Saturday, June 18, 2011

[WRG]An RPG Design Exercise

Some time ago, Jeff Rients issued a challenge: "Start with a core set of rules, the older and crappier the better. You can use an RPG but some half-baked wargame works even better. Produce a two or three page document with suggestions for improving the rules/adapting them for RPG play and an outline for a campaign. Expand this to a 50-100 page book."

Well, I love a challenge. I've done this before, in fact, starting with a boardgame from West End Games called Tales of the Arabian Nights, which resulted in a lovely little game that has gotten quite a lot of play in the local area and good feedback from people who were not even aware that I was the principal designer. However, that design was developed by people who are very much fans of the design models of the Forge, or whose design agendas were otherwise different than my own (something I didn't really understand at the time), and took the ideas in some directions that weren't entirely my own intention. So, I thought I'd try again, from a direction more like the Original Roleplaying Game.

That led to my current design attempt, which starts with the WRG Ancients and Medieval rules in their 6th edition, from 1980. Like Chainmail, it includes a fantasy supplement. It also includes rules for adjudicating single combat between generals and champions. However, tonight I read an entry from Trollsmyth, who pointed out that I might be setting the cart before the horse by trying to design it in the way to which I have become accustomed.

So, given that, I'm going to start talking through my design process here. My concept is that this is an alternate world, in which the only previous roleplaying game of any sort has been Braunstein, and I have never actually played in that but have only heard about it (which is the case). I have decided to figure out how to do this with the WRG Ancients and Medieval rules, but I am also interested in giving the players some control over their characters, giving the characters random or semi-random strengths and weaknesses that allow the players to make decisions as to their goals and so forth, rather than being assigned goals.

To be continued.


  1. Thanks for the link!

    Sounds like an intriguing exercise. I'm curious to see where you go with it.

  2. No problem. You reminded me of something that I was passing over without thinking. It's important to approach this sort of thing thoughtfully.

    I hope that you, and others, find it interesting.