Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No, Really...Simpler IS Better

I'm nearly finished with the revisions needed after last week's play-test session. Is it all right to say, wow...I really like where this is going? SO much easier!

For example, I'm really liking the new skill "system." Yes, yes, I included a selection of skills in my game (total of seven), even though I've railed against "skill systems" in the past...this ain't your father's skill system. For example, in the revised rules, skills just work. If you have a skill like "paramedic" you can perform first aid, if you have "demolitions" you can set and disarm bombs...no "skill roll" needed. Nice and neat.

I know that part of old school D&D's charm is the "comedy of errors" that can ensue from low-level character's incompetence...but isn't that why WotC ended up creating scaling "difficulty levels" for their elaborate skill system? Isn't that why most low-level thieves came to rely on their tactical flanking/backstabbing ability (the only thief "skill" that works automatically)?

I still find plenty of humor in the game, even without throwing in low-level incompetence. I mean, you can't NOT find humor with the guys I've got play-testing the thing (Bobby Peru...sheesh!). We'll see how it works this Thursday.

We'll also see how the magic system works...that's been the bulk of revisions so far (getting rid of "endurance points" has led to the re-working and re-writing of the entire magic chapter...only a couple pages left). However, as with skills, the new system is much less bulky and cumbersome. Now magic is tied directly to hit points (caster's get tired/damaged from channeling mana through their bodies)...which is SO much simpler. And tying everything tightly to willpower (as opposed to charisma) have given magicians a much cooler feeling...I don't know WHAT I was thinking earlier with my "jolly old sorcerers!"

Progress continues...hopefully I'll have the chance to work on the NPCs chapter some more today (and I need to finish the damn vehicle rules! I know AB's gonna' want to hose some folks with that gunship of his...). Later, gators!


  1. I'm glad to see things ironed themselves out.


  2. I think that's why feats are so evocative. You choose a new ability that just works. Each feat should give you a new interesting choice, a new way to interact with the game, not just a bonus. I feel the same way about magic items. A Ring of Protection often just disappears into the numbers on your character sheet, but a Wand of Fire or a Carpet of Flying are tools that change how you look at problems.

  3. So it sounds like your magic system is becoming much like The Fantasy Trip. How much is that the case?

  4. Sounds like you're on a roll. I like it when the pieces all start to come together.

  5. @Mike: Since I am completely unfamiliar with TFT, I have no idea!

  6. I love it! It's cool to see when the same ideas/solutions are developed independently. Dragon Warriors was one of those moments for me.
    In TFT your magic is based on IQ sometimes DEX. You typically had to roll to get the spell off correctly against one of these. Casting a spell, however, also sapped your strength (ST). As ST was also your HP casting weakened you. I always like this idea; basically spell points with teeth.