Well okay. That's not entirely honest. I mean, I AM making a game, but it's a bit misleading. This is a video game site after all (and I do adore video games) but I'm actually making a new pen and paper RPG. Seeing a front page article on Dtoid about D&D today made me smile. And since I am burned out on video game blogs for the moment mostly because I'm working on articles for another website plus just finishing the first 3000 words or so of my new game, I thought I'd be selfish. Be selfish, and talk about me. Because I'm a guy, you know?
Getting back into pen and paper games has been a lot of fun. It's actually inspired me to play video games, too. Anyone here played Tales of Middle Earth? It's a roguelike where you start out in Bree, with the eventual goal of attacking Angband, the dungeon fortress in Mordor built by the dark lord Melkor. Not that I know anything about Tolkien's work because only lame nerd dorks like Tolkien. Oops, I accidentally dropped my elvish caligraphy I was working on, let me just pick that up *fatty grunt* and I'll stuff that right in my pocket there *puts in front of pants*.
Yeah, that feels good. Right there.
One thing I learned is that other people out there are like me. In other words, trapped in the agonizing prison of their own existential failure and the realization that the stygian abyss of doom is all that awaits them upon the moment of their terrifying, inevitable cosmic doom. I'm an optimist after all though and I try to see the silver lining on the amorphous Shoggoth of impending demise, and that is that adults, OTHER ADULTS LIKE ME, still really like roleplaying. Like, a lot, like too much. Because I went to Sentry Box the other day, apparently the biggest tabletop gaming store in the world (if it isn't, it's one of them. It's fucking massive.) and while pawing through old issues of Dragon magazine to see if I could find any with covers by Clyde Caldwell, the Lord God Emperor of Drawing Hot Moms With Eighties Hair In Chainmail, at least two other people were perusing the section with me. We didn't talk or look at eachother or breath around eachother in all of our awkward introversion, but it was nice to know another bloated corpuscle of a human existed in my vicinity who ALSO had his ass crack sticking out, and was similarly interested in pretending to be anything BUT an out of work plumber with acne from slaving over a hot fryer until one in the morning. It's the little things, right?
So I got home, sweaty paws ruining the integrity of magazines with no perceivable value to anyone but the clinically, bat shit insane, and sat down to read articles more outdated and old than my old, dead grandma. I also found out Nick Fury wasn't always black, or bald, or cool. Because sometimes you learn things when flipping through mildew rotted cheese smelling pages of a magazine that instantly codified you as a virgin back in the eighties no matter HOW many shampoo bottles you stuck your schlanger into.
I realized that for as much as I like the old Dungeons and Dragons, it has problems. Primarily the problem of no one wanting to play it because it doesn't make any sense to anybody but Gary Gygax. Who it also didn't actually make sense to, because even he said "fuck this shit" when dealing with his own rules for initiative, grappling, and basically everything fucking else in the game. I also came to the conclusion that the other adults, like me, who love roleplaying games, also like me, don't have a lot of time generally. So a lot of people online and even in person do "one shot" encounters, where they sit down for a single evening of shame and embaressment with friends and sometimes basking the warm glow of someones shaky too bright webcam instead of weeks and months of shame and embarresment, because really, who wants that kind of committment in their lives anyways? It's hard enough having a dog. Or a wife. Or kids. Screaming, nagging, yelling, prodding. I wish I was dead is what I'm trying to say.
These things take time, though. You could crush someones skull with the hardcovers of the new 5th edition books. And it can be a real pain in the keister to roll up new characters when you know by the end of the night they are going to go out in a blaze of glory against that orc boss, whose name probably has less vowels than an Ikea catalogue only to roll a 1 and have the DM state "You failed the roll so badly that your carpel tunnel acts up. It interrupts the swing of your sword and instead of hitting Grlklklkgrrk, an atom bomb drops on the Barrow Hills and kills everyone in your party plus that small inquisitive drunk dog who has been following you and making quips all night involving obscure pre-2000's Doctor Who references." I want something simpler, so I'm making it.
Does anyone remember Hero Quest? And how awesome it was?
Okay, good night folks!
How about Heroscape?
Both games were, unsurprisingly, about heroes. But more importantly, they were distilled versions of the games that inspired them, Hero Quest being a simple version of D&D, and Heroscape being a simpler Warhammer or some other war based tabletop tactical combat game that no one cares about. Either way, they were both classic, kick ass fun. And for combat, they simplified EVERYTHING by using six sided dice. Dice with symbols on them. Because symbols of swords and shields and skulls are way awesomer than boring ass NUMBERS I MEAN WHO LIKES MATH YOU BUNCH OF GODDAMN NERDS.
My game uses only six sided dice to eliminate the fun of using Polyhedral dice or Zocchi dice, or shapeless dice from other dimensions whose gelatinous form slips through the cracks of the table and makes it impossible to ever determine who rolled what, or what you are doing with your life, or why taxes are killing us all slowly. Keep it simple, you stupid crybaby idiot, that's my motto. KISYSCITMM. Could probably shorten that acronym. But combat is handled in a way similar to the games I just mentioned. Your attack power is a number representing how many dice you can roll. A four, five, or six is a "hit", and equals one HP of damage. The defender has an Armore rating, which determines how many defense dice they can roll (STILL WITH ME?) On a five, or a six, the roll is successful. For each defense die they successfully roll, one successful attack die is negated. Simple, good fun.
There are four base stats, four classes, ten or so spells or abilities players can choose two of when rolling a character, and the best part of all? The Glory Hole mechanic.
I mean Glory Points.
Glory Points are the rank ups of Call of Duty, but in an RPG. Now this is all preliminary, but hear me out, and yes there will be holes. So many fuckable holes.
Whenever something cool happens, players will gain Glory Points. A "roulette" will also be "spun" at the "end" "of" "an" "e"n"c"o"u"n"t"e"r" to determine who a free point is dished out too. Think the stars of Mario Party, if you will; some are handed out for good play, others because why in the fuck not? And these points can be used to level your character, essentially. Because the game is meant for literally a single evening of play, a sense of progression comes from the acquisition of these points. And they are versatile. They allow players to reroll dice during attacks or skill checks, allow them to heal after encounters, they can be traded in for new spells or abilities or to raise stats or HP, and can even be used to reroll intiative, the determining factor in WHO GOES FIRST in a combat.
And that's where I'm at. It's a lot of fun and a lot of work to sit down and make a game from scratch. There have been so many factors I've had to consider, so many things you take for granted when playing a developed system. My ideal conclusion to this is that I finish the game, playtest, realize it is ACTUALLY GOOD, and then distribute it as a free PDF and a print book at just above cost. It's the sort of game I would have loved when I was a kid; a mix between the board gamey goodness of Hero Quest while still offering an experience versatile enough for engaging roleplay. All you need is pizza and farts, and you have a complete evening.
I'll keep you all updated. Because everyone cares about me all the time. At least that's what my psychologist says before he sneers and chuckles into his elbow.