In a previous post a closed economy fantasy game design was suggested. This post is going to follow up on that idea and flesh it out a little more. First we’ll recap the basics, then flesh out the game a little more. Feel free to add feedback, suggest additions, etc.
Recapping the Basic’s
- A fantasy world with spells, magic, monsters, crafting of some kind
- A closed economy
- Items, Loot, and money, have weight and size. There is no instantaneous exchange of platinum, gold, silver, copper.
If these things are true it might not be very fun to be the guy out there trying to get the loot. Conforming to weight restrictions in a table top RPG makes players run in fear. Additionally the game becomes more about inventory management rather then monster bashing. To that end would it make more sense to make the Adventurers the NPC’s and classic NPC’s the stars of the game? Embrace the limitation and make it a core mechanic.
As players of RPG’s we often see the Wizards, Fighters, Rouges, etc as the hero’s of the game. Townsfolk often get relegated to the side lines. One of my favorite games is Dungeon Keeper II. Instead of playing the ‘Hero’s’, you play the dungeon master. Creation and management of the dungeon is the main point of the game. If you haven’t checked the game out yet, it is fantastic. Grab a cheap copy on GOG.com
In the same vein lets turn the RPG genre on it’s head by playing the Merchants, Blacksmiths, Candlemakers, etc. of the game world instead of those heros out there slinging swords and spells. The setting of the game is obviously going to be a town. When we say the game becomes about inventory management, we literally mean the inventory of a shop. Perhaps weight isn’t as much of a concern for the player anymore.
Let’s assume this is a prototype for now, so any lists or concepts don’t have to be considered comprehensive, but rather a place to start. Additionally maybe we should assume a iPhone/iPad. Hero Academy is such a fun game, the art and game play is just amazing. From the folks who made another favorite of mine Orcs Must Die!.
Main Gameplay Loop
Lets define the main things a player would be doing while playing the game. The player begins the game with some copper, or perhaps some basic supplies. Maybe they get to make some purchases from an inventory list (a la Dwarven fortress). The classic D&D inventory comes to mind. Maybe they start with random items and have to make the best of what they randomly get.
An adventurer comes to town looking to get supplies before heading to a dungeon. Depending on Class, Race, or other factors, this Adventurer buys the goods it needs then heads to the dungeon. The game determines how that character fairs in the nearby dungeon and if they succeed they return looking to sell some loot and move on.
There could be other people who come to town. Examples include Tax Collectors, Caravan’s, Faires, Circuses. These things could interact with the player in other ways and break up the main loop.
Some unanswered questions
Should the game be turn based or live?
What is the players backstory? How did they get the starting resources?
How much does the player learn about the dungeon? Is that important in the prototype? How can knowing about the dungeon help the player?