Making of Naruto Pathfinder: Part 1 Inspiration
In the time leading up to the release of my new project: Naruto Pathfinder, I want to take some time to talk about the design philosophy I had in mind, as well as the process I went through. I want to help anyone reading this get a sense for why, and how to design their own system or content and what sort of steps to take along the process. No knowledge of Naruto is needed to understand everything in this series. So without further ado let's get started.
The first thing I want to talk about is why I made this, and why I picked Naruto of all things. A large part of it was inspiration. Even while I was working on other campaign materials, running my company, and playing in other games I found myself drawn in my free time to working on this project. I couldn't stop myself from jotting down a few notes when I watched an episode, or thinking over the mechanics it would have in my free time. When creativity, resources, time and motivation all grow weak, you can always rely on inspiration. If you take nothing else away from these articles than it's this: Make what inspires you.
For me, that happened to be Naruto. I'm not really much of an anime fan in general, I don't scramble to watch the new season, and a lot of the medium passes by me without notice. But I saw in Naruto, and even more so in its following series Shippuden some things that I have a deep passion for. I saw long term storytelling, I saw a growing evolving world, and I saw a deep and complex magic system that had, and followed, a system of consistent rules. I saw characters appear who were foreshadowed 6 real world years prior. I had moments where I knew what abilities a character should use when and for what exact reasons. I saw exciting new characters appear one after another, each one building on the existing logic and lore of their world without breaking it. I saw an amazing campaign unfolding before my eyes.
Of course once you know you want to make something there are a lot of factors you should consider. If, like me you are basing a game off of an existing franchise, I highly suggest taking a look at my article about the inspired campaign. Just as likely is that you'll want to create something entirely new. Either way, use your inspiration as a guiding star. Next consider what kind of game you're making. Are you creating a new system entirely? Are you making a single class for an existing game? Somewhere in the middle? There's no wrong answer as long as it's right for what you're creating.
In my case I knew I wanted it to be pathfinder. The kind of high power, high flying, complex, magicky, damage taking, enemy exploding, power scaling adventures I was seeing would work best with a crunchy game system that builds in power significantly over time. And Pathfinder, along with d20 in general, was the one that I was most familiar with and the one I felt would work best. I could have made most of what I wanted in a superhero system, but they tend to start off very strong, whereas I wanted characters to begin weak and become mighty. A system like 5th edition however is too simplified, I knew I wanted to get complicated and include many many abilities, which is antithetical to the clean organized intuitive 5th edition. Basing it on pathfinder would also help me maintain a very solid way to check power. I would always be able to compare to something existing to get a sense of if I made anything too strong or too weak.
So, I knew I wanted it to be Naruto, I figured out I wanted it to be Pathfinder, and from there I was ready to begin. Join me next time when I'll talk about the foundation of what I made and the guiding principles for the design. Until then, have fun out there!