Thursday, April 30, 2009


So what's this Arcade ruleset? It's not a tabletop game, neither a wargame; it's a generic game system intended to be used in roleplaying games. I'm not going to bother to explain the differences of these three types of games, as I take for granted that anyone visiting a blog called Role 'n' Roll already knows that. Yet, even though Arcade is a rpg, it wouldn't be difficult to be used for some fast tabletop dungeoning, akin to Heroquest. After all, its combat system is indirectly derived from said game, and it would be dead easy just to focus on that part and not use the other roleplaying parts. Similarly it could be used for skirmish level wargames, but I'm not sure how well things would go.

And what do you need to play it? Nothing too fancy, just what you would expect from any rpg out there. Some paper for character sheets, pens and erasers. Some six-sided dice, too: some standard, and some special combat and skill dice (examples in forecoming articles). And minis. After years of roleplaying I've found minis are a great aid in rpgs. In the Arcade case, the rules have been created with the use of minis in mind. Yet, if you don't want to buy and store a load of minis, paper tokens are equally as useful, and infinitely cheaper, and you can print them "on demand". Anyway I recommend the use of minis at least for the Player Characters, because I honestly think they help players focus on their characters. And they are cool. Finally, an erasable battlemap and some tokens would be very useful; Em4miniatures sells both of them in their web store (combat mats and eldritch gems). And not, I don't get paid for saying this. :P

As you will soon see, Arcade has been developed with simplicity in mind. I like saying it's a fool-proof game system; with the biggest fool being myself. From the very beginning I've had this goal in mind: the Arcade rules should be explained and understood in 10-15 minutes, and mastered after one single game session. In fact, that's why I've chosen the name "Arcade", taken from videogames, and opposed to "simulator". You won't be able to recreate the subtle nuances of hundreds of different combat styles, or tune a monster to have the weirdest genealogy ever. Everything is kept to a minimun: for example, in the Ajsalium setting, there are just three types of armour: light, medium or heavy. Or in the Necronomicon setting, small firearms are reduced to revolver or gun. But with these rules you won't have to keep track of dozens of modifiers, and you'll have ready-made characters sheets; if you're the Game Master, preparing an adventure should take little more than writing down the complete plot and scenes, deciding some difficulties and copying some stats. The key idea is that time should be spent designing an interesting plot and playing it, not dwelling with rules.

That said, next we'll have a look at the character sheet, so that we begin to properly delve in the ruleset.

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