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Between BRP and WOD

Started by Kallisti, April 03, 2010, 07:31:50 AM

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I've been working for game system for some years know (not constantly). Ideas, modifications and a lot of thinking.

What I need is a game system for story heavy games with a high level of social realism. My two favorite commercial games has been Basic Role Playing, BRP for more simulated games and Word of Darkness, WoD for storytelling. (D&D and power gaming don't amuse me)

The game mechanics are though to be adapted to historical scenarios, historical fantasy, low fantasy, (maybe sword and sorcery), modern realistic (contemporary fantasy) and maybe some post apocalyptic. I must have a lot details of psycho-social aspects of characters and emotions, no levels, XP, maybe not even stats for skills, and not so much focus on physical attributes like STR, DEX, CON.

Before I kill more time on this hobby, I wonder is this already done? The goal for me is not to create the system, if it's already made :) All other comments are also welcomed !

Eero Tuovinen

Oh, yes - this has definitely been done; in many variations, too. Check these out:

  • The Shadow of Yesterday is a fantasy game that's all about social reality and character identity. Player characters collect experience points, but the point of experience is change and refinement of identity, not mere collection of power. I wrote up a generic version by the name of Solar System, too, and it seems to work rather well for any humane, heroic story gaming, no matter the setting. The game's available in both commercial and non-commercial versions in the Internet. It's about as crunchy as Basic Roleplaying System or WoD, although it does range up to light GURPS levels now and then.
  • Burning Wheel is a similar fantasy game, albeit much more crunchy - heavy GURPS and Hero System level of rules-intensity. The basic proposition of the game is that all choices required of the player are consequence-laden, which is enforced by all the game mechanics. BW has many sourcebook for historical and ahistorical sorts of fantasy gaming, it performs pretty well for the traditional types of fantasy and even scifi.
  • FATE is a generic rules-set that provides many of the tools you ask for, it's probably pretty close to what you're envisioning mechanics-wise. It's available in free and commercial versions, including fantasy, pulp and science fiction takes. Unlike the above examples the game is much more about affirming a static character identity and less about transforming a character through story; the point is not to discover who your character is through dramatic choices and such, but rather to have a clear character vision created in chargen, which is then affirmed and celebrated through the play procedure. In this the game is probably closest to WoD from my examples.

There are many other games in this race, the above are just some well-known and generic examples of the field. Both Solar System and FATE are available in free editions in the Internet, so you should check out those, at least. Burning Wheel is the most professional of these in terms of production values, but I also suspect that it's probably too mechanics-heavy to fit your sense of story heavy gaming. An important and interesting point of consideration is the difference between the goals of SS and FATE, two games with pretty similar mechanical approach - think on it, perhaps that'll be helpful in your own design as well.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Ron Edwards

Hi Kallisti,

Welcome to the Forge! I will move this thread to First Thoughts in a couple of days. Ordinarily, I would simply do it and send you a private message to let you know, but you need a few more posts here before you can read private messages. The main point is that this is not a big deal, but your thread does belong in the other forum, so it will be moved.

Regarding your topic, also: make sure to examine The Rustbelt, by Marshall Burns, which you can find in the Beyond the Wire Productions forum here at the Forge. The game is very good, and also, he has some useful experience to share about using the kind of games you're talking about as an intellectual foundation, and then deciding instead to use some more recent work that's been done at this site.

Best, Ron