And now for something totally different

In answer to your question, Merrilee, nothing at all! As in how much writing did I get done. Although after todays experience I think I’m ready to leap back onto the AP wagon and get me writing again.

So what did I do today?

Well, as well as being a writer, programmer, and avid game player, I’m also a roleplayer as well. Although it’s not something I’ve been able to indulge in the last few years. Just no one else to do it with.

As a for of collaborative storytelling, and plotting, it’s a great piece of fun. Otherwise, it’s just an easy way for grown ups to play cops and robbers, with some rules thrown in. Or as my partner calls it; cowboys and indians. Which actually does sum it all up rather well.

You all know well enough I go off on my programming tangents. Well RPG system design is another tangent I sometimes wander off on. It makes up the two halves of roleplaying; system and story. Story is (excuse me) another story entirely, the careful skill of plotting, planning, pacing, and reading your audience.

System design is a matter of putting randomness into the story, while giving players the ability to control their own destinies through informed character statting. The system has to fit the story and the style of the game. Do you go for a forgiving system, or hard and fast, or deep and complex? All the considerations.

Mostly, people don’t do this bit. They go with the tried and true. Sensible lads.

Well, as I started my new document to do the story planning part of a typical game, I ended up getting distracted by a system. So 40 minutes later or so, I had a system, all freshly pressed.

So what’s the trouble?

A little reading later I discover that I have essentially designed a system that already exists. It just uses different names. That’s the risk you see. There really are only a handful of RPG systems. It usually ends up in you reinventing the wheel. You just call is something different, and it’s a different color.

Tomorrow I should probably go back to writing …


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