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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » RPG Design

Subject: Underutilized Themes rss

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Michael Taylor
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ctimmins wrote:
You say all these games that "aren't being played". That doesn't mean people aren't playing them. It just means people you know aren't playing them.


It also means that when I go to look at the RPG's listed here (http://rpggeek.com/rpg/random) the more they try approaches like this the more they are owned by only one person, not rated, empty forums, and empty files.

So it's possible someone is playing them, but I don't have any evidence to support that.
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I'm not sure if everyone who uses the site uses it to keep track of their collection though. And I still have at least half, possibly two thirds, of mine to enter.
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Kevin
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For weather and survival, you might like Do Not Let Us Die In The Dark Night Of This Cold Winter. It's more of a generic supplement for any medieval-ish RPG, but it wouldn't take much work to bump it up to a standalone.

I wrote a brief reaction to it here:

https://www.rpggeek.com/geeklist/236589/item/6481752#item648...
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Jim Patching
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I'd like more straight up historical games without any weird stuff or magic - world war 2, Napoleonics (something like Sharpe), Medieval, whatever.
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Phil Dutré
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I remember a quote from many years ago (but don’t remember where I read it), that said that “the worst thing that happened to roleplaying games is that they got stuck in the ghetto of juvenile fantasy settings”. The sentiment was that roleplaying games could be so much more, but because they basically targeted the ‘male nerdy crowd’, they never fully lived up to their potential.

I don’t completely agree with that statement, but there’s a certain ground of truth in it. I do think that it has stiffled the evolution of roleplaying games. Granted, we see a lot of exciting new ideas in the indy games, but in the commercial games, the premisses of 80s roleplaying (fantasy, party, combat-oriented) is still there.
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Phil Dutré
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panzer-attack wrote:
I'd like more straight up historical games without any weird stuff or magic - world war 2, Napoleonics (something like Sharpe), Medieval, whatever.


You should pick up miniature gaming ;-)
The past years have seen lots of games that are more character-driven, although still very much combat-oriented.
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Clark Timmins
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cauldronofevil wrote:
So it's possible someone is playing them, but I don't have any evidence to support that.

At least one massive area of RPG that almost surely does not have significant representation at our site is the educational RPG arena. These games are played by thousands of participants and their "rulebooks" probably have sold more than most traditional games, because students in classes are required to have them, etc.

I'm not talking about "we play D&D as a class in my school", I'm talking about RPGs that are built from the ground-up for use in educational and collegiate settings. Often, they are about... really "weird" things (if viewed from a traditional FRPG angle). Like, say, acid rain in Europe or proper management of turfgrass for golf courses. Or roleplaying the Krebs Cycle. And no, I'm not making this up


Roleplaying Games Designed for Education
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Phil Dutré
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ctimmins wrote:
cauldronofevil wrote:
So it's possible someone is playing them, but I don't have any evidence to support that.

At least one massive area of RPG that almost surely does not have significant representation at our site is the educational RPG arena. These games are played by thousands of participants and their "rulebooks" probably have sold more than most traditional games, because students in classes are required to have them, etc.

I'm not talking about "we play D&D as a class in my school", I'm talking about RPGs that are built from the ground-up for use in educational and collegiate settings. Often, they are about... really "weird" things (if viewed from a traditional FRPG angle). Like, say, acid rain in Europe or proper management of turfgrass for golf courses. Or roleplaying the Krebs Cycle. And no, I'm not making this up


Roleplaying Games Designed for Education


Roleplaying is an established technique as an experiential learning method, and predates D&D;-)
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William Hostman
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philip.dutre wrote:
ctimmins wrote:
cauldronofevil wrote:
So it's possible someone is playing them, but I don't have any evidence to support that.

At least one massive area of RPG that almost surely does not have significant representation at our site is the educational RPG arena. These games are played by thousands of participants and their "rulebooks" probably have sold more than most traditional games, because students in classes are required to have them, etc.

I'm not talking about "we play D&D as a class in my school", I'm talking about RPGs that are built from the ground-up for use in educational and collegiate settings. Often, they are about... really "weird" things (if viewed from a traditional FRPG angle). Like, say, acid rain in Europe or proper management of turfgrass for golf courses. Or roleplaying the Krebs Cycle. And no, I'm not making this up


Roleplaying Games Designed for Education


Roleplaying is an established technique as an experiential learning method, and predates D&D;-)

As does clinical use. It may even predate educational use.

But then, there were people getting in the mindset of their minis in Kriegspiele (1880s)...
... because that was the point, when it was used by the German and Austrian militaries.
 
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Desi Mims
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ctimmins wrote:
cauldronofevil wrote:
So it's possible someone is playing them, but I don't have any evidence to support that.

At least one massive area of RPG that almost surely does not have significant representation at our site is the educational RPG arena. These games are played by thousands of participants and their "rulebooks" probably have sold more than most traditional games, because students in classes are required to have them, etc.

I'm not talking about "we play D&D as a class in my school", I'm talking about RPGs that are built from the ground-up for use in educational and collegiate settings. Often, they are about... really "weird" things (if viewed from a traditional FRPG angle). Like, say, acid rain in Europe or proper management of turfgrass for golf courses. Or roleplaying the Krebs Cycle. And no, I'm not making this up


Roleplaying Games Designed for Education


One of the games that drove me to get more involved in tabletop RPG was a Weimar RP in one of my college courses where students played members of the Reichstag. It's one of the best RP experiences I've ever had. It probably helped that our Prof was writing/revising it.
 
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Michael Taylor
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ctimmins wrote:
And no, I'm not making this up


Oh, I believe you. It's just that...should be do these things just because we can?

It just seems pointless to me.

RPG's didn't get "stuck" in gonzo-fantasy. That's what people played and that's what they liked.

Now I'm the first to despite it - and I play everything BUT.

But I'd rather see people product good, playable, fun RPGs than just weird, unplayable, not fun RPGs just for their own sake.

Isn't that what those "Crap Out an RPG in 24 Hour" contests are for?
 
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William Hostman
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D351 wrote:
When designing or playing RPGs, what themes do you feel aren't being given enough attention? This can be genre, emotional content, or whatever.

Personally, I feel that it's a real challenge to move away from adventure party tropes, both as a writer and a GM. It makes it easier for passive players to tag along and makes it easier to deal with players entering or leaving the game between sessions, but it leaves a lot of themes harder to get into. I'll also say that it's difficult to get players interested in a game that strays from those approaches. There are of course some amazing exceptions to that general tendency, especially in the really small-scale indie game world, but even there I keep looking for possible blind spots.

Some things I'd like to see more, both in game writing and in game play:

Mourning
Futility
Trauma
Weather, esp. snow and winter survival
Surrealism
Geology
Soap Opera... My groups are loving the soap opera in new L5R...
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Sean Hillman
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A few themes I would like to see in RPG design

Old Age

Adventuring is for the young they say, but old men and women, middle aged people, have adventures to, both in the dungeon or at a busy Paris cafe'. Love, sex, violence, alternate lifestyles, and politics. Old Wizards and aging ship captains.

RPG Idea: They took our children. An alien or an Oppressive Government took the children of Earth / Country / City. Now the 40+ crowd has to fight back against the oppressors while worrying about their bad backs and hip replacements. It could be fun or it could be super heavy in terms of emotional exploration.

Points of View / Different Times

Imagine you are reading an Alastair Reynolds novel. Different characters in different places and times, whose actions eventually converge to effect one another. Possibly even a character themselves in scenes ranging from their youth to their death.

RPG Idea: Colony. Players take on the roles of either colonists on a generation ship AND colonists who have arrived, where the actions and knowledge of one may effect the actions and knowledge of the other.


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Sean_RDP wrote:

RPG Idea: Colony. Players take on the roles of either colonists on a generation ship AND colonists who have arrived, where the actions and knowledge of one may effect the actions and knowledge of the other.


I've made an attempt at something like this. My grand scheme would involve two groups, one "past" group determining how things go down, one "future" group trying to survive while determining what went down.

I don't know enough people, so my actual campaign just followed the path of the future group and I made up what happened before.
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