FUNDAMENTAL RPGOLOGY THREAD

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The story is nice, Caparo! It gives justice to the game mechanics.
But the implementation of such idea would surely be a pain in the scapula >.<

Now, if someone would just turn this into a game...
Formulas would be easy... I think, because as it's a system that manages the system, aftes the rules of the rules are written, the universe of possibilities opens. As roulette and gear system both are cyclic, trigonometric functions would be the easier way. Which makes me wonder if the most recent makers can handle such functions (in scripts or so).

author=karins_soulkeeper
Now, if someone would just turn this into a game...

What if WE do? I've seen sparks of collaborative projects here, and I think that the most valuable product we could produce, as a group of people disscusing about RPGology stuff, is an actual game with our ideas working for good.
author=Treason89
What if WE do? I've seen sparks of collaborative projects here, and I think that the most valuable product we could produce, as a group of people disscusing about RPGology stuff, is an actual game with our ideas working for good.


That'd be a lot of work, and would require more than just the interests of the people in this battle design thing.

Although it might be a good exercise to take existing games and try to craft better battle systems for them. Using the example of FFIX again, Trance was a part of the story, but it was awful in gameplay. I'm certain there's a better way to make an engaging battle system that also utilized Trance better.

But for the sake of an RM community, we could find certain RM projects that had a lot of great wold-building, plot, and assets, but a lackluster battle system. Then we could ask permission to try out new ideas. This would get to the heart of battle design much better, if you ask me. We could incorporate all of the ideas that we've discussed as needed while also considering the world of the game before making decisions.
author=Merlandese
That is, part of a good RPG Battle is themeing, and how it fits into the rest of the game.
My reaction to that PM was that I absolutely agreed, and that I thought that actually, most RPG battling systems are quite bad at that, they don't give anything like the feeling of what they're supposed to describe. I'd never write my ultimate confrontation in my fantasy novel like "And lo, the heroes summoned Knights of the Round Table and mimicked twice a turn, again and again, drinking the occasional potion of full restoration, until all the one million HP of the final boss were gone." That's a fitting representation of lumberjacking while drinking beers, though :P

NeverSilent's idea of playing the GM is cool because it gives a lot of easy metaphors to work with (e.g., the more the players win, the more they are willing to suspend their disbelief at your cheating for the sake of fun, and so you can progress from "adjusting" dice throws to temporarily "correcting" monster or equipment description, all the way to forging tables in the core rulebook :P)



Treason's idea with the wheels:
that's an interesting way of tying multiple constraints together, but at the same time, it really doesn't work for me as a metaphor. Metaphors needn't be realistic, so long as they sustain your imagination of how things represent the action (you can imagine the little soldiers in board games, for instance). The wheels are okay to represent tradeoffs, but they don't help me imagine what should be on which wheel and connected to which other, they don't make sense for an entire rule system (I may be proven wrong). I promise I'll try to come up with an alternate way of doing this, because everyone's a critic ;)



caparo's suggestion>
my only problem is with the proposition for the initial skill: I think messing with the rules should be more than just "increase characters' defense". The skill should not have a single effect, instead it should modify (predictably) the way every other mechanism works (or at least multiple ones), so that you can react to whatever the characters are doing and build one it (which is what Treason's wheels was doing well: you could start with only the skill "move blue wheels", then another for green, red, yellow wheels, and other ones for moving forward or backward, or keeping them moving every turn....)


As for making that system for real, why not? I'm a bit wary of community endeavours on the full game scale, but just designing the battle system together, the good coders implement it fast, and then anyone who wants to write a one-shot quest for our imaginary P&P table can, that seems achievable. Prototyping a game quickly is really possible (as long as you can code or script, I rediscovered trying to make my chimera how everything takes ten times longer in eventing)
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6129
I apologize for not participating in this discussion as much as I should have. I have very little free time at the moment, but I don't want to make it seem as if I have no interest in this any more.

I think Merlandese had a very good point in saying that a complete game should have a battle system that enhances and serves the complete experience, not the other way around. However, you also always have to start somewhere, and there are many possible great story ideas that can get their spark of inspiration from a mechanic such as a battle system. But you're right, it should never feel tacked on or artificial, so your argument should definitely be taken into consideration.

My original intention when I started talking about a "changing the rules" mechanic was not really to encourage an actual community project or the like, but if any of you would like to make it happen, feel free to "steal" the concept. I am probably not able to use it for anything real (since I know nothing about scripting), and I don't want to be seen as the "idea guy" who lets other people make his games for him.

That said, while I see the advantages of caparo's story idea, I'd prefer the idea of a gaming group (like Hasvers suggested) or something more mundane (and more interesting) over using deities as an explanation. Treason's idea would make sense to me in a more sci-fi oriented game, where the player could be the overseer of an experiment on humans or controlling some sort of computer simulation (thus explaining his powers).


Anyway, in order not to get this discussion stuck on one aspect only, I thought I'd bring up another thing that seems to be inseparable from our expectations of a RPG combat: numbers. There is almost always some sort of numerical values involved, be they MP, HP, base stats like Strenght and Intelligence etc.
Are there ways to make those work in more interesting ways? Are they even necessary? And why have we gotten so used to the idea that characters, objects and combat can be captured in absolute numbers?
@Merlandese> A question: How do you think that trance could be better incorporated into Final Fantasy 9's battle system?

@Hasvers> Yes, I haven't given thought to the initial skill as I was focusing on story idea. But you understand my point that the initial ability/skill/rule change should be something that would not help the tutorial enemies under any circumstance.

@Neversilent> I'm intrigued by the possibility of a fun and tactical RPG battle system that doesn't involve numbers

Edit: I don't think I've ever seen a game where it is all about changing the rules. That's probably why I'm excited about the prospect of such a game becoming a reality.

Funny story, RPGs are full of numbers and tables just because they were born from miniature wargaming. Many pen and paper games have evolved beyond that, though (occasionally in directions that can actually be reproduced on computer, but not always).

One possibility is making a RPG with only discrete states, which was one of my suggestions for the contest (for example having "aggressive/cautious..." stances or equivalent character states, as seen in NS' or caparo's systems among others, with the further condition that you win the battle if, say, you use skill "German Suplex" while enemy is in stance "Unbalanced", or more than half the enemies are "Afraid", or whatever).

That could even tie into the second thing I wanted to discuss someday: having multiple victory conditions (almost every strategy game has more than a single path to winning, for instance 4X games usually have military, technology and diplomacy at least). It's even more interesting if each way of ending the battle has different consequences - some reward you in XP, others allow you to learn the skills of an enemy that you have spared, others have consequences on your reputation...
Well, I guess we can safely say that this will never happen unless someone takes charge :P So let us know if you ever start this project for real, NeverSilent.
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6129
Ah well, a pity this thread has gone silent again so quickly. Lots of interesting stuff have been brought up here. Though, I think we should keep using this thread to further discuss any unconventional approaches to battle design whenever the need arises. Opinions of fellow creators are always helpful, as far as I can see. (Which means, I will probably start posting in here again in the future ^^)

As soon as I can find the time to experiment a little with the concept, I'll make sure to let you know, Hasvers.
author=NeverSilent
Ah well, a pity this thread has gone silent again so quickly. Lots of interesting stuff have been brought up here. Though, I think we should keep using this thread to further discuss any unconventional approaches to battle design whenever the need arises. Opinions of fellow creators are always helpful, as far as I can see. (Which means, I will probably start posting in here again in the future ^^)

As soon as I can find the time to experiment a little with the concept, I'll make sure to let you know, Hasvers.


Sorry that I kept out of it for the most part, but I really didn't have the concentration to go through it at the time, and then it was pages later
author=NeverSilent
Though, I think we should keep using this thread to further discuss any unconventional approaches to battle design whenever the need arises.

Agreed! There's no necessity to have a permanent conversation but I do hope that at least this whole thing will have facilitated some ongoing reflection about battle design. I will try to come back with further ideas for your project whenever I'm done thinking them through.


hero_bash> Could you give some info about your system?
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6129
Well, I finally tried out your Chimera battle system experiment, Hasvers. From reading the in-game info and what I saw, it seemed like there was some interesting potential in it, but unfortunately I failed to understand how the system worked in action. There were no indicators of what does what and no visible results of the player's actions, so ultimately I just randomly picked options without knowing what the consequences would be. Some better documentation and a more functional interface might do wonders there.

I tried to open the project to look at what you actually did in it, but apparently it was created with an incompatible version of RMXP. So I'll just have to take your word for it that it actually works as intended, because I couldn't figure it out by playing. Sorry.
Wow there are incompatible versions of RMXP? Well anyway thanks for trying!

The tiles actually change color to reflect their current element but I agree that's not very legible.

To be honest, I just threw that out there in case someone would be amused to see some combination of everyone's ideas, but clearly, it would need more than one evening of work to take shape.
This topic made me think that a great alternative to the GM trying to change the rules is having an unreliable narrator.

The story can be altered not through the intervention of a higher power (godly or GMy) but by negotiations about what exactly happened and how much we're willing to suspend disbelief. Disbelief could be an actual resource to manage, slowly eroded in phases of realistic build-up (or even by deciding to lose some battles) so that one can afford the occasional heroic climax

Edit: Which actually crosses into very standard territory in p&p design (but then again, in terms of game design theory, p&p > Interactive Fiction > everything else ever </gratuitous troll>)
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