Roll for Sanity

Mostly about tabletop and laptop role-playing games.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

I'm Working on an RPG Book

Some of you may know by now that I'm writing an RPG book. I started on it two weeks ago. My plan was to learn how to use Scrivener, which I had bought a couple years ago and hadn't really used yet. It was just a matter of me thinking of something to write about.

For years, I wrote technical manuals. But never any fiction. In a way, RPGs are fiction. A month ago, my train of thought was to write an adventure module for Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition. Then I thought about writing or designing an RPG. That idea turned into writing a book on how to role-play.

Role-play for what though? Using what game system?

Well for starters, I wasn't sure if I could write in the style I wanted to using Scrivener. I looked at other writers RPG books to see what layouts and font styles I liked. I also looked at how chapters and sections were outlined and how the page numbering was shown.

Once I got the page design the way I wanted, I could then start on the actual writing of the book. That has been the fun part so far. In the back of my mind though, I'm not all that thrilled that I've chosen to use software that is primarily used for creating young adult fiction and romance novels. The very technical features of the software hinted that it could be used for creating very technical as well as prose writing. For now, I am just trying for my book to not look like a 15-year-old wrote it.

To that regard, I've given up fighting Scrivener to make it do the things it can't really do. I'll just have to KISS while writing my ideas in the chapters. In the end it will be very easy to read. While at the same time, the role-playing topics will seem very complicated to readers who already think of themselves as role-players.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Which RPG Systems are my Favorite

Text in a vlog? Sure, why not. Let's go with some Verdana font. Some computers may have issue using it, but whatever. I just wanted to say something here on the subject of which RPG systems are my favorite.

I general, I pick (or I should say, I find) a new RPG system once every ten years that interests me and that I'll actually buy. (I found two in one year, though! Amazing!! That will probably never happen again.) The key to my liking of an RPG is not the setting of the game, but the system. The die mechanics of the game. Well, sometimes the XP and leveling up system don't bother me if written minimally. I simple loathe XP and leveling up in games.

But if there are no classes used in a game system, that will make up for the waste of pages used to explain how XP and leveling up work in a game, which I'll ignore anyway in the book. What I do like to see in a good RPG system are skills. Skill-based games are the way to go in 2nd-Gen RPGs. The three RPGs that I'll be listing below as favorites of mine are all skill-based, as well as 2nd-Gen systems.

The reason why I like 2nd-Gen a lot is not only because of the skill-based system, but because the skills are unified. Each skill does not have its own mini-game such as the ones listed in 1st-Gen RPGs, where using each skill requires opening the rulebook to see how the skill works and how it can be used. Because each skill is different, each one should have a different rule written for it, obviously. That was Gygax's approach to his 1st-Gen game design he used in his adventure games.

What little role-play there was at the table to begin with was halted every time a player asked the DM what their character could do. Only the DM could read and explain how a skill worked to players. Some DMs would just skip the skills section of the books and have players make save rolls for everything. Watered-down 1st-Gen games are the worst to play in.

Since I come from a role-play perspective, meaning that role-play comes first during a game session, I want nothing to do with a game system that halts role-play. Game systems should never get in the way of role-playing at the table. Die rolls should be made quick and also resolved quick with no more than a hiccup during a game. Die rolls involve rolling equal to or over target numbers that are difficulty levels. This is the beauty of 2nd-Gen RPGs.

And since there are people here that prefer to read than watch videos, I can always post another page answering what was said above just now.

And here are my favorite RPG systems:

Mongoose Traveller Second Edition 2016

Total Party Skills 2022

CORE Micro v3.0 2022