I felt pretty crappy today. Physically. Tired, head cold, and something I’ve eaten has really upset my stomach. In fact, the whole family has been pretty crappy this weekend, which is just a really horrible way to spend a weekend. However, it did mean I had an excuse to sit in the recliner and just read. A short time ago I spotted a novel I am less than half-way through, and in hindsight should have ploughed through it, but my day wasn’t a total loss. I read through large chunks of seven roleplaying games:
- Hot War
- Strands of Fat
- Solar System
- Wheel of Fate
- Star Wars (WEG / d6)
- Cyberpunk 2020
- Twilight: 2000
Hot War and Solar System are stand-outs for me and if you are not familiar with them you really should check them out. I love the way character agendas are built into the evocative setting of Hot War, and Solar System (and Shadow of Yesterday) just blows my mind in terms of potential. Keys and secrets are awesome. Strands of Fate, and Fate in general is something I have a real love-hate relationship with. I love aspects, I think they are brilliant, but I really hate how most iterations of the game deals with them. I am actually of the opinion that more precise aspects (as opposed to “evocative” sentences, catch-phrases and statements) are far easier to adjudicate and use. Well, at least, the example aspects I often see I personally think are quite confusing without context and / or explanation. The real thing I struggle with, though, is the “Fate fractal”. Taking the awesomeness of aspects and then applying it to everything – people, places, damage, equipment, organisations, vehicles – just kind of takes away their specialness, IMHO. Now, I totally understand why and how it works, and totally agree that it makes sense, and that is undoubtedly my problem – I know it makes sense to use the “fractal”, but just don’t like it! I guess that makes it my problem! I am, however, still looking forward to the upcoming Fate Core (and Atomic Robo, which is based on it). From what I have seen so far, it looks like a real, nice, clean iteration of the Fate rules.
I am prepping for NaGa DeMon next month, and was refreshing what other games do, comparing single-die / die pool / fudge dice game systems, and generally getting my brain to ponder “stuff”. I have it in my head that I will take another run at Verge (though that isn’t set in stone, so don’t get too excited), and am really struggling in terms of where I am going with it, rules wise. My desire for what I want from the rules is actually clashing with what I have been playing and reading most, and therefore where my head is “at”. I have been heavily focused on rules “light”, story driven, mostly one-shot or short term play indie games. I am really keen on dice-pool mechanics, and have played a lot of games where the dice rolls inform the narrative (i.e. roll the dice, see what they tell you, narrate the action accordingly – Dungeon World does this, as does my own FU).
I want the Verge rules to be fairly mechanically crunchy, though not to the depth of something like D&D or Twilight: 2000. I am considering margin-of-success, but struggling with how “easy” or desirable the adding and subtracting of modifiers is. I guess my real stumbling block is letting go, though. I have (deep in my head) an idea for action resolution that I think is cool, but is at logger-heads with all the other stuff banging around in my brain. I think it’s time for me to have a stiff drink and go back to my source material.