For the last several months, I have been discussing axiomatic gaming theory. We spent several lunches trying to boil an RPG down to its basic parts. Much to our chagrin, we could not find a single rule that must be done in every situation. The closest we came was that an RPG has to tell a story, but countless nonsensical games prove that this does not always have to be the case. So, at the urging of my friend, I have decided to write my role playing game manifesto. I say ‘my’ because not everyone will agree with my views. That is fine; we are all entitled to our own opinions, but I challenge this of you: Instead of finding what is wrong with my manifesto, write one of your own explaining your point of view.
One of the things that I find disappointing in games these days is the base mechanics of a system. Often, games try to create a single mechanic that works in all situation. I find this is a flawed mentality, kind of like using slope-intercept equation to plot a bell curve. OK, so using rules for a game is a little more flexible. But honestly, why do you want to force a mechanic into a situation that makes it less than efficient.
I think a system should have multiple mechanics. The % thieving abilities worked in 1st edition, They may not have been for everyone, but they worked and they were efficient. The person playing the thief was familiar with his character’s key skills and it wasn’t lost in a list of other skills. I find that a player knew what percentage he needed without looking at his sheet, where now it appears that most players need to look up any skill they want to use. I’ve seen a degree of mechanic dissemination on the internet entitled “Steal this Mechanic”. Often time these articles are not aimed at any particular system. Someone sees a hole in a game’s mechanic and creates a rule to fill it. They may not be necessary for all game masters, but most I’ve seen are well thought out and appropriate for many systems.
Since I do not believe in the ‘One Mechanic to rule them’, I cannot suggest a mechanic for you to use. I suggest simplicity over realism, fluff over crunch, fun over rules. Examine your mechanics and the effects on your group. If mechanics take too long and others at the table feel the need to do other things, then you may need to find a new mechanic. If your games are fun and everyone likes the way it works, leave it as it is.
As always, your travels may. Take what you like and leave the rest for the next traveler.
Categorised as: Optional Rules