The Future of Dragon Fist

Dragon Fist, Chris Pramas' fantasy RPG of high-flyin' martial arts action, is finally going to see print at the hands of Green Ronin. This forum is closed while the game is being re-developed.

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The Future of Dragon Fist

Postby Pramas » Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:38 pm

In the wake of GenCon, I figured I'd best post something about Dragon Fist. You all have been very patient with us and I'm sorry that DF has been impacted to such a degree by other developments and some poor choices on my part.

So you know, I've had Tony Lee working on Dragon Fist for many months now and we met about it at GenCon. The original idea was to do a stand-alone OGL variant, keeping the best of the original but going even further in optimizing the mechanics to do wuxia right. That's the direction Tony has been taking it to this point.

A few weeks ago I started an internal discussion with our staff about Dragon Fist. The essential problem is this: if we just put out one book unconnected to anything else, DF is going to be a hard sell. We could do Dragon Fist as a limited arc like Blue Rose, which is getting three books and then we'll be done. However, we have not commissioned any such follow-ups and were we to want the three books to come out close together in time we'd have to push the core book back again. At which point you'd likely all come to lynch me. :)

This got me thinking about True20 again. For those of you who don't know, True20 is a stripped down version of the d20 rules first featured in our Blue Rose RPG. It has since taken on a life of its own and has proved quite popular indepenent of the Blue Rose setting. We're doing a True20 core rulebook for February and we'll be supporting that with various products.

Now Dragon Fist could be one of those products. We could make it into a True20 campaign setting. There is, however, one big stumbling block: True20 only uses 20-sided dice and that doesn't work with Dragon Fist's stunt dice. We could simply add back in the other polyhedron dice but that might be seen as a weird thing to do with True20. Or maybe that'd just be something particular to the Dragon Fist setting. Other mechancical solutions are also possible, with the goal of ensuring that DF delivers the wuxia goods.

The advantage of doing True20 from our point of view is that Dragon Fist then becomes part of a growing line. It isn't just an orphan product that retailers can dismiss. It'd also help us build the True20 brand, which is already shaping up to be a key one for Green Ronin's future.

All that said, I also want to make sure that you loyal fans are happy. When Dragon Fist does come out, I don't want you all to feel disappointed or ripped off. I know this has been a long time coming and I want Dragon Fist to be a top quality game that truly captures the spirit of wuxia.

So let me ask you all what you'd prefer to see:
Option 1: We proceed with the current OGL variant. This will be a stand alone ruleset. It may receive some report at a later date, but this will depend on initial sales.
Option 2: As above, but we plan a three book arc a la Blue Rose. This would mean the core rulebook would be delayed as we plan out the line. Our goal would be three books spread over six months (basically one every other month). If the line sells well, it could continue.
Option 3: Dragon Fist becomes the first campaign setting book in support of the True20 core rulebook.

What sounds good to you?
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Option 1 please

Postby piaw » Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:18 pm

I have a much higher chance of actually being able to use the book if it's OGL or d20. My group isn't interested in True20, blue rose, or anything that requires a new or different ruleset (or additional corebooks). Plus, I'd much rather get everything earlier!
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Re: Option 1 please

Postby Waldo » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:15 pm

piaw wrote:I have a much higher chance of actually being able to use the book if it's OGL or d20. My group isn't interested in True20, blue rose, or anything that requires a new or different ruleset (or additional corebooks). Plus, I'd much rather get everything earlier!


Ditto for me, me and my group have no interest in True20. We have a higher chance of buying DF the closer it is to regular dnd. What we've all wanted to do is to play a wuxia dnd game, as opposed to a separate wuxia game. Therefore if that isn't going to happen we'll be more likely to buy somthing that is easy to mix and match with regular dnd and lift mechanics out of.
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Postby Timmundo » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:32 pm

I think it'd be good as a True20 setting! I was toying a while back with turning Mutants and Masterminds into a Martial Arts game, but with a setting already to go? That'd be the best!
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Postby coyote6 » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:53 pm

I would prefer options 2 or 3, myself.
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Option #1 please!

Postby Sleepy Voiced » Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:38 pm

I have been following Dragonfist since its original incarnation on the Wizard's site. I love the setting, I love the genre, and I love that it is close to D&D. My players, despite my attempts, seems only interested in D&D. However, they also happen to be big Hong Kong film nuts. We have tried to do this with Oriental Adventures and been underwhelmed with the results.

Therefore, I say option number one, please. An OGL game has a chance to get my players to try it. Granted, I will buy whatever format the game is released in. However, I think it will see the most use for a lot of groups if it is OGL.

Thanks Mr. Pramas for including feedback from the Green Ronin fanbase in making your decision. I can't wait to finally get my hands on this game, but if it needs to be delayed because you determine another route is better for Green Ronin, I will happily wait.
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Postby screamwhip » Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:47 pm

There are 3 reasons I would vastly prefer a stand alone OGL book, rather than True 20.

1. As an OGL book, my groups would actually be willing to play it. They are all very near to WotC purists and it has taken some doing to get them to accept (and start buying) even the Green Ronin advanced books.

2. It just feels right to me that the system stays true to the original version, which I still have and still occasionally play. I loved the stunt dice, the slot based martial arts, and the nice stripped down spellcasters.

3. I have no need for support or extra books! We have been using the original Dragonfist on and off since it first came out, and have never felt any lack.

Bonus Reason: For my general group of friends, True 20 just doesn't seem to have enough structure. Even though you can do quite a bit with the feats, the lack of strong 'archetypal roles' always annoys my players.
Plus, with a world like Dragonfist, archetypal roles are very appropriate.

Thanks for Asking!
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Postby Sangrolu » Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:18 pm

I'm a kitbasher.

I am fairly unlikely to use Dragonsfoot as a self contained isolated game. I want to use it as an adjunct to other d20 material I have. And I don't see runnig it with Blue Rose.

That means I would prefer OGL close to traditional d20 much more so than True20, such that I can use mechanical tidbits and rules variations with existing D&D like rules.
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Postby REG » Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:33 pm

With all due respect, of the three options, I probably prefer #1 since it appears to be closer to compatibility to traditional d20.

I may be the odd man out here, but I am so hoping to mix Wuxia with Sengoku Jidai (i.e., Oriental Adventures).

If Option 1 is out of the question (meaning I'm being outvoted), then at the very least offer a conversion appendix to other OGL-based rulesets.

EDIT: After further thinking, I'd rather have more than just one book, which would be a departure from all your other Mythic Vistas products. If that is what you are truly referring to in Option #2, then I would be STRONGLY in favor of: multiple volumes. I still like the system to be close to d20.
Last edited by REG on Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

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Postby Askanipsion » Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:00 am

Definitely the D20 - I have NO interest in the True20 system.
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Postby Lord Gwydion » Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:00 am

I'd prefer option #1, the stand-alone OGL game, all in one book. Like quite a few other posters, my group pretty much sticks to d20 games. We've discussed other game systems, but whenever a new campaign starts, it's always d20.

An OGL game would be easiest for me to import into my D&D OA games, or maybe even some strange variant of d20 Modern.

And finally, I don't want to complain, but I'm gettting tired of waiting for this book. I'd rather not have it delayed even further.

I'd also second REG's suggestion of a conversion appendix if the game is made with True20 or not so close to standard d20 games.
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Postby Tenzhi » Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:06 am

::dusts off account::

I'd probably be interested in the True20 version, but I would likely get more actual use out of a normal d20 version. And I, too, am a bit weary of the wait. So I'd hafta say option one tickles my fancy the most.

I wouldn't mind option one with True20 sidebars or a Web Enhancement, however.
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Postby Zaukrie » Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:53 pm

Wow, so far True 20 market research isn't going so well in this thread.

I'm more likely to use it if it is compatible with D20, as I have a very busy life and if I can get one game to rule them all....my life is easier.
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Postby REG » Fri Aug 26, 2005 11:05 pm

Zaukrie wrote:Wow, so far True 20 market research isn't going so well in this thread.

Because some of us believe that True20 should spotlight a different genre: Pulp.
Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

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Postby Tzimiscedracul » Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:37 am

I love True20, but for different genres (pulp is a great idea!). Definitely d20 for Dragon Fist.
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Postby Ashanderai » Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:03 pm

My choice would be for a d20 compatible system. I would like to be able to use it with other d20 oriental material, like Oriental Adventures or Rokugan, if I so choose.

I definitely do not want True20. I have little to no interest in that system.
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Postby Pagan priest » Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:12 pm

From the very begining, I have said that I want something that I can use in D&D games. While I have a few friends interested in wuxia movies, it seems that none are interested enough that I could get them to play a dedicated game of it, especially if I have to get them to learn new rules first. (It is hard enough to get them to learn the standard rules for D&D. :roll: )

In all probability, the only way I'll ever get to actually use this book (or series :D ) is if I can make the transition as painless as possible. Thus, D20 or OGL.

I hope that there will be enough sales early on to see more support come out for it. I'll do what I can!
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Postby Chairman Aeon » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:46 am

I want an OGL system. I will not buy Dragon Fist is a setting for anything be it True20 or the PHB. Dragon Fist needs a system that supports the genre. There are numerous martial arts books for D&D or D20 Modern, I have no interest in another. Game + Setting as the original was done.

Now I'd like the 3 book mini arc, but to be quite honest there is no guarentee that the other two books are going to be seen as necessary by players and could used by writers to dump content. So I guess I'd like the stand alone book since the writer(s) know they have one shot to get it right.

So I'm going with option 1.

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True20!

Postby Nikdo » Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:21 pm

My real wish is for a time-spanning supplement for Mutants and Masterminds (something along the lines of Feng Shui). Yeah, I know, that's really a niche market but man would it rock!

Of the options presented, my order of preference is:

1) True20 (either with stunt dice or some other mechanic)

2) OGL (maybe based on the D20 Modern SRD or the SpyCraft system)

If all else fails, then I guess stick to regular D20. I personally dislike standard D20 but I can pretty quickly fix all the stuff I don't like. I'd just rather not have to.

Thanks, Chris, for asking and I REALLY look forward to Dragon Fist in whatever incarnation it takes.

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Postby REG » Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:36 pm

Chairman Aeon wrote:I want an OGL system. I will not buy Dragon Fist is a setting for anything be it True20 or the PHB. Dragon Fist needs a system that supports the genre. There are numerous martial arts books for D&D or D20 Modern, I have no interest in another. Game + Setting as the original was done.

With all due respect, them martial arts books are mainly toolkits, with only one published setting that is a mixture of Wuxia and Post-Apoc.

For now, I cannot wait for WotC to finally revive Kara-Tur (with details on pseudo-China Shou Lung and T'u Lung) nor the lesser known Romance of the Three Kingdoms d20 game. I simply want Tianguo be given a d20 treatment, as close to using D&D (and unofficially OA).
Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

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Re: The Future of Dragon Fist

Postby Nikdo » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:11 pm

Pramas wrote:So let me ask you all what you'd prefer to see:
Option 1: We proceed with the current OGL variant. This will be a stand alone ruleset. It may receive some report at a later date, but this will depend on initial sales.
Option 2: As above, but we plan a three book arc a la Blue Rose. This would mean the core rulebook would be delayed as we plan out the line. Our goal would be three books spread over six months (basically one every other month). If the line sells well, it could continue.
Option 3: Dragon Fist becomes the first campaign setting book in support of the True20 core rulebook.

What sounds good to you?



Sorry, Chris. I re-read my post above and realized that I didn't really answer your question. Also, the more I think about it and the more I see other people's responses to True20 on this thread, I think Option 2 is the best way to go. I don't mind waiting a little longer for the line to be planned. In fact, I would rather wait and have 3 excellent books than have one now with a chance of no future support.

I'm a big True20 fan and I would personally love to see a True20 version, but Options 1 and 2 are probably the best choices.

Just my two cents.

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Postby Lord Gwydion » Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:42 am

Just a quick question, Chris, if you've thought this far ahead:

If the second option were chosen, what would the three book spread look like? Obviously the core rulebook would be first, what would the other two books be?

While I'd still prefer an all in one OGL book, I can see the advantage to releasing several books. Too many gamers unfortunately consider a game dead, even though it's still perfectly playable, just because nothing new is being published for it.
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Postby Chairman Aeon » Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:57 am

REG wrote:With all due respect, them martial arts books are mainly toolkits, with only one published setting that is a mixture of Wuxia and Post-Apoc.


Dragon Fist was released as a complete game and setting roughly based on AD&D 2e. It was an OGL-like game before there was an OGL. Is it really all that strange to want something similar to the original Dragon Fist, but with d20/OGL base mechanics, but still a complete game plus setting.

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Postby REG » Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:51 pm

Chairman Aeon wrote:
REG wrote:With all due respect, them martial arts books are mainly toolkits, with only one published setting that is a mixture of Wuxia and Post-Apoc.


Dragon Fist was released as a complete game and setting roughly based on AD&D 2e. It was an OGL-like game before there was an OGL.

Technically, not an OGL game since Chris Pramas did developed the game for TSR. By that logic, Gamma World 3rd Edition (prior to the switch to Alternity) would be an OGL-like game since most of the mechanics derived from AD&D.


Chairman Aeon wrote:Is it really all that strange to want something similar to the original Dragon Fist, but with d20/OGL base mechanics, but still a complete game plus setting.

Not strange at all. I would desire it also, but my desire simply went further to "unnoffically" use the DF rules with OA to blend wuxia with chanbara (or sengoku jidai).

Asia is more than just Japanese and Chinese, now that Ong Bak: Thai Warrior is available on DVD. Not to mention, many historical Korean drama (e.g., Emperor of the Sea).
Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

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Postby madmonk » Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:00 am

Good lord! now when I was giving hope in seeing dragon fist, Chris starts this thread!
Well, I would love either option 1 or 2, even if the secondary books are more than two months apart. I don't know how the businnes thing functions, but maybe if one book doesn't sells so well and more are on the way, you can always release them as pdf's.
I would love to see a book that is both a campaign setting and a rulebook. Maybe another that expand those aspects (specially more martial arts, spells and monsters), and MAYBE a monster book with a sample adventure/encounter for each monster.
Finally, I think a conversion appendix is a must: be whatever system it is, if it doesn't support d20, it will not be as usefull (and sellable) for most of us as it could be.

What would be da thing (in my opinion) is if it uses the skills rules of Iron Heroes... I know its from another company, but in a wuxia campaign with less magic items, it would be better if the character depends on their skills instead of their goodies.

PS: Great to hear the news!

Edit: Ah! I think it would be best for the stunt system as an add-on/variant, not as something written in stone... like action points. That way, even if some of us don't like it (or want to steal it for another game), we can still use the other variant.
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