The Caravan Endures

Quite by accident, I began writing a TTRPG. I misinterpreted a game jam concept, and began writing ideas, and filled with inspiration, and what was a simple idea turned into a whole RPG, which I have christened The Caravan Endures. It is a teamwork focused TTRPG about managing and surviving in a caravan where there are no individual skill checks, and character development occurs in a journal rather than through leveling on a character sheet.

Here's what I can say about it:

-The Title is "The Caravan Endures," and this is very much a working title. I like it, but I may change it later.

-Thus far I'm leaving the worldbuilding fairly minimalist. This is to allow the players to build out the flavor of the world, and to save me the effort of worldbuilding. Plus, my worldbuilding stuff is pretty anachronistic, and definitely not for everybody.

-There is no leveling. Players instead bring a journal, and as each day on the road goes by, they choose an activity for their character to do- this may be interacting with a NPC, working on getting better at a specific skill, learning something about the world by exploring, or helping maintain the caravan. As the day comes to a close, the GM awards them some bonus on a specific type of skill check that will be added to the log, and applied when necessary. (i/e if they spent the day learning how to use a crossbow with one of the caravan guards, they get an extra die for their next ranged combat check they are involved with.)

-The logs are meant to be a physical artifact of play. This is a bit harder to do online, but with shared docs it's still possible. Still excited for seeing the pretty journals and drawings people do.

-The play is split up into phases- Daily activities, evening meetings, special encounters, and town. During the daily activities the players choose what their characters do and add that info to their log. That ensures that everyone gets a chance in the spotlight. During the evening meeting, threats and opportunities are revealed that will influence the events of the following day, and the players discuss how to meet these things that have been revealed. Then, as play continues, they encounter the things they've heard about and resolve them (or avoid them). During the time in town, they can upgrade the caravan, take on new jobs, and hire additional NPCs, although as the game ramps up difficulty, town phases become fewer and farther between.

-Despite there being no leveling, there is difficulty. This is mitigated by being able to upgrade your caravan, all the way to an airship. I'm also playing around with the idea of adding a seafaring component.

-All checks are communal, meaning that once the best path of action is chosen, each player determines how they can improve the dice pool for the caravan. The GM determines if it's valid. One of the stats is 'community' and is directly related to this.

-It is very combat lite, as a social check and a combat check use the same core mechanic, and combat carries significant risk both to the party and the caravan itself.

-Death is optional. There are three statuses for health- healthy, wounded, and fallen, with fallen implying that the character is unconscious.

-The six classes are Voice, Guard, Scribe, Healer, Scout, and Crafter. Each includes mechanic roles as well as social roles (i/e the guard's in charge of defending the caravan, but also ensuring the safety of everyone. The craftsmen fix the caravan, but also make art.)

-Inspiration from this comes from a castle management sim I did with my social skills group. This has led me to have some concerns about how long game will go, as some of the longer caravan trips may take hours of in game time. However, when you compare that to the 8 hour dungeons many gamers have experienced, that's tame.

-There are no races. Default is assumed to be human, but based on session zero (which is included), the group may decide they want centaurs. The only addendum is that with no races comes no racial bonuses.

-One of the biggest inspirations behind this is the realization that so many TTRPGs have mechanics that promote selfish behavior. I wanted to create a game that focused on the broader group.

-I am about 50 pages into my first draft, and once it's done I will release it publicly here in pdf format. Then, I intend to spend some time fixing the mechanical pieces, playtesting, making it look pretty, and comissioning some art. After that, I may put it up for sale online. I'm generally all about making things free, but if I want to comission some art, I want to at least make that money back.

Anyway, that's everything I have about this project. I'll post updates on my twitter: @rollforkindness, and as I have public releases, I'll post them here. Thanks for reading, and feel free to shoot me any questions, or if you'd like to beta test!