Posts Tagged ‘roleplaying’

Uncontrollable Mutation

July 1, 2010

I’m a big fan of the basic idea of super-powers in one form or another — it can make a great play mechanic in a lot of settings, and provides a lot of interesting opportunities. I’ve made several uses of White Wolf’s Aberrant RPG for these types of games (the original d10 version, not the d20 edition they printed later), and with a few modifications (and an entirely new setting) it works really, really well. But there’s one thing in the base Aberrant setting/system I’ve always really liked that I’ve never had the opportunity to properly explore: eruptions.

For the uninitiated, Aberrant is a X-Men style super-hero setting, where some humans have experienced a miraculous mutation that gives them their powers. The initial onset of the mutation is a violent presentation of those abilities, normally preceded by a week of migraines and then triggered by a stressful event, called an eruption. It a very cool basic idea, which suggests that the character’s powers are normally selected based on their personality, and the nature of those events. (more…)


BBR Project: Better World 1

May 20, 2009
The world!

The world!

It’s been a while since I’ve written on the Build a Better RPG project, but it has not been forgotten. Last time we talked about combat — beyond that, however, the second most major element in most RPGs is the world.  It’s tied in to the story, usually (though often only trivially) and acts as a backdrop to allow various types of characters and enemies to appear.

In a great majority of RPGs, the world exists on exactly two scales; a virtually barren world map, and then (somewhat) detailed cities. This is the result of the usual mimicry of the earliest genre entries, and it’s one a lot of people think are still vital today. The reason for the split is pretty clear — in the World map, there are three elements; locations you can enter, obstacles, and encounters. The world is a fairly empty place, however, usually consisting of a dozen cities around the globe with a few more dungeons or other dangerous locales. (more…)

BBR Project: Better Combat 1

April 16, 2009

Combat in Chrono Trigger

Combat will almost always be a part of RPGs, console or otherwise. In Pen & Paper games, combat is often the most complexly ruled affair, and indeed, this is what was most clearly adopted in the early days of console RPGs. I enjoy combat in my games, but I find that it’s overused and often boring — let’s try not to be that.

So, one of the first things we should be considering when it comes to building a better RPG is combat. Without combat, we won’t intrigue the major RPG audience. Without good combat, we won’t show them that there’s something better, or intrigue people from other genres.

The main reason why I want to explore combat first, though, is because it is the primary reason for disappointment in RPGs. They make you spend a lot of time doing it, but it’s normally not all that fun; thus, fixing this is a good step forward for the BBR Project. (more…)

Story Telling Problems in a Traditional RPG

April 15, 2009

I thought I’d break away from video games for a little bit and talk some more about RPGs, but the traditional kinds. This is something that’s been on my mind a fair bit lately, as my local gaming group recently finished the last campaign I ran for them, and I’m working on a new one, as well as a new RPG system to run it on.

But the system mechanics aren’t what I’m interested in today. As someone who runs more games than he plays in, I thought I’d talk about some storytelling issues and problems I’ve encountered. (more…)

Let’s talk about RPGs

March 27, 2009

Role playing games are an interesting animal. They got a very clearly recorded history and a strong impact on gaming today, though there’s really two basic kinds of RPGs out there now — traditional, pen and paper games, and computer/console RPGs. Despite notable similarities, they’re functionally very different.

First, similarities. Both kinds of games generally use a series a statistics to determine the abilities of the characters. RPGs usually place a heavy emphasis on story, often of a sprawling epic saga of some sort. RPGs usually employ a turn based system to resolve combat, and often lack any other kind of major conflict governed by the game’s rules.

That’s about as specific as I can get. RPGs are a broad genre. But the major species have substantial differences; let’s talk about them any why. (more…)