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Project Black Flag Friday: From the Crow’s Nest

Project Black Flag Friday: From the Crow’s Nest

An armored male figure with a horned helmet raises a tattered black flag above his head. In the background, an army of followers raises swords and black banners in agreement.

It’s the first Friday of March! Today, we’re up in the crow’s nest, looking around to survey of where we’ve been and where we’re going with Project Black Flag.

Right now, we’re compiling feedback from Playtest Packet #1 and preparing Playtest Packet #2.

Let’s talk about both of these packets, and whats coming up after that!

Looking Back: Playtest Packet #1

Commenting for Playtest Packet #1 is closed, and you delivered!

Huge thanks to everyone who downloaded and gave feedback to the Kobold Press team on Packet #1. We’re still looking through all your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. Celeste Conowitch, our lead designer, said it best:

Thank you so much to everyone who shared your thoughts on the first playtest packet! We received so much positive feedback about design direction, and y’all gave us a great idea of what you want to see for this game. We are claws-deep in the next playtest packet, and we can’t wait to hand you a heaping serving of fresh content.

—Celeste Conowitch
Here are the big points we collected from Playtest Packet #1 feedback:
  • Develop existing talents to build out the full talent catalog
  • Streamline the organization of heritage options
  • Revisit Lineage and Heritage options to improve balance
  • Eliminate the forced choice of either ability score increase OR gaining a new talent for class milestones
  • Clarify mechanical language

We’re listening and putting all of these notes in order!

Looking Ahead: Playtest Packet #2

Playtest Packet #2 is scheduled for mid-March release. Here’s what we plan for it:

  • Changes to Playtest Packet #1 that will affect Playtest Packet #2.
  • Changes to spellcasting rules for robust and thematic concepts. Characters find their magic source among the four Circles of Magic: Arcane, Divine, Primordial, and Wyrd. 
  • Previews of the new Arcane Circle ritual list
  • An updated list of spells you know and love from the SRD.
  • The first 8 levels of the Fighter base class, including features of two fighter subclasses.
  • The first 8 levels of the Wizard base class, including features of two wizard subclasses.
  • A new fail-forward Luck mechanic to replace Inspiration. Transform failure into a spendable resource to influence future rolls!
  • A handful of new talents.

And on the Horizon….

We’re planning a Kickstarter campaign for Project Black Flag in May. When this hits, we’ll release a quickstart rules compilation based on your feedback. (As always, rules are subject to change.)

Want to get first access to our Playtest Packets?

Join the community in providing feedback—be sure to fill out our online form!

All playtest packets will remain available to the general public even after feedback forms have closed. Check our living FAQ page for those downloads and to stay up to date on the most recent Project Black Flag information. This week, we’ve answered common questions with new details and better description on the Core Fantasy Roleplay system.

See you next week!

11 thoughts on “Project Black Flag Friday: From the Crow’s Nest”

  1. I just find that there’s still a lot missing in the play test. Everything emphasizes on the character side, but what about the side of the GM? You said you’ll be making improvements, but it doesn’t sound like it will be open for playtesting by the public.

    Also I think rushing in doing a kickstarter before finishing with all the play testing seems a little shortsighted. Not to mention what has been released and what is being discussed to be released seems to not really deviate to what One DnD is doing thus far.

  2. Why can’t you just put out a full play test? How am I supposed to evaluate anything without the context of the full system? If you’re changing little enough from 5e to where I can just go off that, why even bother making a system?

    1. I don’t think it would be possible for ANY company to announce a new game system and then have a full feature ready playtest available in 2 or 3 months without it being the most horrifically imbalanced and poorly edited thing in the world. Please remember these are real people, not an AI. Be patient, be understanding. They are trying to work WITH YOU to make sure their new game system is what you expect and want.

      Also from, my perspective, it looks like KP is leaning heavily on 5e for now as they vet and work on other rules. They have also stated they want their future work with black flag to be compatible with 5e, so it would make sense that they would expect you to use 5e rules to fill in the gaps until they can produce more information.

      1. Be patient? They’ve just announced thier deadline. It’s in 3 months. So they’re literally attempting what you, and I, don’t think is possible.

        1. a kickstarter is not finished product, i think it should be but they and many other others will launch a kickstarter with an unfinished product and then set a date as to when the product will be finished and delivered. so they could start a KS in may finish it in july and plan on releasing in a year or more from now

  3. I’m excited for Black Flag, I really am, especially after the D&D debacle earlier in the year and not being super impressed with what we’ve seen of OneD&D so far. BUT, you guys are moving really really slowly. OneD&D is coming out in 2024, and the pace of the Black Flag playtests is way too slow if you’re hoping to beat them to the market, which you should be, because once OneD&D drops, you can kiss any momentum Black Flag had goodbye. I understand taking it slow to make sure it’s the best it can be, but I think you guys are going to miss the boat.

    1. “OneD&D is coming out in 2024, and the pace of the Black Flag playtests is way too slow if you’re hoping to beat them to the market, which you should be, because once OneD&D drops, you can kiss any momentum Black Flag had goodbye.”

      My guy.

      4e launched in June 2008. Pathfinder launched in August 2009.

      They have time to make a product that isn’t half baked. The launch of OneD&D isn’t a factor.

  4. Hard to imagine how this is ready to Kickstart in May based on the first packet. There was barely any original content and almost all of it needed significant work.
    Honestly, this next packet will go a long way to determining whether I back the project further.
    Random polls of random people don’t seem very effective for anything other than gathering preferences. Preferences don’t help you work out problems with mechanics and balance. If this packet is a similar mess, I’ll just wait a couple years for the .5 version of the game to come out. After actual players have worked out the bugs.

    1. Is it just me or are other people getting tired of some of the old outdated D&D game mechanics?
      I was just a kid when I rolled 3d6 to create my first D&D characters in the early 80’s.
      And yet we still have these silly 3-18 ability Stats that nobody actually uses. We use the Bonus, not the 3-18 Stat! Why do we even have that anymore?
      Instead of rolling 3d6 or 4d6 drop the lowest, or whatever, why don’t we just get rid of that outdated Stat alltogether?
      This has the added benefit of eliminating that odd numbered ability Stat that does nothing when you spend an ability improvement on it!

      If you like rolling random dice to get your ability bonuses try this: roll a d20 instead.
      1: ability penalty -2 (Equivalent of rolling 6 or 7)
      2 or 3: ability penalty -1 (eq. Of 8 or 9)
      4 — 7: ability bonus -0 (eq. Of 10 or 11)
      8 — 13: ability bonus +1 (eq. Of 12 or 13)
      14 — 17: ability bonus +2 (eq. Of 14 or 15)
      18 or 19: ability bonus + 3 (eq. Of 16 or 17)
      20: ability bonus +4 (eq. Of rolling an 18)
      It’s highly unlikely to roll 3 through 5 (-5 or -4 penalty) on 4d6 drop lowest, and let’s face it, nobody wants those scores, ever. So let’s just get rid of them.
      Each of the further results fall roughly into the 5% per generated by the d20. 5% for -2. 10% for -1. 20% for no bonus. 30% for +1. 20% for +2. 10% for +3. And while it’s actually closer to 2% to roll an 18 with 4d6(dl), why not allow 5% for that coveted +4?

      Point buy could work the exact same way that it has or you could use a simplified method for that too.
      Start with +0 to each ability and six points to spend.
      Spend one point to raise an ability to +1. (Giving a possibility of +1 to every Stat as a baseline.)
      Spend two points to raise an ability to +2. (Making three plus 2’s and three zeros another baseline.)
      Gain four points by lowering an ability to -1. (-1 is actually pretty bad so it’s worth several increases to other stats) .
      Spend four points to raise an ability to +3. (A big bonus that requires most of your starting points or requires a sacrifice.)
      Gain six points for lowering an ability to -2. (A particularly notable sacrifice)
      Spend seven points to raise an ability to +4. (These should be rare. Only available with at least one sacrifice, and more than one should require a significant sacrifice)
      That’s just a suggestion, further streaming might be helpful.

      The standard array could stay the same, just ignore the dumb 3-18 numbers.

      (Granted there may be some rare times in DnD when the 3-18 numbers were used for calculating lift, jump, encumbrance, etc. The bonuses can be used in similar ways without resorting to those old numbers.)

      I think it’s time to party ways with dumb old mechanics in favor of a smarter future.

      1. One of my favorite Not-D&D d20 based games (Savage Kingdoms) does this – your attributes are -2 to +5 (usually), and everything builds from there.
        Encumbrance at 150 +15*str lbs is an easy tweak.

        It comes down to deciding what to do with the odd stat requirements – multiclass and heavy armor being the most common. Do you round up or down?

  5. Could you please consider Project black flag to be funded by us and be free for all?
    You have an excellent step-by-step system, and I would love it if you put
    -phb book at the first level
    – a dmg with a few mosters for 2nd level
    – a great array of monsters for 3rd
    – a great array of spells for 4rth
    – 2 sets of campaigns for 1st to 20th for 5th
    – double the heritages and lineages for 6th
    – double the classes and subclasses for …

    well you get the meaning. I would love it if you could consider this a job we would hire you to do. You can ask to be very well compensated, we would need you to do a good job. And you could keep the proceeds from hard copies. And give free licenses to vtt’s that give the entire thing free for players/gms.
    But leave the non-printed copyright open to all.

    We really need “our champion” to take the place of the market leader that the founding company is leaving orphaned.

    Make that base true! Make the base for all!

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