Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Discarding Assumptions

I've decided to go with a die pool mechanic for the basis of the system (which my gaming crew has dubbed Shadowitz). I don't know if I ever seriously considered anything else. Single die systems (such as Dungeons and Dragons) have plenty to recommend them, but I don't think I've ever liked them as much as die pools. There's something that feels much more appropriate about die pools for Shadowrun than a single die, and since this is a game I'm designing for my friends and me, going with a feeling is a perfectly fine reason to do something.

Okay, so it's a die pool system. Well, the traditional die pool system typically takes an attribute, combines it with a skill, and then has you roll that many dice. But that goes against one of the rules I laid out for myself: keep the pool small. If I'm combining two different numbers to get my pool and I still want a small pool (say 10 dice or less), then either the skill or the attribute, or both, need such low caps that I'll lose granularity.

I'd heard that small press and indie games often flout traditional game design, so I started looking around to see what was out there that was outside of the traditional mold to give me some ideas.

Among the things I found were:
  • No attributes
  • No skills
  • No experience
  • Player defined attributes/skills
Call me sheltered, but having taken a gander at how differently some systems do things, I suddenly have whole new vistas to explore. Much like the setting and mechanics analysis, I'm thinking of starting with the essentials and building up from there. This means there won't necessarily be attributes, or skills, or anything. There's got to be something, but just because most games have used these things since the 70s doesn't mean that they have to be in this game.

1 comment:

  1. With the caveat that I am still largely unfamiliar with die pools, I think the overall effort to simplify the system involved for determining skills/experience/outcomes is a bonus. Players could focus more on the story and interacting with the other people at the table if they have less that they need to monitor. Sounds like you're moving in a cool direction!