When you start working on a brand new game, after you’ve settled the core mechanics of the game system, after you’ve fleshed out the universe and after getting down the core idea of the book size (so you’ve got an idea of words per page and over-all book length), you then have to decide what exactly is going to be in the book, and in what order you’ll stitch the various sections together.
I’ve worked on a lot of books over the years and been lucky enough to work on various “new universes/projects” as well. And while each of them has wonderful idiosyncrasies that make them unique, it’s still surprising how much the core construction of such books all fall into a basic pattern. After all you’ve got to have an introduction, a section on the universe, a section on the rules, and almost always some fiction. Whether a 400+ page mega-tome or only 100 pages…almost any RPG rulebook on any shelf is going to have these core characteristics. Doesn’t mean it’s still not a lot of work…it always is…but knowing your basics helps no matter how you look at (and having a wall of RPGs is a great way to know those basics). It’s after those sections are in place and you’re working on those specific idiosyncrasies that the real fun can come into play.
This time around, luckily, most of the work on “these are the sections, this is the word count, this is how I want to stitch it together” were already done by Matt. I then had the chance to review it all, provide feedback, coordinate playtesting and so on. And while I’m tackling writing and wrapping up the rules section, the over-arching basics you have to tackle every time were already done…which is a great feeling, especially when you review what’s suggested and with minor quibbles love what you’re seeing.
As mentioned, Cosmic Patrol is a small book, both in physical size (more digest sized) and in page count (by our normal standards), which makes the initial organization/design a little easier to put together. Course I love cramming everything and the kitchen sink into rulebooks (hence how Tactical Operations became Tactical Operations AND Strategic Operations for BattleTech). But the difficulties of writing ‘short’ are a whole other blog post.
The following excerpt comes from the pre-edit Introduction file and gives you a solid lock on the contents of the book:
- One Million And One: The short story you’ve likely already read, it spirals you into the universe of action and intrigue of Cosmic Patrol.
- Gazetteer: The Gazetteer paints a large picture of an epic and dangerous universe, desperate for a few brave men and woman to keep it safe. Between the fiction and the setting details in this section, players should easily find enough information to wrap their heads around what it means to be a patrolmen in the Cosmic Patrol universe.
- Game Rules: This section details how the game mechanics of Cosmic Patrol mesh with the improve-style of play to create a fun gaming experience.
- Sample Characters: A plethora of sample characters allow players a wide variety of characters to grab and leap into the action of improv excitement!
- Mission Briefs: Mission briefs provide an instant evening of action, allowing player groups to easily select one of many starting points to leap into adventure. While they’re perfectly good starting points, players can also mix and mash as they wish, or even spin off whole new adventures based on those elements of a given mission they find the most intriguing.
The Contents of This Book
Whether you have purchased the print or electronic version, this book is specifically organized to present the information needed to start your own adventures in the universe of Cosmic Patrol. Below you’ll find a summation of each chapter of this rulebook.
Till next episode…