Since Slime Story has become a very ambitious project that I’m very determined to complete (i.e., turn into a complete, playable, and fun RPG), I’ve decided to start posting “Design Journal” entries so that folks can see the process and maybe get a little more excited about the game. (And maybe offer suggestions too.) I do kind of feel like I’ve been piling lots of bells and whistles onto the game, and I’m wondering if I won’t have to just get rid of some of them depending on how they work out in playtesting, but that’s how it goes, I guess. Here are the major things with the game that are on my mind at the moment:
Slime Story’s encounter rules are meant to be a relatively simple tactical game that players can enjoy on its own merits. It’s turned into a sort of D&D4e-light, mixed with bits of Meikyuu Kingdom and a few other things. Characters take turns and can do one Full Action (attacking and other involved stuff) and one Maneuver Action (moving and other actions that help indirectly) per turn.
The Action Stack is a set of cards representing each participant in an encounter. The GM simply shuffles the cards, and that’s the initiative order. (Certain conditions will let characters shift their card up or down in the stack.) The GM simply flips through the cards, and whoever’s card is on top gets to act.
The Battlefield Map is an abstract map with seven spaces arranged vertically. Characters can attack enemies that fall are within a number of spaces based on the Range of their attacks (a typical melee weapon has a range of 0-1, so it can hit enemies in the same area or an adjacent one), and can use a Maneuver Action to move from one area to an adjacent one.
To make both elements work more smoothly, I’m thinking of having a PDF with three sets of generic action cards and battlefield tokens/pawns for monsters (numbers, letters, and symbols), which you can use rather than having to prepare them for each type of monster you want to include in advance.
Right now the main boondoggle with encounters is that I want to have some way for characters to try to get a positional advantage, but I’m not sure how to go about that without having it be too time-consuming or giving too overwhelming of an advantage.
Achievements are probably one of my favorite things about the game. Achievements are very much like the things from Xbox 360 and other video game platforms, in that they archive a character’s accomplishments and contribute to his or her overall reputation. In Slime Story, the GM hands them out to players where appropriate during play, and everyone can suggest achievements after the session is over. Characters can “cash in” achievements for Character Points (to improve attributes and buy new abilities) and/or Influence (to buy stuff with).
I have a notion of having achievements cause characters to gradually build up a Renown rating, but I’m not sure what it would actually do in the game.
This is the newest thing, which wound up being a combination of a couple different things that were rattling around inside my head. During Interludes (the stuff that goes between encounters, where characters can quarrel, bond, make items, etc.), players have a limited number of Action Points (they get one per Interlude, and each gets one extra AP per episode) to spend on doing stuff. I’ve been wanting to have some mechanism for players to earn more AP if they want/need to. I also had a vague idea of having rules for random events, which the GM would periodically throw in to make things more interesting (so the monster hunters might run into a dead deer, get caught in a sudden downpour, bump into a police officer, get a call from home, etc.). It occurs to me that inconvenient “Happenings,” whether rolled randomly, devised by the GM in advance, or suggested by the people at the table, make an excellent way to both make protagonists’ lives more interesting and give an appropriate “fee” for awarding Action Points.