Can you tell us a little about your game, Fray?
It’s a mix between the tactical combat of DnD/Pathfinder and Storyteller/Burning Wheel style out of combat and character generation mechanics. Then all of it is balanced less towards “all powers are equal” and more towards “all powers are equally fun for the right person”.
In a nutshell, it’s an action packed system for players who love building characters.
When did you decide to begin seriously developing the game?
About 3 months ago, my design partner and I were sitting around wondering what system we should choose for our next campaign. We’ve been gaming together for about 15 years now and can never quite find the right system that does everything we want in our games.
We talked about taking some combat system and mixing it with some skills system until we finally just decided to hammer out a simple system of our own.
After about a week of furious work on it, we realized that we really enjoyed this kind of system design and worldbuilding and that we worked very well together, with each of us kind of gravitating towards working on different things.
There’s an open call for playtesters on the Fray website. What has the response been?
We’ve probably received 10 or so detailed write-ups on their playtest experience so far and another 10 or so first glance impressions. We’ve also gotten a lot of messages from people saying they’re setting up a day to play and waiting until after that to provide feedback.
As it’s the very first playtest and the first step in a long process, there’s been a lot of problems identified.
We’ve already released on update to our core dice mechanic and we’ve gotten positive feedback on that. But to be honest, we’re happy to get the negative feedback more than anything – it’s what need to move forward!
The default Fray setting is quite distinctive – visually and thematically. What novels, movies or games have you taken as inspiration?
That’s a question that I can’t really answer well.
We really just pull ideas from wherever we can. We try not to think too much about being influenced or copying other works, instead just going with what we think would make a compelling storytelling framework for players and GMs.
We try to keep up with the world of Japanese boardgames, but tabletop roleplaying is a bit harder to follow. What are some of the trends or changes you’re noticing in Japan?
Honestly, there is very little tabletop roleplaying here.
We are based in Nagoya, a city of about 2 million people. I know of only two shops where I can purchase tabletop roleplaying products. Getting things imported is quite expensive and most things aren’t translated either. Most Japanese don’t speak English at a level where they would be able to understand RPG materials imported, so the industry is pretty stagnant.
We personally have our eyes set on releasing abroad, but could possibly entertain a translation of Fray in the future.
Finally, what’s next for Fray? Should we expect a release anytime soon?
More playtesting and lots of artwork!
We have a schedule of 4 more alpha playtests focusing on specific areas of the system, then releasing a more complete version of the system as a beta playtest. If I had to give a rough guess, I’d say we’re 4-6 months away from a release.
We’re taking it fairly slow and steady as we’re in no hurry. But there will be plenty of materials released, so hopefully we can get some early adopters of the system via our playtest materials.