I spent much of the last week of June camping in the wilds of Oregon with relatives. While it was quite enjoyable, I am troubled by my constant feeling that I was in a Ranger camp like Esteldin. I kept expecting Earthkin to jump out and start beating me with giant clubs.
I would like to say I spent much of last week working diligently on my web project, but no. I did revamp some of the user code, but mostly I've been on a strange Team Fortress 2 kick - the Huntsman is now probably my weapon of choice, though I'm still pretty bad with it.
As far as project W O T A N is concerned, I recently reached a major breakthrough in terms of the game's conceptual design: I discovered GURPS - the Generic Universal Role-Playing System. (Note that link takes you to GURPS lite, a free pdf of the basic rules.)
OK, I know GURPS has been around since forever ... I've just never been much of the PnP gamer. I have heard GURPS mentioned often in nerd circles long before I was legal to drive a car and I know the basic concepts, but I had never actually sat down with the rules. Until now.
It is a little eerie to me how similar the GURPS "success roll" is to what my "saving throw" was shaping up to be. Even had I not been exposed to this, it is likely there would have been a number of striking similarities between the basic mechanics.
I was led to GURPS because I have been having a hard time conceptualizing the combat system. I have been immersing myself in initiative rolls and weapon stat modifiers and what-not, and frankly it's enough to make all but the most seasoned Grognard's head asplode. So I did what any "normal" lol person does in that situation. I started searching the web for why RPG combat sucks.
That led me to this post on the Forge forums, which I have really taken to heart. My main goal for this game is really about textual interaction of a variety of sorts. While combat is one of those - even a major one at that - it does not necesarily need to be somehow different or more expanded than the others.
I have been trying to keep in mind that complexity must be balanced simplicity - by relegating combat to a series of atomic (meaning independent, not related) skills rather than it's own system which has skills to modify its outcomes I will be able to code much easier for one thing. Reducing combat to mere saving throws will also allow me to focus on really fleshing out that system, which then will also benefit the other aspects of the game like npc interaction, thief-mechanics and the like.
And understanding the basic of mechanics of GURPS is going to save me some extra brainwork. I suppose at this point you can expect the basic rules to come down to a heavily simplified and bastardized GURPS homebrew. Though for the sake of me not being a total hack I have to say my original system is almost scarily similar to the basic rules in outlined in GURPS lite - I suppose great minds think alike, lol. The really funny thing is that I came to this path strictly for site extensability issues in that I want to make modding the game for new websites a snap.
But seriously. While combat perhaps occupies a place that might justify it's own system, npc interaction would as well, as would other systems I would like to elaborate as well. So in the end it will be more beneficial to me getting this done and to system resources to keep them all running in the same way, with only minor embellishments.
Then the focus stays where I want it - on creating specialized characters which have as large as possible variety of strategic options. I didn't mention it, but I actually solved my issue referring to Dexterity as Agility by simply adding Agility to the game and keeping Dexterity for saving throws that require handiwork. So now we are up to nine stats for a character and I still may add another or two.
So the scales of complexity and simplicity tip a little, but still stay in balance ... for now!