Friday, March 2, 2018

RPG Design for Fun and... well, not profit, obviously...

I design tabletop role-playing games as a hobby. I tinker with existing systems, or I design from the ground up. My systems rarely see playtest because I rarely finish them to the point that playing them would be fun.

My preference for RPGs is in the Rules-Medium to Rules-Heavy area. I like systems like d20 derivatives, GURPS, and Hero/Champions. I shy away from rules-light and freeform games because I like structure. I like knowing that there are procedures and tables that will tell me how to handle things. I like going through large rulebooks, slowly digesting every nook and cranny of a system. I like character sheets that have a lot of information on them and that lend themselves to being spreadsheets.

I also gravitate to systems that lend themselves well to custom settings. This is why I seldom play - or even read - Storyteller games. Coming up with the setting or exploring a setting someone I know has created is part of the fun for me. Being able to read a bunch of splatbooks about a setting just doesn't interest me that much. I sometimes mine them for ideas, and I occasionally like the creativity of the settings, but I'm just not into using them. I'm never going to be a big White Wolf guy for this reason (I'm also not a big fan of the system, but that's another thing completely).

This explanation of my tastes in tabletop role-playing games should help outline the kinds of games I like to create. Unfortunately, rules-heavy games require a lot of work to put together. Setting-agnostic rules make the work a little easier, but also a bit more tedious. It's fascinating working with all the crunchy bits of a system, and designing it is rewarding, but it's also a bit like writing stereo instructions.

I'm not really going anywhere with this post, so I'm going to wrap it up. I'm supposed to work on game design today in an effort to get me away from Criminal Minds. I'll let my loyal reader know how that goes for me.