11 January 2008

Eldritch Role-Playing System

Goodman Games has a new game in the works, the Eldritch Role-Playing System. It seems to be a fairly traditional system that may have some interesting twists. Sticking with fairly traditional rules is something I count as a good thing. Not that I don’t enjoy a non-traditional game, but there’s plenty of room for games that build directly on tradition. Rearranging those traditional elements in different ways. Trying for innovation for the sake of innovation usually doesn’t produce satisfactory results. While reading about it, I came across this comment by one of its creators, Dan Cross:
A die-roll defense system can go on for a long time, indeed. In my experience combat systems that rely on opposed rolls do run the risk of becoming endless dice rolling-fests, especially with two characters of equal power.
(Let me say up front that the following isn’t meant as a criticism of Dan or his game. I’ve made similar comments myself. I’m just commenting on the topic.) Which, of course, is what you would expect. With two evenly matched opponents, there should be three possible outcomes...
  • A draw, either by agreement or because exhaustion or some other factor ends the conflict
  • One of the opponent’s just gets lucky
  • One of the opponent’s finds a tactic to shift the odds in his favor
The last is the most desirable, in my opinion. And when I say “tactics”, I don’t mean finding a loophole in the rules. I don’t mean leveraging better knowledge of the rules. I mean using terrain, maneuvering, out-flanking, etc. Stuff that the rules generally don’t need to explicitly address.

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