Tag Archive for game design philosophy

Hey! Listen!

While Pyron has a skill that allows characters to move stealthily (Evasion), there is no dedicated spot/listen/perception skill. Instead, characters use their Cunning attribute in order to determine where hidden enemies are located. This design decision was made for two major reasons. The first is that it means that all characters have a chance to hunt down hidden enemies, even if they haven’t invested heavily in a skill. The second is that, despite this, characters with high ranks of Evasion will generally have the edge when paired against those hunting them.

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What about the Traditional “Gamers?”

We focus a lot on making sure that our setting is equal for everyone. Because we write from an American standpoint, being Americans ourselves, this involves improving the situation of the groups of people that are not at the top of the social food chain in American society. So, we write about how women, transgendered individuals, people of different skin colours, and people of various romantic and sexual inclinations, are all at the top of the chain now. What we haven’t done, however, is lower the dominant groups of the real world; we chose to uplift everyone to the same level, without a similar lowering for dominant groups.

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Crit… Doesn’t Happen, Actually

Early in the development of the Seref System we made the decision that we weren’t going to include automatic successes or critical failures as part of the rules. For a time we allowed automatic successes when play testers rolled a one on skill checks, but this became incredibly muddied when two players each rolled a one in opposed checks. Because we use a D10 system, it’s pretty easy to roll a one, or a ten, moreso than with a D20, where it’s still annoyingly common to see fighters accidentally fling their swords across the room. So rather than have a one in ten chance of humiliating failure, or automatic success that couldn’t be stopped nine times out of ten, we chose to write them out of the game altogether.

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You Can’t Do That on Tabletop

In all truth, one of the things I hate the most in a role-playing experience is coming up with a cool idea, and being told “No, you can’t, the rules don’t allow for it”. So far as I’m concerned, RPGs are games of escapism and creativity, and rules that seek to restrict what a player can do, at all turns, go against those ideals to me.

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Flawless System

If it’s not been made clear already, the staff of Seref is primarily made up of neurovariant, mentally ill, and disabled individuals. We, all of us, have some condition or another that many other games treat as flaws, which players may acquire for their characters, in order to get extra points to spend on other, more ‘fun’ things. This is something that rubs us the wrong way. The very short answer is that we do not see our illnesses and disabilities as items to be collected on a stat sheet so someone can pick up more fun stats somewhere else.

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