I still have this 12-page Google Doc of little bits and pieces of game design, and I have this blog, so I thought it was about time.
Instead of Conditions or Disadvantages
A lot of systems, including many I have played – GURPS, Old World of Darkness, Dungeons & Dragons, and so on – include a system of conditions and/or disadvantages. These are effects that limit a character’s capabilities, but also provide opportunities for roleplaying, conflict, and interesting situations. The problem is often when the GM is forcing a limitation on the PC. It is more interesting for the player to be the one to inflict the limitation on the character. When they do, pay them with XP. Willful – when someone breaks your will or forces you to do something, gain xp. Enemy – when you get the shit kicked out of you, gain xp. Etc.
Skill and Risk
When writing a skill list, include what can be done with the skill without risk, and then what you can do with a risk. Generally speaking, only require rolls for uses of skills that involve a risk.
Character Main Plot and Sub Plot
A while back I was listening to yet another episode of Writing Excuses, and the topic of discussion was giving each character a main plot and a sub-plot. Not to say that this should be done merely by rote, but rather the idea is to mimic a lot of media apart from RPGs. It is common for a character to have a main plot, often the main plot of the story and his or her part in it, and a sub-plot, something with lower stakes that is important only to the character.
Superhero Collateral Damage
I was thinking that it would be interesting for superheroes to gain bonus dice for their abilities by incurring collateral damage to their environment. Ever notice how a fight involving supers will wreck a city? So the superhero can either work carefully, keeping others safe (like Spider Man) or cut loose and deal maximum damage (like Hulk) with little or no concern for buildings and people around you. I feel like every superhero game should have this option, one way or another.
Base Four Character Archetypes
I was thinking about core class archetypes, for games like Numenera and other D&D clones. They are some version of the Fighter, Doer and Knower. With the fourth addition of Speaker, perhaps as a subset of Doer. Given that Knower and Speaker will often come with built-in supernatural abilities.