Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Design Notes, continued
One of the decisions made early on was for WotRP to be compatible with the various versions of D&D out there. To do this, I thought that using OD&D for the basic groundwork would be the best idea, but at the same time had to take into account all the other great stuff: B/X, AD&D, the "tweaks" made by clones like S&W, etc. Classes immediately became a point of contention with, um, myself.
On one hand, one of the biggest strengths of OD&D and its clone offspring was the limited array of classes available. When all you have to choose from is Fighting Man, Cleric, and Magic User, but what you really want to play is Aragorn, you tend to pick the closest base class and make up the difference via roleplaying - which makes for an unpredictable and fun gaming environment. Sure, Frank's character sheet says Cleric, but what he's really going to do with that is anyone's guess. Kindly Padre? Voodoo Necromancer? Zen Assassin? So I didn't want to lose that strength - being able to pick from a limited pool of classes and shape them how you want through good story telling.
On the other hand, a bigger variety of classes is important to a lot of players, and one of the reasons AD&D is so popular to this day - multiple evocative, richly defined classes that offer players multiple springboards to launch from. The popularity of having that wider selection of PC classes is obvious - a demand that both Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry have answered by publishing their respective AEC and Complete versions.
As I discussed recently on BtBG, there seems to be a sort of "natural progression" of complexity and options inherent in RPGing. What if I could work that into the system itself? And make sure to work it into the "sweet spot" between low level and high level play? How to get players to explore all the options available to WotRP's "base" classes, like Mentalists, before running with the "fringe" classes, like Psychic Knights? When looked at from all those different perspectives, the solution was fairly simple (which is good, I wanted nothing more complex than OD&D or B/X), while still opening up a nice range of "Advanced" options.
To be continued...