C7D20 – Cubicle 7’s 5e Variant: An Interview With Emmet Byrne

After the OGL crisis, several companies announced original systems to replace Dungeons & Dragons’ Fifth Edition engine including Kobold Press’ Project Black Flag and Cubicle 7 Games’ C7d20. After talking with Elaine Lithgow, Producer on their 5e and C7d20 compatible Broken Weave, I was able to speak with Emmet Byrne, Creative Direction about their new system, their Kickstarter guarantee, and what’s coming up next for the system.

C7d20_Announcement.jpg

EGG: You have a guarantee on the campaign page for Broken Weave: “Integrity and the trust of our fans is important to us. If for some reason we can not fulfil this Kickstarter, all backers will receive a full refund or 150% store credit on the Cubicle 7 website.” Was this gesture made in case the OGL crisis had gone a different way than it did or just C7’s standard policy?
EMMET BYRNE (EMMET)
: This is standard policy for us when it comes to Kickstarter. We had the same guarantee when we launched Uncharted Journeys back in September of last year. Backing a Kickstarter can be a big monetary investment so we want to make sure that if, for some reason, we can’t fulfil the Kickstarter, that folks can either get their money back or can pick up one of our other games from our store.

EGG: While Broken Weave is a 5e project, it’s also for Cubicle 7’s first project that uses your 5e compatible C7d20 system. What can you share about C7d20? What are you keeping from 5e?
EMMET
: The C7d20 system is built on the work we've done with 5e since we launched Adventures in Middle-earth back in 2016. With every 5e project we try to add more to the system, focusing on under-explored elements of 5e and introducing new mechanics that layer onto what is there without breaking the core features of the 5th edition ruleset. We've done this with the lifepath and Haven rules in Broken Weave, the journey rules in Uncharted Journeys, the non-violent conflict rules in Doctors and Daleks, and the investigation rules in our upcoming Victoriana for 5e. C7d20 is a chance for us to bring all of the new systems we've created for 5e into one single book. It gives us a chance to offer players a complete rule set so that all folks need to play is that corebook and nothing else. It’s important to us that C7d20 is compatible with other 5e products. We are using the 5e rules as a jumping off point, so C7d20 will keep many of the same basic rules and elements — classes, how to make an attack roll, that sort of thing. However, we know there are some parts of 5e that cause a lot of friction at the table — combat being the biggest one. Our team has years of experience working on 5e and many other systems, and we’ve learned a lot in that time. We will be using all of that expertise and design knowledge, and drawing on the best elements from our other games, to make C7d20 the ultimate fantasy tabletop roleplaying experience.

EGG: As the individual in-charge of Creative Direction, what aspects of 5e will C7d20 improve upon?
EMMET
: As I’ve mentioned, we’ve always strived to support some of the lesser utilised pillars of play in 5e, such as exploration, investigation, and giving players a real place in the world. With C7d20, we want to create a game that allows for all aspects of fantasy roleplaying, not just combat. We are creating tools and systems that will allow players to easily play all manner of games — you can already see some of this in Broken Weave and Doctors and Daleks. These games facilitate a very different style of play, and that’s something vital to us when designing C7d20. Saying that, we know a lot of people (myself included!) love going out and slaying monsters. With C7d20 we want to make sure that combat is fun, exciting, engaging, and fast paced. Anyone who has played our Soulbound game knows how satisfying and punchy combat in that game can be. We want to bring some of that to C7d20.

EGG: Is C7d20 going to be an open licensed product? Will it be part of ORC or its own thing?
EMMET
: Honestly, we’re not sure right now. The landscape is still in a bit of flux. We believe in creative, social gaming, and squabbling over legal issues takes us away from what we love to do — making and playing games! All I can say is we’re talking to other companies about what we’ll do next as a wider gaming community.

EGG: Are you planning a separate core rulebook, or rulebooks like a DMG and Player’s, for C7d20?
EMMET
: The plan is for C7d20 to launch as a standalone corebook. You won’t need anything else to play it. However, we have lots of other books in the works we haven’t announced with, and we expect C7d20 to launch with two if not three supplements that expand on the systems in the corebook. As well as that, Broken Weave and Uncharted Journeys will both be fully compatible with C7d20, as will Victoriana when it launches towards the end of the year.

EGG: Thanks for talking with me. If fans want to find out more about Broken Weave and C7D20, where can they go?
EMMET
: You can check out the Broken Weave Kickstarter here, which has already blown past a tonne of stretch goals. We also have a lot of behind the scenes dev diaries on our blog here. And if you want to stay up to date with news about Broken Weave and C7d20, the best thing to do is follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

EGG: To see more of their C7d20 system, check out Broken Weave from Cubicle 7 Games on Kickstarter.

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

Sounds great but I'm an easy mark. Tinker DMs will be able to draw the best from all these 5e variant/optional rules by all these 5e compatible source books to build their very best version of D&D for their table. Man I wish I was younger when I had so much free time to do that.
 

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SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
The other thing to say: commit to VTT support, especially Foundry. That makes the difference for me at the moment since I'm not gaming in person.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Okay, I see how a rules module can be brand new, especially if it's an expansion of rules instead of a modification.

But as a "fully 5e compatible" game, I'm expecting a few things from C7d20:
  • characters with six attributes: STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, and CHA.
  • these characters will have a hit die that provides max hit points at each level.
  • there will be Attack Rolls and Armor Classes, and probably a Proficiency Bonus.
  • characters will belong to Classes that help to determine hit dice, proficiency bonus, and class powers.
  • there will be skills that add Proficiency to Ability Checks, some called Saving Throws.
  • tedious combat.
  • Feats, Advantage, Attunement, Beholders, Chaotic Neutral, Long Rests...
I have trouble calling a game including those elements a "brand new system," given how old they are (about ten years), and how old their predecessors are (40-50 years, now?).
Okay.

"tedious combat"? Heh, why are you even worried about 5E compatibility if you find the game tedious?

Most of what you list, C7 has already stated being part of their version of 5E. Perhaps they may shift around a few things, like Kobold renaming "feats" into "talents", but the core engine will be the same.
 

Weiley31

Legend
I confess I'm a little confused (and irritated) about how Victoriana 5e seems to have been near-completely-sidelined in C7s release schedule. It was announced a LONG time ago now, and the original release date was planned to be late last year - before any of the OGL stuff blew up and before C7d20 was even a thing. But now it seems to be way on the backburner behind Broken Weaves etc, and there's been zero announcements or discussion as to what's going on. In fact, I'm actually glad to read it mentioned here, because that's damn near the only recent evidence that's it's not a dead project.
I'd rather have it pushed a bit backish and covered later than completely cancelled due to all the OGL fiasco. Which was something I was hella worried had happened. But I'm glad to get a confirmation that it's still coming.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
After thinking about it, I think I'm going to grab this core book and just get Uncharted Journeys in digital format for the expanded tables to go with the journeys rules. (I don't have the shelf space for both books.) But I'm really looking forward to this as a book of alternate systems, even if I don't end up using much player-facing stuff (which remains to be seen).
 

pukunui

Legend
After thinking about it, I think I'm going to grab this core book and just get Uncharted Journeys in digital format for the expanded tables to go with the journeys rules. (I don't have the shelf space for both books.) But I'm really looking forward to this as a book of alternate systems, even if I don't end up using much player-facing stuff (which remains to be seen).
I backed Uncharted Journeys at the pdf only level. It’s so great that I added a physical copy to my Broken Weave pledge. (I also like that Broken Weave will have its own journey tables and such.)
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I backed Uncharted Journeys at the pdf only level. It’s so great that I added a physical copy to my Broken Weave pledge. (I also like that Broken Weave will have its own journey tables and such.)
Yeah, if I end up using it a lot, it's entirely possible I'll want the hard copy. I have two big journeys coming up, but neither is in the near future.
 


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