18 February 2015

Role app

Role is an iOS app (Android version “coming soon”) designed to aid in the playing of a traditional role-playing game.

The app is based on its own system. You can download a copy of it off their web site, and you could easily play it without the app. You can get a bit lost with just the app, so it may be worth reading it before trying to play with the app. (Although, it may be more likely that you get lost in the app because you’re expecting more than is there rather than not understanding the system.)

This system is very light. It is very similar to Risus without the emphasis on humor. So no complaints there.

The app itself doesn’t really do much, though. About all it does is “roll the dice” for you; determine failure, success, or critical success; and track XP. As it currently lacks the ability to save your characters or adventures, it is really hard to see the point. And you might think that the app would communicate and coördinate with the other players’ apps, but it doesn’t. It does nothing to make the GM’s job easier that Notepad doesn’t do. There may be potential here, but it is severely unrealized thus far.

(And rolling actual dice is a huge part of the fun for me.)

They are positioning it as a “party game”, though I don’t think that excuses the lack of saving. That does seem to be one of the features they are working on, though.

It has a few character templates and more that can be purchased. There is very little to making a character here (make up three skills) so the templates don’t really seem to be much value. On the other hand, a free-form system like this really benefits from examples. shrug The templates seem so intent on supporting any genre that they come across as supporting only a very specific kitchen-sink genre. I personally didn’t find them inspiring.

There are also a few adventures and a few more to purchase. They have, however, too much setting and not enough adventure. Especially considering the apparent aim towards one-shots over campaigns.

It is nice to see an app that aimed to support very traditional role-playing in the “no miniatures” mode. But basic functionality (e.g. saving) is missing, what they have needs to be refined (e.g. genre-specific character templates and a bit more depth to the adventures), and they need to figure out how such an app could really help the GM.


Oculus Orbus said...

Robert, do you know of a good DMing for iOS? I'll be getting an iPhone soon and any informed advice is always a good thing.

Oculus Orbus said...

*a good DMing app. Oops.

Robert Fisher said...

I’ll do a post on the apps I use. (Spoiler: Nothing too special.)

Oculus Orbus said...

Gracias, muchacho.