Monday, December 04, 2023

Game Design Part 2 - RPG Design Mission Statement

The shared dice pool is a common mechanic in many modern board games. One player rolls some dice, and then all players simultaneously use the results to make choices. In order for individual outcomes to vary, players are provided with a wide array of options.

Imagine that a tabletop RPG uses a shared dice pool for its conflict resolution. The GM and the players set the scene and establish the conflict. The GM rolls some dice, and then the players consult their character sheets to decide how to assign these dice to their actions. Players discuss their options based on the numbers showing on the dice. The variety of options available are diverse because each player possesses a unique character.

In this scenario, the numbers on the dice represent player choice and not probability. In my previous post, I stated that no player’s turn should be wasted. Traditional RPG systems answer the question, “Can I do this?” and then use dice to create suspense. If the answer to that question is “No” then the player’s turn ends and their moment in the spotlight is lost.

The shared dice pool answers the question, “What are my options?” For each option, the outcome isn’t in question. Suspense is created not by answering “yes” or “no,” but by answering “what” and “how.” The focus changes from winning and losing (concepts that never belonged in the RPG space to begin with) to creating diversity of action within the context of the shared drama.

These are lofty goals. My brain is burning just thinking about this, but this is what I want. This is the RPG that I want to design. This is my mission statement.

Feel free to join my Facebook Group to discuss this post and anything related to RPG's and geekdom! Stay tuned!!

No comments:

Post a Comment