A Shred of Clarity After the Whirlwind

Going through the A-Z challenge was an exhausting, but fun experience.  One thing I learned is that I do enjoy writing for other people, but I also learned that I’m really not sure of my ideal focus.  So in moving forward, a couple of things:

3 times a week.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  This is a good schedule to keep.  I don’t have to write something big and grand, but just show what’s been on my mind.  Here are some topics I’d like to cover:

Tabletop RPGs: See below.

Book, video game, comic book, and movie reviews:  Perhaps even less of a review and more of a journal.  I loathe the idea of putting my heart into a writing a post for something that I don’t want to tell everyone about.  It doesn’t just have to be good, it has to stupendous.  Ideally something to tell my great grandchildren about as they giggle by on their hover-bikes.

Scripture: I had no idea how exhilarating it is to write my thoughts on passages of Scripture.  The Word of God is just that much sweeter the more carefully it’s studied.

Probably something else: Obviously.

So as each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday roll by, I will post something in relation to one of the above topics.

During the Challenge I had been visiting the very informative Dungeons & Differentials and what I found encouraging was to see its owner, our good friend RedHobbit, is always trying to tweak and rebuild many of the commonly accepted ideas in games like D&D.  He really just wants to play the game as sees it being fun.  And that’s bloomin’ admirable.  Customization is something that is actually deeply ingrained within the gaming community.  So, in moving forward, I would like to try the same.  In fact, I want to attempt something absolutely wild.  What if I fail?  Then I’ll know it can’t work.  At least then.  But I want to!  I will fling myself to the ground and maybe I will miss!

I want to try to design my own tabletop rpg from the ground up.  This is not meant to be a set of interesting house rules, but a system I call my own.  So here’s a couple of principles and ideas I have in mind:


-This is mine, but my main goal shouldn’t be an attempt to be original.  Even if a mechanic is similar to another or has been ripped off wholesale, it must be included if it helps the balance and fun of the game.

-Lower end fantasy.  Not quite the grime of Conan and just a hair above Lord of the Rings.  There is most certainly magic in the world, but it is far from easily harnessed, utilized, or much less understood.

-Players do not contribute to combat by casting spells or healing their allies through magic.  This is a game for warriors, thieves, archers, and the like.  Spell-casters should only exist in the world as mysterious and powerful NPCs.

-A small race will play a role, if not a significant one.

-None, or perhaps little, power progression of the player’s character.  This is a game that starts out dangerous and ends dangerous.  What gives you an edge in progression is gained through the learning about the world, building contacts, and the gaining of treasure that unlocks new possibilities.  But this edge is only slight.  As I mentioned, the game is dangerous.

-Mechanics should be overall very simple.  Due to the brutal nature of the game, characters can be easily replaced after a gruesome death and encounters are easily rewritten, modified, or built up in a pinch.


I’m interested to see where this might go.  My idea is that I found I work very well when keeping accountable through a community.  So even if I fail, it won’t be because I didn’t try.  Expect an update on this little game…soon.  Maybe not Friday.


2 Responses to “A Shred of Clarity After the Whirlwind”

  1. Alex, Amanda of Drama, Dice and Damsons and I are trying to get up an online RPG and invite your participation. If you’re interested, email me at analog_girl at comcast.net . Right now, we’re at the stage where we’re hashing out the setting. It’d be great if you let us know either way.

  2. Thanks for the shout out. I see we have a very similar design ethos. Mechanics should always strive to be original, but if they can’t you can always improve upon the past. If magic isn’t mysterious then it isn’t really magic, it would however break my player’s hearts if spellcasting was NPC only.

    Limiting player progression was one of the eye-opening ideas from level-less D&D. Player progression can be kept, but it must be limited in order to keep things dangerous. Limiting or outright getting rid of additional Hit Points will certainly do that, while progression could allow them to become better at combat (but not necessarily better at winning those combats). It’s a difficult line to balance but it’s exciting to try.

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