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.