Greetings to all you Mutant Chronicles fans interested in the on-going development of the Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition Roleplaying Game. I'm Jay Little, the lead designer for MC3. What exactly does that mean? In addition to designing the core mechanics to handle things like skill tests, combat, and rules for the Dark Symmetry, I also help define the design goals -- how the rules will reinforce and support the vision Chris Birch and the crew at Modiphius have for this edition.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Some of these play a larger part than others. And some are subject to change over the course of the game's development. Whether or not individual players agree with some of these goals, hopefully it provides more context for some of the decisions being made. And rest assured, no decision is being made lightly. Here's a look at some of those goals:
Faster Combat Resolution.
Near the top of the list is a more streamlined, quicker to resolve combat system. The combat should be simple enough to understand the high level concepts, but deep enough to offer a lot of variety and provide plenty of strategic options to the players. Combat needs to retain a dangerous edge and incorporate hit locations, several levels of wound severity, and the ability for the GM to more easily manage NPCs.
The action should be fast-paced and action-packed, even when not in combat. This is done with an easier to learn and teach core mechanic and skill test resolution system. The flexibility of the system allows GMs to spend less time trying to figure out finite rules for every type of situation and instead focus on setting the scene, providing interesting complications with Dark Symmetry, and keeping the action focused on the player characters.
The MC3 system allows for a wide variety of possible outcomes for just about any task. Players have the resources available to them to influence the story and allow their characters to shine in the spotlight. Some of these resources are overt, like Chronicle Points, while others are more subtle, such as the ability to purchase additional d20s for skill tests or the option to use chained actions to accomplish more during a combat round. Players, and their characters, are more empowered.
Streamlined Character Information.
There are hundreds of roleplaying games that feature more attributes and skills. Some popular systems feature upwards of 50 - 75 - even 100 attributes and skills. Emergent play in those systems often results in a very small sub-set of those attributes and skills receiving attention. Many systems often feature "dump stats" for attributes that clearly offer less value than others, or skills of such tight, narrow focus that few, if any, players learn them as it takes away from improving what are seen as "core" skills, reducing everything else to a secondary (or lower) role.
All of the options available to a character should feel important. While a player may wish to focus on one sub-set of character options -- such as combat or diplomacy -- it is feasible for a player to branch out and pick up some training in other areas. When skills are too numerous and too specific it actively discourages "cross-training" by rewarding a small cluster of skills which a player knows will be used rather than having to guess which -- if any -- other skills would occur often enough to make acquiring them cost-effective.
Another goal along these lines: a player should be able to pick up any character sheet -- his own, another player's, or a pre-gen at a convention -- and get a feel for that character's strengths and weaknesses.
Lower the Barrier to Entry.
Mutant Chronicles is in a unique situation. Not only does it have legions of existing fans from its previous RPGs, tabletop games, and video games, it's a setting that has a ton of appeal to whole new generations of players. The system should be approachable to new gamers looking to just get started with their adventures in the Mutant Chronicles, while also providing depth and a host of options to veterans of the setting and previous editions. The more people excited about playing MC3, the stronger the line can be.
More G+N, Less S.
There is an indie-style based approach to classifying roleplaying games as the GNS Theory. It posits rpgs can be broken down into three general approaches - Gamist, Narrativist, Simulationist.
Gamist rpgs provide the rules and structure that reinforce the "game" part of roleplaying games. There are clear sets of rules to follow, mechanics which provide a framework for advancing the story, and advice for both players and GMs to on how to "play" this style of game and promote a fair and balanced experience. Narrativist rpgs place the focus squarely on the story and immersion, providing a depth of background and setting materials, and tools for players and GMs to tell, advance, and shape the story for everyone's benefit. Simulationist rpgs wish to faithfully recreate specific levels of detail and may focus heavily on simulating aspects other games handwave or simplify. A simulationist game is concerned with providing a realistic, authentic experience.
Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition is far more Narrativist and Gamist than Simulationist, for several reasons. The setting is so rich and the variety of stories that can be told within the world of Mutant Chronicles, a narrativist approach makes sense to allow everyone in the group to contribute to an exciting story the group will be talking about for years to come. It's gamist in its approach to resolving mechanics in a simple, effective way that is easy to understand and allows several ways for action to unfold, but also resolves quickly enough that it allows players to spend more time on the story, as well as allowing for a multitude of "builds" and approaches are viable and fun to play. It is less simulationist, preferring to have a number of systems operate in similar ways rather than specific rulesets for every event. Ammo is treated in "loads" rather than tracking individual bullets. Close combat is based on Agility, rather than a weighted combination of Agility, Awareness, Physique or other factors.
So there's a look at some of the design goals. These are not absolutes. They are flexible and can change as Chris and the development team -- as well as all of the playtesers -- provide more and more feedback. So keep playing, and keep sharing your thoughts and ideas!
[Last edited Feb 10, 2016 00:04:05]
If life is a game... I need new dice.