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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Fyermind's Avatar

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    Dec 2011

    Default What styles of play should be encouraged?

    I've been playing around with designing an RPG because you know, too much time. I'm trying to figure out what a good RPG has in it. Really, I am looking at the correlations between rules and encouraged play styles. I'd like some experienced minds to weigh in on this.

    What play styles should be encouraged? What play styles should be discouraged? How might the rules and set-up of a game work towards these ends?

    Basic layout of the design idea in spoiler.
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    Four types of things describe characters: Attributes (Physical and mental), Abilities (Direct and synergy), Knowledges, and equipment.

    Physical Attributes: Strength, Agility, Endurance
    Mental Attributes: Awareness, Memory, Quickness

    Direct abilities are in groups called trees. All abilities give you new things you can do. Power creep is kept low, and abilities are fairly specialized in when and how they work. Each tree has a uniting theme such as Plants, Fire, Frenzy, Precision, Stealth, or Healing.

    Having abilities from more than one tree allows synergies. Synergies are like direct abilities, but they do not count against your direct abilities you obtain. They represent using multiple strengths together and produce interesting combination effects.

    Knowledges refer to information and skills a character has. Knowledges have abilities any character can use whether or not that have points invested in the relevant knowledge, but have varying levels of success or failure. Knowledges include things like lying and manipulation, understanding mechanical devices, math, natural history, chemistry, etc.

    A character would select primary and secondary trees and would treat all other trees as tertiary. They would gain new abilities each level but would have caps for how much they could invest in any tertiary or secondary tree, and caps for how deep they could invest in their primary tree. Any direct ability could be used as a prerequisite for only 1 synergy ability. Independently, characters would gain points to invest into their knowledges.

    I have things set up like this because I want all characters to be roughly equivalent in how versatile and powerful they are, but with different specializations and strengths. I want many abilities to be available to anyone but be much easier for people who invest in them (knowledges) and want to encourage "multiclassing" and combinations of diverse skills.

    Do you think that my layout for a system could encourage that?
    I haven't given much thought to equipment yet. How should equipment work? I was considering having magical equipment having prerequisites to be used effectively. Would this help with wealth issues?

    Avatar by Kymme who should really start reading LFG one of these days.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Amechra's Avatar

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    Default Re: What styles of play should be encouraged?

    I've got good news and bad news:

    Bad news: There are no behaviors that are universally "good" to encourage.

    Good news: That lets you sit down and make decisions as to what you see as the important element.

    Sit down, and decide on the following things:

    1. How should people be approaching their problems?

    A game where you are intended to solve most of your problems through combat will, by necessity, have most of the crunch focused towards combat, with just a quick run-through of the other stuff. If you are intended to solve your problems through discussion and heart-to-hearts, you should focus more on social systems, and so on.

    2. What mood are you trying to evoke?

    If you want the game to be, say, a horror game, make the combat more lethal, and make it more difficult to get things done. Put in systems that help simulate fear, or bake them into the base resolution system. If it's supposed to be a heroic dungeon crawlin' game, you should be looking to make combat less gritty, and make treasure important. And so on.

    Basically, pay attention to those two questions and you shouldn't go too far off base.
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    Apparently I've started Let's Playing? Huh. Just finished playing Hero Core, new game soon!

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Fortinbro's Avatar

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    Default Re: What styles of play should be encouraged?

    Here's what I encourage/discourage:

    Encourage:

    1.) I have people tell me their character backstory, goals, personality, flaws, and connections before even being allowed in my games.

    2.) People talking as their characters.

    3.) People sending me story arc ideas to incorporate into the plot.

    4.) People staying focused on the game.

    5.) Battle maps, makes combat much easier to visualize.


    Discourage:

    1.) One dimensional/joke characters

    2.) Characters that are meant to do nothing but emulate another character.

    3.) People that have a laptop in front of them browsing the internet while playing.

    4.) People saying "My character does..." I make them actually say it in character.

    5.) Too many side conversations/people talking over each other.
    "Of course I'm a self-absorbed egomaniac, who wouldn't be if they were as glorious as I?"

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Just to Browse's Avatar

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    Nov 2011

    Default Re: What styles of play should be encouraged?

    Not sure what "play style" means, so...

    Play Styles as Combat Roles: If this is what you mean, then you want to encouraging blocking/harrying and damage-dealing. In fights you need someone to stop people from doing things, and you need someone to stab enemies. All other roles are optional.

    Play Styles as at-the-table Behavior: Players should not be encouraged to hog spotlight, purposefully screw their friends up, or act one-dimensionally. This means no mechanics like "pick a personality trait, gain a free re-roll every time you use that trait" because players can pick "sexist" and insult whoever's playing the girl to get bennies.

    Play Styles as Exploration: The best things to encourage here are info-gathering, drawing up plans, and guessing. This means you need a lot of data for all scenarios, and the GM needs to be both flexible and encouraging.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Banned
     
    Scow2's Avatar

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    Default Re: What styles of play should be encouraged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortinbro View Post
    Here's what I encourage/discourage:

    Encourage:

    1.) I have people tell me their character backstory, goals, personality, flaws, and connections before even being allowed in my games.

    2.) People talking as their characters.

    3.) People sending me story arc ideas to incorporate into the plot.

    4.) People staying focused on the game.

    5.) Battle maps, makes combat much easier to visualize.


    Discourage:

    1.) One dimensional/joke characters

    2.) Characters that are meant to do nothing but emulate another character.

    3.) People that have a laptop in front of them browsing the internet while playing.

    4.) People saying "My character does..." I make them actually say it in character.

    5.) Too many side conversations/people talking over each other.
    These break down REALLY fast the moment someone decides to play a character who:
    a) Doesn't share their character's voice.
    b.) Doesn't share their character's speech pattern.
    c.) Doesn't share their character's social ability.

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