There is no doubt that D&D spawned an entire hobby industry that quickly rose in popularity and passed the related war gaming hobby and also paved the way for other games to follow. These games varied in their approach. Some stuck pretty closely to the D&D rules while others paved a new path of innovation. Somewhere in the mix were games that tried to “do D&D better” by offering more of everything in D&D. If D&D had 6 abilities then it should stand to reason that a game with 8, 10, or even more abilities should be even better, right? That seems to be the guiding philosophy that several of these games followed in their design. That is the guiding force behind my efforts to design an old school fantasy heart breaker…
In an earlier post I mentioned this idea. I have had it for quite some time and never pursued it very far. Here are some beginning notes and and an outline of ideas to pursue further. The point is to include more options for most everything but also be a playable game. The rules may be a little obtuse in some places but the game should still be playable.
Name: All games should have a cool name. I want something like Maximum Fantasy, Phantasis Maximus, or something that sounds similar to “more is better”.
Dice: I want to include the use of all of the normal polydredon dice – d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20 – and will try to incorporate some of the more unusual dice.
No Universal Task Mechanic: I know that it seems to be all the rage to have a universal task resolution system in most games today but this game is not built around that idea. Some tasks will use a d20 while others use percentile dice and others might use a d6 to gauge success. The whole point of the game is that it is supposed to be somewhat of a mess.
Attributes: The natural or base chance of most tasks will be represented by the attributes. Since this is a fantasy heart breaker I will need more than D&D so something like Might, Endurance, Coordination, Manipulation, Charisma, Intellect, Will, Influence, Perception, and Charm. That list may not be final but it is an indicator of what I am looking to do.
Races: All of the typical races plus several more exotic ones. Simply put, closer to the selection available in the Palladium Fantasy RPG.
Classes: The list of classes will be expanded greatly by one of two methods. I can start with 4 to 6 basic classes and the characters can later “graduate” from them until a multitude of advanced classes OR I can just have a ton of classes available right from the start.
Magic: As there will be a lot of options for spell-casting classes, the spells and magical powers available will be unique for each spell-casting class. There will be no master spell list but there will be an individual list of options for the mage, witch, sorcerer, elementalist, and the rest.
Priests: The holy men will each be unique and run the full range of the pantheon. Priests will have some spell-casting abilities but will also have other abilities granted from the gods; exorcism and divine intervention are just two examples.
Combat: There should probably be two flavors of combat resolution – a quick playing basic option with just a few options and a slower playing more advanced form with many options.
Armor: Will not make you harder to hit but will offer damage resistance and./or reduction and incur penalties to coordinated movement and actions requiring balance.
Weapon Skills: The training for weapons will be represented by a single skill for each weapon instead of broad categories such as sword, club, bows, etc.
Skills: A long list of skills available for player characters.
Psionics: I am not even sure if this will be included in the game; might be a good reason for a supplement…
Morals/Ethics: Similar to the alignment mechanic but there will, of course, be more options.
Experience: Similar to the old class & level systems. Experience will represent your character’s actual progression in knowledge of their class & career path.
Reputation: Characters will begin play with a blank slate and can gain a good reputation or bad reputation. Their reputation can influence NPC reactions if they are that well known.
Social Class: Characters can be of low birth to high birth status and it will also influence NPC reactions. Other effects will include a modifier on wealth and starting gold.
Inheritance: Characters will have a chance of starting play with an item passed down to them by a family member or a teacher. An apprentice mage may begin with a scroll or a warrior may begin with a weapon, for example.
This is a good starting list of topics. I may never get around to doing anything with this but I wanted to get the idea out of my head so I could move on to other things. The main idea is to be somewhat obtuse in the game design but not to the point that people can not understand the rules or have fun with the rules. If either of those occur then the design is flawed and needs modified. I am unsure if I will do any additional work on this but this basic outline is here for the time I decide to expand on it. More later?