Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#RPGaDay2015: Days 25-27

25th) Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic
The Earthdawn RPG might not have been the first system to include a mechanic for "karma," "fate points," "hero points," or "drama points," but it was definitely the first one that I ever played any significant amount. These points give the players more control over the fate of their characters, which encourages taking bigger risks and thus creating more exciting games. In my experience, the idea works better when the mechanic is a central element of the game, as it is in Earthdawn, as well as Cinematic Unisystem and Cortex-based games.

In contrast, I own sourcebooks with optional rules for action points for D&D v.3.5 and hero points for Pathfinder. I find those rules clunky and awkward to use because they were designed after the fact, rather than as a part of the core game.

26th) Favorite inspiration for your game
For The Kynthiad, I draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources: museum artifacts, collections of Greek myths, historical texts, and "sword & sandals" movies. The last of these is probably the most useful for working out the look I want for a monster or character, because of the wealth of movie stills available online. As I've mentioned in an earlier column, I cast characters using real actors, so finding a good photo of an actor in costume can often suggest an entire character to me. And sometimes I find something that makes me curious enough to track down a new movie or series to watch--and if I'm lucky, enjoy.

27th) Favorite idea for merging two games into one
In one of Kenneth Hite's Suppressed Tranmission columns, he suggested that GMs who needed a quick idea for a new campaign could just pick two random GURPS sourcebooks and mash them together. Many of his columns do exactly that, but "Uncle Ken" has a knack for making such random-seeming hybrids sound far more exciting than you might think. One of my favorites combined supers with the Cthulhu Mythos: contact with eldritch entities and energies provides the origin stories for superhuman heroes. In this world, the line between the heroes and the monsters they fight is far blurrier than in conventional four-color comics.

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