There’s a weird juggling act going on between totally freestyle game design and having a solid structure of checks and balances. On the one hand, the numbers should make perfect sense. On the other hand, balance blows.
Don’t get me wrong, there does need to be some kind of structure otherwise how can you hand off a system to a random GM and imagine they will find there way. But, too much structure and control can lead to weaker creativity as folk worry themselves about keeping things Rules As Written.
I know a fair few of you will be chuckling and shaking your head at that point, seasoned veterans who haven’t run a game Rules As Written since 1982. However, I can’t write a game on the basis that everyone reading it will be as confident. In putting The Cthulhu Hack together, I have had many questions about detailed mechanics and a wish for lists of carefully balanced monsters—for many, that consistency matters, and they’re not wrong to want that.
As I say, it’s a fine piece of juggling to get it right without getting it too right.
For The Cthulhu Hack, having something too right didn’t make sense because the Mythos doesn’t. It shouldn’t make sense and it proved difficult to communicate that sometimes. In a wide world of games where massive monsters represent surmountable goals, how do you communicate the existence in insurmountable horrors?
Thankfully, The Dee Sanction isn’t too far from the cosmic horror, either. The world is filled with ordinary people facing the emergence of extraordinary challenges. The unravelling of the fabric of the world has cracked open the gates of Hell and far stranger realms and allowed egress for creatures of myth and folklore.
The Dee Sanction core book will not only present a short bestiary of creatures and common enemies but also provide some low-level guidance on how to customise them and create your own. You will have the means to present your Agents with relatively generic antagonists coloured by flare and personality rather than complex rules, as well as creatures fiendish in construction that will challenge through their wealth of powers.
Sometimes balance, other times less so. But somewhere in the mix, there should be a sense to the chaos.