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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Active gaming causes game design questions, Stalls progress



Lately I have been in a complete stall with my Shards of Thimbral project. This blog which I intended to use as a backbone and support for that project, has been ranging widely around the world of RPG's. Meanwhile and I have not been making much progress on the game.
Yeah that about covers it.
I hit a place just before Thanksgiving , where I need to play the game a lot to iron out kinks. The holidays came everyone got busy and I have not been able to recover my stride quite yet.

Add to this I have been second guessing my design. I’m not sure my original design decisions are leading me down a path that will take me to the game I want to create. It's an odd place to be because I am generally very confident about my design decisions and while I think the ideas I have are strong, I have this nagging feeling that I am missing some important element. 


I have a strong feeling that I will answer my own nagging questions once I start play testing again and can get a e more games under my belt just to see what's working and what is not.

On the upside I have been playing a lot more lately that I was a few months ago. My old school D&D 2nd ed game is plugging along, we are doing a 4th ed dungeon crawl, and playing Numenera regularly.

Some of the things that I am finding fun and interesting about these games are the exact things that are making me question my own game design. Numenera is a very traditional role playing game wrapped in modern games design robes. Playing it makes me think about the uses of skill checks random rolls in a more narrative wrapper. Shards of Thimbral eliminates random risk, but should I? Is controlled risk less fun at the table?
do I really want to do a controlled burn of all my work so far?


Another thing I have been pondering is that the die mechanic for Shards of Thimbral could lead to any impasse turning into something drawn out. As it stands this would be completely in the hands of the players, I don't want the phrase “The goblin guard leaps from the shadows!” to turn into a half hour back and forth narration. I need to account for that kind of thing in a solid mechanical way. One way being, like Numenera has, is to bring resolution back to a more traditional model. To do so would  mean a revision of all my design goals for the project.

That's what on my mind at the moment.

Here are some of my current inspirations:


Questions and comments welcome!