Wednesday, November 11, 2009


One of the things that's driving me crazy as I attempt to design System X is the need to be original. So many games have come out, with so many different mechanical systems, it can be hard. As I write, I find myself thinking "well, that's Palladium" or "that's just D&D." I figure, if I can see it, so can you.

How many different ways can there be to generate basic attributes, calculate hit points, and so forth? Even if you simply come up with a different calculation -- add your constitution twice and multiply by three -- there has to be a reason for it. And even if you just pull some equation out of your ass and call it good, you're still just doing what other games have done before. It's not like you're basing hit points off of Intelligence, for example.

What I keep bumping up against is rationale. Why do things work the way they do in System X. I find that if I can answer that question, I feel better about the mechanic.

But there's still the question of originality. Take skill levels, for example. They can come as a flat rate from class, such as a thief's pick pocket ability being set at 30 percent for first level. They can come from Intelligence, as in "take your INTx2 and allocate to skills." Similarly, they can come from class at a variable rate. Take your INT x 3 + 10 (which I suppose means skill levels come from both class and attribute). There aren't a lot of other options, and they've all been done before.

I haven't even addressed the question as to whether or not allocating skill levels violates the spirit of a class-based system. Some might argue that skills must come from class, and at a fixed rate, or else you're no longer designing a level/class system.

As with the Coda system, I find that as I make decisions, this leads to difficulties later on. Meaning I must go back and re-visit earlier choices. It's a constant process of fiddling. Maybe that's just how I work.

No comments:

Post a Comment