Day 4 of #RPGaDAY 2020. Today’s prompt is ‘Vision’.
Whenever I read a new RPG book (and I read those quite a lot), I am always looking at the vision driving the design. Contrary to many D&D enthusiasts who tell us that ‘everything can be done with D&D’, I am of the opinion that the system matters. RPGs are about something — and most often it’s not apparent what that something is. You can deduce it a bit from what is important on the character sheet and what things reward the players. For instance, in D&D the reward cycle (the experience points (XP) you get to make your character better at what they do) is based solely around combat. Every monster has an XP value, and you get that much XP for this kind of monster. Get enough XP (that is, kill enough monsters or enough of the right monsters) and your character becomes better at killing monsters. So D&D is about killing monsters: the point of D&D is violence.
(Please don’t come at me with ‘milestone XP’. That is just a weak, bolted-on option to make D&D seem like a narrative game. It really isn’t.)
In contrast, in Ryuutama combat does give you some XP, but the terrain and weather you traversed during your travels give much more XP. Ryuutama is about travel and being able to cross difficult terrain and go through inclement weather.
And then there are some games that have the vision directly in the book, like Blades in the Dark. The very first text in the book is two paragraphs that tell you in plain language what the game is about. I really love that, because you can immediately decide if that’s something that excites you.Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.