There’s something I mentioned in the rewrite of the smiths’ power, “Synthesis,” that I wanted to return to because of how it’s factored into the ongoing development of the Seven States and Norvendae. Part of the development process involves leaving a certain amount of ambiguity in the system.

If you give a character a hammer and tell them to build a house, you’ve given them a tool and a purpose. In one way, the hammer both frees and limits the player as to how they will go about accomplishing said goal. They’ll need to “drive some wedges,” since that’s what a hammer is good for doing. (By wedges I mean nails, mostly. Mostly.)

Hammers are also good for hitting things, so you’ve potentially armed the character with an implement they can use to destroy. Let’s say the only way they can get the nails they need to build their house, is by tearing down another house. As an aside, some players will only ever see one use for a tool, no matter what you do.

You can detail every element of the construction if you like, but the more intricate the details are that you include, the more disappointing it becomes when you leave things out, whether it was intentional or accidental. You may include the process of chopping down trees, cutting the logs, and carving the nails, but why put yourself through that?

Instead, you may choose to leave certain elements ambiguous, as I mentioned above. You may state, for example, where the characters get the resources they need, what the goal they have in mind to accomplish, and what tools they use to acquire or refine resources, players will fill in the blanks with their imagination.

You’re also open to define or redefine types of resources later, potentially changing resource types from one iteration to the next. Let’s say you use bone once, then perhaps wood, then metal, and finally magnets or lasers or something. What if you define resources as holy light or an angelic chorus?

It’s important to plan for the gaps that you leave in your process. It can be nice to leave spaces to fill in later, but when you do, you should go into the process with an idea in mind of exactly what you’re leaving out, and why. As with the smiths above, I realized during ongoing development that they use their power to refine things.

I’ve realized throughout the system’s development that classes are in the business of processing resources I have yet to define. All along, I’ve wanted to provide as much detail as possible without confining myself, or making promises I can’t keep, and I’m starting to realize how much I’ve confined myself in doing exactly that.

At some point in the near future, I think I’ll have to start defining what the characters are using to achieve the effects I’m describing.