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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Musings on RPGs and numbers

Let's talk about a new system. Here's a link to what the Vivid RPG system is meant to accomplish.
(You can check Gods of Gondwane on rpgnow, it uses Vivid AFAIK. I'll be waiting for the Hari Ragat RPG, because I love Southeast Asian settings... and Southeast Europeans ones, for that matter).
Now, I'm not going to copy and dissect the post for you. Instead, I'd tell you what impresses me most.
It is the part about "descriptive character creation". I've lost the count of people who play freeform and told me they want to join one of my games...
If that's all, they just join. However, if there is a "but", you can almost safely bet the next sentence would be "I'm bad with NUMBERS".
Isn't our hobby doing itself a disservice by insisting on the "lots of numbers, quantify everything" model popular with, say, Pathfinder? It's not a matter of simulationism or narrativism. I've played good sim games with less than 5 numbers on my character sheet (usually by approaching some indie game as a simulationist).

It's a big question, and one I have no answer to. I'd say time would tell, but games like Vivid are unlikely to replace PF on the North-American market regardless of comparative qualities! Popularity, marketing, should I enumerate it?
But maybe they can get a hold in another region of the world first, especially one where D&D and Pathfinder aren't running the show yet? Or maybe you can get freeform players to try it - and face it, freeform players outnumber us by orders of magnitude! Some of them have even invented their own systems by taking note of random or resource allocation solutions they've heard about or invented for use in a past game. Which is more or less how D&D was invented, too, AFAICT...

This post will rightfully be titled "musings". I don't offer any particular insight, just a new game to look at, and even more importantly, I offer you questions. You answer them for you.
Then we could compare notes in a year or two.