Correction: This article was written by Lisa Pondsmith.
Lisa Pondsmith, contributing author to The Witcher TRPG, discusses the decision to create a genuine world experience for those both old and new to The Witcher.
We are working diligently on The Witcher Table-Top RPG. Right now we are putting in side bars, many of them quotes from my character, Brandon of Oxenfurt. He’s a crusty old historian at the University, but he knows a lot about a lot of things. His sidebars and the sidebars of Cody’s dwarf merchant character are there to put context around what could be long boring game passages. This is how someone inside the world relates to this topic. One of our primary challenges is to make the setting feel like Witcher, even for people who don’t already know what that world is like. The rules can’t always do that, so the side bars tell you what people sound like in the world and what they do. The reaction of Witcher fans during our demos at GENCON was very positive, but we try hard to write the game for the uberfan who’s finished every game and DLC, read the novels and short stories, got the T-shirt… and also the person who just picks the game up with no previous knowledge thinking “Well, this looks like fantasy.” Keep that in mind if we seem to be explaining too much.
By Lisa Pondsmith
While we’re waiting to get in all the art for our ongoing Mekton Zero project, I’ve been inspired to post a few notes on the design philosophy of this new iteration of this classic game. After doing this game design gig for over 30 years, I’ve become interested in changing a lot of the ways in which players can interact with a roleplaying game, particularly in making these games easier to learn and more appealing to more than just wargamers.
One of the things I think players will really enjoy is a new experience system we’ve come up with for Mekton Zero. Besides the typical IP (Improvement Points) for construction and character improvement, we’ve also added the concept of Legendary Improvement. This idea wraps around the idea that there are several distinct RPG player types, each getting their enjoyment from different aspects of the game. Based loosely on Richard Bartle’s famous Test of Gamer Psychologyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_Test#Character_theory, this new experience system is designed to reward you for playing in the style you like best as a Roleplayer, an Explorer, a Warrior or a Social.
- Roleplayers enjoy getting heavily into their characters and “acting” out the scenes they find themselves in. So we’ve created a way for them to enhance the effect of their roleplaying on the world, with their acting skills actually affecting the outcomes of certain events.
- Explorers like to travel the world, meeting people and expanding their knowledge and sense of immersion. So we’ve given them a way to enhance their impact on the larger aspects of the world, such as meeting powerful people or gaining access to cool new places.
- Warriors like the combat aspects of the world–to them, there’s nothing better than a good fight–the more challenging the better. So we’ve created a new way for Warriors to simulate the effortless way bad-asses like Char Aznable just “loaf” their way through countless hordes on their way to tackle the “serious” challengers.
- And finally, Socials are less involved in the actual game, but love to just do things with the other players. So we’ve developed ways for Socials to influence the game from the outside through interactions with the other players.
The goal has been to make the experience of playing in a Mekton Zero game more rewarding than just getting IP for killing monsters. It’s a new twist that has been pretty popular with our play testers and we think you’ll like it too.