Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[Valanas] Defining the Style

Over the years of my blog, I have dabbled in a number of systems to identify different styles that typically encompass most RPGs, including the Holy Trinity of MMO's and similar collections associated with the classic Dungeons & Dragons.

As I prepare to go into my second week of development for Valanas, I'll be talking about the revolving themes and how they incorporate into character design...

As a refresher from last week, Valanas revolves around the ideas of Action! (this typically involves combat), Hope, and Mystery.

Visually speaking, we wanted Martial Arts combat with players making choices based on a large collection of Advantages, Combat Options, and having to face both large armies of deadly assassins and epic fights with their dark nemesis, facing the darkness that leaches it's way into the world and banishing it with one's one inner light of hope, and seeking that darkness out to learn what lies beyond what is on the surface.

When originally envisioning Valanas, the idea was to learn the Mutants and Masterminds system, and come up with some really fun ways of making even the the lowest Power Level seem interesting. After having played in the setting originally, the setting itself grew and evolved, manifesting some really interesting characters.

Though even then, these three core themes remained, and the intrigue behind the mystery, the complexity of the combat combined with the adaptability of their enemies, and the sheer emotional feeling when the players realized that their actions helped shaped the future, bringing a new breath of light to the world... it was no wonder why the setting was so popular.

Now, four years later, I have playtested, experimented, and got a better idea of how to branch the setting into something more that a wider group of players can enjoy it rather than just the local group.

By clearly defining what elements and themes would be included in the setting, players now have a better understanding of what to expect. To make it even easier, the setting will typically group players between three distinct styles of play: The Investigator (Associated with Mystery, Investigation, and Intrigue), Paragons (True beacons of Hope, Leadership, and Inspiration), and Specialists (Associated with action, having one very powerful ability that they utilize in different ways).

Players aren't always strictly required to fit into just one of these styles, but instead can be a mix, but with at least one primary element. Though a player can easily have an idea of where they stand in the world. And to take it a step further, I'll be including pre-generated characters that help reflect these styles, and that will have all the elements that are typical of the setting.

So the question is now this: Which of the three styles do you most identify with? What has been your favorite Comic/Manga character, and how do you think they would fit into these styles?

Next time, I will likely introduce what I feel is my favorite Iconic character for the setting, and explain in detail how they incorporate into the world of Valanas!