For those of you who don't know what "sword and planet" is, it's science fiction in which our lone Earthling hero is thrown onto an alien planet with generally low technology and must fight to survive. Examples include Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom series (A Princess on Mars, etc.) and some of Jack Vance's work (particularly the Planet of Adventure series). The excuse for swords being the weapon of choice varies from decaying cultures to alien oppressors.
(Originally posted on Google+, for some inexplicable reason.)
Just to toss out a topic (or possibly sweaty dynamite) ... what's the general opinion on "evil races" in games? By which I mean entire intelligent species whose sole purpose is essentially to kill/enslave/annoy humans.
As one might gather, I'm not a fan. My first problem is that real-world societies have attributed two-dimensional malice to their enemies far too often, with tragic results, and
Yesterday I babbled about viewing RPG rules as an interface between players and GMs, similar to a GUI or API in computer programs. In this view, the game rules, like GUIs or APIs, are most useful when they avoid unnecessary clutter and complexity.
One other interesting consequence of this analogy is that, like interfaces, rules have to be stable in order to be useful. This applies both to official versions of the rules and house rules.
For example, in every version
Reading Numernera and a few other rule sets reminded me of a (not terribly original) idea that popped in my head ages ago: rules are the interface between players and GM.
By "interface" I'm thinking of programming interfaces in object-oriented design, but the analogy works just as well with Advanced Programming Interfaces (APIs) in applications like Excel, Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) in any window-keyboard-mouse desktop application, a Web site's interface of forms and
So far I've read the Player's Guide and skipped through the core book. I'm not sure whether I like Numenera or not.
The central mechanics are pretty cool:
- The system requires only three dice: a d20, a d6, and a d100. (OK, a d100 is two dice unless one is brave/stupid enough to use a Zocchihedron.)
- Every challenge -- from combat to a steep climb to a seduction -- has a Rating from 0 to 10. 0 is trivial, an automatic success; 10 is nigh-impossible. To beat