Jadepunk is Coming to D20

In case you missed the news: after writing has completed for the Cortex Plus edition, production will begin on a Jadepunk conversion for the d20 system.

We’re even redesigning the Jadepunk logo for the occasion.

You might be asking yourself: which d20 system? While we are selling it as a Dungeons and Dragons 5e conversion, the reality will look like something based on 5e, but heavily modified to represent the Jadepunk setting as best as we possibly can.

Since we are working on Cortex Plus rules, at the moment, all we have are preliminary notes, but they are encouraging. Here’s a list of what we’re planning to do:

  • Design a system to create your Jianghu society before creating your characters. We hope to include some elements of 13th Age‘s Icons, as well as some of the patron mechanic from mine and Paul Mitchener’s Perpetual Motion Engine. (This really should have been done in the Fate Core version, but it didn’t occur to us until years later.)
  • Beef up backgrounds to take over for racial profiles, and add in a Secret/Issue table the player will roll on to determine issues the society is dealing with that stem from the PC in some way. The idea is to drive the kinds of adventures tables will play through.
  • Create a jadetech sub-system that uses “rituals” (invention sessions) for “enchanted” (jadetech) items to use “spells.” Requiring jade and specific mechanical components will drive home the concept that the setting is all about the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”
  • Emphasize paths over classes. We have some great ideas on how to roll this out, which I’ll detail in a future post.
  • (Very likely) Get rid of numerical ranges for more narrative ranges. I’m not a fan of numerical ranges in my gaming, so this is a personal quirk of mine. If we get rid of numerical ranges in the core rules, then it will be included in the back of the book as an optional rule, for those tables that enjoy using them.

There is certain to be more changes, but the goal will be to keep it as close to 5e as is possible, while still giving us the freedom to create interesting mechanics to represent the setting of Jadepunk.

I’m going to start a new series of posts entitled “D20 Design Journal: <Subject of Post>” to detail what we’re doing with the d20 system for this game.

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