What have been the big innovations in RPGs? - Page 4




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    Quote Originally Posted by Falstaff View Post
    Aces & Eights' Shotclock system.
    That one has been around WAAAAY earlier already (like 20 years ago or so).

    Forgot, which game system it was, though, which incorporated this idea for the first time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanee View Post
    That one has been around WAAAAY earlier already (like 20 years ago or so).

    Forgot, which game system it was, though, which incorporated this idea for the first time.

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    Ah, I didn't know that. Thanks.
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    Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - first RPG published in hardcover
    Words of wisdom from Gary Gygax:

    From my perspective wanting less in the way of rules constraints comes from being a veteran Game Master who feels confident that more good material comes from imagination and player interaction with the environment than from textbook rules material.
    more words of wisdom:

    • Rashness and foolhardiness are harbingers of death, as is timidity, in such adventure setting.
    • Those that complain about real challenges might be better off playing Candyland with their little sister
    • First and foremost, munchkinism arose as a contemporary of the OD&D game. Nothing in the rules of that or any other version of the game was needed to make it flourish.
    • There is no relationship between 3E and original D&D, or OAD&D for that matter. Different games, style, and spirit.
    • [E]xperience has taught me that everyone has their own gaming preferences, and it is not a matter of "good" or "bad" in all, save in light of one's own preferences.

  • #34
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    The Shotclock is the target silhouette thingy & system that determines if/where you hit someone, right? Millenium's End (from Charles Ryan's Chameleon Eclectic) had a similar system in the mid-'90s. I seem to recall reading that there was a system in the '80s with a similar schtick, but I don't remember what it was.

    Edit: make that "early '90s" for Millenium's End; the second edition was apparently published in '93.
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    RPGs going multimedia.

    Dragonlance pioneered the way for RPG fiction, which is now fairly common. Then we've had video games, calendars, web content, etc. etc.

    I'm going to also say story, as D&D has developed from dungeon crawls to a form of storytelling and adventure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Man in the Funny Hat View Post
    I reckon that the word "innovation" is simply not quite what the OP had in mind. The definition of innovate pretty much comes down to ANYTHING new or different. Pick something, pick ANYTHING, that wasn't in a previously published RPG. That is by definition an innovation. People aren't using the word too lightly - the word itself is too light for what I think the OP was searching for.

    That aside, the problem for me is that few changes, if any, have been particularly revolutionary as opposed to merely evolutionary. Oh you can pick many RPG's that made big changes - but they were changes largely limited to THAT RPG and not so much broadly influential upon RPG's in general. A classless RPG may have been innovative but it wasn't particularly revolutionary - the bulk of RPG's didn't suddenly shift to a classless approach. It just became one more option among many for how to approach an RPG and hopefully it's recognized that while innovative it's just not an option that fits for ALL RPG's. The utilization of a more unified resolution mechanic is certainly innovative whether it be by a d20, percentiles, or fists full of d6's. But RPG's didn't then suddenly shift to overwhelming use of unified resolution mechanics when that appeared. Again I should hope that wise game designers understand that one mechanic doesn't always provide the resolution that fits all circumstances.

    Now I haven't given this that much thought but at this point I can only point to two "innovations" that I think really substantially and broadly changed RPG's as opposed to simply adding one more to the myriad of existing options.

    First, as has been mentioned already, is the advent of the internet. As noted it isn't an innovention directly connected to RPG rules but it should be credited as such because of it's effects. RPG's were an extremely insular activity (that is to say, much moreso than they still are today). Change spread by literal physical word of mouth as much as any other means until the internet began to provide a fast, even instant means of communicating ideas. Before then you MIGHT attend a convention or send letters to a magazine and read its articles, but that was about the limits of common communication among gamers in general. Innovations were predominantly found only within a few gaming groups. The number of people communicating regularly outside their own groups was an extremely low percentage of an already sparse community. When internet communication came along with dial-up BBS's, Usenet, and finally web-based message boards the PACE of innovation increased just as rapidly. There were a lot of innovative ideas out there - they just hadn't had opportunity to spread anywhere with any speed. It was the internet that revolutionized RPGs by simply allowing OTHER innovations to spread and take root. It further supports innovation today by providing the fastest, cheapest means of publication of new materials.

    The second innovation is also something of a meta-innovation though it at least is directly tied to RPG rules. Of course it's the OGL. It's one thing for players to exchange ideas with each other but quite something else to promote the exchange of ideas between PUBLISHERS. It is apparant to me that while TSR was still in business they were unable to grasp the revolution that was the internet. While understandable, it was definitely misguided of them to actively quash not only innovation by other publishers for D&D but innovation by PLAYERS. They labored under what had become an OUTDATED philosophy.

    Innovation and communication of ideas now had the perfect outlet and chafed while being contained or controlled by old methods. The OGL took the chains off and allowed the wider innovation to actually proceed that had been wanting desperately to take place for D&D itself. Of course that innovation didn't then limit itself to D&D but made possible innovations of altogether new RPG's that were based upon the successful D&D model.
    QFT. I really like how you explained these two "innovations".

    I was not necessarily thinking innovation = invention. More along the lines of transformative ideas and applications that represented large evolutionary steps in the RPG category.
    Scott Rouse

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glyfair View Post
    I


    2) Character Building Systems (usually by point buy) - Allow you to decide what you want to play rather than putting your characters choice into the luck of the dice. My first was either Melanda, Land of Mystery, but Champions would be a close second.
    Fantasy Trip gave you points to buy stats. IQ determined how many spells and skills you had. (Fantasy Trip was very simple and the predecessor to GURPS as I remember things.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Glyfair View Post
    5) Licensed universe RPGs. Who hasn't wanted to roleplay in their favorite fictional universe? Star Trek was the first I remember playing in.

    From a business standpoint, RPG licensed from existing worlds (Star Trek, Star Wars, Tolkein, etc.) would be king, but the OGL would be second. Stretching into multimedia would be third (D&D is king for computer games, and probably takes the bill for movies/TV as well).
    Tolkein Middle Earth was licensed to I.C.E. In the early 80 before Star Trek was. From Wikipedia: "A Campaign and Adventure Guidebook for Middle-earth (1982)".
    Garmorn


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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_Rouse View Post
    not meant to be an exhaustive list.

    • D&D 3e and the OGL
    • PDF format and distribution via RPGNow/Drivethru RPG
    • Print on Demand
    • Pre-painted plastic miniatures
    • e-Character Creators (e-tools, PC Gen, D&Di etc)
    • Internet game tables (Fantasy Grounds, Game Table Online)
    • Online rules databases (d20srd.org, D&Di Compendium)
    • RPG based web communities (ENWorld etc)
    • Web based RPG resource services (Obsidian Portal, D&D Insider)

    I think those were all great and important. The number one innovation is, in my opinion, the original one: the innovation where strategy wargames became roleplaying games. Instead of controlling Napoleonic armies, you were playing a unique character in a fantasy world, where immersion, social interaction, story, and continuity became an integral part of the game. Later innovations were able to make gaming more accessible, reduce the difficulty of book keeping, create communities, bridge the gaps of distance, and lower the bar for entry into the business for would-be publishers, and these are important things, but no innovation has eclipsed the vision of Gygax and Arneson.
    Darrin Drader - Writer/RPG Game Designer - www.amazon.com/author/darrindrader

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_Rouse View Post
    • The OGL
    • PDF format and distribution via RPGNow/Drivethru RPG
    • Online rules databases (d20srd.org, D&Di Compendium)
    • RPG based web communities (ENWorld etc)
    That would be my list. With the caveat that the whole is greater than the sum of those individual parts-- none of them would have had anywhere near the same impact without the others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanee View Post
    That one has been around WAAAAY earlier already (like 20 years ago or so).

    Forgot, which game system it was, though, which incorporated this idea for the first time.
    After looking it up, and confirming the concept is what it sounded like, I saw something like this in the 80s. It was a modern military RPG. I think it was Mercenary, but I could be wrong. A friend who was into that sort of thing had it, and I believe it was a box set with a simple green cover with a green silhouette.
    David A. Blizzard

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