I have been mentioning (mostly on twitter) a certain RPG on and off for the past 15 or so months and have been working on it for longer than that, but it apparently just wasn't meant to be. Not yet at least and, shockingly, due to the very same reasons the wise Jonas Kyratzes was afraid of, but, admittedly, that's indie development for you. There's always a chance you'll spend hundreds of hours for absolutely nothing.
A City RPG in a Nutshell
Upon further inquiries I'd let them know that the game would sport properly RPG-y characters, both random and non-random quests and storylets, maps filled with places to visit, a fresh combat system and choose-your-own-adventure styled encounters. It'd most probably be about staging a revolution, reclaiming utopia and would definitely --definitely!-- not be anything even vaguely similar to a rogue-like. Oh, and you wouldn't be playing as another messiah either.
The Team and a Short, Hopeless History
The City Of The Ocean
Races, Characters and Star-signs
These large, eight-legged arthropods with compound eyes are frequently described as frightening in appearance, but are equally noted for their politeness, appreciation for aesthetics, and excellence in intellectual pursuits. Though few in number, they form an important part of the city's intelligentsia.
And here's the description for the Criminal background (which also gave you bonuses to picking locks and holding your liquor):
Extreme poverty requires extreme measures; survival strategies the Law simply cannot tolerate. Your choice of joining a gang, a rather popular organization that can on any given day be anything from an extended family or a solidarity network to a criminal organization or an organizer of parties, did not go unnoticed, but it has afforded you a roof over your head and a full plate.
The core of the character, the characteristics, would include the rather obvious Agility, Constitution, Stealth, Hacking, Intimidate, Speed, Firearms and Streetwise, but also Reason, Writer, Musician, Urban Geography and the ability to Speak Ostrakev or Design Games (complete with genre specialization). As for my favourite characteristic, Carousing, its description went a bit like this:
How much can you drink? How many Estro pills can you consume while dancing? The carousing characteristic lets you actually decide.
Ideas, Locations, Stories
A mix of red-light district and low-rent housing, its main street relatively tourist grade sin for the whole family and with clubs and casinos for the well-to-do, but the streets not leading out soon taking a turn for the considerably less fun. Within an establishment, the owner's word is god, unless it conflicts with that of the Rose Without Thorns, whose red handkerchiefs denote both possession and protection that few dare openly oppose and none do wisely. It is a common sight to see people in these parts with missing body parts carved from their flesh with a cauterising blade so that back-alley regrowth or replacement is typically impossible; intentionally or otherwise. Exactly what the Rose Without Thorns does with his, her or its gathered flesh, it is probably best not to ask.
A vast, metallic sphere that previously manufactured, repaired and recharged the robots intended to serve organic life in the city. As the robots took jobs typically reserved for organics and developed their own culture, public sentiment turned on them. All robots were ordered to return to the core, which was powered down.Although some robots never returned to the core, escaped it, or simply have owners powerful enough to ignore the law, the majority of the city’s robots now live a desperate existence within the core, struggling for energy and spare parts.Those robots who prey on other robots are known as cannibals. In truth, all robots in the core must rely on other robots for spare parts to some extent, but taking them from a robot that was alive at the time (at least until you got to it) is understandably taboo.
One day, no-one's talking about them, the next... no-one's talking about them. But everywhere you look, people are suddenly sporting these floral posies growing alongside their spinal column. Great bouquets, beds of daisies, single roses - anything goes. They're not actually flowers of course - some sort of engineered or bred thing supplied by a company called EuGenie - and they're an absolute bugger to maintain - but they're hugely fashionable. You must have one, you simply must.
**Basically an in-game tamagotchi that grows outside of its casing and first causes problems, then (if you can keep it alive) becomes a hugely valuable ally/resource. I'm aware this all might be too complicated, but there's no harm in ambition.**
I see an army of genetically-engineered super-soldiers, a significant portion of whom decide, in the name of freedom, to break away. They escape to the Runoff underneath the city because their particular biochemistry means they can survive it with little ill effects. They form their own little society--I see them living essentially like a biker club. They're not the kind of people who are going to perform random acts of wanton violence--they would have stayed as soldiers if they wanted to--and they're going to be fairly friendly and welcoming to the player, perhaps after a quest or two is completed. That said, they do live in a dangerous environment that's difficult to get to, and they've got a fairly dark reputation. People speak of the Ratmen like you'd speak of the Hell's Angels or the Mafia: Probably you'll never meet one, and most likely if you do it's not like you're going to immediately get shot and beaten if it's an innocuous enough encounter...but you don't really want to seek them out.
Thing is, when you've got a group of genetically-engineered super soldiers living in the sewers, they're going to be *really good* at waste management; essentially these rebels, nicknamed Ratmen, are the equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers handling the city's garbage: They ended up revamping the underground and making the city's waste management much more efficient. Much of the reason that their rebellion was eventually tolerated is because, left to their own devices, they actually ended up being more of a benefit to the city. By the time of the story, which is maybe a couple of decades past the initial rebellion, they've actually got an official city contract.
Systems and Combat