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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

*{Ramble}*[RPG] Hard Limits, Starting Characters & Background in Context--

I realise the following contains references you folks don't yet have available, but I occasionally write these, 'for the record', as it were. I hope it is at least moderately interesting.

After 'refreshing' the Spectral Index to make it more intuitive, I rolled up a 'long-form' character and spotted a tweak or two in the order of tables, or a formatting glitch that needed correcting.
--I then decided to see if the background skills (Environmental Activities, and Training points) could be abused RaW, and when I saw that it could, I then placed a hard limit on the letter code (skill level in common parlance) that could be purchased. Now (although 'levelled' figures can increase Training through Adventure Points), starting folk (such as NPCs and the Base PC), cannot be more than an average of 75% proficient in any given Activity. When I upload the Spectral Index this will all make good sense.

I must make certain that even casual readers of the Players' Manual will not be able to confuse the 'long form' character generation routine with the 'roll-and-go' (ostensibly 'old school') method which allows for importation of many/most other 3d6-based characters.
--That EPT thread on Dragonsfoot sent shivers down my spine. I don't want to deal with anything of the sort.

My decision to switch over to a Gamma World scale for a figure's 'HPs' and weapons damage makes me very happy, and opens up a lot of great official and fan-based GW material for cross-pollination, so to speak.
--Since I've always favoured GW over D&D, this is a sort of 'homecoming' for me in a similar way to many OS bloggers'/gamers' re-discovery of 'the old ways.' That Mutant Future is enjoying the fan-success that it is only bolsters my confidence in my decision.

Now, parallel to that change, the implementation of many of the ideas/principles found in Ward's MA articles in The Dragon, and a general memory of Jorune chargen, 'long form' PCs are very playable without one drop of Point Design prior to game-start, which was one of my goals that hadn't been made clear in the beta .pdf, to my chagrin.

Since UWoM is another creature altogether, and I am not in the Orthodox Old School church, ;) I strongly believe in games that have official settings:

* Tekumel
* Greyhawk (don't kid yourselves, you know 1e was keyed to reflect Greyhawk)
* The Vilani Imperium
* Glorantha
* The Warden
* Gamma Earth/Terra via its series of adventures literally expanding the known world's map
* The Morrow Project's earth
* The world of Palladium
* Car Wars' earth
* Jorune, among others.

--Having a strong setting in no way diminishes one's ability to 'sandbox', and some of the above required one to do so if only due to the grandeur of the setting.

With a strong setting comes the knowledge of the world's baseline and the origins from whence a character arose. The parents/guardians, the local environs, pastimes and home-education in familial trades/crafts and culture-ways, as well as years of hearing of the daily goings-on 'at work', if not actually apprenticing in that field. Then the local society and its concerns, diversions, interests, mores and standards of conduct, pastimes, philosophies, religious thoughts and ideals (if any), sexual congress rites, and burial practises, etc.
--In game terms, even if a young (teens) character is rolled, these things are already resident within the person, and figure into their ability to navigate the considerable dangers upon Urutsk, while the player is still the one in charge, and the one challenged. The details of a character's background are a goldmine for gaming possibilities.

So, for gamers who enjoy Urutsk as a backdrop, but want to roll 3d6 six times in order and optionally pick a class, it'll work fine, as will it for folks who'll find rolling up a native in their full glory to be rather nifty.