Happy to bite the bullet

I have been thinking about game design a bit recently, triggered by the comments about realism vs abstraction. All game systems are inherently compromises between realism vs abstraction, complexity vs simplicity or rules ligth vs rules heavy.

I have seen a lot of articles that imply that simple rules and rules light go had in hand whereas the reality has in my experience been the opposite. If you have a very simple rule for each situation then you can easily end up with tens of hundreds of simple rules, one for just about every situation. AD&D is a prime example of this with just about everything being handled in its own unique way.

Miscellaneous Musings

Heading off to vacation so I probably won’t get new posts up for the next 10 days or so, but I thought I’d put up some random thoughts.

  1. It’s great to see new contributors to the Rolemasterblog! People who don’t sign up for the RM Forums don’t see the various RMU development threads and may not realize there is ongoing discussion and activity. I think this blog helps spread the word about RM and perhaps reaches other RPGers who might not go the forums.

Rolemaster, Combat, and Firearms

Hurin’s recent post got me thinking about combat and general and Rolemaster’s combat in particular and how various Rolemaster products handle firearms. That (of course) led me to thinking about how I’ve revised those rules for settings outside of standard fantasy. It also got me thinking about the proposition that lots of combat mechanics equals an emphasis on combat.

Special skills, special spells. Gods in roleplaying.

As part of the ongoing discussion of Clerics and Channeling in Rolemaster and Shadow World I thought I would call attention to a great blog and commentary over at Grognardia.

Peter has talked about rolling Channeling into the Essence Realm and I have basically rolled all of the Realms together–only organizing them by casting mechanism.

But this blog raises some earlier thoughts I had about Clerics and Channeling in general. Before Shadow World I was running a “diety-lite” setting where Gods were mere abstracts providing the homogenous powers provided by Spell Law Channeling. Now with Shadow World, I’ve fully embraced the use of active, involved Gods and built the Orhan/Charon spells lists and organizations to better define Clerics “special skills”.

Combat realism in Rolemaster & RMU. Good, bad, neither?

Interesting writing over on “Takeonrules

By this time, I had been playing Rolemaster and Dungeons & Dragons, games that placed a tremendous amount of rules explanation on combat and fighting.  And I maintain that by placing emphasis on combat, combat is more likely to occur.

Blog Post worth a read. Thoughts? I haven’t spent much time on 5th Ed., but I get the impression that the focus has deliberately changed to support role-playing and narrative rather than combat. Other new games like Monte Cooks Cypher System are paving the way for new role-playing narrative forms.

Pulling at loose threads

How many loose ends does your campaign have trailing behind the PCs? I have only been running my face to face game for a few years now, playing maybe 40 hrs a year or so and yet already there is a trail of loose ends, uncompleted quests and unsolved mysteries.

I have intentionally set up two concurrent story arcs. The point of having two is that I don’t want the campaign to feel linear or railroaded. One plot often interferes with progress in the other and the inter-weaved stories are richer and more complicated than a single story.

Rolemaster and Professions – Another Take

One of my least-favorite elements of Rolemaster is the whole idea of “Profession = lifeway.” While this concept may have some merit when it comes to settings with magic (and I’m not convinced that it really does), it breaks down when you leave the realm of fantasy and start dealing with more modern, magic-free settings.

Time Travel in Rolemaster & Shadow World

In a recent BLOG POST, I touched upon Time Travel as a technology or mechanism that could be introduced into a Shadow World campaign. Tricky, right?

A lot has been written on time travel in RPG’s and if you have ever allowed it in your game you know it can generate great adventures but create a lot of hassles as well. Some suggested solutions are only allow travel into the past, time travel only occurs in alternate timelines that don’t affect the current one or there are side effects to encountering yourself in the past etc.

Surgeons, Healers, Physicians in roleplaying.

Elisha Mancer mini.jpg

Hey, I’m on a roll with short blogs–mostly because we got hit with several FEET of snow and we are still not plowed out.

If you are not familiar with Charles Stross you should be. He’s a successful author and also writes about the intersection of technology and social issues. His BLOG is worth following and his readers offer some in depth commentary.

Occasionally Charlie will bring in a guest blogger to cover his site while he’s travelling. His most recent is E.C. Ambrose. I’m not familiar with his books, but he writes dark historical fantasy about medieval surgery–cool right?