The challenge: The term is role play, not role play. As can be deduced, then, a large part of what makes these types of games different from others is that the players are assuming the roles of others. In an RPG, each player has a character that they play. Although a large part of character design resides in statistics (the character’s ability to solve challenges in the game world), the very name of the game genre indicates that the details of the character are at least as important. Thus, we have the second challenge in creating a balanced RPG: the challenge of character details.

That is, to get the most out of any RPG, players need to know who his characters are as much as what they can do. Physical appearance. Personality. Story. Nature. These are all aspects of the character that the player can choose to help make their character more real.

But there’s more than that. What happens when the character uses his abilities? Do you wield paired swords in a complex series of kata? Does it work on forgotten spells you took from moldy tomes? Do you use incredibly advanced alien technology?

Detail also plays a role in statistics. How great is the strength of the warrior, the knowledge of the magician, the insight of the cleric, or the wisdom of the rogue? What about the will of the alien, the elements of the robot or the precision of the pilot? How much can the barbarian lift? How far can the psychic teleport? How many soldiers make up the warlord’s army?

An RPG that focuses only on stats and combat skills is leaving out much of what it means to be an RPG. Some might say that these things should be up to the player. Well yes, as much as a player should be able to decide their abilities and powers. However, this does not mean that the player has free rein on every little detail. These things can matters in the gaming world. The designer, then, must take them into account and establish a firm basis of rules for them.

The risk: Careless work on details can lead to significant delays during gameplay as players try to figure out exactly what their characters can do. Sometimes it is important, even critically important, to know if your character can scale a certain wall, discover a bit of history, or teleport a certain distance. If the game referee has to handle all these questions with ad hoc rulings, he will create an inconsistent world, which will weaken the game.

However, it is also important not to put too much a lot of in its various rules. This leads to complicated references for every action a character may need and can also cause conflicting rules. Also, you want to avoid situations where it takes a long time to build each character. Some players may like to spend hours thinking about every little skill and ability their characters possess. Others do not.

The solution: At QoTR, I found that the best way to do this was with a rule base that can be easily applied to any situation and that fits in with the main authoring process. I didn’t want to add extra steps to character creation unless they could be, in a sense, optional. The result is a broad-based system that can adapt to a variety of situations, but is generally based on the same basic rules for each, as with the rules of engagement. It also opens up a number of possibilities for future supplements.

I use three main systems to classify details. For most of the truly diverse details, there is a simple rule: describe your character however you like, as long as it reflects your stats. Just because a player describes his character in a certain way does not mean that the character gains any advantage (or suffers penalties, in fact). So if a player makes a very muscular thirty foot tall giant with a great sword, for example, he had better select some offensive skills.

For most non-combat actions, I use an attribute system. Each preference (a group of related skills) has two attributes linked, which the player can activate in character creation. Character attributes determine how effectively he handles non-combat challenges. This system allows for precise details of the characters, but does not require the player to spend more time on the attributes if they do not want to, as it can leave them tied to their nominal abilities.

However, most role-playing games offer more than just imaginative attributes and details. Special powers like flight, telepathy, and water breathing are common in many genres of role-playing games. QoTR uses a special skill group system very similar to (and tied to) preferences, with a skill point system to customize if the player does not want to use the default selection. These abilities are broad-based, like much of the QoTR system, so players can modify or adapt them to any type of character or gender.

Non-combat actions are an important part of RPGs, and no RPG is truly complete unless players can describe their characters. Any RPG designer would do well to focus intensely on this part of the game design process. The best tactic I have found is to design a system detailed enough to cover any situation, yet simple enough not to bog down the game.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *