Saturday, May 31, 2008

d20 Rethought: Status Report

So, d20 Rethought. I haven't really talked about it on this blog for nearly two full months. A very ambitious project, with the aim of singlehandedly designing a better version of the d20 system. My posts all gave collections of simple rules and changes paired with awkward attempts to convey the larger changes they would bring supposedly bring about. None of these posts involved any real description of how all these concepts fit together in a functional manner. Alot of promises, relatively little to back it up. So. . .in all honesty, how is the project faring?

It's doing well. Very, very well.

When I have problems with this blog, when my updates slow due to my courseload (and now because my job search takes top priority), it isn't that I've stopped working on design to any real degree; it's just that I'm not spending as much time writing my thoughts out for others to see. This is amplified by a few other factors in the case of d20 Rethought; mostly the fact that the system I've been putting together is more than the sum of its parts. I had trouble figuring out how to describe this, until I found out there was a word for it. d20 Rethought relies very heavily on emergent design, the use of small but comprehensive alterations to effect large-scale results within a system. (That reminds me- I really need to write out some of my theories on the use of system dynamics in game design. Another post. . .) To put it another way, I'm not going to get a lot across if I start with a laundry list of mechanics. Better to begin with the grand claim and then explain how it's achieved with the key rules and examples.

Because in case I haven't made it clear, the core workings of d20 Rethought are done. Figured out. I know the core details of the system, including the underlying math going into character balance and scaling over time. I've found ways to greatly simplify mechanics while improving the strategic depth and flexibility of gameplay, greatly decrease the abstraction of combat while retaining ease of play, increase the level realism/grittiness without hampering playability or overdoing the lethality, make mental prowess and physical prowess equally vital to a character (even in a nonmagical setting), and present fantastical physical stunts and magic as balanced options that still work in different ways. I'm working on a series of posts that will explain how; and I promise you, this will be something worth waiting for.

No comments: