Sunday, September 6, 2009

A new stage of development as a designer

I've talked to a Sacramento gaming buddy about this at some length.
I haven't RPed since my player, V, went back to Spain. It was a little demoralizing, frankly. After a lot of thought, I've decided that the Thing To Do is to play more games, get a better sense of what's out there, what I can learn, and THEN maybe (more like "probably", to be fair) climb back into the design saddle again.

I'm still amazed that Baron Munchausen, which appears to be "just storytelling" and lacking any tactical or detail-obsessive elements, actually is a very funky sort of tactical game (realllly stretching the term to its limit) and is, in fact, an explicitly competitive enterprise. Fascinating, captain.

I plan to try out The Questing Beast soon, though I admit I'm skeptical. Anthropomorphic Arthurian fantasy sounds pretty awesome, don't get me wrong; I'm just suffering from Real Game Psychosis, that disease that convinces you that new or different approaches to RPGs aren't "real games", especially if those games are "rules-lite" (in the conventional definition of such, i.e. short books). What makes me a little wonky from reading through TQB is that while the character-writing exercise is intensely, definitively thematic, the mechanics that you use to interact with your character's history (and the Motif points you derive from it) are so free and open as to be a little confusing.

Maybe it's because you get to focus on whatever aspect of Arthurian sagas you like; maybe it's that the setting is not the focus of the rules, but merely a gently attached situation to explore that could be replaced, if you like. Arguably, using the same mechanics, but dropping the bunny knights and the jackal Saxons, would make things feel totally different. The author points out that your character is your vessel through which you explore themes that you've decided on; the point of having a farmer-badger instead of a regular human is that it establishes the character more firmly as a symbol or a mask, instead of a "[pawn] on a board" as the rulebook tells it.

Everybody likes playing furries acting out a verison of King Arthur; we'll see how it goes. Zen is about direct experience, because theorizing is only a tiny fraction of living. So, we'll see ^_^

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