Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ivory RPG - Project Members

Characters in an Ivory RPG aren't exactly like the character in other role-playing games. Whether you portray a different person from yourself or not is absolutely irrelevant. This is because an exploration and logistics style game demands great thoughts and innovations from the players more than acting and dice rolling. The very fact that players bring along facets of themselves into the game is a bonus, not a failure.

A character is more of a project member than a character.  Their role in the project will be a bigger determinant on their character than their personality. As so much of the game is player driven and player depended, the actual skills of the player stand in for the skills of the project member in a way that most RPGs strive to keep separate. There is nothing virtualized in Ivory. Either the players plan, discover it, achieve it, or write it -- or they don't.

For example, let's say you run a steampunk game where the players needs to design and build an operable steam-powered device using 19th century methods. At that point, you only need a thin layer of character portrayal as the actual challenge of the game will demand everything that the players can bring to the table. They will need to do the actual research on the industrial capacity of Victorian England. One may play an inventor, another a factory owner, and another a financier. These roles will be sufficient drivers as the players design the device.

Note that an Ivory game is not very virtualizable. That means that you can throw some dice and your character's in-game skills solve the problem. That might sound good from the outside, but if your character's job is to design a budget, rolling dice doesn't actually produce a budget. An in-game representation of a budget, which is an inventory item written down on a piece of paper, does not replace an actual working budget.

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