Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

News from the Mana Bros Skunkworks Shed

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italia-doppelgangerSo, we were kicking around a few ideas for a roleplaying game or our own, or maybe four.
The real instigator was my friend Alex,that is having a nice success with his Italia Doppelganger RPG, based on the universe of a popular series of horror stories of his.
And I’ve been talking about an Aculeo & Amunet RPG for ages, now. And then there’s the idea of the RPG spin-off of AMARNA1.
And a lot of other stuff – some projects I pitched and fizzed, some things I said “one of these nights I’ll do it” and we’re still here and waiting.
But not anymore!
So, let’s get to work.


I talked about this with my brother (who grew up with D&D and is the rules guy), and we decided to bring back from the Limbo the old Mana Bros game skunkworks, and we sort of drew a plan, and imagined a few possible titles. And we got a new logo.

mana bros base square

Getting a good logo is an important step.
Then things got more complicated.

First stumbling block: the engine.
Now, I’m a fluff guy myself – I like creating worlds, not crunch (aha!) numbers to simulate actions.
I flirted with the idea of producing system agnostic material – that is, setting books without any specific engine. But then we set the idea aside, and decided to go for an Open Gaming License system – that is, a set of rules that we can pick, chop up and reassemble, and then fit to our gaming worlds.
OpenD6_logoOur first choice was OpenD6 – because it’s fast and cinematic and very easy. It uses templates, so the players can create a character in a few minutes and get rolling straight away. The system famously powered both the Ghostbusters and the Star Wars roleplaying games.
I asked my brother to look into the System Reference Document, and see if we would be able to develop our own dialect of that system.
We have ideas, lots of them.

OpenQuest-product-square-300dpi-150x150But this morning I also happened to take a look at the OpenQuest SRD – and it is the old D100 engine  derived from RuneQuest, the one I first found in Call of Cthulhu when I first started playing over 35 years ago.
This is very attractive, because I know these rules inside and out, and I have written lots of house rules, adaptations and what not through the years.

So, right now, we have two engines in our skunkworks shed, and we’ll start experimenting. The basic philosophy of the D100 system is pretty different from the D6, and the engines lend themselves to different styles of gaming.
We’ll have to make some harsh decisions.
But we are working on it.


  1. episode three coming in about a week! 
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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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