Blood!: Hell on Earth

Like I don’t have enough on my plate I’m still keen to get on with Blood!: Hell on Earth which is the witch-hunting and demon-fighting setting playable from the 1400s to the 1700s but set, by default, in the Annus Mirablis of 1666 in Britain.

The setting is all there in notes and various spaces in my brain but I’m weighing up whether to deviate further in the rules than I have in the errata and options I’ve already put out there.

Blood! wouldn’t be Blood! without the complexity and the grit which informs its deadliness and makes it what it is. At the same time the complaints and requests that I have had are about the complexity and there are some ways it might be slimmed down a bit and simplified.

Character creation is the big slowdown in the system at the moment and could very well be simplified though some fidelity and individuality might be lost in the process. This would entail getting rid of some of the modifiers and tying bonuses to singular statistics rather than lots of totalling up and divisions.

Assigning skills and skill points could also be slimmed down while leaving the main system intact. A base amount of points to spend and a bonus without, necessarily, being channelled into templates.

Otherwise, with the modifications and errata, everything’s pretty much good to go. It may be worth doing a playtest at Indiecon to see if it all works OK.

Blood!: Hell on Earth

I have two major problems in writing games. Firstly I don’t have enough time, energy or copies of myself to write everything that I want to write and publish. Secondly, I tend to come up with the same ideas as other people at a similar sort of time. Fortunately I beat others to the punch with Agents of SWING and the only very-similar product to come out was 7TV – which is brilliant and awesome but is a skirmish minis game and thus doesn’t bite into the same market.

Another case is Adamant Bloody Entertainment and their bastarding East-West fusion game Far West. This is so bloody similar in concept, if not execution, to my own project Setting Sun that I’m in two minds whether to go ahead, though they’re different enough in other ways. Mine’s alt-history and more Samurai themed than Wu Xia themed, and not Steampunk per-se. Mine also uses a poker mechanic and is oriented on team/gang/pack play. We’ll see. Setting Sun could be the Cyberpunk to Far West’s Shadowrun.

When it comes to Blood! it has been my intention since I resurrected the game to create the long promised supplements/reskins of that game Hell on Earth and Star Shock. Hell on Earth was to be my first. I was all excited to revise the Blood! rules some, create some setting background and material on Puritan witch-hunters post restoration, trying to survive the crown and the Annus Mirablis (1666), the devil’s own year when many thought the end of the world was come. I was going to create a dark post-civil war, post-Cromwell setting of debauched courts, downtrodden puritans, devilry, witchcraft, zombies, omens, infernalism, qabbalistic magic and Hammer Horror references when what should happen but this?


Shit indeed.

Fortunately, since its relatively humble beginnings, Defoe:1666 has gone somewhat bugnuts crazy, which is fine as these things go, but does distance it quite a bit from the more serious approach I was going to take.

So, that means Hell on Earth is probably back on the cards for development in the not-too-distant future, after the current swathe of heavy, long-term projects and I’ll probably be throwing ideas up here.

One of the main things to do in B:HoE is to address criticisms of the Blood! system, insomuch as it can be done without losing the system’s integrity and raison d’etre. The errata/suggestions that already exist will be incorporated and we’ll probably try and find a way to speed up or slimline the character creation system but the bloody and brutal combat will – of course – remain.

I’m likely to throw ideas up here as they occur to me, as much to keep them safe as to draw comment but I do crave feedback on development and all aspects of our games. So please don’t be shy of speaking up.