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Diamond Throne (Arcana Evolved) Announced for Cypher System

Aldarc

Legend
Monte Cook's setting The Diamond Throne is being licensed for an update using the Cypher System. It will be published by Here Be Dragon Games instead of Monte Cook Games. The Kickstarter is in a few weeks: August 18.
Some years ago, a new fantasy setting was written and developed by Monte Cook, one of the main authors and game designers of the 3rd Edition of D&D. It was a whole new world powered by the most popular rules but with great differences from previous settings. The world was that of the Diamond Throne, and Cook’s beloved first fantasy campaign setting was Arcana Unearthed. Strange new people walk the land, small faen live in quiet hamlets and seafarers giants ruled upon the people after a war against the dragons; animals awaken intelligence beyond their natural kin and humans transcend their natural behavior to reach new physical and mental status. All of them live in a world changed by their own people in the ancient history, trying to build a new future discovering new lands, delving into the past memories of those who lived before, living in harmony with the nature, or defending themselves from the threats that lie beyond their peaceful livings.

Full Announcement HERE

Diamond Throne was probably one of my favorite settings during my earlier days of TTRPGs when I mostly played d20-derived games in the 00s. This was also one of the settings where Mike Mearls got a major boost as he wrote several of the supplements for this setting. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and Earthsea were both listed as major influenced on the setting. Oaths, rituals, ceremonies, runes, akashic memory, and truenames were all important concepts for the setting. The classes were also neat, as Monte Cook designed more around playstyles and broad archetypes. For example, Monte Cook designed the Akashic as the skill/proficiency monkey, the Warmain for those who liked heavily-armored fighters, the Unfettered for those who like light-armor fighters, the Spellblade for gish-lovers, the Magister for those who like spell-mastery, the Greenbond for those who like healing, etc.

So I am curious how Here Be Dragons Games will translate the concepts and world of Arcana Evolved to the Cypher System.

UPDATE: The Kickstarter for Diamond Throne for the Cypher System launched.
 
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Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
After Ptolus, I was hoping for a 5e Arcana Unearthed/Evolved. I'm not sure if this increases or reduces the chances for that.
Likewise! I've no problem with a Cypher System version being developed, but I hope they also do a 5E version . . . especially since MCG has already converted Numenera, the genesis of the Cypher System, to 5E!
 

Aldarc

Legend
Likewise! I've no problem with a Cypher System version being developed, but I hope they also do a 5E version . . . especially since MCG has already converted Numenera, the genesis of the Cypher System, to 5E!
As much as I like MCG products, I was incredibly underwhelmed by their 5e conversion, because the "conversion" just lazily dumped the pre-existing 5e classes of D&D into the Ninth World. No alternate class features, spells, sub-classes, or anything. A lot of the flavor of the setting was also rooted in the types and foci as well as the more limited set of powers available.

After Ptolus, I was hoping for a 5e Arcana Unearthed/Evolved. I'm not sure if this increases or reduces the chances for that.
Same, but I also like the Cypher System and I happy about this conversion because it means that this setting will see new life. I hope that the Here Be Dragons conversion shows attentive care to translating it to the Cypher System.
 

The classes were also neat, as Monte Cook designed more around playstyles and broad archetypes. For example, Monte Cook designed the Akashic as the skill/proficiency monkey, the Warmain for those who liked heavily-armored fighters, the Unfettered for those who like light-armor fighters, the Spellblade for gish-lovers, the Magister for those who like spell-mastery, the Greenbond for those who like healing, etc.

This was honestly the best thing about Diamond Throne. The setting was quite neat, and the art and so on were good, but the classes were brilliant. And yes, as you say, this was the result of them being designed based on how people actually want to play, what they actually like in a class, rather than pre-defined notions of what a class "should" be (according to who? as they say in Wikipedia), which is how most games, including 5E's actual release (playtest was more daring) tend to approach classes.

I'm actually somewhat surprised we haven't seen more class-based games (including video games) approach class design this way - i.e. looking at the archetypes and playstyles players have in their minds, at what they're looking for, at what really excites them. Though when I think about it, an awful lot of PtbA classes do lean towards this - and indeed, the PtbA games which don't do this are the ones I've liked a lot less, where instead a narrow concept comes first, and strictly limits everything (unfortunately that includes most of the modern-supernatural/urban fantasy PtbA games).

I'm a bit disappointed here because I have little interest in the Cypher system (I genuinely don't like it, based on Numenera - I get the concept, but I don't think it's well implemented on several levels, though again I am going on Numenera here), and it won't reflect that cool "player idea/playstyle first" bit of design Arcana Unearthed had, because it takes the opposite approach (with generic classes). Whereas a 5E version of AU/DT could be fantastic, if designed right and made tight rules-wise.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
This has me super excited. The original had some great design, but I loved the setting. If D&D is Tolkien +sword and Sorcery thrown in then serial numbers filed off - Diamond throne was the for the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant :Unfettered, the use of Main like in warmain, Giants, and a class that is basically the Bloodguard, even calling the place "the land". I am also a recent convert to Cypher/Numenera - and it is currently my #1 system - I prefer universal/generic approaches (as my other games I play right now are HERO and Genesys) and the rules themselves fit our preferences amazingly well.

This is the best news I've had this month.
 

DeviousQuail

Explorer
There are a lot of settings that I never got to experience because I wasn't gaming during the 3e, 3.5, and majority of 4e years. Getting to play those settings now in 5e and Cypher (the two systems I game in 99% of the time) is great because there's no way I could convince my group to try the older dnd editions.
 

DMMike

Guide of Modos
I'm a bit disappointed here because I have little interest in the Cypher system (I genuinely don't like it, based on Numenera - I get the concept, but I don't think it's well implemented on several levels, though again I am going on Numenera here), and it won't reflect that cool "player idea/playstyle first" bit of design Arcana Unearthed had, because it takes the opposite approach (with generic classes). Whereas a 5E version of AU/DT could be fantastic, if designed right and made tight rules-wise.
The reason Diamond Throne tickles my fancy is exactly because it uses Cypher - I can expect a distinctly non-d20-1 feel from the game: setting and rules.

Now if I could just find additional promotional art...
 

Von Ether

Adventurer
As much as I like MCG products, I was incredibly underwhelmed by their 5e conversion, because the "conversion" just lazily dumped the pre-existing 5e classes of D&D into the Ninth World. No alternate class features, spells, sub-classes, or anything. A lot of the flavor of the setting was also rooted in the types and foci as well as the more limited set of powers available.

I'd call it less lazy and more cynical.

I got the vibe from the start that AotA and Beneath was were aimed at either GMs that were looking to cherry pick what they could to add bizarreness to their D&D game,tables that were inclined to just "visit" Numenera than stay there, or to help sooth Forever GMs stuck with stubborn players get whiny when they can't play their D&D Rangers week after week.

Heck, I wrote a Cypher supplement just for GMs serving that last crowd and it's my best selling product.

But especially with Beneath being a stretch goal, I get the vibe that project was to serve the vast majority of D&D players that just want cool monsters and cool places their barbarian can wreck.
 

Aldarc

Legend
This was honestly the best thing about Diamond Throne. The setting was quite neat, and the art and so on were good, but the classes were brilliant. And yes, as you say, this was the result of them being designed based on how people actually want to play, what they actually like in a class, rather than pre-defined notions of what a class "should" be (according to who? as they say in Wikipedia), which is how most games, including 5E's actual release (playtest was more daring) tend to approach classes.

I'm actually somewhat surprised we haven't seen more class-based games (including video games) approach class design this way - i.e. looking at the archetypes and playstyles players have in their minds, at what they're looking for, at what really excites them. Though when I think about it, an awful lot of PtbA classes do lean towards this - and indeed, the PtbA games which don't do this are the ones I've liked a lot less, where instead a narrow concept comes first, and strictly limits everything (unfortunately that includes most of the modern-supernatural/urban fantasy PtbA games).
Agreed, and the robust spell system remains one of my favorites as that also allowed a tremendous amount of customization both between and within character classes.

I'm a bit disappointed here because I have little interest in the Cypher system (I genuinely don't like it, based on Numenera - I get the concept, but I don't think it's well implemented on several levels, though again I am going on Numenera here), and it won't reflect that cool "player idea/playstyle first" bit of design Arcana Unearthed had, because it takes the opposite approach (with generic classes). Whereas a 5E version of AU/DT could be fantastic, if designed right and made tight rules-wise.
I suspect that a lot of that flavor will not come from the classes but from the foci: e.g., Bonds with the Green, Masters Defense, Swears an Oath, Delves the Collective Memory, Harnesses Runes of Power, etc.

Though I do think that the Cypher System can work for Diamond Throne, I am somewhat afraid of what may become lost in translation. However, some things like minor rune manifests, rites, ceremonies, etc. may actually work better as cyphers in the system.
 



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