Right on the heels of major breakthroughs in the Ritual and Rumor systems…

…I have to go back to the drawing board on races. Let me back up a bit.

I’ve been working on races on and off for almost a year. Studying races between editions of D&D, dissecting “races” as they appear in other game systems, and in general — trying to figure out what “makes” a race. And how to make one.

As with any iterative process — study will only get you so far.

At some point I had to make a race to learn more about them.

And so I made some. Pretty rudimentary things. I learned a lot, made some more. Then I returned to my studies. When I came back to make more prototypes, I had some pretty cool ideas about how to structure my racial archetypes.

Fast forward a bit. I worked out a bunch of stuff based on this structure. Ability score distribution, special defenses — even some racial powers, which I then had to put on the back burner until the ‘core’ stuff was done.

I taught myself how to do some math which I hadn’t used since high school — just to make sure I was building a solid foundation for racial archetypes.

However I kept setting aside races to work on other stuff.

I can’t really say why — I don’t know why.

Yesterday, I psyched myself up to work on racial archetypes — and inadvertently made a significant breakthrough in my Rumor system instead.

It’s been that kind of development.

So with Rituals and Rumors now squared away, I finally got to work on racial archetypes. And that was when I discovered that the structure I had developed was fundamentally flawed for the simple reason — when you boil it down — “because odd and even numbers, duh.” I still haven’t recovered from the face-palm.

This marks a pretty substantial setback in development.

I will no doubt recover — and with style, no less — but my estimates from months, and months ago all pointed to the solution being workable.

To put it simply, I devised forty races to be divided into five families of eight races. I organized twenty unique configurations of three ability scores for a “choose two of three” method of bonus distribution.

What I ultimately realized was that there was no way for me to balance the distribution of ability scores across five groups of eight races simply because a couple ability scores would be over-represented among the racial families.

For what I’m trying to do, uneven distribution like that is unacceptable.

Before I can begin to introduce deliberate inequalities among character types, there must first be an established equilibrium. Otherwise I will wind up with a game just like the games I constantly complain about.

The game has to work first, before I break it my way.