April 03, 2011

Gaia Gamma as an old school game

I envision Gaia Gamma definitely as an old school kind of RPG. To clarify what that means for me here are the main points for me:

  • The rules should be complete enough to be able to play everything from single sessions to campaigns. That does not mean that each and every minute detail of a game must be covered by a rule - a definite aspect of old school gaming is freeform decision making on behalf of the game master. But there must be enough meat to the game that it can be fun for many years to come.
  • The rules should be contained in one rulebook of pretty short size. Old school games usually excelled by having less than 128 pages of rules and quite often they were in the 32-64 pages range. So I also want to go for a ruleset in the 2 digit range. More below.
  • As I see Gaia Gamma as a very old school game I'll just be using six sided dice. There was nothing else in the beginning and why would I want to bother my players with having to procure obscure dice (ok, nowadays that's not much trouble but still...).
  • Character creation should be quick. At most 15 minutes for a new character and less is better.
  • Stat blocks should be very short and manageable. One line for a monster should be enough, at least when ignoring the repetitive mentioning of special abilities.
  • Some class and/or skill mechanism (simple but allowing for archetyping) will be there, as well as level based advancement.
  • Character development will have to come from the players and will not get much support in the rules. I don't like game mechanics defining character traits, etc.
  • Campaign settings are the domain of the game master. The core rules just wil provide for some ideas and templates but will not cover any specific game world.
  • Randomness should abound... encounters... treasures... mutations... special events... generation of settlements... whatever.
So that's basically it. Not tremendously surprising but a baseline to follow during the design phase.

And concerning the logo above: I really love the OSR logo finalized by Thomas Denmark - it's great. I just wish he would have used a license that covers using ir for games not compatible with the original white box rules of D&D. A more liberal license like "for any recreation of original games dated before 1980" or something like that would have been very nice.

So I guess I will have to go with the more liberal logo created by Chad Thorson which I also like but which really has a tendency to read a bit like "CSR".

Oh well... let me know if Thomas Denmark gets softer on the logo license ;-)

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