mechanic that made fights become increasingly deadly, even up to a fever pitch, until their inevitable resolution. However we haven’t been able to come up with a good solution in time and at some point you just can’t wait any longer and you have to publish without. But inspiration has hit since then and while current testing is still underway, things are starting to come together – so things are bound to become even more dramatic!
If you liked the general direction of the Quickstart rules but thought they were still lacking something, be sure to not miss this!
Less die rolls, increasing pace!
To speed up gameplay, v0.91 is very likely to contain rule modifications that cut down on some dice rolls, making combat beat at even a faster pace! That speed gain is coming with minimal loss in fidelity and is in our estimation very well worth the price. (But, as everything else in this secion, it will still need to pass more intensive testing prior to adoption.)
We will also likely change the way Counterattacks work – instead of rolling for attack on the Counterattack, you might end up using the successful Defend roll that earned you the Counterattack in the first place! This is going to make Counterattacks even more dangerous now – which is good, as it lessens the importance of winning the Initiative and attacking first in combat. (It’s still quite important though.)
Tweaks, expansions, clarifications and so much more…
Unfortunately, we’ve found that our Armor Saves have been much to high and more in line with historical protection levels of armor instead of cinematic ones. So we’re going to cut down Armor Saves significantly. Possibly, we’ll even have Escalation levels (see above) affect negatively how protective armor is.
We’ll also introduce a subtype of Mooks that is even less capable than the ones introduce in v0.9 – for if you want to pit your PCs against absolute cannon fodder opposition. But this is, of course, optional and the GM has, as usual, the final word in what kind of enemies he will pit against his players.
The main part of our work in the meantime hasn’t been on rules, however; that was just a sideshow to the development of our introductory scenario for Knights of the Black Lily. While the script for it has been existing for a long time now, it has been going through and keeps going through major revisions (which, just as the rules changes above, unfortunately invalidates much of the prior testing). The first chapter of three feels fairly solid now though and Tanya Anor‘s artwork continues to inspire.
Speaking of Tanya Anor‘s artwork, here’s a tiny preview of her work for the Introductory Scenario, a breathtaking scene depicting the mysterious Countess which plays a prominent role in that adventure:
Just a small teaser image for now, of course. Apart from collaborating with Tanya, we’ve been scouting for more artists to complement the existing art and we’ve been preparing future commissions, including a dedicated, detailled full-color cover illustration!
Apart from the above, we’ve been engaging in plenty of activities surrounding the game, including, but not limited to, future plans for this website, intensive discussions surrounding the game and its underlying philosophy, extensive research regarding the game’s medieval background, first babysteps in promotion and a German translation of the rules and the Introductory Scenario.
As you can see, and in conclusion, we’ve had our hands full and still have a lot on our plate. We’re stoked, however, at the prospect of getting the first scenario for Knights of the Black Lily out and showing the gaming public what the game is all about and what it can do for fantasy gaming!
I just found out about this project, and with some curiosity set up to examine it (especially since I was under the impression that this game somehow derives from strategic approach to combat in the lines of tRoS).
The blog entrance and the design notes on page 17 of the QS somehow brought my interest down since it very emphatically gives the impression of a streamlined system with lower granularity then I was hoping for.
That being said I will be following the project and see how it develops.
Hey, thanks for the comment!
While I have never played it, I am, of course, somewhat aware of The Riddle of Steel RPG and did even take a look at its combat rules at some point early in the game development.
However, Knights of the Black Lily takes a bit of a hard left turn because it’s specifically all about capturing the fantasy genre with high accuracy. That’s why its combat system is based on detailed analysis of combat in fantasy, mostly of movies and TV shows – since cinematic combat simply provides the greatest density of information to draw upon. (Literary or drawn sources tend to leave more blanks.)
If you’re interest in taking a glimpse at the depth of analysis the game rules are based upon, please have a look at this post: http://www.knightsoftheblacklily.com/2018/05/a-new-generation-in-combat-systems-series-on-crunch-part-iv/
Finally, I would like to point out that these are Quickstart rules only and at a BETA stage at that! There’s much more to come, not just the things hinted at in this blogpost right here. And it will take quite a bit of player(!) skill in managing resources and risk to beat fate in the form of the dark gods.