So, let’s get to it. I was thinking in the car a while ago (I’m not sure when; this was an idea that got put in my +5 Journal of Pretentiousness) about my propensity for rules tweaks.
Well, if I’m tweaking so much, I must not be satisfied. Clearly (he said sotto voce) I should design and write my own game.
What would it be?
Well, I can tell you. It would, first of all, be a lot like GURPS, in that it would definitely be a point-buy system of some sort.
It would have resolution separately for attacks and defenses. Like GURPS now. I like that, and would choose to retain it.
It would also make extensive use of some sort of scaling table. As I’ve said before, if the answer to your question in GURPS isn’t the Size-Speed/Range table, you’re probably asking the wrong thing. I would definitely do this for lifting ablity, so that each level of strength would be a constant multiple over the one before it. That would avoid the current quirk present in very high levels of GURPS ST being marginally inferior on a point-by-point basis.
And about that: the name for my tentatively considered game would be the dB System (decibel). I’d want to use ten steps for the range table, and likely d10 for the roll types. I like bell curves, though . . . more on that later.
While deliberating my dB-scaled version of the Scaling Table, it occurred to me that the GURPS version of this type of chart uses six steps per order of magnitude. Now, this could be a few things:
- Each step is roughly 50% more than the next one, chosen as a meaningful step and that worked out to roughly six steps per factor of 10 (1.47x, or the sixth-root of ten)
- GURPS uses d6’s, and thus it makes sense to have six steps per each order of magnitude
- It provided the right split of resolution and differentiation, and happened to land on six divisions.
Or it could be any combination of them, or none. GURPS
also uses a 1-2-5-10 and a 1-3-10 progression at times (roughly sqrt(10) and the cube-root of 10) in the Spaceships
Ultimately, though, even with some potential fairly deliberate departures that would be more form than function, what I’d do would feel an awful lot like some sort of GURPS Fifth Edition.
Why is Ballistic’s dB RPG never going to happen?
Well, a few reasons. Quite a few. 400,000 or so of them to be precise. Ask +Sean Punch
about the effort required to take a game and revise/rationalize/rewrite it. At 800 or so words per page, varying with formatting, and enough meat to be a generic entry capable of supporting multiple genres, you’re still talking 250,000 to 500,000 words here.
This might be able to be made lighter with proper metasystems. Much like Sean and +Peter V. Dell’Orto
‘s Technique Design System from GURPS Martial Arts,
if there were to be an embedded Advantage Design System, Disadvantage Design System, and maybe even some sort of Power Design System (which may well include technology, but ask +David Pulver
how straight-forward that
is) perhaps you could save wordcount in specific advantage-type listings, but you’d spend it (probably more than spend it) on the metasystems themselves.
But the real reason I wouldn’t do it is that I don’t have the skills required to bring what I’d think of as a Next
Gen RPG to market. Most of the gaming I do these days is on a Virtual Table Top of some sort. Roll20 or MapTool, to be precise.
I would want a Next Gen RPG to have all the math integrated into the book itself. Embrace the electronic medium to a much fuller extent. Embedded character generation and export hooks. Metasystems and resolution systems and combat trackers right in the pacakge, hopefully interfacing into common platforms or as a format-neutral application.
One more advantage of the digital format would be the elimination of the requirement to roll multiple dice to get a satisfactory
bell curve probability distribution. Want to have a result that ranged from (say) 0 to 20, centered around 10, but have the same distribution shape as 3d6? No problem. That’d be (more or less) the Excel equivalent of NORMINV(RAND(), 10, 3). You could simulate flat distributions where you wanted them, bell curves where appropriate, and even things like one-sided distributions where it’d be useful. The players would be able to consult rough probability tables, as today in GURPS, but the heavy lifting would be computerized.
In short, what I would look for as my hobby’s next step, I can’t hope to provide. I’m not that kind of programmer or artist even if my game design skills were up to the task That being said, I think I’d be decent at managing the creation of such a beast. But that’s my own possible delusion.
Also . . . I’m having a pretty good time creating for GURPS Fourth Edition
. I like the people I interact with, I understand what I’m doing, and I can do it on my own time. So when all is said and done, my nascent decimal/decibel scaling mechanic that allows butterflies and T-Rexes with equal ease will stay nascent. I’ll have fun playing and creating for the system I enjoy greatly.
And at some point, someone might rise to the challenge of a truly integrated Next Gen RPG built with some of the really neat features we see emerging integrated right inside.
“Well . . . that’ll be an interesting day.”