Thursday, November 11, 2010

A random thought

Yeah, I've kind of broken with my planned monthly update schedule. Largely because Project BTR has gotten to the point where I need to get past thought experiments and actually get something serious put together in order for it to advance. And that is difficult for me right now.

One thing that I can talk about is my thoughts on the role of randomness in character generation. Most Palladium games involve lots of die rolling in the character generation process. You roll 8 stats on 3d6, unless you roll well enough to get a re-roll. Then you roll to see how many hit-points you get. Then you roll to see if your character starts with psionics. And that's before you make the first real choice about your character.

This does have the ability to make a character interesting. Like figuring out how to play a character with a 6 P.B. and a 23 M.A. But poor rolls in the wrong places can make a character into a total gimp. And Palladium acknowledges this to a degree, by allowing players to take physical skills to bump up those stats that came up poorly. At least, those that matter in the dangerous worlds that Palladium publishes.

Though the real humdinger comes when they try to balance completely unbalanced options by giving them an incredibly low chance of appearance. Like randomly determined psionics. Sure there's a massive chance your character won't have psionics at all, but there's also the small chance that your character will roll "major psionics" and have not only awesome psychic powers, but the ability to take an O.C.C. as well. Put that psychic in a Glitter Boy or some other powered armor and all bets are off.

So I face another decision point in BTR. What role should randomness play in BTR? I'm thinking of making sure that you can roll your stats, though offering a roughly equivalent point-buy. Rolling hit points and power points are definitely on the table, again with non-rolling equivalent options.