A game where Character Creation is the Whole Game

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/08/a-game-where-character-creatio.html


Continued from the playtesting thread

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no constitution?

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When the mandatory “Retirement u old” box comes up, you can keep going, at least you can click on the Charisma button you can still see.

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Of course back in the pen and paper days (You kids get off my lawn!) the saying among Traveller players was “You haven’t lived until you’ve died during character creation.”


Gamma World has completely random character generation and when your character comes out completely hopeless there’s a rule that lets you take your character behind the barn and shoot it.


[quote=“beschizza, post:1, topic:96623”]There are just little bugs here and there that I’m not a good enough coder to kill. Why does it sometimes let you go into negative points to spend? That sort of thing.[/quote]I’d be inclined to double-down on that. The world becomes increasingly bizarre and surreal as your character’s negative dexterity becomes the locus of a reality warp, or something, acquiring character traits such as Spicy and Analogous.


Well, no idea if I did well or not. I certainly took advantage of negative points, and how for some reason when you go down on points you seem to get two back. But here I am:


and how for some reason when you go down on points you seem to get two back

D’oh, it took me writing this to realize I hadn’t actually exploited that strategy. Ok, my highest so far is 410 gold, 3118 experience.

I realize there’s probably some kind of calculus to work out the optimal number of times to decrease your stats – decrease too much, and you retire with points still left in the bank.

Ok, ok, last one:

I achieved Lord High Chancellor or something along those lines, but then I increased my Charisma last, and for some reason this made me a bandit, so that was the title I ended up retiring with.

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Now to fully implement the GURPS character creation system, including the compendiums. (Compendia?) Then, for every advantage and disadvantage, write a decent paragraph. None of this “You killed the dragon, 1500 XP” nonsense - I mean English!


There actually was a real version of this back in the day (or almost)
Edu Ware’s late 1970s “Space” Series for the Apple II. Basically, it was an extremely detailed character generator based on the one in the Traveller pen and paper RPG (so much so that GDW sued!) attached to a very small game. Really, the character generation was 75% of the length of the game.


The various strange stats that quarks are capable of seem like worthy rewards/punishments/occurrences orthogonal to any human concept of advantage or disadvantage for characters that sufficiently break the local reality.

The only real problem is that while things like ‘isospin’ aren’t at much risk of confusion with properties that macroscale objects normally possess; ‘charm’, ‘bottomness’, and ‘strangeness’ might well be.

(More generally, given the art style is very retro-console, the right sort of weird bugs and exploits are very thematically appropriate. Having your GPU driver crash is not the Nintendo Experience; but things stored as 8-bit values that can be comparatively easily overflowed in real-world play, PRNGs simple enough to allow luck manipulation, etc. are definitely part of the flavor for things of that era.)

CSB: back in the mod 2000’s I was writing browser based games as a hobby. Nothing serious, just fun. I had all the JS optimized for IE so when a character ran around the screen, it looked correct.

The V8 came out, and the animations were on the order of a thousand times faster.

Yeah, code refactoring took some time :grinning:

I’ll give it a play this evening!

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My inability to end the game having developed no skills and fulfilled none of my potential really breaks suspension of disbelief.


TBF, that was roughly true of the original Traveller. (And as noted up thread, if your character died before mustering out, it was 100%.)


We already have one of those. It’s called D&D.

I had to explain to my SO when we were watching “Stranger Things” why a bunch of 12 year olds finishing a campaign in 12 hours of play was deeply impressive. Those kids obviously had their shit together.


A recent board game has the same idea:


Couldn’t find any Free/Open Source/Software or just “modern” remake on a quick search, as one would expect with this kinds of games, anyone knows something similar, on the Debian/Ubuntu repositories maybe?

Not that I know of, but like many early computer games, it was written in Basic and completely listable, so ignoring whatever legal issues may still be around (Edu-Ware and GDW are long gone), porting it to modern systems should be quite feasible.

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It would be mostly a job of digital archaeology and modernization them. Nice.

Archive.org has Space II and I think this contains Space. I haven’t tried them, but the descriptions and screen shot look like these are what you described.