Umbral Shards - Alpha


  • Coder

    I am going to post here that I am nearing a point where some light alpha testing of the game will be starting soon, and some people have asked to be updated when I got to this point. So, before I get deluged with WTF posts, I'm going to be very straightforward about a few things.

    Umbral Shards is:

    • Original Theme, Original RPG System. It won't be perfect. It will have flaws. I expect that iteration and fixes in the RPG rule stuff will be required as we find issues and problems. The RPG system is built to be fast and super-flexible for character-building and NOT to be rules-heavy. If you are looking for minute crunchy-bit details, this is not the system for you.
    • A cooperative style of roleplay.
    • Intended to be very different. It does not follow 'standard convention'. In fact, I openly state in several threads on this board that I have gone out of my way to turn many conventions on their ear, or have simply discarded conventional thinking.
    • Intended to be a small, table-top style MUSH. I very highly doubt that this will ever be a 'large game'. It is not meant to appeal to the masses. The approach would simply break down.
    • Intended to be gritty and very horror-based in the styles of modern-day occult, with Lovecraftian and Gigerian influence, etc.
    • Very R-rated for violence, danger, occult themes and obviously adult language and situations. It is written to be dangerous and deadly, where characters will die, and likely in gory and horrible ways.

    Umbral Shards is not:

    • World of Darkness. We don't have vampires, werewolves or any of their ilk. Characters are normal people who have occult-based supernatural powers. Think "The Magicians", "Constantine", and their like.
    • Not a high-powered game. Characters will never reach "superhero" levels of powers. The RPG system is designed with a logarithmic progression, each "level" of things on your sheet doubling in cost to get to the next level. Specialization will cost you.
    • Designed to be PvP in any way. It is a table-top, cooperative, PvE style of game.
    • Not designed for "bar RP" style of play, nor will passive player types thrive or enjoy the place. If you are not a proactive RPer who can generate activity with a handful of others, then this is not the place for you. You won't earn XP and you won't be catered to.

    In addition, I am only going to be playing/running things during the daytimes, weekdays. It's my MUSHing playtime window. I won't be on in the evenings or most weekends, except on rare exceptions. So, until some other Storytellers get up to speed and we're all on the same goals/style page, it'll just be me.

    I'm not going to try and sell the game to people. I expect that it MIGHT appeal to 5% of the MUSH community types out there, if that. As stated, this isn't a game made to be a popular type of game. I cannot stress that enough. If it works out, awesome. If not, it was a fun building and theoretical project.

    With all that said, if you're still reading and in any way interested in poking around, I'd welcome constructive feedback and criticism. My writing sucks, but a first pass was needed in order to get anywhere. Policy files, Info files, even RPG elements could use a constructive, critical set of eyes (or five) on them.

    STATUS: CharGen is 40% done, the Grid(s) are, at best, 20% done. There is still a lot of work ahead of me, but I am anticipating and looking forward to plenty of coding time over the holidays.


  • Pitcrew

    Obviously you know I'm on board.


  • Politics

    Can you give some details on the codebase you're using? I don't know if I'm using the right word.

    Is it Evennia-based? Ares-based? MUSH-code? Etc.

    Is there a place where intrepid souls can look at your homebrew system and point out issues before you commit the system entirely to code?


  • TV & Movies

    Sounds refreshing.



  • @ganymede He's using rhost as the code base.


  • Coder

    Its a Rhost MUSH. The site is up at www.umbralshards.com, the game is at game.umbralshards.com 9999.



  • If you only expect 5% of players, and to emulate a table top style, don't plan to support barP and passive type characters, how is this different than an online tabletop game platform?


  • Pitcrew

    @misadventure

    Persistent world is one of the big ones. One of the hallmarks of an OTT game is having the GM on hand for most (if not all) gameplay. The grid, the policies, guidelines for others running plot and the like, these things don't exist in an OTT environment.


  • Pitcrew

    @rook said in Umbral Shards - Alpha:

    In addition, I am only going to be playing/running things during the daytimes, weekdays. It's my MUSHing playtime window. I won't be on in the evenings or most weekends, except on rare exceptions. So, until some other Storytellers get up to speed and we're all on the same goals/style page, it'll just be me.

    What will there be for people to do when you are not around before other STs get up to snuff?


  • Coder

    @wildbaboons
    Not much, honestly.

    The best case scenario is that potential STs are part of the daytime group, we click, and they can run stories at night after a period of learning the theme, the 'power level' of stuff, etc. I have to feel comfortable with their approach and style.


  • Pitcrew

    @rook said in Umbral Shards - Alpha:

    @wildbaboons
    Not much, honestly.

    The best case scenario is that potential STs are part of the daytime group, we click, and they can run stories at night after a period of learning the theme, the 'power level' of stuff, etc. I have to feel comfortable with their approach and style.

    Well, I see bits and pieces in here of the system we had been developing years ago. You know I ST.

    I only ST evenings/night.

    So there you go.


  • Pitcrew

    Wasn't Umbral Shards a game before? In, like, 2001?

    Edit: Just asked the husband, and he remembers it, too. It was weird and perhaps short-lived, but it was definitely a thing.



  • @krmbm Was that the all-Wraith game that took place in the Umbra? It was, wasn’t it? That game was rad.


  • Coder

    Yeah, ran it (as a completely different system) as an idea back then. Didn't get much interest, so sort of just stopped. Since then, things have changed with the theme and setting, clearly. Much more clear and formed.

    No, it wasn't a Wraith game.


  • Pitcrew

    @egg I'm guessing @Rook clarified that it wasn't a Wraith game. :)

    I didn't actually play, personally, but my husband and his buddy did. I remember them making characters, but I have no memory of what they were.

    Probably some kind of Mage.

    Anyway! Good luck with the re-imagined game, @Rook, and thanks for confirming that I'm not just crazy.



  • I love Lovecraft horror. This sounds cool.