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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: RPG Design Patterns  (Read 77982 times)

Posts: 4

« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2005, 09:29:03 AM »

Yes, Donjon does produce dungeon crawl stories, but that is what it's designed to do.  Perhaps stroy structure is the wrong term.  Let me try again.

Most games provide rules for conflict resolution and character creation.  However, to provide little more than guidelines when it comes to setting up a given session.  What's interesting is that Donjon formalizes a fairly standard set-up by breaking it up into definate chunks.  Granted, the game flow may be similiar, but it's worth noting the difference between a formal and informal session structure for a given game.  Informal structure are more open ended, while formal ones tend to have a stronger focus.

I also found the checkpoint system interesting.  In many games with pregenerated content, events are in fixed locations.  Instead of trying to bring the players to the key locations, Donjon places them in front of where the players happen to be going.

Anyway, it does seem that most game rules focus on resolving actions or handling character creation and developement.  A few  more examples of games that provide rules for session and story handling would be good.

What about meta-game awards?  Plenty of games will give points for showing up, doing something entertaining, ect..  The idea is that the character is awarded for something with no game world context. (xp awards for amusement -> "Wow, I really made a fool of  myself back there, but now I can play the piano.")  I'm not so much saying they're a bad thing as wondering how they fit into this design pattern scheme.

Posts: 1557

« Reply #61 on: November 20, 2005, 03:54:41 PM »

This is an exceptional book -- with polish, I genuinely think it may be the most important single work on RPG design ever.  Kudos!

A few comments:

1. As others have said, the authorial tone wavers inexplicably and gets in the way.  This is particularly annoying when it combines with your fairly overt biases: you dislike Alignment systems, for example.  (Note: I said bias rather than prejudice because you have clearly made a decision on a solid, analytical basis.  Nevertheless your handling of Alignment is one example of a point at which the voice breaks down.)

2. I would like to see a table (appendix 2?) of quick-and-dirty versions of the Patterns.  If you want the book to be especially useful for designers, lay it out horizontally (landscape, or whatever) and leave a big blank on one side for notes by the user.  Be sure to include a page reference to each Pattern in the table.  I think this would help the careful reader to use and reuse the book until it's falling apart and covered with notes, which is surely what you want.

3. As a conclusion chapter, let me suggest that you sketch an outline of how one might use the book to make design decisions.  Keep it short, keep it simple, and so forth, but give us some idea of how you think an RPG-engineer might sit down and approach design problems.  Those of us who aren't engineers will bless you.

Love it!

Chris Lehrich
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