The Wildsea RPG

Created by Ray Chou

A post-fall fantasy roleplaying game set on an ocean of verdant green. Please note that this is a preorder store for fans who missed the live campaign but would still like to support the game. This game is in active development. Shipping will be charged separately closer to the game's delivery to reflect live shipping rates.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Bite-Sized Update: Surging Ahead!
over 1 year ago – Mon, Mar 22, 2021 at 01:21:14 AM

Felix here, with a miniature update for you all! Today marks the rough release of our first contributor-designed reach and a little dive into the progress of character-based art and design.


The Kremich Surge - Our First Contribuor Reach

Over the past six months I've seen a lot of Wildsea content created by players and fellow designers, from music to art to fully-fleshed-out character options. A lot of it has been absolutely jaw-dropping - in fact, some of it got us to bring the creators onto the team in an official capacity, and there isn't much higher praise we can give than that! 

But, that said, there's always a certain level of worry that comes from letting others into the official side of the Wildsea. As much as we'd sometimes love to be, we aren't a tzelicrae hive-mind - collaboration and contribution comes packaged with scheduling conflicts, clashing ideas and (everybody's favourite) the signing of contracts, all things that have the capacity to suck the fun out of creation if you don't manage them carefully. 

As letting other people join in on a creative endeavour is new to me I took it slow, parcelling out potential Wildsea space to people that I'd loved the work of in the past, or that had a real knack for firing up my own imagination with their suggestions. 

The Kremich Surge is the first reach-scale result of this process, and I couldn't be happier.

Though the layout, art and formatting are still a little rough around the edges (turns out making an entire 300ish-page document internally consistent and attractive is a big job, who knew?), the new reach for this month is in an eminently playable state. It's designed with darkness and hunger in mind, delving into some of the more unsettling themes of the Wildsea that are a bit too eerie to splash across the wider waves. In short, I think it does exactly what a reach should do - offer you a play-space to incorporate non-standard themes and ideas, while still feeling essentially Wildsea

While there will inevitably be content changes and minor alterations in the future, Rob has done an amazing job with it and has been an absolute pleasure to work with. He was also one of the Wildsea's earliest supporters, way back in the days of my tentative reddit posting and nervous design questions. 

And here it is - THE KREMICH SURGE! 

Omercan's first rough of the Bone Pickers, a wrecker clan operating within the Surge

From Rough to Ready - The Alchemist 

And on the topic of Omercan's artwork, I thought it might be interesting to give you a bit of a backstage pass to his creative process. In fact, I'll hand you right over to him now...


Hey everyone, my name is Omercan. I’m the concept artist/character artist of the Wildsea. I’ve been working on the Wildsea for quite a few years now and it’s been a wonderful experience to be a part of this setting and see it grow so much. 

I wanted to share with you my process of finalising a character illustration for the Wildsea from an early concept sketch to the finished illustration. This is not necessarily how each character is brought to the final stage exactly but it should give you an accurate idea of the whole process. 


Omercan's work on the alchemist, ranging from 2018 to 2021!

Some of the concepts were created about 3 maybe even 4 years ago so revisiting some of these old drawings is a strange experience for me. I have improved in my skills since then quite a bit and I have always been very critical of my own work so looking at an old sketch I immediately start thinking “Ah, I can make this look better!”. So most of the time I know these drawings are going to require a lot of rework but first I want to tackle the colour issue. Most of our older concepts were developed to a grayscale stage. Back in the playtesting days these worked well enough and saved on time. But since the Wildsea was funded to go full colour, thanks to your generous donations, each one is being fully coloured for the final book. To get started I usually talk to Felix and pick his brain for suggestions. The grayscale base really helps me slap on some quick colour variations and send these off to Felix for feedback. After a few rounds of that, we tend to reach a final decision. 

Then, I’ll go ahead with the final line art to improve upon the initial sketch. Once I’m done with final line art, applying the colour and making any further adjustments to them is a very simple process. I just have to make sure to add lots of texture, signs of wear and tear and such a lot. The Wildsea is an unforgiving and dangerous place - nobody gets to sail through it unsullied.


Rounding Up

So there you go! A new place to play and a bit of an inside look. But what does this mean for next month? I guess you'll have to wait another... uh... at least ten days to find out! But if I were to give a hint, I'd say it may well involve something large. Very large, in fact. some might even say... 

Leviathan-sized? 

Enjoy the waves in the meantime, people. Safe sailing. 


Felix Isaacs

[Insert March-Based Pun Here]: A Progress Update / Design Dive!
over 1 year ago – Wed, Mar 10, 2021 at 02:27:22 AM

I'll let you think of the pun yourselves 


Hello people, and welcome to a Felix-style update on the progress of the Wildsea. I'll be highlighting some of the things I've been working on, showcasing some of the art and music that have been created behind the scenes, talking about Reaches and guest contributors and touching on some of the (luckily temporary) developmental hiccups that inevitably happen throughout the course of creating a tabletop RPG. 


So, to kick us off...


Art!

For hazards, for chapter-splashes, for minor page elements and backer-created characters, the commission and creation of the Wildsea's art is a ceaseless yet extremely fulfilling process. But rather than talk about it at length, I'll pepper some examples through the rest of the update to give the eye a rest from all of my terrible words. :)


So with that said, here's a devastating cactoid worm and a particularly tentacular carnivorous plant...


Early Hazard Sketches: Temple Cactus & Octodew

... and let's talk about some...

Ongoing Changes

I like the Wildsea. In fact, I love it, which is probably for the best. But it's certainly not perfect yet, and the last couple of months of playtesting have definitely highlighted that fact. Here's a quick rundown of some of the systems that are being worked on at the moment, and my rough goals with each one:


Drives/Mire Integration: I really enjoy the basics of the drives and mire subsystems, but they do tend to stand apart from a lot of the other rules as a whole. Now not every subsystem needs to link to every other subsystem, but having good clear mechanical ties that make sense for the world is important (both for internal logic and ease-of-use during play). 


Making Charts More Useful: Specimens and salvage have a hell of a lot of flexibility, and whispers (while they could use a little more guidance) have proven themselves interesting little game-changers in a variety of situations. Charts need to be raised to the same level, but it'll take a little playtesting and a few iterations to get them there. 


Damage & Injuries: Aiming for a minor rework and a lot of additional clarity. I don't want to overcomplicate the system, as the Wildsea isn't the kind of game that needs a whole lot of extra crunch during a combat scene, but there do need to be clearer rules laid out in easy-to-access places. That comes in the form of an examination of damage types and the effects they might have, clearer guidance for Fireflies on creating quick tracks during encounters for monsters and other hazards, and more play examples to bolster these changes. A larger task is creating a more distinct feel for some of the combat-facing aspects, meaning that those choices will carry a little more narrative and mechanical weight. 


Ship & Journey Balancing: The essentials of both of these systems work quite well, but over many, many hours of play some cracks have begun to show. This one isn't as easy a fix as the previous two and will likely take some more focused playtesting to work out, but the heart of the issue is making every member of the crew feel valid and useful throughout a journey, and reinforcing that the choices they make matter. There's also some crossover here with the injuries subsystem and how it ports over to ship condition and repair, and the much-discussed-on-discord introduction of outrider-sized vessels. 


Bloodline, Origin & Post Presentation / Information: Moving to page-layout styles more suitable for print has been a challenging one (more on that later), but it's also given me something novel to work with - space. Being able to take the bloodline, origin and post pages and stretch them over a spread rather than a single page has given everything a bit more room to breathe - the art, the aspects, the quickstart kits and the written introductions. There are no major mechanical changes here, it's more a case of adding useful information to the right sections without overwhelming or over-defining.


The Firefly's Guide: Likely the section that needs the most in terms of a complete work-over, longer playtesting has been absolutely invaluable in terms of pointing out the kinds of things a Firefly wants to have set out for them clearly in the rules (or given as options and examples). I won't say too much about this one as it's still very much in the early stages of a rework, but it will likely be significant - and to that end I'll be posting a few questions over on the Discord to collect as much extra data as I can, so if anyone has any views they're happy sharing hop onto the discord and make yourself heard in the 'Questions from Felix' channel! 


A Familiar Nomadic Scene, Expanded - more page space means more space for chapter-starter art!

Music!

Both of the Wildsea's bardic types have been hard at work over the past few months putting together a soundscape that suits the waves, everything from festival favourites to ambient strings. I can't show off too much of what they've been doing yet (mostly because I don't want to spoil too many surprises), but here's a snippet plucked from the ever-growing catalogue of wildsailor tunes...


... And a little bit of context for it too, straight from the keyboard of Peregrine Vaughan, the creator! 


"This piece is meant to conjure up an image of a stagger-saint. The waves tremble with every gigantic, wavering step- and the drums/buildup try to illustrate that. There's a quiet aura you might hear, sounding like beeps/boops, fading in and out. That's because, at least in my mind, there's a constant wavering flurry of sound that surrounds the Saint. I was listening to Titan from the Hyperlight Drifter OST when I came up with the instrumentation, so it might be more electronic in the future ;). There's a dulcimer that carries the super-loose melody, as a stringed instrument can connect the kind of spirituality of the electric instrumentation to the physicality of the acoustic, almost a cheesy metaphor for the Stagger-Saint's strong connection to the world beyond the physical."


Collaborator Contribution: A New Reach Approaches!

I'm extremely pleased to introduce Rob, our first Reach Collaborator - or, more accurately, to have him introduce himself!


"Rob is an indie RPG designer and web developer from the South of England. As well as several published scenarios for Call of Cthulhu he has two RPGs to his name, Age of Steel and Tormented, and is currently working on his third. His fascination with eldritch horror has begun to worry his friends, but makes for good inspiration for his work. You can find his website at www.isolation-games.co.uk, his twitter at @isolation_games, and information on his new game at www.whenthemoonhangslow.co.uk."


He's been hard at work on The Kremich Surge, an entirely new Reach complete with story seeds, unique hazards and a whole lot of beautiful text. I'll let him give you the overview in his own words...


"The Kremich Surge is a grim reach wracked by storms and haunted by a malign presence that resents the life above the waves. Home to violent wrecker pirates, strange cults, and ominous mysteries, the reach has spelled the end of many a wildsailor. Dare you brave the waves of the Kremich Surge, and risk the wrath of That Which Hungers?"


It's grim, it's weird, it's not quite the waves you know, and we'll be releasing it early for people to enjoy some time within the next week!


Collaborator Contribution: Rotten to the Core

And I'm just as excited to introduce Seren Briar (or, more accurately again)...

"Seren Briar is a game designer from the American South currently based in Chicagoland. Their games focus on horror, fungi, and the nature of humanity, and they're excited to help bring these elements into the world of the Wildsea! 

When not writing games or working with the Vampire: the Masquerade stream ATL by Night, Seren enjoys cooking and playing with their cat. Seren can be found on Twitter (@faefatale_) and itch.io (faefatale.itch.io)."

Seren will be offering up a themed set of their own, a trio of fungal dangers for Fireflies to throw at their hapless crews. I'll keep the details light for now, but at least one of them will very likely be turning up in next month's new Reach...


Hiccups and Happenstances

I may be new to public TRPG development, but I'm definitely not new to the wide array of unexpected problems that crop up when trying to collaborate and coordinate with people spread across the world. Characters and landscapes from Europe(ish), creatures from Canada, sounds and words from the U.S.A., and me here in the south of England like a sleep-deprived spider in the middle of a thrumming web.

What I'm sayin is, timing can be a tough one to pin down. 


The final sketch stage of a backer-created character, an Ardent Tempest created by Omercan Cirit

We had planned to get the Actual Play up and started by the beginning of March, but scheduling conflicts on my end have pushed it back a little. We have the group, we have the characters, we have the seeds of a story and we have the technology... Now we just need to find the time. 


Luckily the textual side of the Wildsea is still rolling along at a steady pace, especially now the transition from Pageplus to InDesign is done and dusted. Learning a new bit of software (and one with a lot more oomph to it) was an unexpected challenge, but with the help of our wonderful layout artist Leo it's finally feeling a bit more familiar. You can expect to see some new versions of old pages very soon, as well as the entirely new content that's in the works. The goal is to improve the placement of information and the flow of the book as a whole, improving on what seems to be a strong foundation. 


Timeline

And now the million dollar question .... are we still on task to deliver in August 2021? The answer is: we will have a better answer at the end of March. We don't mean to be cagey, but Spring is usually when everyone is at their most productive. Our internal timelines accounted for this and had March, April, and May as our 'sprint' months. 


An alchemical specimen-collector and an unfortunate avian prisoner, designed by hazard artist Shmeckerel

This is the second week of March. We'll have a very good idea of where we're at once we see how much we've accomplished this month. Thank you all for being patient as we iron out the kinks of the system as well as work on making the best possible game that we can. 

Pro Patria Mori

And now for something a little different! 

Ray and Vince are running a ZineQuest 3 project called Pro Patria Mori which just now is entering its final 72 hours. The game is a micro-rpg examining the horros of World War I. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out the link here


---------------------


So what's ahead of us? More everything! Playtesting the changes outlined above, working on the look and feel of the physical book via the templates and importing the existing rules, new reaches), coloured art, more iteration, and everything in between. 


We'll have more to show next month. As always you can find us on Discord or reach me directly: felixisaacs@thewildsea.co.uk


Until next time! 


Cheers,


Felix

Year of the Ox
almost 2 years ago – Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 09:24:53 AM

Ahoy Wildsailors! 


Happy Lunar New Year! Here's we've been up to in January, and our itinerary for February.


Playtesting

We are heavily into campaign playtesting and our parsing feedback for the next iteration of Campaign Playtest D. Felix has two campaigns running - one on Tuesdays and our official Actual Play. Ric also has a group featuring many of our Discord community members on Wednesdays. I'm running a Monday night home campaign and I'm also playing with Vince in a Saturday morning (my time) campaign.


It's been a lot of fun and speaking for myself, I feel like I not only have a much better understanding of the Wild Words System, but how to be a better player / Firefly in general. Felix has been mostly focused on testing new materials like new Reaches while I've been doing experiments to stretch the system, doing stuff like running OSR modules and other weird hacking experiments. 


I know I say it every post, but we would love for you to playtest the Wildsea and provide feedback to help development! You can leave feedback in three ways:


Layouts 

We've made really solid progress on the layouts designed by Leo over the past month. We've had multiple all hands design meetings and have gone through multiple iterations of the following templates:


  • Character Sheets (Bloodline, Origin, Posts)
  • Chapter Headings 
  • Three Column Layout

To complete these, we've designed both a border that goes on the edges of the pages to delineate chapters as well as multiple background textures to help bring together the overall composition. Things are look good, but we're not quite ready to show the public just yet. Our latest discussions have focused on how to best present Pierre's art in the chapter headings, something that requires creative solutions due to how the art was originally composed and the aspect ratio we want to present it in in the final book. Solvable problems, but problems that need to be solved nonetheless. 

Soundtrack

Here are some fresh official Wildsea tunes from Liam P Vaughan:

If you have a SoundCloud account, please give him a like and a follow! 

Rules Import

Felix is also working and nearly finished with importing the majority of rules into inDesign. So, keep in mind through all of this he's been learning new layout software and adapting to collaborating with more people and establishing that workflow therein. It's more convenient to write directly into the layout software to get the words just right on the page rather than importing the words and having to cut or add because it doesn't conform quite right to the layout. 


So, before we can think about changing or adding onto the rules, they have to be imported from one layout software to another. I know, very exciting stuff, but the realities of tabletop game design, heh. 


Cameo, Bestiary, and Leviathan Art

Our Artists this past month have been focused on fulfilling the higher tier rewards from this Kickstarter. That means coordinating between Felix, Omercan or Katy, and the Backers in a back and forth between design, sketch, feedback, draft, etc. 


We're trying to knock these out first so that they don't sneak up on us towards the end of production. All of these assets and ideas are going into the main book, mind you, so it's best to frontload this stuff. In any case, the majority of these are set to be finalized by the end of this month. 

Reaches

Felix has been playtesting and iterating on a couple of new Reaches. Namely, he's been running games in Rao Ze, a Reach featuring particularly deadly and alien environs and featuring a race of mantis-inspired warriors you may have already gotten a glimpse of already.  We're hoping to release more Reaches soon in the build up to Playtest D and the final rulebook.

Actual Play

Also, we're excited to announce that are moving into production for the official Wildsea Actual Play! We'll be recording episodes this month and next and will announce when they are up soon on the official Wildsea Youtube channel. Stay tuned! 

February Milestones

Overall, we're a smidge behind our internal deadlines. We're trying to gain ground this month but ultimately our 'crunch' period is going to be from March - May, when we have the layouts finalized and it's go-go-go with the writing and art.  Here's what we're aiming to accomplish this month:


  • Release a new Reach by the end of the month in the new book format. 
  • Launch and release the first few episodes of the Actual Play.
  • Finalize Bestiary, Cameo, & Leviathan Collaborations.

In addition, we'll be working on all the usual stuff: more playtesting, more art, more revising on the templates and more problem solving about how to best present the art - all of that! Again, we're in active development, hanging out on the Discord. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to shoot them our way.


Till next time!  


Ray 

January 2021 Update
almost 2 years ago – Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 12:26:21 PM

Happy New Year and Salutations! 

Just a short update today to check in with everyone. Here's what we've been up to:


Layouts

We're hard at work on the next edition of the rules: Quickstart Playtest D, to be presented in full color! Most recently, we've been working on the first two layout templates designed by Leo and incorporating some of the existing color illustrations we have. It's been a lot of back and forth, with tons of artist meetings and revisions in between. We're definitely headed in the right direction and we can't wait to show you more, maybe as soon as next month. 


Playtesting

We've also been playtesting extensively, both in private home games as well as on the Discord. Felix has been compiling a massive list of 'to-change, to do's' based off of the feedback and discussions that have been taking place in the community. Once we have the layouts figured out, he'll be going back to revising and drafting the rules. We're doing it in this order to try and ensure there's as little backtracking as possible. 


Once again, if you'd like to submit feedback, there are a couple of ways:


If you're looking to get a game in, come through the Discord to say hello! Over the next few weeks some of the principles will be posting players wanted for public campaign playtests, in the hopes that other Fireflies get in on the action as well! 


Here's some interesting data from the feedback we've gathered thus far:

Thus far we have around ~200 playtesters that have submitted feedback for the game, tracking across both Playtest B and Playtest C. That's pretty amazing. I've personally never been a part of a design cycle as large as this so it's been fun to see how such a relatively robust player pool shapes the loop of development!


Actual Plays 

Finally, if you'd like to get a better feel for how the game plays or are just hankering for more Wildsea content, check out the following links:


--------------------

Okay, that's all from us this time. Connect on the Discord if you'd like to say hello, find a game, or exchange words! 


See you next month!


- Ray 

C is for Campaign: a Playtest Update!
almost 2 years ago – Sat, Dec 12, 2020 at 02:39:01 AM

Download Playtest C Right Here!

Today is a landmark day, which feels pretty good to say - the full release of Playtest C. This new PDF clocks in at around 140 pages, adding a whole host of additional options for ship creation, character creation and (perhaps most importantly given its focus) character advancement

Click to access Campaign Playtest C.

It also has pdf bookmarks, meaning it should be far easier to zip around the document in search of whatever elusive rule or options you might be after. Massive thanks to Ray for setting those up, they're something that's been asked for a few times now and we're glad we can deliver.


Campaign Play

While you can still easily use playtest C to run one-shots it's written primarily with campaign play in mind. Rules for scenes, montages and journeys are expanded, and the final chapter of the document now contains a set of three pre-made Reaches - areas of the Wildsea that break away from the usual character of the rustling waves. 

An early  draft of the first reach was featured in the previous playtest, but there have been some major changes; the new reach format should be easier to read, use and reference, giving the GM locations and storylines to use at their leisure or merely offering details and curiosities to spark some inspiration. 

The Writlings - a faction from the Foxloft.

You'll find the full details in the document itself, but I'll give you a quick run-down here as well:

  •  The Foxloft: A reach of green and gold leaves, thrillseeking hunting families and writlings obsessed with pre-verdant wealth.  
  •  Nadir: A reach of pale blossoms and hive-minded swarms, swooping aeronauts and difficult tides. 
  •  The Interregnum: A dark, cold reach of obelisk pines and bitter snow, where cults run rampant and heat is more valuable than food.

Virtual Play Surface

Also, we're excited to announce the first Kickstarter-wide release of our Virtual Play Surface! 

Click through to access. To use, make a copy and share with your players!

So far, we've built out the surface using Google Sheets. We figure most people have a Google account, which allows most people to access the surface on any device. Sheets is a robust program that allows for a great degree of customization. So far, all of the Character Creation options are built into the sheet. In the future we'll also automate the Ship Sheet as well.


Grab the Virtual Play Surface here. To use, make a copy and give access to your players. Then create your characters on the various tabs and boom! You're ready to play! 

Feedback

That's not to say we're resting on our laurels. The Wildsea is still in active development. Over the next few weeks we are moving to a new stage of playtesting focusing on campaigns. The most important thing for me as a creator right now is to get as much feedback from you in the community as possible. How do you play, what do you use, what needs expanding and what experiences emerge from the Rules As Written. 

If your crew completes six sessions with corresponding feedback, you'll receive ship / crew playtesting credits in the final book!

With that said, Ray has prepared two new feedback surveys:


 Late Backer Pledges

Finally, after some research exploring the various options we're pleased to announce that we'll be launching a late backer preorder campaign on IndieGogo next Tuesday, December 15th 2020


Here's a link to the preview page.


Why IndieGoGo? Primarily because IndieGoGo InDemand will allow us to create a storefront after the close of the campaign (which will only last 7 days with a goal of $500). IndieGoGo also plugs in seamlessly to BackerKit, allowing us to consolidate our backend. We looked into some other options, but in the end decided that this was the best way to get preorders up ASAP with a reputable platform.


 If you have friends who missed the Wildsea, please let them know! 


What Comes Next?

For me, a few days of relaxation. I'll read some books, talk to players, maybe even play in a few games myself - I've definitely got some new character ideas buzzing around in my head with the new content. 

And after that the work begins.


A shift to a new publishing program, to better accommodate the artists and layout designer. Reference sheets to help Fireflies and new players as they take to the table for the first time. The inclusion of our additional content, everything from backer art rewards (we'll be reaching out to you very soon) to alternate ways to run the game as a whole. More art. More writing. More options. 


... And editing. The long, gruelling process of making sure that we get as much game as possible into easy-to-read sections, get the rules and concepts across with as much clarity as we can. 


It's going to be a long few months for me, for Ray and Vince, and for the rest of the artists we have working with us. There's a lot of work to do to turn the Wildsea from something 'surprisingly playable' (one of my favourite reviews of the game so far) to something you'll be proud to have on your bookshelf (or coffee table, or download folder). 


In the meantime, you can find us on the Discord, where we'll be organizing campaigns, playtests, and feedback on the daily. 

See you there! 


- Felix