Echelon Quick Start Reformulation

A while ago (January 1, so almost four months now) I considered an Echelon Intro Box Set.

I evidently don’t have enough to do with my copious free time (do I really need to mark that as sarcasm?), so on top of all the other stuff I’m doing, I’m thinking of cracking open a Echelon Quick Start set again.

I have come to agree with some of the comments on that previous post.

This comes to a minimum of 176 pages and a maximum of 240 pages, with only the two introductory adventures.  If we add a dozen character archetypes (player kits) that brings it up to 224 and 288 pages respectively, and adding three more ‘middling’ adventures (32 pages, as above) and a ‘large’ one of 64 pages would bring the totals to 384 and 448 pages respectively.

This probably is too big for a quick start package.  It might still make a good ‘Basic-Expert Set’ like the D&D Red Box, but it’s pretty heavy for “let’s take a look at this”.

Right now I’m thinking of something on the order of 128 pages total:

  • 32 page core rule book (just enough to get by)
  • 16 page introductory adventure
  • 32 page ‘real adventure’ (12-15 rooms — I like using two facing pages per area of interest)
  • 48 pages of sample characters (12 characters, each four pages long, made as easy to use and specific as needed for the character).

The core rules would be just that — the core of the system, task resolution, that sort of thing.  Nothing about creating a scenario or setting, probably close to just a procedure manual.

The introductory adventure might be something like the solo adventure from the Mentzer player’s book.  Not the one where you meet Aleena and Bargle, but the one with an actual map.  Probably only four or five rooms, holds the GM’s hand really firmly, walks through some common activities.

The ‘real adventure’ is somewhat bigger, probably 12-15 rooms (I like using two facing pages per area of interest — important that this can lie flat).  Doesn’t hold the GM’s hand as tight, but still exercises a number of different mechanics and provides some guidance.

That gets me to 80 pages. If I do 12 quick start characters (different archetypes), each four pages long that gets me to bang on 128 pages.

For character folios, I’m thinking printed on 11×17 card stock, folded over. Front is a picture of our little badass and stuff that makes you want to play him, left-inside is the character sheet, right-inside is the stuff you’ll want to know during play like spell descriptions or rules for your talents, back is the instructions for how to level this character. All character design decisions are made ahead of time, so there’s no talent selection, etc.

I might want to rearrange the pages for a PDF version.  This might not be the right layout if you don’t have it on a piece of folded card stock.

Probably band the material on the right-inside page by level it will be applied to you. Only the stuff in the first band applies until you level, then the second does too, and so on.

I want one of the characters to be a jaegermonster. I wonder if Phil Foglio would be up for that….

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6 Comments to "Echelon Quick Start Reformulation"

  1. May 24, 2012 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    I’ve been working on a quick-start package for WRPS, so “I got opinions”. I can see one possible way to make the document a bit shorter; how about if you have several versions of the quick-start, each with a different (single) adventure, and a party of premade characters (say four or five)? The sum total still gives lots of different character ideas, but the individual ones aren’t too long. You can always use NPCs in the adventures to illustrate character design concepts too, of course.
    I got my quick-start down to about ~30 pages, and still had somebody (new to tabletop play) think it was a bit long! Someone pointed out recently that the most complex decision you need to take to play Monopoly is deciding who gets to be the dog. I’m trying to push my one towards a very simple start; you might prefer more complexity mind you. Anyway, thought I would chip in.

  2. October 1, 2012 - 3:51 am | Permalink

    Justin Alexander had an interesting post about introductory adventures and why the “tutorial” style is less interesting than the “dive in” approach. He cites a relevant psychology article which is also good reading.

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