Today's article is exciting to me due to two reasons. Firstly, it is the first project-post ever in my brief blogging history. What this means is that in addition to the actual article I am putting one of my game projects up for anyone to download and experiment with. So please, if you're interested, have a look at the projects section elsewhere on the site. This has been a long standing goal for me, and even though I can't surmise how likely it is that the projects I share here will indeed entertain anyone but me and my friends, at least they're out there and available.
Secondly, this is my first blog post involving table-top roleplaying games, an old love of mine, and a topic I will definitely be revisiting again later. I started roleplaying at the tender age of 11. Probably due to the heavy recession of the early 90's, none of us were affluent enough to buy our own rulebooks back then, so we homebrewed our own systems, with the assistance of borrowed materials and youthful enthusiasm. I've recently discovered that due to this history of inventiveness I'm incapable of using any rpg-system without at least tweaking it heavily: most often my attempts at running a long standing campaign dry out before hitting the starting line, because I get more excited about creating the system, than planning out the games sessions themselves.
And so we get to the project I'm about to post out for your perusal: Dungeoncrawling. It stemmed from a short-term addiction to Dungeon Robber, a browser game based on an old D&D random dungeon generating map. After spending a while poking around the unpredictable and deadly cave systems produced by said game, and fueled by fond memories of old school dungeon crawling fun, I set out to create my own variant of said gametype. Namely, I wanted to explore the aesthetic of ”game master vs. the players” definitely present in the Gygaxian way of setting up a roleplaying game. This interested me especially, since it is pretty much opposite to how I usually run roleplaying games.
In my usual games, whatever sounds fun for everyone works for me, and players have a fair amount of influence on how the story progresses (or at least, I go to lenghts to uphold the illusion that they do; which is almost more important). Thus, a game which the players have to approach as a hostile environment to survive in is a very interesting change of pace. Additionally, I wanted to do away with the usual complexity of character creation, minimizing the choices and dice rolls required to flesh out a character. I think this is crucial to a game with fairly low life-expectancy for a character of any level. And finally, as a bit of a quirk in game design I wanted to experiment with a to-hit system based on the target's size, instead of any other arbitrary factor.
The zip file currently contains just a ruleset and a character sheet. The system itself is very bare bones at the moment, and probably requires some experience with roleplaying games and/or fantasy tropes in the relevant genres to work adequately. On this note, in my experience with this type of game, genre-savvyness (or whatever you want to call it) is in fact often more important to player survivability than common sense in general: habitually poking everything with a ten-foot pole is actually rather productive, if you want to survive an old-school dungeon. I'm planning on revising the system, adding charts (oh, charts, the best thing ever in a roleplaying rulebook!) and item lists. This type of a game also works best with adventure modules, as a base for the game master's judicious decisions. Whilst I'll probably try my hand at module making eventually, my original idea was to use the various free adventure modules available on the internet already as a sort of a base to work from. (Check this extensive list of free adventure modules.) Try the game out, and don't hesitate to drop me a line with comments or questions.