Friday, December 23, 2022

Runnin’ With the Devil

I mentioned in the post: My Grail RPG, that my latest project is a redesign/reimagining of the SAGA System, and that the redesign will utilize a standard deck of playing cards in place of the Fate Deck. While this is all true, it is only part of the story. 

CTE (That's the name of my game. More on that next post.) has two major influences: SAGA and Diablo. Specifically, Diablo II: The Awakening, which was published after the acquisition of TSR by Wizards of the Coast, and is, I believe, the last thing ever published with the TSR logo on it.

Before I get into talking about The Awakening, I want to give a shout out to one other influence: Rangers of Shadowdeep. If you clicked on the link, you will notice that it takes you to: Board Game Geek. That's because Rangers of Shadowdeep is very much a board game. 

Rangers of Shadowdeep is a board game in book form. The book provides all the rules, and you provide all the board game components. It's brilliant really, (and a great game!) and while I had attempted something like this before in Sky Ace, I never considered it on this scale. So, a shout out goes to Rangers of Shadowdeep for opening my eyes to the possibilities of this format.

(Sky Ace reveals how long I've been fiddling with these card based mechanics. The 24 Hour RPG version was written on June 22, 2005. Its mechanisms were greatly inspired by the SAGA system.)

CTE is going to be just that: a board game in book form. Specifically, it will be a solitaire adventure board game in book form. "Solitaire" meaning that it is designed to be played by one player in what board gamers refer to as: solo-mode. 

(Now let's get to the "devil" in this post.)

So ... what does Diablo II: The Awakening have that I want for my newest game design? 

It has magic items. It has tables and tables of magic items and equipment inspired by the methods presented in the Diablo computer game. For those who haven't played Diablo, equipment is listed as: adjective, noun, preposition. The "noun" is the basic item. The adjective and preposition aspects are optional and provide additional (often magical) elements to the base item.

In the post: Fight A Slime, you go into battle armed with a club. "Club" obviously, is the "noun." 

Using the Diablo item creation mechanics. that "Club" could be a "Deadly Club." It could be a "Club of Fire," or it could be a, "Deadly Club of Fire."  The adjective, "deadly" might increase the club's "hack" bonus, adding an additional +2♥, and the preposition, "of fire" could bump the club's "harm" bonus by another +1, and in the process convert all "harm" damage done into "fire" based damage. (I use, "might" and "could" here because these rules are still very much in flux.)

I have been fascinated by these item creation tables for years. I even attempted to run this campaign for my game group back when it came out. I say attempted because the game did not actually fare very well at the table. It just didn't work.

So, why am I using it?

That comes down to the matter of expectations of the player(s). I had a great deal of fun playing with the random tables in the Awakening, rolling up items just to see what I'd get. Generally speaking, in a role-playing group environment however, rolling on tables isn't what you are there for. Rolling everything in advance keeps things moving more quickly, but somehow something is lost in the translation. Overall, I don't think I was the only one who had this kind of experience. I believe most people who own this, keep it for the joy of reading it rather than playing it.

On the other hand, the expectations of the solo gamer are quite different. Much of the solo experience is centered around rolling for events and outcomes on random tables to see what happens. That's what the Awakening does really well! Back when the Awakening came out, solo-RPG play wasn't really a thing. Now, there is a huge community of solo-RPG gamers. I think that if the Awakening were released today and redesigned ever so slightly to support solo play, that it would be a run away hit! That is what I plan to capitalize on with the creation of CTE.

(I bet running Diablo II: The Awakening solo using Scarlet Heroes would be a blast!!)

More CTE coming on Christmas Day! In the meantime feel free to join my Facebook Group to discuss this post and anything related to RPG's and geekdom! Stay tuned!!

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