February 23, 2017
This is a…big question. Namely, what role do races play in D&D and how do we do them right? This is especially complicated by the fact that “race” doesn’t mean just heritage in D&D, it’s historically also meant cultural history. As an example, an Orc might have Darkvision in D&D thanks to being born an Orc, but an Elf isn’t genetically or magically gifted with proficiency with Longswords and Long Bows. That’s training. With the Dwarf and Halfling benefits to fighting giants, that was explicitly spelled out – children of those communities gain training in fighting giants.
Since you can’t call a product of training “racial traits”, since there’s no factor of birth there, I think we’ve got to split race in half – Heritage, the people you are born to, and Past, the culture you were raised in. Combined, these are, to borrow from Dragon Age, a character’s Origin. They tell us what kind of Hero the character can become, or at least where they’re coming from.
This also makes it easier to expand races dramatically since we’ve got two small things that combine into a huge number of potential “races”. Now, how do we balance them?
Tagged: DnD, dungeons and dragons, game, game design, game mechanics, games, gaming, role playing, role playing design, role playing game, role playing game design, role playing games, role playing gaming, roleplaying, roleplaying design, roleplaying game, roleplaying game design, roleplaying games, roleplaying gaming, rpg, rpgs, tabletop design, tabletop game, tabletop game design, tabletop games, tabletop gaming, tabletop rpg
February 4, 2017
Yesterday we went over the kind of outline for what I’m thinking the new skill system will look like. Today we’re going to look at it comparing two wildly disparate applications of it in a game setting; a social and legal maneuvering scene and the construction of a sturdy axe.
Our two example characters will be Kirann Wildstalker who is trying to spring his friend from an unjust arrest and Gerta Stromdottar forging an axe for her daughter to take on her first adventure. Kirann is going to be at a lower level, someone relatively new to their adventuring career but has had a few dungeons and a few major scrapes fall beneath his bow. Gerta, on the other hand, has long since retired. She raised her daughters, she taught them how to fight, and now one of them is finally leaving their home on the windswept coasts to make her own name. Both of these characters have simple goals; Kirann is trying to overturn a single legal obstacle and Gerta’s making an item. These same systems can be scaled up to much more complex problems, though, and hopefully can have games built on them by themselves.
Tagged: DnD, dnd rewrite, dungeons and dragons, game, game design, game development, games, gaming, role playing, role playing design, role playing game, role playing game design, role playing games, role playing gaming, roleplaying design, roleplaying game, roleplaying game design, roleplaying games, roleplaying gaming
February 3, 2017
Here we are, part 3 of however many on resolution mechanics and I’m finally going to get into some nuts and bolts ideas I have for improving skills in the rewrite. The first thing we’ve got to look at is exactly how these rolls work. Right now you roll and you just have to hit a number – that’s it, once it’s hit you’re good. Any potential changes are added to the difficulty before the roll, and you can’t adjust your technique if you notice something’s not working.
So, to remind you our analogies are equipment, maneuvering, and abilities. And we’re looking at how to emulate resolution mechanics for skills which represent expending time and energy in crafting something, whether it’s a seductive song, a rousing speech, or a sturdy dagger. This goes for every skill, by the way. They’re all about crafting something if you think of “Craft” as an abstract, analogous concept.
So lets craft a better rule.
Tagged: DnD, dnd rewrite, dungeons and dragons, game, game design, game development, gaming, role playing design, role playing game, role playing game design, role playing games, role playing gaming, roleplaying design, roleplaying game, roleplaying game design, roleplaying games, roleplaying gaming, rpg, RPG design
January 30, 2017
So, last week we talked about Resolution Mechanics and it struck me I made a whole lot of statements using a whole lot of assumptions that I didn’t make clear. This post is about that.
So, first off, why do we need Resolution Mechanics? The short answer is to resolve disputes at the table in a way that’s fair to everyone, but that can be done any number of ways and doesn’t have to involve dice, or even game themeing at all. What Resolution Mechanics are really for is carrying the narrative forward in a way that is both within the game’s narrative style and allows the players a sense of chance and danger without actually upending their momentum.
In short, Resolution Mechanics provide the players the illusion that they lack control in just the right ways to provide an even stronger illusion that they might lose. Ideally, the players aren’t capable of losing due to sheer luck (partially because of dice statistics, partially because of rules) but they’re under constant fear that they could, in theory, lose to sheer luck.
So, what’s our narrative theme, etc, for Dungeons and Dragons?
January 28, 2017
So, we’ve done some of the ground work for our themeing. We’ve got our classes down, we’ve got a basic idea for our construction, and we know what “D&D” is. So, how does the game work?
The environment that D&D takes place in, a tabletop RPG with a focus on storytelling and tactical combat, there are three levels of resolution. Three tiers of granularity in how much we want to simulate the environment. Those three levels are the most simple kind of resolution (like a “strength check” for something coming up but not having a dedicated rule system), the skill resolution (like a “Diplomacy check” for something that has a rules system attached to it but it’s not very granular), and the Combat Resolution System. There’s a huge, wide gulf between type 2 and 3, while there’s barely any difference between type 1 and 2. I feel like we can do better than this.
Tagged: DnD, dnd rewrite, dungeons and dragons, game, game design, games, games design, gaming, role playing, role playing game, role playing game design, role playing games, role playing gaming, roleplaying, roleplaying design, roleplaying game, roleplaying game design, roleplaying games, roleplaying gaming, rpg, RPG design, tabletop game, tabletop game design, tabletop games
January 11, 2017
The recently graduated student of the largest arcane university on the continent heading out to make their mark in their old school robes, staff and sling clutched tight in anticipation. The child who accidentally destroyed their house with a sudden burst of flame from their hands, outcast and seeking redemption. A price paid, an oath sworn, blood spilled, and vengeance sought; she left that home for the last time with his head above the door and her Master smiling from beyond. He never learned how, exactly, it made sense to him but just on the edge of the vision he could see the shapes and structures of sorcery…hopefully, on the road, he can learn more. She didn’t care for the books her father studied, nor for the raw power that her brother seemed to delve in, she instead loved her potions, her scrolls, her wands, her devices. They had never been very good at being clear on anything, and the fact that every time they tried to form a spell in their mind caused some part of them to change as well didn’t help matters at all.
These are all Arcanists. At this point they’re all young, they’re all unpracticed, and they’re all learning the ropes in most of the same ways. While they are diverse, and will diverge soon into their adventuring career, early on all Arcane specialists follow the same path – learning their first Engrams and forming their Arcane identity.
Tagged: DnD, dungeons and dragons, game, game design, gaming, role playing, role playing game, role playing game design, role playing gaming, roleplaying, roleplaying design, roleplaying game, roleplaying game design, roleplaying games, roleplaying gaming, rpg, tabletop design, tabletop game design, tabletop games, tabletop gaming
September 30, 2016
So, I’m going to do a special stream in December for the release of the new Skyrim textures. Part of this is I’m starting a new character, and I’d like everyone who cares about my streaming to help make the decisions on what kind of character to make. So comment here to cast your vote, and pass the link around to get others to vote!
You can vote for any category, and all categories must be filled to some degree. Let me know how you like to play too! This is going to be a wacky game, probably, but not a silly game, so no mods that break the style and theme of Skyrim in general.