Category: Mechanics

Soul and Void

So Stablehand just got fucking terrifying today
…I’m joking.

But once again, I just made up something that was such a concept it scared me

So, I’ve sort of been messing around with the idea of “Soul”, as an opposite… force? I guess? to Void. Void is the main supernatural/Weird thing that affects Stablehand’s planet. Because Void permeates the universe of Aluma, people can use the magic-like “cirque” to manipulate their environment and make cool technologies, travel to and from the Aether that Void comes from, and transform themselves into cyborg-like technotranscendents or furry-like biotranscendents.


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Subzero archetype

I really thought about it today and finally decided that yes, there is an “evil” counterpart to the superpower archetype:

The “subzero” archetype.

A subzero is kind of the Stablehand counterpart to a supervillain, but in the Stablehand universe things are just divided differently, so it’s not quite the same.

A superpower and a subzero both—to put it in the most basic way—get their power from a strong belief in what they’re doing, so at heart they’re pretty similar. The main difference between them is that a superpower uses their powers to bring about Direction while a subzero uses their power to bring about Indirection.

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So like, there’s absolutely going to be a crossover ending between Kris and Sleipnir/Hughes

But. It was supposed to be from the beginning—and I forgot—that Kris can either opt to defend or bring in Sleipnir and Hughes

If she brings them in, well, that’s the easier ending. Sleipnir would probably agree to it, because it’s his thing that he ultimately wants to go “clean”… Hughes on the other hand would probably fly away believing that he’d done nothing wrong in his life, just because he never had any intent to do evil.

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I used to wonder what an att could be

So as I’ve been programming Seven Heirs (Undertale tribute using the in-progress Stablehand engine) I’ve been learning some things about Stablehand/Sixteen Hues.

For 7h, I wanted to build a “Stablehand-style RPG-ish encounter system”, because RPG encounters are a big part of Undertale but I never thought about how one would work in Stablehand and thought that would be an interesting experiment. For reference, this is called the “Confrontation” system.

And I thought about how I was building it (or planning to), and realised, this pretty much illustrates exactly what attributes were/are supposed to be.

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7h mechanics draft_censored

Attribute and attitude drafts for Seven Heirs, a short gamebook thingy I’m making to force me to get off my butt and make the Stablehand engine, and as a tribute to Undertale.

The first thing I realised when examining the idea and thinking about how I’d apply attributes to the characters was… wait, Undertale already has those! And almost eight of them! Might as well use those instead.

Instead of Agency/Environment/Chroma, 7h uses a slightly different attunement scheme of Aid/Ideals/Activity,

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What Originators really are

I thought about Ariana’s flowspace again and

My new image of it is that maybe there’s literally like a little world in there. A sort of small world, kinda fuzzy beyond its boundaries, but it’s there.

There’s like this meeting room in there where she and her characters can meet to discuss strategies, and these rooms each of the characters can pass time/sleep in if she needs to put them away for safekeeping. It’s kind of like an oddly thorough explanation of the RPG trope where party people clown-car into the main character to make the screen less cluttered :p

All the areas in Ariana’s flowspace world are mainly given details by her characters;

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New story concept

I’m thinking that I might base the choices/endings for each character on powers of two.

I was kind of thinking about how the gamebook would actually work and I realised that it might be kind of unintuitive because it seemed really open at the beginning. I want to keep a little bit of an open feel to give that sense of a huge and interesting world, and I want the vibe that there are a lot of things you could do and any of them might have an effect, but I don’t want it to be completely up in the air what you do to get each major story branch.

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Fandom qualifications masterpost

So every so often, just playing around, I’d assign attributes to characters from popular things (or sometimes less popular) that distinctly weren’t Stablehand, to try to get a better feel for how the attribute system worked.

I made a pretty decent handful of those posts. But they weren’t really collected anywhere. And I realised one day, that’d make it pretty hard to find any of them at a moment’s notice if anybody actually wanted to know what attribute I assigned a character. So, I decided to undertake the task of putting them all in one post by story/series and date (because my view of attributes changes and that might be useful to have).

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Attribute symbols

Lollllll everything is so disorganised now I can’t even easily find the attribute symbols any more. Let’s fix at least that much.

Click the small ones up for big versions.

Directed attributes

Left to right: Synthesis, Unity, Machination, Fantasy, Verity, Faith, Esteem, Will.

Undirected attributes

Left to right: Eternity, Frustration (outdated), Clarity, Portent, Compulsion, Desolation, Ruin, Incongruity.

Frustration is scrapped and will be replaced with a new attribute, but I haven’t named it or made its emblem yet. Its (very) tentative name is Apathy; right now the tag for it is just “UD Will”.

Totality and Nothing

Totality and Nothing are at this point considered special attributes! Now they’re only for high-level things that are ‘just good enough’ to be all the Directed attributes or all the Undirected ones (if you’re an even balance of all the attributes but a normal ‘power level’ you’re considered to be ‘Inception prototype’). But they still have emblems. (Nothing’s emblem is just an empty image, and yes, I still made a huge version for simplicity-of-programming reasons :p)

Attitudes: Erratic and Aligned

Hmm. I’ve been working with attunes versus attitudes and…. I thought attitudes were final at this point but it turns out they’re still not, not quite.

One problem I ran into is that Agentic-Thematic-Directed-Undirected is… good, but it doesn’t really capture the dynamic of how with either type of attribute sometimes you can use an attribute perfectly and sometimes you use it decidedly imperfectly. Notably I realised this when yesterday I thought of a couple of techniques for Lance which were “Critical Strike” and “Critical Incompetence”*. One, obviously, is an effective purposeful technique and one is a disaster,

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