Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] Re: Icehouse RPG

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 06 Mar 2007 11:33:42 -0700
> ...from Brian Campbell...
> My recommendation would be to not try to make it a generic
> RPG system.

Well, that's easier to say than to do. System development is easier than
setting development, and MUCH easier than a tuned system for a setting.
Am I lazy? Well, not really, no.

Actually, I am rather adept with generic system design--I have been
working on one for boffer LARPs for about three years, now. Perhaps
that's apples and oranges, because there's not the "glut" of generic
LARP systems out there like tabletops. But I haven't seen a lot of
tabletop systems for Icehouse pieces, either. So if folks want to play
d20 or Hero (GURPS isn't strictly generic OR universal, actually),
nothing I design for pyramids will draw them away from that.

So anyway, I am sticking with generic for now. Only if I somehow get
inspired to make a setting-specific game (maybe by pondering
"pyramidness") will I shift it away from the skeleton of conflict
resolution with a universal system. Plus, I am letting color inspire
and inform my ability choices--as such, I might not be able to have
color inform some other element, if I move to a highly setting-specific
system; I will have already chosen what seems "appropriate" or "logical"
for a given color.

(And, as I mentioned in another post, if I say "it's a supers game!" I
can automagically make nearly any other genre out of it; Champions
proved that.)

> 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...

Well, yeah, if all you consider is the initial four or five abilities I
had time to type into the table, as "seeds" for brainstorming then,
yeah, you'd assume (wrongly) that its all about crunchy maneuvering and
combat. But suppose I'd already included the 14 to 16 social and mental
abilities? You might think (wrongly) that it's all about diplomacy and
role playing, with very little crunchiness in combat or chases.

I hope to enable a wide variety of conflict types, through the 24 (or
33) total abilities in the color+context gamut. But, sure, as it now
stands there are tactically meaningful decisions to make regarding
movement (and, eventually, attacking or defending). More to that

> 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.

While I can appreciate your preferences, I am designing for my and my
play group's preferences. Perhaps you'd be better off contributing to
this narrativist RPG:

I am, clearly, developing a gamist system; likewise, I am letting the
pieces tell me what they should be--I do not feel I am doing the "it's
GURPS, but with pyramids" thing Joshua suggested in another post.

But you seem to like narrativist (or simulationist, from the In Nomina
references) games more than gamist games. But gamist or not, my "RPG"
is still a role-playing game.

> Maybe something based on pyramids? Or just a combat-heavy
> sci-fi game? Simulate something like Jedi light-sabre duels?

Maybe you could offer some suggestions as to how to make the game
"pyramidy" or otherwise embed it deeply into a setting? Should it be a
game about sentient pyramids on Mars, competing and negotiating for
world (galactic?) domination? Suppose I say that's what it is... and
STILL end up making the same system? Have I stopped being "generic"; or
have I shown with my first example, that a generic system can be used
for nearly any setting and situation (assuming you are playing
characters in situations, not doing a storytelling or mass combat
strategy game)?

Also, I am not going to reduce the game to something like a street
fighter/Jedi duels thing. There's PLENTY of strategic or tactical
"single encounter" style games for pyramids. Further, I don't know how
sci-fi (or any other genre) necessarily lends itself to using pyramids
for stats or resolution or whatever. Unless I basically strap some
other game's "mode of play" onto a storyline and call it an RPG. But
that would, really, just be a strategy game with some basic means of
stringing the encounters together (i.e. talking). Not much in the way
of a "role-playing game"; more like the thin storylines that lies
behind the "story mode" of a computer fighting game.

Regarding use of pyramids in the system, maybe some kind of "pitch
pieces and see how they aim" resolution system is more germane to the
use of pyramids than my "roll a d4--a pyramidal die, by the way--and
add to your pip count for that ability"? I dunno--you got any ideas?

Thanks for taking a look, at least. My co-designer and I intend to flesh
it out fairly fully, in the next few days/weeks. Perhaps once you see
the whole system in place, it will seem more interesting to you as an
RPG. But if you simply don't play tactically crunchy RPGs, then I doubt
you'll find it to be up your alley.

Thanks again;

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