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Old 05-02-2016, 01:04 AM   #15
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Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

Originally Posted by starslayer View Post
I am very not sure I agree.

Given your political game set in roman times- it will never be useful or applicable that being able to mix/deliver poison will be a good thing? (murder- indirect). It will never be applicable that you have resistance to poison or disease (survival)? It will never be useful to support one of your fellow senators via whatever skills you have? Senators will never have to use there own deductive reasoning to figure out situations (problem solving)? They will all obviously have some social traits, and likely divide up multiple sub-types from there as a focus from the game, but I still think my categories encompass the type of activities that would take place in any game.

If you believe I am wrong I legitimately want to hear how and why, but please understand this is not a 'flash in the pan' conclusion so much as something that I am drawing from a good deal of role playing background, so I may be resistant to something that appears, to me at least, to be a straightforward application of what I am proposing.
You can thrust your model onto anything, of course, in the same way that many D&Ders find a way to turn every game into D&D. You can turn a roman political scenario into a roman spy/agent scenario where gameplay turns more on knives in the dark than on understanding the law, more on uncovering hidden plans than on setting up exquisite logistics, but then you aren't actually playing the game I propose. You're going back to your model, using it, and then saying "It can do anything." And because you cannot see that it's different, this is why I say you have a "Fish doesn't know its in water" problem.

Have you played Nobilis? Most of the proposed roles wouldn't fit or work there. In Legends of the Wulin, essentially everyone is just "a fighter," but the roles are more about how they fight. In Maid, your roles are "Cool" or "Sexy" or "Cute" rather than "Fighter, Mage or Thief." Quite a few explicitly narrativist RPGs turn on roles based on genre, and amount to something more akin to a story-telling game than an action game.

Consider a game that focuses on a high-school soap opera crossed with your family drama, where gameplay and choices turn more on handling your schedule/schoolwork and on moral choices you make. Consider a game about corporate lawyers, where gameplay turns around understanding the law, the numbers, and on forming temporary business alliances to move ahead. Consider a game about fantasy chefs with competing restaurants in the imperial city, where they all struggle to have the most exotic dishes full of the most interesting monsters that they need to, somehow, acquire and cook. Gameplay would almost certainly turn on some level of DF-style dungeon-crawling, but you'd also need to create niches for different cooking styles.

This is why the template book doesn't say "Oh, here's the only 20 or so niches that matter," because it doesn't work that way. What you're describing is the sort of game you particularly like or have a lot of experience with, but you're trying to say that it represents something universal or fundamental, and it doesn't.
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