Monday, August 12, 2013

Context before mechanics, or "Setting before dice"

So there's this setting idea I've been cooking up for many many years. It's grown, evolved, been scrapped, reincarnated, buried in soft peat for years then redistributed as firestarters, and so on. Part of the problem was that it kept changing based on which game system I was in the mood to play.

Which is nonsense. Setting is setting, story should be divorced from mechanics.

So as I continue to write up this setting, I'm ignoring thoughts about mechanics. The setting is broad enough and deep enough it can be played multiple ways, and the mechanics chosen will help set the mood and style of play.

As mentioned in my previous post about my current game campaign, several game companies are releasing their product under one or another form of a Creative Commons license, meaning that players can take the setting and adapt to other game engines as desired, or write and publish supplementary information without licensing. Posthuman Studio's excellent Eclipse Phase being one example and the Symbiosis art book, by Steven Sanders, is another example of setting without any mechanical context. Which means one day we may see GURPS Symbiosis as well as d20 versions of it and others.

So in a similar vein, and not to drive myself further insane, my development of Empyrean will follow , suit. I will develop it first as a Setting then start writing specific game mechanics for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment