Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Travellers Beyond Role-Playing Game

    Ever since High School I have been designing an RPG called Travellers Beyond (or just TB for short).  It has taken literally decades to work on because 1) I've been designing it as a hobby in my spare time, 2) I don't really play much anymore, and 3) it is a huge, complicated game.  Currently, having an excess of time on my hands, I have been devoting at least an hour of every day working on the game.  I can only use the library computers for 2 hours a day (sadly I don't have one of my own anymore), but I have managed to type about 160 pages - which is about half-way to the completed, basic game.
    I'm going to be posting parts of the game as I work on them, just for the heck of it and because I'd love to get feedback on if the game sounds promising or like the deluded ramblings of a madman :)  But first, a quick overview of what TB is about.
    TB is a universal, customizable role-playing game.  Universal because it is designed to handle any type of setting and characters and abilities.  From fantasy to science-fiction, wizards to cybernetic dragons, from leaping tall buildings in a single bound to a pet dinosaur.  A part of what has taken so long in designing TB is continually stretching and expanding the rules to cover every story I have read or seen.
    Customizable is because TB has several levels of detail, from "rules lite" to "rules heavy" as well as different methods for rolling dice / resolving conflicts.  The many different styles of games are just like the many different settings - and TB tries to cover everything so that you can make the game you like, in content as well as feel and mechanics.
    Role-Playing Game is something I take seriously.  I read an awesome post by Justin Alexander on his blog The Alexandrian about dissociated mechanics (http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/17231/roleplaying-games/dissociated-mechanics-a-brief-primer).  These are rules that the Player thinks about, but that the Character does not.  Like the "usable three times per day" abilities in Pathfinder/DnD.  The Player has to track the uses, but what exactly is that Character thinking?  Why is it only three times, why not four?  It is a break from actually playing a character, instead you're "gaming the system."  I loved the post because it articulated something I have felt since designing TB - every rule, every effect needs to have a role-playing reason behind it.  That is the only way to maintain a logical system, and it helps keep the player in character.  I have tried very hard in designing TB to avoid any dissociated mechanics, even traditional ones like experience and character creation.
    TB is a huge, potentially wonderful game - if I can write it right, and if I can ever finish it.  Starting soon I'll begin posting sections of the rules and I welcome any and all comments.

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