Thursday, February 5, 2009

Still thinking about hybrid game systems...

Man, you'd think playing D&D 4e and running Spirit of the Century would have cured me of this, but lately I've gone back to my D&D 3e-esque simulationist fantasy heartbreaker ideas.

Specifically, what I've been thinking about is a shambling hybrid starting from True20's excellent base, removing character classes completely and replacing them with feats, and replacing True20's magic system with something based on Monte Cook's 20-level system (from The Book of Experimental Might) and the spellpoint system from Unearthed Arcana.

Essentially, what I want is greater flexibility than D&D's classes-and-Vancian-magic system ever allowed, but to still hold onto the insanely vast body of potential material provided by the whole d20 phenomenon. I don't plan on ever trying to sell this thing, so I'd freely steal from any source I can find.

The trouble is, I'm the only dude in my gaming group with enough of a d20 background to easily engage in the whole character-creation-by-catalog-shopping experience that this modular, feat-based paradigm would lead to. So I dunno if there's any point to the whole excercise beyond my amusement.

And there's another thing I'm wrestling with at the moment: How many different kind of token pools can your average gamer handle at once? I'm considering replacing attack and defense bonuses with a pool of points that can be shared between the two, and I'd probably represent these through poker chips or something. Also, tracking wounds in a True20-style combat system would be pretty nicely handled by another kind of token. And, naturally, if I'm going to do spell points, I should have tokens to track those. Finally, I really feel like grafting SotC-style Aspects onto everything, and that means yet another kind of token to track fate points...

See where this is going? My poor friends, drafted into being guinea pigs for this absurdity, trying to remember which kind of point the red poker chips represent. And even if I use a method that's clear and obvious, like printing up a bunch of cards or something, it'd still potentially be a lot of crap to manage at the table.

But is it worse than having to do bookkeeping, instead? I really don't know.

Anyway, the whole thing is still far from being any danger to anyone. It's just an idea I like to play with in my Google Noteook space. I oughta see what my group thinks of all this, though...

1 comment:

Chris Lowrance said...

I'm in a similar situation, putzing around with a game system of my own based on the shuttering mess of an established one. I'm actually trying to make mechanics that emulate the feel of an existing property, though, and do so in a way that's very accessible for rookies since that's who I'm building it for.

You read Zak Smith's blog or watch any of the I Hit It With My Axe videos? What he's running there, an extreme mashup house-ruled to hell, seems pretty serviceable considering several of his players never touched a die before.