Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Playing this Weekend?!

Writing my last entry got me to thinking: What would I need to run System X this weekend? (Assuming, of course, I could find four or five people willing to play.) What would I have to complete in order to play this game?

First, a little background on my last post, to give you an idea where I'm coming from. Last night, I was watching Finding Forrester. (One of my friends considers this to be a terrible movie, but I find it interesting mostly because of Sean Connery). I don't want to bore you by summarizing the plot for you; neither do I want to spend the time, because it's not important. Connery has this line, "why is it the words we write for ourselves are so much better than the ones we write for others?"

It's a good question, and one that's true. I always wrote better when it was a subject in which I was personally interested. The midget zombie wrestlers from All Flesh Must Be Eaten and the ancient Vulcans driving their sehlat-drawn chariots into battle (Way of Kolinahr) should tell you that. I don't want to analyze the truth of Connery's question; I know the answer, and you do, as well. The question led me to thinking "yes, the words we write for ourselves are better, so why aren't I writing for myself?" See, this entire project is my way to get back into the game design business, my focus is to sell a product. I'm doing this bass-ackwards....

Therefore, what would I need in order to run a System X game this weekend?

1) Character classes. I have a sense of what elements make up a character class. I simply haven't written them yet. I need to select skill groupings and assign numbers. This means I also have to go back to the stats and create the numerous tables of bonuses and penalties. Which means I need to finally decide how to calculate skill points...

2) Weapons. Let's face it, eventually players are going to fight. I also find that players define their characters through their choice of weapons. So I need to present a selection of weapons and their game-related stats.

3) Monsters. The game emulates anime and video games, with hoardes of monsters to battle. That means I need to stat up some monsters. Which means I have to create some. Which further means I need to figure out what a monster stat card looks like in this game....

Whew. As I think about this list, I see I have a lot to do. It's like pulling the thread on a sweater. Next thing you know, the whole thing's unraveled. There's tons of stuff I didn't even put on my list, like experience point tables (mostly because I'm actually becoming demoralized by how little I've actually done. But hey, this exercise was supposed to help me find direction). Some of these things will take a tremendous amount of thought, like the whole "monster question."

Other elements, thankfully, can be added on as they come up in play. Like the aforementioned fire or poison rules. Still other rules can be grafted on as part of the experiment. I'm not sure, for example, if I want to include a "feat" system or a "benefit/flaw" mechanic. This could be included later, to see if players like it or need it.

What I have is an idea of the way I want things to go. I've written down the blueprints for the combat mechanic and the skill mechanic and a few other things. But, clearly, I have lots to do.

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