Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Icehouse RPG

  • FromBrian Campbell <lambda@xxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 6 Mar 2007 11:46:15 -0500
My recommendation would be to not try to make it a generic RPG system. There are plenty of decent (depending on your preferences) generic systems already (D20, GURPS, Storyteller, Fudge/FATE, Rifts, etc), and generic systems tend to be a somewhat poor fit for most games, which then need to be customized for the particular game you want to play (which is why there are so many extra source books doing just that, and you still have to carry around the extra rules baggage of the generic system that you don't need).

I've found that most of the interesting work in designing game systems has been in the parts that are specific to the game in question. Getting rules that adequately capture the feel of a particular genre, setting, or theme is much more interesting than a universal set of character creation, action resolution, and combat system rules. For instance, In Nomine has rules that specifically tie into the angelic/demonic, such as using 3d6 (not added up, so people usually refer to it as d666) for all resolution and having a roll of 666 cause a demonic intervention (and, by symmetry, 111 be angelic intervention). Or, Ars Magica has a system that's well tailored to simulating magic, and magical research, and so on. Yes, these sorts of things could be fitted on top of a generic system, but the fit wouldn't be quite right; there would be a bit too much generic baggage that wasn't applicable to the game in question, and not quite as many opportunities to have situations unique to the game you're playing.

For example, in what you have so far, you have a whole variety of different movement abilities. This is great if you want a heavily combat-driven miniatures style roleplaying game, but most games that I like to play have combat much more abstracted, with things like "I circle around and shoot him with my energy beam" being a simple check of speed and aim (or even just a check of Warfare), not a detailed analysis of terrain types and abilities.

So, I'd recommend avoid trying to make it universal, and instead try to create a specific game, with a specific idea of what you're trying to do. Maybe something based on pyramids? Or just a combat-heavy sci- fi game? Simulate something like Jedi light-sabre duels? I dunno, but I think it would be much more interesting to have a game that's tailored specifically to the Icehouse pieces and the system that you're designing, than a generic one.

Anyhow, just my 2¢. I hope to see what your game looks like when it's more fleshed out!

On Mar 5, 2007, at 12:24 PM, David Artman wrote:

So, after a thought provoking bar conversation and an inspiring
 thread on The Forge, I have begun the open development of the


SO far, it is merely the skeleton of a generic role-playing system
 and, frankly, it's not all that "chunky" yet. But perhaps it does
 not need to be?

Give it a look, make some suggestions for stack abilities (on the
 Talk page, please!), and give it a whirl at your next table-top
 gaming night.

Thanks for your attention;

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