Role Playing Games – Builder’s Guide 10

The Challenge: Over the past nine articles, you’ve seen many challenges in creating a balanced, versatile, and entertaining role playing game. Balancing character design and die rolls, offering opportunities to strategic, descriptive, and casual players alike. All of these challenges relate, in one way or another, to game balance. Keeping an RPG balanced, making sure that no character has an overwhelming advantage, is so important and integral to all of these challenges that it a single article cannot encompass the entirety of its effects on the Episode Free Passes Hack game.

But balance is not the final word. This is a role playing game, an interactive story. Challenges and combat are important factors. But challenges are there for characters to overcome, and battles there to win. The characters should face risk, but if they fight smart, help each other out, and have a modicum of good luck, players should generally expect that they could carry the day–sometimes, even against a superior opposition.

Thus the tenth and final challenge of designing a versatile and balanced role playing game. Thus the aspect of the game perhaps more important than any–even balance–in the minds of those who will be running their characters through the game world: the challenge of maintaining heroism.

When people play an RPG, they expect their characters to face serious, even epic dangers. They expect that the challenges they face will be difficult, that sometimes they will fail, that the dice won’t always smile. They expect that the game master will pit them against foes that do not fall to single sword swings or fireballs, and those who threaten their characters’ lives in a very direct manner. And they expect that despite this, they will have a better-than-average chance of winning.

However, the level of heroism is not something the game designer can truly control. Certainly, the designer must make sure that players have a good chance of succeeding at actions, that they have a shot at beating foes of reasonably higher levels of power, that weaker foes can be threatening, but are not entirely likely (barring incredible luck or foolish tactics on the players’ parts) of taking down these superior warriors. However, this article is directed less at those who design the role playing game than those who design the game. This is for the game masters, the referees, the quest lords, and any other title or acronym that goes into naming the player who runs the story, controls the secondary characters, and presents the challenges for the characters to overcome.

The Risk: The risk you take lies in the design of your game and the opposition you place your characters up against. You have control of the game world. It is technically possible for you to go and throw a thirtieth level dragon up against a group of fifth-level adventurers. Thereafter, your fellow players will generally choose a new game master, but it can be done.

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