Category Archives: Developer Notes

Kickstarter Progress & Editing

Thanks to everyone who has backed our Kickstarter. We’re well on our way to being funded thanks to you! Check out our Tunse’al section for a list of everyone who has backed us as of 9 a.m. Eastern 11/15/12.

If you haven’t backed us yet, please check out our Kickstarter page chocked full of information and rewards for helping us get the funding we need to print out a supplement specific to Free RPG Day, a major marketing event in the role-playing game industry.

Meanwhile, our editors have finished seconds edits. We’re now in the final editing where we incorporate those changes and take one more pass through each. Then it’s doing the final layout and one more pass through to ensure nothing breaks in funny places, text hasn’t played hide-and-seek with us, and that all the formatting is the way it is supposed to be. After that, Kickstarter backers and past prize winners get their copies of Tunse’al Setting Guide in whichever format they choose and we load the PDF to DriveThruRPG for sale.

Thanks for your interest and support!


You Hear the Whining of Something Behind You…

Who doesn’t love a good noise to jump-start character action? Here’s the creature behind that sound today.

Mosquito, Giant The size of a large adult’s hand, giant mosquitoes are not as benign as their smaller relatives. They are nearly as agile with thin bodies and adaptive flying patterns. They can be quite sneaky, undetectable even, as they plunge a sharply pointed tube into a victim’s skin, anesthetizing the surface so that the suctioning tube isn’t easily noticed.

Favoring large arteries, in less than a minute, it can take enough blood and pump in enough anesthetic to make a person dizzy for a couple of minutes. If the person reacts badly to the injection, it can cause feinting or a day-long coma. Furthermore, the wound results in tenderness, swelling, and itchiness for days. The puncture may become infected, if not treated. Giant mosquitoes have a 1:10 chance of carrying an infectious disease, which could be fatal over time. DR 1

Preliminary Layout

We’ve still working in the Word document of the Tunse’al manuscript for the preliminary layout. As we’ve reviewed the document, we’ve realized some things just weren’t where or how we wanted them to be.

As an example, the Bestiary & Fae section had been broken out by regions beasts occupied. That’s great, except it meant a lot of redundant information and wasn’t intuitive. No one wants to find bears in two different locations or saurs (our version of dinosaurs) in multiple locations unless there’s a good reason for it. We wanted people to know what was in which regions since the land is thousands of miles wide and long, but that wasn’t a good enough reason.

We’re now revising the format, using a chart to indicate what’s where so it’s at a glance, and then having it so you can look up the beast alphabetically. We’re trying to ensure we don’t make things needlessly complicated!


Tables to the Rescue!

One challenge we’ve had with creating a setting that is independent of any particular system, or systemless, as we call it, is ensuring that the parts that make something cool translate to whatever game mechanics a GM chooses to employ. That means everything from character skills and traits to the difficulty of an encounter, an NPC, or an entire supplement.

After much debate and various angles of looking at the concepts, we’ve come up with two character tables and a three difficulty tables for illustration. Don’t worry, the difficulty tables include two that show how we got at the one that you’ll actually use for gauging how hard a situation is. You don’t need all three.

So what are they? The character creation tables show off Level of Ease (LE) as it pertains to a skill your character has and the degree of an Innate Trait (IT) that your character has. Skills are things you have to learn to do, where traits are those things that are natural part of you. As in spear chucking and athleticism respectively.

The difficulty tables started out with one showing the relationship of the percentage chance of success a character at any given level of experience would have of success in any given situation given its inherent difficulty. A character that’s a rookie pitted against another rookie has a 50% chance of winning the slingshot match. One that’s against an apprentice has a 30% chance. We assigned percentages for 36 match-ups.

After doing that, we still weren’t quite where we wanted to be. Our goal was to have an at-a-glance mechanism to convey difficulty. The percentages were not short enough, and required too much thought for someone who worked eight hours, came home to take care of the house, and only has 20 minutes left before the gamers are going to arrive. Enter the next table: odds!

On that, we got a bit closer to something that was quick to spot and comprehend. Sometimes folks just find odds easier to deal with than percentages. When you start dealing with things like 13% chance of success, it’s a lot different than when it was 50/50. That wasn’t quite tight enough, though. What we were going for was really a difficulty rating, which odds are not.

Having two tables in front of us, both essentially saying the same thing, we were able to distill that down to single digits that had meaning attached. We finally had our Difficulty Rating (DR). And now you have it, too!

Difficulty Rating Table
The Difficulty Rating Table helps GMs apply the appropriate mechanics from their favorite systems to our setting. A 0 denotes that the situation requires negligible effort for the character(s) to overcome it.

The End is Nigh

Tunse’al Setting Guide writing is incredibly close to completion. With a few things besides editing left on my pre-layout to do list (solidify the text for general info on magic and related sub-sections, make some notations on the bestiary, fine-tune the third and final bipedal fae, make some adjustments to give tips on using Tunse’al Setting Guide with whatever system, and double-check that we didn’t skip over anything we meant to put in there), the end really is nigh.

How can I say that, you might wonder. Well, because this is what we’ve already gotten done:

  • History of the Gods (Story of the Gods, Inclinations of the Gods: Aspects, Symbols, Powers, Duties, Sins, and Trappings)
  • Lands (All ten prominent areas, including for each: physical location, climate, elevation, soil type, vegetation, animal life, population, land use, commerce, government, and description)
  • Life in Tunse’al (Baarek’s Grandchildren, detailing each of the five main races: Geographical Origin, Physical Characteristics, Special Racial Features, Racial Disposition Toward Magic, Materials & Weapons, and Culture & Lore; plus Cultural Rituals outlining the most popular forms of rituals for a set of specific events as they would occur in the lands of the playable races)
And now, for a snippet of how the descriptions work for the races…

Skin Eater (Sa’ra’s Children Born of Insanity)

They are not mindless monsters, but rather a villainous race who feed on the skin, and sometimes flesh, of the other races. The Skin Eaters share the same creator god as the Kresh, and as such have a similar look.

Geographical Origin

While the Skin Eaters travel throughout Tunse’al, their home is The Dreamlands. The mostly flat land sits beyond The Headlands.

Physical Characteristics

Resembling a grey-skinned, primitive version of the Kresh, Skin Eaters stand 5’5” to 6’. They are often bulkier than their cousins and have a ridge of bones along the top of their heads going down the center of their spines. Some have 1-3” spikes, rather than just a ridge. Their eyes don’t glow, but they do glint like reptiles’ eyes do. Their open mouths expose fangs as well as sharp teeth. Skin Eaters have males and females, neither of which have any hair.

However, there are some who look less fierce. When they are in hooded robes, with some effort, they can blend in with other races who often just presume they’re Kresh by their stature.

So you see, things are coming along. Thoroughly. And we hope you enjoy them!


Production Schedule as of August 2, 2012

Anyone familiar with the RPG industry knows that many publishers are loathe to display public production schedules. With that in mind, Obatron Productions asks that you take this schedule as a way to know what we are going to put out, not a promise as to when. ETA means Expected Time of Arrival. It’s when we expect the product to arrive for sale. It is not a promise that we won’t run into delays. With that said…here you go!

Title Description ETA
Tunse’al Setting Guide World background and character creation for Tunse’al. August 2012
Caravan of Troubles A Kresh elder has a vision that must be shared with the Gales on the opposite side of the continent. Time is of the essence as the Skin Eaters put a dangerous plot in motion. August 2012
Usiku River The tribes of Tunse’al have much lore and superstition. When your party is implored to find a youth who failed his rite of passage, they’ll discover not all the elders’ tales are just parables. October 2012
Edge of Destruction The most horrific fate a tribe can face is its destruction. The Ha’tu Tribe has been targeted and it is up to your party to put a stop to the efforts before it’s too late. November 2012
Journey through the Hall of Shadows Vledis, the great valley, possesses qualities so disconcerting that even the Skin Eaters avoid it. You are part of a mission charged with not only crossing into Vledis, but with surviving a journey through the Hall of Shadows. January 2013

More Tunse’al Land Previews


A few days ago, we posted a segment about the mountain ranges collectively known as The Extremities. Today, we feature a portion describing one important region within one portion of those ranges, Baarek’s Knee.


None of the peoples of the Great Tribes inhabit the land. The only beings that do are the animals and the fae. No one knows how large those populations are.

Land Use

Historically, it is believed that the First Peoples delved into the land, seeking its gleaming gems and metallic ores.


Once, before the people of today’s Tunse’al, the Gelids believe the First Peoples devised methods of extracting ore from the land to turn it into strong metals. They also believe that gems were added to the goods, often weapons or jewelry.



The Gelids theorize that the First Peoples had a tribal system similar to today’s Tunse’als. They have found evidence of tyee-style headdresses and markings on stone that resemble some of their own writing symbols.

Crime and Punishment

It is unclear what kind of crime or punishment there might have been when Baarek’s Knee was an inhabited region.  Some unburied bodies indicate scores of First Peoples hand been bound by links of the metal forged there.


Baarek’s Knee is a large region covering about 250 miles in both directions. When people speak of it, they are usually referring to what is most often thought of as a very compact village carved into the knee of Baarek by the First Peoples. The Gelids believe they died for having carved into Baarek’s body. Tunse’als universally feel it is against their gods to hurt the mountain. People avoid the region and stay clear of the carved area if they realize they have unwittingly in Baarek’s Knee. It haunted by the spirits of the dead race.

Because the association with harming their sleeping god, metals and any gems requiring digging into the mountain are taboo. Weapons and other items are studied, but kept in the highest parts of The Spine where they are protected. Using taboo items is an offense in all five Great Tribes. It is grounds for banishment or even death.

Stay tuned for more previews as we push to finish up the last three geographical areas in need of detailing. –Vickey

Preview of Tunse’al Land Details

With five distinct Greater Tribes and even more regions of land, we have characterized many details of Tunse’al to allow the GM the broadest range of information to create scenarios or describe the environment in featured supplements. Here’s an example of a listing for The Extremities, a set of mountain ranges:

The plants are much like that of The Spine, but with berry bushes and creeping vines being more abundant. Fungus, ferns, vines, and moss enjoy the rich, shaded soil. There are fewer evergreen trees than deciduous ones. Some provide fruit or nuts. The a’kir tree bears a deceivingly similar fruit to the apple, both of which are found on the Footlands sides of Baarek’s legs. The tell-tale difference is the look of the core when cut. Where the apple looks as if it has a five-pointed star when cut in half width-wise, the a’kir fruit resembles no uniform shape and its seeds are a blackish purple instead of brownish black. Both come in various shades of red, yellow, and green. The a’kir is poisonous, and in severe cases can result in partial paralysis and death.

There are grasses and similar growths where there are some open spaces. Some plants yield fruits and vegetables during the summers and autumns such at the der’ist (juicy, round, brown, fist-size fruit with a sweet and sour taste), h’na (long, green pod that hangs from a tree with a bitter flavor), and myt’il (a leafy plant that can be eaten to relieve a cramped stomach or chewed to freshen breath).

Preview of Tunse’al Races

As we continue to work toward file completion to launch our systemless Tunse’al RPG setting and to submit a Savaged version to Pinnacle Entertainment Group for license consideration, we thought site visitors might enjoy a visual of the races of Tunse’al.

Line-up of the Five Races of Tunse'al
Tunse'al in a Glance - Joshua Pinkas translated the races from description to vision in this image. Left to right: Laerese, a Gelid wise woman in the Spine; Selaras, a Gale defender in the Drylands; Yuresk, a Kresh warrior in the Wetlands; Buruss, a Skin Eater lesser priest in the Headlands; and Heil, a Korrin warrior in the Footlands.