Playing with the format of an RPG is rather fun. Once I put all the stats in place the actual format / presentation / challenge of the game is something that can be tweaked quite merrily.
The original format of the game as defined by my simple dozen word design document was something along the lines of “journey between locations encountering situations en route.” These situations naturally required gamer intervention and I’d send out an alert – email or SMS – to have the player step in and sort the mess out. e.g. Your party are being attacked by Orcs ! Click here to jump in to the fight and command your party.
The theory was that a background process would periodically process the game based on the data that it had and produce a scenario which I would then have to deal with. Which was great and ultimately quite a lot of fun since each scenario would then be relayed back to me as a kind of mini-story. I enjoyed it but felt that the fire-fighting element of it was in some way lacking. So I put my thinking cap on again.
I retained the idea of a background process (for now) and shifted all the emphasis away from breaking up the journey between waypoints to become more of a “here you go, I’ll configure the party now off you go and I’ll see you at the next quest location”.
So what happened was I reduced the amount of player interaction quite drastically to the point where I simply had one pop at empowering and configuring my party. The rest was up to them.
Here’s a rough idea of what may be presented:
Your party have arrived in the small harbour town of Katryl.
Party stats: GOLD (20,890)
Ranger HP 275 Mana 70 STR 14 INT 14 Armour 80(150) LVL 21
Warrior HP 292 Mana 40 STR 19 INT 12 Armour 140(190) LVL 20
Mage HP 200 Mana 220 STR 12 INT 18 Armour 74(130) LVL 18
Paladin HP 230 Mana 186 STR 15 INT 17 Armour 125(180) LVL 22
Rogue HP 244 Mana 84 STR 16 INT 15 Armour 130(175) LVL 21
Rogue Dagger STR 12 INT 12 DAM: 8 – 12
Short Sword STR 16 INT 14 DAM: 10 – 16
Simple Cloak STR 10 INT 18 ARM: +19
Knight’s Helm STR 14 INT 12 ARM: +60
++ Log ++
Combat: Swamps outside Katryl.
Raptor (4), Bog Slime (3)
Ranger: EXP +2,500
Warrior: EXP +1,890
Mage: EXP +850
Paladin: EXP +2,000
Rogue: EXP +1,950
I deliberately kept the stats on each character to a minimum. As you can see what I intend to do here is provide the player with an interface to divide up the loot. I only list 4 items, in reality this list could be several dozens. The upshot is that the player may well be spending a good half hour configuring his party before he sends them off again.
So each location now becomes a safe haven. Previously I had intended to place the party in to any number of location types – hostile, safe, mysterious.. – but I now rather like the idea that when I’m involved the party are free from combat and their next foray in to the wilds of my fantasy world will be a success or otherwise based on how I prepare them.
This of course brings up the ugly question of how to handle death. Well I’ve given this much thought and continue to give it much thought. I figure as long as there’s a healer in the party there’s a chance of revival. If the healer gets hit then the party is pretty much going to fall apart. So the enforced tactic of protecting the healer comes to the fore.
There’s a fair bit to think about but I think the idea is fairly sound just now.
Telling a story / relaying the log is a fun part and something I will expand upon in due course.