Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Massively Multiplayer Offline RPG?

Mr. Dancey and Mr. Antunes seem to be almost riffing off the same theme, though their work appears to be independent of one another. So far. Anyone else wondering if Mr. Dancey has a GenCon surprise up his sleeve?

I'm a bit mixed on this latest portion of Mr. Dancey's plan to save the pen-and-paper RPG hobby. On the one hand, it sounds kinda cool: playing in a massive world, where the actions of your party have an effect on the gaming world as a whole. Games Workshop has been having some success generating excitement with similar “campaigns” for their fantasy and sci-fi war games. Mr. Dancey's “Legend of the Five Rings” has also benefited from similar play. Done well, this sort of thing could build into something really exciting.

But I'm seeing conflicts with yesterday's blog. Doesn't a single, persistent world require a unified set of rules? Yes, you could tell all sorts of stories in a single world, and the idea of taking a standard “kill the ogre” adventure and having one group play it as a standard monster hunt while another plays it as a drama full of tragedy and pathos is neat. But how far can those two group diverge and still say they are playing in the same world? How does the second group explain the self-sacrifice of their sorcerer, for instance, when the first group burns through resurrections like toilet paper?

Mr. Dancey's pulled a lot of rabbits out of his hat so far. And so far, I'm cautiously optimistic. But he promises a bit more technical info on how he thinks something like this might be implemented. I look forward to seeing him conjure an alligator.

Also, be sure to check out his “Time Out” piece on how roleplayers appear to segment within the hobby. Old data, but still interesting to consider. I'm pretty sure both I and the Trollwife fall pretty heavily on the Strategic/Story quarter.

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