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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » RPG Design

Subject: RPG mechanics rss

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William Hostman
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dysjunct wrote:
aramis wrote:
dysjunct wrote:
If you're going to call a skill discount a "class," you might as well say that GURPS is a class-based system because you can buy advantages that increase your social class.


Logic fail there... Social Class is not the basis for RPG classes.


That's the point. Superficial and trivial similarity doesn't qualify for inclusion in a set.

Edit: but since we clearly have different definitions of what a character class is, there is not much point in discussing further, unless someone wants to offer a formal definition to analyze.


I'll explicate my understanding of the term...

Any systemized set of distinct archetypes which are enforced by mechanical means, either by changing the cost of abilities, or by restrictions on abilities available, and which are universally imposed upon all PC's under that game system, both in character generation and in character growth in play.

This covers D&D, T&T, Rolemaster, even Space Opera, nicely.

It just barely excludes Traveller... because skill gains after play begins are not restricted by career.
It just barely includes Space Opera. Class forever affects skill gains in CGen and play.

Levels are not integral to class systems, but are commonly comorbid with them... It can be reasonably argued that Savage Worlds is leveled but classless... the number of advances earned is the "level" - and I've seen adventures specify the expected range of advances.

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Simon Cole
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I figure RPG mechanics are important so that a game doesn't devolve into a state of Calvin Ball. And playing any RPG strictly based on its mechanics, without any of the flare of narration or theme or an over-arching story, would absolutely be boring...

I can't think of a single RPG i'd play with friends for the mechanics alone. That's what my board games are for.

My hunch is that if anyone here plays an RPG for its mechanics, it's because those mechanics promote their personal style of play, without losing grasp of being part of some Fantasy or Sci-Fi world. After all, you don't sit around and play poker with RPG mechanics, you play poker with RPG mechanics to tell a story.

So, I'd say TRUE to "pretty terrible mechanically" taken by itself. But taken as a whole, any set of RPG rules can be amazing given the right set of players.
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William Hostman
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adkot wrote:
I figure RPG mechanics are important so that a game doesn't devolve into a state of Calvin Ball. And playing any RPG strictly based on its mechanics, without any of the flare of narration or theme or an over-arching story, would absolutely be boring...

I can't think of a single RPG i'd play with friends for the mechanics alone. That's what my board games are for.

My hunch is that if anyone here plays an RPG for its mechanics, it's because those mechanics promote their personal style of play, without losing grasp of being part of some Fantasy or Sci-Fi world. After all, you don't sit around and play poker with RPG mechanics, you play poker with RPG mechanics to tell a story.
Many people play RPGs as a form of minis game. The story is incidental to the battles.

Likewise, the press-your-luck style of dungeoneering makes the mechanics come forward above the story. The story is "I survived by ___" ...

Games good for that tend to be overly complex for the more story focused. So, while a matter of preference, it's easily shown that the mechanics can be good or bad for almost any given style, and those styles come in clades of similar substyles. Even if one doesn't understand the appeal, one can see that the mechanics of a game of a different style are good or bad at their goal outcomes.

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