Sunday, January 14, 2007

No More Bumpy-Forehead Syndrome

Sometimes you read an RPG and it’s apparent that you are missing some of the information that might be useful in creating the character, and more importantly missing for playing that character. The one glaring example that I always pull out immediately is Elves in the fantasy games. You get a bit of info about them, but a lot of the best information is missing because the game expects, like every other fantasy game seemingly, that you have read all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books so thusly know a tonne about Elves. As freakish as it may be, I read the Hobbit in public school I think, but I don’t recall much about it and I haven’t read the Lord of the Rings, nor have I seen the movies. So all of these fantasy games are lacking some serious information.

Similarly, while reading the Call of Cthulhu 5th Edition RPG they refer to a tonne of different things with a wink and a nod, and generally act like you’ve read everything that H.P. Lovecraft had ever written. What is it with these initial people anyway? I need to know if I’m going to go by R.G. Male. ;) On its own the game seems practically useless to run because you’re not a part of the inner circle. Yeah, I haven’t read a tonne of Lovecraft, though I’ve read some, and I’m not particularly impressed, but that’s another topic altogether.

Cultural information about every different group there is in the game should be paramount to any game that isn’t set in the modern world where info is only a Google away. What’s worse, is some games they will even take an archetypal species like Elves, and do something non-Tolkien with them, and still do not give you the information required to play the character as anything other than a different looking human. Yes, you’ll note I said species. Race should really only apply to differences within the same species. That would include in humans the Caucasians, Negroes, Asians, etc.

It is just this sort of information, that I find missing in a lot of games, that I intend to include it in all of my game designs. It may be something that sets my games apart or it may not, but I believe its integral, and of great importance. Players and GMs should have as much material to work from as possible. It’s better to have and not use it, than be left filling in a tonne of blanks. Given the way people change up their games anyway, if they disagree with my ideas or have a better idea (more inline with their style) then I’m of the mind, “Game on.”

Mood: relaxed.
Music: Night Santa Went Crazy by Weird Al Yankovic and Live and Let Die by Guns N' Roses.

Weird Al Yankovic: Bad Hair Day
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Guns N' Roses: Use Your Illusion 1

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