March 14, 2015
I have a deadline. Simultaneously the most dreadful and wonderful thing for me, Mike at Just for Fun Games informed me there would be an RPG day at his shop.n I decided that I wanted to run one of the adventures I am developing for my London by Moonlight setting for the Luna System.
London by Moonlight is something that I’ve been holding close to my chest before now. The elevator description is “Supernatural Secret Agents with a British TV Twist.”
The players get to portray agents of a mysterious international organization called Round Table that investigates and neutralizes supernatural threats to humanity. They want all this done out of the public eye so as to prevent a panic.
The part about the British TV may require a little explanation about what I mean. I thoroughly enjoy the BBC when I can get it. Because they don’t normally have a big budget, they rely heavily on the writing of their shows, and they aren’t afraid to include elements that American TV may consider “too cerebral.” London by Moonlight should feel like a smart British TV show… with a big budget.
So, now I am racing the clock to complete an Alpha version of the Luna System and write the first episode/adventure for London by Moonlight. You can track my progress at LondonByMoonlight.com.
My Crazy Brain is trying to make me die a pauper. First, it led me to try a Fudge dice mechanic for Luna. Then it brought up a mechanic based on Yahtzee. I bought a slew of dice in anticipation of using these new systems, worked out some of the problems that popped up. . . and now it wants me to design Luna so that it doesn’t use dice.
DICELESS!!! For Heaven’s Sake!
So, the challenge is to build a mechanic that doesn’t make use of a randomizer, but will still be fun to play. For those of you not in the know when it comes to game design, there is a general prejudice against non-random games. This has mostly to do with the expectation that there won’t be any surprises. I can understand this. There is a thrill to gambling with the life of your character.
So how do I justify making use of diceless mechanics in Luna? The random element can also lead to a behavior called “turtling.” The player makes certain that their character only performs the safest moves and has as much protection as possible. Or they may put together some unbeatable attack that they use over and over. The risk the players say that they want is almost completely nullified by their actions in-game. This goes against the principle of Being Awesome that I want to encourage.
A non-randomized system would also be a step closer to “Games That Play Like Fiction.” How hard the player works for something should be the determining factor on whether they succeed or fail.
Well, back to work on this. I will keep you informed with further updates. Be sure to leave comments!
I am cautious about making announcements for a game design when its this early in the process. In my last post, I announced that I would be using Fudge dice for the Luna System. My apologies to those of you that got excited about the prospect of being able to use your Fudge dice with another system than Fate or Fudge, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.
What started this excitement was that I had run across some old notes concerning my failed Dresden Files campaign. After it fell apart, I discussed things with my players and we agreed that the game had some holes in it and just didn’t meet our style of play. I still wanted to play in the Dresdenverse, so I looked about and discovered Unipool on the The Forge. However, I never restarted that campaign.
I re-discovered the Unipool recently and thought that would be a good starting basis for Luna. It used Fudge dice and fused with Universalis I’ve been in love with that game since the demo I participated in back in 2002. The rules allow for pure creativity to occur. For someone like me, it’s perfect. However, the rules are somewhat complex and encourage frequently creating a new stories with new characters. I want Luna be a game that allows for a quick start using only the written rules, and allows for continued growth within a continuing story.
After going over Unipool and attempting to add my own ideas to it, I’ve come to the conclusion that what it is and what I have in mind are not really compatible. In the interest of making the best game possible, I’ll need to drop the Fudge dice. I have some other ideas that will do better. More to come. . .
If you haven’t noticed, the “How Do you Feel About Dice”” poll is now gone.
This has been the first time I’ve been accused to being an internet troll. It’s especially odd since It happened on my own web site. There were enough complaints about the poll on the poll itself, that I decided to delete it. However, I did learn a few things from the experience.
I created the “How Do you Feel About Dice?” poll in a fit of whimsy, and the language I used was cutesy. Some people didn’t like that. To them, I extend my apologies. I had not intended on stirring up a controversy for its own sake.
I phrased the poll in such a way because of the odd attachment I have seen some roleplayers develop toward their dice. I’m certain I am not the only one that has noticed this. It is regularly lampooned in the Knights of the Dinner Table comic.
I have had some interesting conversations about the importance of dice on the RPG.net and StoryGames.com forums.
What have I leaned from this, outside of being more serious when I invite people to participate in a poll? That have learned that roleplayers prefer a random element in a game since it can add Surprise to the story. Nobody likes a predictable story.
So, I have made a couple of decisions. First, that the upcoming Luna System will use Dice. Second, they will be Fudge Dice. Why? Because they seem to fit in with the feel that I want the game to have. There will be more on this later.