ultranos: elizabeth weir with arrow pointing at her with text "Has +50 to her Diplomacy Check" (roll your diplomacy check)
(I'm doing the "give me things to talk about" meme, with a few caveats. Feel free to leave me prompts. Leave more than one, if you want.)

[personal profile] auguris gave: "Summarize your perfect RPG. (Console or tabletop. Hell, both if you're up for it.)"

I'm going to tackle tabletop for now, because the tabletop system I'm writing has eaten my brain entirely.

As some of you might know, I'm in the process of writing a tabletop system and setting (and it's apparently grown a LARP setting) called Salt, Silk, and Steel. The impetus for this had a lot to do with a general state of dissatisfaction with tabletop RPGs.

First off: setting. I am fucking sick of Western European-inspired fantasy settings. I'm even more sick of them when they try to add other cultures in some bid for "inclusiveness" and come out looking like Imperialist caricatures, draped in the worst bits of Orientalism and "exotic" fetishization. (DnD Oriental Adventures, I am side-eying you so. hard.) The last woods-LARP I was in I left in disgust over having my complaints about a rather problematic take on my mother's culture ignored by the all-white staff. Let's not even get into rants about fantasy novels, as I have some rather unkind things to say about a rather popular and beloved YA fantasy author's portrayals.

So what I want is a setting that kicks the Western-Euro-centric setting of most fantasy systems to the curb and explores anything else. (In 3S, it just might be canonical that the Western Europe analogue is the least-interesting part of the world. I AM THAT BITTER.)

Second, and this is probably the most important: mechanics-roleplay integration. I want a game where both are equally important and necessary. In a lot of DnD, for example, the non-combat skills feel a bit tacked on (this has been lessened in later editions, but it's still somewhat there in 4E). And then you have games like FATE, where it's all roleplay and the mechanics are very lightweight. There needs to be a balance between "crunch" and "fluff". Something where someone who is a very good roleplayer can socially manipulate his way to his goals without necessarily needing to roll for it all the time, but at the same time, the mechanics junkie who isn't quite as good at talking to people off-the-cuff still feels like she can match him head-on if she puts enough points into the correct skills and the dice favor her.

That sort of balance is incredibly hard to even think about hitting. Hell, it might be impossible. But I'd love to see it happen.

Third: customization. Something where two PCs might look to have similar stats, but play very, very differently. Where it's pretty hard to find the One True Optimization, and a system that rewards unorthodox combinations and lateral thinking. Also hell to design, but we're on "perfect RPG" so why not.

Finally: A system where a single combat is tactically interesting and doesn't take 3 hours. :)
Date/Time: 2014-02-05 16:27 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] havocthecat
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
I'd like to see something less generically Western European fantasy and more specific - and not just European. Like, not "Ye Merrye Olden Days" and vaguely English or French, but Spain and northern Africa (I am sorry to be all "just the continent name," but I don't know which specific countries were in northern Africa during the Middle Ages and will do my research later) and their trading and interactions, or the Venetians and the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantines, or the just plain non-European areas, like China or the Mongol Empire (and not just Genghis Khan, who's the big name everyone knows), or any of the Mesoamerican empires. I know we don't have enough information for the Toltecs or the Olmecs without serious scholarly research, but come on, there are the Mayan and the Aztec and the Incan empires. (The problem there, of course, is "weird and freaky brown people and their weird and freaky human sacrifices" is almost invariably going to be a big theme.)

That said, your being bitter about the generic Western European setting is ENTIRELY UNDERSTANABLE and I am not telling you how to feel, just explaining how I feel.

You know my feelings, of course, about the balance between roleplay (love) and crunchy mechanics (also love).
Date/Time: 2014-02-05 20:11 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] havocthecat
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
OOH, SILK ROAD. (Steal Ye Merrye Olden Days. You should!)

Ahem. Sorry. I get carried away. There really isn't enough love of that in historical epics. Or in tabletops. I also just finished a really good book about Venetian naval history, which includes a lot of their interactions with the Byzantines and the Ottomans, and which goes back to the early Crusades. (Even the first one, I think.)

I think the Mediterranean area (outside of the Roman Empire) doesn't get enough expy love, you know? Which might be good, in some respects, just because of how terribly done anything not sheer flat-out English/French/Germanic ends up. Though I will say, I find the Germanic tribes to be fascinating, historically speaking, but I don't think you're referring to those.

As to Mesoamerican empires, well. I'm with you. Though I got lucky and have been going to the Field regularly since I was about five, so I got to see all their exhibits early. I mostly have to skip that section when I go with other people, though, because some of the sections on the bloodletting and sacrifice creep everyone else out. (I am gruesome and ghoulish, okay? I make no apologies for that. Even when I get lots of weird looks for it.)

My friend K. wants to run a LARP (New World of Darkness crossover) set in Mexico City with heavy, heavy Aztec influences, which I think could potentially be amazing (which is why I am signed on as a co-ST if it ever gets run, because I have all kinds of ideas for mages), but which I and many other people are also convinced would draw a number of character apps that involve the word "cholo," and a bunch of white conquistador vampires that have been hanging around since back in the day. We happen to be torn! Thankfully (sort of), I'm extra busy and she has a baby (and her husband is in dissertation hell), so we're moving really slow. It would help if she didn't have phone/internet/anything other than in-person social anxiety issues too, let's face it.

If you ever head back to Chicago and/or the Field Museum, we should make plans. :)

Also, yes. Tolkien was fine for back in the day. It is no longer back in the day. Move on, fiction-writing world!


ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)

Memoranda from the Usual Suspects

Media List:

Currently Watching:
-- Supergirl(hiatus)
--Pitch (hiatus)

Currently Playing:
--[null] (PS3)
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--[null] (XBox360)
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Currently Reading:


-The Rook, Daniel O'Malley
-Fortune's Rising, Sara King

-Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, David Daley


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