2012 16 Aug

Source of Inspiration #6: Pen&Paper

Categories: Game Design

So, last time we told you that Phantasie would be the last source of inspiration to unveil. Well, there is another one and it is pen and paper roleplaying. Throwing dice and updating hit points with a pencil and eraser in hand.

Most of us spent a large time of their youth plotting over campaigns as dungeon master or looking through source books for the best skill set and equipment for their character. It has brought us a long way. For some it has not ended yet. Some of us are still rolling dice or dressing up for the next LARP.

What brought about a renaissance of pen & paper roleplaying was the release of D&D 4th Edition in 2008. Most of us had not touched D&D since TSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in 1997 and had been revamped as D&D. Those of us who had followed the mother of all fantasy RPGs through its 3rd edition (and the revision of that known as 3.5) hadn’t been playing regularly but D&D 4.0 changed that. It was simple to explain, simple to prepare and the miniature based combat was simply too much fun to resist.

It was a roleplaying system that brought together the more boardgame interested player and the hardcore roleplayers at the same table and while different players may have enjoyed different elements of the game it became a regular thing for a time to sit around the table till late in the evening on a regular basis.

While the character system of Chaos Chronicles might still rather be inspired by the more old school D&D iterations, the combat system of D&D 4.0 inspired some of the elements for Chaos Chronicle’s turn-based combat system.

Actually some of the elements came from modifying the D&D 4.0 system for our playsessions and adding more and more houserules to it. One of these additions was changing the square based grids for the combat maps to hexagons. The hexes add more depth to the game since you can have one side of the six sides of a single field be the clear “back” of the character. Overall facing becomes much more important if you have hexes which adds more depth to the combat.

Another area in which pen & paper based games were a huge influence was the multiplayer. We really want the player who play together have the experience of a shared adventure. Many other RPGs with multiplayer options often struggle to keep up the atmosphere of the game. You start talking more about the game or other things in voice chat rather than about what is going on in the game. What we hope to achieve in Chaos Chronicles is a sense of cooperation that requires all player to be invested in what is going on inside the game.

So, if you are a fan of pen & paper RPGs and often feel as if computer based roleplaying games loose a lot of what roleplaying is actually about, we hope that Chaos Chronicles can recapture some of that flair.