Monday, April 23, 2007

You Didn't See It Coming

Something Rather Unexpected

You are absolutely insane to be reading this if you do it without being told, or coming across this place by chance. For the latter group, mosey on down the page and have a look at when the last post went up here. Yeah, we're prolific, we are.

We were supposed to have a little something posted here outlining the “feel” we hoped to capture with the setting and gameplay of our RPG, but I believe that homework decided to intervene and delay the author greatly (If you're reading it, know that there's no need to apologize, it happens to all of us).

I should at least TRY to relate this to the RPG itself...might make sense to do in a post on the blog which is dedicated to said RPG. I think I will talk about what promises to be a difficult hurdle in the design process: how to level up an organization, any organization under tens, if not hundreds of suns, skies or atmosphereless space, etc., etc -- Using the same rules for each.

Perhaps the most tempting option is to break with that last condition, and use “classes” of a sort to categorize organizations by their purpose and size qualifiers. A small law firm would read as (Small, Profit-Oriented, Legal/Administrative), or something. “Small” would mean that the company would generally focus on a limited team of high-performance lawyers. “Leveling up” would grant that small group more skill points. In contrast, a larger organization might hire more aides, more lawyers, and increase their earnings by taking on more and more low-level cases, where the smaller firm would build up their reputation in a bid to attract high-profile customers. Where this solution runs into trouble is that it is needlessly complicated to make up two or three different sorts of dice rolls to do the same thing (ie. Win a court case, in the interests of continuing my example). We've been considering the use of % dice rolls for all combat/interactions which present a significant challenge. If this is so, making large and small corporations feel different in terms of success rolls becomes essentially impossible. How do you make number ranges of roughly even probability feel different, short of making one a better shot than another?

I think the best solution may be the one I tentatively settled upon with...I believe it was Ian...some time ago. Instead of either adding personnel or increasing the training of existing members in the game, you would simply “level up” parts of your corporation, known as “divisions” (to be explained in a moment). You get a better chance on your rolls, and that is that. The size vs. Training question is purely roleplaying at this point. The Player declares their choice (which can be vetoed if it is implausible) to do either, and it simply affects how much a division can accomplish (ie. The large law firm will have an entire brigade to deal with, say, traffic violations. The smaller firm would have a single lawyer and secretary, who could handle fewer cases at a time)

Divisions are an invention of my own. Instead of giving organizations abilities, I said, have them establish new divisions which can then perform these tasks. When an organization levels up, it can choose to add a (more?) new division(s?). This may or may not draw from the same pool of leveling points as does increasing the size or skill of an existing division. “Division” can refer to any number of people, from one to a thousand, depending on the nature of the Organization of which it is a component. “Divisions” vs. Abilities makes no real dice roll difference, although I think it will make for better roleplaying (internal power struggles, etc.).

This is mostly right out of my head, so if something doesn't make sense, I will explain it. As a designer, I am liable to speak as if you already know some of the terminology, I expect. I apologize in advance for any confusion.


Saturday, December 2, 2006

And Loud said "Let There Be Blog!"

At last, we have a blog.

As it has fallen to me, CheeseLikeSubstance, to devirginize the blog, I will kick it off with some basic background.

This blog is to discuss the as-yet-unnamed-RPG that Loud, myself, and a third party who is currently sans nickname have been working on recently. The game is still in extremely pre-alpha stage. So what we're going to be doing is posting design session results (Tuesday, January 12. Today we argued about dice some more), pose questions for you all to answer (Wednesday, February 4: Can you tell us how to use dice?) and possibly occasionally ranting about politics and our personal lives (Monday, July 5: Girls are weird. I hate the Conservative party. Still no answer on the dice question.) That last will hopefully be confined to interesting or relevant subjects, but the more space we have for ranting on, the better, right?

Quiet, you.

Anyways, so you all know where we're coming from, this is what we have so far.

The RPG is based in a futuristic setting, perhaps a thousand years ahead of our time. The planet Earth has become mostly uninhabitable due to pollution, and so the human race has taken to the stars. There, we have discovered that iinhabitable planets are immensely difficult to find, and so we have taken to terraforming planets in order to provide us with habitable space. Unfortunately, terraforming is a long, difficult process, which makes planets extremely dangerous and unpleasant while it is gonig on. To make matters worse, there is nowhere near enough space for the teeming billions of humans in the systems under our control.

Factions have formed in order to try to control the available planets. The further along a planet is in the terraforming process, and the more habitable it was originally, the more valuable the planet is. Territory wars are common, and the biggest market in the universe is land.

In our never-ending expansion, humanity has run into several alien races living on the fringes of our territory. They are, for the most part, considerably less technologically advanced than we are, although some races are also pushing outwards and expanding. The weaker races are being destroyed by the stronger in a desperate attempt to find room and resources for their enormous populations.

The really interesting thing about our design, though, is that players will control not only characters, but entire organizations. Eventually, we want to have rules to support everything from the enormous, immensely powerful empires that rule the galaxy to tiny groups of settlers, struggling to survive on a hostile world. Corporations, armies, intelligence agencies, pirate fleets, any group you want, you can control. Players will also take the part of a few key characters within these organizations, or even just a few characters they feel like playing.

This game is going to take a lot of effort, both to create and to play, but I think it could well be worth it.

I grow weary of writing at present, but the next post will describe the mechanics we have designed so far. Hope you all like the concept, and will be willing to and have fun participating in the process of bringing it to fruition.

~ Cheese