Saturday, September 3, 2016

RPG design and open minds

As a warning, today's gonna be a two-fer day. Raining, pouring, etc.

As I said in my last post, I'm working on an OSR thingy. Here's an excerpt from my outline for myself (which may see print if I ever finish the damned thing, although the typoes will be fixed by then, I assure you):

How is this game different from other OSR or retro-clone games?

3. It purposefully avoids detailing traditional Races (such as Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, and Halflings) and traditional Classes (such as Clerics, Fighters, Theives, and Wizards). This is not because I hate them (except for Gnomes, which I’m iffy on) but rather because I feel that with the many, many versions already available on the market I don’t need to cover them.
I'm mostly sticking by what I said about the races although I might make some Eldar/Elric/Hellboy 2-inspired Elves to serve as monsters. But the classes part is something I've started reversing on. When I started brainstorming it seemed like the four iconic classes really were superfluous. But then I changed a mechanic specifically the BAB/THAC0 one (I'm still waffling over which one to use). From there, I began idly wondering how a Fighter would work with my alterations while still feeling like a Fighter. Then there was the Thief/Rogue. Idle brainstorming formed into a pretty solid concept of a master tool-user. The Wizard was sort of already in since I was planning on making an Illusionist based on the original version that appeared in The Strategic Review. But then I stumbled upon the Arcanist, a class from Pathfinder. I hare Pathfinder but like the spellcasting system the Arcanist uses; it's a good medium between pure Vancian (which I'm not a fan of) and purely spontaneous (which has always felt poorly-implemented in a D&D context). Now I'm toying with the idea of splitting the cleric into three classes each dedicated to a specific archetypical theme like healing, necromancy, and fighting/monster-hunting.

The point I'm trying to make is that if and when you start to write something, be willing to go back and revise things when you make a change. Don't think of such revisions as "giving in" or "selling out"; rather, think of them as explorations of other avenues.

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