Mechanical Breakdown

Mechanical Breakdown

I approach any new game with considerable caution, even the simplest ones. I have this habit of deconstructing mechanics without even taking the time to try them out. This might be a good thing. Given my desire for crunch, it might be bad as well. I do what I can to stop this, but given my own predisposition to not actually play anything, I have difficulty getting over it.

Perhaps having a regular gaming group will help. I may have the chance to run a few games and get a genuine feel for whether something works or not, rather than assuming that from the outset it’ll need a tinker. On the other hand, my approach, when I do Gamemaster, can often be one of ignore the rules and just freeform it, sticking with the basics and not getting too complicated.

The Maelstrom adventure I ran in Kensington seemed to work like this, as I roleplayed far more than anything else – and when rolls did occur, they tended to be pivotal moments of chance or entertainment value. I ran the adventure to showcase the game, but the game didn’t really get a chance to shine. I suspect it might be a matter of running the wrong adventure. Given Maelstrom should be about historical roleplaying with flashes of conspiracy and hidden magic, bot having any spellcasters in the group likely avoided a key aspect that deserved an airing.

Now I’m looking at QUERP Modern, a current day twist on the basic QUERP system by Greywood Publishing. In practice the very simple framework should allow roleplaying in modern times without cluttering the tabletop with rules. I spent the weekend creating my own Gamemaster’s screen for the game, which meant I got a chance to dive into the mechanics a bit. Essentially, the game involves nothing more than a couple of six-sided dice and the need to beat a target difficulty for just about everything. It isn’t as simple as Fighting Fantasy or Tunnels & Trolls, but it’s not far off either.

Despite the fact I haven’t played yet, I’ve already considered adding a couple of extra skills and a mechanic that allows characters to save themselves from a fate worse than death with a little Luck die. I will be running the game soon, and I intend to do it without my adjustments first. If I find that my changes might make a difference for the better, I’ll include them – and maybe feel that my pre-play judgements aren’t too wide of the mark afterall.

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