Posted by : David Guyll August 21, 2014

So...this one was kind of thought-provoking.

I'm not the kind of person that gets much attached to nostalgia. I know there are people that at least claim to still play the original Super Mario Bros. and OD&D, and though I own "old school" games like Mega Man III and Sonic the Hedgehog, I haven't invested a meaningful amount of time in them since I was a child (and honestly the only reason I replayed them was because I was way out in the country, roughly an hour or so from my friends).

I played Basic D&D until I got 2nd Edition, 2nd until 3rd came out, and 3rd until 4th came out. The only time I even "looked back" was when I tried running a 3rd Edition campaign during my department's lunch break, and that's only because I really, really wanted to finish Age of Worms without having to put a lot of work into converting it (it lasted all of one day before no one wanted to deal with it anymore).

Frankly the last few games that I played to completion more than once was Mass Effect 2 (and that was only because I heard that you could port your save game into Mass Effect 3, which would have been fucking awesome if the game were any good) and I think God of War III. I dunno, I played God of War: Ascension and it all starts to bleed together after a while. Beyond that I might rarely fire something up periodically, play it for about half an hour, and then just turn it off. I know I've tried several times in the past few years to actually beat Legend of Zelda: I end up getting past the first few dungeons before I just stop caring.

This is one of the reasons I don't give two shits about playing 5th Edition (and don't care about Forgotten Realms, or pseudo-Vancian magic, Hit Dice, and other antiquated traditional/classic/whatever rules): I've already played that version of D&D, and to me the "soul" of D&D or whatever isn't any of those things. Also, tastes change: right now I am enjoying cycling through Dungeon World and FATE, with a hankering to get back to Dungeons & Dragons proper and even Gamma World (watching Adventure Time is so not helping).

So, I guess I don't have a concrete answer to the question. The best I can do is to say that in 20 years I'll still be playing fantasy role-playing games (and board games) in some form or other (might be tabletop, might be digital), or at least role-playing games that can have a fantasy setting. I've been doing that for 20 years easily enough, and given that I switch things up quite a bit I see no reason why that would change. I can also say with a fair degree of certainty is that in 20 years I doubt I'll have a "need" to play any of the games I do now.

After all, no game has yet has withstood that test of time: in 20 years I'm sure someone will cobble together something even better.

Hell, that's one of my plans.

{ 13 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. So, why I see 4E PHB on the cover? ;)

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    1. @Oleg: I needed (or at least wanted) a pic to fill in the space, it's a game that I still enjoy (right now, anywho), AND it's related to my future plans. :-3

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  2. I haven't thought about this in a while. If you asked me back in college, I'd say "I could still be playing our homebrew system in 20 years."

    I still could see that, but the better answer now is "whatever my spouse is editing or I'm writing." So homebrew's a definite option, but I wouldn't be surprised to be playing whatever the OGL standard bearer is either.

    Cheers!
    Kinak

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    1. A homebrew system you say? Anything you can divulge about that?

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    2. This is quite a while ago, but it was a largely skill-focused system (skills providing a baseline level of success, rolling attributes to try and add a few successes).

      The magic was handled through Paths, which were basically whatever schools of magical thought existed in the setting. Those were arranged in tiers a bit like levels, providing alternate skill uses or other magic abilities you could tap into.

      Combat was quite harsh, using a wound system with "realistic" healing times. Wounds and armor were location-based, but nothing as granular as Warhammer or Rolemaster.

      The other designers leaned more towards a finer-grained wound system and point-buy Paths, but there isn't a ton I'd actually change. I'd want to clean up the presentation and make the Paths more strongly thematic, that's about it.

      Cheers!
      Kinak

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    3. I'd considered going a skill route with 4Ward, or maybe mashing a die from a stat and a die from a skill together instead of a straight d20 + modifier. So, if your Strength is a d8 and your Melee is a d8, you roll 2d8 and compare that against a target number.

      At the least I am scrapping stats that translate into modifiers (so, instead of a Strength of 12 giving you a +1, you'll just have STR +1).

      Your magic system sounds similar to what I'm doing: wizards choose from a few schools of magic that they are novices at, and as you level up you can become more competent in that school (ie, getting new tiers), which caps how much Willpower you can funnel into it to create a magical effect.

      My "gritty"-ish system was having Vitality and Wounds: Vitality returns after a short rest, but wounds require rest. If you get dropped to 0 wounds, you get a persistent injury that takes a few days or more to recover from.

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    4. I feel like rolling multiple dice and adding moves works well, but it gets pretty far from 4e. I'm not sure how far you want to diverge, but that'll feel very different in play.

      I'm actually really curious how well it would work to just add the whole attribute score to d20 rolls. The math gets into double-digits, which is a stumbling block, but the characters who are supposed to be way better at stuff are actually significantly better.

      The real trick there is just not adding a bunch of other modifiers, but I'd say that's the real trick anytime you're not having a computer do the math for you :)

      On the magic system, ours was actually for everyone. The philosophies that actually threw fire and so forth were more flashy, but others just had static bonuses for the stuff they trained in or even out-of-combat rituals. It was a very, very different game from D&D, though.

      Vitality and Wounds, ironically, are a really great solution for the people who hate martial healing. I always liked the idea of surprise attacks and the like going to wounds directly, because it's not like you can dodge... mostly because it makes assassinations work again.

      Cheers!
      Kinak

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    5. I was actually working on an exercise a few weeks ago, trying to salvage hit dice.

      I ended up with something much like wounds/vitality, where your hit dice represented your parries and dodges. You could roll them against attacks, reducing the damage by however much you rolled, but you could only roll each die once per battle.

      Any extra went into your actual hit points, a static pool equal to Con.

      It seemed like it could actually be fairly fun, but it's never gotten past the exercise stage, so your mileage may vary :)

      Cheers!
      Kinak

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    6. @Kinak: Getting far from 4E is fine, so long as the end result is BETTER.

      I could see magic abilities, like divinations, just giving minor bonuses to things like finding stuff, avoiding getting ambushed, etc.

      Precisely! Vitality can be recovered by "warlord shouts", but not wounds. And stuff like poison only works if you damage their wound pool.

      Yeah, I'm not too interested in Hit Dice. I feel it's antiquated and only has a place in older editions and games specifically trying to model older editions: I frankly don't see a benefit to having them.

      The problem is that, if I remove stat scores and just use mods, I had to give classes their own Wound pool (fighters get 10, for example) to account for that.

      With Fright Night on Kickstarter and Sundered World close behind, I am thinking of doing SW for FATE, or just make SW it's own, stand-alone RPG...

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    7. I'd normally set wounds equal to Con score (or maybe Con score + level) and vitality equal to class number * level. So it wouldn't actually give me any problems on the wounds front, could you elaborate on that?

      Choosing a system for things is always hard. They almost always work best with a new custom-built system, but the lower barrier to entry is a huge selling point.

      My best advice on that, though, is to do what excites you. Keeping up the energy to work on stuff can be hard enough, no reason to make it a slog.

      Cheers!
      Kinak

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  3. Well I want to drop stats entirely, which would mean that I can't do Con score for Wounds (which would also be my default). Since I want Con to be a factor, I suppose I could just go with 10 + Con as a baseline. I mean, it's not exactly the same but maybe close enough.

    As for Vitality, I was going to basically do it the same way: your class determines that (since the general thought is more fighty classes are better at not getting hit), and each time you take a talent it determines how much Vitality you get: like, fighter talents net you 5, while wizard ones are only worth 2.

    I agree about doing what excites you. I'm enjoying this a lot more than writing adventures for systems that I used to just put up with "because".

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    1. Ah, right, I was off in my own little world where stats still existed. If you wanted to fake it out, 10 + (2 * Con Mod) is effectively the same thing.

      That said, the better direction might actually be having Con be a minor factor in Wounds (or even not a factor at all). Maybe have it be a number for your race, plus your Con modifier. It's tradition that Con plays a big role in that, but I feel like it makes way more sense on the vitality side than actually soaking trauma.

      One tricky part with Vitality/Wounds is that, at higher levels damage grows and it gets increasingly easy to blow past the Wounds and straight into dead. You probably want it to grow or just give people a ton of wounds right off the bat. If you're using tiers, that might be a good place to do that.

      Yeah, writing for stuff you put up with is the worst. Both from an enjoyment and a quality perspective.

      Cheers!
      Kinak

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    2. I'm a huge fan of having race and class provide talents to choose from, and was fully going to give "tough" classes and races options for adding more Wounds.

      Con at this point would be a way to resist poisons and harmful transformations. Maybe even determine how many wounds you recover (Con value per day?).

      Vitality would scale, but monster's really wouldn't: a dragon deals an amount of damage based on it's size, not level. I think part of playtesting will help figure out what's the best base number of wounds (and it could be scalable based on how hard you want the game to be).

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