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Drifter Developer Update

by Andreas Walters on May 03, 2020

Hey Drifters!

So originally wanted to record a video for this update, but it doesn’t seem like I have the proper setup to do videos justice. So we’re going with text instead. It’s been about two months since our last update, but I realize that many people have been waiting to check out the game until its done, so I’ll outline some of the major changes that have been made/added to the game, as well as some of our other points-of-order to keep this ship sailing.

Backerkit Credit Cards not charged: As COVID19 spread across the world, it didn’t feel appropriate to charge backers at the time. I have pushed back the collection date, probably to June or July, we’ll see as the world-reopens and people’s lives become more stable. (note: if you paid via Paypal, those funds have already been collected).

Production Schedule Delayed: Mostly as a result of COVID19, schedules, and availability of contributors has varied quite a bit. Fortunately, from the game-dev side of things we’ve been making good progress, and I appreciate the slow stream of feedback we’ve been getting over the past few months to help make the game even better.

As of current, I’m projecting that we’ll have the final version of the Basic Rules around, 7/2020, with the completion of the core book done 10/2020. Add printing to that, and we’re probably looking at rewards delivery and public release around Q1 2021.

Development Progress

Last Thursday, I sat down with Alx (creator of the HLD video game), to go over the current state of the project, show off the mechanics, and get clearance on the setting material we’ve developed so far. He was impressed with what we had shown him and gave us the green light to continue our development direction.


So since our last update, we talked about moving forward to our landscape layout starting in v4.0/4.1. Since then, we’ve implemented Corruption, Woe, Base Building, Downtime, Advanced Options, as well as improving ability balancing, Adversity Levels, removing ability scores form the early game, and more. *Whew*…I think that’s everything.


So I’ll do a little explanation of each if you haven’t been watching the updates.  (also, at the start of each version, there’s a patch notes section where you can review the updates.)


This is our way of representing the drifters’ sickness, as you explore, fight, stay, or interact with things/creatures/places that are corrupted you may take on a corruption point. This is measured in a ~13 point meter and is intended to be a very slow gain. When you max out on Corruption, you plan out/write a eulogy for your character and plan their final moments.  Only some discoveries can remove points of corruption. Also, you can gain corruption by stopping yourself from Not Dying (not today). It works as a natural way to pace campaigns and bring campaigns/characters to a close.


I like to explain this using Darkest Dungeons sanity mechanic, as it’s very similar. Failing social encounters, facing fears, accumulating bad luck, and being in stressful situations are all ways to gain Woe. When you fill-up on Woe, you make a Tested roll. The result of this roll determines whether you take on a boon or a burden, you get to pick the one you think best fits.  Burdens prevent you from using a specific skills and increase your threshold to get a Fortune result for that discipline (for other skills). These Burdens can usually be resolved during self-care downtime activities, so if you acquire one out on an adventure, you’ll have to manage it until you can take some time to remove it. For Boons, you have a buff that you can activate that grants you (and sometimes your allies) a buff depending on the boon.


Now resting at a fire and or taking some time off at a sanctuary is a bit more structured. The narrator will tell you how many ‘slots’ you get, and the players can spend their slots on whatever activities they see fit, from resting/healing, self-care, and training, crafting items/upgrades, base building, and more. If you want to spend more time doing downtime activities, you can, but the narrator can add the additional slots as increased difficulty elsewhere in the coming adventure.


One of our newest sections, leveraging the downtime mechanics. This will include setting up your own base of operations and upgrading existing sanctuaries. We plan on having some buffs applied to some of the buildings, but its still pretty early.

Adversity Levels

This was clarified a bit more, we had it written where enemy abilities had damage, which made no sense to why we implemented Adversity Levels in the first place. So now, Adversity Levels range from 1-5. Each level can deal health damage equal to it’s level, but there are other effects that can be swapped in instead (like knocking down, stunning, woe damage (3), corruption point (5), to summoning allies). So now a Dirk is a level 2 enemy, which deals 2 hp damage. If you get a Temperance Result, they deal Adv-1, which would mean they deal 1 damage.  (and nothing can be reduced below 1 adversity level).

What’s in Development?

The map is the coolest thing that’s being worked on right now. It’s not ready to show off yet, but when it is, I’ll def share it. Also, we’ve got a big change coming down the pipe for abilities, we’re going to create 4-5 ability slots, and let you put abilities into those slots. As you advance, you can buy/unlock more space,  as well as use a downtime activity to swap out abilities. And finally, we’ve got some changes coming for weapons (esp wield machines, dual wield and two-handed weapon balancing).

Please keep that feedback coming, and if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them.

Stay well my drifters,



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