You are in the right place. If you were looking for Heraldic Game Design or Dramatic Games, this is our new website and new company name. We are taking roleplaying games in a new direction, and Sock and Buskin Games fits the bill best.
Before roleplaying games became my primary hobby, I had been heavily into Theater and Creative Writing. When Dungeons & Dragons came along, it immediately captured my imagination since it seemed to incorporate my two favorite hobbies. I immediately began to design my own games to better simulate the stories I wanted to tell. However, the systems never seemed to able to keep up with my imagination. It took me a long time to figure out that I was following the wrong design model for what I wanted to do.
Traditional roleplaying games are an outgrowth of war games. Although they add a roleplaying aspect, the rules of traditional RPGs primarily simulate combat. Any roleplaying or dramatic situations are usually fudged or downplayed with simple die rolls. They play like a war, not like a story. The traditional model doesn’t support what I would like to experience in a game. So, I have adopted the following goals when I design a roleplaying game:
Games that Play Like Fiction
When you first get into writing, many teachers will treat it as though it is a mysterious creative process that nobody really understands. However, if you study the books written by working writers, they often reveal techniques and structures used to create good stories. The trick is to adapt these tools so that they can create a good story in a game.
Traditional RPGs are usually designed to simulate a fictional setting as though it were a real place. Physics become more important than story. The result is often random and chaotic, just like real life. It often encourages players to think tactically instead of dramatically, usually layering themselves with as much protection as possible so nothing bad happens to their characters.
However, fiction is better than life. Stories are more emotionally satisfying. When the showdown comes with the Big Bad Villain, the Hero is bare-chested, relying on his swordsmanship and goodness to carry him through the battle. Games should also encourage this type of thinking.
Lower the Learning Curve
Tabletop roleplaying games tend to have everything front loaded. There are a ton of things to learn about the rules and fictional world before you can even begin playing. Most people want to begin actual play almost as soon as they sit at the table. Those thick rule books enjoyed by most roleplayers will often intimidate those that are more casual readers. A primary goal is to shorten the preparation time in order to start play sooner and with less strain.
Who is This For?
Back when I was a 20-something, I had the time to play for hours on end. Mom and Dad were footing many of my living expenses. Not so now. I have obligations to fulfill and need sleep in order to do them well. I simply don’t have the time anymore. I’m sure that there are others who would like to roleplay, but find themselves in a similar situation. The idea is to enhance the dramatic goodness of roleplay without it taking so much time. I hope you enjoy the results.