Thursday, March 15, 2012

Breaking the Rules of Game Design ... because I wanna

There's a couple of in-jokes around making RPGs. The first is, don't make a Fantasy RPG. Why? Because you're going to have to deal with the Juggernaut that is D&D (or as other people might put it, Pathfinder). Well, broke that rule with Critical! because I think Critical! does something the other two don't, which is be funny.

I've got my Indie Beef Games going, which I just think are a fun thing to name a series of games, so why do I want to think of a new game that I want to do?

Inspiration, perhaps. Maybe a fit of self destruction, which is ironic considering the game. I don't know. But I now want to break unofficial rule number two of making RPGs. I'm going to make a Vampire RPG.

Why? I think I kind of reached an epiphany about why I'm not a huge fan of the WW series of games. There's some great writing in it, some really good idea but I think the idea kinda gets lost in there somewhere. You pick up the books, and you get this great feeling that you're going to be dealing with the fact that you're playing people who are dealing with this monster within them and trying to latch on to some semblance of humanity before they're consumed by the animal within them.

I love that idea, I really do.

Then you get the list of cool powers that you can do, and look at all the invisible, super strength, jumping, flying, mind control, yippee awesome powers you get. Okay, it's written in a more sedate manner than that, but that's kinda what stick with me when I read those book. "Here is our thesis ... look at our shiny toys!" and it becomes about big power players, and large gigantic arcs, and city spanning plots!

This is cool. As I get older I start to understand what people like in games rather than just hating the game because I don't get something out of it. My problem is that ... I really like that thesis. I just don't like the path they took.

So I want to make a Vampire game. A Monster game really, you can be a werewolf, or a ghost, or a whatever but it's going to be something not human. It's now, and you're not running about looking at people like they're some kind of treat, or obstacle but as something you're striving to be. The biggest problem is you, you are your own worst enemy and the more you push towards the other side the more you're going to mess up your own life.

It isn't a beast that you become, but a broken down shell of a thing. It's not the horror of the destroyer, but the horror of nothingness.

Now, I don't have a die mechanic, I really don't have how things are set up yet but what I really want to do is this.

You have a Wyrd. A good a working title as any. If you're a Vampire it might be, "I will eventually kill and eat those that love me." If you're a Ghost it could be, "I push people away, for their own good." I werewolf might have, "I can't stay, I just can't."

Everytime you use a supernatural ability, you get closer to having your Wyrd take effect. Once you cross that threshold, you have a moment in the game where you deal with the effects of that. To whatever detail you want to use, but you will kill someone who loves you, you will push someone away, you'll leave and go somewhere else because you *have* to.

That is what I think would make for a fun Vampire game.

I'll keep you posted, but apparently I just decided that my working title is going to be Worst Enemies. Very working title.


evil scientist said...

I like the Wyrd-idea, it's basically how Humanity should have worked in VtM; then it got reduced merely to a moral scale, that's not reflecting the superntural element.

How are you planning to have more than one character (Monter Mash!) in a game?

Jonathan said...

That I don't know. I'm debating a couple of options. One might be the whole Ars Magicka thing where you each have a monster, and then another character that you play that's a human that's caught up in their lives. You can have just one other human know a lot of monsters, because when you start seeing one you start seeing more.

I might have it be that there are many monsters, but there's none of this "vampires hate werewolves hate ghosts hate zombies hate that thing hate etc." thing going on. I think it might be a case that they're all just trying to survive in a world that's mostly forgotten about them.

JeffStormer said...

I would consider watching the BBC show "Being Human" if you're looking for ways of pairing multiple monsters together. Even keeping the Werewolf/vampire/such-and-such/so-on feuds (which I consider pretty disposable, but a lot of people like, so more power to them), it provides a realistic framework for how different people with these afflictions may have become friends.

Plus, it's a really good show.

Jonathan said...

Not going to lie, we've been eye balling it at the rental place around the corner. I've heard it's a really good show.

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