First off, yes I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I have a new job and a new baby, so no blog posts is simply a reality. I’m not even going to apologize for it.
But, new job means new programming books to read. And new (to me) concepts in programming send my mind a’wandering. And when my mind wanders it almost always leads itself back to table top RPGs.
So here’s another brainstorming post on a lack randomness in games. And no, this one has nothing to do with the diceless game I keep telling myself I’m writing.
I’ve had writer’s block lately. Not for posts here, but for my system. In more game design woes I mentioned a set of combat features I was struggling with. I asked the GiantITP forums, like ya do, and was disappointed with the answer. Long story short the comment I got stuck on was that targeting a limb doesn’t make sense – in real combat you attack whatever you’re presented with. Yeah, you can argue that other systems do called shots. That’s not really what I’m getting at. Point is, I focused on that problem and stopped making progress because I was so focused on that one little sticking point.
Whoa, two posts in the same day! What?! Well, I just posted about wanting to brainstorm game ideas. Here’s a game idea. It shouldn’t be too big of a stretch of the imagination that I had an idea to brainstorm.
Posting about my homebrew game seemed like a good idea a few months ago. Then I stopped working on it and that stopped my posting. Kinda forgot about that.
Anyway, I missed posting here so I’ve come up with a new type of post: brainstorming.
Lt. Aldo Raine: You didn’t say the goddamn rendezvous was in a fuckin’ basement.
Lt. Archie Hicox: I didn’t know.
Lt. Aldo Raine: You said it was in a tavern.
Lt. Archie Hicox: It is a tavern.
Lt. Aldo Raine: Yeah, in a basement. You know, fightin’ in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you’re fightin’ in a basement!
Ok, Inglourious Basterds isn’t really relevant. At all. But that dialog amuses me. Here’s why you should keep your goddamn game out of a fuckin’ hole in the ground.
My main source of gaming remains my custom system. As usual I’m cursed with too many features.
This time most of my ideas are for combat and I’m too attached to cut any of them.
Ok. I was on a roll with new posts talking about my system. I’m still enthusiastic to do so, but the last post was a month ago. I’m not holding out on anyone, there’s been no legit progress on the system since that last post. And yet I’m still enthused. So what happened?
I fell into one of my usual traps. I hit a tangent and spent so much time on it that I ignored the core focus of what I’m doing.
Last time I talked about my system, I looked at some of the challenges in writing up a list of skills. By the time I got to the skills, I was out of steam and it was just a list. I’d like to go back to some of those skills now and talk about some of the things I’m doing with them that I think are interesting. This is mostly a look at some of the special cases I’ve come up with rather than an exhaustive list of all the skills.
This sounds like a dumb question. I really want to insult myself for thinking to ask it. But every so often I’ll make a comment about how RPG characters shouldn’t speak in game rules and I’ll get corrected because of course those characters are familiar with their stats and abilities.
I try really hard to be accepting of other player styles than my own. When I get invited to a game, I don’t try to convert them to my style but I try to find the fun in their style. Even if I don’t enjoy it myself, I try to be aware that there are players who do and I may even try to figure out who those players are.
But I can’t for the life of me figure out who would want to play in a game where the characters know their own stats, levels, and such.
Designing skills really surprised me. Stats were easy. Rules have been easy (although choosing which of those rules are worth keeping is another matter). I figured I’ve played more games than I can keep track of, so I should be able to churn out a skill list with little thought at all. I couldn’t have been more wrong and aside from when I was trying to typeset a character sheet, this has been the hardest part of the process so far.
So why was it so hard to list skills? Before I can answer that, let’s have a look at the requirements the skills had to fill.