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Author Topic: Elegance versus Mess in Game Design  (Read 697 times)


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Elegance versus Mess in Game Design
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2009, 10:52:21 pm »
Terribly sorry about that. My pet peeve is actually misplaced nostalgia. I work in an antiquarian bookshop and deal with misplaced nostalgia all day.

Anyways, I'll try to stay on topic. I see games that play out quickly and games that are neat as being two different problems.

Games that play out quickly do so, not because they have only a few or many options, but how many possibilities those options can represent. It may seem that a more complex game can present more options, but there are many pitfalls, and many rpgs fall into them, providing huge numbers of options but presenting very few possibilities.  I think that adaptability is more important. Can the game handle something unexpected, can it adapt? There will always be something that falls outside the game's scope, but the game should have patterns which suggest how to create and integrate whatever you need, both in terms of setting and mechanics.

As for WoD's "neatness," it's to support a particular play dynamic, but it's very artificial in its execution. It's all about the metagame, not what makes sense in terms of setting.
Humans should have been assigned a wisdom penalty.


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Elegance versus Mess in Game Design
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2009, 08:38:18 am »
I like my systems elegant and my settings a mess.

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The Yann Waters

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Elegance versus Mess in Game Design
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2009, 04:22:56 pm »
Quote from: Spike;312195
I can tell you, without looking, that there are five natural types of changelings and five political groups they can sign on too... without ever glancing at the book...

And you'd be... wrong, as it happens. That "five by five" pattern only holds true for the Big Three: Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage.

Changeling includes six Seemings and four Courts (in its core book, anyway, since the later supplements then went on to introduce at least eight additional Courts from around the globe). Furthermore, each Seeming (a kind of an extremely broad fairytale archetype) is divided into a number of optional subtypes called "Kiths", so that for instance a Beast might also be a "Hunterheart" or a "Skitterskulk", and a Darkling a "Gravewight" or a "Mirrorskin." It could be worth noting, too, that the Courts aren't necessarily so much political entities as protective pacts with various aspects of the natural world such as seasons or directions, although the members of each tend to have in common a specific basic attitude when it comes to dealing with the threat of Faerie. The Autumn Court studies fae creatures and magics in order to defeat the enemy with its own weapons, for example, while the Spring Court seeks to enjoy the fullest possible life here and now.

You're forgetting the so-called social "z-axis" of the splats, by the way: Bloodlines for vampires, Legacies for mages, and so on. For changelings, that's Entitlements, noble orders with their own requirements and privileges. The core book features nine of them, from the Bishopric of Blackbirds (counsellors who safeguard the sanity of other changelings) to the Tolltaker Knighthood (glorified bounty hunters for any supposedly good cause).

But it's actually possible to put together a Lost PC who doesn't belong to any of those groups, though. Joining Courts or Entitlements is completely voluntary, and there's a two-dot "No Seeming" Merit which does exactly what it says on the label.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 04:32:04 pm by The Yann Waters »
Previously known by the name of "GrimGent".