“I am an independent game developer taking a hedonistic approach to game development: I make what I am driven to make and that keeps me happy. I have a strong preference for cooperative / collaborative gameplay.”
I like games with physical, tangible elements: rolling dice, playing cards, tracking with tokens or coins, and moving minis around a map.
When I started DMing I found myself crafting maps, handouts of various notes / signs, potion jars, my own style of spell cards– I felt compelled towards homebrew rules using dice in place of other calculations– That led to my core design principle for Apparata Kitbash: Making a game with the complexity and depth of a classic tabletop RPG, but with as many physical interactions as possible to resolve actions.
I like pen and paper, but I love dice and cards.
There will still be character sheets, with stats to roll and determine during the character-creature stage of a campaign. Less calculations during gameplay. During combat or skill tests, players will likely be adding dice rather than modifiers.
5E Homebrew Examples:
DM-granted Inspiration at my table was similar to Bardic Inspiration: I handed out little 12mm d6 dice (fancy Chessex dice, because DM blessings should look awesome). No marks on sheets or tracking with an app. A little die in front of you, begging to be rolled and used up.
Paladins have a class-heal that subtracts from a pre-set pool of points, but rather than tracking those points I just give the player a comparable pool of those little d6 dice (red ones in this case). They roll-to-use-up those dice piecemeal for heals. The calculation isn’t the same, but it’s close enough and IMHO a lot more fun, especially if they hand out the dice themselves to let the other players roll their own heals as they occur.
For Apparata Kitbash:
Every ability, feature or feat I design will be on playable cards, just as spells will be. There will be mini-decks as well, which would be comparable to table lookups. Some mechanics will have instructions for handing out dice (dice pools of that sort will usually be d6, because those tiny dice are cheap and fun).
For dice or tokens that expire or get used up from pools, a cup-container in the middle of the table is convenient for discards.
What are the downsides? Printing, cutting out cards. Dice and tokens to purchase. It’s old-school at-the-table stuff, although online paradigms are possible for systems like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds (not yet my priority though).
I will manage the printing+cutting burden by making a limited core set of rules, abilities and spells for the base game. DMs can add from sets of modular optional rulesets / mechanics that I will also create, or homebrew their own. I will be distributing files to print in PDF form. I do not have plans to ship the game as a hardcopy (book or boxed), but who knows down-the-road if that ever seems feasible.
The Norship is a massive generational starship, that has been travelling for many years. Initially launched by the Nor (a humanoid race), it is now inhabited by a host of beings including the Nor as well as multiple tiers of Apparata (robots), a curious collection of Mythological creatures and even (G)nomes.
The Nor inhabit the interior of the central sphere of the Norship, which spins for gravity making it habitable many layers deep along its equator. The inner ring around the sphere was originally intended as a docking and maintenance ring, but it is now mostly abandoned and holds a sparse population of (G)nomes. The inner ring connects to the arm that extends to the solar sail, both of which are maintained by the (G)nomes and small service-bot Apparata. The larger outer ring contains the Norship’s vast forests, now overgrown and commonly referred to as either the forest ring or the Wild Belt. Most of the Mythologicals live within the Wild Belt.
Most of The Norship’s denizens are aware they are on a starship, but the meaning of that concept has changed over time: For many it is simply the world in which they live. Few are aware of its exact size or how the Norship technically operates. Even fewer have any idea of its eventual destination, which may yet be many millennia away.
What’s in a name? Kitbash makes me chuckle in this context: This RPG project started with homebrew mods I’ve made for 5E. In many ways, homebrew rules are a kitbash. They are an inventive hack applied to an RPG, for a variety of reasons. They aren’t necessarily the best designs in the broader sense, typically they are more personal: a change to suit the players at the table; a favorite bit of nostalgia borrowed from an earlier version; an alteration of the pacing for flavor; a complication for complexity’s sake or a simplification for rules clarity.
I’m all for homebrewing / hacking / modding / kitbashing.
That’s not why I chose the name though. I already had an Automata Kitbash name on my mind, with plans to use it for a future PC game set in my Norship universe. Once I came to the realization that I should formalize my homebrews into a full RPG: ding! I had a name that snapped right into place, just a minor tweak to Apparata.
Apparata are a class of robotic characters in The Norship universe. A Kitbasher in that same universe, is a sort of technological Wizard that puts bits together to make something new and “magical”. Sort of. I’m still working on it. There’s another angle that I will post in the Norship lore section soon enough. Either way, the name means what it says in putting parts together: This world is driven (in part) by Apparata Kitbash.